The UBC Archives Photograph Collection has over 40,000 photographic images dating from the founding of UBC to the present day. They present a visual record of UBC’s growth and development, the evolution of student life, and campus events over most of the past century. In a previous blog post, Now & Then, we showed how one of the oldest buildings on campus, the Irving K Barber (IKB) Learning Centre has changed during the past decades. In this post, we will focus on Main Mall.
Being in the centre of UBC Grey Point campus, Main Mall is a historic pedestrian axis. Looking north, the landscape of the mountains hasn’t changed much. But the red oaks, the earliest of which were planted in the 1920s, have grown a lot!
The Main Library, now the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, was first built in 1923. In 2002, the library began the process of a major renovation. After the refurbishment, both wings and the majority of the interior were completely redone, but the west entrance hall remained much the same.
Left: UBC 1.1/2355, Entrance hall, Main Library, . Right: The west entrance of Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, October 2019.
Left: UBC 1.1/1729, Main Library entrance, . Right: The west entrance of Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, October 2019.
The view of Main Mall from the west entrance of IKB Learning Centre looks quite different from 50 years ago. These two photos were taken in the same place, one in 1943, and the other last week. In the right photo, the Ladner Clock Tower was built in 1968, Walter C. Koerner Library in 1996, and the Residential School History and Dialogue Centre in 2018.
Left: UBC 1.1/1073, Reflection pool and lawns in front of Main Library, 1943. Right: In front of Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, October 2019.
Can you tell where this building is? It’s now right behind the Koerner Library. It was called the Arts Building until 1960, then the Mathematics Building.
Is this side more familiar?
Did you know there was a bus stop on Main Mall? It was on the west side of Main Mall across from the Science Building (now the Chemistry Building), to the south of Mathematics Annex, as shown in the photo below.
In 1955-56, a long, low building including the Bus Stop Café and the old University Bookstore was built in the location of the bus stop.
According to the University Archives of Buildings & Grounds, the old Bookstore and Bus Stop Café were torn down in 1991 to make space for the David Lam Management Research Centre.
This is how this area looks like now.
To read more about the Bus Stop Café, please check out this post.
In the south end of Main Mall, there is the Old Barn Community Centre. There was actually a horse barn on the same spot. According to UBC Archives, the Old Horse Barn was erected in 1920. In 2003, the barn was deemed structurally unsafe and beyond restoration, and then rebuilt. The building now functions as a community centre providing a social space for university residents and students, including a coffee shop, meeting rooms, and a number of social spaces.
We hope you enjoyed the blog post. To find out more historical photographs about the university, please explore the UBC Archives Photograph Collection!