Main and East Cordova Streets – north east corner

This was a 1910 bank developed by the Bank of Montreal, who hired local architects Honeyman and Curtis to design the $65,000 building, constructed by McDonald & Wilson.  The bank only occupied the premises for twenty years. In 1931 the building was being used by the Scandinavian United Church, but by 1933 the Army & Navy Veterans in Canada had moved here, and used the building through the war. In 1947 it was home to Steffens-Colmer Ltd, photographers, and in 1950 they were sharing with Trans-Canada Films. Don Coltman was manager of the Steffens-Colmer Studio in the early 1940s; the company was founded in 1920. In 1944 he took over the business and operated under the company name Steffens-Colmer Ltd. until 1951 when he renamed it to Don Coltman Photographic Company (Don Coltman photos), moving to new premises. The film company was run by Wally Hamilton, who was from Vernon, but learned movie making in the 1920s and 30s with Vancouver Motion Pictures.

The building was empty in 1952, and briefly used by Jordan Co, public weighers and J Kinney & Co Importers & Exporters. By 1955 it had become home to the Seafarers’ International Union of North America, (“serving unlicensed sailors since 1938”) sharing the space with the Pacific Fishermen and Allied Trades Union. The Seafarers Union were still here in 1971, when our image was shot, and still exist today in a different location.

The site was redeveloped in 1973 with a new Courthouse designed in the brutalist concrete style of the day by Harrison, Plavsic and Kiss

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-385


Posted 19 March 2020 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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