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Independent Order of Odd Fellows Hall

505 Hamilton Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1994/12/06

Exterior view of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Hall, 2005; City of Vancouver, 2005
Oblique view
Exterior view of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Hall; Greater Vancouver Illustrated, p. 111
Front elevation, circa 1908
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Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/01/29

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows Hall is a massive two-storey plus basement, Romanesque Revival building clad in rough-dressed sandstone. It is located at the southwest corner of West Pender and Hamilton Streets, across from Victory Square Park.

Heritage Value

Completed in 1906, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Hall is valued for its robust architecture, its unique surviving interior, and as the earliest surviving fraternal meeting hall in Vancouver. Although fraternal societies were a very important part of early Vancouver's social context, many of their meeting places have been torn down or re-configured. The Odd Fellows Hall remains as an excellent example of the late persistence of the Romanesque Revival style; reduced to the basic principals of architectural form as exemplified by its rough-dressed sandstone cladding, wide window voussoirs and massive arched entrances. The cornerstone, carved with the date and the three chain links symbolic of the brotherhood of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was laid for Western Star Lodge No. 10 in 1906. The lodge was located in a very prominent corner across from the site of Vancouver's first court house. Most significant is the relatively intact upstairs meeting hall. The floor and wainscot are of wood, with a high coved plaster ceiling above. The walls are treated with engaged pilasters with Roman Ionic capitals, and tall arched windows flood the space with light. The cornice moulding has a large dentil course and multiple banding. The paint has peeled just enough to reveal the existence of the original ceiling painted for the Odd Fellows, which may be the oldest surviving painted ceiling in the Lower Mainland.

The building is additionally significant as an example of the work of prominent architects Hooper and Watkins. Thomas Hooper (1857-1935) and C. Elwood Watkins (1875-1942) were two of the most important early architects of B.C. With offices in Vancouver and Victoria, they were responsible for hundreds of projects throughout the province. This handsome structure was one of the last of their projects to display the influence of the Romanesque Revival style, just before they embraced the newly-popular Classical Revival style. This project bears many similarities to the Victoria Public Library on Yates Street, designed by the same architects in 1904.

Further, the heritage value of the Odd Fellows Hall lies in its historical association with the fraternal organization of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. The Odd Fellows organization was a benevolent secret society based on the teachings and application of Friendship, Love and Truth; founded in England in the late 18th century and established in North America as early as 1819. Active in Vancouver since the late 1880s, by 1911 there were eleven Odd Fellows lodges in the city.

The building has further heritage value from its association with the Lyric Theatre, which opened in the building's main level soon after its construction, while the Odd Fellows retained the use of the upper floors. In the early 1900s, the growing and increasingly cosmopolitan city of Vancouver had a number of downtown theatres offering a wide range of entertainment. Richly furnished and decorated, the Lyric Theatre operated in accordance with the most modern developments in theatre construction of the time, with proprietor and manager George B. Howard and his stock company presenting high class comedies and dramas for the city's entertainment.

Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Hall include its:
- location in an historic section of Pender Street, near other historic buildings, on the southwest corner of Hamilton and West Pender Streets across from Victory Square Park on a north sloping site
- contribution to the streetscape as part of an unbroken streetwall
- institutional form, scale and massing, as expressed by the massive symmetrical rectangular plan, full basement and extended-height two-storey construction built to the property lines
- flat roof with raised horizontal parapets at the side and shaped parapets at the front
- masonry construction, as expressed by its rough-dressed sandstone cladding and granite foundation
- elements of the Romanesque Revival style, such as its rough-textured monolithic masonry cladding, heavy round entrance arches with deeply recessed front entrance and deeply recessed voussoir window openings
- exterior architectural details such as its three-bay front facade, nine-bay side elevation, cornerstone with inscription and keystone over the main entrance carved with three chain links symbolic of the Odd Fellows
- regular fenestration, including original wooden-sash window assemblies on the West Pender and Hamilton Streets facades, and original double-hung 1-over-1 wooden-sash windows on the rear elevation
- interior features of the original Odd Fellows hall such as the painted ceiling mural, wooden floor and wainscoting, engaged pilasters with Roman Ionic capitals and a high coved plaster ceiling with a cornice molding with a large dentil course and multiple banding
- other interior features, such as the staircase to the second floor with its polished wooden handrail and tapered turned wooden balusters, and a secondary staircase with two elaborate turned newel posts



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

City of Vancouver

Recognition Statute

Vancouver Charter, s.582

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Community Organizations

Function - Category and Type



Social, Benevolent or Fraternal Club

Architect / Designer

Thomas Hooper



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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