Here’s the Bus Depot on Dunsmuir Street. It was opened in August 1947 on the former Cambie Street Grounds, sometimes used for marching practice by the regiments based in the nearby Beatty Street Drill Hall. It remained until 1993, which is around when we think our image was taken. In the later years it was branded as the Greyhound Bus Station, with Pacific Coach Lines and Maybuck Coach Lines also operating from here, but it started life as the Larwill Terminal of Pacific Stage Lines, a company created in 1922 and originally known as BC Motor Transportation Ltd., a subsidiary of the BC Electric Railway. The coach company ended up in the early 1960s being owned by the BC Government, who sold it in 1979 to Pacific Coach Lines, a new company formed by merging the Stage Lines with Vancouver Island Coach Lines. The Larwill name came from Albert Larwill, whose story we described in an earlier post.
The new moderne style building was opened in August 1947, eight months after construction started. At the time it was said that it was “designed to include the best features in terminal construction, it is Canada’s most modern and efficient transportation center. From this central location at Dunsmuir and Cambie Streets will operate the 116 buses of Pacific Stage Lines, the buses of North Coast Lines and Western Canadian Greyhound lines. From this terminal you may travel to any destination on any highway served by buses on this continent. The experienced staff of the Travel Bureau will advise you on fares, stopover points, accommodation and the attractions of the hundreds of scenic routes served by modern highway buses.”
As we noted, before the 1946 lease deal that saw the bus terminal created, this was The Cambie Grounds. It was a full city block often used as an assembly area, and home to the city’s first public sporting event, a rugby match between New Westminster and Vancouver in 1887, (when the City leased the land from the CPR for $5 a year) . According to a 1943 Vancouver Sun story, a chain gang cleared the remaining trees off the lot and made it into a proper sports field. The City bought the land for $25,000 in 1902, and still own it today. Since the bus depot moved to the ‘Pacific Central’ station in 1993 the land has been used as a parking lot, often partly occupied by a movie shoot. One day some of the site might be home to a new Vancouver Art Gallery.