Archive for the ‘Victory Square’ Category
In 1931, when this picture was taken, this was the home of Wrigley’s Directories, a company we rely on for their careful recording and cross referencing of every resident and address in the city. But as the sign between the first and second floors shows, this started life as the ‘Odd-fellows Hall’ (as their literature of the day called them), designed by Hooper and Watkins in 1904. The fraternal order in Vancouver (or more accurately Granville) dates back to 1871, and Western Star Lodge #10 was initiated in May 1889, and their new building was completed in 1906. It’s a simple but massive Richardson Romanesque building, and it’s still with us today in remarkably unspoilt condition (apart from the lost cornice).
Not long after completion the main floor was leased as the Lyric Theatre, while the Odd Fellows retained the upper floor, accessed from Hamilton Street. Richly furnished and decorated, the Lyric Theatre is said to have “operated in accordance with the most modern developments in theatre construction of the time”, with proprietor and manager George B. Howard and his stock company presenting high class comedies and dramas for the city’s entertainment. That didn’t last long. By 1912 the Lyric name was associated with a movie house on Cordova Street and Howard went on to run the Avenue Theatre on Main Street. The Lyric name was revived much later on a theatre on Granville Street that replaced the Opera House. The main floor in 1912 was associated with the National Finance Co, who advertised their involvement in ‘Timber Limits, Real Estate, Stocks, Bonds & Debentures’.
Tenants changed again by 1920 when Waghorn Gwynne & Co, Finance and Insurance Agents were on the main floor. In 1925 the Board of Trade had taken over occupancy of the Main Floor, and they were still here in 1930, although in 1931 (according to the Wrigley’s directory) it was vacant and by 1932 Wrigley Directories Ltd had moved in. Throughout this time the Odd Fellows Hall was on the upper floor.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4107
Here’s part of William Dick’s clothing empire; his West Hastings flagship store in 1926, very soon after it opened. Townley and Matheson designed it with more of a restrained Chicago style than some of their more Art Deco designs. The building is covered in cream terra cotta and at one time featured a significant canopy, now lost.
There were in fact two people called William Dick – father and son, and it was William Dick Jr who ran the clothing business. He was still living on Vancouver Island in 1908 (when he received his gold handled umbrella – a useful gift for a new Vancouver resident). In 1911 he was aged 31 and living in the same house as his parents with his sister and two younger brothers. (Ten years earlier when the family lived in Nanaimo there were seven children listed – William Dick Sr was a coal miner, but William Jr, shown as aged 18, and his younger brother James were both sales clerks). His father and mother were both Scots and his father arrived in Canada in 1885, but all four children had been born in BC. While William Jr was listed as a merchant, his brothers were salesmen, and his parents and sister had ‘none’ listed as their occupation.
William Dick Jr wore at least three hats – he ran a successful clothing company, he owned British Columbia Estates, a local real estate development company, and he was a Conservative Member of the BC Legislature for Vancouver City, elected in 1928.
Today the building still stands, and as the area slowly recovers from the decline that followed the closure of the major departmental stores, perhaps will regain its place in the area’s revitalised retail role.
Round the corner from the Victoria Block is an earlier building called The Victoria on the 1901 Insurance map. The water permit (usually close to completion of the building) dates from 1897, although it appears to have first been in use in 1899. We’re pretty certain the owner was Art Clemes, an Englishman with extensive interests in Spences Bridge, but also active development interests in Vancouver (later he developed both the Pantages Theatre and the Regent Hotel on Hastings Street). His Vancouver agent was a contractor, James Young, who may have built the Victoria. There’s no identified architect; Young himself may have designed it from widely available standard plans. It’s quite possible that it had an American designer; the four multi storey windows are very like those found on buildings in San Francisco from the 1870s onwards. Equally, it also bears a strong resemblance to many British seaside hotels from that era – so almost any of the architects working in the city at the time could have been responsible.
The Victoria was a guest house, and the only name associated with the building in the Street Directory 1n 1899 was Miss Bertha Collins. The 1901 Census identifies her as aged 34, having immigrated into Canada in 1889, and the head of the household with three domestic servants and fourteen lodgers. In 1904 the proprietor of the Victoria changed to Mrs Frank Cudney - in January that year Bertha got married; we know from the marriage certificate that she was born in Birmingham, and that her husband, Frankland Bradish Cudney was nine years younger and had been born in St Catherines, Ontario and three years earlier had been in the living in Yale in the Cariboo.
After a few years of marriage, guest house keeping apparently didn’t suit the couple. By 1909 Mrs C K Lee was running the Victoria House, and the Cudneys were apparently no longer in the city (and there’s no sign of them in Canada in 1911). However, we know that they certainly returned to the city; Bertha died in Vancouver aged 84 in 1951. Frank died five years later, aged 80, also in Vancouver, at the time married to Ruby Neff an American born in Clark, Wisconsin in 1886, who died in 1970, also in Vancouver.
Even in 1975 when our image was taken the Victoria didn’t look too bad – unlike many of the city’s building from that era, it still had all the cornices and mouldings. Today it looks even better, and the Victoria House and Victoria Block are combined into the Victorian Hotel – linked internally, and providing a genuinely historic hotel on the edge of the Downtown.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-38
The current name for this building reflects its 21st century use, but the original name of the building is pretty close. The Victoria Block was built in 1908 as shops, offices and residential use designed by W F Gardiner for the British Columbia Permanent Loan and Savings Company. It was Gardiner’s first major commission in the city, and the style reflects his English architectural training. BC Permanent had also built the tiny gem of a bank building next door a year earlier.
Although the residential use is noted in the Heritage Designation for the building, you wouldn’t know it from the Street Directories for 1910 which show the upper (and basement) floors filled with real estate brokers, a timber company, the US Immigration department and the School Board Supervisors. Although the tenancies have almost all changed, all the tenants in 1918 are also companies (and also mostly brokers and real estate agents).
The reason is that the third – residential - floor was linked to the Victoria Rooms round the corner on Homer, although they had their own staircase entry. Under the headline “Big Building on Pender Street” the Feb 8th Daily World had the following story “National Finance Co., Ltd., to Erect Three-storey Store, Office and Apartment Block at Corner of Homer and Pender Streets. A notice has been posted on the vacant lot on the southeast corner of Homer and Pender streets to the effect that a three-storey brick block will be erected on that site in the immediate future, those financing the project being the National Finance Co, Ltd., of 412 Hastings street. The new block will extent from the corner to the new B.C. Permanent Loan & Savings company’s structure on Pender street, almost adjoining the Lyric theatre, and the tenants of the small row of stores adjoining the B. C. Permanent’s new building have been given until Feb. 29 to vacate. The proposed structure will consist of stores on the ground floor, offices on the first floor and apartment rooms on the second floor.”
A more detailed story in the March 14th Daily World gave greater detail. “The front elevation of the new block to be erected on the southeast corner of Homer and Pender streets for the British Columbia Permanent Loan & Savings company, and for which excavation work has begun, was selected from competitive plans received by the promoters from various local architects. The accepted plans were drawn by William F. Gardiner, Hastings street. The above elevation will face on Pender street. This building will cost at least $20,000 and will be somewhat unique in its structure. The ground floor will be laid out in commodious stores, the second floor in offices and the third storey will be composed of sleeping apartments directly connected with the Victoria house that will adjoin the building on Homer street.
The contract was yesterday let to Atkinson & Dill, formerly of Regina, who erected several large buildings in Saskatchewan’s capital, including the big Canada Permanent building, the King’s hotel, etc. Work will be commenced at once.
The building will have a frontage on Pender street of 104 feet and a sixty foot frontage on Homer street. Naturally, it will be well lighted and properly ventilated. In the latter connection shafts will run from each corridor to the roof, so as to remove any foul air that might congregate in the building. The structure will be well fitted as regards sanitary arrangements and proper fire escapes will prevent the building from becoming a fire trap.
Access to the sleeping apartments on the third storey will also be given by a stairway from Pender street, but this stairway is so arranged that it does not conflict with the offices, and at night the second and third floors can be entirely shut off from each other without impeding access to or from the third storey. The basement will be used for heating and storing purposes. The building will be supplied with hot water radiators and electric lighting arrangements. The structure will be faced with red brick and stone trimmings and an imposing entrance will be built. Mr. Gardiner, whose competitive plans were accepted by the promoters, is a son of the well known architect, Frederick William Gardiner, of Bath, Eng., in whose offices the son spent five years prior to opening architect’s offices in South Africa. Mr. Gardiner has been in Vancouver four months.”
This wasn’t the only contract Gardiner let to Adkinson and Dill – or the last contract National Finance used Gardiner as an architect. The same architect and builder combination were responsible for 800 Main Street
, a year later.
For many years the building looked increasingly sad, but a recent comprehensive restoration has seen it return to looking as good as it must have over a century ago. One of the delights of this restoration is the pediment and balcony balustrade metal work. Many buildings in the city featured galvanized tin architectural decoration; it was cheaper and more versatile than stone. Much of it could be ordered from catalogues as well from local metal shops. Our 1978 image shows that the building had lost its central balcony many years ago, and that Macleods Books once occupied the corner retail unit.
This building has proved a bit hard to track down. It’s by no means a notable building, although it is associated with an exciting moment in the city’s history. It almost certainly was built in 1915 as a warehouse, and there is a permit for J M Bond as owner and architect built by William Proust. The only confusing thing is that there is no J M Bond in any directory entry, or for that matter a W Proust. It may be William Prouse, who was a stonecutter in the city in 1914, but we can’t be certain. We do know that the occupant of the building from 1915 onwards was the News Advertiser, at that point published by J S H Matson. In 1917 the newspaper was bought out by the Daily Sun, and they took over the premises.
Initially we thought the building might date back to 1911 as there’s a building permit to A T Cox for a $5,000 frame building constructed by Passage & Tomlin on Pender Street for the News Advertiser. Just like Mr Bond and Mr Proust, there’s also no sign of a Mr Cox with the initials A T, although there is the well known architect A A Cox who designed the office and retail building for Francis Carter Cotton a bit further west on Pender around the same period. Equally confusing is that Passage and Tomlin weren’t builders; they were described as brokers and General Financial Agents. The only thing we’ve traced to them is an advertisement to sell land in Burnaby in a 1911 magazine. They operated from the Dominion Trust Building and offered plots on Burnaby Lake; “the coming fresh water summer resort”.
The Sun stayed at Pender Street until 1937, when a fire destroyed the printing plant (although not the offices seen here still standing in the early 1980s). The newspaper purchased the Bekins Building, rechristened it the Sun Tower which is how we still know it today, although the Sun moved out many years ago. The Sun Tower had originally been built by L D Taylor for his World newspaper, so the use as a storage warehouse by Bekins didn’t last too long.
In 1923 the building was the backdrop to Harry Houdini’s visit to the city. The escapologist successfully removed a chained straitjacket while suspended upside down in front of the building. It’s unclear if Houdini or the cameraman recording the scene were in greatest peril.
The building was finally removed in the 1980s, and in 1989 Pendera was completed, a 113 unit non-market housing building that was part of the Jim Green era Downtown Eastside Residents Association development program.
Another of the newspaper buildings clustered around Victory Square, this is the News Advertiser seen in 1900, ten years after it had been constructed on the corner of Pender and Cambie. It cost $20,000 and the business included a bindery run by G A Roedde (you can still visit Mr Roedde’s former home in the West End). The News Advertiser claimed a number of firsts for the city, and possibly the country, including electric powered presses and, in 1893, typesetting machines. In 1910 the paper was sold by its long-time owner Francis Carter Cotton and seven years later the paper was again sold, this time to rival newspaper the Sun.
In 1907 the paper move to a new location on West Pender, and three years later a building permit was issued to replace the wooden former offices. Although the new building is often identified with fruit and vegetable dealer H A Edgett, the developer was Francis Carter Cotton, who presumably retained ownership when he moved his paper to its new home beyond the Courthouse. Carter Cotton had built an office building to the north of the site in 1908, and he used the same architect for his latest property investment, A A Cox. The style of the two buildings is complementary, and H A Edgett who occupied it had a storefront on the corner for his greengrocers and furniture store – a somewhat unlikely combination. That’s the store on this 1912 postcard, and the wagons from around the same time suggest the furniture part of the business was equally as important as the grocery.
Harry Edgett was born in New Brunswick and arrived in British Columbia in 1890. He was obviously a successful merchant as he was also a director of the Sterling Trust and by 1914 was living in Shaughnessy Heights.
The building was adapted in 1924 as the printing works for the Province Newspaper who also occupied the offices to the north and created an arched bridge between the two buildings.
These days the Architectural Institute of British Columbia occupy the building after a renovation designed by Peter Busby.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives, News Advertiser Building c1900, CVA SGN 1457
The city’s newspapers clustered around Victory Square – or in earlier years around the Courthouse that was located there. The Province had their office and printworks there, as did the News Herald. The News Herald was established by journalists no longer working for the Morning Star, a newspaper whose offices were around the corner across from Victory Square on Pender Street. Here’s the Morning Star offices in 1929, five years after the paper started life as the Star, published as an evening paper. After a rapid change of ownership and a deal with one of the rival papers, the Sun, the Star became the Morning Star and the Sun the Evening Sun.
As was true of some, but by no means all of the papers of the day the Star aimed for accuracy and fairness, even in politics. The Star claimed a link back to the city’s first successful paper, the News Advertiser, initially published in 1887 and merged into the Sun in 1917. The Star never really made any money for its owner, Victor Odlum, and was sold to a new owner in Calgary who lost $300,000 in the venture before selling it back to Odlum in 1931. The losses continued, a proposed 15% wage reduction was rejected by the workforce, and the paper closed in 1932, leaving no morning newspaper in the city.
The newpaper office the Star occupied were originally a new home for the News Advertiser. Like the later Star, it was noted for its painstaking accuracy and detailed reporting, but unlike the Star it was a strong Conservative supporter. It was run for many years by Francis Carter Cotton, and occupied a number of buildings before moving to a new building on the corner of Hamilton and Pender in 1907. That’s the building in the picture, which has no identified architect in its heritage write-up, but Dalton and Eveleigh are said to be the designers. In 1910 Thomas Hooper designed additions to the building, the same year another owner acquired the paper, which would end up being merged into the Sun newspaper.
The building is still there today, stucco covered and without the cornice, but still solid for over 100 years of history.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives, Morning Star Building 1929, CVA 99-3784
This small building, tucked away down Homer Street behind the Hartney Chambers on Pender Street, has been around longer than most buildings in the city. In 1935 when this photograph was taken it was already over forty years old. Initially it was designed by R P Sharp and Samuel Maclure for the Daily World in 1892, the newspaper having been founded in 1888. Under the new management of L D Taylor that newspaper moved on to much grander premises with the construction of their new tower – these days called the Sun Tower. A very short-lived newspaper moved in around 1916, the Standard (it changed its name from the Chinook in April 1916 and closed in August 1917). Printing companies continued in the building, the Wrigley Press in 1925 and the Technical Press in 1930.
The Daily World, as might be expected, blew their trumpet on their new home in 1892 “Messrs. Sharp and Maclure, New Westminster, were instructed to prepare plans and specifications for a building which should be perfect in all its proportions, a credit to the city and a home worthy of The World. The building now completed is the best evidence which can be adduced of the artistic skill and ability of these gentlemen as architects …. The dimensions of the building are 52 x 40, and it is of brick and stone and is two stories in height. The foundations are … laid with portland cement to the ground level; above that being random course ashlar, neatly pointed in red. Then comes the brick work, laid up in red mortar. The stone string course are rock faced; the door and window sills of Pender Island cut stone. The cornice work is of brick basket pattern. On the coping is to be erected an iron cresting with the words “The World” in five foot gilded letters. Over the door way on the coping will be a statue of Atlas supporting the world; while in the centre is already a flagstaff 30 feet high.” (Thanks to Heritage Vancouver for identifying this quote). The City of Vancouver Archives 1893 image shows the staff in front of the new printing works. (It’s one of the new high resolution images available on the archives website – double click to see the full detail).
Later the News Herald moved into the building, having scraped together enough money to start up in 1932. The staff were mostly from another newpaper called the Morning Star (which had started up in 1924), and they operated on a hand-to-mouth existance using old equipment and sometimes resorting to hand cranking the press. Many staff became famous – Pierre Burton was the 21 year old city editor for a while and Jack Lindsay was a news photographer from 1941 to 1947 and sales increased. In 1954 they moved to larger premises, sold to Roy Thomson and less than three years later publication ceased.
These days you’ll find the Platinum club who offer massage “for erotic moods and sensual escapes, beautiful and attentive hostesses are always available for companionship“. The website notes “Please be advised we do not offer sexual services or acts of prostitution within our facility” in case you thought otherwise.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives (News Herald, 1935) CVA 99-4742, World Print Works 1893 CVA 677-4
Here’s a small wooden building, built very quickly after the 1886 fire, serving an important purpose as the recovering city’s Post Office on a very new stretch of Hastings Street. Actually this was the second location for the post-fire city post office, a shack on Carrall Street served the purpose while this building was going up in 1886 when the picture was taken. It was a bit off the beaten path – or rather the lumber path.
This is one of the better pictures in the City Archives that show how the streets of the city were surveyed to be graded level, but reality took a little longer to come about. The distance from the sidewalk to the street was enough to ensure a broken leg, or worse, and crossing the street at this point was not an easy undertaking. Until some time later the only night lighting on the street was by carrying a lantern. Jonathan Miller was postmaster, and the citizens arranged a petition to complain about the inconvenience of reaching the location, it being so far out of town. That’s Burrard Inlet in the background, with no buildings blocking the view of the beach.
A year later the Post Office had moved again (a block further west), and Bailey Brothers photographers had moved in. William Bailey joined his brother Charles who was responsible for many of the best images of the young city. He recalled the building in conversation with Major Matthews, “when I came here in 1890, there was nothing near that building, just vacant lots, a blankness. Right back of it was where Jonathan Miller, the first postmaster had lived, and a raised platform connected his dwelling to the post office at the time it was used as such. He must have lived there quite a time; a year or more after the fire; until the stone building in the next block up the street was built and in shape for occupancy.” The 1888 picture on the left shows Charles Bailey in the doorway.
By 1890 another photographer and stationery store run by Norman Caple had taken over the building, and there was a dyeworks in a shed at the back. It’s not completely clear how long the building lasted. The Mahon Block, designed by W T Dalton was built next door to the west in 1902, and that forms two thirds of the building now occupied by Dressew. If you look closely you can see the brickwork doesn’t quite match on 327, and almost certainly this was built in 1913 by builder W Hepburn for Thompson Brothers, another stationery company, but we can’t be completely sure as the numbering on this stretch of the street has been changed several times. The buildings have both been altered a lot too – assuming they are the original early 1900 structures (which they certainly appear to be inside) they’ve had completely replaced facades over the years; Dalton’s original building had a far more ornate design.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu P13
The first Court House at Hastings and Cambie Street was built in 1890, designed by T C Sorby. It sat on an almost triangular lot where the two different grids of the city met – the midway point between the Canadian Pacific’s new city area to the west and the older Gastown to the east. As the city grew rapidly, and criminal activity along with it, the Court House needed and got a significant makeover. Popular and flamboyant (in architectural terms) N S Hoffar was hired to add a classical addition more than double the size whose dome and temple facade made it a grand, but controversial building (at least among the established British born architects). Completed in 1893 it stayed in use only until 1911, so this 1906 image shows it towards the end of its use.
In 1907 a new Court House was started at Georgia Street, designed by Francis Rattenbury – and like this one, that too immediately had to be enlarged by Thomas Hooper. The new building opened in 1911 and the one shown here was torn down. At the end of the Great War the location became the home for the Cenotaph, designed by by G L Thornton Sharp, architect and park commissioner. It has been reworked since then, but still offers a welcome green space surrounded by significant buildings that pre-date the creation of the park, including the Dominion Building, the Flack Block and the Province Building.