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McLennan, McFeely and Prior Building

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

Formally Recognized: 2004/04/05

McLennan, McFeely and Prior Building, exterior view, ND; New Westminster Public Library, NWPL 1231
partial oblique view
McLennan, McFeely and Prior Building, exterior view, 2004; City of New Westminster, 2004
oblique view
No Image

Other Name(s)

McLennan, McFeely and Prior Building
Salvation Army Store

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/08/29

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The McLennan, McFeely and Prior Building is a three-storey concrete Streamline Moderne commercial building, situated on a corner lot on the north side of Columbia Street between Alexander and Eighth Streets in New Westminster's historic downtown core.

Heritage Value

The McLennan, McFeely and Prior Building is significant for its contribution to the consistent and distinctive built form of Columbia Street, which dates from the time when New Westminster was the major centre of commerce and industrial output for the Fraser Valley area. Its construction at the end of the 1930s was an indication of the return of confidence and prosperity after the lean years of the Great Depression. First established in Victoria, McLennan, McFeely and Prior grew into one of the largest hardware and building supply importers and distributors in the province, indicating the growth of the local supply network that capitalized on rapid settlement in British Columbia. The company's branch outlets were serviced from their enormous warehouse in Vancouver, demonstrating the development of centralized distribution networks that serviced communities throughout the province.

Furthermore, the McLennan, McFeely and Prior Building is valued as an excellent example of the Streamline Moderne style. Part of a movement of architecture in the inter-war period, it heralded the new machine age that embraced technology and all things modern. The Streamline Moderne style was distinguished by long horizontal lines implying speed and aerodynamics. The smooth planar surfaces, rounded corners and geometric patterning demonstrate the development of a new architecture that rejected historical ornamentation in favour of a totally modern expression.

The McLennan, McFeely and Prior Building is additionally valued for its association with its architects, McCarter and Nairne, known for their landmark Art Deco designs for the Marine Building (1928-30) and the Medical-Dental Building (1928-29) in Vancouver. Throughout the long course of their prolific careers, John Young McCarter (1886-1981) and George Colvill Nairne (1884-1953) were recognized for the sophistication of their design work and a progressive approach to technology.

Source: Heritage Planning Files, City of New Westminster

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the McLennan, McFeely and Prior Building
include its:
- location on Columbia Street between Alexander and Eighth Streets, part of a grouping of commercial buildings in historic downtown New Westminster
- siting on the property lines, with no setbacks
- form, scale and massing as expressed by its three-storey plus lower level height; flat roof and massive rectangular plan
- concrete frame structure, exposed on the interior as a series of octagonal columns with spread capitals; and horizontal and vertical board-formed concrete, visible on the interior and exterior wall surfaces
- features of the Streamline Moderne style including horizontal proportions, incised horizontal banding, flat roof, rounded corners, plate glass windows, glass block, curved windows, smooth wall surfaces and round decorative windows
- regular fenestration, including its second and third storey single-pane wooden-sash hopper windows, arranged in ribbons, with horizontally proportioned panes; 4-paned casements on the front facade; a mixture of 4-paned and 3-paned windows on the side facades; and original upper sections of storefront corner windows, with wooden profiles and horizontal reeded glass
- two flag poles
- original interior features, including the main retail space with a double mezzanine floor and 6.7 metre high ceiling, wooden balustrades and red and brown linoleum tiling with black surrounds



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

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Architect / Designer

McCarter and Nairne



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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