Vancouver Aerial, 1951
In my routine scouring of the internet in search of old Vancouver photos, I came across a website filled with some amazing, high quality mid-century aerial shots of BC. The images are scans of photos taken by the website owner’s father, who worked in the survey/drafting/mapping business from the late 1940s to the late 1960s. More photos are being added as they get scanned, and high quality prints are available for purchase.
This image is part of a 1951 photo of Vancouver north of the old Georgia Viaduct. It’s worth looking at the large size and checking out what’s changed and what remains. Here are some things that stuck out for me:
The Woodward’s “W” is still at the base of the mini-Eiffel Tower base. (The tower originally supported a bright search-light type beacon, which Ottawa made Woodward’s shut down because the same lights were used at the airport, hence the giant “W”). The Vancouver Sun was still housed in the Sun Tower. The previous tenant was a Seattle-based moving/storage company called Bekins, an ad for which can be seen on a building on the other side of Pender. Simpson’s department store is in The Landing building (where Steamwork’s restaurant now is) and the International Village site was still part of the rail yards. The building marked “Odeon Hastings Theatre” was originally the lavish second Pantages Theatre (and later the Beacon) built in 1917. That site is now the new, Arthur Erickson designed, Portland Hotel. And at the bottom left is the old Georgia Viaduct traversing the train yard and parking lots; that area has since been transformed with a soccer field, park, mall, Chinese garden, and condos.