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Heritage Site Finder

An interactive map of buildings and sites on the Vancouver Heritage Register.

The Railway Club

Photo Credit: Grant Hutchinson

Address

555-579 Dunsmuir St, Vancouver BC

Neighbourhood

Downtown

Type

Commercial

Significance

C

Description

The Railway Club is one of Vancouver’s longest continually operating stand-alone music venues, occupying the same premises uninterrupted since 1931 and hosting music events since 1981. “New social headquarters of Vancouver’s railwaymen will open at midnight New Year’s Eve” (Vancouver Sun, December 30, 1931).

The Railway Club began as a members-only card club for railway workers and occupied space once belonging to the European Concert Cafe on the upper floor of the 1926 Laursen Building. Known initially as the Railwaymen’s Club, it was one of many membership only workingman clubs opened in the city after prohibition was lifted.

The club operated with a rare “red circle” license where card clubs like the Marine Club and Logger’s Social Club were given a choice by the government, stop the cards or the sale of liquor. In 1981, the old club entered a new era when it was revamped as a live music venue presenting some of Canada’s best talent and breaking new acts.

Source

Changing Vancouver blog, VHF's Places That Matter plaque project