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Thursday, 22 November 2012 00:57

Vancouver 100 Years Ago

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In 1912 Dominion Blue Print & Drafting Company makes its debut in the city directory. It is one of eight companies involved in blueprints. A half page ad on page 226 of the 1912 directory indicates that Dominion Blue Print & Drafting Company, located at 36 Bank of Hamilton Building (432 Hamilton St.), is a Maker of Maps, Blueprints, Brown Line, and Blue Line Prints.

The first professional hockey game ever played in Vancouver took place on January 5, 1912, it was enjoyed by the crowd at the Patrick brothers’ Denman Arena. The Vancouver Millionaires beat the New Westminster Royals 8 to 3. In 1915, they won the Stanley Cup. The finals were played in Vancouver, with Games 1, 3, and 5 played under Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) rules. The Millionaires became the first team from the PCHA to win the Cup.

The 270-foot (82.3-metre) tall World Building went up at 100 West Pender. We know it today as the Old Sun Tower. John Coughland and Sons of Vancouver fabricated 1,250 tons of steel for what was then the tallest building in the British Empire. It held that title for two years. (The caryatids on the building, the “Nine Maidens,” were created by sculptor Charles Marega.)

On February 12, 1912 the Vancouver Morning Sun first appeared. Later, it will become an afternoon newspaper, the Vancouver Sun. When the Sun began operation, it was published at 125 West Pender Street, just around the corner from The Province, its rival at the time. In 1924, the Sun bought the Vancouver World newspaper, which had been in financial difficulty for some time. In March 1937, a fire destroyed the Sun's business and editorial offices. The only casualty was the janitor, who suffered minor burns and smoke inhalation. The Sun promptly moved across the street into the World Building, where the World had been published. The building was accordingly renamed the Sun Tower. The paper moved to Granville Square in 1997.

On March 15, the municipality of West Vancouver was incorporated. The population was 700. Land for the city hall was donated by John Lawson, called by some the "father" of West Vancouver. (Population in the summers went up to 1,200.) The first municipal election was held on April 6, 1912. In November 1938, the Lions Gate Bridge was opened to traffic, allowing extensive growth of the semi-populated community, previously only accessible by ferry. Some homes in West Vancouver date back to the 1920s and 30s, though most of the currently existing dwellings were built in the 1970s and 80s, and mostly in British Pacific Properties' developments.

On March 30th the Vancouver local of the International Longshoremen's Association was formed, with 60 charter members. Also that March, Emily Carr, back from a sojourn in France, exhibits paintings she created there in her gallery at 1465 West Broadway.

On September 18th, Canada’s Governor General, the Duke of Connaught (a famous soldier and a son of Queen Victoria), visited Vancouver with the Duchess to officiate at the ceremony naming the brand-new Connaught Bridge—a name that never caught on. Everyone called it the Cambie Street Bridge. (It was demolished in 1985, replaced by the present bridge.) The royals were accompanied by their daughter, Princess Patricia, the woman for whom the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) is named; she was the regiment’s colonel-in-chief.

The Connaughts officially opened the provincial courthouse, too. James Findlay was the first Vancouver mayor to wear the new gold civic chain of office. That was for the royal visit.

Also in 1912, the Lee Building at Broadway and Main went up. That’s the one with the huge billboard atop it. The CPR Station opened at 601 West Cordova. Contractor was Westinghouse, Church, Kerr & Co. Today the beautiful old building is the western terminus for the SkyTrain and the West Coast Express, and the southern port for the SeaBus. Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel performed in Vancouver with a music hall troupe from England, “Karno's Comedians.” A 250-pound Vancouver policeman, Duncan Gillis, became the first Olympic medal winner from B.C., winning silver at Stockholm in the hammer throw. (48.39 metres.)

Most of us have grown up with Oreo cookies, and 100 years ago the Oreo cookie, was born. In 1912, Nabisco had a new idea for a cookie - two chocolate disks with a creme filling in between. The first Oreo cookie looked very similar to the Oreo cookie of today, with only a slight difference in the design on the chocolate disks.

So how did the Oreo get its name? The people at Nabisco aren't quite sure. Some believe that the cookie's name was taken from the French word for gold, "or" (the main color on early Oreo packages). Others claim the name stemmed from the shape of a hill-shaped test version; thus naming the cookie in Greek for mountain, "oreo." Still others believe the name is a combination of taking the "re" from "cream" and placing it between the two "o"s in "chocolate" - making "o-re-o." And still others believe that the cookie was named Oreo because it was short and easy to pronounce.

No matter how it got named, over 362 billion Oreo cookies have been sold since it was first introduced in 1912, making it the best selling cookie of the 20th century.

Friday, 19 October 2012 15:29

The Grey Cup at 100

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The first documented Canadian football game was played at the University of Toronto on the present site of University College (400 yards west of Queen's Park) on November 9, 1861. One of the participants in the game involving University of Toronto students was (Sir) William Mulock, later it's Chancellor.

1868 shows the first written account of a football game played in Quebec on October 10 was by R. Tait Mackenzie. It was between a team of officers from the English troops garrisoned in Montreal and a team of civilians, mainly from McGill University, and was played on the St. Catherine Street cricket grounds.

In 1869, the Hamilton Foot Ball Club was formed on November 3 in a room over George Lee's Fruit Store and adopted the colours of black and orange. Games were played on the Maple Leaf Baseball Club Grounds on Upper James Street. The first game for the HFBC was on December 18 against the 13th Battalion (now Royal Hamilton Light Infantry) at the Baseball Grounds. No score was reported. According to the Hamilton Spectator on November 30 the HFBC had more than 100 members.

The Grey Cup’s legacy began in 1909, although it wasn’t the first time a Dominion senior rugby champion was declared. Teams from Eastern Canada had battled for the national championship since 1892, when Osgoode Hall defeated Montreal 45-5.

Albert Henry George Grey, Canada’s Governor General from 1904-1911, wanted to donate a trophy to Canada’s senior hockey champions, but Sir H. Montagu Allan beat him to it. Lord Grey was convinced to donate a trophy to the national rugby champions instead, and thus the Grey Cup was born.

The first game for the new trophy featured the University of Toronto against the Parkdale Canoe Club, although more people were interested in the semi-final between Varsity and Ottawa a week earlier. Despite a seating capacity of 3,400 an estimated 12,000 watched Varsity defeat Ottawa 31-7 at Rosedale Field. Only 3,800 would be at the venue a week later to watch history in the making.

Many believed Parkdale wasn’t in the same league as Varsity but they were proven wrong, at least in the opening half. The students would never be behind in this game, but held just a slim 6-5 lead at halftime. Hugh Gall opened the scoring for Varsity with a 65-yard rouge, followed by the first try in Grey Cup history (a precursor to a touchdown).

Gall would later give one back to Parkdale in the second quarter, as he mishandled a lateral pass deep in the Varsity zone. Tom Meigham broke through the line and grabbed the ball, crossing the goal line for a try.

Parkdale was given an ovation at halftime for its surprising play, but any hopes for an upset were dashed in the third quarter. Varsity outscored Parkdale 9-1, highlighted by Murray Thompson’s major.

Varsity players, who finished the season with a perfect 8-0 record, had to wait until the following March to officially celebrate with the new $48 trophy, as Grey’s staff forgot to have it made before the game. They would get to celebrate with the mug for a few more years to come.

In 1912, McGill University ended Varsity’s reign as Grey Cup champions, but refused to challenge for the trophy because the students didn’t want to take time away from their studies. It was up to either the Hamilton Alerts or Toronto Argonauts to claim the Dominion championship of 1912, although this almost didn’t happen. The game was delayed for about an hour as a groundskeeper forgot to provide a game ball to the combatants. Someone finally kicked in a locked dressing room door, and recovered the only available football.

The Canadian Football League (CFL) as we know it today was officially founded on January 19, 1958 and it is the second oldest and continuously operating gridiron football league in North America, although all of its teams long predate the modern formation of the league.

In 1963 the BC Lions first Grey Cup performance ended in defeat as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats beat them 21 to 10. BC’s lone touchdown came in the dying moments, when Joe Kapp led an 81-yard drive in six plays, culminating in Mack Burton five-yard catch deep in the Hamilton end zone.

The B.C. Lions made a return trip to the Grey Cup in 1964. Facing the defending champion Hamilton Tiger-Cats for the second straight year, the Lions looked to prove the outcome would be different this time around.

It certainly was. Unlike the previous year when the Lions scored their only touchdown late in regulation, B.C. jumped to a 34-8 advantage before the Ticats made the score more respectable. The 10-point victory gave the Lions their first Grey Cup title in the decade-long history of the franchise. The Lions did not return to the Grey Cup again until 1983, losing to the Toronto Argonauts by just one point. The final score Toronto 18, BC 17.

The 1980s proved to be a decade of halting Grey Cup droughts. The Toronto Argonauts ended 30 seasons of futility by recapturing the title in 1983. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers ended a 21-year drought without a national title the following year. It was the B.C. Lions turn in 1985. The Lions hadn’t won a Grey Cup since their inaugural championship in 1964. Fittingly, their opponent in 1985 was the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the same team they defeated for their first title. It was the second straight trip to the final for the Ticats, and they come out ahead with an impressive win of 37 to 24.

In 1988 the Grey Cup championship returned to the nation’s capital in 1988, and it had a definite Western feel to it. For the first time in history, two teams outside Ontario and Quebec vied for the title. And for the first time in Grey Cup competition, a .500 team in the regular season took home the coveted prize. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, underdogs heading into the game, never held a lead against the B.C. Lions for the first 57 minutes of regulation. But with 2:55 remaining, Trevor Kennard booted a 30-yard field goal to put the Bombers in front to stay. Once again B.C. loses the Grey Cup by just one point with the final score Winnipeg 22, B.C. 21.

In 1993 the league admitted its first U.S. franchise, adding the Sacramento Gold Miners in an attempt to broaden Canadian football's popular appeal and boost league revenues. Spearheading the efforts were two former World League of American Football owners, Fred Anderson and Larry J. Benson, who would each receive a franchise. While Benson's team, the San Antonio Texans, would not play a single down, the Gold Miners would see action, finishing a respectable 6-12 (but remaining at the bottom of the West Division).

The following year saw three more American CFL teams as part of a plan that would see the CFL expand to 20 teams, ten in Canada and ten in the United States.

The Baltimore CFL Colts, a name that tried to evoke the spirit of a National Football League team that had since moved to Indianapolis (and were forced to change their name to the Stallions after a long legal battle) were the most successful of any American CFL team. The Grey Cup, exclusively a Canadian event for the first 82 seasons of its existence, became an international affair when Baltimore became the first U.S.-based club to vie for the trophy.

Baltimore faced the B.C. Lions for the 1994 Grey Cup title. With the game being contested at Vancouver’s B.C. Place Stadium and national pride clearly on the line, this was not your typical Grey Cup game.

The tough competition weighed on and finally B.C. tied the score with 52 seconds remaining in the third quarter on Passaglia’s 42-yard field goal. The score was deadlocked at 23-23 after both clubs exchanged field goals in the fourth quarter.

Passaglia had an opportunity to kick a 37-yard field goal with 1:02 left in regulation, but he missed. But as fate would have it, Passaglia received another opportunity for the winning kick with no time remaining, and he made good on a 38-yard attempt to keep the Grey Cup in Canada.

The 1995 season saw the loss of the Posse and the move of the Gold Miners to San Antonio, while the Birmingham Barracudas and Memphis Mad Dogs were added. However, fan interest in Canadian football, with the possible exception of the Stallions (largely because the Stallions were a top team), was sparse at best, with fans being driven away to see American college football or the NFL late in the season. At the end of the year, which saw the Stallions become the first American team to win the Grey Cup, all but the Stallions and the San Antonio Texans folded due to financial difficulties. The Stallions would later move to Montreal (renamed the Alouettes) when the NFL announced that a new team was to be added in Baltimore, and owner Jim Speros could not see the Stallions remaining there for long. The Texans would later fold with a similar explanation.

After three seasons of American teams, the CFL returned to an all-Canadian format in 1996 with nine teams; however, the Ottawa Rough Riders folded following the season. In 2002 the league expanded back to nine teams with the Ottawa Renegades.

With the CFL back on Canadian turf, the 2000 Lions faced an Alouettes team who, despite great win-loss records since their return to Montreal in 1996, had underachieved in the playoffs. The Als were making their first appearance in the Grey Cup since 1979. B.C.’s ground attack proved to be unstoppable, as Drummond rushed for 122 yards. With a close victory of 28 to 26, the Lions became the first team in history to win the Grey Cup after posting a losing record in the regular season.

In 2006 the B.C. Lions defeated the Montreal Alouettes 25-14 at the 94th Grey Cup in front of 44,786 fans at Canad Inns Stadium in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Then again in last years 2011 season, under the new retractalbe roof of B.C. Place Stadium, the Lions defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 34 to 23. The victory, before an ear-piercing B.C. Place Stadium sellout of 54,313, capped a stunning turnaround for the Lions, who opened the season 0-5. B.C. became the first CFL team to win a championship after losing its opening five regular-season games.

The Grey Cup win was Buono's seventh and fifth as a head coach. During the Lions' early-season struggles there were calls for Buono's ouster, but he said he was pleased to reward owner David Braley's patience with a championship.

The Grey Cup will celebrate its 100th anniversary this 2012 season in Toronto. Welcome to the Century Club.

"Nothing brings Canadians together like the Grey Cup, and the 2012 Grey Cup, our hundredth, promises to be an incredible celebration not only of the Grey Cup’s glorious and storied past, but also its bright future.”

Sources: CFL... This Is Our League History Canadian Football League History 100th Grey Cup - Toronto 2012

Tuesday, 11 September 2012 16:18

The Railway Club - Dunsmuir and Seymour

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In 1903 Mrs Thrythall was listed in the Building Permit Register owner, architect and developer of a frame store and dwelling at the corner of Dunsmuir and Seymour. Her husband, William, was one of the earlier printers in the city, setting up shop in 1888 with his son, also called William. The 1903 insurance map shows the corner developed with a printers office (electric motor) with offices above. The additions seem to have been further east, along Dunsmuit Street. The family name is recorded as both Thrythall and Trythall, so there’s some confusion, but Trythall seems to be correct. The company was still operating from the Seymour address in 1920, although a year later they have moved to Homer Street. Most history associated with the family is connected to Mt Trythall’s cabin, halfway up Grouse Mountain – when a climb to the summit took three days to accomplish.

Some time in the mid to late 1920s when this picture is thought to have been taken a new building was erected. It’s identified by the City Archives as the Lawsen Building – although there don’t seem to be any residents of the city called Lawsen in the late 1920s or early 1930s. But there was a Viggo Laursen, who was a solicitor for the BC Electric Railway Co, and he seems to be the likely owner. Viggo was born in Denmark but had arrived in 1893 with his parents, John and Mary, joining his brother, Otto, a plumber, who had arrived two years earlier. We’ve failed so far to identify the architect or builder.

By 1932 The Railway Club began as a members only card club for railway workers. Known initially as the Railwaymen’s Club, it was one of many membership only workingman clubs opened in the city after prohibition was lifted. The club occupied space once occupied by the European Concert Cafe on the upper floors of the Laursen Building. The club operated with a rare “red circle” license where card clubs like the Marine Club and Logger’s Social Club were given a choice by the government, stop the cards or the sale of liquor. Today the Railway Club continues to operate as a bar and live music venue with one of the most eclectic selections of music in the city.

Source: Changing Vancouver

Tuesday, 11 September 2012 16:12

Bank of Ottawa - West Hastings Street

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Here’s the Bank of Ottawa on the corner of Seymour and West Hastings in 1912. The new eight storey building was designed by W Marbury Somervell, but probably slightly changed by Somervell and Putnam (as it has a 1911 building permit in their name). It cost $225,000, and pictures of the construction show a reinforced concrete frame rather than all steel. The building bears a very strong resemblance to the BC Securities Building which is three blocks away and completed a year later to HS Griffith’s design.

The speed that construction could be completed on commercial buildings can be seen from the Contract Record report of September 1910. Work was just starting on the building site, clearing the existing buildings and excavating the basement, and it was expected the whole thing would be complete by May 1911, with occupancy coming a month later. There were 16 offices per floor above the banking floor, and the quality of the building was obviously aimed at all the other office buildings competing for tenants “The entrance to the vestibule and lobby will be handsomely done in marble, while the floors above will be trimmed throughout in birch and finished with mahogany. Other features of this latest addition to Vancouver’s tall buildings will be a vacuum heating system throughout, hot and cold water in all the offices, the Durham plumbing system, mail chute equipment, vacuum cleaning system for all the offices, and commodious toilet rooms on every floor.” The successful contracting bid came from McDonald and Wilson who started work in October 1910 and as far as we know completed on time.

In 1919 the Bank of Ottawa were merged with the Bank of Nova Scotia, and it stayed a branch of the new owners for over 30 years. In 1956 noted local architects Sharp, Thompson, Berwick and Pratt were given the design job of enlarging the bank building. The new project stripped the old building to its frame, replaced the small tobacco store with the billiards room behind (The Maple Leaf Club in 1946) that was next door and the restaurant with rooms over beyond that, and created a simple new office building which was nearly twice the size of the original. A more recent building upgrade in 1987 added an elegant projecting metal cornice to the building.

Source: Changing Vancouver

Tuesday, 11 September 2012 16:04

Treasured Back Then, and Still Today

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Vancouver Architects have designed some spectacular buildings over the past century, solving problems along the way and creating solutions that have made a lasting impression on the city. Here are a few well remembered structures and businesses that no longer grace our city.

A Postcard View From the Roof of the 2nd Hotel Vancouver

The Pier at English Bay

The Pantages Theatre

The Vancouver Opera House

The Cave Supper Club

The Original Stanley Park Entrance

Expo 86

The Vancouver Grizzlies

Canadian Pacific Airlines

The 2nd Cambie Street Bridge

Wednesday, 28 April 2010 15:29

Carnegie Library

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By the late 1890s the city was in need of a library - a real library rather than a room in another building. American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie was funding libraries all over North America, and Vancouver was viewed favourably for an investment in literature. (There were 125 Carnegie Libraries in Canada, almost all in Ontario, but Victoria and New Westminster got one too). G W Grant was hired to design the building, which was most definitely outside the CPR part of town, on the south-west corner of Westminster (Main) and Hastings. Carnegie donated $50,000 on the basis that the City would donate a site and spend $5,000 a year on running the library.

Work started in 1902 and nearly two years later the library opened. It was located next door to the new City Hall. An earlier City Hall was located at Powell Street in 1888. In 1898 the City moved to the building you can see to the south of the library. It was originally erected in 1889 as a market hall designed by C O Wickenden. It was built of Bowen Island bricks where Mayor David Oppenheimer had a financial interest in the brickworks. Unfortunately the clay, or the firing, wasn’t the finest, and Wickenden had to hastily change the design to add two buttressing towers to make sure the building stayed up.

In 1929 with the amalgamation of two other cities into Vancouver larger premises were needed and Council decamped to the Holden Building, an existing office also altered to become City Hall.

The Library stayed until the early 1950s, taking over the former City Hall as an Annex. After the Library moved to their new building on Burrard Street the Museum used the Carnegie building, and the old City Hall was demolished in 1958. After threats of demolition the renovated Carnegie Centre opened as a social service centre for the Downtown Eastside in 1980, incorporating a branch library and with a subtle addition designed by Downs Archambault to the south.

Image source: Library and Archives Canada

Wednesday, 18 July 2012 13:47

Vancouver Sectional Map & Street Directory

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The Sectional Map and Street Directory was the brainchild of a man named Robert Morton. Morton was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1856. He immigrated to Winnipeg in 1911, then moved to Vernon, BC, for about five years, and then to Calgary.

In 1931-32 Morton moved to Vancouver and took up residence at 2119 Maple Street. He began publishing a section map booklet and street index of the city because an ordinary map of Vancouver was too bulky to carry around. The booklet covered Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Surrey, Maillardville, Lulu Island, and Sea Island. Morton himself went door to door selling his booklets, and was still doing so at the age of 87 in 1942.

Of course maps are full of street names, and where exactly did all those street name come from? Who was Hastings Street named for? How about Hornby? Or what’s the story behind the naming of Charles Street? Now, thanks to the Vancouver Historical Society, which commissioned the work from Elizabeth Walker, and to the Vancouver Public Library, which has put it on line, you can get the answers to those and other questions. Click Here »

Wednesday, 18 July 2012 13:38

History of The Blueprint

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The cyanotype process, also known as the blue print process was invented by Sir John Herschel in 1842 and is still performed today by many darkroom enthusiasts. Herschel made numerous important contributions to photography. He made improvements in photographic processes, particularly in inventing the cyanotype process and variations (such as the chrysotype), the precursors of the modern blueprint process. He experimented with color reproduction, noting that rays of different parts of the spectrum tended to impart their own color to a photographic paper. He collaborated in the early 1840s with Henry Collen, portrait painter to Queen Victoria. Herschel originally discovered the platinum process on the basis of the light sensitivity of platinum salts, later developed by William Willis.

In 1861 Alphonse Louis Poitevin, a French chemist, found that ferro-gallate in gum is light sensitive. Light turns this to an insoluble permanent blue. A coating of this chemical on a paper or other base may be used to reproduce an image from a translucent document.

The ferro-gallate is coated onto a paper from aqueous solution and dried. The coating is yellow. In darkness it is stable for up to three days. It is clamped under glass and a light transmitting document in a daylight exposure frame, which is similar to a picture frame. The frame is put out into daylight requiring a minute or two under a bright sun or about ten times this under an overcast sky. Where ultra-violet light is transmitted the coating converts to a stable blue or black dye. The image can be seen forming, when a strong image is seen the frame is brought indoors and the unconverted coating, under the original image, is washed away. The paper is then dried.

The result is a copy of the original image with the clear background area rendered dark blue and the image reproduced as a white line. The image is stable.

Later other blueprint processes based on photosensitive ferric compounds were used. The best known is probably a process using ammonium ferric citrate and potassium ferricyanide. In this procedure a distinctly blue compound is formed and the process is also known as cyanotype. The paper is impregnated with a solution of ammonium ferric citrate and dried. When the paper is illuminated a photoreaction turns the trivalent (ferric) iron into divalent (ferrous) iron. The image is then developed using a solution of potassium ferricyanide forming insoluble ferroferricyanide (Turnball's blue identical to Prussian blue) with the divalent iron. Excess ammonium ferric citrate and potassium ferricyanide are then washed away.

This is a simple process for the reproduction of any light transmitting document. Engineers and architects drew their designs on cartridge paper; these were then traced on to tracing paper using Indian ink for reproduction whenever needed.

Traditional blueprints have largely been replaced by more modern, less expensive printing methods and digital displays. In the early 1940s, cyanotype blueprint began to be supplanted by diazo prints or whiteprints, which have blue lines on a white background; thus these drawings are also called blue-lines or bluelines. Other comparable dye-based prints are known as blacklines.

Diazo prints remain in use in some applications but in many cases have been replaced by xerographic print processes similar to standard copy machine technology using toner on bond paper. More recently, designs created using Computer-Aided Design techniques may be transferred as a digital file directly to a computer printer or plotter; in some applications paper is avoided altogether and work and analysis is done directly from digital displays. Another common modern method of copying is the use of large-format scanners. These digitize an image which can then be printed with a large-format plotter.

As print and display technology has advanced, the traditional term "blueprint" has continued to be used informally to refer to each type of image.

Source: Wikipedia.org

Thursday, 07 June 2012 05:00

1912 - The World Building

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In 1912 Dominion Blue Print & Drafting Company makes its debut in the city directory. It is one of eight companies involved in blueprints. A half page ad on page 226 of the 1912 directory indicates that Dominion Blue Print & Drafting Company, located at 36 Bank of Hamilton Building (432 Hamilton St.), is a Maker of Maps, Blueprints, Brown Line, and Blue Line Prints. Horace N. Clarke is listed as the Manager.

The newly completed World Building, located at the corner of Pender and Beattie Streets, was commissioned by L. D. Taylor to house his newspaper, The Vancouver World. It was designed by architect W. T. Whiteway, who also designed the original Woodward's building nearby. The intention was that the building would be visible throughout the World's circulation area as the tallest building in the city. John Coughland and Sons of Vancouver had 1,250 tons of steel fabricated for construction.

It is known for its faux-patina steel dome painted to imitate copper cladding. Nine nude muses, the "nine maidens" supporting the cornice line can be seen. The terracotta for this building, including the ladies, was made in Tamworth, Staffordshire, England by Gibbs and Canning Limited.

When it was completed in 1912, it was called The World Building and was the tallest building in the British Empire at 82 m (269 ft), surpassing the previous record-holder, the Dominion Building located just around the corner. For two years, it was the tallest building in Canada until Toronto's 20-story Optima Business Centre opened in 1914. In 1918, droves of Vancouverites turned out to watch as Harry Gardiner, the "Human Fly", scaled the outside of the building. When The Vancouver Sun bought the building in 1937, it was renamed. Although The Sun newspaper has long since relocated, first to South Granville then to Granville Square, the building has retained the name.

Thursday, 07 June 2012 04:00

1913 - The 2nd Hotel Vancouver

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The history of the redevelopment of the second Hotel Vancouver is surprisingly complicated. The CPR opened the first hotel in 1888. In 1893 they added a new wing known as the Van Horne wing on Granville Street, and then another completed around 1904 on Georgia Street at a cost of $100,000. This was designed with the intent of setting the style of the new, much larger hotel. By 1908 Eric Nicol noted that the Hotel “had 205 rooms, 75 with bath connections – a ratio bordering on hedonism”.

In 1910 the CPR excavated on Howe Street and in early 1911 built Honeyman and Curtis’s Annex. Meanwhile, at the end of 1910 the new CPR architect W S Painter obtained a building permit for an addition to the hotel. In January 1912 it was reported that a $1,000,000 14-storey replacement hotel would be built for the CPR. It wouldn’t just fill the Granville and Georgia corner, it filled the block all the way back to Robson and Howe.

In May, 1912 under the headline, To Start work on CPR Hotel in Fall’ the Contract Record said "The latest advices from Montreal by the C P R in Vancouver state that the board of directors of the railway company have approved an appropriation of $1,200,000 for the proposed reconstruction of the Hotel Vancouver, and another $215,000 for the power plant in connection with the hotel.

The main hotel building will occupy the site of the hotel office or central section and will be extended south as far as the Opera House lane. It will be at least twelve stories in height, and two additional stories will be added to the Georgia Street wing completed about eight years ago.

When completed the hotel, it is said, will have the largest ground floor corridors of any hotel in existence. Construction will be started late this fall as soon us the rush of tourists is over. The plans are now being prepared by Painter & Swale, Metropolitan bldg."

In October the Daily Building Record reported “Plans were filed with the building inspector yesterday for the proposed rebuilding of the Hotel Vancouver, corner of Georgia and Granville Streets, at a cost of $800,000. The structure will be of steel and concrete with terra cotta facings.

The building will be heated by steam and all of the partition walls will be fireproof. Hardwood floors are specified, also 3 passenger elevators and one for freight. The central portion of the bldg will be 14 storeys in height with wings on either side, the New Orpheum theatre, which is now being erected, being in the nature of a wing to correspond with the railway company’s main hotel bldg. Painter & Swales, Metropolitan bldg. are the architects. A contractor has not been set as yet.”

By November 1912 the architects (who had moved offices) were looking for suppliers of the terra cotta and the steel contract was let to J. Coughlin at a cost of $200,000. Then everything slowed down. In 1913 reports covered a revised version of the plans “The Canadian Pacific Railway recently deposited plans for four additional storeys to the central portion of the Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver, and for the east wing fronting on Granville street, at an estimated cost of $1,100,000. The estimated outlay on the work of reconstructing the central portion of the hotel, calling for twelve storeys, was $800,000, so that with the addition of the work now proposed, the ultimate cost will not be far short of $2,000,000. According to the plans, the central part of the structure will be sixteen storeys in height, and the east wing will be eleven storeys, with the exception of the centre, midway between Georgia street and the Orpheum theatre. Here a large hall will be situated, for banquet purposes. The entrance to this hall will be 87 feet by 59 feet, and will be from Granville street. The whole structure will be of reinforced concrete and steel construction, faced with pressed brick.” Painter and Swales obtained another permit – this one for $1,100,000, and construction started. The various replacement sections, additions and the extra height were now said to be costing $2,500,000. By the time the project was being built the architect was Francis Swales; like Francis Rattenbury who was the initial choice for the new hotel, W S Painter had abandoned the task.

Even then, everything wasn’t complete. The Granville Street wing was the last to be added, replacing the Van Horne wing, and completed in 1916. The company confirmed that year they would be adding 250 more rooms but not until the war was over. The company said the hotel had already cost $3,000,000 and the addition would cost $750,000 more. That part of the project never happened. Even as it was being planned, a long term future of the project was in doubt. In the meantime, the most remarkable and expensive building that the city had seen was open for business, with fabulous views out to the north shore mountains from the sixteenth storey roof garden and terrace.

In 1928 construction begins on the Hotel British Columbia (the current Hotel Vancouver). It was not completed until 1939.

Source: Changing Vancouver