Archive for the ‘YMCA’ Tag

West Georgia Street – 1000 Block

1000 block W Georgia looking east 1

We’re looking east on West Georgia Street: the Archives at this point have an undated image (and unidentified location). The cars, and the changes in the buildings suggest some time in the 1970s. The Royal Centre is complete, so we’re past 1973, Cathedral place hasn’t replace the Medical-Dental Building, so we’re before 1992, and the Burrard Building has it’s original skin, so it’s before 1988. The Ritz Hotel is still standing on the right of the picture, so it’s probably before 1980. By 1985 the Grosvenor Building was completed here. In the distance, behind the TD Tower is the Vancouver Centre – completed in 1976, so that puts us squarely into the mid 1970s.

ritzThe Ritz International may have had the prestigious name, but it wasn’t as classy as the Hotel Georgia or the Hotel Vancouver down the street. The hotel was a conversion of the St Julien Apartments, and that was itself a conversion of the new YMCA which received its building permit in 1913. The permit shows that it was designed by H S Griffith as a 7-storey, reinforced  concrete structure, to be constructed at a cost of an extremely ambitious cost of $375,000. (Chicago architects  Shattuck & Hussey were also involved in the design).

The 1912 insurance map shows the Y began building that year. The start of World War One, and an economic depression meant that by 1919 the structure was still not complete and it was decided that it should be sold. In 1924 the building was completed as the St. Julien Apartments (seen here around 1925) but those didn’t last very long, and in 1929 was turned into the Ritz Hotel. Not all the apartments were turned into hotel rooms – the property offered both hotel rooms and ‘fully serviced apartments’.

The Ritz stayed as a hotel – it didn’t become a low-income rental property as many further east, and was finally demolished in 1983 to be replaced by the Grosvenor Building, a multi-faceted gold coloured tower that allowed tenants to offer the prestigious ‘corner office’ to more of its employees.

St Julien (Ritz) 1040 W Georgia

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 800-312 and Vancouver Public Library


YMCA – 149 West Hastings Street

The YMCA was active in Vancouver early in the new city’s life. The newspaper records suggest their new premises on West Hastings Street were completed in 1893, to designs by Thomas Hooper. However photographs, like this Vancouver Archives image and the BC Archives picture below are dated 1890 – so perhaps it wasn’t completely finished for a while.

A city library started initially in the Hastings Mill and later moved around as it grew. In January 1894, the Free Reading Room and Library leased a 46×46 foot room in the new YMCA Building for use as a new library.

By the late 1890s it was already overcrowded, and in 1901 the City Council approached Andrew Carnegie about funding a new library, which he duly agreed to, helping fund the building that today is the Carnegie Centre (and still a branch of the City Library).

The YMCA building itself didn’t last a lot longer. Around 1909 it was replaced by the Astor Hotel. We hadn’t realised until we posted here that the Astor took the 1890 building and remodelled it for hotel use.

These days it’s part of the Woodwards development where SFU operate their Arts Faculty, designed by Henriquez Partners.

Image Sources: City of Vancouver Archives YMCA Building  CVA BuP118, BC Archives F-07610


Posted 27 April 2012 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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