BCER Men’s Quarters

CVA: LGN 948 - [Construction of Men's Quarters for B.C. Electric Railway Company conductors and motormen, located at Main and Prior Streets], 1913.

CVA: LGN 948 – [Construction of Men’s Quarters for B.C. Electric Railway Company conductors and motormen, located at Main and Prior Streets], 1913.

 Architect Robert Lyon designed the Men’s Quarters of the B.C. Electric Railway (1913), shown under construction above. This structure is located at the SW corner of Main and Prior streets, across the street from where the BCER’s car barns were at the time (see first image below). The building was intended to provide “dormitory accommodation for unmarried streetcar motormen and conductors; it was considered expedient to house them nearby, so that they would be more likely to show up for work on a regular basis.” (D. Luxton, “Robert Lyon, 1879-1963” in Building the West, Donald Luxton, ed.)

CVA: Bu P212 – [Exterior of B.C. Electric Railway car barns – Prior Street and Westminster Avenue (Main Street)], 1899.

I must confess to never having noticed this building before I read about it in Luxton’s fine book. As it is, today, adjacent to the Cobalt Hotel, I’d always assumed that it was a wing of the Cobalt. The building seems to be empty today; there is a “For Lease” sign on the main floor exterior. (See comment from ChangingCity below for more details on current and possible future use).

Former BCER Men's Quarters at SW corner of Main and Prior streets. 2015. Author's photo.

Former BCER Men’s Quarters at SW corner of Main and Prior streets. 2015. Author’s photo.

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3 Responses to BCER Men’s Quarters

  1. Sheila says:

    I used to do life drawing in this building.

  2. ChangingCity says:

    It isn’t a residential building (yet). It was artist’s studios – nobody was supposed to live there though. The residential developer who owns the building increased the rents, and the artists moved en masse further east. A residential conversion and addition was approved several years ago, but has yet to happen. It’s probably now waiting for a final decision on the viaducts, which are right by the building.

  3. mdm says:

    Much obliged for these details.

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