Mar 2014 17

Photo Essay: Oldest Buildings in Vancouver

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Vancouver is not only a dynamic, thriving city, which wins the "Most Livable City in North America" survey by The Economist year after year, it also has its historical side and landmarks. While these buildings may have been reconstructed in the last few years, these structures retain their unique character, as if emanating something special — something that reminds us of the great history of this city and of British Columbia. That's why we're thrilled to bring you one of the best shots of the oldest heritage buildings in Vancouver in an exclusive photo essay.

Central Station in VancouverPacific Central Station in Vancouver

Pacific Central Station

The neoclassical building of Central Station was built in 1919 for the Canadian Northern Railway and designed by Pratt and Ross. Since 1991, this building has been designated as a heritage railway station. In late 2010, the Canadian government announced a $5.1 million investment to reconstruct this important historical building. Today, it remains one of the most impressive public buildings in the city.

Interior  Central Station in VancouverInterior of the Pacific Central Station in Vancouver
Georgia Hotel in VancouverHotel Georgia in Vancouver

Hotel Georgia

Hotel Georgia was built in 1927 by architects Robert T. Garrow and John Graham, Sr. The building was renovated from 2007 to 2011, and many parts of the interior are designated as protected heritage property by the City of Vancouver.

Interior  Georgia Hotel in VancouverInterior of Hotel Georgia in Vancouver
Reception  Georgia Hotel in VancouverReception at Hotel Vancouver

Hotel Vancouver

One of the most famous buildings in Vancouver, Hotel Vancouver (now branded Fairmont Hotel Vancouver) was opened in 1939 just in time for the Royal visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Hotel Vancouver was one of the historic Canadian Pacific Hotels.

Sylvia Hotel in VancouverSylvia Hotel in Vancouver

Sylvia Hotel

This beautiful hotel, located on English Bay beside Stanley Park was built as an apartment building for Mr. Goldstein in 1912. The hotel is named in honour of his daughter, Sylvia. It claims to be the only beach-side hotel property in Vancouver.

Interior  Sylvia Hotel in VancouverInterior of the Sylvia Hotel in Vancouver
Hotel Europe in VancouverHotel Europe in Vancouver

Hotel Europe

Hotel Europe was built to be the top hotel in the city in 1908. It's one of the world's best examples of the triangular architectural style known as "a flatiron" and one of the only examples of the style in Vancouver. Today, the former hotel serves as an affordable housing complex and one of the city's most popular heritage buildings.

Alhambra Gastown in VancouverAlhambra Hotel in the Byrnes Block in Gastown, Vancouver

Alhambra Building

The Alhambra was built shortly after the Great Fire which destroyed much of old Vancouver in 1886. When it was completed in 1887, it was trumpeted as Vancouver's most modern hotel, with running water and a wood stoves in most rooms. The complex consists of three brick-and-timber buildings. Extensive renovations were undertaken to bring the building back into its original Victorian Italianate style appearance.

Roedde Museum in VancouverRoedde Museum in Vancouver

Roedde House Museum

Roedde Museum, located in Vancouver’s West End, is built in the late Victorian style. This museum was built in 1893 for Gustav Roedde, the first bookbinder in the city, and his wife, Mathilda. The City of Vancouver designated it as a heritage house in 1976.

Canuck Place in VancouverCanuck Place Children's Hospice in Vancouver

Canuck Place Children's Hospice

Canuck Place Children's Hospice is one of the oldest buildings in Vancouver. It was originally built for William Lamont Tait, a real estate and lumber tycoon. The building splits opinion — some consider it the ugliest building in Vancouver, while others admire it. The hospice, which opened in 1995, provides specialized pediatric care for children living with a life-threatening illnesses and support for their families throughout British Columbia.

Barclay Manor in VancouverBarclay Manor in Vancouver

Barclay Manor

In late 1890, Lucy A. Tetley, the wife of Charles Tetley, bought this property from Sir Donald Smith and Richard Angus. The Tetleys built a green and white house on the lot and lived there until 1902, when they sold it for $3,500. In 1988, the three-storey addition was torn down. Nowadays, the building is being renovated and used for weddings, meetings, and other events.

Holy Rosary Cathedral in VancouverHoly Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver

Holy Rosary Cathedral

The Roman Catholic cathedral was built by architects T.E. Julian and H.J. Williams in 1899–1900. Its construction took 491 days. The Holy Rosary was declared a cathedral in 1916. This place of worship has a cruciform structure with a narthex, a nave, transepts, and an apsidal chancel.

Christ Church Canthedral in VancouverChrist Church Cathedral in Vancouver

Christ Church Cathedral

This Anglican cathedral opened in October 1889 — although only at the basement level — and the first service was held for 52 parishioners. It was eventually dedicated in February 1895. The church, which became a cathedral in 1929, was built in the Gothic style. The ceiling is made of cedar planking, while the ceiling beams and floor are constructed out of old-growth Douglas fir.

Gastown Steam Clock in VancouverGastown Steam Clock in Vancouver

Gastown Steam Clock

While not exactly a building, the Gastown Steam Clock is worth inclusion on our list. It was built in 1977 by horologist Raymond Saunders and metalwork specialist Doug Smith. It was the first of its kind in the world, and it's now one of the city's most famous tourist attractions. The clock is partially powered by a steam engine. There are only six steam clocks like this in the world. Every 15 minutes, the clock's five whistles sound and shoot steam. While the clock itself may not be too old, it has become the best-known symbol for one of the city's first neighbourhoods.

Kevin Eng

Meet the Photographer: Kevin Eng

Kevin's passion for photography has encouraged others to see the splendor and beauty of nature right at their doorstep, as he captures the sights of the day, and colors and mystery of world while it sleeps. Many of the subjects of his work are based locally in his hometown in Vancouver, B.C., where he first discovered his fascination with night photography. Kevin is currently working as a music teacher, music director for his church, and landscape photographer.


2 Responses to “Photo Essay: Oldest Buildings in Vancouver”

  1. mary aldred

    I am trying to research the history of my mother’s family and, at age 84, I can’t hang around too long!
    Her father’s sister, Elizabeth, born in 1857, married Alfred Williams who was an engineer. They emigrated to Toronto in 1910 and he worked first in Toronto then in Vancouver. I understand they had two daughters.

    I once read an article on the Internet confirming that Alfred had been responsible for building several public buildings in each of those cities. The name of my Great Aunt was given, she was Elizabeth Sanders. I should have printed the information, it is no longer available and I wonder if you could help me please.

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