Description of Historic Place
The Customs Examining Warehouse, an impressive, four-storey structure, built with a classically inspired design, is situated adjacent to the Post Office in downtown Vancouver. Contrasting building materials, the size and pattern of windows, and a prominent cornice visually divide the building into three sections. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Customs Examining Warehouse is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The Customs Examining Warehouse is associated with the need for increased federally-administered facilities in Canadian communities. These facilities often acted as an annex to the post office building. In large cities like Vancouver, greater work volumes created a need for large scale, heavily-constructed warehouses during the boom years preceding the First World War.
Unique among Vancouver’s warehouses in the early 1900s, the Customs Examining Warehouse is a good example of a classically designed warehouse built using modern construction techniques. The warehouse is one of four buildings designed expressly as a customs warehouse by the Department of Public Works under the direction of Chief Architect David Ewart.
The Environmental Value
The Customs Examining Warehouse, is an integral component and reinforces the commercial/warehouse character of buildings located in downtown Vancouver. Adjacent to the Post Office, it is part of a cohesive architectural group known as the Sinclair Centre.
Customs Examining Warehouse, Vancouver, British Columbia, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report, 83-026; Customs Examining Warehouse, Vancouver, British Columbia, Heritage Character Statement, 83-026.
The character-defining elements of the Customs Examining Warehouse should be respected.
Its classically inspired design, modern materials and construction techniques, for
-the exterior massing, vertical orientation and ornamentation typical of a classical
-the basement and ground floor levels clad with rough-faced granite block laid in ashlar
-the upper walls faced with red clay brick trimmed with sandstone;
-the projecting cornice;
-the changing size, shape and pattern of the windows;
-the overall masonry;
-the steel and reinforced concrete superstructure.
The manner in which the Customs Examining Warehouse is an integral component and reinforces the character of a commercial/ warehouse block in downtown Vancouver as evidenced by:
-its close integration of design, materials and composition with the adjacent buildings,
including the Post Office, that are collectively known as the Sinclair Centre.