Happiness Cafe and Neighbours

CVA 447-321 - Main and Cordova Sts. 1951 WE Frost photo

Crop #1 of CVA 447-321 – Main and Cordova Sts. 1951 WE Frost photo.

I love this Walter Frost image for several reasons. But my three principal reasons appear below.

First of all it shows a city block that was on the cusp of huge change. Within a few years of the making of this photo, this SE corner of Main at Cordova would be transformed into the concrete hulk that would be known (in true 1950s fashion) as the Public Safety Building, aka the new home of the Vancouver Police.

I’m also indebted to Mr Frost because he has shown in this image an older cinema building in Vancouver, the Star Theatre, that stood on this site for decades* but of which I’ve been unable to find another photo in the online collections of the City of Vancouver Archives or the Historical Photos of the Vancouver Public Library.

I love it also for reasons that aren’t, strictly speaking, historical; more arty. I’m pleased that Mr Frost chose to include so many people walking on the street. It creates more interest, in my opinion. I’m especially pleased that he captured a gent looking out the window above the Happiness Cafe; perhaps he was looking at Mr Frost, with his camera perhaps mounted on a tripod, as he took this image. I like that element of the above image so much, that I’ve cropped it even more (it was already somewhat cropped by me) to allow the viewer to focus on this fellow and a few of his neighbours as they passed on Main Street below.

CVA 447-321 - Main and Cordova Sts. 1951 WE Frost photo-2

Crop #2 of CVA 447-321 – Main and Cordova Sts. 1951 WE Frost photo.


*Star Theatre began life on the west side of this block (327) in 1914 and moved over to this location on the east side of Main (328/330) by 1922.

This entry was posted in cafes/restaurants/eateries, Photographers, street scenes, theatre/vaudeville/cinemas, W. E. Frost and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Happiness Cafe and Neighbours

  1. ChangingCity says:

    There is another image of the same theatre in 1925, although it’s not identified as such. CVA 99-1265 shows the same block from the opposite angle.

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