Arcadian Hall – Main Street

The Arcadian Hall on Main Street burned down in 1993, the victim of arson. It started its life in 1904 as the new hall for the local branch of The Oddfellows, in the rapidly-growing suburb of Mount Pleasant, some way from Downtown, over a bridge, but served with a tramcar that ran up Westminster Avenue. The 1904 permit identified the architect of the $6,000 frame hall as L H McKay, and the builder as ‘day labour’. This is the only building he designed, and we suspect Mr. McKay was almost certainly a member of the Oddfellows, rather than anybody with an architectural background. Nobody with those initials was listed as living in Vancouver. The VPL Image on the right shows the building in 1908.

The IOOF lodge #19 owned the building until  December 1955 when they moved to the Knights of Pythias Hall on East 8th. It was renamed the Arcadian Hall in 1946,and became a venue for music – starting with ‘old time dancing’ three days a week in the late 1940s. The Museum of Vancouver has an early Neon Products script sign for the hall which had a sprung dance floor, making it a popular venue. Downstairs was the Arcadian Coffee Shop. By the 1980s the hall was home to hundreds of all ages gigs by visiting acts as well as local bands like Pointed Sticks and DoA. Our image shows it in 1985. When it burned down it was owned by the Finlandia Club of Vancouver, who used as a social and cultural gathering centre for people of Finnish descent. It was also home to the Main Dance Place, a dance academy for professional and advanced dancers. The venue was also used by the Fringe Festival in the early 1990s.

The site has been vacant since the fire, used for a time as a car dealership. Now there are plans to redevelop the site, and the adjacent building, with a retail and condo building called Main St. Arts.

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Posted 11 March 2021 by ChangingCity in Gone, Mount Pleasant

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