In the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs, we have historic photographs depicting street scenes in Vancouver in the early 1900s. In this post, we will introduce some of our favourite photographs, showing the heritage buildings in Downtown Vancouver. We hope you can identify these buildings and how they have changed since then!

Carnegie Library

Carnegie Library, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?]

The building is located on the corner of Main Street and Hastings Streets and is now the Vancouver Public Library, Carnegie Branch.

Holy Rosary Cathedral

The Church of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?]

Church of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1901 and 1910?]

The Holy Rosary Cathedral is located at the intersection of Richards and Dunsmuir streets. It opened on December 8, 1900. It is listed on the Vancouver Heritage Register and is a legally protected building (source: Wikipedia). Here is a photo of the altar in the Holy Rosary Cathedral.

Sanctuary of R.C. Cathedral, Vancouver, B.C., [1906]

Hotel Europe

Hotel Europe, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1905 and 1915?]

The caption on the postcard reads, “The only ABSOLUTELY fireproof hotel in the Dominion – when in Vancouver, visit us”.

The building was constructed in 1908-1909. Situated on a triangular area formed by Powell Street and Alexander Street, beside the Maple Tree Square in Gastown, it is designed in the “flatiron” style. The name “flatiron” derives from the building’s resemblance to a cloth iron. (Source: Wikipedia).

Dominion Trust Building

Another flatiron-style heritage building is the Dominion Trust Building at the corner of West Hastings and Cambie Streets, across the street from Victory Square. There are a few postcards in the Uno Langmann collection depicting the building in different times.

A Busy Corner in Vancouver, B.C., [not after 1909]

Dominion Trust Block, [not after 1910]

Dominion Trust Building, Vancouver, B.C., [1910]

The Dominion Trust Building, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1920 and 1930?]

Vancouver Block

The Vancouver Block sits near the intersection of Granville and Georgia Streets. Constructed between 1910 and 1912, it was one of the grandest skyscrapers at that time (source: Canada’s Historic Places).

The Vancouver Block, one of the newest skyscrapers

Here is a double postcard with the second connected card depicting a typical floor plan for the building.

Vancouver Block, [between 1912 and 1915?]

The building features a large clock tower on the top. Let’s have a close look at how big the clock is!

Clock on the observation deck of the Vancouver Block building, [1921]

Post Office Building and Winch Building

New Post Office, Vancouver, B.C., [1910]

Post office, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1920 and 1935?]

Winch Building, Vancouver, B.C., [not before 1911]

Completed in 1910, the old Post Office Building is located at the corner of Granville and Hastings Streets. Vancouver’s main post office was housed here from 1910 to 1958. Adjoining the old Post Office Building is the Winch Building, completed in 1911. The two buildings are now part of the Sinclair Centre. (Source: Wikipedia).

We hope you enjoyed this post! In the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs we also have photographs from other cities and towns in BC, such as Victoria, New Westminster, Penticton, and Fernie. To view more historic photographs, please visit Open Collections.


In the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs, we have historic photographs depicting street scenery in Vancouver in the early 1900s. This post will explore some of our favourite photographs, showing the major streets in Vancouver. We hope you can identify where the pictures were taken and how the streets have changed since then!

Granville street

Granville St., Vancouver, B.C. [between 1904 and 1907?]

Granville Street, Vancouver, B.C. [between 1920 and 1930?].

Granville St., Vancouver. [between 1924 and 1949?]


Hastings Street

Hastings Street, Vancouver, B.C., [not after 1910]

Barrowclough, George Alfred. Hasting St., Vancouver, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?]

Hastings Street Looking East, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1940 and 1960?]


Georgia Street

Georgia Street, Vancouver, [between 1914 and 1939].

United Fishers and Allied Workers May Day parade on Georgia Street, Vancouver, 1947.

Georgia St. W., Vancouver, B.C., [between 1924 and 1949?].

Robson Street

Barrowclough, George Alfred. Manhattan Apartments, Robson St., Vancouver, B.C., 1907.

Davie Street

[View of a trolley car on Davie Street, Vancouver], [between 1900 and 1910?].

Burrard Street

Aero Surveys Photo. Burrard Street, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1940 and 1950?]

Cambie Street

B.C. Photo Card Co. Cambie St, Vancouver, 1915.


In the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs, we also have photographs and postcards of streets from other cities (e.g., New Westminster, Fernie, and Chilliwack). The following is useful subject headings to search:


We hope you enjoyed this post. To view more historic photographs, please visit our Open Collections.


[July 29th update: We removed one photo which was not from Downtown Vancouver.]

Do you ever wonder what Vancouver was like just a few decades ago? What used to exist where you live or work? If you want information about Greater Vancouver, you can check out our Greater Vancouver Regional District Planning Department Land Use Maps Collection.

The collection has over 1,800 detailed maps—produced in 1965, 1980 and 1983—and covers Vancouver and several surrounding municipalities. You can explore maps of: North and West Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Surrey, Delta, and even the Howe Sound and Bowen Island!

When looking through the maps, you’ll be able to see that symbols were used to indicate what individual lots were used for. In total, there are 64 zoning categories, which indicate whether lots were residential, commercial, industrial, mixed and more.  The maps are used by urban planning and geography students at UBC, the local business community, and property development firms. The originals are held at UBC Library’s Maps & Atlas Collection, but you have access online through Open Collections.

If you want to start exploring the area, check the index to search specifically the map of your interest:

Index – Land use series


Development map series: city of Vancouver, 1971


Take a look at the map of False Creek. The Vancouver General Hospital remains, but can you see some changes that happened on the last 47 years?

Development map series: city of Vancouver, 1971


Access the Greater Vancouver Maps Collection, try to find some places that you frequent today and see what they used to be!


UBC Library’s B.C. Historical newspaper archives, part of the university’s publicly-accessible Open Collections, is playing a critical role in heritage research in Vancouver.

“The archive is such an amazing and unique resource,” says Patrick Gunn, Board of Directors at Heritage Vancouver Society, “It is key in our ongoing built heritage research, across multiple areas.”

One of the ways the archive is being used is to help provide more fulsome information for Heritage Vancouver’s online building permits database that contains over 40,000 building permits from January 1, 1929 when the municipalities of Vancouver, South Vancouver and Point Grey were amalgamated into what we now know as modern-day Vancouver.

The searchable database, that was created by painstakingly transcribing hand-written city ledgers found within the City of Vancouver archives allows for users to find key information about particular buildings in Vancouver. The ledgers provide some, but not all the information that would have been included in the individual permit document. Long-form building permits were issued to the applicant and a copy was made for the city; unfortunately, it was common practice to record overview information into registers, like the ledgers that have survived, then purge the full records.

It is in this respect that the B.C. Digital Newspapers Archive has been useful in filling in the gaps.

“Once the transcriptions for a given year are complete, we’ve been using a few key newspapers that luckily captured some of the building permit details which no longer exist in city records and adding these into the building permits to create a more complete building record, ” says Gunn, “Trade journals like The Daily Building Record, Vancouver Building Record and the British Columbia Record have been the most useful to us.”

The additional information allows for a much fuller picture of the story of the building, including details about the architect, owner and specifics about the structure’s dimensions and estimated cost.

An excerpt from the November 8, 1911 edition of The Vancouver Building Record detailing the extension of a building ay 110 Pender Street East.

The archive has also been helpful in providing information about buildings built before 1910 that pre-date the issuing of building permits. Newspapers like The Mount Pleasant Advocate, one of the earliest newspapers published in B.C. from 1901 to 1905, contains important information about some of the building erected in the area.

Further along in the Heritage research process, the archive is also proving to be useful in helping capture the social history and historical significance of a building. 

An excerpt from The Daily Building Record of May 29, 1912 detailing important information about the Hudson’s Bay Company Department store that would be completed in 1913 at the corner of Georgia and Granville Streets.

“Many heritage consultants use the archive when building a statement of significance,” says Gunn, referring to the document that assesses what is important about a building, how important it is and why, which establishes baseline for any potential development and informing the application for Planning Permission.

“We are so thrilled that this digital archive is having a direct impact on the Vancouver community,” says Larissa Ringham, Acting Head of Digital Initiatives, “the B.C. Historical Newspapers archive is enabling us to support and enrich the educational, cultural and economic endeavors of the people of British Columbia and communities beyond.”  

Explore the B.C. Historical newspaper archive and access 129 years of B.C.’s news.


In celebration of Family Day we are sharing some of our favorite family portraits found within our digital collections. Want to see more? Simply type in “family” in on our digital collections page! Refine your search to only find images within specific collections. Click on the images to see them enlarged.

What are your plans for the long weekend?




 Which one was your favorite? 

A panel discussion at Centre A, Thursday, October 16, 4:00 to 5:15pm

A history event for educators and the general public:thepast

Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library





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