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

Birks Clock

Photo Credit: Jessica Quan

Address

South East corner of Granville and Hastings Streets

Neighbourhood

Downtown

Type

Other

Significance

O

Description

“Meet me under the Birks Clock” was something you may have said when arranging a meeting spot in Vancouver in the 1950s. The Birks Clock has been all over the city, ticking away for the last 100 years. Grand and Victorian in nature, with columns, friezes, cornices and entirely constructed of cast iron, it has been a landmark in the city for many years but not always in the same place.

The Birks Clock was built by E. Howard & Co. of Boston in 1906 and was originally installed at Granville and Hastings in front of George Trorey’s jewellery store to celebrate his fifth year in business. In 1907, another jewellery retailer, Birks, purchased Trorey’s business and the clock. Trorey joined Birks as secretary treasurer and general manager until he retired in 1931.

Birks moved to Granville and Georgia in 1913 and brought the clock with them. They constructed a 10-storey, ornate building at Granville and Georgia with a terra cotta façade and signature rounded corner. It was demolished in 1974—one of Vancouver’s significant heritage losses. A mock funeral was even held for the building.

The Birks clock remained at Granville and Georgia until 1994 when Birks moved to the old Bank of Commerce building at 698 West Hastings St., just across the street from its original location outside Trorey’s store.

This wasn’t the last change of scenery for the Birks Clock as it was temporarily removed during Canada Line construction in 2006. At that time, it was restored and refurbished by horologist Ray Saunders, who created the Gastown Steam Clock, and placed back at Hastings and Granville in time for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Source

Historic West Hastings Map Guide (VHF), Ryan, D. “Vancouver Birks clock returns after labour of love” The Vancouver Sun, January 11, 2010