Barber-Ellis – 950 Homer Street

950 Homer 1931

Barber-Ellis was a company formed in the 1870s in Toronto when John Ellis and James Barber created a bookbinding company with around 30 employees. By 1926 the company had over 500 employees across Canada including a factory at 1206 Homer Street in Vancouver. They had dropped book-binding, and instead made envelopes – over 400 million in that year, a third of all those manufactured in Canada.

In 1931 the company built new premises at 950 Homer, and hired local architects Townley and Matheson to design a poured-in-place-concrete building – (it’s still under construction in our picture). The firm used an art deco motif similar to other buildings they had designed a few years earlier. Later the building was expanded using the same design, possibly by Sharp & Thompson, Berwick, Pratt, who designed an addition for the company in the early 1960s. Today it’s home to a furnishing company, with offices above. Behind, and alongside the building, Buttjes Architecture designed a three-tower residential complex called Yaletown Park, completed in 2007.

Picture source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4094


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