Archive for the ‘Taylor and Gordon’ Tag

Molson Bank – West Hastings and Seymour – ne corner

In 1898 the Quebec based Molson Bank established a bank in Vancouver. Founded by two of brewer John Molson’s sons, the bank built several branches in the city before merging with the Bank of Montreal in 1925. Montreal architects Taylor and Gordon designed the building in a Romanesque style with more than a hint of Venetian about it. Here’s how it was pictured in the year after it was completed. The style was very different from the Scottish baronial they followed for their other Vancouver commission, the Bank of Montreal on Granville Street.

In 1925 (perhaps reflecting the Bank of Montreal takeover) Spencers department store took over the building to consolidate their ownership of the entire block face. Their new store at the eastern end of the block, designed by McCarter and Nairne, was completed in 1925 but only partly as  planned. Only 100 feet of frontage was built, and the remaining buildings on the block were retained and reworked into the Spencers store. This 1926 illustration shows that Spencers had much more grand plans to fill the entire lot., and explains why the existing frontage has a corner feature that isn’t replicated on the western end.

In fact, the Molson Bank building lasted all the way to 1973, as part of the Spencers (and later Eatons) store, until their move the Pacific Centre Mall, and the clearance of the site for the Harbour Centre which took place in 1973.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA M-11-29

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Dunsmuir and Granville – ne corner

These days the building here houses a Shoppers Drug Mart, but a few years ago it was a CIBC Bank building – and that’s who developed the site with a McCarter and Nairne designed modernist building from 1957 that’s now so highly thought of architecturally that it’s on the Post 40s Register – the equivalent of heritage recognition. Inside there’s an amazing BC Binning mosaic that covers half the upper back wall – when it was a bank it was hard to see, but the retail conversion created a mezzanine that allows perfect viewing opportunities. Before the CIBC bank building was another bank – built as the flagship Bank of Montreal branch in 1893. (and seen here in a 1905 Vancouver Public Library image shot by Phillip Timms).

Designed in a style called ‘Scottish Baronial’ it created an appropriate partner for the gothic baronial of the CPR station at the bottom of Granville Street. Montreal’s Taylor and Gordon are credited as the architects, but Andrew Taylor, born in Edinburgh, was almost certainly responsible for the design – especially as his architectural partner George Gordon mostly stayed in London where their partnership had been formed. Taylor retired from architecture in 1904, returned to London and became a Conservative politician and was awarded a knighthood in 1926.

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