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Vancouver History, History, Life, Arts

9 amazing vintage images of Vancouver Art Gallery plaza (PHOTOS)

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Jenni Sheppard Jul 18, 2017 1:27 am 1,343

Vancouverites may be basking in the sun on the Vancouver Art Gallery’s new $9.6-million plaza – but what did the plaza look like in years gone by?

We took a look around the archives to take you on a journey to another time and space, when the Art Gallery was still the courthouse.

Vancouver Law Court in the 1910s

Vancouver Law Court in the 1910s (Vancouver Archives)

Vancouver Law Court in the 1910s (Vancouver Archives)

This image shows the Vancouver Law Court. This would in turn become the provincial courthouse, and then finally the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Cycle race outside BC courthouse in the late 1910s

A cycle race outside the BC courthouse in the late 1910s (Vancouver Archives)

A cycle race outside the BC courthouse in the late 1910s (Vancouver Archives)

This photo shows cyclists about to compete in a cycle race past the courthouse and a group of well-dressed onlookers sometime between 1918 and 1921.

Flagpole being raised at BC courthouse in 1913

A flagpole being raised in BC courthouse square in Vancouver in 1913 (Vancouver Archives)

A flagpole being raised in BC courthouse square in Vancouver in 1913 (Vancouver Archives)

This photo shows an aerial view taken from Hotel Vancouver, as a flagpole is raised in the square outside the BC courthouse.

Horse-drawn float outside BC courthouse in 1919

A horse-drawn float outside the BC courthouse in 1919 (Vancouver Archives)

A horse-drawn float outside the BC courthouse in 1919 (Vancouver Archives)

This photo shows a horse-drawn float for the Child Welfare Association of British Columbia in front of the provincial courthouse in 1919.

On top of the float sit a group of children holding signs reading, “We need more schools,” “The hope of a nation,” and “We are your future.”

BC Postmasters outside the courthouse in 1933

BC Postmasters outside the provincial courthouse in Vancouver in 1933 (Vancouver Archives)

BC Postmasters outside the provincial courthouse in Vancouver in 1933 (Vancouver Archives)

This 1933 portrait shows a group of BC Postmasters gathered for their Annual Convention outside the courthouse, which would later become the Art Gallery.

Governor General outside BC courthouse in 1935

The Governor General outside the BC courthouse in Vancouver in 1935 (Vancouver Archives)

The Governor General outside the BC courthouse in Vancouver in 1935 (Vancouver Archives)

This image shows Vere Brabazon Ponsonby, 9th Earl of Bessborough and then Governor General, presenting medals outside the courthouse in 1935.

PNE Parade outside the courthouse in 1950

PNE Opening Day Parade outside the BC courthouse in Vancouver in 1950 (Vancouver Archives)

PNE Opening Day Parade outside the BC courthouse in Vancouver in 1950 (Vancouver Archives)

This image shows the BC Telephone Company float at the PNE Opening Day Parade in 1950 – with the then BC courthouse and Hotel Vancouver in the background.

BC courthouse columns in the 1970s

The columns of the BC courthouse in Vancouver in the 1970s (Vancouver Archives)

The columns of the BC courthouse in Vancouver in the 1970s (Vancouver Archives)

This photo shows the columns of the provincial courthouse – which would soon become the Art Gallery – in the 1970s.

Vancouver Art Gallery plaza in 1986

Vancouver Art Gallery plaza in 1986 (Vancouver Archives)

Vancouver Art Gallery plaza in 1986 (Vancouver Archives)

This photo, taken by Vancouver’s Social Planning Department, shows the plaza three years after the courthouse became the Art Gallery.

The comment attached to this image read:

“Square is a very formal space more [ceremonial] than useful. Courthouse steps provide only seating; use of grass area limited to good weather.”

See also

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Jenni Sheppard
Jenni is a former Senior Staff Writer at Daily Hive. Happy Vancouverite. Traveller, snowboarder, foodie, film fan, feminist, geek, cheesemaker, curler.

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