Back in 1889 this corner (the southwest corner of Hastings and Richards) seems to have M Reynell and Co as tenants. They imported Japanese goods into the city, although they were shown in the street directory as being at 422 Pender Street. In 1890 Fred Cope and Cope and Young were here, both importing dry goods. (Cope and Young had the middle store in the photograph). By 1895 the Bank of BC had premises here, and by 1900 the Royal Bank had taken over. By 1905 all the tenants had changed again – they included the Board of Trade saloon, Mortimore Bros, tailors and the Colombo tea Co. In 1908 there were a number of real estate offices including those of C T Dunbar and Count A V Alvensleben, as well as William E Green’s timber lands office. In 1910 and 1911 the Bank of Ottawa are on the corner, and the Regent Hotel has been established on the upper floors. And then it’s gone – in the 1913 directory it’s called ‘new building’
The building was one of a series of buildings in the city designated ‘The Ferguson Block’ – Mr Ferguson seemed to like to have his name associated with all his developments which gave him name recognition while causing some confusion for researchers today. This Ferguson Block was built in 1889 and the architects were the Fripp Brothers who designed a lot of buildings in the city in only a couple of years from 1888 to 1890. They also designed both the Boulder Hotel (for Mr Ferguson) and Dougall House on Cordova Street.
By 1916 the new building is listed as the Standard Bank Building. It was briefly known as the Weart Building named after its promoter, J W Weart, but it quickly got named after its most important tenant. Like the Birks Building and the Yorkshire Building built in the same period the Standard Bank Building was supplied with ornamental ironwork from the Chicago Ornamental Iron Co. The steel frame was tested by The Robert W. Hunt & Company Engineers’ Bureau of Inspection, Tests and Consultation, of Chicago, (as was the Hotel Vancouver and the Bank of Ottawa). Seattle architects Russell Babcock and Rice carried out the design.
The new building had a variety of tenants – there was the Venetian barber on the main floor, a tea room on the second floor, and the Canadian Red Cross had offices on the third floor, as well as Brighouse and Brighouse, dentists. The other floors had a thorough mix from lawyers, accountants, steelworks offices, lumber mills offices, a fish company, a creosote company and up on the fifteenth floor J W Weart’s own office as well as Winifred Kindleyside’s public stenographers.
Today, with no Standard Bank left in town it’s just the Standard Building, and at 100 years old showing absolutely no sign of being irrelevant to the 21st Century city. The Ferguson Block lasted 25 years. So far the Standard building has 100 years on the clock, and looks good for 100 more.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives, Ferguson Block 1901 CVA LGN 707