What's New

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, with the 1950-era neon signs restored. (1923 photo is by Stuart Thompson in the VPL collection.)

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. 

Kits Beach
added November 28, 2020
Kits Beach
 In 1914 Charlie Chaplin makes his first film, the Komagata Maru is turned away at Vancouver's port, Archduke Franz Ferdinand is assassinated, and beachgoers enjoy a sunny day in Kitsilano!

Crystal Dairy
added November 28, 2020
Crystal Dairy
 This building was constructed in 1927, with Crystal Dairy as its first occupant. The company was taken over by Palm Dairy in the 1950s, but ice cream continued to be made here until the early 1960s. It currently houses a guitar shop in the heart of bustling Commercial Drive

666 Kingsway
added November 28, 2020
666 Kingsway
The only reason a photo was taken of these two nondescript buildings in 1936 was for a court case.  Some would-be robbers rented the empty store at 662 Kingsway under the guise of growing mushrooms. They were caught digging a tunnel under the dry cleaner with the intention of robbing the Royal Bank next door. 

Odd Fellows Hall
added November 28, 2020
Odd Fellows Hall
 This well-preserved 1904 building overlooking Victory Square has seen many tenants, including Wrigley Directories and the Odd Fellows shown here. Today it's home to a high-end furniture store

Chinese Benevolent Association
added November 28, 2020
Chinese Benevolent Association
 This 1909 building has both architectural and historical significance in the city. The CBA was instrumental in advocating for the rights of Chinese Canadians, who faced severe discrimination in the first half of the 20th century. The building itself set the tone for the Chinatown style of architecture, such as recessed balconies and inscribed parapets, many of which are still visible today. 

Washington Court
added November 28, 2020
Washington Court
 When it was built in 1910, this building had five floors. Several months later, a sixth floor was added, shown in this picture. In 1966 a fire destroyed the top floor and it went back to 5.  In 2018 another fire damaged several suites.  And that's the 'storey' of Washington Court. 

The Queen Charlotte
added November 28, 2020
The Queen Charlotte
The West End experienced a massive building boom during the 1920s, including the Marlboro, and the Queen Charlotte, pictured here. Built by Dominion Construction for a businessman and politician named H H Stevens, whose beliefs in white supremacy led to his active involvement in the shameful  Komagata Maru incident. It was restored by the late Robert Ledingham and now consists of 25 million-dollar condos.

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