The Rice Block (Thistle Rooms) at 404 Hawks Avenue, originally built in 1912, was constructed as a typical Edwardian mixed use rooming house, typical of a number of such structures constructed on East Hastings Street just prior to the economic bust of 1913. The building’s pronounced cubic massing was originally relieved by an attractive projecting sheet metal cornice, and an articulated storefront complete with its own sheet metal cornice and panels below the storefront windows.
Significant heritage elements include:
- Re-creation of the original ornate sheet metal cornice including the restoration of the decorative brick parapet wall above the cornice
- Re-creation of wood storefronts including sheet metal raised panel design below window sills along East Hastings and Hawks Streets
- Removal of paint on brick all brick facades
- Re-creation of original chamfered corner design including wood storefront at the corner CRU entry of East Hastings and Hawks Streets
- Rehabilitation of the exterior metal fire escape
- Restoration and minimal re-creation of all existing double hung wood windows and decorative interior stair, balustrade and newel post elements
The building is operated by Atira – Womens Resource Society and is a women-only pre-and post-stabilization housing program for women who are seeking support to reduce and or stop their problematic use of substances. The Rice Block has been fully restored and rehabilitated to provide 38 residential suites on the upper floor levels and 2 CRU spaces at the ground level for retail opportunities.