The Triangle Building: ‘Aorta’ of Mount Pleasant’s ‘Heritage Heart’

Christine Hagemoen – 2017

The Triangle Building at 2402-2422 Main St/44, 46 Kingsway is a key building in what has become affectionately known as Mount Pleasant’s ‘Heritage Heart’, the area around the triangle block. Created by Broadway and the historic intersection of Kingsway, Main Street and 7th Avenue and referred to by this name in the Mount Pleasant Community Plan (2010), the ‘Heritage Heart’ was the hub from which ‘Old Mount Pleasant Village’ developed and it has remained the hub of the neighbourhood ever since.

The Triangle Building was built by merchant, developer and philanthropist Ben Wosk in 1947.  Beneath the grey stuccoed skin of this unique Streamlined Art Moderne building still exists the original vitrolite exterior finish.  This pigmented structural glass was a product of mid-century developments in material science.  Also indicative of the period’s affinity for slick shiny surfaces are the stainless steel window and door frames which surround the building front and back.

VPL-78025B – Robert O. Bentley 1972 Dominion Photo Co.

Mount Pleasant’s vibrant mix of small businesses is one of its characteristics most valued by both its residents and the city at large. Since it was built, the Wosk Block/Triangle Building has provided more small, accessible storefronts and offices for the neighbourhood’s countless prized independent businesses than any other building in the area. One locally owned shop especially cherished by the community was Bain’s Candies and Fine Chocolates (established in 1938), which was housed in the tip of the building from the time the Wosk Block opened in 1948 until the turn of the 21st century. People still remember Campbell Munro who made candies for Bain’s for more than 66 years. The building is currently home to an eclectic group of businesses much loved by the community and provides some of the most affordable commercial rents in the area, as was highlighted in the recent article in the MetroNews, ‘Landlord helps keep block ‘alive’ (Thursday, February 21st, 2017).

aa-1404-CBC – Alvin Armstrong – 1956 – Night Shot for Almanac

The building’s upstairs offices have continually been used by businesses, community groups and non-profit associations emblematic of the neighbourhood and important to the community’s social and cultural cohesion. In the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s there was a high concentration of industrial workers associations and credit unions mixed among various professionals as well as community groups like the Viet Nam Action Committee and Canadian Jewish Outlook Magazine. Since the late 1980’s the offices have been home to many arts organizations and artists studios along with other groups and businesses. The building tells the story of the neighbourhood’s evolution and changing identity and its present popularity as a social gathering place, both inside its shops, cafe and eateries and outside along the sidewalk, reflects how much the building and its tenants are held dear by the people of Vancouver.

As the Mount Pleasant Heritage Group it is our goal to identify, celebrate and preserve heritage buildings that are not only of architectural interest and importance but that have a history of contributing to the social/cultural identity and fabric of the community.  It is our hope to open up a conversation about the future of this treasured and vital building that might be characterized as the ‘aorta’ of the ‘Heritage Heart’.

Addendum to original post:  This photo shows the Triangle Building with its new mural by Bracken Hanuse Corlett, painted for the Vancouver Mural Festival 2017.

Mural by Bracken Hanuse Corlett

Mural by Bracken Hanuse Corlett

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