Vida J Morkunas

The massive door that leads into the Wosk Centre for Dialogue

We politely asked the security guard to let us in for a five-minute photo shoot. We were so delighted that he cheerfully let us in

Vancouver has been enjoying a revival of reconstruction of classical but derelict buildings. The Wosk Centre for Dialogue, on Hastings and Seymour, is an example of this.

The Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue is part of the Harbour Centre campus of Simon Fraser University. Together with the university's dramatic mountaintop campus in Burnaby, Simon Fraser University is an institution widely acknowledged for its diversity, scholarship, and responsiveness.

Simon Fraser University provides an infrastructure for intellectual leadership and a foundation for community growth and the Wosk Centre for Dialogue objectifies the University's commitment to research in communication.

A bit of history...

1919 Architect W. Marbury Somervell, of the firm Somervell and Pratt, begins design on the Union Bank building, corner of Seymour and Hastings.

1920 Building opens as Bank of Toronto after that bank takes over the Union Bank Building.

1955 Building becomes B.C. head office of the Toronto Dominion Bank.

1984 Toronto Dominion bank closes. Building vacant.

1987 Architectural charette organized to explore ideas to save the building.

1988 Allied Holdings buys building. Saving the building becomes a cause celebre. The building continues to deteriorate.

1989 Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre opens. Dr. Jack Blaney looks at derelict building across the street and ponders whether it could be used by the university.

1993 Allied Holdings agrees to donate the building to SFU for use as an international conference centre. The City of Vancouver gives the building a Class A heritage designation.

July 1997 Scott Construction begins the project, which includes heritage restoration of the exterior limestone, terra-cotta cornice and Edwardian coffered ceiling and seismic upgrading.

November 1997 Federal Government contributes $4 million as its legacy of Canada's Year of Asia Pacific to ensure completion. The central Dialogue Hall will be named Asia Pacific Hall.

October 1999 Morris J.Wosk donates $3 million to the Centre, which is named after him.

September 2000 Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue officially opens

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