I came across this photo* of downtown Vancouver in 1924 while I was playing on Vancouver Archive’s site yesterday. It took me quite a while to figure out what I was looking at. There’s the Vancouver Block sticking up in the background—you can see the familiar clock—but check out all those other amazing buildings: the Strand Theatre, the Birks Building and the Second Hotel Vancouver—all missing from our streetscape less than half-a-century later.
The hotel was the first to go. Built by the CPR in 1916, you can see some of the incredible detail of the architecture in the photo (above). It even had a trellised outdoor roof café. It was all too grand for Vancouver apparently, because when the third (and existing) Hotel Vancouver was finished, its days were numbered. Eatons bought the site in 1949, pulled down the building and it remained an empty lot for the next two decades. The lot became the Eaton Centre in 1974, then Sears, and now it’s Nordstrom, a US department store.
Across the road from the second Hotel Vancouver was the beautiful old Birks Building. Well not that old really, only 61 in 1974. She was killed off to make way for the Scotia Tower and ugly Vancouver Centre (you know the one with London Drugs on Granville and Georgia).
* CVA Str N201.1
For more posts see: Our Missing Heritage
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