Archive for January 2017

64-72 West Hastings Street

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For the time being this is a vacant site, although not for much longer as the City of Vancouver are planning a 10 storey building including non-market housing here. In 1923 there was a more modest 2-storey structure shown in this Vancouver Public Library image. To the east, just coming into the edge of the shot was the Columbia Theatre, built in 1912.

We haven’t managed to definitively pin the owners and developers of these two storey buildings down, but we suspect it’s another of the investments owned by full-time architect and part-time property developer and investor Thomas Fee. He certainly appears to have been the owner when alterations and repairs were made in 1916, and Fee and Stevens were listed as owners when more extensive repairs were carried out in 1913. He even hired architect W T Whiteway to design alterations to number 70 in 1909, and Baynes and Horie to design and make repairs in 1919, following a fire.

In the picture, these buildings contained BC Barber Supply at 64 W Hastings, the United Empire Club upstairs with Stag Billiards at 68, and Samuel Cohen’s Army Surplus store at number 70. Sam’s business expanded into other premises down the street over the next few years and became the Army & Navy store. At 72 the Pacific Coast Development Co (where R H Wright was Manager) had their offices.

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Posted January 5, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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Post Office – Granville and West Hastings

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Here’s the Post Office building completed in 1910, and designed by David Ewart, the Government’s Ottawa based head architect of the day. This is one of the undated images from the City’s Archives. The cars suggest late 1970s or maybe early 1980s. The Granville Square tower designed by Francis Donaldson behind the Post Office was completed in 1972. It was the first (and only) tower of the Project 200 scheme that would have seen a wall of towers (and a freeway) replacing Gastown. All the other buildings in our original image were older; the extension to the Post Office was designed in 1935 by McCarter and Nairne, and the Royal Bank Tower on the eastern side of the junction also dates from the 1930s.

In the 1950s the Post Office moved out to a much larger structure, that has recently been abandoned (with many operations moving out to a new building near the airport). This building was reused as Government offices.

Today both the Post Office and the addition form part of the Sinclair Centre. Four buildings were restored and connected by a new atrium space designed by Henriquez Partners Architects and Toby Russell Buckwell Architects in 1986. If you’ve ever wondered who the Sinclair in the name was, he was James Sinclair, member of Parliament for Vancouver North and later Coast—Capilano as well as Minister of Fisheries. These days Mr. Sinclair is also known as Margaret Trudeau’s father.

A couple of years back the Federal Government, having abandoned attempts to sell the Sinclair Centre,enquired whether they could reconfigure and add to the site to create a huge million square foot office complex. The City agreed they could proceed with preliminary designs, but nothing more has been heard of the idea, (and there’s a different government in Ottawa now).

Image source; City of Vancouver Archives CVA 800-454

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Posted January 2, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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