Vintage Photos of Robson Street

Comments 2 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Granville Street is often the focus of historic Vancouver photo features, with its neon lights on theatre row and ever-changing retail landscape. However, it’s just as fascinating to take a look back at some of downtown’s other key business districts, such as Robson Street.

For the popular social media “Throwback Thursday” theme today, the Robson Street Business Association posted a historical photo of their thoroughfare on Twitter. This has inspired me to feature good ol’ Robsonstrasse in today’s archive photo collection:

1893. 1000 block of Robson. Archives# SGN 1079.1.

1948: Howe and Robson, looking east. Archives# Str P258. Leonard Frank Photos.

1914 Courthouse on Robson at Hornby. Photographer: F.Gowan. Archives# Bu P347.2

1950s. Robson at Hornby. Archives# 2008-022.055.

1939: Robson at Cardero. VPL# 25033. Dominion Photo Co. & 1928: Burrard at Robson. VPL# 6587. Leonard Frank.

1941. Houses on Robson at Homer. Archives# Bu N518.

Robson Street was named after John Robson who was the Premier of BC from 1889-1892. It began its commercial history early on with retail shops and restaurants springing up in 1985. It also became known as Robsonstrasse which was “a reflection of the European shopkeepers who operated the many small delicatessens, patisseries, and chic boutiques that populated the street.” [Source: RobsonStreet]

1965. Robson and Hornby. Danceland & CKNW. Archives# CVA 447-351.

1968. Robson at Seymour. Archives# CVA 447-353.

1981. Robson and Burrard. Archives# CVA 779-W06.05.

1981. Robson and Thurlow. Archives# CVA 779-W09.36.

1969: Thurlow at Robson. Archives# CVA 780-402
& 1974: South side Robson at Thurlow. Archives# CVA 778-326.

1976: Thurlow at Robson. Archives# CVA 780-406.

1974. 1100 Block Robson, north side. Archives# CVA 778-341.

1974: South side of 1100 & 1200 block Robson. Archives# CVA 778-343 & CVA 778-354.

1974 Bus stop at Burrard & Robson. Archives# CVA 69-19.19.

For more historical photos, visit the Vancouver Public Library and City of Vancouver Archives.

2 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. JesminaSaturday, July 27th, 2013 — 8:33am PDT

    Very cool look back at Robson St. Esp the iconic courthouse and retro ’76 😉

  2. Mandy HMonday, January 26th, 2015 — 7:02pm PST

    I love all these vintage photos you have posted. Especially the PNE ones. Very interesting.

Also on