Shipyards Health clinic inner banner

Shipyards District history

Pete Larson was among the first of a series of entrepreneurs attracted to the Shipyards district neighborhood, establishing his Hotel North Vancouver on Esplanade in 1902. Other prominent businesses followed suit and set up shop farther up the hill. John B. Paine’s hardware store, which eventually became a Lower Mainland institution, opened its first store on East First Street. In 1905 council called for a proposal for a street railway system to enhance the area’s transportation system. The British Columbia Electric Railway Company’s bid asked for the initial length of track to be built about five miles starting from the foot of Lonsdale to 19th Street. The first trial run along the Lonsdale route took place on August 29, 1906.

Shipyards health clinic history Keith block

Shipyards district
Keith Block

Originally called the “Keith Block” as noted by a large “K” carved into the sandstone shield over the entrance, the Aberdeen Block, constructed in 1910-1911,  was home to North Vancouver’s post office in 1911 and 1912 and City hall in 1914 and a British Columbia Electric Railway office.


Shipyards district
The bank

The bank of Hamilton Chambers (later the Bank of Commerce Chambers) was located on the Southeast corner of Lonsdale and 1st Ave. With it’s unique entrance at a 45 degree angle to the corner, this beautiful building  was  home to the Bank of Hamilton as well as medical practitioners in the upper floors, it would in 1933 be the location of the first electric passenger elevator not only on the North Shore and Shipyards district, but the entire Lower Mainland.

The Bank 1933
Shipyards health history Lower Lonsdale 1970

Shipyards district
Lower Lonsdale

Despite an attempt to rebrand the neighbourhood “Moodyville”,  Lower Lonsdale suffered economic decline through the 1970s to 1990s.

Once popular St. Alice Hotel, built in 1912, had a reputation as a gritty beer parlous in the 1970s and 1980s. Controversy erupted when the St. Alice was demolished in 1989 to be replaced by the towering Observatory residences.




Shipyards district
Paine Hardware

Paine hardware was a longstanding tenant of the Aberdeen block and is still remembered fondly by many locals. 

Paine Hardware remained in operation until 1998 when a fire gutted this building on New Year’s Eve. 

The west and south brick walls, with its historic brick and sandstone were preserved while the entire building was rebuilt behind this striking facade and this is now the home of Shipyards Health.

Paine Hardware
seabus view
Shipyards today...

Shipyards district
SEabus view

 Lower Lonsdale has recently undergone a vibrant redevelopment phase with an emphasis on community living in an urban setting. 

Many of the old shipyards buildings have been removed, yet those which remain have been converted to venues for parties and weddings.  Over $35 million dollars was invested in a public recreation and entertainment site which includes a children’s water park, a new boutique hotel, a home to a new Capilano University campus and community seating area.

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