Courthouse Fountain ‘Switcheroo’

Edward VII Fountain-Thirkell & Scullion

From: Vancouver & Beyond: During the Golden Age of Postcards 1900-1914 by Fred Thirkell and Bob Scullion. Surrey: Heritage House Pub. 2000, p. 53.

CVA 1435-649 – Courthouse fountain, Vancouver 1967 Jack Lindsay pho

These images are of roughly the same view of the north side of the Vancouver Courthouse (as it then was; now, although not for much longer, the Vancouver Art Gallery). The top image is of a drinking fountain on the site from 1912-1966. This fountain was erected by the IODE (International Order, Daughters of the Empire) in memory of King Edward VII (1841-1910). The fountain was unveiled by Mayor James Findlay and it was reported in the local newspapers that Findlay “quaffed the first draught of water from the fountain, and his example was quickly followed by a number of those present.”  The designer/sculptor of the memorial fountain was Charles Marega (who also created the Harding Memorial in Stanley Park, the bust of Mayor Oppenheimer at the Beach Ave. entrance to the Park, and the Joe Fortes memorial fountain at English Bay, among other works). Water poured from the Lion’s mouth and chained to the fountain were two bronze drinking cups. (The fountain appears to have been designed before angst over public health, germs and such!) Predictably, the cups were promptly stolen.

In 1966, the memorial drinking fountain was removed from its position of prominence in front of the courthouse and was replaced with a much ‘splashier’, non-drinking fountain erected by the provincial government to commemorate the union of the crown colonies of Vancouver Island and B.C. a century before.  The Edward VII fountain was stored in the basement of the courthouse until public opinion forced civic officials to refurbish and reassemble it. Today, the Edward VII fountain is located on the west side of the Art Gallery. It has suffered considerably in recent years from vandalism and wear/tear. (Vancouver and Beyond, Thirkell and Scullion, 52-53).

Note that the second (1967) image was made in the lane between the Hotels Georgia (left) and Devonshire (right). Today, HSBC bank is on the property where the Devonshire was.

There are rumours that the 1966 fountain will be removed from its current site (apparently, it has been leaking into the basement of the VAG). Maybe this is an opportunity to reinstall the Edward VII fountain where it spent the better part of the previous century!


Here is an HDR image of the back side of the fountain. The quotation is Shakespearean: “Not monumental stone preserves our fame, nor sky-aspiring pyramids our name. The memory of him, for whom this stands, shall outlive marble, or defacers’ hands.” (This appears to have been used first as an epitaph for Sir Thomas Stanley’s tomb in Shropshire). The line seemed particularly apt as, moments after I’d taken this image, a City of Vancouver employee came along to remove a “D” ineptly inked by a defacer’s hand, to the front of the fountain, making “Edward” “DEdward”. 2016. Author’s photo.

This entry was posted in books/reading, Jack Lindsay, parks, postcards, street scenes, yesterday & today and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Courthouse Fountain ‘Switcheroo’

  1. Pingback: Cecil Akrigg and Stan Lowe Go for a Climb | Vancouver As It Was: A Photo-Historical Journey

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