Here’s the second Methodist Church built in the city, constructed only three years after the first one was built on Water Street. The dramatic growth in population after the railway arrived saw that building to be entirely inadequate, and this imposing new structure was put up in a recently cleared area not too far from the CPR’s new Granville St hub, but not so far from the population concentrated in the original Old Granville Townsite to the east and north of here. This picture showing the new church at the corner of Homer and Dunsmuir dates from 1890, a year after it was completed. Thomas Hooper was the architect, and this was probably his first major work in the city, although he had arrived in 1886 and been busy as a supervising architect for the Province of BC.
What’s remarkable is how short a period elapsed before the building was abandoned as the congregation moved further west to Georgia and Burrard to a new church designed by William Blackmore in 1901.
In 1910, this 1889 church was demolished. The congregation had sold the site to the city’s Trades and Labour Council in 1899, who later built the ‘Labour Temple’ on the site, also designed by the now very successful Thomas Hooper. The church negotiated a ‘sale and leaseback’ agreement while they built their new building, and the Labour organization paid $7,000 for the church property here.
Initially they had considered re-using the church, but eventually concluded that it wasn’t possible to repurpose it for their needs, and instead redeveloped with the building still there today. It took five years to pay off the mortgage to buy the site; then fundraising started for the replacement. The building on the site today has recently been given a thorough makeover, including some complicated seismic bracing, and is occupied in part by a law office.
Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Ch N63 and CVA 677-724