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McClary Manufacturing Company Building

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

Formally Recognized: 2003/01/14

Exterior view of the McClary Manufacturing Company Building; City of Vancouver, 2004
Oblique view
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Other Name(s)

McClary Manufacturing Company Building
McClary Stove Building

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/03/10

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The McClary Manufacturing Company Building is a five-storey plus lower level masonry commercial building that displays an early Classical Revival influence. It is located on the northwest corner of Water and Cambie Streets 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 McClary Manufacturing Company 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 late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 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. McClary Manufacturing established this as its western branch and distribution point, and as such this building is an illustration of the importance of Gastown in the regional distribution of goods throughout western Canada.

This building is also valued for its architectural style and as an example of the work of a prominent eastern Canadian firm of architects. Due to a fortuitous marriage between architect John Mackenzie Moore (1857-1930) and the daughter of Oliver McClary, Moore and his partner Frederick Henry (1865-1929) received the contract to design all the McClary Manufacturing Company's buildings across Canada. Designed in 1897, this building demonstrates a sophisticated approach to the Classical Revival style that was coming into favour in eastern Canada at the time and supplanting the previously-fashionable Romanesque Revival. The Classical Revival influence was rare in Vancouver at the time, and this building is a particularly good example of the transition between these two styles. Demonstrating the ongoing growth of McClary's business, two stories were added to the top of the structure in 1902, designed by local architect W.T. Dalton (1854-1931) and built by prominent contractor Edward Cook.

This former warehouse, which has been converted for office uses on the upper floors, contributes to the ambiance and tone of the Gastown neighbourhood as an illustration of the area's importance as a centre of trade and commerce for the city and the province. Its adaptive reuse within the context of the redevelopment of Gastown as a heritage area represents the changing nature of the local context and economy from warehousing and manufacturing to commercial, retail and residential uses.

Source: City of Vancouver, Heritage Planning Street Files

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the McClary Manufacturing Company Building include:
- 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 setback at front or sides and original loading bay area at rear
- form, scale and massing, including its large floor-plate, five-storey plus lower level height, flat roof and rectangular floor plan
- masonry construction: brick structural walls; brick cladding with flush-struck mortar joints on the three main facades; common red brick west side wall; rough-dressed sandstone foundation blocks; and sandstone trim
- balanced articulation of horizontal and vertical elements, including brick piers with spandrel panels, capitals and string courses, evident on the front, east side and rear facades, which are all expressed as main facades
- early use of Classical Revival features, including pilasters, a heavy bracketed cornice with modillions at the parapet and a sheet metal cornice above the storefronts
- large ground floor rectangular storefront openings with transoms
- fenestration: double-hung 1-over-1 wood-sash windows with transoms, with notably thick and detailed brick mould and trim, double-assembly on front facade and part of side facade, others in single-assembly; smaller height and proportions on upper two floors
- sheet metal spandrel panels between the double-assembly windows
- loading bay at rear facade lower level
- heavy timber frame internal structure
- original surviving interior features such as wooden floors and later internal staircase



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

City of Vancouver

Recognition Statute

Vancouver Charter, s.593

Recognition Type

Heritage Designation

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1902/01/01 to 1902/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services

Architect / Designer

John Mackenzie Moore


Edward Cook

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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