I was trolling through CVA’s online photographic holdings this morning when I came across this image. It wasn’t the first time. Once again, I was struck by how much it appeals to me.
The appeal of this northward shot of downtown Granville Street is that it’s an image of the street at the end of an era.
Although neon is in evidence, it would, within very few years, be considered “ugly” and would gradually disappear from the street that was once known as “the great white way”. (If you’re interested in seeing a video of Vancouver neon, there is a pretty good one here (if I do say so myself).
The new bridge would permanently alter traffic (and retail) patterns with Howe and Seymour each becoming one-way streets. And the bridge would invite more automobiles than ever before into the downtown district. That, in turn, would result in the construction of the many parkades still dotting downtown today, as well as a great many service stations (I count 50-some on the 1960 map below).
In short, Granville Street and downtown generally were on the verge of major change at the time the 1954 photo was taken.