Jul 2015 2

Neighbourhood Photo Essays: Downtown

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1 Robson SquareRobson Square, a public plaza in the middle of Downtown

Downtown Vancouver houses many sport and entertainment venues and is the heart of culture, framed with beautiful buildings - both historical and modern ones. It is also considered as the commercial and government centre of the city. Visitors refer to it as to a place with good vibes full of cafés, restaurants and small scattered parks perfect for just sitting down and enjoying the sunshine. Beside the famous Steam clock and small streets of the old town, one of the most popular spots is the Stanley Park - the best place to enjoy Vancouver's setting surrounded by mountains on a 1,000 acres and with a beach: English Bay. But there is way more to enjoy in this neighbourhood: take a virtual walk through Downtown's history and vibrant atmosphere in this photo essay!

5 nick corrected

The Oppenheimer Warehouse
100 Powell Street

The Oppenheimer Warehouse is Vancouver's oldest brick building: it was built in 1886 by David Oppenheimer, and bought by the famous Singer Bryan Adams in 1991. The building was under construction when the Great Fire that destroyed Vancouver happened in June, 1886. David Oppenheimer is considered as the “Father of Vancouver” and he was also the mayor of the city between 1888-91 so the building served as a temporary Hall. It still preserves the original structure, which makes it not just another brick building, but an example of heritage conservation and restoration, both inside and outside. 

3 Oppenheimer Building3The Oppenheimer Building

In that sense, it is interesting to know that the City of Vancouver Heritage Award was given to Bryan Adams in 1998 for the restoration of this building, which took 7 years. The very first business that started in it was a Wholesale Grocery but was sold later to Glass Manufactures in 1902. Today it's the Warehouse Studio where clients like AC/DC, Metallica, Bon Jovi, Michael Buble, REM and Sir Elton John have been working on their albums.

The Sam Kee Building
8 West Pender Street

Rght after entering the Chinatown, you will see the Sam Kee building - the thinnest building in the world. It also holds the Guinness World Record for being the shallowest commercial building in the world. Chang Toy, the original owner, found himself in a challenge when The City of Vancouver expropriated 7.3 meters and leaving only 2 meters of his property. He hired and architect to design a building for that space where others saw a useless piece of land. The two storey high building with 1.5 meters depth on the ground floor was designed by the architects Brown and Gillam in 1913. There were 13 businesses at one time, and it was also the only place in Chinatown where people could enjoy baths.

The Trans Am Totem and the Sam Kee buildingThe Trans Am Totem and the Sam Kee building
7a Carolina
8a Plaza of NationsPlaza of Nations was the heart of the 203 acre 1986 World Exposition in Vancouver
Marine BuildingMarine Building
8 Plaza of Nations2It is currently is operating as a commercial property for various events
11 The paper hound bookshop The Paper Hound Bookshop is selling used books
17 Brad
12a David Lam Park3The David Lam Park with a view of False Creek
13 David Lam ParkIt is also one of the places where locals spend their free time
16 Granville Street and Vogue TheatreGranville Street and Vogue Theatre
14a Dr  Sun Yat Sen Park2The Dr. Sun Yat Sen Park 
12 Marco
18a Portal ParkPortal Park is a cool and shaded oasis in the middle of the busy Downtown
19 ChinatownChinatown View

Meet The Photographer: Ricardo Vacas

Kevin EngRicardo Vacas

Ricardo Vacas, owner of the firm Kerp Photography, always showed intense interest in many forms of creative arts. His professional photography career started in his home country, Spain, where he was the official photographer of several music bands, models and clothing brands. He decided to move to Wellington, New Zealand in 2012, knowing his real interest was fashion photography more than any other field. Currently living in Vancouver, Canada, he now combines his fashion, editorial and commercial photography projects with regular trips to Europe and USA.


11 Responses to “Neighbourhood Photo Essays: Downtown”

  1. Aarmand

    Vancouver looks like the perfect place to live. Amazing graphic virtual walk. Thanks!

  2. Hayden

    This is another face of Vancouver Downtown which I really like: no crowded streets and typical sights but the real people and stories. More photo essays like this, please!

  3. Tom85

    Amazing place with a vibe, however, you might see homeless people (as in any other city centre I guess). Definitely try the Phnom Penh – it’s addictive!

  4. Stella

    Amazing pictures and quite interesting and educating article. Great journalism and very talented photographer. You guys have an awesome crew! I love Vancouver.

  5. Eve Lazarus

    The story of Bryan Adams warehouse is sensational – I also featured it in my post here.

  6. Constance Barnes

    if I said that I would add the Emery Barnes Park, would it be to biased? :)

  7. Be Vancouver

    Superb as ever Jay – great piece of work (article + photos). Thanks for sharing!

  8. JakeO

    For just a real state company you guys produce awesome content about our amazing city. This article and photographic tour is the best example. This kind of work should be shown more widely to larger audiences. It’s top quality material by passionate professionals. Congrats! Keep it up!

    • Jay Banks

      Hi Jake, we are really glad that you like our work! Looking forward to bring even more Vancouver articles and photo essays!



  9. Emily

    Awesome article. I love Vancouver.

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