Archive for the ‘Darling and Pearson’ Tag

Canadian Bank of Commerce – Granville and West Hastings

Hastings & Granville se

As this image shows, this Toronto-designed bank was briefly a big building on an important city corner. Granville Street was the Canadian Pacific Railway’s showpiece; their station was just down the hill, and their hotel and opera house were to the south. They were intent on moving the city’s commercial centre westwards from the old town of Granville, where the city had first been established some distance to the east of here, towards their own land holdings along Granville Street.

This Vancouver Public Library image shows the newly-completed bank in 1908, designed by Darling and Pearson, the bank’s preferred corporate architects. By 1910 a taller building had been built next door to the east, also designed by the same architects for Canada Life. To the south, on Granville Street, Jonathan Rogers built his showpiece office building completed in 1911.

Oberto Oberti carried out a careful reconfiguration of the building for Birks Jewelers; the bank operations ceased here in the mid 1950s.

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Posted July 11, 2016 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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600 block – West Hastings Street (2)

Here’s another view, taken a bit later than our last post (probably in 1911) of the south side of Hastings from Granville, looking east. Now you can see the facade of the Bank of Ottawa Building. The Bank of Nova Scotia absorbed the Bank of Ottawa in 1919 and continued to occupy the building. The Ottawa Citizen in 1909 reported the acquisition of the 52 foot wide corner property, and that the six storey building would cost the bank $250,000. In they end they seem to have got a bargain – although the initial design was attributed to W Marbury Somervell, the building permit was to Somervell and Putnam for $225,000 – and the building was eight storeys.

The new bank building replaced earlier structures that included a billiards hall and the Pill Box Drug Store. The Strand Hotel was also known as the Delbruck Block, and where the recently completed Canada Life Assurance Company building stood had been the site of the Leland House Hotel. The Canada Life Building had a branch of the Imperial Bank of Canada as well as lawyers, brokers and government offices. The Bank of Commerce on the corner also had tenants upstairs in ‘rooms’ including a number of land brokers and William M Dodd, architect. Mr Dodd, although not widely recognised, obtained some sizeable contracts including a $200,000 apartment building at Granville and 12th that is still standing today.

W J Cairns took the City of Vancouver Archives original CVA Str P411

600 block – West Hastings Street (1)

Here’s the 600 block of West Hastings early in 1910. At the eastern end of the block, on the corner of Seymour Street the Bank of Ottawa is under construction to the design of W Marbury Somervell, one of only two buildings he designed before he teamed up with fellow American John Putnam (although a 1911 building permit has both names attached).

Their design was quite similar to – but somewhat taller than – the Darling and Pearson designed bank on the other end of the block. This Bank of Commerce commission was completed by the Toronto-based architects in 1908. Today it is home to Birks jewelers, with a more recently recreated ‘heritage’ interior designed by Oberto Oberti in 1994. Next door was the Canada Life Building, completed in 1910, and next door to the east was the Strand Hotel, in this picture as it looked after it was remodeled in 1907 to J S Pearce’s design. There’s a permit issued to ‘Darling and Pearsen’ for a Canada Life office in 1910, but all the contemporary records of construction progress reference A A Cox as the architect – it’s probable that Cox was the local supervising architect of Darling and Pearson’s design (although Cox also designed buildings of a similar scale on his own – like the Carter Cotton Building).

Today both the Bank of Ottawa (which soon after became the Bank of Nova Scotia) and the Canada Life building are still standing. Or at least, the building frames are still standing; both buildings were increased in width and given a contemporary skin. The Canada Life Building was rebuilt in 1952 and the Bank of Ottawa earlier, in 1950.

Picture source City of Vancouver archives CVA 371-2426