Created By: SFU
The Dunn-Miller Block, now known for housing one of Vancouver’s flagship Army & Navy locations, was established in 1889. A sign in front of the store states that the Army and Navy Departmnt Store purchased the building in the 1930s. This three-storey late Victorian Italiante commercial building, noteworthy for its long facade that occupies almost half a block, was owned by Thomas Dunn and Jonathan Miller. Dunn and Miller were renowned local businessmen who were active members of the community. Miller was born in Melbourne, Ontario, arriving in Granville in 1865. He was appointed Granville’s first constable and also became Vancouver’s first postmaster. Dunn was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and he moved to Vancouver in 1886. He was elected as one of Vancouver’s first aldermen, during Vancouver’s first civic election in 1886. Both men are linked to Vancouver for developing two connected, but separate buildings known as the Dunn-Miller Block. This building is one of many warehouses constructed in Gastown at the time of Vancouver’s economic boom.
Prior to settling in Canada in 1876, Dunn was a hardware merchant in England for two years. When he moved to Vancouver he started his own hardware business at Powell and Corral. In the same year, Dunn’s business and home suffered a huge loss when the Great Fire of June 13, 1886 destroyed the city. Two years after the devastating fire, Dunn hired architect N.S. Hoffar to design a bigger structure to house his hardware business and a ship chandlery. Hoffar completed the Dunn-Miller Block just in time to profit from a wave of miners who were seeking their fortune during the Klondike Gold Rush. This building was one of the first structures to be constructed of enduring material, such as brick, stone and cast iron, after the great fire. Therefore, the Dun-Miller Block was representative of Vancouver’s renewed prosperity, and it is said that Dunn even held a ball in the warehouse to celebrate its grand opening.
Bibliography: “Dunn-Miller Block.” Canada’s Historic Places. Retrieved from http://www. historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=8557
“The fastest City Hall ever built.” Lowtide Properties. Sep 1 2016.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Scotland Walks Strathcona