3410 W 1st Ave


Photo Credit: Steve Hodder
Photo Credit: Steve Hodder


3410 W 1st Ave, Vancouver, BC






A: Primary Significance


3410 W 1st was designed by architects Joseph and Alfred Townsend and built by Allan McVicar. Very little is known about the Townsends, but it is believed that they were brothers born in England, who travelled in the United States before arriving in Vancouver in the early 1900s. They were active in the city from 1909-1913, during the building boom, and designed an impressive number of buildings in these years, including some of the first multi-storey apartment blocks in the city. 2646 Yukon St., Quebec Manor and the New World Hotel/Tamura Building are a few of their designs on the Heritage Register.

3410 W 1st was built for Ellis William Keenleyside (the provincial manager of North American Life Insurance) and it was the family home of him, his wife, his daughter and his son Hugh. Hugh Keenleyside later had an impressive career as a professor, diplomat and civil servant, and was the first Canadian Ambassador to Mexico. Hugh was awarded the Order of Canada as well as the Pearson Medal of Peace, and there is a dam on the Columbia River named in his honour.

Although the Townsends favoured Edwardian and Queen Anne Revival styles, 3410 W 1st was one of the first Arts and Crafts residences in Vancouver. The steeply pitched roof, leaded glass windows made up of small panes, and the use of local and natural materials (cedar wood shingles and stone piers) are typical characteristics of Arts and Crafts style. Additionally, the house is designed with simple forms and has a close relation to the environment, including the surrounding mature foliage. The raised entry and front porch however, are more reminiscent of the Townsend’s favoured Edwardian style.


British Columbia City Directories, Historical Vancouver Building Permit. Vancouver Heritage Register, Dictionary of Canadian Architects, The Canadian Encyclopedia


3410 W 1st Ave


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