Beatty Street from the Georgia Viaduct

We looked at the street view of these Beatty Street warehouse a few years ago. This picture was taken 50 years ago, (in 1972) a decade before the stadium was built on the old rail lands between the buildings and False Creek.

The shorter building with the white finish has gone completely. The warehouse was the most expensive of the three. In 1912 a permit was issued for a building to cost $150,000. Designed by Parr, McKenzie & Day for John W Gibb it was pre-leased to the The Canadian Fairbanks Company, who stepped in and completed the building when Mr. Gibbs ran into cash flow problems. The case was resolved in court, Mr. Gibbs ended up losing his interest in the building (to his father), and Fairbanks, a machinery supplier, stayed here until the 1950s.

In the middle is a building that cost $140,000 for the National Drug Co, built by George Snider & Brethour in 1913, designed by H S Griffith. Today it has had a blue tile makeover, and like its neighbour is used as office space. The four bay warehouse was designed by Dalton and Eveleigh for F T Cope. The same builders as its neighbour completed it at a cost of $75,000.

The Fairbanks warehouse was demolished and became the plaza in front of the BC Place stadium, constructed in the early 1980s, (allowing windows to be installed in the side of the National Drug Co building). The Terry Fox memorial, designed by Douglas Coupland, is located here. The rest of the site was part of the land sold to Concord Pacific, and they in turn sold it to PCI Group to develop an office building, initially known for its lead tenant as The Pivotal Building, designed by Busby & Associates, and completed in 2002. A second phase was leased to the Federal Government. PCI developed the site ‘in partnership with high net worth private investor’.

On the right are trees planted at the time the stadium was built, and which will be cut down soon. The former Pacific Press printing works is located on the corner of Beatty and Georgia, built in 1949. It was converted in 1968 to the boilerhouse of Central Heat Distribution who established a centralized heating network throughout the Downtown. New boilers are about to be installed in conjunction with a large, S-shaped office building and entertainment pavilion that will replace the 1940s building while still retaining the heating system operations.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-5

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