Originally posted April, 2017
The NE corner of Georgia and Richards is currently occupied by an office block (475 W Georgia). The building itself is not remarkable. It is distinguished by a sculpture of a life-sized bull which eyes the property kitty-corner from the building (Telus Gardens).
The first occupant of the corner in the earliest years of the City was St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. The large church building would remain on the site until 1937, when it was demolished and the congregation moved with the congregants of Wesley Methodist Church (SW corner Burrard at Georgia; also demolished) into their new, combined quarters at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church (SW corner, Burrard at Nelson).
It isn’t clear to me what occupied the site of the Presbyterian Church in the decade immediately following the church’s demolition. It probably served as a parking lot until the postwar years.
In 1948, the Ford automobile dealership/service station shown above was established on the corner. Black Motors had two locations about a block apart: its sales location at the corner of Dunsmuir & Homer and the site shown above at Georgia and Richards. The dealership continued to do business at Georgia and Richards until about 1952. From that year, it appears that the two sides of the automobile dealer’s business were consolidated at the Dunsmuir and Homer location.
Whether the Georgia and Richards property was sold or not, isn’t clear. But the business certainly changed: from car dealership to restaurant: Black’s Restaurant (note the apostrophe-s attached to the restaurant’s name).
Whoever owned the restaurant – whether a new owner or George Black, the president of Black Motors (or a member of his family) – they seemed to have excellent advice on how to convert the dealership into a restaurant. The counter area, in particular, looks like it was a brilliant redesign of the original parts department.
Behind where the photographer was standing to take the counter photo, was a dining room in what, I’m guessing, was formerly the service department of the dealership.
Black’s Restaurant, didn’t last long. By the early 1960s, the space had become home to an auto upholstery outfit. And by the mid-’60s, the building that had housed Black Motors and Black’s Restaurant had been demolished to make way for . . . (you guessed it) . . . a parking garage!
The office building on the corner today was constructed in 1976. The Bull sculpture (Fafard), “Royal Sweet Diamond”, has been on the site from about 2000.
(2018 Update: The Royal Sweet Diamond sculpture has been quietly removed from this site, apparently as part of the preparation of the ground level of the building for new tenants, Canada Post and BMO. Hopefully, its removal isn’t permanent!)