Orange Hall – Hastings and Gore

Orange Hall

The Orange Hall was completed in 1907, although the announcement of its design by W T Whiteway was in 1903. The purpose of the Orange Order was to bring together the ‘Protestants’ of various denominations into one homogenous grouping to maintain their Protestant religion and way of life. The building’s main floor housed several businesses including a printers and Morgan Brothers Furniture, and upstairs were two floors; an assembly hall and above that a floor used for band practice.

Orange Hall 1908 VPLAlthough the 1903 announcement (and the first building permit for the foundations) were in 1903, the $30,000 project had made virtually no progress when a flurry of activity and a $45,000 permit saw the building completed in only four months. Our 1908 VPL image shows what it was like on completion – three storeys (and a basement) with curved Romanesque arches on the third floor.

The Lodge saw falling membership in the 1930s, but they were able to carry on with the help of Jack Whelan who staged wrestling matches on the top floor on Wednesday and Saturday nights from 1935. Finally in 1944 the Lodge sold the building to the National Housing Administration who in turn hired W F Gardiner to rework the building as housing, with 27 suites. The work was quite dramatic – the top two floors became three, and the arches were lost. A post office occupied the main floor.

Over the years the housing shifted from the public sector to the private sector, and most recently back into public ownership with its purchase by BC Housing.  Our image shows it back in 1977, when it was holding up remarkably well, although recent restoration to the cornice looks a lot better. The building is one of a portfolio of 13 historic buildings in the city getting nearly $150 million in repairs, seismic upgrades and restoration (and work is not complete on this building). The housing is run by SUCCESS, a Chinatown-based organisation which is one of the largest social service agencies in British Columbia.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-334



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