Built in 1928, Santa Fe was designed by renowned Vancouver-born Architects Townley & Matheson, the same team whose distinguished body of work includes recognizable heritage landmarks like Vancouver’s Art Deco City Hall.
Built by a former marine superintendent with the Canadian Pacific Rail, the building was originally named The Van Arsdel after his wife Eva Van Arsdel, and the family maintained a suite in the building when they were in town between trips back and forth to Asia. This stately building was unique considering the context of where it stood at the time. Back then, it was surrounded by dirt roads and a few single family homes. From Santa Fe’s address at 2975 Oak Street, at the corner of West 14th Avenue, the former city limits at West 16th Avenue were within two blocks. Only a year later this changed in 1929 when Vancouver amalgamated with the separate Municipality of Point Grey adding lands South of 16th Avenue, West of Cambie and included the elite Canadian Pacific Rail-developed Shaughnessy.
Santa Fe answered a need for multifamily housing in the City between the World Wars and was modelled with traditionalism – a response to North American post-war nostalgia and taste.
Santa Fe’s exterior featured poured concrete walls with applied shield and garland decorative plasters, Juliet balconies, deeply recessed windows, and a symmetrical façade that was evocative of the Period Revival movement popular in the 1920’s.
Today it stands with grace as a heritage icon in Fairview, retaining all of its original charm almost 90 years later.