Robson Street west from Hamilton

This undated image was taken, we’re reasonably certain, in the early 1980s. This part of Downtown was in transition: the area had started out in the late 1890s as a residential neighbourhood, complete with churches and corner stores, conveniently located for the original city centre to the north and the new CPR city to the west, emerging around Granville Street. By the 1970s the move to commercial use had been significant, but odd houses still remained, like the one on the left of the picture. It was first shown in a street directory in 1892 when Amelia Vesey moved here, probably with her family. She was recently widowed, born in Nova Scotia and previously married to Joseph Vesey. In 1911 she had moved to live with her son, Charles, an accountant living in the West End.

Just to the right of the billboard is the BC Hydro headquarters, over half a kilometer away and standing tall in a neighbourhood of modest buildings.

The building that helps us date the image is the big, gold, office building in the distance. Designed by Eng and Wright it was completed in 1983. Beyond it, one and a half kilometers away, the Sheraton Landmark hotel occupied a prominent spot on Robson Street. The ‘after’ shot was taken earlier this year (before the street trees were in leaf to hide most of the buildings), but the Landmark was already shorter, on its way to be demolished for a pair of strata and non-market housing towers that will replace the hotel. Between the camera and the Landmark nearly 1,000 residential units have been added – always over a commercial podium of several floors of retail and office. Closest to us is Eight-One-Nine, designed by Rafii Architects for Bosa, and completed in 1998, and next door The Galileo by Hamilton Doyle Associates, completed a year later. There are two more condo towers beyond that, completed in the 2000s.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 800-2945

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Posted December 5, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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