Heritage Research: The Manhattan (784 Thurlow Street)

The Manhattan was built in 1908 with William Lamon Tait as the inaugural owner of the building. Tait was a local lumber magnate and commissioned partners John Parr and Thomas Arthur Fee to construct the building. Tait also built the famous Shaughnessy mansion Glen Brae (now housing the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.) The early years of The Manhattan housed a pharmacy on its ground floor while a clothing store and the apartments utilised others sections of the building.

Plans were made in 1979 to demolish the building but a group of residents mounted a “Save the Manhattan” campaign to preserve the building. This group of residents later formed the Manhattan Housing Co-op and secured ownership of the building, via a mortgage, for three decades. The co-operative targets low to middle income residents to occupy the apartments and are responsible for the entire management of the building. Since 2011, the building’s ownership has been reverted to Sunco Enterprises.

Source: City of Vancouver Archives


‘The Manhattan Building,’ Heritage Burlington, 2013.

The Manhattan Housing Co-operative website.

‘The Orillia – Robson Street,’ Changing Vancouver, 2012.

‘The Manhattan Building – Report,’ Building Stories, 2013.

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