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Canton Road

Canton RoadDuring the mid-19th century Nanjing Road had been called Damalu Road and Canton Road as Wumalu Road. At that time the authority in the concession area wanted to christen the roads and streets that parallel to the Bund along the Huangpu River by using the names of China's provinces, such as Jiangxi, Sichuan and so on. While the ones that parallel to Nanjing Road were to be called by using treaty ports' names, so Wumalu Road should be renamed as Guangzhou Road but not Canton Road (Guangdong Road). However, the Westerners at that time did not realize the difference between Guangdong and Canton, so they called it the latter name that is convenience for pronunciation, and the Chinese translation of it was Guangdong Lu (Road), a provincial one but not a municipal !

Canton Road is stretching from East Zhongshan Road to the east and Central Tibet Road to the west. In old times, the road had only been a soil road as far as the west bank of Huangpu River. Since the development of Shanghai began, renovations of the road had been made, and in 1865 it became Canton Road, which was situated at the British Concession.

In mid-19th century Canton Road had been mostly occupied by foreign firms. On the middle section of the street, Shanghai's first Peking Opera House, which was in a big Chinese tea house, had been established. Some local businessmen saw the market opportunity and followed suit. During that unease era with turbulent intervals, underground casinos, notorious opium dens and vile brothels are a lot on Canton Road, but the area was truly prosperous. In the early 20th century, modern nightclubs were opened in nearby Hankou Road and Fuzhou Road, so the business declined gradually. However, the sugar wholesale stores, metal tools and gasoline lamp shops had been opened on Canton Road since 1930s.

The curio bazaar has begun in 1860s, the ancient articles concerning Chinese tea were displayed here. The appreciation of tea cups and potteries, which some of them were brought here by tea houses customers, had been a common scene on Canton Road. Tea lovers would exchange their interesting articles to one another, or bought something best here in the market too.

Since 1949, the antique business had been reformed under the direction of Socialism, the curio shops were to be run indoor rather than outdoor. So Shanghai Antique and Curio Relic Store (it has a branch located on Duolun Road) was found at that time and expanded in late 1990s. In July 1998, Bill Clinton, the former president of the United States, bought the Chinese painting The Swimming of the Joyful Fishes in the store when he was visiting Shanghai, as a souvenir of his memorable trip to China.