Homer Street – 500 block east side

500 Homer east

We’ve looked at the two buildings in the foreground of this 1981 image before. Just showing on the left is the Labour Temple, now known by its address, 411 Dunsmuir Street. It was designed by Thomas Hooper as a gathering place for organized labour, with meeting rooms, a print shop and billiards tables in the basement. There’s a more extensive history of the building on the Past Tense blog.

On the right is the Alcazar Hotel, which cost $140,000 to develop and was designed in 1912 by Dalton and Eveleigh for Dr D H Wilson. William Stanford Wainwright managed it from 1913 until his death in 1943. After his death it was managed by his widow, Iris. In 1947 she bought the hotel with her sons, W F and P R Wainwright. The Alcazar had a bar that was frequented by Post Office workers due to its proximity to the main Post Office, but the other clientele  were art teachers, artists and art students, as the Art School was nearby too. One of them recalls that “the bar was a fascinatingly brightly lit room with a rather modernist abstract fountain in the middle. But it was always a pleasure to have a meal in the room that Jack Shadbolt painted. Very abstract/surrealist mural. Where the light standards were over the tables, Jack had painted around these what looked like eye lashes.”

Beyond it is a structure we had forgotten existed. It’s one of Vancouver’s ever-decreasing number of parking structures. We’ve seen many sites where there was surface parking for many years, and many more where there were decked structures like this. The handful that remain are disappearing fast. The most recent to be approved for redevelopment is on Seymour Street, associated with the Scotia Tower of the Vancouver Centre. Like this parking garage, it’s going to be replaced with an office tower, and like this one (the headquarters of BC Hydro, completed in 1992) it has Musson Cattell Mackey as the architects.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E11.35

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Posted May 30, 2016 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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