Historic Buildings of Downtown Vancouver

Within a mile radius of each other, along Granville Street, the Vancouver Block, Rogers Building, Vancouver Art Gallery, and Waterfront Station reflect the economic prosperity of a nascent Vancouver at the turn of the twentieth century. 

Vancouver as we know it today, was incorporated as a city in 1886, driven by the implementation of a terminal station by the Canadian  Pacific Railway. Far from an uninhabited land, the city of Vancouver was established upon the unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, whose ancestors have acted as stewards of the land for millennia.   

By the start of the 20th century, Vancouver had quickly become the most economically successful centre along Canada’s Pacific Coast (Roy 2011). Such prosperity was expressed through the construction of ornate and expansive architecture. Buildings like the Vancouver Block and Rogers Building reflect the commercial opportunities of the time, with affluent business owners commissioning their construction. Similarly the former Vancouver Law Courts (now home to the Vancouver Art Gallery) and the Waterfront Station were built to accommodate the needs of a rapidly growing population.

With each built between 1906 and 1914, these four buildings have witnessed over a century of change. Today, these buildings are recognized for their historical significance by the city of Vancouver Heritage Conservation program.  To learn more about each building consult the list below.

Thank you to Equitable Real Estate Investment Corp Ltd. for their support as our Vancouver/BC outreach partner for Historic Places Days 2023.


Roy, Patricia E.. “Vancouver.” The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Article published February 13, 2011; Last Edited December 16, 2022. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/vancouver.

“Indigenous Heritage.” Vancouver Heritage Foundation. https://www.vancouverheritagefoundation.org/discover-heritage/indigenous-heritage/.

Vancouver Block. https://www.vancouverblock.org/.

Vancouver Heritage Foundation. https://www.vancouverheritagefoundation.org/

Banner Photo: Vancouver, BC | 1913. Credit: City of Vancouver Archives, AM1376-:CVA 220-04, Richard Broadbridge, photographer




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