This Christmas card from the 50s via the Museum of Vancouver is just the thing for PT.  It looks west down Georgia from just east of Granville:


The biggest changes: (1) That Christmas tree is on a parking lot at the southwest corner of Granville and Georgia, where the first two Hotels Vancouver were, and where Pacific Centre is now.  But if you had to choose a corner today that still says ‘this is the centre’ – it would be this one.

Read more »

As Daily Scot reminded me, how can you have a series on Seventies architecture without including the Landmark (Sheraton and Empire) on Robson:


Price Tags started to follow the demolition of the tower (Our Falling Tower), especially since it was going to be slowly drilled apart over 2019.  Indeed, it is on Christmas Eve – missing the restaurant, several floors lower.  Built in 1973, designed by Ross Lort for developer Ben Wosk.


The problem with the Landmark is that it wasn’t.  Unlike the much lower Harbour Centre, also with a revolving restaurant, it didn’t have that Jetson’s flair; it never really showed up on sketches of the city’s skyline.  Opened in 1973, designed by Bill Lort for Ben Wosk, it was tall but undistinguished.

It marked no special place, just another block on Robson.  It had no dialogue with the Blue Horizon, a few blocks up the hill.  Those brothers never spoke. Since the two hotels were built in competition by the Brothers Wosk, trying to outdo each other with the tallest tower (Ben beat Morris with the Landmark), that seems a shame.

And because it has nothing special other than height, it won’t be missed.

Read more »


So far, the opposition has the momentum – to newer, denser development in the region.

The District of North Vancouver Council turning down the Delbrook and Edgemont Village rezonings is the most jaw-dropping.  But similar responses are seen in Port Moody and White Rock.  In Vancouver, it’s unclear.

What will happen when significant development proposals come forward that aim to address the housing crisis?   Willwe then hear this message from councils: ‘No, this is too much, too fast – and, actually, we’re not in so much of a crisis that we can’t take time to rethink and replan.  This could take years.  So in the meantime, we’re not going to approve more projects that are opposed in the community and become controversial.’

Oh look, there’s one now.

Read more »

The parkade in the 700-block Seymour served the Vancouver Centre complex anchored by the Scotia Tower at Georgia and Granville, surely one of the most boring buildings on one of the best locations in Canada.

When it replaced the much-loved Birks Building in 1974, it helped provoke the heritage movement in the city, and eventually the provincial legislation which preserved our best landmarks.  (Think of it as the Pennsylvania Station of Vancouver.  Penn Station was a magnificent neoclassical rail terminal in New York, the demolition of which led to the American  National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.)

The worst part of Vancouver Centre is the mediocre low-rise element at the southeast corner of our most important downtown intersection.

Read more »

In planning for growth, there’s at least one generally agreed-on idea that most cities are trying out: Densifying along the major streets.  The arterials, boulevards and avenues, the wider ones, where the streetcars went, where transit does now.

Portland has a lot of them, radiating out from the river and downtown.  Here’s one of those streets – Division.  As you’d expect, it bisects the 19th-century suburbs:


Once it was a streetcar route, with a mix of bungalow housing and one-or two-storey commercial frontage – surprisingly narrow for a major corridor of activity.  It went into decline as Motordom prevailed, and became heavily auto-oriented.  Division, it was said, was where you went to get your car repaired.

Read more »

This little Brutalist building at Georgia and Cardero is already gone.

There were a few of these overbuilt blocks (really, three storeys in concrete?) scattered around the city and suburbs, typical of the 1970s.  Was there an architectural firm that specialized in them?  Were there economic reasons for their popularity?  Inquiring minds want to know if someone has answers.

The reason for their demolition is obvious, however.  This is what’s under construction now:

Read more »

Well, in this case, the 1960s are coming down.

Nineteen sixty-one, to be specific – when Royal Towers was built as a hotel across the street from New Westminster City Hall. Now the aldermen, as they were known then, had a place to get a beer before and/or after council meetings. They probably drove over, given that the place was obviously designed for the car:

Read more »