Profiles of Historic Sites

First Municipal Hall on First Avenue
Carl Klenk fonds/0116-002
Courtesy Mission Community Archives

First Municipal Hall

33157 First Avenue

Downtown BIA

Date of Original Construction:

Resource Type:
(Previous: Government)/Commercial

Current Owner/Occupant:
Martin's Downtown

Site Description:

This building was originally Mission City's first Municipal Hall. It operated from 1929 until 1974 and since then has been occupied by a number of restaurants. This building is located on the north side of First Avenue between the current Rex Cox Men's Wear and CIBC.

Site History:

In April 1929, the District of Mission and the Village of Mission City decided to jointly build the first municipal hall. A joint meeting of the Municipal Council and the Village Commissioners was held in the new hall in November 1929 and the official opening took place on December 4, 1929. The staff of the building presented both the village commissioners and the municipal council with "a pipe of peace" and expressed their hope that all deliberations carried on in the municipal hall would be in a "spirit of friendliness and good will." Tony Taulbut, the village clerk, had carved the long stemmed pipe out of wood and asked the members to smoke it. The Mission Museum has had this pipe since 1974.

In 1954, the building was extensively renovated. In 1974, it was sold to private owners, and a new municipal hall (that is still in service today) was built on Stave Lake Road.

S. Lalji of Larco Developers originally had plans to convert the old municipal hall into a shopping mall and office space but these plans were dropped due to financing problems. Instead new plans were presented in 1975 for the old city hall to become a restaurant with a separate lounge with a seating capacity of 80-100 persons. In October 1975 Council on the recommendation of Alderwoman Perry Cleven accepted that Lalji be asked to produce alternative suggestions. We are not certain if it was indeed Lalji who eventually carried out the restaurant development plans but the building did eventually become a restaurant with various owners and name changes over the years.

The Old Town Hall Restaurant was opened on this site about 1981, followed by Ramana's Pizza and Steak House ca 1983, then Dino's Restaurant ca 1986-1993; Stasia's Family Restaurant ca 1996; Athena's Bar & Grill ca February-December 2013; and it is currently Martin's Downtown since January 2015.

People Associated with the Site:

Honourable Nels Lougheed, Minister of Public Works

Alderwoman Perry Cleven and her Community Planning Committee 1975

Harold Harnett, Clerk-administrator

Rob Edwards, Harold Harnett's assistant

Glenn Lathrop, Assessor

Architectural Features:

Single storey brick building: 7 steps lead up to columned entrance way, 2 large windows - one on each side of the entrance

Name of architect: Bowman and Cullerne (from Vancouver)

Name of builder: E.E. Fisher (Mission Construction Company)

Construction method/materials: brick veneer and wood-frame, cement foundations.


Urban, main downtown strip. There are planter boxes along the front of the building.

Where to get further information:

- Mission Community Archives
   Community Reference File 635.4
    - Pr 1-24-25 Municipal Hall built 1929
    - Pr 57-4 Municipal Hall 1943
    - Pr 124- 36 Municipal Hall before 1948
    - Pr 125-16 Municipal Hall
    - Pr 154-8 Municipal Hall
    - Pr 154-14 Municipal Hall
    - Pr 186-3 Municipal Hall
    - Pr 337-24A Garbage Truck (in front of Municipal Hall)
    - Pr 42-17 Municipal Hall vacant 1976
    - Pr 169-35 Old City Hall Restaurant Feb. 1981
- Clogg, Jessica. "New Hall for Mission City." The News Real Estate Review - Heritage Highlights. June 2, 1990.
- Fraser Valley Record. "Municipal Council Meets in New Hall." December 19. 1929
- Fraser Valley Record. "Moving Day Arrives for Municipal Staff." October 16, 1974
- Fraser Valley Record. "Changing from desk workers..." October 23, 1974
- Fraser Valley Record. "Stalemate." October 22, 1975
- Fraser Valley Record. "Should Hall be Downtown?" December 4, 1985
- Fraser Valley Record. "City Hall for Sale; library plans scrapped." October 19, 1988
- Mission District Historical Society
   Guide to Mission City BC. 2005.
   Historian. "Political Progress and the Municipal Hall on Washington Street." November 2002.

Last Modified January 24, 2015