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Roberts Block

311 West Pender Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/09/23

Exterior view of the Roberts Block; City of Vancouver, 2005
Front elevation
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Other Name(s)

Roberts Block
307-311 West Pender Street

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/08/17

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Roberts Block is an Edwardian-era, symmetrical, three-storey commercial building, faced with red brick. It is located mid-block, on the north side of West Pender Street within the context of other commercial buildings of similar scale and age in the Victory Square area of central downtown Vancouver.

Heritage Value

Built in 1908, the Roberts Block is valued as representative of the prevailing architecture of many small-scale, mixed use, residential and commercial buildings in Vancouver at the beginning of the twentieth century. Without bold stylistic pretensions, this building is distinguished by its practical design, displaying modest, symmetrical decorative features, such as continuous sills, lintels, and sheet metal stringcourses and cornices.

This building reflects the mixed use of the Victory Square area's early development during the early twentieth century. While largely developed as a commercial and retail area, numerous buildings such as the Roberts Block were of a mixed use that enlivened the area, containing commercial or retail spaces on the street level with upper storeys reserved for residential use.

Additionally, the building is valued for its associations with its original owner, early Vancouver pioneer Thomas Joseph Roberts, a prominent real estate developer and hotelier of the era. Roberts was widely known as the owner and manager of the Grand Hotel in Gastown.

Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Roberts Block include its:
- location on West Pender Street built to the property line, flush with other buildings along the street and to the alley
- contribution to the streetscape as part of an unbroken streetwall with continuous retail storefronts
- commercial form, scale and massing, as expressed by its three-storey height (with basement) and regular, rectangular plan
- flat roof with raised front parapet
- masonry construction, with pressed red brick facade and sandstone detailing, including continuous lintel and sill courses and stone lug sills
- additional exterior elements, such as its sheet metal cornice with dentil moulding between the first and second storeys, sheet metal stringcourse above the second and third storey lintels, ground-level sandstone piers on the first storey, and receiving door at the rear
- fenestration, including regular and symmetrical window openings on the front facade, and segmental arch window openings on the rear elevation with double-hung two-over-two and one-over-one wooden-sash windows



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

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment


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

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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