Hornby Street – 600 block, west side

In 1981 this block of Hornby had a parkade and an office building – today there’s an office building and a public space with an art gallery. The parkade in part served the Devonshire Hotel that was up on West Georgia Street and would be off to the left hand side of the picture. The office block was the Georgia Medical Dental Building – we’ve seen the back of it in an earlier post. It was designed by McCarter & Nairne, and imploded in 1989. Across Georgia is the third – and current – Hotel Vancouver. On the right hand edge of the picture is the entrance to Gary Taylor’s Show Lounge, Piano bar and restaurant.

The food wasn’t why anybody went to the club. Local music historians record that Gary had started out as a drummer; he was in the CBC house band, The Classics, in the 1960s filmed ‘Let’s Go’, the Vancouver segment of Music Hop, the CBC’s version of American Bandstand.  In the late 1970s and early 80s he was running his club on Hornby Street. The main floor hosted touring international acts in the Rock Room upstairs (including Johnny Thunders, who apparently had to be talked into the country by Gary after showing up at the border in 1981 to play the Rock Room with only his New York library card for identification). Up and coming locals like DoA, The Dishrags and the Pointed Sticks also got to play the room, while downstairs there were strippers.

The club had started on Granville Street, and Gary had run into problems in 1973 when he was charged with presenting an ‘obscene performance’ at his show lounge. In a rather unusual form of defence the five performers who were charged re-enacted the performance at the Show lounge with police, the crown prosecutor and Judge McGivern in attendance – they must have been good as Gary won the case.

The parkade and office building were replaced by Cathedral Place. Opened in 1991, Cathedral Place was developed By the Shon Group, headed by Ronald Shon, through a joint venture with Sir Run Run Shaw of Hong Kong under the company name of Shon Georgia Investments Ltd. The Shaw Group were Hong Kong’s biggest media company; founder and noted philanthropist Sir Run Run Shaw died in 2014 aged 106.

Paul Merrick designed Cathedral Place in a post-modern art deco style, borrowing the roof design from the chateau design of the Hotel Vancouver opposite. The building incorporates casts of the original nurses from the earlier 1930s building, although medical uses are no longer associated with the contemporary building. The office is still owned by Shon Group Realty.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W05.05

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Posted May 7, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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