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On This Day in History: SFU Harbour Centre


Thursday, May 5th, 2011 — 12:05pm PDT
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On this day in 1989 SFU opened a downtown campus in the old David Spencer’s Department Store building on West Hastings between Seymour and Richards.


1930’s – Spencer’s Department Store. Archives item# CVA 1495-32

Built in 1908 and restructured by 1925, the Spencer’s stores in BC were bought up by Eatons in 1948 and most were re-branded.


1926 – Spencer’s Department Store. Archives item# CVA 1495-5. Photographer: Leonard Frank

In 1973 the adjacent buildings were demolished to make room for the Harbour Centre development and Sears moved into the Spencer’s space for the next dozen years or so.


SFU Public Affairs & Media Relations

From VancouverHistory.ca on the 1989 opening of SFU Harbour Centre: “It was clear there was need for a downtown university centre…”

“…This unique campus was originally financed through private sector funding and designed to meet another major challenge: mid-career education in the emerging global, knowledge-based economy.

I have given many talks in classrooms within this building and today I’m attending the WordCamp Developers conference.

With auditoriums, workspaces, computer labs and more, you’d hardly know that cans of biscuits, Lux soap, neck-ties and lingerie were once sold in this space.

The history that was in this space is continues to be made through education and dialogue in the heart of the city.

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