Stanley Park and the West End from above (2)

The angle on these two images is very slightly off, although it was shot at almost the same elevation. Our ‘before’ shot is from 1973 by William Roozeboom was taken from slightly further south, so he was just past the seawall. Trish Jewison, in the Global BC traffic helicopter shot the more contemporary image in July 2020, and the slightly different location of the picture means the entrance to False Creek can be seen.

Compared to the early 1970s much of the structure of Downtown, from this angle, has remained unchanged (although it’s significantly denser). Our previous aerial comparison posted a few weeks ago was of the same part of the city, shot much lower, in 1964, when the West End towers were starting to appear. Many more were built in the late 1960s, and a few in the early 1970s. In 1973 The Sheraton Landmark was under construction, although the revolving restaurant had yet to be added. It opened a year later, but when our 2020 image was shot it had just been demolished, with the foundations removed and an even bigger hole had been dug for two residential towers that were starting to appear above grade.

The largest area of change is to the north, along the waterfront of Coal Harbour, which was still industrial in the early 1970s. We saw a different angle from 1972 in another William Roozeboom image. Off in the distance, in 1973 the south shore of False Creek was almost empty, having been cleared and commencing redevelopment as the city’s first large scale urban renewal where older industry was replaced with a residential neighbourhood.

In 1973 the dark glass on the TD Tower in the Pacific Centre on Granville Street really made it stand out – today there are more towers clustered around it, but it’s still possible to make it out without much difficulty.

It’s possible to see the line of Robson Street in 2020, because the buildings tend to be lower. For a stretch of several blocks there’s a policy to restrict higher buildings to get more natural light onto the street, and closer to Stanley Park there are older, and lower scale buildings. That’s currently changing as there are three more towers proposed on Robson, one recently completed as well as the two being built on the Landmark site, and to the north along Alberni there are twelve more submitted or underway, several of them designed by international architects with some extraordinary contemporary designs.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 23-06 and Trish Jewison, Global BC helicopter.

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Posted 18 April 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered

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