Robson Street – 300 block, north side

In 1981 this part of the Downtown was noticeably empty. The area started life as a residential neighbourhood, but gradually switched to commercial uses, although there were still plenty of houses nearby in the 1950s. By 1981, when this picture was shot, sites had been cleared and were used as parking lots. There was no rapid transit, and inadequate bus service to the rapidly growing Downtown office and retail core, so workers drove here. There were some parkades, and a few new offices had underground parking, but there were also blocks and blocks covered in cars during the day.

This image was taken on the corner of Hamilton Street, and the first large building that can be seen on the north side of Robson is the BC Telephone building on the corner of Seymour. The trucks parked in the lot here are mostly unmarked, but appear to be Canada Post trucks. (The Canada Post building was a block north of here). There’s another parking lot beyond this one, and a low parkade attached to the BC Tel building.

Today the city’s Central Library, designed by Moshe Safdie and completed in 1995 is here, with Lawrence Doyle’s design for a tower in the shape of a grand piano that became the Westin Grand hotel, completed in 1999, beyond it.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E12.06

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Posted October 4, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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