Archive for the ‘Altered’ Category

East from Burrard Bridge (2)

Here’s a view eastwards down False Creek from Burrard Bridge taken in 1941. (We saw a closer view taken in the 1950s that was posted last month). In the foreground is the Kitsilano Trestle, originally built by Canadian Pacific in 1886 (although by 1941 the structure was more elaborate than the original, and considerably strengthened). It was torn down in 1982, deemed a navigational hazard for shipping. From 1902 CP had run two passenger trains a day from Vancouver to Steveston, an established river port with up to 10,000 seasonal residents working in the 29 canneries. In 1905 BC Electric leased the line, and electrified it, running the ‘interurban’ that departed from Downtown, crossed the Kitsilano Trestle and in Vancouver stopped at Millside (4th Avenue), 9th Avenue (Broadway), Kerrisdale (41st), Magee, and Eburne, on the Fraser River, before crossing to Richmond.

In 1958 the trains were abandoned as BC Electric’s “Rails to Rubber” program converted most of the streetcar lines to trolley bus lines. To the west of the trestle, on the waterfront, there were the abandoned pilings of the wooden wharf used for Macdonald and Marpole’s coal shed and stables. Next door were the huge stone blocks of the Vancouver Granite Co, which had expanded into the area occupied by the Vancouver Marble and Tile Co. A S Allen’s stone contracting business shared the area as well as a paving contractor. On the other side of the trestle was a boat building yard, the Beach Avenue shipyards. Their first boats built here were the tugs ‘Edith’ and ‘Navvy Jack’ in 1907, but by the 1940s production was limited to scows, (large flat-bottomed barges with broad square ends used chiefly for transporting bulk materials). George Cates, originally from Nova Scotia, ran the Cates Shipyard here initially from around 1900. In 1902 he built the steamer, “Britannia” powered with a steam engine built in Glasgow by McKie and Baxter and equipped with reversible, plush covered pullman seats for the comfort of the day passengers. His brother, Captain John Cates owned land at Bowen Island where he built a picnic ground, and later a hotel. It was a family business – Miss Lillian Cates was co-owner of the Terminal Steamship Limited (and the sponsor of the launching of the “Britannia”). Captain W. Cates was the captain and Willard Cates was the engineer.

The Granville Bridge, seen in 1941 beyond the trestle, was the second to be built here. The first was constructed in 1889 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, running over the sandbar on the southern shore. Two years later it was widened for streetcar tracks, which narrowed to a single track where they crossed the opening swing span that was tied with wire ropes to a central wooden tower. It was replaced in 1909 with the bridge in the picture, mostly built of steel, with a through truss swing span which could be open for shipping on a central pivot. In 1915 four Germans were arrested after a fire broke out on the bridge that was thought to be an arson attack.

The present 8-lane bridge opened in 1954, designed to have the traffic capacity for a freeway system that was never built. It followed the alignment of the first bridge, but crossed Granville Island created in place of the sandbar (and just visible on the right of the picture). The bridge has recently had extensive seismic upgrades (that are costing a lot more than the original construction of $16.5m). Once complete a new bicycle crossing and wider sidewalk will be created on the west side of the bridge, while retaining six traffic lanes.

On the skyline the only building visible in 1941 is City Hall, completed in 1937 and located outside Downtown. Today there are offices along West Broadway and hospital buildings to the south, with more taller buildings likely in future as the SkyTrain is extended along Broadway and a new plan for the area increases permitted development density and encourages new higher density rental buildings.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 586-682


Posted 5 September 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, False Creek

1119 Broughton Street

This is the same house in both images, but it’s not in the same location. Redeveloped in 1994, there are now 8 condos on the lot. The house here was originally constructed in 1904, and the architect designed it for his own use.

Thomas Fee was born in Quebec, and trained in architecture in Minneapolis in the late 1880s, and initially arrived in Vancouver in 1891. However, he wasn’t yet building or designing homes, instead he was shown on the corner of Davie and Seymour, in Yaletown, working as a grocer. He was shown aged 27 in the census that year, and his wife was 20. He next appears again in the directory when he had started building houses in Vancouver from around 1894, when he was living on Robson Street. In 1898 Fee went into partnership with English architect John Parr, and immediately turned out designs for buildings like the Ralph Block on Hastings Street as well as many houses. They often featured a circular corner turret, as this does, although strangely, it’s down the street rather than on the corner (perhaps for a view over English Bay).

In the 1901 census Thomas Fee, was shown aged 38, living with his wife Francis (now shown only 3 years younger than him), his six year old daughter Olga, four year old son ‘Blakley’ and his wife’s mother, Jane Paton aged 73. They were living on Burrard Street at the time. Thomas apparently felt the need to underplay his age by two years; earlier census entries and his death notice say he was born in May 1861. He had married Frances Paton in Melbourne Methodist, Drummond, Quebec in 1888, when she was 22.

By 1911 the Fee family had moved to another house he had designed at 1025 Gilford Street. (It was demolished in the 1960s). Frances had her name spelled correctly, Olga was listed with her full name, Olga Merle, Blakely’s name was recorded correctly as Blakely Fowler and Grace Helen aged nine was now a member of the household. Jane Paton was still alive, given her full name, Lucretia Jane, aged 83, and Frances’s sister Helen Elizabeth was also living in the house, along with Charles Fee, Thomas’s brother. It appears that Blakely changed his name as a teenager; the last reference under that name was a trip to the US when he was 16; in subsequent records (including his marriage in 1918) he had taken his father’s name and was Thomas Arthur Fee jnr.

Even when he was building his family home Thomas Fee was looking to add investment value. The permit for the corner of Broughton and Pendrell was for two frame dwellings, so almost certainly the house next to the Fee family home was Thomas’s investment property, also designed by Parr and Fee. That house was lost in a fire in 2018.

The first occupant here after the Fee family moved was Henry B Ford, a family physician in partnership with his brother-in-law, and with a Downtown practice. He was here with his wife and four children for three years, before moving across False Creek.

Andrew A Logan, a timber broker, lived here for many years from around 1911 (and we assume bought the property). He was an Ontario butter and cheese trader in the 1880s, in Morrisburg, and moved to Vancouver in 1908. In 1908 he held a timber licence in the Kootenay, on Alice Arm. In 1913 he had interests in mining as well as lumber; he’s believed to be seen here in an Archives image from around 1913, examining a quartz sample with gold deposits from the Gem mine, near Nanaimo.

In 1915 Mr. Logan only just escaped death, when he was bludgeoned on the head in his basement by an assumed burglar (who was never identified). We’ve put the details of the story as they appeared in the local press on the left.

Mrs. Logan died in 1922, aged 70 having caught a cold that turned into pneumonia. At the end of the year Andrew remarried to Mrs. Emma Wright, of Winnipeg, who had been born in Ontario in 1872.

In 1925 the press reported “Vandal Hurls Stone Through Art Window
An unidentified vandal on Friday afternoon destroyed a stained-glass window In the home of A. A. Logan, 1119 Broughton street, by hurling a large stone through It. Though the act was committed In daylight, no residents In that locality appeared to have been the perpetrator of the act of wanton damage.

Andrew and Emma moved to the St Julien Apartments in 1928, selling off ‘costly furnishings and an excellent piano’ at auction (including a mahogany four-poster bed, and French novels). Andrew died there in 1929; two of his three children lived in Winnipeg, with one son in Vancouver. Emma died in 1953, in Essondale, in Coquitlam. By that point the house here had become a rooming house run by J Collins. Our image shows the house in 1985, two years after it been converted back to a single family home. The renovation and condo project in 1994 that saw the house moved to the corner was designed by Clare McDuff-Oliver.

Image source: CVA 790-1699 and CVA 1376-547


Posted 11 August 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, West End

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East from Burrard Bridge (1)

This view looking east from the Burrard Bridge dates from between 1956 and 1958. It shows that the area between the bridge, and the Granville Bridge in the background, changed pretty dramatically in the 1980s, when now named as Granville Slopes, this was one of the False Creek neighbourhoods planned by the City of Vancouver to revitalize the Downtown Waterfront. One of the most important elements of the 1983 plan was the inclusion of public access along the entire length of the edge on a newly constructed seawall.

Unlike areas to the east of here, where Concord Pacific acquired all the former Expo lands, a variety of developers were involved in the development on land acquired by the City and then sold off. The design principle adopted here was similar to other waterside neighbourhood, where densities closest to the water are lower than further up the slope to the north. The City’s planning department used the area to provide “a testing ground for a number of the planning and urban design precepts that have helped shape the rest of False Creek North, Downtown South, Coal Harbour and other high density neighbourhoods.”

In the area south of Beach Avenue (seen in this image) just under a thousand apartments were developed and completed between 1986 and 1995, designed by six different architectural practices. The False Creek Yacht Club lease the water lot and have a marina and clubhouse, a world away from the shacks constructed on pontoons and squatted on the waterfront under the bridge from the 1930s to the mid 1950s.

The shanties first appeared during the depression in the 1930s, and grew over time. The cutting from 1950 indicating they would be cleared was published in St John’s, and similar stories appeared in many Canadian local news outlets. The interest arose out of a sensational murder case that we’ve outlined in another post. The murderer lived in a shack on the south shore, opposite these homes, but there were over 300 shanties all along the shores of False Creek. The Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce urged that the ‘nest of perverts’ should be removed as soon as possible, but the eviction notices were only finally issued in 1955, and as our picture shows, they weren’t immediately acted on.

These structures were on a site that had been a wharf for many years, run by McDonald Marpole & Co, who ran a coal delivery business, with storage on the waterfront, and also a shipyard building mostly wooden scows. Next door the Vancouver Granite Co had a series of stone cutting sheds from the 1900s, and Wilkinson’s had a wire and steel warehouse closer to Beach Avenue.

In the early 1900s the Colonial Portable House Co had their Planing Mill here. They built modest kit-build summer cottages, as seen here in a 1908 advert in ‘Westward Ho’ magazine. They were ‘Ready to Erect, Adapted to any climate’, and claimed to be good as either permanent homes, schools or churches, or as summer cottages.

Canadian Pacific’s rail track cut across the site, heading for the Kitsilano Trestle across False Creek. Beyond it on the waterfront were cement and lime stores and gravel bunkers, although some of the area had fallen out of use by the 1950s. There was still a government customs warehouse here, and the Vancouver Granite yard and Beach Avenue shipyard were still in operation.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives (copyright) CVA 203-6


Posted 1 August 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Pacific Street east from Burrard (2)

We looked at a version of this view from a different angle a few months ago. This image by the City Engineers, is dated 1980-1997, but we can pin it down to 1982 when the Kilborn Building (on the left, and pretty much the only building on the image) was completed. The construction hoarding is up, but it looks almost complete.

In the 40 years since the image was taken, the tree in the middle has grown a lot, and thousands of new apartments have been added, including several hundred very recently. On the left is The Pacific, 39 storeys and 224 apartments, with an arts facility (gifted to the City) beyond it. Beyond it are two towers, The 501 from 1999 at 32 storeys and behind it The Charleson, from 2017 at 43 storeys.

Across the street to the south, Pacific Promenade is the earliest residential building in the picture, from 1994, with a brick skin. Behind, and to the south, is Pomaria, from 2007, and the biggest tower, the 52 floors of Vancouver House, only recently completed. From here it looks like a normal tower, but the base starts as a triangle and then gradually increases into a rectangular floorplate at the top. Further east are the first of Concord Pacific’s Beach neighbourhood towers – (there are more to the south, hidden from this point).

This is by no means a completed development picture. Another 50+ storey tower is planned beyond Vancouver House, on a podium of non-market housing. On the left the City have a recently approved rezoning to add four more towers to replace the off-ramp loops from Granville Bridge, replacing them with a regular street grid, and freeing up development sites. Closest to us, in a location that will no doubt one day block the view of Vancouver House, is a large City-owned site that has yet to see a development proposal.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 772-275


Posted 18 July 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Burrard Street – south from Burnaby Street

It’s 1914, and we’re looking south on Burrard street from around the top of the hill that slopes down to False Creek, a little further north than the previous post. Down the hill there are extensive industrial operations, including a brickworks, a sawmill, boatbuilding and wharves along the water’s edge. There was no bridge until the early 1930s, so no transit ran along this stretch.

The fire hydrants are almost in the same location 108 years later, but now there’s also a bigger, blue hydrant that would allow the fire brigade to fight fires with seawater in the event of an earthquake. The smoking object down the street is a mystery. It could be a piece of heavy equipment, perhaps related to paving the road (at last – it’s been unpaved for over 25 years). As far as we can tell there was no significant building or industrial plant on that alignment, only a boat building yard and construction materials storage.

We know a little about the row of houses on the left. They’re the 1300 block (even numbers) on Burrard, and they were almost all built after 1905 and before 1909, in the few years where the permits have been lost. Five houses were built earlier – and we have some records for their construction. There were two larger houses that each occupied a lot-and-a-half, (so with a 50 foot frontage). P P Findlay owned, designed and developed 1348 Burrard, a $2,000 dwelling, in 1904. It wasn’t occupied until 1906, when Thomas Allen, who was in real estate, moved in.

George Sills was recorded hiring A Sykes to design a house at 1352 in 1905. (We think the clerk made an error, as we can’t find a George Sills in Vancouver). G Thorpe built the $2,000 house, and in 1905 it was Thomas Sills, a CPR employee, who was living there. Thomas had emigrated from Yorkshire, England when he was one, and was married to Sarah Kilpatrick in Vancouver in 1891, who was 19 years older, and born in Ontario. He was a fitter in the CPR shops, and as well as building his own home, Thomas dabbled in the province’s other main obsession, mining. He applied to buy 640 acres in the Cassiar District of the Skeena in 1910, when he was described as a machinist. In 1911 Sarah’s brother, George Kilpatrick, and her sister, Elizabeth were living here too. Sarah died in 1915, aged 69, and in 1919 Thomas married Elizabeth (who although 8 years younger than her sister was still 11 years older than Thomas). Elizabeth died in 1936, and Thomas 21 years later at the age of 91.

The first house on the block was 1310 Burrard, and in 1905 George Fortin, owner of the Louvre Saloon in Gastown lived there. In 1905 he obtained a permit for a $2,200 frame dwelling. We looked at his history in connection with the block he developed on West Cordova.

At the far end of the block Jacob Hoffmeister’s permit was also in 1905 for a $2,000 dwelling, and in 1906 he was living at 1386 Burrard. His next-door neighbour up the hill at 1378 was Ansil Thatcher, a machinist, and he carried out $400 of alterations in 1907. We looked at both Jacob and Ansil’s houses in an earlier post of this row looking north from Burrard Bridge.

The other houses seem to have been built by speculative builders and then sold on. Thomas Morton (who first bought the West End before the city had been created), Reilly Bros, William Gormley, a carpenter and Elliot Brothers were among others who all built multiple dwellings along Burrard in the early 1900s.

Today there’s a rare ‘street wall’ block of brick-clad apartments, called Anchor point. There are three buildings, each a separate strata, nine storeys high designed by Waisman Dewar Grout Architects for Daon Developments and completed in 1978. There have been unsuccessful attempts by developers to acquire enough of the units to trigger a redevelopment, but so far that hasn’t happened. A new tower completed last year beyond Anchor Point, The Pacific, gives a sense of the scale that a replacement might seek to achieve. On the west side of the street, on the corner of Burnaby Street is the Ellington, a 20 storey condo from 1990, while Modern, a 17 storey condo building from 2014 can be seen to the south.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives LGN 1126


Posted 30 May 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Burrard Street – south from Harwood

We took a while to pin down where this image should be shot from. The 1930 picture shows Burrard Street at it’s southern end, heading downhill close to where it stopped at False Creek. Because the Burrard Bridge was yet to be constructed here, the wide boulevard of Burrard was only partially paved, and there were wide verges that cars parked on.

There’s a single house down the street on the right, and from the insurance map we think that must be 1000 Beach Avenue. It was an isolated house, next to a brick factory owned by the Pacific Pressed Brick Co in 1920, with Champion and White’s Building material wharf and gravel bunkers beyond it on the side of False Creek. The house appeared in 1906, and the occupant was William W White, manager. He wasn’t too bothered about the builders yard because he was the ‘White’ in Champion and White. We looked at the biography of Samuel Champion in connection to a property he developed on Powell Street.

William W White was 38 in the 1901 census. (He arrived from England in 1889, and was shown as living alone and a general labourer in the 1891 census). His wife, Alice, who was a year younger, arrived in Canada in 1891, and they married in July. In 1892 their daughter, Hilda, was born, followed by Eveline in 1894, and son William Wall in 1898. Mabel came along two years after the census in 1903.

Alice Urch married William Walter White in Vancouver in 1891. She was born in Newington, and brought up in London. He was born in Manchester, but his parents had married in London. His mother, Rebecca Fosdick, and her mother, Emma Fosdick, were probably related as they came from different households in Devonshire.

In 1911 William was also president of Coast Quarries Ltd. He died in 1919 when he was only 55; Alice was listed as his widow that year, living in the same house with her daughter Evaline who was a teacher at Franklin School and son William, who was working for Champion & White. Evaline married William Mann, a Scot in July that year and Hilda married David Irwin in October. Alice was still here in 1921, when Mabel, a stenographer, was still at home, and William, who now worked as assistant manager for McBride & Co, one of Champion & White’s rivals. A year later only Mabel was listed in the city, living on West 10th Avenue. William married Ada Nicholson in January 1922.

John Donaldson, of the ‘Exclusive Shop’ moved into the house here. In 1931 Knud Jensen, a labourer at Coast Cement was here, the house was vacant a year later (unsurprisingly as the bridge was under construction almost on top of it), but in 1933 Miss E H Fraser, a telephone operator at BC Tel was living in the house. She stayed for several years, and so too did the house. In 1955 W Percy Beale, listed as a mate, was living here.

Alice White was 80 and still in Vancouver when she died in 1944. Her daughter Hilda died when she was living in Trail, in 1965, and her husband, David, a year later. Her daughter, Evaline Mann died in West Vancouver in 1972, and Mabel Bayley in North Vancouver in 1983. William died in Nanaimo in 1987.

Today the spot the house stood on is part of Sunset Park, to the north of the Aquatic Centre, the windowless swimming pool that was completed in 1974, and supposed to be replaced in a few years time. At 1005 Beach, across the street, ‘Alvar’ a 28 storey condo tower was developed by Concert Properties in 2004.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives, Walter E Frost, CVA 447-103


Posted 26 May 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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East from Burrard Bridge – south shore

In 1950 a sensational murder trial drew attention to the squatters along the shores of False Creek. Blanche Fisher was 45, living on East 12th, an unmarried seamstress working for a departmental store. Her partially clothed body was found in November 1949 washed up against the pier of the Kitsilano Trestle, and a police investigation began. Initially it was thought she might have committed suicide, but the state of the body suggested it might be murder. All that was known was she had been to see a movie at the Rio on East Broadway the night before.

In 2020 John Mackie unearthed the story from the paper’s archives and retold it in the Vancouver Sun. Press reports said that initially Frank Ducharme was arrested for vagrancy, but when the police searched his float house, they found dozens of items of women’s underclothing. During his appeal case, the basis of Ducharme’s arrest was outlined, over a month after the body had been found found. “About 1.30 on the morning of December 5th the police were attracted by his appearance and as they approached him he ran, but was caught and taken into custody. He was wearing a handkerchief about his head, a silk shirt, an overcoat and scarf, and a pair of rubber boots rolled down in a manner that his legs were bare  around the knees. There was no indecent exposure but the condition observed as to his person at the police station might suggest that he was abnormal.”

When they searched his untidy shack on the south bank under Burrard Bridge, the police found “a pair of black gabardine shoes and a shattered wristwatch” that matched what Fisher had been wearing the night of her death. The watch crystal and her umbrella were found behind the back seat of his Hupmobile. He was then charged with her murder, and after an extensive examination of his mental fitness to stand trial, it was held in March 1950.

The court case revealed that it was raining on the night of the murder, and Frank Ducharme had offered Miss Fisher a ride home. He admitted to driving around Marpole and Kitsilano before his unwanted attentions caused her to struggle, at which point he “grabbed her by the throat to keep her from yelling”. In interviews he sometimes admitted to having had a sexual encounter, but that it was consensual. At other times he changed his story and claimed she ran away from him onto the Kitsilano Trestle, slipped, fell into the Creek and drowned, and sometimes he denied any knowledge of the woman.

“Ducharme initially said he had been born in Toronto, had grown up an orphan in Winnipeg and was in the RCAF during the Second World War. He also said he was unmarried. He was actually born in Elkhorn, Man., had a mother and six sisters, and had been discharged from the RCAF to the mental ward of a hospital in Weyburn, Sask. The 34-year-old had been married twice, had a couple of convictions for indecent exposure and went by the pseudonym Farnsworth after he moved to B.C. in 1947.” A neighbour said he saw Ducharme in a rowboat with a woman’s body on the night of the murder. He was convicted of murder, and an appeal judge, in concluding he was ‘definitely a psychopath of some description’ rejected the appeal, and he was hanged at Oakalla Prison in July 1950.

This 1949 image shows there were industrial buildings further back in the Burrard slopes area, but closer to False Creek the land had never been developed, and the shacks clustered along the edge of the water, with the ones in the water on pontoons. After the case the City took the initiative to finally clear the squatters off the foreshore.

Soon after the Kitsilano Trestle was removed in the early 1980s development of the final phase of False Creek South started. The BC Credit Union office building had been completed in 1978, and the residential buildings here were built between 1983 and 1989 with 700 dwellings, the majority in strata buildings.

The wharf and moorings here have more commercial fishing boats than other marinas, and are operated by the False Creek Harbour Authority. The water quality in the Creek has been steadily improving, and weighted nets have been installed trying to mimic natural habitat like eel grass or a kelp bed to encourage herring spawning. (Because the piles of the wharves are chemically treated, and there are sometimes hydrocarbons on the surface of the water, the intention is to keep the hatchlings in the water and away from the pilings or the surface). This has been hugely successful, with millions of fish maturing and returning to spawn in recent years.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Dist P135.1


Posted 23 May 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, False Creek

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.


Posted 18 April 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered

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

Burrard Inlet waterfront from above

This 1965 aerial lines up really well with Trish Jewison’s shot posted six months ago and taken from the Global BC traffic helicopter. There were very few landmarks available to match the pictures. Way up at the top right, behind the Citygate towers lined up across the end of False Creek, Pacific Central Station (the Canadian Northern station) still runs a few trains across Canada and into the US. Next to it, today, the new St Paul’s Hospital is under construction. In 1965 there were still tracks from the Great Northern Railway; the station was demolished very soon before this picture was taken, (to avoid taxes).

The tracks that now terminate behind the CP Station at Waterfront used to run westwards (towards the bottom of the picture) through Coal Harbour. The Marine Building sat on the top of a cliff overlooking the tracks (that had been laid along the beach). The area where the train tracks were is now a row of expensive condo towers, marking the edge of the Central Business District to the south. Remarkably, in 1965 the northern end of the Central Business District was still dominated by The Marine Building. The first Bentall Centre tower broke ground in June 1965, and topped out exactly a year later. The site is already under construction in the picture. The second was completed in 1969, both now dwarfed by later and taller towers (with a fifth tower on the block under construction and a sixth recently proposed).

On the waterfront Canada Place was built on Canadian Pacific’s Piers B-C, originally constructed in 1915, with the buildings added in 1927. The Convention Centre occupies the space under the sails, and was expanded with the new addition with the huge green roof in 2009. It sits where Pier A once stood, with the Canada Immigration Building still standing beside it. The Pier was cleared away in 1968, and the Immigration Building was demolished in 1976 to create more space for the CPR trailer pier parking area.

The shoreline today is quite different from when the waterfront had industrial uses, and Harbour Green Park sits where there were a series of oil tanks. Bayshore Marina was already in existence, as was the Bayshore Hotel to the west, with the main wing opening as The Bayshore Inn in 1961, and the tower added in 1970. The hotel sold for redevelopment in 2015 for $290m.

Image sources City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1399-417 (copyright, Townley & Matheson fonds), and Trish Jewison, July 2021, Global BC traffic helicopter.


Posted 3 January 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown