Before Vancouver settled on its current City Hall on West 12th, it had been housed in a number of really interesting buildings. One of the earliest ones was at the corner of Powell and Columbia streets in a sketchy part of Gastown, rehabilitated and now owned by rock star Bryan Adams.
The first council started out in a tent shortly after the Great Fire wiped out most of the city in 1886. The tent was on the CPR pier at the foot of Main Street. Chief Constable John Stewart is pictured second from left.
Two years later David Oppenheimer was elected mayor and he moved City Hall into his warehouse on Powell and Columbia.
City Hall moved to the old market hall on Main Street (Westminster Avenue until 1910) in 1898 just south of the Carnegie Library at East Hastings and remained there for the next three decades. The building with its wonderful turrets was demolished in 1958.
Since 1937 our art deco City Hall designed by Fred Townley has stayed at its current location on West 12th. You can thank (or blame) Mayor Gerry McGeer for the look and the location, the first time a major Canadian city had built its city hall outside of the city.
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