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The mesmerizing glowing lights of Vancouver’s neon signs in the 1940s & 1950s

Boban Docevski
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300 to 400 blocks West Hastings Street (1949)

 

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Dueck Chevrolet Neon Sign on Granville & West Broadway (1949)

 

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Night on Granville Street, Theatre Row (1951)

 

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Granville Street at Night (1958)

Granville Street is one of the major streets in Vancouver. It runs in a north-south direction through the center of Vancouver, passing through several neighborhoods and commercial areas. During the 1950s, Granville Street attracted many tourists to one of the world’s largest displays of neon signs.
In the mid-twentieth century, the Downtown area of Granville Street became a huge center for entertainment, recognisable by its cinemas and theaters built along the so-called “Theatre Row.” The street was flourishing, with many landmarks such as restaurants, clubs, the Vogue and Orpheum theatres and many other.
By the late 1990s, Granville Street started to deteriorate slowly, and many movie theatres, such as The Plaza, Caprice, Paradise, and Granville Centre, were all closed down.
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Looking East from 800 Block West Georgia (1951)

 

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Gerry’s Gowns on 774 Granville Street (1949)

 

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Globe Theatre 800 block of Granville Street

 

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Ingledews Shoes on Granville Street (1946)

 

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Paradise Theatre on Granville Street

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Lido Seafood Grotto at night, Granville Street (1945)

 

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Supervalu Supermarket, East Hastings (1952)

 

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Sun Publishing Company building at night (1949)

When the Sun Tower was completed in 1912, it was called the World Building and was the tallest building in the British Empire at 82 m (269 ft), surpassing the previous record-holder, the Dominion Building, which was located just around the corner.

An interesting fact: the exterior of the Sun Tower is used as the Watchtower in the TV show Smallville.

 

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Sun Publishing Company from a distance (1949)

 

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Village Bakeries sign made by Neolite Ltd. (1948)

 

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Neon sign for Okanagan fruit. Located at Monty’s Spare Ribs (1954)

 

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Vogue Theatre at night with spotlights (1958)

The Vogue Theatre is one of the last remaining and operating theatres on “Theatre Row”. It was opened in 1941. The building, made in a late form of Art Deco architecture called Streamline Moderne, is dominated by the tall, neon-outlined sign tower, crowned with a figure of the goddess Diana (goddess of the hunt, the moon, and nature).
Because of its scale, unique design, and age, the Vogue has been a National Historic Site of Canada since it was officially recognised by the federal government on November 20, 1993, under Historic Sites and Monuments Act
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White Lunch Cafeteria neon sign over sidewalk on West Hastings Street (1950)

 

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Orpheum Theatre, Granville Street (1948)

The Orpheum Theatre is one more of those iconic Vancouver theatres. It is part of the Vancouver Civic Theatre’s group of live performance venues. It serves as the permanent home of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
The Orpheum was the biggest theater in Canada when it opened in 1927; it had three thousand seats. When the vaudeville days ended in the early 1930s, the Orpheum became primarily a movie house under Famous Players ownership.
The beautiful interior of the Orpheum theater was used as a heavenly opera house in the award-winning 2004 television series Battlestar Galactica.