Photo Credit: Bob Hare
207 W HASTINGS St, Vancouver BC
This 13-storey Dominion Building was once the highest building in the British Empire. It had a height of 147 feet, 6 inches.
It was designed in 1908-1910 by J.S. Helyer. This steel-framed Chicago-style high rise has Beaux Arts details, such as classical columns and a Second Empire curved mansard roof. The interior design had the unusual feature of a central core with ten-storey spiral staircase.
The Dominion Building had funding difficulties. The estimated cost of building was $600,000. The original owner, the Imperial Trust Company, could only raise half the cost, and floated an issue of bonds to raise the rest. When this approach was less than satisfactory, the firm arranged a merger with the Dominion Trust Company. Once completed in 1910, the building failed to get tenants – the central core layout proved inefficient in terms of office space.
Both the Imperial Trust Company and the Dominion Trust Company collapsed with the end of the real estate boom in 1913. The building was sold to the Dominion Bank. In 1943, it was sold to S.J. Cohen, president of Army and Navy Department Stores, who intended to covert it into a multi-storey department store – those plans were never carried out.
Canada's Historic Places, City of Vancouver Conservation plan