Despite its relative youth, Vancouver’s history is nevertheless like any other in that it’s layered in architecture. The great fire of 1886 wiped out most of the town when it was still in its infancy, so what we see today of its base layer – especially in and around Gastown, where the fire was most thorough in its destruction – are the surviving buildings that replaced the earlier wooden ones that had burned to cinder. Nowadays, however, there is so much modern clutter that classic sight lines of this layer are few and far between.
The most beautiful of those that remain is the one afforded by looking south up Cambie St. between Water and Cordova. The view is dominated by John S. Helyer’s iconic Dominion Building, which was completed in 1910 and has a fascinating history of its own. Scout’s first office was on the top floor of the short sunlit building on the left. We had to look out of it sometimes to be reminded of the century we were in! To fully appreciate the view, go in the morning when the angled sunlight goes to work on the brick and paintwork.
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