Archive for the ‘Altered’ Category

Granville Loops from Above

There are loops at both the north and south end of Granville Bridge. We’re looking at the Downtown end of the bridge, and at a contemporary image taken by Trish Jewison in the Global BC traffic helicopter and published in July 2020. Vancouver House, the cantilevered Bjarke Ingles designed rental and condo tower had already been topped out next to the bridge.

The before image dates back to 1968, when Downtown South was still a mixture of rooming house hotels on Granville Street and low-rise commercial uses both east and west of Granville. Pacific Street runs underneath the bridge, and to the west Beach Avenue ran up to the bridge, but to the east were rail tracks and a sawmill. These days Beach continues as Beach Crescent, looping up around the top of George Wainborn Park, built over the capped contaminated land from the decades of industrial uses. Six buildings developed by Concord Pacific can be seen developed around the western and northern edges of the park. Another tower is planned across from Vancouver House, with a similarly tall tower of condos over a podium of non-market housing to be owned by the City.

There are plans to remove the loops, which occupy a lot of land, and replace them with new streets following the prevailing grid. That will allow two more development sites to be released for four more towers. The Continental Hotel, which sat in the middle of the eastern loop, has already been demolished, although it was still standing when we posted its history in 2013. Across the street to the north the Cecil Hotel has also gone, replaced with the Rolston condo tower, although the adjacent Yale Hotel has been saved.

Further north the biggest slab building in the image in 1968 was the headquarters of BC Electric. It was 11 years old in 1968, and shone out like a beacon at night as the lights were always left on. (The electricity bill went to the owners). Today it’s still there, hidden behind the Wall Centre tower and called The Electra. It’s now a mix of residential condos and commercial units and was converted in 1995,when it had a new skin (as offices generally don’t have opening windows, but that’s a requirement for residential units). To its left St Paul’s Hospital was more obvious in 1968, and just as likely to fall down in the event of the anticipated earthquake. Its replacement is under construction, and Concord Pacific have agreed to pay $1 billion for the old hospital as a future redevelopment.

In the area above the top of Vancouver House there are plans already approved for several more high-rise towers. The first to be built, The Butterfly, is already under construction behind the First Baptist Church (which is getting a major seismic upgrade as part of the development).

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 215-22 and Trish Jewison, Global BC on twitter.

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Posted 2 August 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown, West End

Central Business District from above (3)

Our ‘before’ image was taken in 1966, and the contemporary shot was published in February of this year. We think the image dates from the fall of 2018. The angle and elevation are, for once, almost identical. Many of the buildings standing in 1966 are still there today, but not all of them.

The far left of the image shows the Hotel Vancouver, and to the west the Burrard Building. It looks slightly different because it was re-clad in 1988. Behind it was, and is, the MacMillan Bloedel Building. In 1966 it stood alone; now it’s jostled by the Royal Centre and the later phases of the Bentall Centre. In 1966 only the first two buildings had been completed, still standing today but hidden by the larger Bentall V tower across Burrard Street.

Across the street from the Hotel Vancouver was the Georgia Medical Dental Building replaced in 1991 with Cathedral Place, with a roofline that is either a copy of, or an homage to, the Hotel’s copper roof. Towards Burrard Inlet from the Bentall Centre was the 1955 Customs Building designed by CBK Van Norman, (and no longer standing) and then the Marine Building, still standing apart in 1966. Today the top of the tower is just visible, surrounded by newer office and hotel buildings – and condo towers beyond on Coal Harbour.

Closer to us, the Vancouver Block with its distinctive clock tower can still be seen, and in 1966 the cranes were starting assembly of the TD Tower, the first part of the Pacific Centre Mall. The York Hotel and Granville Mansions were still standing, although not for long as they would soon be replaced by the departmental store section of the Mall. The Bay department store still stands unchanged from it’s second iteration – although that may not be true for too many more years. The date the image was taken can be estimated from the tower apparently changing colour, towards the right edge of the picture. The Cannacord Tower was re-clad with a lighter skin of double-glazed windows while the tenants remained working inside; the work was about a third of the way down from the top in August or September 2018. Tucked into the bottom left corner of the image, the new City Library can be seen. In 1966 several blocks in this part of the city centre were surface parking lots and short parkade structures. Towards the bottom of the picture, the Kingston Hotel had one on either side; now it has a 46 storey condo tower and a 22 storey office headquarters as neighbours.

Image sources: Ted Czolowoski published in ‘Through Lion’s Gate’ in 1969, published by the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board, Trish Jewison in the Global BC helicopter, on her twitter feed 2 February 2021.

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Posted 1 July 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

West Pender Street – 300 block, south side

There has been one building replaced since this 1975 image was shot by W E Graham. On the right is the Victoria Block, (today part of the Victorian Hotel). designed by W F Gardiner in 1909 for the National Finance Co. Next door, the miniature temple is the British Columbia Permanent Loan & Savings Co’s premises. It was designed by Hooper and Watkins in 1907, and was one of the first reinforced concrete structures in the city, costing $40,000 and built by A E Carter. On the outside it has a sandstone skin, while inside there’s marble, elaborate plaster ceilings designed by Charles Marega, and a gorgeous Tiffany-style stained-glass skylight, featuring leaves and fruit. The decorative castings were the work of Fraser and Garrow, who advertised themselves as being “perfectly at home in any manner of work that makes for the embellishment of interiors or exteriors.”

The developer was a local finance house whose founder was Thomas Talton Langlois, originally from Gaspe in Quebec. He arrived in in BC in 1898 when he was 31, and already a successful businessman. Here he organized the British Columbia Permanent Loan Co.; was president, of the National Finance Co. Ltd., the Prudential Investment Co. Ltd. and the Pacific Coast Fire Insurance Co. He also developed an Arbutus subdivision which had pre-fabricated craftsman style houses built in a factory on West 2nd Avenue, and then re-erected on site.

The building was completed at the point where the developer was facing a minor problem. The Times Colonist advertised “A REWARD OF ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS. A reward of $100.00 will be paid to any person furnishing evidence which will lead to the conviction of the person who has started or any other person or persons who are spreading a report to the effect that the British Columbia Permanent Loan & Savings Company is losing or liable to lose money through its connection with any subsidiary, company. The B. C. Permanent has absolutely no connection with any other company, either in the way of investments or loans, except a balance of one hundred and twenty-five shares, being one-twelfth of the Issued capital stock of the. Pacific Coast Fire Insurance Company, This investment was authorized by unanimous vote of the shareholders some six years ago and has proven an exceptionally profitable Investment. For confirmation of these facts we would refer any person to the company’s auditor, Mr. W. T. Stein, C. A., Vancouver.”

Thomas Langlois, like many successful Vancouver business people, retired to California. He moved in 1921, and died there in 1937 and was buried in Inglewood Park Cemetery. From 1935 the building became home to the Bank Of Canada. In 1979 it was altered to office space and renamed Park House, and in the past few years has been repurposed as an event space called The Permanent.

To the east is a former printing company building, which has been redeveloped with the adjacent site for Covenant House, a not-for-profit organization that supports street youth. The 1929 building was designed by J S D Taylor for McBeth & Campbell. The facade was renovated in 1948 by architect W H Birmingham. It was given Neo-classical treatments including a decorative cornice installed below the original corbelled brick parapet. In 1998 it was redeveloped and the facade tied into the new 50 bed hostel, designed by Nigel Baldwin.

The small brick building to the east (that looks like small houses) was redeveloped for the 1998 scheme, and had originally extended to the 1929 building site as well. It was developed by ‘National’ (Presumably the National Finance Co), designed by W F Gardiner and cost $7,000 to build in 1909.

At the end of the block Hooper and Watkins (again) designed the $25,000 I.O.O.F Hall, and Lyric Theatre in 1906. The main floor space these days is a furniture store.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1135-17

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Downtown from Above (3)

Here’s another of Trish Jewison’s helicopter aerial shots, matched as closely as we can to an Archives image. This was on her Twitter feed in July last year. The before image is really early for an aerial image – it’s from 1926. We recently used the same 2020 image (more tightly cropped) to compare with a 1980s before image.

Burrard Street, on the extreme left hand edge, didn’t have a bridge at the end. It was a wide boulevard with houses and churches, in an area with mostly speculative houses along Howe and Hornby. Between Burrard and Hornby there’s a large building that takes up a whole city block, and interrupted the lane. That was the West End School, (later the Dawson School) which had a building facing Helmcken, and another on Burrard.

Granville Street, running from Burrard Inlet to False Creek, takes a jog to the south. That’s because the road crossed on the second Granville Bridge from 1909, replaced in 1954 with the structure we have today, which was built on the line of the first 1889 bridge. Today’s forest of residential towers in Downtown South (often called Yaletown by realtors) fill the space between the warehouse district of Yaletown and Granville Street. The lower form of the early 1900s Yaletown warehouses can still be clearly seen. Concord Pacific’s redevelopment fill the waterfront railyards that were briefly home to Expo ’86. The heavy industries located along False Creek created significantly contaminated ground, and the post-expo plan created a series of parks that capped the worst contaminated sites, avoiding the potential problems associated with removing them.

In the distance the first Georgia Viaduct can be seen following a parallel line to today’s pair of roads. The original was so poorly built that it wasn’t considered safe to run streetcars into Downtown from the East End. Beyond it the East End, as it was known, still has a significant concentration of buildings from the earliest years of the city’s development. We have featured hundreds of them over the past decade, as well as some that have been replaced. Along Burrard Inlet the port has seen major growth and redevelopment, with the Centerm container facility still being expanded to the west, and Vanterm to the east. Centerm occupies the site at the foot of Heatley Avenue that was the location of the first significant development of the future city, the Hastings Mill. It opened in 1865, and closed two years after this picture was taken.

Image source: Trish Jewison in the Global BC traffic helicopter, published on twitter on 25 July 2020 and City of Vancouver Archives Van Sc P68

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Posted 24 May 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered

East Pender Street – 200 block, north side

 

This view of Chinatown dates from 1972. It’s only down the street that things have changed (with a new building hidden by the street trees). At this end the buildings are the same – although there was more activity fifty years ago than there is today, and more businesses have closed now that the COVID pandemic has affected the area.

Closest to us on the right is the East Hotel. It was designed by S B Birds for Lee Kee, a Chinese merchant, and opened in 1912 as the Hotel Reco. Beyond it down the hill are two 25 foot wide buildings; 279 E Pender was built in 1928, and 275 is from 1949, although its design suggests it’s older. The building that was here earlier was probably part of Carl (or Charles) Schwan’s estate; a hotel owner and part of a prominent family of bar and hotel keepers, he died in 1915. He owned a building a little further to the west, 265 E Pender, in 1914. The 1972 image shows that it had started life as a house, with a shop front added when Dupont Street (as it was then) changed from a residential to a commercial street. There was also a house on 269 E Pender, the lot with a single storey retail unit in 1972.  Chinese merchant ‘Sam Kee’ (the name of the company run by Chang Toy) owned 275 E Pender in 1924.

Beyond those stores are two more narrow buildings redeveloped in the 1970s. We looked at them in an earlier post – they were developed in the period where new structures were adding ‘Chinese’ design elements like green glazed tiles.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-448

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Posted 10 May 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, East End

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Robson and Howe, looking west

We’ve had to wait to post this view of the 800 block of Robson for the completion of the new plaza, replacing a temporary closure that was tested over the past couple of years. Now paved with stone to match the Art Gallery plaza to the north, (although without the busy pattern), it’s reopened just in time for the summer.

The ‘before’ shot is dated to somewhere between 1980 and 1997, but we can pin that down better. The frame of the building under construction is 800 Burrard, designed by Eng and Wright Partners and completed in 1983. That would suggest this was taken around 1981.

In front of the office tower is Mayfair House, from 1980, and the two mid-rise buildings to to south are the Wedgewood Hotel from 1964, designed by Peter Kaffka, and Chancery Place, completed in 1984. On the right is 777 Hornby, designed by Frank Roy and completed in 1969. We’ve seen it in an earlier post looking north on Hornby, on the far side of the plaza. He’s a relatively obscure architect, and we assume based in a different province, as Thompson Berwick Pratt and Partners were supervising architects. He got his architectural training at the University of Manitoba, and his degree in 1950. The Archives have a 1967 brochure for the building, which is the only way we know the designer.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 772-929

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Posted 6 May 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

East Hastings Street – 300 block, south side

 

There has been one building replaced since our 1978 image was taken. On the far left is an SRO Hotel, the Hazelwood Hotel. It was built in 1911, and designed by Thomas Hooper for Sanford Snider and Mr. Hooper himself. It was bought by B C Housing and comprehensively restored six years ago.

Next door was a house, built before 1900, (and so too early to trace the builder easily) that was replaced by the Dragon Cove rental apartments (with just six apartments) in 1982. The two storey building to the west was rebuilt in 1978, and has just two apartments – originally there had been a house here built by W J Beam in 1901. The three-storey Jordan Rooms to the west were built in 1909. S Goranson owned the store and paid for alterations in 1911, but George A Dobson apparently owned it, and paid for a brick addition costing $1,200 that year, and more in 1922. There is a George A Dobson who was a carpenter in 1911 and a millhand in 1921. G A Dobson had a $3,700 development approved on East Hastings in 1908, during a period when the details of projects have been lost, but that’s likely to be when he built this.

In 1911 George was living with his parents, Francis and Esther, who were both from Scotland. They had two other sons, and a daughter living with them, as well as a granddaughter, Jean, who was 4. Frank was retired, and George wasn’t just a millhand – he was the mill supervisor, and he had obtained permits to alter their home on East Pender. He was living with his parents and siblings ten years earlier when Frank was an engineer, and George was working at BC Sugar as a carpenter. George Allan Dobson married Maud Keane in Huron, Ontario in 1904, but she died in September 1908, aged 30 and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery with a substantial granite marker inscribed ‘Maud Annie Keane, beloved wife of George A Dobson’. The family lived nearby on East Pender, and the Daily World reported in October “We are favored with Instructions from Mr. G. A. Dobson to sell the contents of his home, including 2-piece parlor suite, covered In silk, center tables, reception chairs, oak extension table, set of dining chairs in oak, leather seats; sideboard, Singer sewing machine, etc. ; four bedrooms, all completely furnished; kitchen utensils, garden tools, eta Goods on view morning of sale.”

George’s brother Alvin was 34 when he died in 1918 in Vancouver, and his sister Maggie died in 1955. George was 73 when he died in 1941. He was buried with his late wife, and the inscription “DADDY” Margaret Jean Keane, born in 1907, was single, and aged 76 when she died in Vancouver in 1984.

In 1911 the newly completed Lincoln Rooms were on the upper floors, run by Mrs. F Ryall, while Swan Goranson’s grocery was on the main floor. He was still there in 1919, but upstairs was now the Burnaby Rooms. By 1922 they had become the Dundee Rooms. Swan Goranson, who had arrived in Vancouver in 1888, and opened his first grocery store on East Hastings ten years later. He married, and had twin sons and then a daughter, born in 1913, There were many Scandinavians in the area; Swan’s children spoke only Swedish until they started at Seymour School. Later the family moved to Kerrisdale, and in 1924 Swan gave up the store and ran one in Ioco in Port Moody, with a tobacconist opening here. Upstairs by 1930 the name had changed again to the Jordan Rooms, and that name has stuck. There are just four rental units, two on each floor.

To the west is the First United Church, completed in 1964 and designed by James Earl Dudley, and soon to be redeveloped, but originally the location of the the East End Presbyterian Church.

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Posted 19 April 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, East End

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1145 Robson Street

There aren’t many large office buildings on Robson Street, but this one has been around over 70 years. It received a makeover in 1986, when it got a post-modern appearance designed by Downs Archambault, and a new name as John Robson Place. Our 1974 picture shows it as it was completed in 1948, when it became the Unemployment Insurance Commission offices. Over the years other government departments were also located here, including Indian and Northern Affairs. 

The Vancouver Sun announced the project in 1948. “SIX-STOREY BUILDING FOR ROBSON STREET Preliminary work has begun on a six-storey, $375,000 office building for Alvin Estates Limited at 1145-1155 Robson, between Bute and Thurlow. The building is reported to be for occupancy of a government agency. Contractors are Allan and Viner Construction Company. Swinburne A. Kayll is architect and F. Wavell Urry is consulting engineer. Plans show a six-storey reinforced concrete building with 99 feet frontage and 131 feet depth. Entrances are to be finished in marble and glass block. Provision is made for two passenger elevators.” The picture shows that they actually built seven floors.

These days the space is occupied by a number of businesses; software developers, accountants, a mining company, a travel agency and management agencies and now has retail units at street level

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-332 – 1100

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Posted 12 April 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, West End

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The West End from above

This is another pairing of an Archives image with Trish Jewison’s helicopter shots. She’s the Global BC traffic reporter. The before shot is from 1969, and shows just how many new towers had been completed in the previous decade in the part of the West End where Denman meets Davie. The after is from Trish’s twitter feed in May 2020.

On the left, on Beach Avenue, the Sylvia Hotel had already been standing for over 50 years, but further east its big slab neighbour had only been standing for 10 years. The skinny, wide Ocean Towers was designed by Rix Reineke. Together with Peter Kaffka’s Imperial Tower (the tallest tower in the picture, just right of centre) they changed the design of the city. Both were fine examples of modernist architecture, but the design of Ocean Towers, completed in 1959, created opposition because of the way it blocked light and views behind it, and Imperial Tower in 1962, almost 120 feet wide and 30 storeys high increased concerns. New zoning rules introduced as a result required towers to avoid being slabs, and spaced apart, and those rules still apply, and can be seen across most of Metro Vancouver.

There are three new towers on the same block of Davie just above Imperial Tower in the picture, and a fourth (with blue balconies) across the street. They’re all spaced out at a minimum of 80 feet apart, and have squarer floorplans, similar to CBK Van Norman’s design for Beach Towers from 1965 on the lower right of the picture. Those four towers are all on lots that previously held retail or parking uses, so the extra 585 rental apartments haven’t displaced any existing residents. Even the Safeway Store was rebuilt, and it’s a much nicer store too.

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Posted 5 April 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered

Downtown South and Yaletown from above

The image today wasn’t taken at quite the right altitude, so we’ve lined up the buildings along Burrard Inlet and haven’t tried to stretch (and so distort) the image to get the lower part of the picture perfectly aligned. In every other aspect, it’s a great match between 1982 and May 2020.

This is the part of Downtown Vancouver that has seen the greatest change. While Granville Street has been zoned (up to now) to restrict building heights, to allow the sidewalks to stay naturally lit and brighter, almost everything to the east in Downtown South has been allowed to go higher – although there are viewcones that cross the area restricting the height (and therefore density) of some buildings. There are also guidelines to limit shadowing of parks – which now exist, although from this distance they’re hidden by a sea of mostly residential towers. Yaletown – the original three street warehouse district of 1900s buildings also has height limits, and can be seen on the right.

Apparently on the waterfront, although actually a couple of blocks back, on West Hastings, the Lookout and revolving restaurant on the Harbour Centre stood out in 1982. It’s currently getting three close neighbours, with new office towers being developed a block to the west, and another controversially contemporary designed tower may be developed beyond it, much closer to Burrard Inlet. In the Central Business District we’ve reached the point where older offices up to 15 storeys high, and completed as recently as 1982, are now being replaced with new office towers at least twice as tall, with much higher standards of energy efficiency.

Image source: Trish Jewison in the Global BC helicopter, on her twitter account 5 May 2020.

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Posted 15 February 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown