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Vancouver has a long history of being an architecturally significant city. There are many building scattered throughout the downtown core as well as the surrounding suburbs that empashize the different architectural styles that have been important throughout the city’s history. This series of blog posts will focus on a particular building for each decade, all the way from the 1900s through to the future – the 2030s!

This first post will guide us through the 1900s to the 1950s.

1900 – 1910: The Hotel Europe

Photo: /wiki/File:Hotel_Europe_Gastown_(1).jpg

In June 1886, Vancouver was struck by one of the most catastrophic events in its history: the Vancouver Great Fire. Almost 90% of the buildings in town burned down to their grounds, causing many casualties and leaving many families without a roof on their heads; even the famous Gassy Jack’s pub was totally destroyed by the flames.

The city faced a $1.3 million dollar loss; so, when the time of reconstruction came, the city council decided that the entirety of Vancouver had to be rebuilt using fireproof materials (e.g. bricks).

It was during this period that Angelo Calori, an Italian immigrant, decided to open one of the first hotels in town: the Hotel Europe.

Construction began in 1908 and terminated in 1909, making Hotel Europe one of the first hotels in Western Canada to have running water, electricity, and, most importantly, a completely fireproof structure.

The hotel was, eventually, bought by the city of Vancouver in 1983 and, thus, converted to an apartment complex for low income people.

I particularly like this structure as it is heavily inspired by the world-famous   Fuller building (also known as the Flatiron) in New York City, with its “Renaissance Revival” architectural style.

Today, the Hotel Europe is still there where it was originally built more than 110 years ago and it’s one of the most iconic buildings in Gastown…too bad that it cannot be visited.

1910 – 1920: The Seymour Building

Photo: news/2017/03/seymour-building-piece-vancouver-history-carved-granite

When I was attending Greystone College on Seymour Street, I couldn’t help but notice this massive white building right in front of my school; every time I looked out of my class’ window I was amazed by this wonderful Neo-Gothic architectural style that reminded me of the beautiful Woolworth building in New York City.

The Yorkshire Guarantee and Securities Corporation Ltd Building, later known as the Seymour Building, was built in 1912 and completed in 1919 due to delays caused by WWI, and it still exists today as one of the last Neo-Gothic edifices remaining in Vancouver. Designed by the Vancouver-based firm of Somervell & Putnam, the distinctive 10-storey granite-faced office tower stands at 525 Seymour Street in the heart of downtown Vancouver, where the bustling cityscape around the historic block has changed radically over the last century.

With its 10 floors, the Yorkshire Building was once planned to be the tallest in the city but was surpassed by the Sun Tower in 1912 (more than 7 years before its completion). Its elaborate granite facade was a symbol of progress and gave the whole downtown area a fresh and modern look.


Today, the building is leased out as an office space on a per-unit basis and has changed hands numerous times over its long lifetime. The building is proclaimed by its current owners as prime downtown office space, and the careful restoration and upkeep of the exterior and interior heritage details are a major selling point for those looking to rent a unique space for their business.

I personally think that the Seymour Building is a handsome structure that stands as a testament of timeless design and fine detail work in a city with a modern cityscape made of steel and glass.

1920 – 1930: The Marine Building

Photo:    /2018/05/18/the-marine-building/

I consider the Marine Building to be one of the most exquisite examples of Art Deco today. This 22-storey construction is considered by many to be one of the most well-preserved and significant edifices from the 1920s. Its story is quite interesting and goes all the way back to the 1910s, when the Panama Canal was officially opened, making it possible to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The opening of the canal made Vancouver one of the busiest and richest harbours in North America; this fact attracted many investors from all over Canada, one of them being J.W. Hobbs – a man who believed that Vancouver deserved a brand new skyscraper to increase the city’s importance in the world. He was profoundly fascinated by the elegance of the Fisher Building in Detroit and thought that, in order to become an important city, Vancouver needed a building of the same league and style as the one in Michigan; so he hired the architect firm “McCartner Nairne and Partners” and invested 2.2 million dollars into the project. Construction began in 1929 and ended in 1930 during the Great Depression which condemned the building to remain mostly empty. They even built an observation deck on the top, but nobody, during those times, could afford the 25 cents admission ticket. Due to the terrible economic recession, Hobbs found himself in debt, so he sold the building for nine hundred thousand dollars to the Guinness family of Ireland to repay his creditors. Despite this terrible start, the building today has been assessed to be worth more than 90 million dollars, and its beautiful hall is still open to everybody to enjoy.

Photo: Link-g154943-d591254-i281087946-Marine_Building-Vancouver_British_Columbia.html

1930 – 1940: City Hall

Photo:  history-of-metro-vancouver-city-hall-1936/

Since I live in Fairview, every time that I have to take the skytrain, I have to pass right in front of this marvelous Art Deco building that serves as city hall; its massive white structure is visible from all over Vancouver and it is still used today as the city’s council home.

Located on 12th Avenue, the building was ordered by the Vancouver Civic Building Committee and designed by architect Fred Townley. The building is highly recognisable by its iconic twelve-storey tower with a clock on the top that is lit during the night.

Until 1929, the original Vancouver City Hall was located on Main Street, in downtown, but that building was too small to accommodate the council of a growing city. It was more than clear that a brand new Town Hall was needed, so, after being elected mayor in 1934, Gerry McGeer created an opposite committee to select a new location for a city hall. The committee chose Strathcona Park on W. 12th Avenue as a site, and City Council approved the selection in 1935, making Vancouver the first major Canadian city to locate its city hall outside its downtown.

Constructions began in 1935 and terminated in 1936, when the building officially opened its doors to the city’s council. The cost of the whole structure was 1.1 million dollars and that’s partly due to the fact that most parts of the interiors were decorated with statues and ceilings covered by gold leaves.

An additional wing was added to the original structure in the 1960s and, since then, the building was never altered again. Nowadays this stunning edifice is still home to the Vancouver’s city council and is loved by many Vancouverites.

Photo:                                          8-affordable-vancouver-wedding-venues

1940 – 1950: The Vogue Theatre


Each time I stroll around Granville Street, my attention is captured by its façade that is beautifully crafted in the Art-Moderne style, which emphasizes sleek lines and fluid contours. The theatre has two symmetrical façades, constructed in textured concrete with elaborated iron screens. One of the defining features of the Vogue is its large neon sign which is topped by the silhouette of the Goddess Diana (the Roman Goddess of the Moon).

The Vogue, as the name may suggest, first opened as a theatre pretty similar to the ones on Broadway St. in New York but, since then, has evolved to host many different events and special occasions like the Vancouver Film Festival or the Vancouver Jazz Festival.

Even today its beautiful neon sign is still shining on Granville St. for many to enjoy.

Welcome to Vancouver! This gorgeous city has plenty to offer, such as beautiful scenery, lively shopping districts, historical landmarks, and an array of different restaurants to fit your tastes. Besides these amazing components that make up our beautiful city, Vancouver also has a dynamic and unique nightlife! While you are here, stay up to see what this city has to offer – from animated streets filled with music to the hustle and bustle of bars and nightclubs all over the downtown core.

Next up – clubs!



This hip, energetic locale is a great place to get your groove on. Put on your dancing shoes and come down to Granville Street’s hottest nightclub, where you can find weekly special events or book a VIP service such as a birthday.

Where: 881 Granville St

Hours: Friday and Saturday 10pm-3am


Fortune Sound Club

Located in the heart of Vancouver’s diverse Chinatown, Fortune was once home to a Chinese restaurant but underwent major renovations to become a cutting-edge club with a modern lounge. Fortune offers many events with different music genres to appeal to everyone’s taste. If you’re looking for a place that is upbeat with high energy music, this is the perfect place to spend your Friday or Saturday night.

Where: 147 E Pender St

Hours: Friday and Saturday 10pm-2am, Monday 10pm-1am


Studio Lounge and Nightclub

This venue doubles as a club and a lounge. Known as one of the bigger bars in Vancouver, Studio offers guests a large space to dance, mingle and listen to live DJs. If you’re looking for special events or theme nights this place is perfect for you!  They offer a karaoke on Monday night, Vancouver Latin Fever on Tuesdays and they have private event spaces that can hold up to 300 people!

Where: 919 Granville St

Hours: Monday 10pm-3am, Tuesday 9:30pm-3am, Wednesdays closed, Thursday 10pm-3am, Friday to Saturday 9:30pm-3am


Bar None Nightclub

This club, converted from a warehouse, has been Yaletown’s only standing dance club for over 20 years. Bar None is known to feature great international and resident DJ’s and they often host different weekly events. This bar has undergone many renovations over the years but the most recent on involves an addition of an elevated sake and sushi bar. Bar None has one of the most lavish VIP rooms with its own access to a bar and an intimate setting great for parties or private events. This bar is perfect if you’re looking for fantastic live music and themed events!

Where: 1222 Hamilton St

Hours: Friday to Saturday 10pm-3am


Welcome to Vancouver! This gorgeous city has plenty to offer, such as beautiful scenery, lively shopping districts, historical landmarks, and an array of different restaurants to fit your tastes. Besides these amazing components that make up our beautiful city, Vancouver also has a dynamic and unique nightlife! While you are here, stay up to see what this city has to offer – from animated streets filled with music to the hustle and bustle of bars and nightclubs all over the downtown core.

Keefer Bar

Photo credit: 927467dc/dms3rep/multi/desktop/rectangle_ home2-2000×1280.jpg

Located in the heart of Chinatown, this bar offers a unique experience with their award-winning cocktails. Their bartenders have perfected the art of mixology and consistently sit among the most impressive in Downtown Vancouver. Having been nominated throughout the years as one of the best bars in Downtown and rated 83rd best bar around the world in 2017, this place is sure to offer an experience like no other. The outside fireplace creates the perfect patio atmosphere and with their list of exclusive drinks, this bar is a must see if you are passing through Vancouver’s historic Chinatown!

Where: 135 Keefer Street

Hours: Sunday to Thursday 4:00pm-1:00am, Friday to Saturday 4:00pm-2am


Uva Wine Bar

Photo credit: styles/gs_large /public/images/18/03/gp_uva.jpg ?itok=tkQXenxb

The UVA Wine Bar carries an assortment of cocktails, wines, beers, and is known as one of Vancouver’s best wine cocktail bars. It has been given much recognition, taking the top prize for “The Best Wine Bar” from 2010 to 2017 and was awarded second place for the best cocktail bar in 2015. If you are interested in trying a variety of rare wines, the UVA lounge is the perfect place to spend a night out with family and friends!

Where: 900 Seymour Street

Hours: Monday to Sunday 2pm-2am


Six Acres

Photo credit: bphoto/hZDU7sSdSoCJfFu1Jr7QSA/l.jpg

Head to the end of Gastown, where you will find Six Acres situated in the Alabama Building. This authentic heritage bar offers a wide variety of beer and ale from around the world, as well as a stunning list of wines and cocktails to choose from. The rustic interior of this bar paired with classic share plates with surely have you coming back for a second visit!

Where: 203 Carrall Street

Hours: Monday to Thursday 11am-12am, Friday 11am-1am, Saturday 10:30am-1am, Sunday 10:30am-11pm


The Cambie

Photo credit: /2019/06/24/cambie-bar-closing-sold-divorce- vancouver/

Vancouver’s oldest still-standing bar was almost shut down this year, but thankfully it’s been saved, so do yourself a favor and check It out. While most known for their student-friendly special nights and cheap pub grub, the Cambie also houses a hostel on the second floor.

Where: 300 Cambie St

Hours: Sunday to Thursday 8am-2am, Friday to Saturday 8am-3am


Nobody saw it coming, but soon enough, good old-fashioned vinyl records will outsell CDs for the first time since the 80s. And if you’re in the mood to start (or perhaps restart) your record collection, look no further than Vancouver. The city’s known for its bustling culture of vintage shopping, and nothing screams vintage more than vinyl – so here’s a handy list of five great Vancouver record shops.

Neptoon Records

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Vancouver’s oldest independent record is a favorite of local residents due to its massive collection of new and used records (the largest in the city) as well as the famed, limited-release selections one can find here every Record Store on April 18th.

Where: 3561 Main Street

Hours: Monday to Saturday 11am-6:30pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm


Beat Street Records

Photo credit: records/4c8fd4e45fdf6dcb81a82b91/photos

Located just a minute’s walk from the Lookout, this renown shop carries approximately 50,000 records in stock – so you can’t go wrong here, whether you’re looking for a shiny new release, rare collector’s item, or something from the bargain bin. They also sell DJ supplies, vintage collectibles, and even cassettes, making this a heaven for music lovers. And unlike most other Vancouver vinyl stores, they’re also willing to buy your records – visit their website to learn more!

Where: 439 W Hastings Street

Hours: Sunday to Tuesday 12pm-6pm, Wednesday to Thursday 12pm-7pm, Friday and Saturday 12pm-8pm


Noize to Go Records

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Recently finding a new home on Union Street in 2014 after being evicted from its previous location, this small and charming shop on the of edge of Chinatown specializes in second-hand and collectible records. Friendly, knowledgeable staff make it easy to locate whatever rare album you’ve been itching to put your hands on. The owner, Dale Weise, has been a mainstay of the Vancouver vinyl community for years, so you can be certain you’re in good hands when you visit his shop.

Where: 243 Union Street

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 12:30pm-6:30pm, Sunday 1pm-5:30pm, Monday 2:30pm-6:30pm


Red Cat Records

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Recently voted by customers as one of the ten best independent record shops in Canada (CBC Radio 3 Searchlight), this quirky store is so-named after Buddy the Cat, who unfortunately passed away in 2006 (but not before leaving behind a great legacy, including a concept album by Ray Cooder that was inspired by him). The gang at Red Cat has recently opened a second location in the Hasting-Sunrise neighborhood. Both locations have a fantastic library of new and used vinyl as well as an assortment of turntables and speakers. Make sure to check out their website’s “staff top 10 lists” section for some great recommendations.

Where: 4332 Main Street and 2447 E Hastings Street


  • Main Street location: Monday to Thursday 11am-7pm, Friday to Saturday 11am-8pm, Sunday 11am-6pm.
  • Hastings location: Monday to Thursday 11am-6:30pm, Friday to Saturday 11am-7pm, Sunday 11am-6pm.


Zulu Records

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Though a little ways away from downtown Vancouver, Zulu Records was a finalist in CBC Radio 3’s Searchlight contest to find Canada’s best record shop – and they have much more than just vinyl. They sell silkscreen posters, turntable equipment, concert tickets, and even host the occasional live performance of a local band or artist. Also under the same roof as Zulu Records you can find

Videomatica, a specialty video store where you can find a wide variety of blu-rays, DVDs and even laserdiscs (yes, those still exist).

Where: 1972 W 4th Avenue

Hours: Monday to Wednesday 10:30am-7pm, Thursday to Friday 10:30am-9pm, Saturday 9:30am-6:30pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm


If you’ve been following the local news at all, you’ll know that the talk of the town in Vancouver since early December has been snow and ice – and salt. Although winters in Vancouver are usually known to be mild and rainy, this year we’ve been getting snowfall after snowfall. And while the residents may complain, for tourist it means you can finally enjoy a true Canadian winter right in the city.


Hit the Mountains

Vancouver is renowned for its proximity to mountains that offer all kinds of winter (and summer) activities. Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain and Mount Seymour are located across from Vancouver on the North Shore, and have been getting lots of snow this year. All are quickly reached from downtown Vancouver, and offer lessons, rentals and night time skiing, as well as many other winter activities.

Cypress Mountain offers the highest vertical rise of the North Shores. It is the most popular with locals, with amazing views and the greatest number of expert runs. Having hosted the freestyle skiing and snowboarding events for the 2010 Winter Olympics, it also boasts 5 terrain parks. If cross-country is more your thing, you’ll find 19km of trails, as well as snowshoe trails.

Grouse Mountain is one of Vancouver’s biggest attractions, where the Skyride Gondola will bring you right to the top. It offers great skiing, again with amazing views, but if you prefer a more relaxed day, Grouse Mountain is the place for you. Excellent dining, a theatre, snowshoeing, zip-lining and even skating await you at the Peak of Vancouver.

The eastern-most mountain, Mount Seymour is perhaps lesser known with tourists. A great choice for families or beginners, it receives the most snowfall of the North Shores, and also has snowshoeing, tobogganing and snow tubing.


Go Skating

Unlike most of Canada, winters in Vancouver rarely dip below freezing, making outdoor ice skating rather unlikely. Luckily, we’ve got Robson Square Ice Rink, right in the heart of downtown. Located next to the Vancouver Art Gallery, steps from the Robson Street shopping district, it is open from 9am to 9pm daily (11pm on Friday and Saturday). With free access to the rink and $4 skate rentals, skating at Robson Square is a Vancouver winter-time favourite.

However, if you are hoping for the real Canadian experience of skating on a frozen pond, you might just be in luck. For the first time in 20 years, Trout Lake in East Vancouver completely froze over in early January and was opened to the public for skating by the Vancouver Park Board. This is weather dependent, so visit their website for updates on weather, conditions and closures.

Robson Square


See Holiday Lights

There’s something magical in walking around on a cool winter’s night surrounded by snow and colourful lights. Most holiday light displays have come and gone, but the Lights at Lafarge in Coquitlam are your last chance to explore the magic. Easily accessible thanks to the Skytrain Millennium Line extension to Lafarge Lake – Douglas; it is open daily from 4:30 to 11 pm. Until January 22, see over 100,000 lights at the Winter Light Display, as you walk the 1.2 km loop around Lafarge Lake through 10 different themes.


Catch a Hockey Game

While it isn’t an outdoor activity, going to a hockey game is a true Canadian winter-time experience. The Vancouver Canucks are the local NHL team, vying for the Stanley Cup. While the team has been struggling to stay in a fighting position lately, attending a game is still a guaranteed exciting evening. Upcoming games at Rogers Arena are January 17, against Nashville, January 20 against Florida, and February 2nd against San Jose.

Rogers Arena