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East Vancouver has such nice manors

January 29, 2015
Mt. Stephen Block. 7th and Quebec. Photographed by Major James Skitt Matthews. -- AM54-S4-: SGN 1028, Vancouver Archives.

Mt. Stephen Block. 7th and Quebec. Photographed by Major James Skitt Matthews. — Vancouver Archives, AM54-S4-: SGN 1028.

The four-storey brownstone known today as the Quebec Manor at 101 East 7th Avenue started its life in 1912 as the Mount Stephen Block. It served as rental housing until 1981 when the tenants bought the building from the landlord and turned it into the 32-unit housing co-op it is today.

In 1983 the city of Vancouver designated it a class A heritage building.

The Mount Stephen Block was one of the eighteen-or-so buildings in the Metro Vancouver area designed by Joseph and Alfred Townsend, a father and son team of architects.

The overall style, the patterned brickwork and the ornate sheet metal ornamentation are said to be signature elements common to many of Townsend and Townsend’s buildings.

It’s notable that even one of their most modest projects, the surviving two-storey Naffzinger Block at 566 West Broadway Ave. — also completed in 1912 — also originally featured a wonderfully over-the-top sheet metal cornice.

Such faux-classical touches were obviously more appreciated back in the day than they are today because sadly neither the Naffzinger nor the Mount Stephen have retained their decorative cornices; probably both casualties of Vancouver’s rain.

A healthy old building is a sign of a healthy neighbourhood

7th-quebec-eraser-test-01

Buildings do not matter to me for their own sake; they matter to me because they are designed and built by people to serve the needs of people.

To see well-looked after buildings is to see the work of the people who have lived in and looked after those buildings. Left to their own devices, bricks and mortar will just crumble; it take the active, daily effort of people to keep that from happening.

A great many people have had to care for a great many years in order for really old buildings such as the Naffzinger Block and the Quebec Manor to survive into the 21st century.

Far better than just the fact that the Quebec Manor survives after 103 years is that fact that it’s still fulfilling its original function and providing 32 people with excellent housing.

One Comment
  1. Slowcrow permalink

    What wonderful observations and conclusions. Thanks for this, and the neat video thing.

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