The structure was built by John Laing & Sons in 1957 as the new headquarters for the BC Electric Company, under its president Dal Grauer. A few days after Grauer's death in 1961, it became part of a new provincial crown corporation named BC Hydro. The 21 story, 89 m (293 ft), building was designed by Charles Edward "Ned" Pratt. At the time it was claimed to be the tallest building in the Commonwealth, although this was not true. After BC Hydro moved to new offices in Vancouver and Burnaby in the late 1990s, the building was sold, and in 1998, was renovated and converted primarily into residential condo space, although BC Hydro continues to operate the Dal Grauer Substation, whose space is integral with Electra.
While BC Electric's offices were in the building ten large air horns on top of the structure played the first four notes of O Canada at noon every day. The horns have since been moved to the Pan Pacific Vancouver roof. They are owned and managed by Canada Place.
- Ritchie, Berry (1997). The Good Builder: The John Laing Story. James & James.
- Emporis facts about the Electra building
- City of Vancouver Press Release concerning Chemical Spill
- Article on the Electra spill in The Province, September 21, 2010