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McLennan and McFeely Building

111 Water Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2003/01/14

Exterior view of the McLennan and McFeely Building; City of Vancouver, 2004
Oblique view
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Other Name(s)

McLennan and McFeely Building
Canadian Fairbanks Building

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/03/08

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The McLennan and McFeely Building is a three storey plus lower level Edwardian era masonry commercial building, located on the north side of Water Street at the corner of Abbott Street in the historic district of Gastown.

Heritage Value

Gastown is the historic core of Vancouver, and is the city's earliest, most historic area of commercial buildings and warehouses. The McLennan and McFeely Building is representative of the importance of Gastown as the trans-shipment point between the terminus of the railway and Pacific shipping routes, and the consequent expansion of Vancouver into western Canada's predominant commercial centre in the early twentieth century. As Vancouver prospered, substantial warehouses were built on piles on infilled water lots between Water Street and the Canadian Pacific Railway trestle. The massive cubic form, high density, large clear-span floor-plate and notable height of this structure are a clear indication of the extent and prosperity of wholesale trade during this period. This warehouse was constructed for hardware merchants McLennan and McFeely Company, who never occupied it as by then they had already started construction of larger premises on Cordova Street, which was the largest warehouse in the province at the time - illustrating the rapid expansion of this prominent company. This larger building was rented to the Canadian Fairbanks Company, the 'largest machinery and mill supply house in Canada,' which had five other locations across the country. This is indicative of the importance of the resource extraction industry in B.C. and the growing need for a large-scale supplier of machinery and equipment to the logging and mining industries.

Additional value lies in the association with its architect Edward Evans Blackmore (1878-1929), who undertook this project in conjunction with William Tuff Whiteway (1856-1940); both were prominent architects who helped shape the look of Edwardian era Vancouver.

Source: City of Vancouver, Heritage Planning Street Files

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the McLennan and McFeely Building include:
- prominent corner location on the north side of Water Street, in close proximity to the waterfront of Burrard Inlet and the Canadian Pacific Railway yard
- siting on the property lines, with no setbacks
- spatial relationship to other late Victorian and Edwardian era commercial buildings
- symmetrical form, three storey plus lower level scale, flat roof and cubic massing
- masonry construction: tan brick front and east facade cladding with projecting cornice on two sides; rough-dressed sandstone detailing such as foundation blocks and window lintels and sills; and common red brick west side facade
- regular grid-like fenestration on the two main facades
- rectangular storefront openings with iron I-beam headers with rosettes
- heavy timber frame internal structure



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

City of Vancouver

Recognition Statute

Vancouver Charter, s.593

Recognition Type

Heritage Designation

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services

Architect / Designer

E.E. Blackmore



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Vancouver, Heritage Planning Street Files

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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