Vancouver History Tidbits: Malkin

Comments 5 by Rebecca Bollwitt

There are names you see around town yet rarely place them or their historical significance. From Abbott to Tatlow or Shaughnessy, Malkin is right up there.

W.H. Malkin was a a major food wholesaler (Malkin’s Wholesale Grocers was at 57 Water Street) who became the Mayor of Vancouver 1929-1932. He slipped into the Mayor’s office between two of L.D. Taylor’s seven terms as Mayor of Vancouver and remained an important business figure in the City.

He oversaw the construction of the iconic Marine Building and was also the first Mayor of an amalgamated Vancouver, when Point Grey and South Vancouver officially became part of the City. Malkin was also the one in office when the legendary Commodore Ballroom officially opened in September of 1929. The ceremony was led by Malkin’s wife, Marion. It was in her honor that W.H. later dedicated the Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park.


1940s – Photographer: Jack Lindsay, Item #: CVA 1184-1963

On May 21st, 1934 construction began on Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park. “The bowl was a gift to the city from Malkin as a memorial to his late wife Marion, who had died in 1933. Its formal name is the Marion Malkin Bowl.” [VancouverHistory] It replaced a circular bandstand with a Hollywood Bowl style structure.


Photo credit: velkr0 on Flickr

In 1940 the first performance of Theatre Under the Stars took place at the Malkin Bowl, and over the years its seen many acts grace its stage. In 1982 an arsonist set fire to it, which ended up burning through decades of history. Names of performers that had been into its wooden walls were lost but the bowl was soon to be rebuilt. From Elvis Costello to the New Pornographers, the Malkin Bowl is still one of Vancouver’s most cherished live venues.

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5 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. fotoeinsMonday, March 29th, 2010 — 1:25pm PST

    Good memories at the Bowl … !

  2. Catherine SBBHFriday, July 2nd, 2010 — 7:00am PST

    What a lovely, warm piece of history you’ve shared. I’d love to visit Vancouver and found your post really interesting.

  3. GabreshTuesday, October 5th, 2010 — 3:01am PST

    In B&W photo, bottom right, interesting to see proximity of cigarette to child’s head.

  4. Convivio SexoFriday, October 22nd, 2010 — 3:38pm PST

    The bowl was a great gift to the city, I might say. I lived in Vancouver for two years, and Malkin Bowl is definitely a place to remember…

  5. LindaSaturday, December 11th, 2010 — 4:19pm PST

    Thankyou for the history of the bowl. I’ve been researching the Malkin family that moved to Canada from England in the late 1800s, it is a fascinating story, what a wonderful extended family and so much of their lives is recorded. They contributed so much to their new home in Vancouver bringing life, vision and energy.- from a reader in Australia

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