About   54 comments

This blog features before and after photographs, mostly from the Vancouver Archives, BC Archives and Vancouver Public Library collections. The older images are all in the public domain, or where copyright is held, permitted for publication. It’s a companion blog to the Changing City blog which tracks contemporary development projects in Vancouver BC. We also blog at What Was There Before,  that looks at before and after of recent buildings, and buildingvancouver a blog that looks at who built some of the heritage buildings that are still standing in the city.

We generally try to post a couple of images each week, and anticipate that will continue in future. Because of the volume of spam blogs can generate, and the nature of the blog, we’re not intending to add a comment opportunity, except here. If you want to point out any errors or suggest additions we’ll contact you if we can incorporate your material, and we always acknowledge your help in the post.

We are very happy to try to use any historic family pictures that you have of Vancouver that you’d like to see here. Obviously we’ll acknowledge the source of the original images.


Posted 25 December 2011 by ChangingCity

54 responses to “About

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  1. Thank you so much for this new blog. I am a native Vancouverite, age 52, so this is just wonderful for me.

  2. Nice nice work!

  3. First of all .. Congratulations on this wonderful blog!
    Would love to see the original hotel at the corner of Main and Georgia ( Now the London Pub).

  4. Thank you for this series, one per day. Clicking on a new one makes a great start to my day.

    • You’re welcome – we can’t guarantee to keep that pace up for much longer, but we should get two up every week for a while longer.

      • You might have some fun with the WordPress Before and After slider. I just installed it on a site, and found the plugin and their support excellent.

  5. Wonderful sight, My wife used to work at H. A. Bordgerson Ship Chandler company (41 Alexander St.) right across from the Europe Hotel in gas town…In those days you could walk around gas town without ever worrying about your safety 24/7 In fact she use to carry many thousands of dollars in a brown paper bag to the bank over on E.Hastings st….. (Can’t do that today…) keep up the good work I will be sending some others to look….

  6. Great Site–can I add a footnote?

    The date you give for the closing of the Sears in Harbour Centre (1980) didn’t seem right to me–in fact it seemed way, way, off–so I did a fact check search on Google;
    Hastings and Richards
    (…. the Harbour Centre redevelopment by WZMH including a Simpsons Sears store which closed in 1980 …)

    “The struggling Harbour Centre Store in Vancouver closed its doors on New Year’s Eve. (1987)”

    Craig D LangBay BC
  7. Thank you. Love this! I am 3rd generation Vancouverite and my great grandfather was mayor way back. Wondering if someone can steer me to where I could find a photo (if one exists) of 1428 Robson Street back around 1900 – 1920 – ish.

    Heather Lapierre
  8. The South East corner of Hastings and Gore was a Canada Safeway for many years up until maybe the mid 70’s. And the lot you questioned was the parking lot as it is in the produce store snapshot.
    Great blog.

  9. I’m curious if you have ever seen a picture of the Minit Man car wash that operated on Robson street in the 1970’s and 80’s up until Expo 86? Seems that area of Robson at that time is not well documented and I have yet to find a picture anywhere.

    • We haven’t seen it as it isn’t available online, but the Vancouver Public Library apparently have one of Burrard from near Haro that included the car wash twenty years earlier.

      VPL Accession Number: 82320
      Date: 1953
      Photographer/Studio: Artray
      Content: Photo series
      Copyright Restrictions: Vancouver Public Library Copyright

  10. Interesting to see this post and blog, as I was researching some old Stock Certificates for the Wong Kung Har Tong Company that I found, dated 1924
    there is a picture of the building and staff sitting in front of the building on the Certificate Looks as good today, from your pictures posted here

    if anyone can tell me more about these certificates or interest in them, I would appreciate hearing from you

    cheers to all and early wishes for a Happy Chinese New Year

  11. Really nice bolg!
    Thanks for doing this.
    Do you have something about the Trounce Alley (Blood Alley) in Gastown?

  12. A great site! Brings back many memories. I was born in 1931 and lived up near 30th and Main until I went off to join the U.S. Marines in 1952. How many times have I been on the number 3 streetcar! Wasn’t the police station on Main, just north of library (and the museum on the top floor)? Also on the west side of Main in the blocks north of Hastings were storefront Gypsy establishments. My mother warned me to never go near them, or else I would be kidnapped — or worse! Does anyone know anything about the Ivanhoe Hotel as it was in 1927?

  13. Great Blog!

    Any plans on researching the Desrosiers Block at 6 E. Hastings? Desrosiers is a family name and I’m curious to see if I have a connection to the original owner of the building.

    • We’ll see what we can do in a couple of weeks. Spoiler alert – it said to be Michael Desrosiers, a tinsmith – but that’s not completely accurate.

  14. How do I sign up for updates by e-mail. I prefer that method over RSS, which never seems to work for me.

  15. The work and effort you put into this site is heroic! For many years I have admired the young history of our city but I have felt that little has been done in the background of the buildings, urban landscapes and the depiction of where things stand today – through social media and in books. Until I came across this site, you have brought faith and further interest in bringing awareness and education to the history of Vancouver. Detail info and picture perfect angles of sites s truly an effort worth calling inspirational. Thanks so much!

  16. Thank you so much for this! I am super fascinated going through these posts, keep up the great work.
    Do you happen to do architectural tours (I know the AIBC does some)? How can I support this blog?

  17. Your Feb 25, 2019 post refers to them in 1921 living in Point Grey (on Granville St) – was Point Grey defined differently then? Someone challenged me on my FB post. Cheers.

  18. The southwest corner of Homer and Robson was the headquarters of Yellow Cab until about 1983-84 – I was hired as a driver there in 1981 and changed over to Blacktop when Yellow moved to Vernon Drive. The Chevron station was “The Pumps” and administration offices were above the garage, along with a rooftop parking lot.

  19. It is an interested but somewhat incorrect read on Granville Island. In the mid 1960’s a small group of like minded entrepreneurs started the redevelopment of Granville Island. Bud Jones, Mitch Taylor, Gary Anderson and Eric Weiser bought out the leases from the Harbour’s Board of four buildings on the north side of the island just to the west of Ocean Concrete and directly under the Granville Street Bridge. They also renovated the building that now hosts the Keg and the building where the Granville Island Brewery currently is. They were followed by other like minded entrepreneurs like John Keith King who started the redevelopment of the Maritime Market and others. When the Federal Government saw how successful they were in their efforts they allocated $28,000,000 to do the Net Loft and the Public Market in the mid 1970 – almost ten years later. Norm Hotson and his partner deserve a lot of credit for the work they did to bring a harmonized vision to Granville Island – however the credit for starting the revitalization of the island rests solely with the entrepreneurs who came much earlier and who invested their time and money years before. The part of Granville Island’s history seems to be relegated to oblivion more and more these days – and its really sad to see it happening.

  20. In regards the the Stettler Cigar Factory at 418 West Georgia Street. The lawsuit of Mr. Carder was eventually thrown out. The judge essentially ruled that there was no evidence that Mr. Carder had been promised shares in the company.

    Also. It appears the building has been torn down.
    Thank you for your posts on the building. I research Stettler and your page was a great find. You folks do great work.

  21. In regards to 620 Main Street — Tosi Building– the website has been updated and is now pointing to this website for information on the origin and construction of the Tosi & Co. Store in 1930

  22. Whoops, Shamrock Rooms is 635 E. Hastings.
    Thanks for your wonderful work!

  23. The Advance Cab in front of the Guinness Tower dates the photo to late ’80s – Advance dissolved & the licenses went over to Yellow and Blacktop before 1990.

  24. In you post about Firehall #2 on Seymour, you say it was replaced by a building in 1975. In fact it was replaced by a BC Tel expansion in the late ’50s. The 1975 building was the next expansion, to the north.

    • Thanks. There was a 1948 building for BC Tel (now re-skinned and sold off), that was to the south, and is in a post coming up very soon. There’s a Firehall picture dating from 1957, showing the firehall still standing and butting up to the BC Telephone building, so it must have been the end of the 1950s that the next phase took place.

  25. This is one of the most entertaining blogs . Born and raised in the West End in 1953 I watched the destruction of home after home in the 60s and 70s. At the time we looked at the high rise apartment buildings with awe as they towered above the homes. Not sure when they luster of high rise buildings wore off but by the time it did it was to late. Thankfully your blog and others manage to preserve some memories. I lived on Harwood, Nelson, Pendrell, Davie , and specifically at 840 Bidwell and 1257 Barclay . The other addresses escape my memory. I attended Guardian Angels school and Lord Roberts. I had many childhood friends that lived in fabulous homes all over the West End. Our home at 1257 Barclay can be found on the net with the original owners standing in the front yard. I enjoy your blog many many thanks

  26. No mention 1728 Comox Street was the childhood home of actress Yvonne de Carlo ??? Complete with pictures of her re-visiting ? https://www.pressreader.com/canada/vancouver-sun/20070111/281496451805030

  27. Hi guys, I’m doing some research on the Ming Wo building and was wondering where you got your information about the early days of the building from. You mentioned you referenced newspaper reports about the building. Where could I find these materials? Thanks!

    • We generally look at the Vancouver Sun, Province and Daily World, all available on newspapers.com (a subscription service). The early editions of the Victoria Times Colonist can be viewed for free

  28. I spent a few years working in the Metro Broiler Restaurant in the Davie Building. It was owned by John Picard and was managed by my mother Agnes Parks. It was busy and was a favorite stop for many of the West End cab drivers. I washed dishes. One unfortunate weekend the building was getting all new carpeting in the public areas and the new carpets were all rolled up and stacked in the lobby. The dishwashing machine sprung a leak and flooded the main floor and ruined all of the new carpets.
    I had a bank account at the Bank of Commerce in the Davie building where I got my first Bank loan. My mom cosigned for an $1800 loan . I bought a fully customized 1946 Harley Knucklehead. The upper floors were offices with at least one notable exception. Bob Fortune a weather man for CBC lived in the Davie Building. . I worked there from 1968 – 1973. Lots of funny stories as the restaurant stayed open in the evening . The Retinal Circus was right across the street and was a place to go and enjoy some of the earliest acid rock and early rock bands.

  29. I’m so pleased that your blog mentioned by 3rd great grandmother Sophia Cameron in regards to the building in the 800 block of Granville. It looks like you were able to find some good info about the family. Sophia’s father was from Scotland, and her mother was from England, but she was born in Ontario. She suffered the death of two of her children at a young age, and her husband abandoned her when Maxwell was very young. It’s so interesting to see that she succeeded in a venture with her son in Vancouver.

  30. Thanks for the info on Thomas John Dales on Alexander Street. He married my second great grand aunt, Louisa Waters Bishop, of Newmarket, Ontario. Fyi, you have Louisa M. Bishop. I am researching the family currently and this was a nice addition. I read that he may have built one of the first houses after the great fire of 1886.

  31. Thanks so much for today’s post (Sept 20, 2021) about 1030 Robson St. Of all the strange things, I went looking on your blog on Sat Sept 18/21 to see if I could find any info. I had been researching the 1953 BC Directories for Antoon Houben, my FIL, and discovered he lived here that year, at “Robson Lodge Rooms”. I nearly fell off my chair when your email appeared today with the link to what I was searching for. I enjoy your blog very much. Thanks for all your hard work. PS: I’m sad to see Cafe Crepe is gone. We ate here one time and enjoyed it a lot, never knowing that years ago my husband’s family once lived above our heads!

  32. love this site…I only called YVR home from the late 70s to the late 90s, but you’ve got me digging through old photo boxes and negatives….just found one I took off of the Granville Bridge of the old Railway Bridge at the of Hudson? …..and a few I have of the corner of W Georgia and Denman…memories

  33. Great write up regarding 832 East Pender. I know this building very well. One interesting fact about 832 east pender as well as 826 east pender is that they originally were single family homes. The original houses were moved to the back and the apartment building/rooming houses were attached to the front. The original staircases are still in use.

  34. I left Vancouver in 1988, this site brings back a lot of memories……I usd to live in a house on W13th between Burrard and Cypress, it was called the Firs, and always wondered what the history of that building was…am still wondering….but there’s so much history all over Vancouver and that area…

  35. Your article on Powell Rooms at 556 Powell, is very interesting, but you have inaccurately named the City of Van as the owner…not true
    The Harden Family of North Vancouver have owned and operated it since 2006.

  36. Thank you for your article, ‘Lefevre House – Howe and Cordova’. It helped complement references to the Lefevres in the (posthumously published) memoirs of the classical scholar, Henry Rushton Fairclough (1862-1938), ‘Warming Both Hands’ (1941). He knew the couple in Brockville where he taught school early in his career, and then met them in 1891 in Vancouver where he taught that year at Whetham College. His wife was Mrs Lefevre’s cousin. He quotes one of her poems (p 100), and recalls staying at Langaravine in 1934, where he met UBC’s classicists at a dinner party.

  37. i feel that items of my research were used by you in n your wenonah entry & i was not given proper credit , Robert

    robert mcnutt
    • Hi Robert

      We got the reference to the manufacturer of the terra cotta from a 2014 piece in Scout Magazine, so we assume that’s your research, and have acknowledged it. Everything else was based on original research.

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