Visiting The Marine Building In Vancouver

By Michaela Ludwig

Vancouver’s iconic Marine Building, located at 355 Burrard Street, is an art deco marvel. The building was completed in 1930 and, at the time, was the tallest skyscraper in the city. The Marine Building is renowned for its architecture and is known as one of the best art deco buildings in the world.

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Lt. Commander JW Hobbs, an entrepreneur from Toronto, believed Vancouver needed a grand building to set it apart and he enlisted McCarter & Nairne to design and construct the building. The name, Marine Building, came because the look of the skyscraper was intended to mimic “some great crag rising from the sea, clinging with sea flora and fauna, tinted in sea-green, touched with gold,” according to the architects. Inside, and even on the outside, the building is decorated with marine-themed ornaments. The building cost $2.3 million to construct, but it was sold during the Great Depression to the Guiness family, of Ireland, for just $900,000. Today, the Marine Building is estimated to be worth about $153 million.



Since its completion in 1930, the building has undergone one renovation, between 1982 and 1989, to update the electrical, mechanical and air conditioning in the building. The linoleum flooring in the lobby, which was originally imported from Scotland, was replaced with marble and the former Merchant Exchange was gutted and fit for a restaurant.

Interior of the Marine building.
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Even if you have never been to the Marine Building before, you may recognize its famous façade from movies and TV shows. British Columbia is well known as the Hollywood Of The North and the Marine Building has played a large role in that – the building has been used in productions such as Timecop, Smallville, Continuum, Blade: Trinity, Fantastic Four and its sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and much more.

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