In Victory Square, the archival photo shows the unveiling of the cenotaph on April 27, 1924. Original photograph taken by Stuart Thomson, part of the Stuart Thomson fonds at the City of Vancouver Archives. Reference code CVA 99-1216.
Cordova Street, looking west from Carrall St. The superimposed photo, taken in July of 1885, shows businesses being rebuilt five weeks after a fire had damaged the area. The photo is part of the Major Matthews collection from the City of Vancouver Archives, item number Str P7.1.
On Powell Street, cars pass by the location of the old Hotel Europe. The location is now home to a number of local businesses and affordable housing. The archival photo was taken in the 1960s, and is part of the Vancouver Planning Department holdings at the City of Vancouver Archives. Reference code CVA 780-771.
The intersection of Hastings and Cambie Streets, facing west. The two photos combine to show a horse-drawn cart, from the early 1900s, and a pick-up truck travelling down Hastings. The original photo was taken by Philip T. Timms and is from the City of Vancouver Archives. Reference code CVA 677-609.
On Dunlevy Avenue, looking towards E. Hastings Street and the Patricia Hotel. The archival photo on top, taken by Art Jones, is from 1948, showing a Chinese funeral procession for a Jung Sin Sow. From the Vancouver Public Library, accession number 80715.
Powell Street, looking towards Heatley Avenue. Overlaid is a photo from 1889 showing workers from the Vancouver Street Railway Company installing a street railroad, with Vancouver’s first hospital in the distance. The photo is part of the Major Matthews collection from the City of Vancouver Archives, item number Trans N7.
At Pender and Hamilton, looking towards the old Province building. The original photo shows a man standing at a curb, a major roadway surrounding him. Today the area is home to Victory Square, the roadway turned into green space and park benches. Archival photos from the Vancouver Engineering Services miscellaneous photographs collection. Reference code CVA 789-57.
Where it’s been and where it’s going
~ The Downtown Eastside is as old as the city itself and, over its history, has played a significant role in Vancouver's development. We take a look back.
While the City of Vancouver has been working for many years to improve the situation of the Downtown Eastside, the majority of the effort has come within the last decade. Through the Downtown Eastside Revitalization project, the city has committed to a number of initiatives to help shape the area’s future, and has partnered with the B.C. provincial and federal governments to help with implementation.
The end goal is to create “revitalization without displacement,” which would see more moderate-income families and new businesses integrating with the current low-income residents.
The Downtown Eastside Local Area Planning Program (DTES LAPP) made a presentation to council on March 27, offering suggestions on how to address major issues such as a lack of investment in the area, deteriorating heritage buildings and a lack of funding for social housing. Already significant development can be seen with the construction of the new Woodward’s building, and the introduction of new, higher-end storefronts around the apartment complex.
As the city looks to the future of the Downtown Eastside, we take a moment to peer into its past, and look at how much development has already happened in Vancouver’s 125 years.
Combining archival photography from the City of Vancouver Archives, and modern-day photos, we can look at how much has changed in the iconic DTES area. The archival photos have been edited and laid on top of their modern counterparts, creating a ghostly vision of the past.
This project takes its inspiration from Russian photographer Sergey Larenkov, who did the same with images from the Second World War. His photographs are here.