Canada is a relatively new country, as it’s only celebrating its 150th birthday this year. However, Vancouver does have some historically beautiful buildings, juxtaposed against its innovative modern counterparts. Check out these impressive buildings the next time you’re in Vancouver.
Located in Vancouver’s former main courthouse, the Vancouver Art Gallery is the largest art museum in Western Canada. Francis Rattenbury designed the neoclassical building in 1905, and it features marble imported from Vermont, Tennessee, and Alaska. In 1980, it became a Canadian National Historic Site. Many TV shows and movies that film in Vancouver use the Art Gallery’s steps for important scenes.
Science World was built for Expo 86 and was the Expo Centre during the 1986 World Fair. Its unique golf ball design is a geodesic dome, created by R. Buckminster Fuller. The American inventor patented 28 inventions, including this type of dome. Science World’s dome is a must-see at night when its 391 lights and 766 triangles are reflected in the surrounding water.
LMN Architects, MCM Architects, and DA Architects + Planners completed the West Building of the Vancouver Convention Centre in 2009; it features a unique six-acre green roof, which is actually Canada’s largest non-industrial roof. It stretches upwards and has breathtaking views across to North Vancouver. It’s even home to European honey beehives.
Vancouver Lookout, constructed in 1977, is the defining feature of Vancouver’s skyline, and its flying saucer design offers sightseers 360-degree views of the city. The lookout lights up at night and becomes a Christmas tree during the holidays. It’s a part of the Harbour Centre, which includes 28 floors of offices. There is also a revolving restaurant waiting for you at the top.
Some people say the Marine Building may be the most impressive example of Art Deco architecture in Canada. Completed in 1930, its interior and exterior both feature marine symbols in the stonework and brass fixtures. Its exterior, which resembles a tiered wedding cake, was also shown regularly in the hit TV series Smallville,as it symbolized the Daily Planet headquarters.
Located on the University of British Columbia campus, Canadian architect Arthur Erickson designed this award-winning museum in 1976. The Museum of Anthropology’s “concrete and glass structure is based on the post-and-beam structures of northern Northwest Coast First Nations.” Its unique architecture is complemented by its unique setting on the Point Grey cliffs.
A six-story heritage building located in Gastown, Hotel Europe resembles New York’s Flatiron Building. Hotelier Angelo Calori commissioned its construction in 1909, and it was Canada’s first reinforced concrete structure. Hotel Europe is no longer a hotel though; instead, it became an affordable housing building after renovations in 1983. Old local tales say that the building is haunted by two spirits as well.
The Evergreen Building, constructed in 1980, is another Arthur Erickson creation. It’s a ten-story building that features a pyramid of triangular concrete gardens with overhanging plants in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour neighborhood and is today used for both residential and office space. There has been pressure to demolish the building in favor of another skyscraper of apartments. However, public backlash has prevented the impressive Evergreen’s destruction.
A pristine example of French Gothic architecture, the Holy Rosary Cathedral has stood in Vancouver’s downtown area since 1899. It’s now home to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver. The church became a cathedral in 1916 and is also a legally protected building, with 21 stained-glass windows and two bell towers that are undoubtedly Holy Rosary Cathedral’s most prominent feature.