Regal Place - 1908
146 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC.
Description of Historic Place:
Regal Place is an eight-storey Edwardian commercial building at 146 West Hastings Street in Vancouver, half a block from Victory Square.
The value of Regal Place lies in its location near the centre of commerce in the early twentieth century. From about 1907 on, construction of prestige office and bank buildings of a new scale and design occurred at an unprecedented pace in Vancouver. Despite outward appearances of earlier design, they were among the most advanced buildings of their time, using steel girders and concrete in their structural systems.
Built in 1908 by architects John S. and Maurice Helyer to house the Vancouver Stock Exchange, which had been created the year before "to provide a source of risk capital for the resource companies of Western Canada to help develop the burgeoning mining industry in that area." The founders felt that the major stock exchanges in eastern Canada would not be willing to finance the somewhat risky resource-based enterprises in the west. The exchange continues to this day to provide much needed venture capital. The building also housed financial agents, accountants, real estate agents, and architects. One tenant was W. Marbury Somerwell, noted for his designs in the Hastings Street area - the BC Electric Railway Company headquarters (425 Carrall - 1911-12) with partner John Putnam; while another was John S. Helyer and Sons architects who, in addition to this building, erected the Dominion Building across Victory Square. As the business centre shifted to the former Canadian Pacific Railway lands to the west, the financial tenants left this building and it was used for a succession of smaller businesses. In 1917, this became the home of the Province newspaper, which started in Victoria then came to Vancouver (before it moved to its new headquarters at 198 West Hastings Street).
Now renamed Regal Place, this building is operated by the Portland Hotel Society and provides "39 units of housing and support?to accommodate individuals who are Downtown Eastside residents and who do not have a substance misuse problem or are in recovery from substance abuse." The reuse of this building for social purposes is an important step in the revitalization of the downtown eastside area.
Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program
The character-defining elements of the historic place include:
- rectangular form and massing, and significant scale
- its functional relationship with other buildings around Victory Square and adjoining neighbourhoods
- built on a narrow footprint right to the lot line with no setbacks
- characteristics of Edwardian commercial architecture, including the pattern of fenestration, mullions, and pilasters
- social housing use of the building
Exchange Building, Ray Building