Gryphon Living

A Vancouver Legacy

Discovering the Canada Post Office

September 16, 2017

With the proposed redevelopment of the Canada Post Office building, the iconic building will have a brand new appearance a few years down the road. As Vancouverites do we know enough about these hidden gems such as the Canada Post Office?

Canada Post Office. Photo Credit:
Canada Post Office on West Georgia. Photo Credit:

History of the Canada Post Office

The Main Post Office opened in 1958, and was one of the largest federal buildings in Western Canada at the time.

The five-storey Canada Post plant covers an entire city block on West Georgia, bordered by Georgia, Homer, Dunsmuir and Hamilton Street. It was the largest welded steel structure in the world at the time, capped with a rooftop helipad.

Rooftop helicopter pad at the Canada Post Office.
Rooftop helicopter pad at the Canada Post Office.

There used to be a 2,400-ft long tunnel running between the CPR train station (now Waterfront Station) and the post office, which was soon made obsolete when the transport of mail switched over to trucks. The tunnel was then rented out for movie shoots and even hosted a few Halloween parties before it was finally filled in in 2013.


International Style Architecture


The building represents the monumental International Style architecture that was favoured at the time. Located at a prominent site in the downtown Vancouver area, while not accessible to the public, we all feel its civic presence.

Photo credit:
Photo Credit:

There are 3 defining principles of International Style buildings, the first of which is “architecture as volume”, and the massive structure pushing the boundaries of the city block illustrates this principle well. The second principle is the architectural expression of the exterior and interior in combination with the detailing of materials; smooth planar surfaces were favoured for the appearance of one unbroken skin stretched over the skeletal frame of the building. The third is to avoidance superficiality, which gave the building its minimalist look; details were used only if designed to be “subservient to the clarity of the building as a whole.”


The site was acquired by bcIMC (B.C. Investment Management Corporation) back in 2013, and a proposal has been put forth for rezoning and redevelopment to house 3 high rises for residential and office use on top of the existing building. Follow our upcoming blog posts to discover more historic buildings that give Vancouver its unique character.

Proposed The Post development for the Canada Post Building.
Proposed The Post development for the Canada Post Building.