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Downtown New West: Old Meets New

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Photos from Then and Now (Part One)

Read along as the BIA Ambassadors visit areas of Downtown New Westminster to see and compare what has changed in the city as old meets new.

As a Summer Ambassador I have had the opportunity to learn so much more about Downtown New West. My knowledge of what’s available here has increased exponentially; no longer am I a doe-eyed interviewee with a tentative understanding of how to walk from New West station to the Westminster Building. Through this position I have been able to try new restaurants, explore cute shops, and gain a greater appreciation of what this area has to offer.

There’s really a modern energy because of new developments, but also a charming familiarity. The community here has found a way to break past the area’s characterization as an old city with historical landmarks by weaving new and old pieces together.

With the skytrain tracks and busses along the hill, 8th Street and Columbia may still look very similar, but there have been a lot of changes since the picture on the left was taken!

Hyack Square NW station

  • Hyack Square, which was renovated and re-opened in 2009, has become a gathering place as well as a link from Downtown to the River Market and waterfront.
  • New West skytrain station, which was inaugurated in 1985, continues to be a convenient access point for people in and out of the area, but has also been transformed (thanks to Shops at New West) into a great place to shop, meet, and eat!

 Shops on this section of Columbia Street between McKenzie and 6th have surely changed over the years – a testament to the progressive nature of business in Downtown New West.

Lofty Living Moody Beads

The last building on Columbia Street before the Patullo Bridge is pictured here, under construction in 1996. Envision a splash of maroon paint, neon electric sign, and a few umbrellas popped up on the patio, and it becomes obvious that this place is the Brooklyn Bar & Grill that we see today.


Still recognizable by the building’s exterior, what was once the “Columbia Centre” is now known as the “Boucher Center”.

Columbia Station

A few additions have been made to the area surrounding what is still the Bridal Gallery, including another dress shop called Lisa’s Bridal and a quaint alleyway up Lorne Mews St.

Lorne Mews


Royal City Jewellers looks practically identical from then and now, with the only give away being the construction in the background of what is now Church Street, Status Nightclub, and Heritage Grill.

 Royal City Jewelers

Keep an eye out for part two of this throwback series for more comparisons from "then to now" in the Downtown New Westminster community!

- Jessica G.