What's New

Esquire Cafe
added November 29, 2020
Esquire Cafe
 In the 1940s this stretch of Granville Street was Theatre Row, and movie patrons could go to the Esquire to enjoy a nice pork chop, or get their tea leaves read by Madam Lucille. Time has not been kind to this building. I wonder if all that beautiful neon signage survived somewhere? 

Naffzinger Block
added November 29, 2020
Naffzinger Block
 Almost unrecognizable today, the Naffzinger Block has lost its proud cornice, and the bricks have been painted over so many times they no longer look like bricks. The retail tenants at the time this 1912 picture was taken were Melvin H. Clapp Shoemaker and Robert G. Woods Candies, now replaced by a yoga studio and hair salon. Notice that West Broadway was still a dirt road. 

200 Carrall Street
added November 29, 2020
200 Carrall Street
 The Second Fergusson Block was built just a year after the first one burned down in the Gastown Fire of 1886. When it was finished, lawyers moved in upstairs and A.M. Tyson sold 'Gents Furnishings' on the main floor. Today it's a restaurant up and a clothing store down. 

100 East Hastings Street
added November 29, 2020
100 East Hastings Street
 This is one of Vancouver's oldest wooden buildings. When it was built sometime around 1890, it stood "alone in the bushes of Hastings Street; there were some Chinese shacks on Dupont Street near it, but on Hastings Street it was the only building.” It was badly damaged during the Chinatown riots in 1908 but somehow managed to survive that and everything else that subsequent years threw at it. 

Burns Block
added November 29, 2020
Burns Block
 A survivor from 1909, Burns Block outlived its next door neighbour the Pantages Theatre, a popular movie and vaudeville house. On Google Maps you can make out the triangular shape of the building, caused partly by a rail line right-of-way (whose ghostly footprint can still be seen, cutting diagonally through several city blocks). Today you can rent a 236 square foot micro-loft and live downtown for cheap! (You might notice I really cheated on the perspective of this shot: the original was shot from a window in the building across the street, and I was on the ground.

1855 Vine
added November 29, 2020
1855 Vine
 I have walked by this apartment building numerous times and have always wondered about its background. I assumed it used to be a bank, even though it's not on a major street. After a little digging, I found some information about it. It was built as a church in 1911, and eventually became the Vancouver Indian Centre when this photo was taken in the 1970s. Today it is a collection of million dollar condos. 

459 East Pender Street
added November 29, 2020
459 East Pender Street
 Built just after the 1886 fire that leveled the city, this beautifully restored home is now the headquarters of a Chinese Benevolent Association. Notice the difference in street levels in the two pictures. The current house has a ground floor suite that used to be under ground. Here's some information about the people in the original photo. 

500 Alexander Street
added November 29, 2020
500 Alexander Street
Alexander Street was renowned for its brothels in the early 1900s, including this building which was originally built as a rooming house in 1912. Its history is well documented here. In 1918 it was listed as the Sailors Home (rooms around 2 bucks a week) until it closed in 1954. It later housed a business belonging to Al Hubbard, an eccentric entrepreneur who was known as the “Johnny Appleseed of LSD”. Immortalized by photographer Greg Girard in the 1970s, the dilapidated structure was acquired and renovated by the Atira Development Society.

Astoria Hotel
added November 29, 2020
Astoria Hotel
 The Toronto House Apartments were built in 1913 during Vancouver's growth spurt of the early 1900s. You can read about the building's numerous occupants here.  In 1950 it became the Astoria Hotel, and is currently an SRO rental. the 1923 photo is by Stuart Thompson. 

OLD UBC Firehall
added November 29, 2020
OLD UBC Firehall
 This campus landmark was originally built in 1926, and operated as a firehall until 1982. New rooms have been added, but you can still see the hose drying tower in the back.  It is currently used by various Art Departments of UBC. 

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