This self-guided walking tour will give you a big picture view of how policies, planning initiatives and recent development have transformed Vancouver’s downtown over the past two decades. In that time, downtown has evolved from a primarily business district to a lively, accessible central area that also provides residential housing, parks, and community centres, and brings a range of experiences and services within easy reach. In short, it is a livable, walkable downtown.
|Elevation change||33 m|
The great Vancouver fire on June 13, 1886 destroyed most of the buildings in the City. The new city structures reflect the many architectural trends and movements in the 20th century.
This route is made up of paved sidewalks with curb ramps. The route is wheelchair accessible.
Points of interest
- W Pender Street
- W Hastings Street
- Sinclair Centre
- Credit Foncier, Bank of Canada, Vancouver Club
- Burrard Street
- W Georgia Street and Burrard
- Shangri-La, Electra Building and Wall Centre
- Robson Square
- W Georgia Street
W Pender Street
BC Permanent Building - 330 W Pender St
1907 - This edifice is a small-scale but well executed example of Beaux-Art classicism. The impressive open interior features a Tiffany style stained-glass dome and mosaic tile floors. The perimeter windows display the Yukon, Great Britain and eight provincial coats of arms.
Architects - Thomas Hooper & Elwood Watkins
W Hastings Street
Harbour Centre - 555 W Hastings St
1974-1975 - Built in the brutish style this building is 146.9 m high plus a 100 ft.spire.. At the top the tower is the space needle like platform with a revolving restaurant. It is accessed by two exterior glass elevators. This building wasthe tallest in Vancouver from 1977 to 2001.
Architects: Eng Wright
Winch Building - 739 W Hastings St
1908-1909 - Designed in the Beaux-Arts style, this building was named after cannery pioneer Richard Winch. It is distinguished by its symmetrical design, stone exterior, steel reinforced concrete and original tile floor.
Architects: Hooper & Watkins
Canada Place - 999 Canada Place
1986 - Built for Expo 86, this tent-like structure resembles a sailing ship. It includes a hotel, convention centre and cruise ship facilities.
The Vancouver Convention Centre was expanded to the west. It was completed shortly before the 2010 Winter Olympics and served as the broadcast location and media centre for the games.
Architect – Zeidler-Roberts Partnership with Downs-Archambault
Credit Foncier, Bank of Canada, Vancouver Club
Vancouver Club - 915 W Hastings St
1912-1914 - Designed in a neo-Georgian style, this five-storey building has a symmetrical five-bay, brick and terra cotta front facade. It is an imposing presence with its classical revival ornamentation. The Vancouver club reproduces the atmosphere of a luxurious London club and has been the primary social organization for many of the city’s prominent citizens.
Architects - George Lister Thornton Sharp and Charles Joseph Thompson
Park Place - 666 Burrard St
This building is 137 meters high with 35 stories. The tower is the largest office space in Vancouver but only occupies 35% of the site. The remaining land is dedicated to open green space including a water fall and amphitheatre. The facade features pink granite with flush-mounted copperglazed windows that match the granite’s appearance.
Architect Musson, Cattell, Mackey
W Georgia Street and Burrard
Hotel Vancouver - 900 W Georgia St
1929-1939 - Designed in the Scottish chateau style, the hotel was completed in 1939 for the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. At 111 meters, it was the City’s tallest building from 1939 to 1972. The green roof is made of oxidized copper. It is adorned with carvings of mythical creatures include griffins, flying horses and parapets embellished with gargoyles.
Architect - Archibald and Schofield
Shangri-La, Electra Building and Wall Centre
Wall Centre - 1000 Burrard St
2001 - At 149.7 meters, this skyscraper has 48 floors and was the City’s tallest building from 2001– 08. The building has a two tone appearance as the lower floors have dark glazed windows while the upper floors have the light coloured Yaletown-green look typical of other Vancouver skyscrapers.
Architects - Busby and Associates
Old Law Courts/Vancouver Art Gallery
1906-1913 - Designed in the neoclassical tradition with formal portico, columns and ornate stone work, it is currently home to the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Architect - Francis Rattenbury
W Georgia Street
Library Square - 350 W Georgia St
1993-1995 - Reminiscent of the Roman Forum this building has 315 arches and nine floors. The glass concourse serves as an entry foyer to the library and adjacent public spaces around the interior piazza.
Architect - Moshe Safdie & Associates & Downs/ Archambault Partners