Home / Accueil

T. Eaton and Company Store

502 Columbia Street, New Westminster, British Columbia, V3L, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2004/04/05

Exterior view of the Lytton Hotel, circa 1909; New Westminster Public Library, #1323
Oblique view
Exterior view of the T. Eaton and Company Store; City of New Westminster, 2004
Oblique view
Exterior view of the T. Eaton and Company Store; New Westminster Public Library, #1515
Front elevation

Other Name(s)

Hotel Lytton
Market Square
Lytton Hotel
Thompson Block
City Market
Army and Navy Department Store
Lytton Square
T. Eaton and Company Store

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1948/01/01 to 1949/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/08/15

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The T. Eaton and Company Store is a modernistic two-storey commercial masonry building, with simple flat upper facade and a stepped flat awning. It is situated on the south side of Columbia Street at the foot of Church Street on New Westminster's main commercial street in the historic downtown core.

Heritage Value

The T. Eaton and Company Store is significant as a late contribution to the distinctive built form of Columbia Street, which dates from when New Westminster was the major centre of commerce and industry for the booming Fraser Valley area.

The historic use pattern is important to the heritage value of the T. Eaton and Company Store, which has been central to New Westminster's economy since 1892. Before the current building was designed to incorporate them, the site consisted of three separate structures and one urban square, each with a unique history. First, Lytton Square was a public square designed by Colonel Richard Moody and the Royal Engineers to be the centre of the town plan. Second, the 1901 Hotel Lytton was built with frontages on both the Square and on Front Street. Third, the City Market was originally established in 1893, being replaced by a larger building in 1896. The Great Fire of 1898 necessitated the construction of a new market to the design of George William Grant (1852-1925) in 1899. The market was again destroyed by fire in the 1920s, to be re-built in 1925-26 by Vancouver architects McCarter and Nairne, and which served the community until 1947 when a new public market was established at the western end of Columbia Street. Fourth, the 1909 Thompson Block originally consisted of street level shops with apartments above. However, it was renovated in 1926 to conform to the adjoining market, paving the way for its eventual incorporation into the T. Eaton and Company Store.

The T. Eaton and Company Store is valued as an example of the large department stores that began to proliferate in downtowns prior to and after the Second World War. The large floor plan and wide variety of goods attracted shoppers and emphasized a new modern way of shopping. This building in particular emphasized its modernity in its designs and had one of the largest floor plates in the Columbia Street area. The store is now occupied by the Army and Navy Department Store, which has maintained it, including the original open floor layout, in its 1949 configuration.

Additionally, the T. Eaton and Company Store is valued for its association with the architect of its renovation in 1949, Charles Burwell Kerrens Van Norman, who helped define modernism in Vancouver. The International style of the building reflects the rapidly changing post-War technology as well as the Modernist movement of the 1940s and 1950s. Technologically, the T. Eaton and Company Store is valued for containing the first moving, motorized stair installed in the Fraser Valley area.

Source: Heritage Planning Files, City of New Westminster

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the T. Eaton and Company Store include its:
- corner location on Columbia Street, on a steeply sloping site that backs onto Front Street, part of a grouping of commercial buildings in historic downtown New Westminster
- siting on the property line, with no setbacks
- massive horizontal form, two-storey plus lower level height, flat roof and cubic massing, including the form of the three older incorporated buildings, evident at the rear where the two-storey Lytton Hotel stands facing Front Street, and the area of open space at the rear
- elements of the International Style, including: stepped overhanging flat awnings edged with stainless steel; blank upper front facade detailed with incised lines; large recessed entrances; aluminum window sash; and extensive areas of glass including glass butt glazing on the Columbia Street facade
- surviving interior elements that date to the 1949 renovation such as the column casings, stairwells with metal handrails and interior finishes
- original elements of the Hotel Lytton, including: its two-storey form, scale and massing; brick cladding concealed under a later coat of stucco; segmental arched window openings; and double-hung 1-over-1 wooden-sash windows



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.954

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1901/01/01 to 1901/01/01
1909/01/01 to 1909/01/01
1925/01/01 to 1926/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn
Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Architect / Designer

Charles Burwell Kerrens Van Norman


A.C. McDougall and Sons

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Planning Files, City of New Westminster

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places