This year, as part of my volunteering for the Vancouver Heritage Foundation, I will be photographing various heritage buildings in Vancouver. Initially I will be starting with residential buildings in the West End and Downtown Vancouver. One of the buildings on the list was The Plaza at 925 Bute Street in the West End … an apartment building on the south-west corner of Bute and Barclay Streets in the West End.
As soon as I saw the list included The Plaza I knew I had to start with it. Why, you may ask? My family actually has a history with this building. In 1940, after my parents were married in Victoria, they moved to Vancouver and rented an apartment in The Plaza. They lived in the apartment until June 1944 when they moved to their new home on West 20th Avenue.
While I haven’t yet found a definite construction date for The Plaza, it first appears in city directories in 1928. While I don’t have a great photo of the building at that time, the photo below, circa 1942, shows part of the building as it was then … and, in reality, as it is now. The Plaza is the lower building in the right corner of the photo.
Of course, 1940 to 1944 was a different reality as far as rents were concerned … read and weep when you see what my parents paid in monthly rent for that period of time … of course, salaries were much much lower at that time as well.
The interior of their apartment can be seen in the following photos. The first photo shows the living room in 1942. Note that I have the silver tea service on the table.
This next photo shows a Christmas scene, circa 1942-43 …
The last photo shows my Mum, on the right, and her Mum, on the left, sitting in the living room area in June 1943.
While I an not sure if they were already looking for a house, in 1944 they were required to move … my older sister was born in December 1943 and babies were not allowed in the building as per the letter below:
The last photo shows the corner ground floor unit which they rented.
In June 1944 my parents moved from the apartment to their new house at 2150 West 20th Avenue. The building today does not look much different then it did in 1940 and, what was very nice to see, was continued building maintenance to the cornice on the roof last year. Hopefully the building has many many years of life remaining.
I came to visit the place at noon with James. James would be more interested with the 1 bedroom. However, can I come by to visit the lace again with my other friend. This place is suited for him and his available to move in December 1st.
I have nothing o do with renting at The Plaza. Sorry.
Can you email me regarding The Plaza? firstname.lastname@example.org
I stumbled across your cool page while rambling along the internet rabbit-hole looking up I-don’t-remember-what-now and found this!
I lived at The Plaza in two different units in the early 1980s.
First, I moved in with my then-boyfriend in his studio suite; it was on the west side facing the back/alley view. We actually shared the suite for a short while with his old room-mate! Our bed was in a space I guess what you could consider a closet/ante room leading to the bathroom. We used it as a walk-in closet/bedroom. I recall having to hop over our bed to get into the loo!
When a 1-bedroom became available across the hall (these were on the top/3rd floor) we got to move into it. I think we lived at The Plaza from early 1980 to May 1983.
The rooms were large, doors separated the bedroom/kitchen/living-room making the suite feel more ‘house-like’. There was a large foyer, and throughout the hardwood floors had beautiful inlaid wood accents. The bathroom had the typical black & white tile work from the ’20s era when it was built. The kitchen was large enough to have a table in the dining nook. We had a great corner view looking over Bute Street towards Nelson; friends often called up to see if we were up for a coffee.
I recall the common hallways had lovely stained glass at each end and on each level going up the main stairway, which also had beautiful dark wooden banisters.
A friend who hung out with us back then and visited many times had the chance to go there recently since another friend happens to live there now.He said the interior is not in as good a shape as it once was.
I wanted to say “Thank You” for your contribution … it was really great to find it .. you brought back many fond memories for me as we had a great time living there, lots of parties, lots of laughs! This was definitely one of my favourite places that I’ve lived, and it was a real treat living in a heritage building. I also hope it has more years left! Cheers!
We featured The Plaza on the Changing Vancouver blog earlier this year. You’re correct about the era it was built – it was constructed in 1927. More here (and today) at https://changingvancouver.wordpress.com/2022/04/25/plaza-apartments-bute-street/