Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre, (RCARC) is a historic railway complex with arts, crafts, and leisure spaces located in Yaletown Vancouver, B.C. It is just a short walk from WEEDS in Yaletown and is a perfect place to visit after stocking up on cannabis and accessories in Downtown Vancouver’s best dispensary and vaporizer store.
The RCARC is a building with historical significance to the City of Vancouver both socially and architecturally. Initially the Roundhouse consisted of a couple of buildings which housed and serviced the steam locomotives of the that time. Those who worked at the Round house also worked with the railway which helped contributed to the development of Vancouver.
The Roundhouse was one of the largest termini in the western part of Vancouver, B.C. The building of the Roundhouse took many years and included a lot of expansions. The original ten-bay building was built in 1888. The building was then renovated to accommodate 12 more bays in 1911. Then in 1940 three of the bays where lengthened by 30 feet. In 1950, diesel servicing shops were created out of three bays.
The decline in the use of steam locomotives on the railroad was due to the appearance of diesel powered engines. The buildings the buildings which housed and serviced them became unused and so became abandoned. The Roundhouse and the surrounding rail yards, which were once full of life slowly fell into obscurity. Because of this, the government tried to demolish it in 1980, but this was stopped due to the efforts of rail and heritage enthusiasts.
Norman Hotson Architects were hired in 1984 by BC Place Corporation to renovate the Roundhouse. The reason behind this renovation was that the Roundhouse was to be used as a theme pavilion for the World Expo in 1984. As it turned out, the crowds liked the venue.
After the expo, all temporary buildings erected for the occasion were dismantled, leaving the round house bare again.
The government then agreed to make the Roundhouse a a facility dedicated to the community as an arts and culture community center. And so in 1994 construction or reconstruction began. In 1997 Concord saw the management of the Roundhouse turned over to the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation under the leadership of Coordinator Derek Simons.
The Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre now contains a black box Performance Centre, an exhibition hall, woodworking shop, pottery and dance studios, a full size gymnasium, a cafe area, and other multi-use spaces. It also houses the Engine 374 which was the locomotive that pulled the first passenger train to cross Canada into Vancouver on May 23, 1887.
This building had been through a lot and has a wonderful history, it is Vancouver’s oldest heritage building and gets numerous visitors all year round.