Vancouver’s West End is one of the most desirable, vibrant and culturally rich neighbourhoods in the city. The Jervis, an upcoming development from Intracorp Projects Ltd., is looking to bring that culture to a whole new generation of residents.
Last month, Intracorp hosted a walking tour of some of the most interesting buildings in the West End, peeling back the curtain of history.
Overlooking tree-lined avenues, heritage sites and quaint, locally-owned businesses, the Jervis will be joining a rich cultural history of architecture, with some buildings more than 100 years old. Originally designated as a neighbourhood for Vancouver’s wealthy elite, the West End contains remnants of these lavish accommodations, with apartment buildings, restaurants and cafes thriving inside of places that used to hold galas, drinking parlours and the lion’s share of the city’s fortunes.
Perhaps one of the most iconic West End buildings, Gabriola House was initially constructed in the early 1900s for Benjamin T. Rogers, owner of BC Sugar. Named for the stone used in its construction – sandstone quarried on Gabriola Island – the building went through numerous owners, including serving for years as Romano’s Macaroni Grill, before going on sale late last year.
The Sylvia Hotel was originally opened as an apartment building in 1912 by Seattle-based architect W.P. White, for Abraham Goldstein. Named for Goldstein’s daughter Sylvia, the hotel quickly became a landmark. During the Great Depression, the building was converted into an apartment hotel, and during World War 2 many suites were converted to separate rooms, and used as accommodations for visiting merchant marines. Its famous brick and terracotta exterior, cloaked in Virginia creeper vines, has become a fixture of the Vancouver shoreline.
Not all of the West End’s architecture spans from the city’s founding. The Euginia Building at 1919 Beach Avenue was built in 1991, and designed by architect Richard Henriquez. To pay homage to the towering trees seen lining the coast when Captain George Vancouver first sighted the region that would someday bear his name, Henriquez planted a pin oak on the building’s roof, at approximately the same height the trees would have stood. Concrete stumps still litter the building’s premises, and artificial roots can be seen in the ground if you look closely.
David Jacobson, Director of Development at Intracorp Project Ltd. says this rich history, and thriving community, is part of what drew the company to the West End in the first place.
“The shops and cafes are full of people, everyone is riding and biking and walking, and the weather is obviously great,” he said. “That’s what we see when we look at this really fantastic opportunity here in the West End, is to bring more folks to come and live here.”
The Jervis will be complete in mid-2017. For more information on progress, and for information on Intracorp’s developments, you can visit them online.