Stanley Park and the West End from above (1)

The angle on these two images is pretty close, although we think they must have been shot at slightly different elevations. The 1964 image by Williams Bros. Photographers Ltd was taken from slightly higher, so Burnaby Heights, in the distance, are less prominent. Trish Jewison, in the Global BC traffic helicopter shot the more contemporary image in September 2020.

The West End was in the middle of transforming from modest density to many more high-rise towers. The zoning changed in 1956, and from then until 1972 over 200 towers replaced many older houses, often carved up into rooming houses. There are two prominent towers looking on to Stanley Park. Panorama Place, designed by Robert Rapske, was still under construction in 1964, completed a year later. The entire building, developed by Cosmos Holdings, cost $2.5m to construct. Built as apartments, the 147 units were acquired by Dawson Developments and converted to a co-op in 1973, so buyers acquire shares in the co-op, rather than a strata freehold. A construction crane collapsed when the building was close to completion, killing one of the workers.

A block and a half to the north, the Silhouette Apartments had been completed in 1963, but with 96 rental units following an almost identical shape, and we believe designed by the same architect. The tower replaced the family home of Jonathan and Elizabeth Rogers, completed in 1910.

In 1964 both the Marine Building and the Hotel Vancouver were still prominent on the skyline. The slab of the Georgian Towers hotel had been completed in 1955, the first modern tower to start the continuing transformation of West Georgia Street. Today, all three buildings are lost in the forest of towers, and the skyline has two standout towers, the Shangri-La hotel and apartments, and the former Trump Tower, now changing to the Paradox Hotel. In the foreground is the seasonal, heated, outdoor pool at Second Beach. Built in 1932, in the 1960s it was still filled with ocean salt water, although that meant from time to time a mud shark or octopus could end up sharing the pool. Stanley Park, and Devonian Harbour Park have both grown much more in the intervening 56 years, so there’s far more of a forest in the foreground.

In the background today the container cranes of the Port of Vancouver can be seen, located in a spot that was still part of Burrard Inlet in the early 1960s. Closer to us the industrial operations on the shoreline of the Inlet have gone, replaced by the condos and rental towers of Coal Harbour, although the initial buildings of the Bayshore Inn (now the Westin Hotel) had been opened on the waterfront in 1961 (seen here in a 1960s postcard).

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Air P108.2 and Trish Jewison’s twitter account.


Posted 21 February 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered

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