Central Business District from above (3)

Our ‘before’ image was most likely taken in 1969, and the contemporary shot was published in February of this year. We think the image dates from the fall of 2018. The angle and elevation are, for once, almost identical. Many of the buildings standing in 1966 are still there today, but not all of them.

The far left of the image shows the Hotel Vancouver, and to the west the Burrard Building. It looks slightly different because it was re-clad in 1988. Behind it was, and is, the MacMillan Bloedel Building. In 1969, the year it was completed, it stood alone; now it’s jostled by the Royal Centre and the later phases of the Bentall Centre. In 1969 only the first two buildings had been completed, still standing today but hidden by the larger Bentall V tower across Burrard Street.

Across the street from the Hotel Vancouver was the Georgia Medical Dental Building replaced in 1991 with Cathedral Place, with a roofline that is either a copy of, or an homage to, the Hotel’s copper roof. Towards Burrard Inlet from the Bentall Centre was the 1955 Customs Building designed by CBK Van Norman, (and no longer standing) and then the Marine Building, still standing apart in 1969. Today the top of the tower is just visible, surrounded by newer office and hotel buildings – and condo towers beyond on Coal Harbour.

Closer to us, the Vancouver Block with its distinctive clock tower can still be seen, and in 1969 the cranes were starting assembly of the TD Tower, the first part of the Pacific Centre Mall. The York Hotel and Granville Mansions were still standing, although not for long as they would soon be replaced by the departmental store section of the Mall. The Bay department store still stands unchanged from it’s second iteration – although that may not be true for too many more years. The date the image was taken can be estimated from the tower apparently changing colour, towards the right edge of the picture. The Cannacord Tower was re-clad with a lighter skin of double-glazed windows while the tenants remained working inside; the work was about a third of the way down from the top in August or September 2018. Tucked into the bottom left corner of the image, the new City Library can be seen. In 1969 several blocks in this part of the city centre were surface parking lots and short parkade structures. Towards the bottom of the picture, the Kingston Hotel had one on either side; now it has a 46 storey condo tower and a 22 storey office headquarters as neighbours.

Image sources: Ted Czolowoski published in ‘Through Lion’s Gate’ in 1969, published by the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board, Trish Jewison in the Global BC helicopter, on her twitter feed 2 February 2021.

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Posted 1 July 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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