Bank of Nova Scotia – West Hastings Street

Bank of Nova Scotia W Hastings

This is the Bank of Nova Scotia building, built in 1904 and seen here not long after it was completed in a Vancouver Public Library picture. It was designed by Dalton & Eveleigh for Edward Lewis, a Welshman – or maybe he was from Quebec – whose history we detailed in a recent post. W T Dalton lived next door to the Lewis family. The builder was G Horrobin, who also built the Granville Street building designed by Mr Dalton for Mr Lewis in 1902.

There was also another Lewis development designed by Dalton & Eveleigh on the next block of West Hastings, developed in 1903. This building had the neo-classical details that it seems Mr Lewis liked – the Granville Street building had a similar classical pediment. It appears that the upper part of the building wasn’t as solidly built as the stone columns that held it up – which might be a consequence of the $9,000 budget. At some point it was rebuilt with the curved arch we see today.

Looking at the street directories, it appears that when it was first built this wasn’t just the Bank premises; a banking hall and the basement with their vaults. The street directory for 1904 shows Vancouver Hotel had their sample room here as well, and G A Roedde operated his book bindery here. This is incorrect – they were both in the building to the east, 414 W Hastings. (Mr Roedde moved around – we’ve featured two other buildings where he operated his business).  By 1910 the street number had changed (from 418 to 422) and the Bank were still here, as they were in 1918. In 1920 the building isn’t included in the directory, and the bank had moved a couple of blocks to the west. In 1922 it had become 424 West Hastings – and it was still vacant. Finally by 1924 it was occupied by A G Spalding & Bros – the US athletic and sporting goods company whose Vancouver manager was W Bentham. The company stayed there until 1930, but by 1934 it was Goodman’s International Import jewelers and in 1940 it was home to Robinson’s Men’s Clothes store. A decade later it was still a clothing store – Bill Smith’s men’s wear. Today it’s still looking good, and occupied by the Bonchaz Cafe – a company who evolved from the Vancouver Farmers Markets.


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