Built in 1888, Vancouver’s old courthouse quickly proved too small. Overflow offices were set up in the Inns of Court across the street on the west side of Courthouse Square.
For many years, the courthouse steps were the location for many of the city’s formal ceremonies. It was here in 1901, that the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall (later King George V and Queen Mary) were officially welcomed to Vancouver. In 1912, the Duke of Connaught (the then viceroy of Canada) was also formally welcomed at the site.
Unfortunately, later that year, the old courthouse was torn down after the opening of the new Georgia Street courthouse (now Vancouver’s main art gallery). The site of the old courthouse was then transformed into present-day Victory Square.
Douglas Aitken has a growing collection of over 100 watercolours featuring prominent Vancouver buildings, past and present. This year, he published a book called Three Faces of Vancouver. Every Monday, Faces of Vancouver looks at buildings in Vancouver, with a focus on the city’s European, Asian, and First Nations cultures.