524 Yates Street

Simon Leiser Building

Date of construction: 1896


One of the most striking buildings on lower Yates Street is the Simon Leiser Building at 524 Yates. This warehouse, designed by architect Alexander Charles Ewart in 1896, it is richly embellished with terra cotta rosettes and a corbelled and bracketed cornice. The interior featured the latest in technology with an electric freight elevator. To facilitate the handling of goods, two lines of track were laid on every floor; they crossed on the elevator itself which was fitted with a turntable so that a loaded truck could be run into the elevator from any direction then moved to any part of the building with a minimum of labour. After the sinking of RMS Lusitania on May 7, 1915, this building was damaged during the anti-German riots that ensued. Most of the windows were broken and glass littered the street. For many years in recent times, this was the home of the Capital Regional District but was declared unsafe due to seismic concerns. After their move to a new building on Fisgard Street, the building was sold and has since been restored and converted to residential units with retail on the main floor in 2008


This Hallmark Heritage Society project was funded by the HBC Foundation and the BC150-Heritage Legacy Fund

Project manager and researcher: Helen Edwards

Principal Photography & Consultant: Ron Bukta, West Ventures Photography

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