Elevator for a Soylent Green Annex

In Abbotsford, a city between Chilliwack — where your author grew up — and Vancouver, Canada, is an interesting seven-story building that looks both grubby and intriguingly futuristic: McCallum Tower, completed in 1971, is a seven-story circular building consisting of a flat, low-level structure housing the first floor topped by six cylindrical floors in two progressively larger sections. It looks like something out of 1970s South Africa and reminds me of something from the set of Soylent Green: the 1972 sci-fi movie set in a grim, 2022 future in which overpopulation, pollution and climate catastrophe causes a severe shortage of water, housing and food. Sound familiar?

Apparently, McCallum Tower’s elevator is an esoteric attraction for elevator buffs. At a contributor’s suggestions, a video of the 1970s Armor traction elevator was featured on the site Vancity Elevators, racking up more than 200 views after it was posted on YouTube on October 11. The cab interior is very “Mad Men”-esque — a glossy, claustrophobic woodgrain, and, according to one commenter, the elevator itself takes the prize for “the slowest elevator on the planet.” Today, McCallum Tower houses medical offices, so if you’re fit and physically able, you might want to take the stairs to get to that appointment on time.

McCallum Tower at 2151 McCallum Road in Abbotsford; architect unknown; photo courtesy of Camellia Medical Laser Spa

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