Downtown from Above (3)

Here’s another of Trish Jewison’s helicopter aerial shots, matched as closely as we can to an Archives image. This was on her Twitter feed in July last year. The before image is really early for an aerial image – it’s from 1926. We recently used the same 2020 image (more tightly cropped) to compare with a 1980s before image.

Burrard Street, on the extreme left hand edge, didn’t have a bridge at the end. It was a wide boulevard with houses and churches, in an area with mostly speculative houses along Howe and Hornby. Between Burrard and Hornby there’s a large building that takes up a whole city block, and interrupted the lane. That was the West End School, (later the Dawson School) which had a building facing Helmcken, and another on Burrard.

Granville Street, running from Burrard Inlet to False Creek, takes a jog to the south. That’s because the road crossed on the second Granville Bridge from 1909, replaced in 1954 with the structure we have today, which was built on the line of the first 1889 bridge. Today’s forest of residential towers in Downtown South (often called Yaletown by realtors) fill the space between the warehouse district of Yaletown and Granville Street. The lower form of the early 1900s Yaletown warehouses can still be clearly seen. Concord Pacific’s redevelopment fill the waterfront railyards that were briefly home to Expo ’86. The heavy industries located along False Creek created significantly contaminated ground, and the post-expo plan created a series of parks that capped the worst contaminated sites, avoiding the potential problems associated with removing them.

In the distance the first Georgia Viaduct can be seen following a parallel line to today’s pair of roads. The original was so poorly built that it wasn’t considered safe to run streetcars into Downtown from the East End. Beyond it the East End, as it was known, still has a significant concentration of buildings from the earliest years of the city’s development. We have featured hundreds of them over the past decade, as well as some that have been replaced. Along Burrard Inlet the port has seen major growth and redevelopment, with the Centerm container facility still being expanded to the west, and Vanterm to the east. Centerm occupies the site at the foot of Heatley Avenue that was the location of the first significant development of the future city, the Hastings Mill. It opened in 1865, and closed two years after this picture was taken.

Image source: Trish Jewison in the Global BC traffic helicopter, published on twitter on 25 July 2020 and City of Vancouver Archives Van Sc P68

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Posted 24 May 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered

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