‘Big Yellow Taxi’ Syndrome

CVA Str N24.1: 600 Block of Seymour Prior to Being Demolished for a Parking Lot, 1932.

CVA Str N24.1: 600 Block of Seymour Prior to Being Demolished for a Parking Lot, 1932.

Okay, this block of admittedly quite humdrum-looking commercial properties here on Seymour St. (between Dunsmuir and Georgia and across Seymour from the Hudson’s Bay Company) doesn’t really count as a ‘paradise’, at least in my books.  But it serves as an example of what became (to some Vancouver residents) a troubling theme in downtown until very recently: catering to the feeding, watering, and most vital of all, it would seem, parking of the automobile.

This block ultimately would come to be dominated by the HBC parking garage (aka “Parkwell Plaza”) shown below. In addition there was a section of this block (to the left of the image frame above) that would also become  (and has remained) a parking lot. And the tallish office building across Richards Street from St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (visible in the background of the image above) would also give way to a (still standing) multi-story parking garage.

CVA 778-417: 600 Seymour Street East Side (HBC Parkade), 1974.

CVA 778-417: 600 Seymour Street East Side (HBC Parkade), 1974.

St. Andrew’s would also be demolished by 1937; the immediate motive for its destruction, however, was so that a ‘union church’ structure combining the congregations of the presbyterian and methodist churches (the methodist was at Burrard and Georgia) could be built at the corner of  Burrard and Nelson streets (St Andrew’s-Wesley United Church). In 1976, an office structure was built where St. Andrew’s once was (475 West Georgia), but for decades prior, I believe, that lot, too, served as an auto storage facility.

The former St. Andrew’s Presbyterian case perhaps was a little closer to one of paving ‘paradise’ to put up a parking lot.

CVA Str P208: St Andrew's Presbyterian Church on northeast corner Georgia and Richards, 1899.

CVA Str P208: St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on northeast corner Georgia and Richards, 1899.

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