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Vancouver Icons: Courthouse & Art Gallery Building

October 9th, 2012 @ 10:44am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

It spent much more time as the provincial courthouse building but we know it today as the Vancouver Art Gallery (since 1983). 101 years ago tomorrow (October 10, 1911) the building first opened up as the courthouse. Perched between Hornby, Georgia, Howe, and Robson it’s a cultural melting pot both inside and outside of its walls.


(Left) 1933 – VPL Number: 5877D. (Right) VPL Number: 5877F. Photographer: Leonard Frank

From rallies and protests to live entertainment, galas, pillow fights, zombie walks, and gatherings, the old courthouse/art gallery building is today’s Vancouver Icon:

Vancouver Art Gallery

The newspapers of October 10, 1911 were full of praise for the handsome new building, “the finest of its kind in Canada.” (It had replaced a much smaller structure that sat at the rear of what is now Victory Square.) The architect was Francis Rattenbury, whose other well-known B.C. works include the legislative buildings and the Empress Hotel in Victoria. [Vancouver History]

420 2011 at the Vancouver Art Gallery
Photo credit: www.jeremylim.ca on Flickr

Vancouver 2010 Vancouver Art Gallery HDR
Photo credit: ko.ttur & Derek K. Miller on Flickr

Art Gallery in the sun
Photo credit: HereinVancouver on Flickr

Vancouver Art Gallery
Photo credit: Marcio Cabral de Moura on Flickr

International Pillow Fight Day Vancouver 2012 Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad
Photo credit: www.jeremylim.ca & Uncle Buddha on Flickr

IMGP6640
Photo credit: elvis_hitler2000 on Flickr

Vancouver Art Gallery
Photo credit: Clayton Perry Photoworks on Flickr

walking 'round with tombstones in her eyes vag
Photo credit: Baby’s In Black & veronique_m on Flickr

Smile and Relax
Photo credit: Scapevision on Flickr

Vancouver BC Art Gallery  Fairmont Hotel
Photo credit: emmettanderson on Flickr

Other Vancouver Icons posts include: Dominion Building, Science World, Gastown Steam Clock, SFU Burnaby, Commodore Lanes, Siwash Rock, Kitsilano Pool, White Rock Pier, Main Post Office, Planetarium Building, Lord Stanley Statue, Vancouver Library Central Branch, Victory Square, Digital Orca, The Crab Sculpture, Girl in Wetsuit, The Sun Tower, The Hotel Vancouver, The Gassy Jack Statue, The Marine Building, and The Angel of Victory. Should you have a suggestion for the Vancouver Icons series please feel free to leave a note in the comments. It should be a thing, statue, or place that is very visible and recognizable to the public.

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Bellingham Walking Tours with the Good Time Girls: Sin & Gin, Gore & Lore
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Homelessness Action Week 2012: Eastside Stride