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Inside the Vancouver Archives: Before the Rogers Building, this downtown corner had one of the city's top restaurants

Vancouver chocolate giant Purdy's also used to have a shop at this busy downtown intersection
The corner of Granville and Pender in 1911.

Taken in 1911, this photograph shows a placard above the middle shop that reads “O.B. Allan: Moving June 1st to 581 Granville. Special discount given on all goods,” a visible sign of the impending demolition of this modest brick building on the northeast corner of Granville and Pender.

Architect W.T. Whiteway, better known for his design of the Vancouver World Tower, designed this one-storey building for owners George Canary and Agostino Gabriele Ferrera in 1901. For the first four years, the corner unit hosted Ferrera’s posh restaurant La Maison de la Ville.

Originally from Italy, Ferrera had arrived in Vancouver around 1898 and had become one of Vancouver’s leading restaurateurs. He didn’t just run swanky eating
establishments, however. Around the same time that this building was erected, he was appointed Italian Consul-General of British Columbia.

George Canary, originally from Greece, was also in the food business, though his focus was on fish and oyster sales. His business initially occupied the end unit, but eventually relocated to one of the other units. The other store units housed a range of other tenants from a butcher to a hosiery specialist to O.B. Allan, the jeweller.

Purdy's Chocolates also briefly called this building home in 1909.

Barely 10 years old, the building was demolished in mid-1911 to make way for the far grander and more expensive Rogers Building, which still stands today.

Interested in finding more archival photographs of Vancouver? Search the City of Vancouver Archives’ online database. For more information about the Archives, its holdings, and how to research, visit the Archives’ website.