In 1958, the artist B.C. Binning was commissioned by the Imperial Bank of Commerce to create a tile mosaic mural for the lobby of a new office tower on the corner of Granville and Dunsmuir in Vancouver.
The lobby has now been incorporated into a modern drug store, but thankfully the mural was saved. Take the stairs to the second floor of the store and you will come face to face with a spectacular tile mosaic that portrays Vancouver’s booming resource economy at the time.
Binning was one of Canada’s foremost modern artists and architectural innovators. His brightly-colored, semi-abstract paintings and sculptures were influenced by artists like Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. This mosaic mural is made up of more than 200,000 pieces of Venetian glass, covering an enormous wall.
Eve Lazarus, author of Vancouver Exposed: Searching for the City’s Hidden History, provides an excellent overview of the history of the mural and a visual key to help interpret the different sections.