Vancouver City Hall

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Vancouver City Hall
Vancouver City Hall.jpg
Vancouver City Hall
General information
Type City hall
Architectural style Art Deco
Location Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Address 453 West 12th Avenue
Coordinates 49°15′39.14″N 123°6′50.23″W / 49.2608722°N 123.1139528°W / 49.2608722; -123.1139528Coordinates: 49°15′39.14″N 123°6′50.23″W / 49.2608722°N 123.1139528°W / 49.2608722; -123.1139528
Construction started 1935
Completed 1936
Inaugurated December 2, 1936
Cost $1 million[1]
Owner City of Vancouver
Height 98 metres (322 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 12
Design and construction
Architecture firm Townley & Matheson
Main contractor Carter-Halls-Aldinger Company

Vancouver City Hall is home to Vancouver City Council in Vancouver, British Columbia. Located at 453 West 12th Avenue, the building was ordered by the Vancouver Civic Building Committee, designed by architect Fred Townley and Matheson, and built by Carter, Halls, Aldinger and Company. The building has a twelve storey tower (the point being 323 feet/98 metres above sea level) with a clock on the top.

The building is served by the Broadway–City Hall Station on SkyTrain's Canada Line.

History[edit]

City Hall a month before opening

Between 1897 and 1929, the Vancouver City Hall was located on Main Street, just south of the Carnegie Library; that building had previously served as a public market and an auditorium. In 1929, City Hall moved into the Holden Building (built 1911), while the Main Street building became an extension of the Carnegie Library.[2]

After being elected mayor in 1934, Gerry McGeer appointed a three-man committee to select the location for a new city hall; choices included the former Central School site at Victory Square, and Strathcona Park at the corner of Cambie Street and West 12th Avenue (no relation to the current park in the Strathcona neighbourhood). The panel recommended the Strathcona Park site, and City Council approved the selection in 1935, making Vancouver the first major Canadian city to locate its city hall outside its downtown.[3]

Construction of the new City Hall began in 1936 (Vancouver's Golden Jubilee) on January 3, and the first cornerstone was laid by McGeer on July 2. An eight-foot statue of Capt. George Vancouver, carved by Charles Marega, was placed at the front of the building. It was unveiled on August 20 by the visiting Lord Mayor of London, Sir Percy Vincent. Sir Percy also presented several gifts to the city, including a civic mace, and a sprig "...from a tree in the orchard where a falling apple gave Isaac Newton the idea that led to his theory of gravity." The mace and the statue still reside at city hall.

The building was started and opened all in the same year. Construction cost $1 million,[1] and was completed on December 1, bringing an end to the 330-day construction. Each lock plate on the outer doors displays the Vancouver Coat of Arms, and each door knob bears the monogram of the building. The ceiling on the second floor of the rotunda was made of gold leaf from several BC mines.

After winning the civic election on December 9, 1936, George Clark Miller became the first mayor of Vancouver to occupy the brand-new city hall on January 2, 1937.

A four storey east wing was added in 1968[4] (completed in 1970) and a coat of arms added in 1969. The building was declared a Schedule A heritage building (i.e. of primary significance) in March 1976.[5]

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