701 Main Street

Main & Georgia

We’re got used to gas stations closing over the past few years, but it’s not a new phenomenon. This Standard gas bar was closed nearly 70 years ago. It was also not the first building on the site – in fact it wasn’t even the second. In 1912 the Avenue Theatre replaced two cottages on this site, but in 1935 this Standard Oil gas station was listed in the street directory. Standard Oil of Califonia entered the Canadian market in 1935 when Standard Oil Co. of British Columbia was launched in a two-room suite of the Hotel Vancouver. That same year the company expanded quickly by purchasing local oil distribution companies, acquiring service stations, establishing dealerships, starting a new refinery and acquiring a tanker, the B.C. Standard. Townley and Metheson designed several gas stations for the company in their first year, and this is listed as one of their projects, station #2.

Like the theatre, the gas station didn’t last very long. By 1945 the BC Electric Company had acquired the site for a new sub-station that was named after the company’s President, W G Murrin. The power distributed from Murrin supplied the entire downtown area and for many years there was a smaller adjacent building that fed power to the city’s electric trolley buses.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives, photographer Walter E Frost, CVA 447-47

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