The statue of Captain George Vancouver in front of City Hall



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City Mayors reports news from towns and cities around the world. Worldwide | Elections | North America | Latin America | Europe | Asia | Africa |


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City Mayors deals with urban transport issues in developed and developing countries and features the world’s greatest metro systems. More


City Mayors examines education issues and policies affecting children and adults in urban areas. More


City Mayors investigates health issues affecting urban areas with an emphasis on health in cities in developing countries. More


City Mayors reports on how business developments impact on cities and examines cooperation between cities and the private sector. More


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City Mayors questions those who govern the world’s cities and talks to men and women who contribute to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors profiles national and international organisations representing cities as well as those dealing with urban issues. More


City Mayors reports on major national and international sporting events and their impact on cities. More


City Mayors lists cities and city organisations, profiles individual mayors and provides information on hundreds of urban events. More


City Mayors reports news from towns and cities around the world. Worldwide | Elections | North America | Latin America | Europe | Asia | Africa |


City Mayors ranks the world’s largest, best as well as richest cities and urban areas. It also ranks the cities in individual countries, and provides a list of the capital cities of some 200 sovereign countries. More


City Mayors profiles city leaders from around the world. More


City Mayors describes the history, architecture and politics of the greatest city halls in the world. More


Mayors from The Americas, Europe. Asia, Australia and Africa compete for the World Mayor Award. More


Use
Mayor Monitor to rate the performance of mayors from across the world More


In your opinion: Praise Criticise. Write


City Mayors reports political events, analyses the issues and depicts the main players. More


City Mayors describes and explains the structures and workings of local government in Europe, The Americas, Asia, Australia and Africa. More


City Mayors deals with economic and investment issues affecting towns and cities. More


City Mayors describes and explains financial issues affecting local government. More


City Mayors reports urban environmental developments and examines the challenges faced by cities worldwide. More


City Mayors reports on and discusses urban development issues in developed and developing countries. More


City Mayors reports on developments in urban society and behaviour and reviews relevant research. More


City Mayors invites readers to write about the people in their cities. More


City Mayors examines city brands and marketing. More


City Mayors lists and features urban events, conferences and conventions aimed at urban decision makers and those with an interst in cities worldwide. More



City Mayors deals with urban transport issues in developed and developing countries and features the world’s greatest metro systems. More


City Mayors examines education issues and policies affecting children and adults in urban areas. More


City Mayors investigates health issues affecting urban areas with an emphasis on health in cities in developing countries. More


City Mayors reports on how business developments impact on cities and examines cooperation between cities and the private sector. More


City Mayors examines the contributions history and culture make to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors examines the importance of urban tourism to city economies. More


City Mayors questions those who govern the world’s cities and talks to men and women who contribute to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors profiles national and international organisations representing cities as well as those dealing with urban issues. More


City Mayors reports on major national and international sporting events and their impact on cities. More


City Mayors lists cities and city organisations, profiles individual mayors and provides information on hundreds of urban events. More


Vancouver City Hall:
Built in only 330 days

By Gregor Gosciniak

7 August 2007: Construction of the new Vancouver City Hall began on 3 January in Vancouver's Golden Jubilee Year of 1936 and was completed on 1 December of the same year .The first cornerstone was laid by former Mayor Gerry McGeer on 2 July. Construction of the building was commissioned by the Vancouver Civic Building Committee and the building was designed by architect Fred Townley and Matheson.

The $1 million construction cost was provided by a special bond issue. City Hall was completed on 1 December after only 330 days of construction work. The building has a twelve storey tower featuring a clock on the top. As a decorative item an eight-foot statue of Captain George Vancouver was placed at the front of the building. George Vancouver was a Royal Navy officer, who became well known for his exploration of North America, including the Pacific coast along today’s Canadian province of British Columbia and the American states of Alaska, Washington state and Oregon. The statue was designed by Charles Marega and unveiled on 20 August 20 by the then Lord Mayor of London, Sir Percy Vincent.

Besides unveiling the statue, Sir Percy also presented several gifts to the city like a civic mace and a sprig "...from a tree in the orchard where a falling apple gave Isaac Newton the idea that led to his theory of gravity." Till today the mace and the statue still reside at city hall. The outer doors of City Hall are decorated with lock plates displaying the Vancouver Coat of Arms, and each doorknob bares the monogram of the building.

The ceiling on the second floor of the rotunda is covered with gold leaf, originating from several British Columbia gold mines. The building's style stands at a transitional point between the vertical, highly ornamented Art Deco style and the simpler, more horizontal Modern.

The ceremonial and formal spaces of the third floor, which include today’s Council Chambers are still the same they were in the late 1930s. The chambers are two stories in height, with a rear balcony, high windows, large brass wall sconces, a central inset clock, and beautifully veneered wall panels. The woodwork is lovingly detailed and very well preserved.

The four large modernistic cast brass suspended chandeliers still light the Chambers. The first mayor of Vancouver to occupy the brand-new city hall on 2 January 1937 was George Clark Miller after he won the civic election the previous December. Construction of an additional four-storey east wing began in 1969 and was completed in 1970. In March1976 the complex was officially declared a historic site. Today City Hall is home to Vancouver City Council and the office of Mayor Sam Sullivan, a recipient of the nation’s highest honour, the Order of Canada, for his community service on behalf of marginalized people. Mayor Sullivan is the founder of six non-profit organizations that have improved the lives of thousands of North Americans with disabilities. After being elected to Vancouver City Council in 1993, Sullivan served as a Councillor for 12 years. He was elected Mayor in November 2005.


Vancouver's City Hall: construction started and was completed in 1936 (Photo: A Farson)


Also by Gregor Gosciniak
San Francisco City Hall
Even though San Francisco has less than a million inhabitants, it has one of the biggest and most beautiful city halls in the US, with a dome taller than that of the Capitol in Washington DC. San Francisco City Hall, which opened in 1916 after the old City Hall was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, is one of the best examples of Beaux Arts architecture in the world, and it is considered to have one of the most important interior spaces in the United States.

The Beaux Arts (French for ‘fine art’) style originated in the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. Many American architects studied at this architectural school, where they learned about the aesthetic principles of classical design and brought them to the United States. The style combines classical architecture from ancient Greece and Rome with Renaissance ideas. Beaux Arts is characterised by order, symmetry, formal design, grandiosity, and elaborate ornamentation. Due to the size and grandiosity of the buildings, the Beaux Arts style is most commonly used for public buildings like museums, railway stations, libraries, banks, courthouses, and government buildings.

San Francisco City Hall was build by Arthur Brown, who born in 1874. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1896, where he and his future partner, John Bakewell were students under the popular Bay Area architect Bernard Maybeck. Arthur Brown completed his education in Paris where he graduated from L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1901.

San Francisco City Hall was built in the spirit of ‘The City Beautiful’ movement in the early 20th century. Brown’s design for City Hall was inspired by the gilded lead-plated dome and spire of Les Invalides in Paris, where Napoleon was laid to rest in 1861. The construction of San Francisco City Call cost $3.4 million, which is equivalent to some $400 million today. In addition, the city paid $1.4 million for the site. The money was largely raised by issuing a municipal bond. It took only two years for the new City Hall to be built. More