Vancouver’s City Hall Destroyed The Original ‘Strathcona Park’ by Landing On It

You Should Know is a growing collection of longer-format reads with historical bents. Each story focuses on a fascinating thing about Vancouver (or its surroundings) that every local and visitor should know about. Explore the YSK archive here.

10th Avenue and Cambie Street, site of City Hall, 1934. CoV Archives, City N29.2

Did you know that Strathcona Park on the south side of Prior Street is actually the second park in Vancouver with that name? The original was located on the parcel of land that now houses City Hall. The City acquired the first Strathcona Park around 1903 during the tenure of Vancouver Mayor Thomas Fletcher Neelands (1902-1903).

After the amalgamation of Vancouver with Point Grey and South Vancouver in 1929, a more “centralized” location for the new City Hall was sought by then-Mayor Gerry McGeer. There were two main contenders for the relocation: the former Central School site at what is now Victory Square and Strathcona Park at the corner of Cambie and 12th.

Detail of Fire Insurance Map 342 showing the location of Strathcona Park. CoV Archives, Map 342a, plate 28

On account of its position on a prominent elevation with sweeping views of downtown and the North Shore (not to mention its central location within the rapidly expanding city), Strathcona Park was chosen. They broke ground for it on January 3rd, 1936. Less than a year later, at a cost of $1,000,000, Vancouver’s Art Deco-style City Hall was officially opened on December 2nd, 1936.

NB: Vancouver was the first (and remains the only) city in Canada to locate their City Hall outside of its central downtown core.

There is 1 comment

  1. Thanks for this! Would you share what you know about the choice of location for the 2nd Strathcona Park in Vancouver? I live in Strathcona and we have heard that former Mayor Malkin donated the land to the city. For $1.

    Thank you.

You Should Know About Pigeon Park

How commercial interests, social engineering politicians, pigeons and people shaped the Downtown Eastside's "living room".

You Should Know About ‘Newsie Jack’

At just 5'1", newspaper seller Jack Kanchikoff may have been small in stature, but he left a big impression on Vancouver.

The Hidden Last Vestige of Old Mount Pleasant

In the shadow of a new, 21-storey luxury condo development sits a forgotten piece of neighbourhood history.

Once a Local Prison, Now a Preschool and Pub

The remnants of the old BC Pen in New Westminster have come a long way in their storied history and you should know about it.