91212660_10156892938492377_3014565570000453632_oBeach Avenue looking west & Aquatic Centre August 3 1974


If anyone ever wanted to look at what priority the automobile was given in the last century, this image tells the story. 1974 was the year the “new” Aquatic Centre was opened, replacing the Crystal Pool that had been built on the same site in 1928. The Martello Towers are part of the “grand gesture” to the modernism of the street, where no  walker or cyclist can be seen.

This was the same year that the Knight Street Bridge was opened, and Granville Street north of Nelson was closed to vehicular traffic for conversion to a pedestrian mall, which opened that summer.

The image is another great one from Diane Sampson who found this at the Vancouver Archives.



  1. In 1974, the West End was densely populated and getting more so. But the decision was to put a high-speed automobile arterial between the dense population and some of Vancouver’s finest seawall, park and beach.

    It’s not hard to see the overriding priority here. See any crosswalks or traffic lights?

    Even today, crossing Beach Avenue in this area is a nerve-wracking proposition.

    1. LOL, “high speed arterial”. The road is virtually the same as it is today, if anything there are fewer cars on it then.

  2. In this location, there’s been little change to priority. The road’s cross section is the same, as are the sidewalks. The canopy has grown in., though.

  3. If you look closely at the Aquatic Centre, you’ll see that the main entrance is primarily served by two pedestrian paths from the sidewalk.
    The driveway is offset to the east of the main entrance, so it differs from other civic facilities like the Queen Elizabeth Theatre where the driveway is in front of the main entrance.

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