News / Vancouver

Fire that destroyed $14 M Shaughnessy mansion deemed suspicious

Police are investigating the fire which started in the vacant house early Sunday morning.

A damaged house near Angus Drive and Matthews Avenue in Vancouver's First Shaughnessy neighbourhood on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. The house burned in the early morning of Oct. 22, 2017. Police investigators have deemed the blaze suspicious.

View 4 photos

zoom

Jen St. Denis / Metro Order this photo

A damaged house near Angus Drive and Matthews Avenue in Vancouver's First Shaughnessy neighbourhood on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. The house burned in the early morning of Oct. 22, 2017. Police investigators have deemed the blaze suspicious.

Police are investigating after a $14-million Shaughnessy mansion was ravaged by fire in the early morning hours of Oct. 22. They have determined the fire is suspicious.

The home, which police say was vacant at the time of the fire, is owned by Miaofeng Pan, a businessman who hosted a controversial $1,500 fundraiser for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2016.

In a December 2016 story, the Globe and Mail examined Pan’s ownership of several properties in Richmond that had been investigated for possible use as illegal hotels. Several of the homes were cited for health and safety infractions in 2011 and 2015, according to the Globe and Mail.

Pan is listed on the land title for 3737 Angus Dr. along with Wen Huan Yang, a homemaker. According to BC Assessment, the land is worth $11,911,000 while the house was worth $2,227,000.

Metro News attempted to contact Pan, but was unable to reach him. Sgt. Jason Robillard, media liaison officer for the Vancouver Police Department, said he was unable to say whether the owner of the home was co-operating with the police investigation.

While neighbours say the stately heritage home at 3737 Angus Drive had been left empty for around five years, Metro News has learned that during 2016 it was home to a group of musicians and artists who lived there and held parties and shows there.

Maggie Blue, the lead singer for the Vancouver band Love Drunk, told Metro her band played a show there in June 2016 and a “group of interesting artists were living there at the time.” She said that group moved out of the house about a month after the show.

Several neighbours Metro spoke to said empty houses are common in the affluent neighbourhood, where metal gates guard large homes and landscapers carefully tend driveways and lawns.

The home, which was first built in 1913, is located in the Shaughnessy First area, a part of the affluent neighbourhood where the most historic houses, many on very large lots, are located.

Shaughnessy First is protected by special zoning rules that prevent the demolition of the historic homes, or the subdivision of the generous lots. Homeowners must apply for special permits if they want to alter their historic homes.

According to The Tyee, Pan hosted a $1,500 a plate fundraiser for Justin Trudeau in West Vancouver in 2016. Pan said he had decided to host the event after Trudeau invited him to meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, according to The Tyee. But the Liberal Party denied that that meeting offer had ever been made to Pan.

Got a tip? Contact us at vancouver@metronews.ca

More on Metronews.ca