Vancouver Then and Now: Skyline (PHOTOS)

934b8bf0c8e2a9efe392a5c724fd7ec5?s=96&d=mm&r=g
Guest Author Aug 15, 2016 6:03 pm

Story by Andrew Farris, Founder and CEO of the On This Spot app. This is part of a six-part series in which he’ll share some of the photos and history you can find on the app with Daily Hive readers.

See also

Vancouver has always been a city blessed with natural beauty and boundless optimism. The first Europeans who settled here 130 years ago had much the same reasons for loving this place as we do. The Vancouver World newspaper wrote in 1891:

“Everyone visiting Vancouver will admit that it is difficult to conceive of a site more admirably adapted for the situation of a great commercial city than the peninsula upon which this city is located. Nature and the development of commerce in the part of this hemisphere both point to Vancouver as the inevitable site of one of the great commercial centres of the world.

“The scenery that surrounds the city is magnificent. Across the harbour towers the grand range of the Cascades. At all seasons these mountains are a beautiful object for the eye to rest upon, especially upon a clear day, when their splendid panorama is fully unrolled to the observer’s delighted vision. On the south and east, Vancouver is shut in by the dark masses of the primeval forests on which the woodman’s axe scarce seems to have made itself felt. For picturesque beauty and grandeur, the site of Vancouver is unsurpassed by that of any other city in the world.”

Since those early days, people have visited Stanley Park and looked back at the city growing just across the water.

Many of them took photos, and for the On This Spot app we have restaged some of them from the same perspective.

Road building in 1888

1888: A man takes a break from building the road through Stanley Park to look back at the city. In 1888, Vancouver was a tiny but rapidly growing settlement centred on Gastown. It was almost completely surrounded by forests.

1888: A man takes a break from building the road through Stanley Park to look back at the city (Vancouver Archives)

(Vancouver Archives)

On this spot now…

(On This Spot)

(On This Spot)

Canada Day in 1889

1889: A number of ships have put out their signal flags to celebrate Canada Day on July 1, 1889. After the Canada Pacific Railway arrived in Vancouver in 1887, the city grew at a fantastic pace and ships from all over the world stopped in Vancouver. Because Canada was part of the British Empire, the biggest and most powerful empire in history, many people expected Vancouver would soon be bigger and more important than American cities like San Francisco and Seattle. In those years it certainly grew faster than them.

1889: A number of ships have put out their signal flags to celebrate Canada Day on July 1 (Vancouver Archives)

(Vancouver Archives)

On this spot now…

(On This Spot)

(On This Spot)

Skyline in the 1890s

1890s: In this photo you can see just how tiny Vancouver once was, with only a few scattered buildings in the downtown core.

1890s: In this photo you can see just how tiny Vancouver once was, with only a few scattered buildings in the downtown core. (Vancouver Archives)

(Vancouver Archives)

On this spot…

(On This Spot)

(On This Spot)

Skyline in 1898

1898: In this grainy photo there are some ships in Vancouver’s harbour. In 1897 the Klondike Gold Rush was on and thousands of gold prospectors stopped in Vancouver to buy supplies for the long, hard journey north. This buoyed businesses and sparked the biggest growth spurt and economic boom in Vancouver’s history. From 1891 to 1911 the population grew by over 750%.

1898: In this grainy photo there are some ships in Vancouver's harbour. (Vancouver Archive)

(Vancouver Archive)

On this spot now…

(On This Spot)

(On This Spot)

Skyline in the 1900s

1900: You can see by now that the West End has started filling out with homes and churches. The neighbourhood you see to the west of Granville Street was where most of the city’s rich elite lived, earning it the nickname “Blueblood Alley.” The economic boom from 1897 to 1913 helped cause a gigantic speculative real estate bubble that was fueled by foreign money from Britain. When the bubble burst in 1913 the economic consequences were devastating and some parts of Vancouver didn’t recover for 40 years. There is a tour in the app about the fascinating history of real estate speculation in Vancouver that is very relevant to us today.

1900: You can see by now that the West End has started filling out with homes and churches. (Vancouver Archives)

(Vancouver Archives)

On this spot now…

(On This Spot)

(On This Spot)

Skyline in the 1920s

1920: A very quiet looking Coal Harbour in 1920.

1920: A very quiet looking Coal Harbour in 1920. (Vancouver Archives)

(Vancouver Archives)

On this spot now…

(On This Spot)

(On This Spot)

Skyline in 1928

1928: You can see many large buildings downtown by the 1920s, but almost all of these were built between 1905 and 1913, when the real estate bubble caused a huge building boom. With skyscrapers like the Dominion Tower and Sun Tower, for a little while Vancouver boasted some of the tallest buildings in the world.

1928: You can see many large buildings downtown by the 1920s, but almost all of these were built between 1905 and 1913, when the real estate bubble caused a huge building boom. (Vancouver Archives)

(Vancouver Archives)

On this spot now…

(On This Spot)

(On This Spot)

Waterfront

1929: The busy Vancouver waterfront, with a couple of big steamers docked at the huge piers. These steamers were the passenger airliners of the time and brought people to Vancouver from all over the world.

1929: The busy Vancouver waterfront, with a couple of big steamers docked at the huge piers. (Vancouver Archives)

(Vancouver Archives)

On this spot now…

(On This Spot)

(On This Spot)

Skyline in the 1940s

1940s: Behind the Coal Harbour marina you can see two big new buildings dominating the skyline. On the right is the third Hotel Vancouver (the first and second were demolished) and on the left is the famous Art Deco style Marine Building.

1940s: Behind the Coal Harbour marina you can see the third Hotel Vancouver and the famous Art Deco style Marine Building. (Vancouver Archives)

(Vancouver Archives)

On this spot now…

(On This Spot)

(On This Spot)

Skyline in the 1950s

1950: Another shot of the skyline with a couple people relaxing on the grass and on the beach in the foreground. After World War II construction on many of the big, modern condo and office towers would soon begin, creating modern Vancouver’s skyline. Today those old buildings are mostly still there, but they are hidden behind a forest of glass and steel towers.

1950: Another shot of the skyline with a couple people relaxing on the grass and on the beach in the foreground. (Vancouver Archives)

(Vancouver Archives)

On this spot now…

(On This Spot)

(On This Spot)

The On This Spot app offers you a guided tour of Vancouver’s historic photo spots and allows you to create your own then and now photo mash-ups as you walk around.

The app launched in Vancouver this year, but will expand to other major cities in Canada and the US soon – if you have a talent for writing history tours, On This Spot wants to know.

To download the app for Android or iPhone, for more info or to contact Andrew, check here: onthisspot.ca


934b8bf0c8e2a9efe392a5c724fd7ec5?s=96&d=mm&r=g
Guest Author
Guest posts are welcome to Daily Hive. Send in your thoughts: [email protected]

© 2017 Buzz Connected Media Inc.