April 10, 2013

The Lee Building in Vancouver

After six months leave, we are back in Vancouver,
staying in a small, studio apartment at one of Vancouver's busiest intersections: Broadway and Main. The neighbourhood is called Mt. Pleasant and while it is busy, it's nothing like Buenos Aires.

The Lee Building is an interesting landmark in Vancouver, and it is where the writer, and me, find ourselves for the month of April. Built in 1912 it was among the tallest buildings in the city at the time especially outside the city centre to the north. It was built by and named for Herbert O. Lee. Mr Lee headed a merchant class family in Vancouver, was active in civic affairs and operated a successful grocery business for a number of years.

It was an exciting time in Vancouver in the early part of the twentieth century, with fortunes to be made and lost on the booming cycles of the economic activity. Towards the end of the Great Depression in 1937, the Lee family lost their fortune and the property to the Royal Bank of Canada, though they were allowed to continue to live on the top floor until later in the 1940s.

It is a seven-story building with hardwood floors and over-height ceilings throughout. We are on the fifth floor looking north towards the downtown and the mountains beyond.

Views are impressive and the location is great, if you like this sort of thing.

As for us, we get to enjoy the location, the neighbourhood and some impressive sunsets from the fire escape. No balcony here in the Lee Building, and the elevator has been out of service for four days, which adds to the adventure here in our own home town.

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