Monday, August 27, 2012


I still have more to tell you on the history of Jews in Vancouver but today I thought I would take a break and tell you about this building at the corner of West 1st Avenue and Salt Street.

This local landmark was built around 1930 or 1931 and is located on city-owned land in South End False Creek.

The Vancouver Salt Company Building has heritage value both for representing the secondary food processing industry and the diversification of the local economy to meet the needs of the fishery. It also has architectural and structural qualities and is a rare intact survivor of the industrial buildings that once dominated South East False Creek. As I stated earlier, this building is a local landmark and this area was a beehive of industrial activity throughout much of the twentieth century.

Most industries that were located here did so for access to water, rail and road transportation. There were heavy industrial uses here such as sawmills and steel fabrication. This site was used from the early 1900s for gravel storage.

The Vancouver Salt Co. operation was important technologically for the means of extraction, for using False Creek to transport goods, for its contributions to other industries and for the way in which ownership changes illustrate patterns of international trade and corporate acquisition.

Unrefined salt was shipped to Vancouver from the San Francisco Bay Area where it had been recovered from brine by solar evaporation. This was an unusual technique that was traditional to the Bay area.. It had originated with the Ohlone Indians and was continued by the Spanish missionaries. The Vancouver bound salt was extracted by the Leslie Salt Refining Co. of Newark, California (bought in 1978 by Cargill Inc.) which owned the Vancouver Salt Co. The operation changed to Arden Vancouver Salt Co. Ltd. in 1970 and was later acquired by Domtar Ltd.

 Raw salt was unloaded at Burrard Inlet and brought by scow to False Creek where the Vancouver Salt Co. 'semi-refined' it by washing, drying, grinding, and sifting it into a coarse product fit for human consumption. The original market was as a preservative for the fishery, particularly the area's Asian-Canadian fish packers. Later uses included other kinds of food-packing, tanneries, cold-storage plants and highway ice removal. By 1950, a rail and then truck replaced boats for receiving and shipping the salt, reflecting changes brought about by the development of wheeled transport.

This building was used for paper recycling by the late 1980s. First by Belkin Paper Stock Ltd. and then by Paperboard Industries.

The heritage value of the building is that it is a pragmatic and attractive response to the needs of the salt operation and the salt. Originally, the building was sandwiched between two lumber operations and mostly on a City-owned water lot, with only the southwest corner situated above the historic high water line. The original structure, a block about 90 by 145 feet, was supported on piles.

A complex roof truss system directs the loads onto columns in the lateral walls and down the centre, creating a large open space.  A raised monitor roof has a clerestory to admit light and air. The expansion of the building to the north in 1954-55 (Wright Engineers Ltd.) speaks to the growing demand for salt and the evolving refinery technology. New equipment was accommodated in part by building a roof over the existing 35-foot-deep apron in the rear, the former loading dock. The gable-roofed eastern portion held four large brine tanks and the shed -roofed western part became a dry storage shed. A new hopper and conveyor were installed by the 1st Avenue loading dock, since the raw salt now arrived by truck.The conveyor may have required raising the roof, which would date the tall silo-like cap at the front to this time. Minor alterations were made in 1970 for the Arden Vancouver Salt Co. Ltd. (Richard E. Cole, Engineer). The replacement of the salt-processing machinery with paper shredding equipment in 1987 reflects the growing importance of the recycling industry.

The information I have relayed to you here came from and Bob_2006's site. When it was written, the building stood empty and was in bad need of repair. As you can see, it has been repaired. It was renovated and brought to life for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and used as a recreation space for the athletes. Now it is available for rental for events. In fact, there was a wedding the day I went there.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for great information you write it very clean. I am very lucky to get this tips from you.

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