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