Great War Veterans' Association Hall
Urban Colour Building
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Great War Veterans’ Association (G.W.V.A.) Hall is a two-storey commercial building located in an area of retail and service business properties at 4552 Lakelse Avenue in Terrace, British Columbia. The historic place includes that portion of the two storey wood framed building which used to be the original G.W.V.A. Hall. This portion of the building includes a retail space on the first floor and a residential apartment on the second floor.
Built in 1921, the G.W.V.A. Hall is recognized for its historic, cultural and social values.
The G.W.V.A. Hall is valued for its direct historic connection to the region's veterans of World War I and for its association with the national movement to unite men and women of the Canadian military from across the country in a common cause. After World War I, a number of veterans' organizations were formed across Canada to assist men and women of the Canadian military who had returned from war in beginning their post-war lives. The national Great War Veterans' Association was formed in 1917 and grew to be the largest organization of its time. By 1925 there were more than 700 branches across the country, including one in Terrace. In late 1925, the amalgamation of the various veterans' groups, including the G.W.V.A., led to the eventual creation of the Royal Canadian Legion. The building also has ties to Terrace's World War II history. In the early 1940s, Terrace experienced a sudden demand for housing, as a result of the influx of troops in the area, which led then owner, O.T. Sundal, to put apartments in the building to help alleviate the community's housing shortage.
Although the G.W.V.A. Hall has been through a number of aesthetic and structural changes over the years, it holds historic value for its original wood frame construction on the first floor, including the original front entrance doorway and wooden staircase.
The G.W.V.A. Hall is valued for its central location within the community and for the role it played in the formation of Terrace's social and cultural life. The structure is representative of the common experience of the settlement of small primary resource towns in British Columbia during the early 20th century. Constructed near the centre of town, it offered the community a social gathering space, with a kitchen and offices on the main floor and a large hall upstairs. During that time, it was often referred to as Terrace's 'community centre'.
The Hall is also an important part of the social memory of the community. During the early 20th century, the Hall housed a library and the office of the Ladies' Auxiliary of the G.W.V.A. It was a place where local committee meetings, dances, basketball games, lectures, the annual Fall Fair, concerts, fundraising events and commemorative services took place. Unfortunately, the veterans could not continue making mortgage payments on the hall, and in 1928, they lost ownership to mortgage holder O.T. Sundal. However, the building remained a social centre in the town until the mid-1930s. In March 1939, the building suffered a significant structural change when, due to heavy snow loads, the roof of the structure collapsed and the building was converted to a one-storey structure.
The G.W.V.A. Hall is further valued for the variety and continuity of its commercial uses over time. In the late 1940s, a second storey was added by then-owners George and Betty McAdams, who opened a furniture store. Since then the structure has housed a restaurant, a furniture store, a TV store and office supply store, and a boutique clothing store with a second floor residential apartment. These local business endeavours are reflective of the building's central location in the community and of the solidification of Terrace as a regional business centre.
Source: City of Terrace, Development Services Dept.
Key character-defining elements that express the heritage value of the Great War Veterans' Association Hall include its:
- wood frame construction
- historic location on its original site
- original front entrance doorway and staircase to the second storey at the south west corner of the structure
- second storey wood roof beams and support pillars
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
1939/01/01 to 1939/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Community Organizations
- Governing Canada
- Military and Defence
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Shop or Wholesale Establishment
- Social, Benevolent or Fraternal Club
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Terrace, Development Services Dept.
Cross-Reference to Collection