25 vintage photos of Vancouver's grocery stores

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Groceries are a major part of life in any city, and Vancouver is no exception. Chains like Safeway go a long way back here, and even nearly a century ago were in the business of swallowing up locations of mom and pop grocers in our communities.

Some of the buildings that once were grocers are still around, housing stores and restaurants behind their distinct facades. Of course, many of the buildings and businesses are long gone. Take the corner of Burrard and Robson for example; once upon a time even that was a local grocer before it was home to our main library, the Virgin Megastore, HMV, and now a massive Victoria’s Secret. Even Vancouver’s department stores sold groceries. There was Woodwards’ legendary food floor, but the Hudson’s Bay on Granville had a grocery department, too.

Check out these vintage photos of Vancouver’s grocery stores of yesteryear.

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Group of men standing outside R.V. Winch Grocery Store, 66 Cordova St, 1888 (Photo via VPL)

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Philip Bros. Fruit and Game, 170 Cordova, 1892 (Photo via VPL)

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Exterior of Charles Anderson’s grocery store at 164 Cordova Street, between 1892 and 1895 (Photo via Vancouver Archives)

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Exterior of C.F. Foreman Wholesale and Retail Grocer on the northeast corner of Westminster Avenue (Main Street) and Princess Street (Pender Street), 1895 (Photo by Harry T. Devine via Vancouver Archives)

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Express delivery wagons on the southwest corner of Hastings Street and Carrall Street, 1898 (Photo via Vancouver Archives)

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Interior of Woodwards Grocery Department at 101 West Hastings Street and Abbott Street, 1904 (Photo by Woodwards Advertising via Vancouver Archives)

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An H.A. Edgett Company Limited grocery delivery wagon on Hamilton Street, 1906 (Photo via Vancouver Archives)

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Buffalo Grocery, 14th Avenue and Park [Commercial] Drive, February 1908 (Photo via Vancouver Archives)

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North east corner of Granville and Robson, McTaggart’s grocery store with the Red Raven drugstore next door and the Sunset View apartments above. 1908 (Photo via VPL)

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Fleet of Calladine grocery trucks in front of Calladine’s Grocery Branch No. 3, March 1918 (Photo by Stuart Thomson via Vancouver Archives)

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Employees in front of Duke’s Grocery at 1588 Commercial Drive, 1920. This became a Safeway, and is now Gelateria Dolce Amore. (Photo via Vancouver Archives)

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The Sincere Grocery store at 995 Robson Street, circa 1925. This is the corner of Burrard and Robson, which ultimately became the Vancouver Central Library, the Virgin Megastore, HMV, and now Victoria’s Secret (Photo via Vancouver Archives)

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Hudson’s Bay Company. Interior of store at 674 Granville Street, October 1931 (Photo Stuart Thomson via Vancouver Archives)

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Woodward’s food floor cheese display, 1938 (Photo via VPL)

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View looking Northeast in 1500 block Graveley and Commercial. 1588 Commercial Drive. What was once Duke’s Grocery by the 1930s was a location of the Safeway chain, seen here in 1939 (photo via VPL)

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Safeway Stores Ltd. No. 1, 2159 West 41st Avenue, 1939. This is currently two smaller boutiques. (Photo via VPL)

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Inside Safeway No. 4 at 2707 Granville Street, 1939 (Photo via VPL)

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Inside Safeway No. 4 at 2707 Granville Street, 1939 (Photo via VPL)

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Inside Safeway No. 4 at 2707 Granville Street, 1939 (Photo via VPL)

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Exterior view of Scott’s Grocery & Confectionery, 1940s (Photo by Jack Lindsay via Vancouver Archives)

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Woman being helped by a grocery store clerk, 1940s (Photo by Jack Lindsay via Vancouver Archives)

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Spork canned meat display in a grocery store, 1940s (Photo by Jack Lindsay via Vancouver Archives)

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Grocer in baking ingredients aisle, 1942 (Photo by Jack Lindsay via Vancouver Archives)

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Woman helping customers at the meat section of a grocery store, April 1943 (Photo via Vancouver Archives)

Featured image: Exterior of N.K. Grocery at 1099 Howe Street, October 1943 (Photo via Vancouver Archives)

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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