New Westminster: Then & Now

New Westminster was chosen as the new colony because of it’s strategic site location. As the city flourished the design and architectural landscape changed with it however always paying respect to it’s site location beside the Fraser River.

While the architecture, shops and certain design elements have changed since 1866 there is once again an appreciation of the downtown area.

Here we will look at the different ways the city landscape have developed in terms of design or remained their historical features:

The Riverfront

Past: New Westminster Quay Side

For over 2 decades the city has been revitalizing their most important asset – the Riverfront. They have added parks, seating, continuous pedestrians bike paths, playground and sporting grounds.

Present Day Riverfront
Present: New Westminster Riverfront. Source: Inn at New Westminster Quay

The Public Market:

Past: New Westminster Public Market. Source: New Westminster Museum

A public market has always been present in New Westminster. The first public market began in 1892 and was rebuilt after the great fire of 1898. The venue has changed and moved over time but the presence of a public market has always been essential in the daily life of the city’s citizens. As a way to make the public market life relevant again the Westmisnter Quay Public Market was redeveloped into River Market.

Present: River Market. Source: Ed Lau

Hyack Square:

Hyack Square
Past: Hyack Square. Source: City of New Westminster

Hyack Square was formally recognized in 1986 although having been established as a public square in 1860. The area was a place for celebrations and gatherings. In 2009 the square was revitalized to accommodate seating, historical features and public art.

Present: Hyack Square. Source: City of New Westminster

Columbia St.:

NW Heritage
Past: Columbia St. New Westminster. Source: Heritage New Westminster

While New Westminster main corridor has changed over time, much of the street still boast original the original architecture to reflect it’s historical roots. The streetcars have been replaced with automobiles but the street is still as walkable today as it was in the past.

Present: Columbia St. New Westminster. Source: Flickr, Ian, Battle Royale1

Paramount Theatre:

City of New Westminster Archives
Past: Paramount Theatre. Source: New Westminster Archives

The Paramount Theatre is the oldest surviving theatre in BC. It was established as Paramount in 1950 by George W. Grant. Although it is no longer a movie theatre the building remains as an entertainment venue. The exterior facade has remained but the interior has changed with the different needs of the activities.

Cinema Treasures
Present: Paramount Theatre. Source: Cinema Treasures

Where In The West

In a sea of many wedding dress shops and prom stores New Westminster also boast plenty of small interior designs stores. As someone who lives far from Downtown Vancouver you start to learn about the great design services offered around your area.

Supporting local business are not only good for the economy but help to foster a strong sense of community. The most essential aspect of small unique shops is that New Westminster was built on the direct contact of craftsmen and their customers.

Here are some great interior design shops that can be located in New Westminster:

Banana Lab

Banana Lab, New West Pride, Home Decor
Banana Lab’s Display Window in 2015 – 3rd Place Winners!
  1. While only around for 3 years, Banana Lab offers primarily re-furbished mid-century modern furniture. The store is owned by Jin Kim and her husband Wonduk Yoo. To help support other local artist, they partner with other artist allowing them to use their space as an opportunity to also express their creative freedom.See the list of many other artist they collaborate and support.

457A East Columbia St, New Westminster, BC

Tues-Sat 11-6
Sun 12-5
Mon Closed

Champagne Taste Home Decor

New West, Royal City, Interior Design, Cosignment
Champagne Taste Home Decor

2. Champagne Taste Consignment Store truly illustrates New Westminster’s unique tradition of connecting with community members. The goal of the consignment store is to have a more unique experience unlike the big box stores we are all used to. The high end consignment store sells new and used furniture all with the same spirit – finding the perfect home.


1101 Royal Ave, New Westminster
604 524 6068
Hours: Mon-sat 10-5:30 Sun 12-5

Lofty Living

Lofty Living, Royal City, Downtown New Westminster, New West
Lofty Living Display Window

3. As I was bridesmaid shopping with a friend along Columbia Street we stumbled upon Lofty Living. From the outside the interior of the shop looked so cute and different we just had to check it out. They are more than just a decor shop, they also sell cards clothing and beauty products. Definitely a nice break in the plethora of dress shops in the area!

Check out their Instagram account here.

616 Columbia St. New Westminster, BC

Sunday – Wednesday 11:00 – 5:00
Thursday – Saturday 11:00 – 6:00

Brick & Mortar

Brick & Mortar, New West, Royal City, Downtown New West
Brick & Mortar Flower Shop

4. Brick & Mortar is another unique shop in the historic downtown area since 2012. They sell local designs, gifts and furniture pieces. Besides from offering design pieces they also have a flower shop in store. It’s a place I have drove by many times and the window displays are always very pleasing to look at.

See the rest of Brick & Mortar’s work on their website.

40 & 42 Sixth Street in New Westminster

Wednesday – Sunday: 11am – 6 pm

I hope that in your pursuit to check out these stores you also stumble upon a hidden gem the city has to offer.


Happy hunting,