Moving A Building On Commercial Drive

In the summer of 1913, the part of Commercial Drive south of First Avenue was being widened. This expansion took place after a number of major buildings had already been erected on that route since 1910, some of which were in the way of the new road. This inconvenient fact was not allowed to stand in the way of progress, and one of the buildings that had to be moved was the wonderful Brandon Block on the west side of the 1700 block.

 

The Brandon Block was moved 105 years ago today.  The following is a report in the “Vancouver World” of August 15, 1913 at page 24 about the Brandon Block’s move:

“Complete success attended the moving back of the large two-storey brick building on Commercial Drive, between First and Second Avenues, which undertaking was carried out this morning in connection with the Commercial Drive widening scheme.

 

This was the first time that such a thing had been attempted locally and the task was watched by a large crowd of interested onlookers.  The structure contained three stores on the ground floor and seven suites of apartments on the upper floor.  Many of the latter were occupied during the time of the setting back of the building, but so gently was the work carried out that the movement  was all but imperceptible.

 

The building weighed, at a careful estimate, 550 tons, and the whole of it, from the very foundation, was set back seven feet.  During the operation, the water supply and the sewerage system was not interfered with for a moment, the occupants of the apartments being able to continue their domestic duties without let or hindrance.

 

“The structure known as the Halse building was built in 1910 and constituted the last of the 19 buildings which have had to be moved back through the decision of the City Council to widen Commercial Drive between First and Sixteenth Avenue.  The work has been carried out by Messrs. McCain Brothers under the personal supervision of Land Purchasing Agent J.B. Williams.”

It is hard for me to imagine a building being moved 7 feet without any disruption to services!

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