Familiar. . . Yet Different

CVA 800-2000 desc in progr

CVA 800-2000 “Description in Progress”. (900 block Granville, South of Smithe; ca 1970-72).

Although the City of Vancouver Archives (CVA) – the source of this image –  apparently isn’t satisfied that all necessary details of the image are pinned down (its title as of the publication of this post is “Description in Progress”), it appears to be a northward view of downtown Vancouver taken from about the middle of the 900 block on the east side of Granville St (downtown), circa 1970-72.

Out of what hat did I pull the date for the image? From the construction in the background of the photo of the TD Tower (at the time, the “Stock Exchange Tower”, 700 West Georgia), finished 1972. The Tower stands on the site of the second Hotel Vancouver (1916-49). HV#2 was the most stunningly beautiful of all three HVs, in my judgement (the third and current HV is three blocks west, at Burrard and Georgia); it was pulled down in 1949, after which the lot sat vacant for 20 years until construction began on the TD Tower, aka the “Dark Tower”, a derisive nickname that stuck partly due to the dark, reflective glass with which it was clad and partly to the sharp contrast between its appearance and that of the earlier – and still much-loved – occupant of the lot. (1)

Most of the structures on the west side of Granville remain intact south of Smithe (the corner where the House of Stein stereo shop/Gresham Hotel appear), although most of those that are visible have  different tenants, today. One of the most notable of these is the Studio Theatre ( prior to the time of this image, called the “Eve” adult cinema; after the time of this image, it was known variously as the Lyric, Towne, Studio again, and – in its final theatre incarnation, as the “Paradise”; today, it is”Joe’s Apartment” nightclub). However, the most distinctive feature of the building – its neon signage – is, unfortunately, lost.

(1)  A possible  confirmation of my rough date of 1970-72 for this photo may be seen in the billboard of the Vogue Theatre (partly visible on the right mid-way up the photo). A Rock Hudson flick called Hornets’ Nest was released in 1970, and could be the name of the first film in the double feature then playing at the Vogue.


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