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5 Amazing Buildings in Vancouver That No Longer Exist (Vancouver's Lost Architectural Heritage)

Updated on September 10, 2013

Vancouver is often rated as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. With vast landscapes and beautiful architecture, it's hard to argue. The city as a whole boasts itself as a multicultural society that is rich in culture and heritage. However, Vancouver has over the years destroyed so much of its architectural heritage, that it is sometimes difficult to hold on to our richly historical landscape. This article is meant to commemorate the amazing architecture that once graced this beautiful city, but has since been destroyed to make room for new development. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane.

CPR Station No. 2
CPR Station No. 2 | Source

1. CPR Station

Built in 1898, the second of Vancouver's waterfront CPR stations was designed by Edward Maxwell. The building stood proud at the foot of Granville Street, and reflected the "chateau-style" often seen on CPR stations and hotels. This beautiful structure was only in use for a short number of years, as a third larger station was built directly adjacent to it in 1914. The building was demolished shortly after.

CPR Station No. 2 and 3, July 1914.
CPR Station No. 2 and 3, July 1914. | Source

2. The Hotel Vancouver

Another gem built by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the second of three Hotel Vancouvers was built in 1916. The architect, Francis S. Swales, designed the hotel in the Italian Renaissance style. The amazing building only lasted a short 23 years, when it was demolished in 1949 due to failing finances of the owner. A third Hotel Vancouver was opened in 1939, and remains in use today.

The second Hotel Vancouver (later the site of Eaton's Department Store), facing Howe Street.
The second Hotel Vancouver (later the site of Eaton's Department Store), facing Howe Street. | Source

3. The Birks Building

Opened in 1913, the Birks Building was an 11-storey Edwardian masterpiece. The façade was finished with ornate terra cotta, and was much loved in the City of Vancouver. The building was demolished in 1974 to make room for the new Scotia Tower.

Birks Building at 718 Granville Street, March 1913
Birks Building at 718 Granville Street, March 1913 | Source
Medical Dental Building
Medical Dental Building | Source

4. The Georgia Medical-Dental Building

The Georgia Medical-Dental Building was designed by McCarter and Narine, a prolific Vancouver-based architectural firm, was built in 1927-1928. The building was a soaring 17 storeys, and reflected an elegant art deco style that was identified by cascading terra cotta finishes on the tiered structure. The Medical-Dental Building was an important structure in Vancouver, as it was the first art deco skyscraper built in the city. Sadly, the structure was torn down in 1989.

Georgia Medical Dental Building, 1929
Georgia Medical Dental Building, 1929 | Source

Video of the Medical-Dental Building Demolition

Interior of Pantages Theatre, Vancouver.
Interior of Pantages Theatre, Vancouver. | Source

5. The Pantages Theatre

The infamous Pantages Theatre was built in 1917 on historic Hastings Street, which was once the heart of the City's downtown. The building was second to none in term of grandeur, and was a well known vaudeville house in vancouver. As vaudeville theatre decreased in popularity, the beautiful theatre changed function over the years, showing moving pictures (movies) for much of its life, until it was demolished in the 1960s to make room for a parking lot.

Pantages Theatre, 1964. "Majestic Theatre" at the time.
Pantages Theatre, 1964. "Majestic Theatre" at the time. | Source

Thinking about all the amazing historical architecture that Vancouver has destroyed really makes my heart ache. How can such important architectural and cultural treasures be demolished so easily? I hope these images are enough to convince you about the importance of holding on to our architectural heritage, and that we will have the power in the future to protect these landmarks as important pieces of our history.

Amazing Video Footage of Vancouver from 1907


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    • Nikk0 profile image

      Nikk0 4 years ago

      Thanks, Laura! I loved the Pantages theatre as well - so sad that these beautiful buildings are gone.

    • LauraD093 profile image

      Laura Tykarski 4 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      What a shame to have lost this beautiful architecture especially the Pantages I like the way you have it laid out-loved the pictures.

    • Nikk0 profile image

      Nikk0 4 years ago

      It really is such a tragedy. Especially considering the scale of these buildings. Vancouver better smarten up!

    • profile image

      Jessie 4 years ago

      So true! I think that it is so disgusting how Vancouverites stand idly by while our urban gems are taken away from us! Your article is a great reminder of how important protecting heritage buildings is. Thanks for the reminder!