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

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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.

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