Archive for the ‘Collier’s Motors’ Tag

Richards Street – 700 block, east side (1)

Here’s a view south from West Georgia of the east side of Richards. Today it’s one of the more obvious candidates for a commercial tower, with a temporary surface parking lot on most of the site. In 1981 it still had buildings, and the user of the corner was the same then as up to last year. Budget car rental was operating in a 1948 art deco building originally designed as a car showroom for Colliers Motors.

Collier’s were a Chevrolet-Oldsmobile dealership, and Watson and Baxter were the architects; (Joseph F Watson and James Baxter). The building was one of the most flamboyantly designed streamline moderne buildings the city had seen, as this 1949 VPL image shows.

Collier’s Motors closed down in the late 1950s, and by 1981 when our phote was taken Budget car rental had taken over the lot, and the building became their office. Budget later moved across the lane, and the Colliers building became a Fido cellphone store, before it was demolished in 2007. The demolition permit was issued while the City’s workforce were on strike, and so a potential heritage designation was never considered. Ironically, that ensured that only commercial uses can be considered for the site in future, as heritage or existent non-market housing buildings are the only justifications for allowing residential development in this part of the CBD.

Next door to the 1948 building, down Richards, was the Burrard Hotel, at 712 Richards. It was designed by Dalton and Eveleigh for E E Hewson (who was an absentee owner, working as a lawyer in Nova Scotia) which opened in 1910 as the St Regis Hotel. Beyond that was a smaller hotel at 722 Richards. It was developed in 1923 by John Murchie, a tea merchant who ran his business here, while his family lived upstairs. In 1964 it became home to the William Tell restaurant, run by Swiss-born Erwin Doebeli. The restaurant moved to Beatty Street in 1983, and the site has been cleared for many years, although surrounded by new office towers it probably won’t stay that way for too long.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA Str P23

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