Local History Advent Calendar 2019 – Day 17 – Odd Fellows Hall (Arcadian Hall)
Last year I took on the challenge of the first-ever Local History Advent Calendar! For 24 days in a row, I presented random historical tidbits I’d collected over the previous year and presented them in the form of “treats” for my 2018 Local History Advent Calendar. This year, the “Heart of Mount Pleasant” was number 1 on Heritage Vancouver’s Top 10 Watch List for 2019. So I decided to choose Mount Pleasant as the theme for the Vanalogue Local History Advent Calendar for 2019. Each day you can “open” a new historical treat. Think of them as holiday cocktail party fodder – 24 facts about Mount Pleasant history that can be used as conversation starters at your next social event.
Acadian Hall was a landmark building in Mount Pleasant that once stood at 2214 Main Street for 88 years before it was destroyed by an arson fire in December 1993. The large wooden hall was built in 1905 for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F) Mount Pleasant lodge #19.
According to the I.O.O.F. website, the lodge was instituted on May 26, 1892. The lodge originally met “in a building on the Archer Block of land on Westminster (Main) St.” and built the hall there in 1905. The IOOF lodge #19 owned the building until December 1955 when they moved to the Knights of Pythias Hall at 303 East 8th Avenue (now Western Front). In May of 1963, the lodge moved again, relocating to the Little Mountain #60 hall at Main and 30th (196 E 30th). Eventually, Mount Pleasant #19 merged with Fairview #61 on November 4, 1965, and became Fairview #19.
After the I.O.O.F. left, the building was used by many other groups and organizations throughout its history. The Mount Pleasant Hall on Main Street eventually came to be known as the Arcadian Hall by the late 1940s.
It was a great dance venue. The hall was a popular spot for local dance and theatre troupes to rent because of the spring-loaded dance floor, which was one of only two in the city. (The Commodore has the remaining one.) It was also a popular venue for the arts and music community. Over its 88 years, the hall hosted everything from rummage sales to Randy Rampage (of D.O.A.).
At the time of its destruction, it was owned by the Finlandia Club of Vancouver. For them, it was used as a social and cultural gathering centre for people of Finnish descent. It was also home to the Main Dance Place; a dance academy for professional and advanced dancers to keep up with their craft and others to take part recreationally.
Do you have any memories of the Arcadian Hall? If you do, I’d love to hear them.