1033 Davie Street

These days this is The Davie Building, with the popular Fountainhead Pub on the main floor. The offices on the upper floors have a variety of smaller suites, with local professional like lawyers and insurance brokers, and the offices of the West End Business Improvement Association. However, most of the tenants are medical practitioners, either providing local services like chiropractic, or more specialist clinics, thanks to the proximity of St Paul’s Hospital. The brick tower behind the building is part of St Paul’s, due to move from this location in a few years to a new hospital site next to the Canadian Northern Station, where Union Station used to stand.

When it first opened in 1959 this was known as the Metropolitan Medical Centre, and it featured in an advertisement in the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Journal, which helpfully identifies the architect. That was Gerald Hamilton and Associates, a practice responsible for several of the city’s best modernist buildings. The ad says it was an attractive functionally planned medical centre, but the most obvious design element was the lattice screen that completely obscured the south-west facing facade of the building. Our 2005 image shows the curved plastic awning roof on the Fountainhead pub in those days. In 2013 a comprehensive building renovation replaced the screen, and the glazing behind.

The illustration shows that when it was built, the lower floor was also office space, with a classic 1950s / early 1960s frieze in front of the entrance. The introduction of the pub saw the addition of a curved canopy, now replaced with a brick screen and large window openings and a patio that has a glazed awning added in winter.

Next door there has been a cleared site (with a temporary community garden) that replaced a gas station and retail building. There are now plans for a 47-storey mixed-use tower, designed by Merrick Architecture.

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Posted 8 March 2021 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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