Next time you’re walking along Old Nanaimo’s Commercial Street, take a look at the surrounding architecture. Some of the buildings will transport you back to the past, reminding you of a quainter Nanaimo.
The Jean Burns Building is a well-known historical building on Commercial Street. It was built in 1955 and designed by the prominent local architect Thomas McArravy. However, the building’s significance comes from the man who operated a Ladies and Children’s Wear Shop for over 40 years – Jean Burns.
The eye-catching Modern Café Building was built in 1910 and received intense renovations in the 1950s. The famous neon sign was mounted in the mid 1940s. Although now modernized, the neon sign still sits as a reminder of the popular signage of Nanaimo’s downtown core from the 40s to 80s.
The old Nash Hardware Building represents the style of Art Deco architecture. The building was originally built in 1909, but received a facelift in 1945, which featured the new façade of post-war modern design. Several buildings mimic the same Art Deco characteristics along Commercial Street.
There are many more buildings, ranging from Edwardian-era style and Classical Period Revival architecture to Art Deco. Remember to go check out Commercial Street and take in the variety of historical architecture. (From the collection of the Nanaimo Archives)