Melville Street – 1100 block

On the right is another modest office building occupying a corner site Downtown. This one dates from 1959, and it’s known as the Wyland Building. We’ve drawn a blank on the architect; it wasn’t an especially complicated building when it was first built (with simple international style glazing) and bears a close resemblance to a number of similar offices developed by Dominion Construction, so they could have designed it in-house, as they did for several other buildings in that era, but we haven’t found any evidence to support that theory. It had a makeover in the 1990s to replace the glass, and spandrel panels in matching reflective glazing.

At the other end of the block was a brand new building in our 1981 image. Sun Life Plaza had just been completed; and it’s still standing today but almost hidden by the two buildings added in 1997 and 2000. We don’t know the designer, although the landscaped plaza was designed by landscape architect Don Vaughan. The two later buildings are Orca Place, a condo building, and 1138 Melville next door is an 18 storey office building. They were designed by the same architects; Orca Place by Waisman Dewar Grout Carter, and the office building by Architectura, the company’s new name in the late 1990s. In 1981 there was a pair of smaller office buildings; the smaller building was designed by Thompson, Berwick Pratt in 1952 for advertising agency Cockfield Brown & Co. The building beyond it was developed after 1955, and was demolished with the site used as a parking lot by 1990.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W14.09

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Posted August 19, 2019 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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Thurlow and Melville Street – north side

This is another early 1980s image showing a part of Downtown where relatively little change has taken place in nearly 40 years. The image is from after 1979, and we’re standing at the corner of Melville looking north on Thurlow. On the left is a 1975 office building of 11 floors designed by Waisman Architectural Group. Beyond it is a 1965 eight storey office called the Philips Building. Across the lane is an orange brick clad building known by its address, 1112 West Pender, completed in 1960; it was designed by McCarter, Nairne & Partners. The office at the end of the block was developed by R C Baxter in 1966, and is another Waisman Architectural Group design.

All four are still standing today, although they represent the more modest density buildings that are now being redeveloped as larger, more energy efficient towers. There are two buildings visible today on the west side of the street that weren’t around in the 1980s. In front of the Baxter building is the white tower of the Delta Pinnacle hotel, built in 2000, while beyond it there’s now a green-clad condo tower designed by IBI/HB and completed in 2012 called Three Harbour Green.

The dark glazing closest to us on the right is Four Bentall Centre, the tallest in the Bentall cluster at 35 floors and completed in 1981, designed by Frank W Musson and Associates. Beyond it is 1090 West Pender. It’s a 1971 twelve storey office building designed by Gerald Hamilton for Dawson Developments, and with the parkade alongside it’s in the process of being demolished. It will be replaced by a 31 storey office tower with an underground parkade. Beyond it is Manulife Place, a 22-storey office completed in 1991.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 772-1403

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Bute and West Pender Street – westwards

The building on the left, seen in this 1981 image, was called the Pender Building, and it was developed in 1947 as a six storey office building. When it was first built it was known as the Graphic Arts Building and it was designed by John Harvey. The building was also home to the printing presses of the Sun Newspaper, whose offices were on Beatty Street at the time.

It was replaced in the early 2000s with a 33 storey condo building, with a retail podium, called The Ritz. Before the Pender Building was built there were five houses here, developed in the early 1900s. By the 1940s the Pioneer Foundry was located here, before the office building was constructed.

The development of the tower shows the way Downtown was headed before the planners put the brakes on adding new residential buildings in the Central Business District. The success at getting more people living downtown led to an interest in developing residential buildings that in turn increased land values. That then made it difficult for developers of commercial property to compete for older buildings to redevelop. There was a serious possibility of running out of employment space in the longer term, as well as an added problem of new residents having unreasonable expectations of limited office development and economic activity close to their homes. As a result the planners instituted an extensive study, the Metro Core Jobs and Economy Study, which led to restrictions on future residential use in much of the CBD. Residential development continues outside the office core – the population Downtown is now greater than in the West End. Within the CBD, a recent surge in demand now has more new office space under construction than at any time in the city’s history.

On the right is the edge of the Evergreen Building, (today a Heritage ‘A’ office) designed by Arthur Erickson and completed in 1980. There’s a new small condo building being built in the space next to it, but in the 2000s there was an approved proposal to convert the office space to residential use. Fortunately a new developer was willing to step in, renovate the building (and designate it as a Heritage Building, so its status will remain as commercial) and obtain a bonus to transfer space elsewhere Downtown. In the background is ‘Qube’ – the former 1969 Westcoast Energy Building that was converted in 2006 to residential use, with a new glazed screen to match the original (but now with opening windows, as required by residential code).

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 772-312

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Posted August 12, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Beatty Street – 700 block

Two of the warehouse buildings seen in this 1981 image are still standing, and one has disappeared. At the far end is a 1914 building, designed by Dalton and Eveleigh for F T Cope. George Snider & Brethour built it at a cost of $75,000. In the middle is a building costing $140,000 for the National Drug Co, and also built by George Snider & Brethour a year earlier, designed by H S Griffith. Thomas Hooper was hired to make $1,500 of alterations in 1914. With replacement windows it looks much more recent, and since our 1981 image was taken it’s had a blue tile makeover.

The third warehouse was the most expensive. In 1912 a permit was issued for a building to cost $150,000. Designed by Parr, McKenzie & Day for John W Gibb it was to be occupied by The Canadian Fairbanks Company.

Cope & Sons were electrical suppliers. Frederick T Cope was company president, an Englishman (from Oxford) who emigrated to Manitoba at 19, and arrived in Vancouver in 1895 when he was 35, and established the business two years later. In 1914, when they built the new warehouse, Frank R Cope was company treasurer and Bert F Cope company secretary. In 1911 both were still at home with Fred and Marjory, their mother, who was born in Ontario, but had their own homes three years later.

The National Drug and Chemical Company of Canada started in business in 1905, initially in Montreal, then rapidly across the country through expansion and buying out other businesses. David Bole was already a successful drugstore operator from Manitoba, and established the national wholesaling and manufacturing business with six million dollars of capital. State-of-the-art factories were established for both pharmaceuticals (in Montreal) and by 1908 125 items, including cough syrup, skin cream, shampoo, and toothpaste were manufactured in Toronto. The Vancouver distribution centre was opened soon after Calgary and Regina. In 1920 National Drug reorganized its administrative structure, as business had increased by 250 per cent in the previous 10 years. The business still operated here in the 1950s, and is still in business today as Canada’s leading drug wholesaler (now part of US business McKesson).

The Canadian Fairbanks Company was created in 1905 by Henry Fuller, who bought out the Canadian interests of the US parent company, at the time the largest machinery and mill supply company in Canada. They immediately occupied a new warehouse on Water Street developed by McLennan & McFeely. They had a warehouse and machine shop in the building. Within ten years they were looking for larger premises, and moved into the Beatty Street warehouse.

The developer, John Gibb, was a broker with an office in the Rogers Building and a home in the West End. His father, David Gibb, was a retired contractor with an excellent reputation. A 1915 court case shows his son’s business scruples weren’t quite as pure. It referred back to the 1912 deal with Canadian Fairbanks to occupy the building, with lease payments of $242,000 over 10 years, (starting at $22,000 for each of the first 3 years).  The building had to be ready for 1 August 1913, and if delayed no rent was due. Walter Meuller was hired to build the warehouse for $106,000. It became clear in May 1913 that Mr. Gibb was suffering “financial embarrassment” (to quote the judge), and it also transpired that he did not own the land outright, as he had claimed, but rather held an equity stake. That meant banks wouldn’t advance him a loan to complete the building. Mr. Gibb actually needed over $200,000 to complete the building and obtain tiitle – he had a deal with Harvey Haddon to advance $106,000 on completion, but that wasn’t going to solve his problem. He was willing to sit back and seemed to think that, as the agreed rent was a bargain, he might get out of his predicament. Fairbanks weren’t willing to wait, and paid the contractors to finish the job, in October.

This was highly unusual, and as the judge noted “Failure of Gibb to satisfactorily carry on construction or to complete within the time specified did not entitle the plaintiff to enter on the premises and proceed with the work.” Trustees were appointed immediately after the 1 August date was passed, and the interest in the property was transferred to David Gibb, John’s father. A Fairbanks manager was initially a trustee, but his head office forced him to withdraw, and launched the case to try to obtain a significant sum that they had paid to complete the building. The judge didn’t agree, but imposed the $20 per day pre-agreed fine for missing the August 1st deadline, and another $800 because the building didn’t use equipment sold by Fairbanks in its construction, as the lease agreement stipulated. Fairbanks also received their costs.

Despite this rocky start, Canadian Fairbanks were still occupying the building in the 1950s. It was cleared to become the plaza in front of the BC Place stadium, constructed in the early 1980s, allowing new windows in the side of the National Drug Co building. The Terry Fox memorial, designed by Douglas Coupland, is located here. The other warehouses have been converted to office use; one is home to a private school.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E18.04

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Central Business District (2)

Here’s another Archives aerial shot that’s almost replicated by Trish Jewison in the Global BC traffic helicopter. This time we were able to line up both the Marine Building and The Hotel Vancouver. This image was taken three years earlier than our previous aerial shot, so in 1953, and there’s no sign of the Post Office between Georgia and Dunsmuir, just a series of houses and small commercial buildings. They would soon be cleared away, later joined by the Georgia Medical-Dental Building across from the Hotel Georgia, and the Birks Building next to The Vancouver Block on Granville. The new BC Tel building, the biggest building at the bottom of the picture, on the corner of Seymour and Robson), is still standing, although today it’s slightly bigger, with an extra glass skin as can be seen in the earlier  post about the Orillia to the west on Robson Street, which has long gone.

We can only spot three gas stations on this image, (none here today, and only one in the whole of Downtown), but there were apparently four gas barges out in Burrard Inlet, while today there’s just one of those as well.

Image source, City of Vancouver Archives Van Sc P136.2

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Posted August 5, 2019 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Keefer and Main Street – se corner

This building on Main Street at Keefer had seen better days when this image was shot in 1978, and we’ve looked at it from the Keefer side in an earlier post. We identified several different businesses who operated on the corner in that post, and we’ve found several more that we note here. Our after shot was taken a couple of years ago, before HSBC Bank moved out, and Vancity Credit Union moved in, but the building there today looks exactly the same – just the signs have changed. Wayfoong House was built in 1996 and designed by W T Leung. It has four floors, with offices above retail and a double height corner atrium. When HSBC moved out Vancity took over the second floor office space and banking hall and Tim Horton’s opened around the corner on Keefer Street.

The original building, at least in part, may have dated back to the 1890s. There were stores here as early as 1889; a single storey building with a dress maker, a ‘notions’ store, and a cobbler. At the time this was Westminster Avenue, and this was the 400 block. By 1901 there was a 2 storey building here, (probably the one in our picture), and this was the 600 block, but still Westminster; it became Main Street after 1910. In 1892 Alexander Hogg had a grocery store at 600 Westminster (on the corner) and in 1895 lived at 606 Westminster (presumably upstairs). Mr. Hogg was still here in 1901, with J T Brown, a shoemaker, at 608. Alexander Hogg was aged 50 that year, and from Ontario, as were his entire family. His wife, Mary J, was 46, and William, their son, was aged 26 and still living at home, working as a CPR Official. Their daughter, Mary E, was 23, and sons Alexander, 21 (born in Gore Bay, Manitoulin Island) and Perry, 19, (born in Gordon Township, Manitoulin Island), were both working as clerks. Ida and Mabel, who were 13 and 9, were still at school. A decade earlier, in the 1891 census, Mr. Hogg was shown as aged 48, and Mary was 40, so they had managed to age less than ten years in a decade.

Mrs. Charles Burns, in conversation with Major Matthews, the city Archivist, in 1938, remembers delivering eggs from her chickens late in the afternoon to Vancouver grocers, and Mr. Hogg arranging for a man to put her groceries on the Interurban for her to be able to take them home to Grandview. Her family lived in a cleared area that today would be Kitchener Street, but at the time it had no address. “There was a water well, but no electric light, sewer, sidewalk, and the road was a trail from the Vancouver-Westminster interurban.”

In 1903 the corner unit was occupied by Quigley & Co who sold dry goods, with Mr. Brown’s shoemaking business was still next door. Harry Franklin sold stationery in the third unit. That year ‘Mr. Martin’ built $500 of alterations to the premises, designed by Dalton and Eveleigh. Robert Martin, an Ontario-born importer hired W T Dalton to design repairs to several properties, so we think he was the likely owner at the time.

In 1905 the corner store was vacant, with Frank Murphy’s stationary store at 608 (and another store selling the same goods next door to him). In 1910 J K Campbell was selling clothing from the corner store, the middle store was shared by George Snyder, a jeweler and the Western Investors Co, and the third unit was occupied by the F Humphrey of Humphrey and Stone, sewing machines, sharing their unit with Chilcot and Dorais who sold real estate. Mr. Humphrey carried out repairs to the building in 1913. Clement & Haywood carried out repairs in 1916 (which would be Clements and Heywood, a local real estate investment company part owned by Herbert Clement, an MP at the time). and Joe Grosslee a year later. In 1919 Mrs. Soda paid for more repairs. Dominick Soda (an Italian) ran a confectionery business in the corner store in 1916, with David Morris making shoes next door and Frank Spatari a tailor in 608 on the right. He shared the space with Rose King, a barber.

In 1921 G Cadona obtained a permit for further repairs, although there’s nobody with that name in the street directory. The only Cadonas in British Columbia were Louis and his wife Ada, originally from England, who were in the Cariboo. At the beginning of that year Garden Taxi (run by Pete and Paul Boury and Pete Angelo) were operating from the corner store, with A Morris selling second hand goods next door and Solomon Harris in 608 also dealing in second hand goods. By the end of the year Joseph Cilona, another Italian, confectioner, was running the corner store, and we’re guessing that’s who carried out the changes from a cab office back to a store.

By 1950 Tom’s Grocery was here, and it was still here in the early 1970s. Continuing a use that had appeared many years earlier, the A1 Western second hand store was next door, and Mrs. E Tyer sold new and used furniture next to that. In our 1978 picture Harry James Agencies sold real estate and insurance from the middle unit, with Joe Eng representing the Manufacturer’s Insurance Co in the other half of the unit. Both of the other units were closed, although it looks as if a Chinese business might have been fitting out 608.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-483

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Posted August 1, 2019 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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East Cordova Street – west from Jackson Avenue

This 1970s shot shows the buildings on the corner of Jackson Avenue, with Oppenheimer Park down the street on the right. The four storey building on the corner dates back to 1911 when it was developed by Frank Vandall. He first appeared in the city directories in 1909, managing the Roseleaf Rooms on Westminster Avenue (Main Street), although he was giving Vancouver as his location in legal filings in 1908. He moved on, and a year later was managing rooms at 143 Dunlevy Avenue. His own building, listed as the Vandall Block, was designed by W F Gardiner a year later, and cost $80,000 to build. According to the permit, Mr Vandall built it himself, but we know that Mr. Gardiner let the contracts to the various specialist sub-trades, so it appears that no overall contractor was hired.

Mr Vandall proved to be elusive, missing earlier census records and not showing up in 1911. In 1895, Frank Vandall, a miner, was living in Revelstoke, and in 1898 he had two partners in a placer mine on French Creek. In 1906 and 1907 there was a Frank Vandall working as agent with William Moody, surveying and marking timber to cut on the BC coast. In 1908 Frank Vandell was a land agent in Vancouver. It’s likely that his absence from the 1911 census was due to his death; a Frank E Vandell died in August 1911 and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery. In 1912 his widow was recorded in the street directory, and while she was missing from the 1913 directory, was running the Roof Garden Rooms on Jackson in 1914, and for several years after that. Frank was only 45 when he died, and had been born in Ontario.

We think another Frank Ernest Vandall, who was born in March 1911 in Seattle, and died in 1957 in Vancouver, aged 46 was almost certainly Frank and Nellie’s son; His father was also named Frank, and his mother was formerly Nellie Ernestine Bishop. Frank junior was buried in Mountain View with his parents. Nellie had died in Capitol Hill in Seattle in 1943, and was also buried in Mountain View cemetery next to Frank. She had been born in Dublin, and left a sister in Ireland and two more living in England.

Over the years the rooms (which have their entrance on Jackson) were run by a number of different proprietors. The corner store changed too: in 1918 D D Radakovich ran a grocery store, and Nellie E Vandall was running the rooms upstairs. (The building to the south, which occupied the other half of the two lots, and can’t be seen in this image, was run by Japanese proprietor, Sam Takao). In 1922 A H McLean was running the Roof Garden Rooms, and by 1925 Mrs. Marriott. The corner store by then was part of Japantown, run by Shimoda Sugakichi. By 1940 the rooms had become the B C Rooms, run by T Sakamoto, but the Japanese connection was severed as the entire community were moved to internment camps away from the coast. In 1942 Mrs M Mcintosh was running the rooms, and next door were the Jackson Rooms, run by E Karlson. The two rooming houses continued operations for many years, (and are still operating today), although at some point they became under the same ownership as a single legal lot.

The building closer to us, with the bay windows, was developed in 1909, although some part of it had been completed earlier. Mrs. Hannah Peterson added a frame addition that year that she had claimed (on the permit) to have designed herself. She ran a lodging house, but unfortunately for us, had moved out by 1911 when the census was collected, and Frederick Frey had replaced her. She might have been the Swedish Hanna Peterson, who had arrived in 1889. We know nothing about Frederick, because only his name was recorded – no other details were noted, so we don’t know where he came from or how old he was. The rooming house is also now a non-market housing building called The Vivian, run as transitional women’s housing by Raincity.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-349

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