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Curtis-Armstrong Block

659 Columbia Street, New Westminster, British Columbia, V3M, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2004/04/05

Exterior view of the Curtis-Armstrong Block, 2004; City of New Westminster, 2004
Front elevation
Historic exterior view of the Curtis-Armstrong Block, nd; New Westminster Public Library, NWPL 1507
Oblique view
No Image

Other Name(s)

Curtis-Armstrong Block
Curtis Block

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/08/15

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Curtis-Armstrong Block is a two-storey masonry commercial building. The front facade is concealed by a later stucco cladding; the original one-storey brick rear facade fronts onto Clarkson Street and is still intact. It is located on the north side of Columbia Street in New Westminster's historic downtown core.

Heritage Value

The Curtis-Armstrong Block is significant for its contribution to the consistent and distinctive built form of Columbia Street, which dates from 1898 to 1913, when New Westminster was the major centre of commerce and industry for the booming Fraser Valley area. The Curtis-Armstrong Block was originally part of a larger structure of three stores that was built after the Great Fire of 1898 for David S. Curtis and Joseph Charles Armstrong. The Knights of Pythias Hall occupied the top floor until 1908, when it was replaced by the New Westminster Conservative Club. The eastern half of the building was destroyed by fire in 1968, and the remaining section was modernized with a stucco cladding that conceals the original second floor facade. The brick-clad rear facade of the building retains its original appearance, including a corbelled cornice and arched doorway.

The Curtis-Armstrong Block is valued for its association with its architect George William Grant (1852-1925), a prolific architect, who designed many of the buildings in downtown New Westminster before and after the Great Fire. He redesigned and restored buildings that survived, and designed replacement blocks for those that were destroyed, much reduced in scale and opulence from the pre-fire buildings.

Source: Heritage Planning Files, City of New Westminster

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Curtis-Armstrong Block include its:
- location on Columbia Street, part of a grouping of late Victorian and Edwardian-era commercial buildings in historic downtown New Westminster
- siting on the property lines, with no setbacks
- form, two-storey scale at front, one-storey scale at rear, flat roof, and cubic massing
- elements of the original front façade, including red brick walls and details, now concealed by the later stucco covering
- rear red brick façade with corbelled cornice and arched entrance



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)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building

Architect / Designer

George W. Grant


Ekerton Burns

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Planning Files, City of New Westminster

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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