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Bryson Block

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

Formally Recognized: 2004/04/05

Exterior view of the Bryson Block, 2004; City of New Westminster, 2004
Front elevation
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Other Name(s)

Bryson Block
Thomas Dunn Block

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/08/15

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Bryson Block is a commercial masonry building, built on a sloping site, allowing three storeys on the Columbia Street facade and four storeys on the Front Street facade. It is located on the south side of Columbia Street, in New Westminster's historic downtown core.

Heritage Value

The Bryson Block is significant for its contribution to the consistent and distinctive built form of Columbia and Front Streets, which dates from the time when New Westminster was the major centre of commerce and industrial output for the booming Fraser Valley area.

Additionally, the Bryson Block represents the changing economic activities in the evolution of the commercial district of New Westminster, as the building has been used as a hardware store and warehouse, a tobacco processing plant and a shoe factory. There have been extensive renovations and additions since the original construction to suit the changing needs of the owners. Architect Edward Evans Blackmore (1878-1929) designed the original one-storey part of the structure in 1899 as a replacement for the Thomas Dunn Block, which had been destroyed in the Great Fire of 1898. In 1905, two additional storeys were added to the Columbia Street block by its new owner, W.J. Armstrong, and renamed the Bryson Block after the new occupant, John Stewart Bryson (1887-1948). He moved his hardware store into the renovated building and was a successful local businessman, being elected to City Council in 1910. In 1911, a four storey addition facing Front Street, designed by Gardiner and Mercer, was added as a warehouse for 'implements', thereby expanding Bryson's business. The Front Street portion was converted for use as a warehouse for locally-grown tobacco in 1932.

Source: Heritage Planning Files, City of New Westminster

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Bryson Block include its:
- location on a sloped site on Columbia Street, with a secondary facade on Front 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
- stepped form, multi-storey plus lower level height, flat roof and cubic massing
- exterior decorative elements such as its pilasters, sheet metal brackets, dentils and projecting cornice
- regular fenestration, with banks of wooden-sash casement windows with transoms



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)

1911/01/01 to 1911/01/01
1905/01/01 to 1905/01/01
1932/01/01 to 1932/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building

Architect / Designer

Gardiner and Mercer


Sloan and Harrison

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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