B.C. & Yukon Chamber of Mines Building
840 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6C, Canada
B.C. & Yukon Chamber of Mines Building
Royal Financial Building
BC & Yukon Chamber of Mines Building
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The B.C. and Yukon Chamber of Mines Building is a two-storey terra cotta clad building of Roman Revival design with Medieval Revival elements. Located on West Hastings Street, its mid-block location between Howe and Hornby Streets harmonizes it with the neighbouring Ceperly Rounsfell Building and the Vancouver Club across the street to provide rich historic elements to the streetscape.
The heritage value of the B.C. and Yukon Chamber of Mines Building lies in its architectural, contextual, and associative significance.
From an architectural perspective, the B.C. and Yukon Chamber of Mines Building is a relatively rare example of the Roman Revival style in Vancouver. Two storeys tall, it is a symmetrical structure with a double-height first floor with an interior banking hall and mezzanine. The cream-coloured terra cotta cladding and fine symmetrical design of this, the former Royal Financial Building, makes it a fine example of early twentieth century architecture. Stylistically it has classical elements in the door hoods, but the flat detailing and smooth surfaces foreshadow the Art Deco style. The tall central window affords views into the main space with flanking doors and bronze grill detailing. In overall height it closely matches the Ceperly Rounsfell Building next door, but it differs significantly in the fenestration pattern, reading as a two-storey plus mezzanine building.
The building is unusual in the area for its small size, unique architecture and exterior cladding material. Built in 1926, its styling is a revival of the Roman Imperial style with twisted rope motifs around doors and windows, as well as hanging torus (woven laurel) motifs, common around doors and windows in some Medieval designs. The architecture creates a strong sense of tradition, formality and permanence, which were values commonly incorporated into the design of financial institutions at the time. Additionally, the design of the building conveys a sense of success and prominence through its sophisticated ornamentation.
The contextual value of this building is found in its location on West Hastings Street and the business and financial district in close proximity to it. West Hastings Street has many highly-valued and beautiful heritage structures, including the Credit Foncier Building, the Vancouver Club, the Ceperly Rounsfell Building, and the Imperial Bank, Royal Bank and several others further east along West Hastings. To the west are the impressive University Club, Marine Building and Guinness tower.
Also significant for its architect, the building was designed by J.C. Day, an architect who worked primarily in residential architecture. The design for this building is considered to be among his best works. Day was partnered, for a short time, with Thomas Fee of the well-known architecture firm of Parr and Fee. The design for this building, however, was completed when Day was once again practicing alone.
The building is also valued for its association with long-time tenant the B.C. and Yukon Chamber of Mines. Although not the first occupant, the Chamber of Mines occupied the building for nearly 45 years. The building became synonymous with the Chamber because of its long history at the location and the memorable nature of the building itself. The strong presence of the building signifies the importance of mining to the Province’s economy and the longevity of one of its earliest and major employers.
Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program
Key elements that define the B.C. and Yukon Chamber of Mines Building's Roman Revival architectural design include:
- its relatively small scale in the context of the West Hastings streetscape and solid two-storey massing
- the terra cotta cladding in cream colour
- the general symmetry of the structure
- the identical doors on either side of the facade
- its Roman and Classically-inspired ornamentation, including twisted rope and hanging torus motifs around doors and windows
- the portico over each door
- the double-hung wooden sash windows on the upper floor
- the large double-height central window with leaded lights in upper portion
- the metal grille work in transoms above door and with repeating spade motif
- the raised relief crest above second storey windows
- the decorative parapet with raised centre section and decorative crest
Key elements that define the B.C. and Yukon Chamber Mines Building's interior design include:
- the large volume of its interior hall
- the upper floor mezzanine with glass partitions to lower level
- the wood paneling
- the central clock in ornate casing box
Key elements that define the B.C. and Yukon Chamber of Mines Building's location include:
- its location in the West Hastings Street commercial and financial district among numerous other prominent heritage properties
City of Vancouver
Vancouver Charter, s.593
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Bank or Stock Exchange
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program
Cross-Reference to Collection