Tech-driven and Transformative

This building is a city block-sized monument to the height of twentieth-century design, technology, and infrastructure.

Once the largest building in Vancouver and the largest welded steel structure in the world, the Main Post Office served a rapidly changing city. It had ramps, chutes, elevators, and tunnels. It even had a 730-meter underground conveyor belt system connecting it to nearby rail hubs and waterways like Waterfront Station. Its McCarter Nairne & Partners design stands as the most noteworthy example of the International Style in all of western Canada—an architectural movement that prioritizes functional flexibility across a large volume of space, smooth exterior planes, and modern mix of materials like granite, marble, terra cotta, cast concrete, terrazzo, and aluminium.

Its construction marked a hinge point for a city on the verge of a boom: while it was in service, the metro area’s population more than doubled, from about 600,000 to more than 1.3 million.

Did you know …

Steel was still in such short supply after WWII that Crittall Windows developed aluminium window technology, and the largest known installation in Western Canada was in the Main Post Office?


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  • 1935–1937

    The old Vancouver Post Office, at the corner of Granville and Hastings Streets, was expanded before ultimately being deemed insufficient to meet the demands of the growing city.

  • 1955-1956

    Nairne & Partners, artworks were commissioned: a 4.9-metre carved granite postman bas-relief on its façade and tile mural of a woman and child in the postal hall, both by Paul Huba (1956); a stone inscription on the southwest corner of the building (1955); and a large painted mural near the Homer Street entrance showing early postal transportation methods in BC, by Orville Fisher.

  • 1958

    The Main Post Office was opened, showing off state-of-the-art technology on a massive scale.

  • OCTOBER 16, 1981

    The Canada Post Corporation Act came into effect, which had the effect of introducing greater automation. It also shifted a much larger volume of mail toward air transportation. The Main Post Office was decommissioned shortly thereafter.