Richards and Davie Street – se corner

Here’s the north end of the 1200 block of Richards Street, which today houses the Choices supermarket – one of the earliest food stores to open in the old Downtown South commercial neighbourhood as it started its transition to high rise residential. It started life as a laundry, which was still its use in our 1981 image when it was being operated by Canadian Linen Supply. In 1929, when it was built, it was operated by Canadian Linen Co; the same company still operating over 50 years later.

The architects were Townley and Matheson, who applied their art deco styling to the industrial premises, adopted avery effectively by Stuart Howard Architects in the design of the Metropolis Tower completed on the adjacent site in 1998. The laundry building was converted to retail use as part of the same project, with a density bonus covering the cost of retaining a single storey heritage structure.

This 1934 image shows that very few changes had taken place over the life of the building up to 1981, when it looked very similar, and the scale of the surrounding area matched. These days there’s a park across the street, and a series of residential towers have replaced almost all the older commercial structures.

Image sources; City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E08.15 and CVA 99-4653

Advertisements

Posted April 23, 2018 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Tagged with

Gore Avenue and East Cordova Street

This 1889 Archives picture is titled “Mrs. Sullivan’s house – N.W. corner of Gore Avenue and Oppenheimer (E. Cordova) Street”. It’s not entirely accurate; the house was not actually Josephine Sullivan’s, but the newly completed home of her son, Arthur, although she did live here. In the 1891 census Arthur W Sullivan was living here, aged 31, listed as a general merchant. He had been born in BC, and his wife, Annie, was born in New Brunswick. Their infant son, also called Arthur, was obviously living with them, as was Charles, Arthur’s younger brother, Josephine, their 71-year-old mother and Lillian Wood, their domestic servant. The 1891 street directory identified both Arthur and Charles as musicians, rather than merchants. Annie and Arthur had been married in 1887. In 1895 Charles Sullivan, born in New Westminster, married Amy Lilian Wood of Wasbro, England.

Josephine was born in the US, and her late husband, Philip, in the West Indies, and they were both among the earliest black residents in the Lower Mainland. (In a 1934 interview W R Lord said neither were negro; both were ‘mulatto’, and Isaac Johns said she was part French, named Josephine Bassette). Philip and Josephine arrived in BC in 1859. Although some records suggest they came from San Francisco, her obituary shows her arriving via Panama, crossing the isthmus on mules, suggesting an eastern origin. Their son Arthur was baptized in New Westminster in 1860.

Accounts suggest the family settled on Water Street, with the first Methodist services being held in the family kitchen. Initially Philip may have been a cook in gold mining camps in the Cariboo, but by 1870 he was a steward at Moody’s Mill (on the North Shore), and Josephine apparently helped her husband to prepare the meals. Philip was also musically talented – he played the organ at the Methodist church. Josephine may have had a restaurant on Water Street in 1875, although we haven’t found any contemporary records that confirm this; similarly we can’t find anything to confirm Alan Morley’s statement that they ran the Gold Hotel on Water Street for a while, which may be connected to the fact that the Sullivan two-storey store run by Arthur was next door to the hotel. Interviews with Major Matthews suggest that the store and restaurant were separate premises, and Josephine may have run the restaurant while her husband worked on the North Shore at the mill.

Because BC joined Canada in 1871, just after the census was conducted that year, there are no records until the 1881 census when the whole family were shown living on the North Shore. Philip’s origin in the census record was altered from ‘West Indies’ to ‘Irish’, suggesting where his father (and his surname) may have come from. Philip was aged 64, his son John, also a steward, was 40, while Arthur was 21 and Charlie 17. There were at least two other children who had left home by the time that census was taken. A year later Arthur had a store in Granville, but Philip was still shown living in Moodyville.

Philip died in 1886 and by 1889 Josephine had joined Arthur, across the inlet in Vancouver, where he had established a general store when the town was still called Granville, in 1882. Charlie Sullivan was working as a clerk in his brother’s store in 1884. In 1889 the Daily World recorded that the house that the Sullivan family had occupied on Cordova Street had been moved to Water Street. The same year Sullivan’s Hall appeared on Cordova, half way between Abbott and Carrall, presumably occupying the location of the former house. Major Matthews recorded in his historical Archives notes an interview that said Philip Sullivan had cleared the land himself, and the family probably lived there before the fire, and rebuilt the house that was later moved, after the fire. It was a ‘squatted’ site on Cordova, and built around 1879. On the day of the fire Arthur Sullivan had sailed to the Mission on the north shore in his sailboat, and so escaped the blaze. At the time Josephine was staying in Joe Manion’s hotel, but escaped the flames. Sullivan’s Hall was used for musical performances, union meetings and other civic and entertainment purposes. It was briefly used as a courthouse with Judge Begbie presiding.

In 1889 Arthur was the subject of a sensational court case when he, and a Dr Langis were accused of procuring and carrying out an abortion. This was the first time in British Columbia history that the charge had been laid, and both men were found not guilty by the jury. When the trial commenced, and some of the preselected jurymen failed to show up, there was a rush to the doors by the crowd waiting to watch the trial – but enough failed to get out fast enough to avoid being immediately pressed into jury service.  A married woman, Mrs. Amanda Hogg, was the woman involved, but her testimony at trial (reported in great detail over many days and pages of the newspapers), was inconsistent and unreliable. There seems to be some doubt about whether Arthur had a dalliance with the lady in question (who he had met in the Methodist church choir), and there was confusion about whether there was an abortion or a miscarriage as a result of a fall, and the description of the dead child implied that it was unlikely to have been fathered by Arthur (identified as Negro in the 1901 census, and spoken of negatively in that connection by Mrs Hogg’s husband, James). Mrs. Hogg’s attempt to obtain $2,000 from Mr. Sullivan probably didn’t help her cause.

It appears that the case didn’t adversely impact Arthur’s standing as the town’s leading musician and ‘most popular master of ceremonies’. He and his brother and their families continued to live on East Cordova Street, and were said to own several other properties. James Hogg seems to have stayed living only a block away for at least a couple of years, but Amanda Hogg, not surprisingly, seems to have left town. Josephine Sullivan died in 1893, and in 1901, Arthur, Annie and Arthur junior lived in the same house as Charles and Amy; the house in the picture. Arthur still had his store, and Charles Sullivan apparently made his living as a musician, playing the piano and later being described as ‘just a barroom thumper’. He drowned while getting on board his rowboat at Andy Linton’s boat house at the foot of Carrall Street in 1906. His widow, Amy, moved to the West End, and that year Arthur moved to the north shore. Although he disappears from the street directory, his son, Arthur G Sullivan continued to be listed, and his father, Arthur was living in North Vancouver, a widower aged 61 when he died in 1921.

Once it was demolished, the site of his home was used as a parking lot for the adjacent court building for many years, and in 1983 was redeveloped as a remand centre with a jail block designed by Richard Henriquez. The cells were taken out of commission in 2002, and in 2011 Henriquez Partners designed the conversion of the building to non-market housing, adding windows to replace the widowless cell pods.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu P73

Posted April 19, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

Tagged with

Hornby Street – 1000 block, west side

In our 1981 picture there was a parking lot on a raised podium on Hornby Street. Down the street London Place was nearing completion; a hybrid condo-over-office building in the red brick favoured by the City Planner of the day, designed by Anthony Debecki. The parking lot was the former playground of the Dawson School, with a site stretching from Hornby to Burrard and Helmcken to Nelson. The first building was completed as the West End School in 1893, on Burrard; it was enlarged in 1897, and became the King George Secondary School when a new Dawson elementary was built at the end of the block on Helmcken Street in 1913. The schools were demolished in 1972.

Once the School Board sold the block it was acquired by Peter Wall, who built the dark glazed Wall Centre on the site. Three architectural practices designed the almost black glazed initial towers; Hamilton, Doyle, Bruno Freschi and Chris Doray. One tower houses the Sheraton Wall Centre hotel, the other is condos, and that end of the block was completed in 1994.

At this end of the block, on Nelson, we can see the podium of the equally dark (but originally promised crystal clear) One Wall Centre, with condos over additional hotel rooms designed by Busby and Associates, and eventually completed in 2001. Once the switch to dark rather than clear glazing was revealed during construction, the City issued a stop work order. Eventually a compromise was agreed with the condos in clearer glazing, and the lower hotel floors retaining the dark glass. It was re-clad a darker shade, but slightly different from the hotel floors on the failing upper floors a few years ago. (The failure was said to be of the seals on the clear glazing, and replacement was also necessary because solar gain heated units beyond the capacity of the air conditioning to handle on very sunny days).

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W08.02

Posted April 16, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Dawson School, Helmcken Street

There was a school located on this block from 1893. Although today we think of the West End starting at Burrard Street, and this location as part of Downtown, this was initially called the West End School. Thomas Tracy designed the first building which fronted Burrard, which opened in 1893, and G W Grant designed an addition to it in 1897. It became known as the Dawson School in 1900. (It’s visible behind the 1913 school on the left of the picture.)

Later this building on Helmcken Street was added, the Sir William Dawson School, designed by Norman Leech, (the Board of Education’s resident architect), in 1912 with a $135,000 building permit. In 1914, the Burrard Street building became the King George High School when this new Dawson elementary school building was opened. It’s the building that Jimi Hendrix asked whether it was still standing when he played the Pacic Colloseum concert in 1968. He implied he had attended the school, although there are no records that confirm it (or any other Vancouver school).

The school was named for Sir John William Dawson, a Canadian geologist and president of McGill University, and closed in 1972, (the year this image was taken), and demolished later that year. The School Board eventually decided to sell the site and today it’s one of the forbidding dark glass towers of the Wall Centre; this corner is part of the hotel use completed in 1994, other parts of the complex include condos.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-276

Posted April 12, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with

Dawson School, Burrard Street

This is the enlarged Dawson School on Burrard Street, seen in 1902, with its new name, five years after it was doubled in size. The right hand half of the building was the first part to be built, opening as the West End School in 1893 (the third in the city, after the East End School and Central School). On the left is a picture of construction wrapping up in 1892. The lack of symmetry of the earlier building, and the blank windows in the design suggests it was built with the expectation that it would be made larger.

Thomas Tracy designed this first building which fronted Burrard, which in 1892 was pretty much still a dirt track. Tracy was appointed City Engineer in 1891, and was also responsible for the construction of sewer and water supply systems throughout the city.  When the school needed to be enlarged a few years after initial construction, G W Grant was hired, but he used Tracy’s design as a template and added a new northern wing in an exact match of Tracy’s.

Tracy – who was always referred to by his military title as Colonel Tracy in the newspapers – was reported to have been dismissed from his job in early 1905, although he was still working for the city in August, and his dismissal was only reported in the London, Ontario press, (where he originated from), not in Vancouver. His interests extended beyond his professional duties; he owned and developed property on Hastings Street, and by the spring of 1905 he was already designing water and sewer systems for other municipalities including Fernie and Ladysmith while holding down his Vancouver job. He stood for election to the Board of Parks at the end of 1905 when he was described as Ex-City Engineer Tracy.

When a new Dawson School was added to the south of this building, facing Helmcken Street, the original building became the King George High School. At some point it lost the pointed roof on the central tower on the northern end, as seen in this undated VSB image. The school was replaced in 1963 with a new building in the heart of the West End.

Today the site is the landscaped gardens (over the underground parking) of the Wall Centre hotel and condos, with two towers completed in 1994 and the taller tower to the north in 2001.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Sch P29 and CVA SGN 48

Posted April 9, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with ,

316 and 324 Powell Street

This pair of rooming houses were both built in 1912, and are seen here in a Nikkei Museum collection photo, which incorrectly suggests the picture dates from 1925; it’s likely to have been taken over a decade later. The car looks like a late 1930s Buick, and the building on the right of the picture, the Fuji Chop Suey restaurant, was only completed in 1931. The picture is additionally misleading because the third building in the row, the King Rooms, has been cropped out of the photo, although it was developed in 1912 in the same year as the two buildings shown.

This image shows both stores of Furuya Shoten at 318 and 324 Powell Street. The clothing store at 318 Powell Street displays women’s clothing on the right side of the window and men’s on the left. The goods store at 324 Powell Street displays Japanese staples in the large window and barrels of Japanese staples in the other. Beside the store is an entrance way to the Lion Rooms upstairs, and the Furuya Co. clock is hanging on the third floor level.

Today both the rooming houses shown in the earlier image operate under one name, the Lion Rooms, but earlier there were two establishments, the Lion Rooms and the Burrard Rooms (on the left). No proprietors were listed for the Burrard Rooms when they opened – they were just listed as ‘Japanese Rooms’, but the Lions Rooms were shown as being run by S Fukumura. Initially C Hagiwara, a watchmaker worked here, and S Kato, a shoemaker as well. The Powell Pool Room was next door, with the Yuen Lee laundry operating at the back of the property. The Nikkei Museum says that Ichiji Sasaki built one of the biggest bathhouses, the Matsuno-yu at 318 Powell Street in July 1916. It cost $4,600 to build and was ‘elaborate and popular’.

Interestingly, these buildings weren’t developed by Japanese investors; the 1912 permit for 316 was for N Symonds design for Mah, Sam  Yuen. It cost $23,000 and was built by R G Wilson & Co. Next door at 324 the same developer and architect had got their permit for a $25,000 building a few months earlier, and Norman Symonds also designed the King Rooms, and R G Wilson built it for $22,500. L A Lewis was the developer.

We’re not sure if the Sam Yuen who was an active Vancouver developer as early as 1899 is related – he protested to the courts when the health officer of the day wanted to burn one of his Chinatown properties. It’s quite possible as he came here from Guangdong Province in China to help build the Canadian Pacific Railway. When these buildings were developed, Mah Sam Yuen was Manager of King Fong Co, and dealt with their financial transactions. He gave evidence (through a translator) to a 1910 Inquiry “regarding Chinese merchants attempting to enter Canada on Empress of China”. A recent profile of his grandson (who lives and works in Hong Kong, but who studied at UBC,) describes Mah Sam Yuen as ‘an entrepreneur who looked for business opportunities in both the U.S. and Canada’. The attempted move of Chinatown to Franklin Street in 1912 also saw investment there by Mah Sam Yuen & Co, whose offices were then identified as being located on on Carrall Street. A 1929 US Court case saw Mah Sam Yuen givi ng evidence to support a fellow Chinese merchant in Seattle, who was fighting deportation. The evidence reveals that Mah Sam Yuen was also known as Mah Ai Joon (his married name), and that he was still manager of the King Fung Store.

L A Lewis was probably a New Westminster mill owner, Lewis Allen Lewis, from Ontario who was owner of the Brunette Saw Mills. (No doubt to avoid confusion, he was known as L Allen Lewis). Norman Symonds was a relatively unknown architect, but over a brief period designed quite a few buildings constructed in the tail end of the early 1900s boom. He formed a partnership with W S Duncan, who moved to Vancouver from Calgary in 1912. He was from Ontario and lived with his wife, two children and three lodgers on Pender Street in 1911.

In 1919 S Misme sold cigars under the Lion Rooms, while Mrs K Ushijima had a dry goods store next door at 324 Powell, under the Burrard Rooms numbered as 324 1/2. The King Rooms were to the east. The stores remained in Japanese ownership, changing over the years. In 1930, F Takada ran a confectionery store with Powell Taxi run by H Sarayama and I Hashimoto sharing the floor beneath the Lion Rooms. H Higashiyama Co, a dry goods business were under the Burrard Rooms. Next door under the King Rooms U. Morimoto & Co. dry goods rented the storefront at 328 Powell in 1920 and 1921. Nearly a century later the company name is still written in the tiles at the entrance to the store.

Furuya & Co were based on West Hastings during the early 1930s. They moved to Powell Street – but to the 100 block – in 1935, and only in 1940 do we find Furuya & Co main floor (exporting Canadian Goods, and importing Japanese Merchandise and Products) and the Matsunoyu Baths in the basement. These are the companies shown in the image. Bessie Hakkaku had run Tokyo Archery at 324 for a number of years, and only disappeared in 1941 – our best guess for when the picture was taken.

Furuya’s growth was abruptly halted when the Japanese were all moved to camps away from the coast in 1942, and briefly Powell Street was almost deserted. This part of the street gradually reopened with Chinese owned businesses. In 1946 the Lion Rooms were still operating, with L Yet running a pool room downstairs. 324 Powell was still vacant, but the King Rooms had the Newcomer Café on the main floor, run by H Chee. That was still true in 1950, and the pool room was still operated by Yet Lok in 1955. At 324 an unusual situation was recorded – Kingo Matsumoto was operating a grocery here. He had fought in the Canadian forces in the Great War, and was one of very few to return to the former Japantown after internment (in his case in Slocan City). In 1947 he had written to the Federal government requesting the return of his fishing licence on the Fraser River, although at that time wartime limitations on Japanese ownership and location were still in place.

Today the Lion Hotel is still a rooming house; now one of the remaining privately owned SRO hotels in the area. In recent years it has featured as lacking heating and hot water, and breaching fire regulations, despite receiving government grants for improvements.

Posted April 5, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

Tagged with ,

314 Powell Street

This is a building now incorporated into the Sunrise Market, but when it was first developed in 1931 (when the picture was taken) it was part of Japantown. It was a restaurant which served an early fusion cruisine: Fuji Chop Suey. The Nikkei Museum says  that from 1936-38, Ichiji Sasaki started the Fuji Chop Suey restaurant with Mr Wakabayashi at 314 Powell Street. As the restaurant opened in 1931, that’s clearly not accurate, and during those years Ichiji Sasaki was caretaker of the Howard Apartments on East Hastings, and later proprietor of the World Hotel on Powell.

The Vancouver Archives have a copy of the architect’s drawings from late 1930. William Dodd designed the building, and thanks to Patrick Gunn’s diligence we know it cost $17,000 and was built for somebody recorded as Sasika Maikawa Kaino by Harvie & Simmonds. It’s most likely that this is one of the Maikawa brothers who had a number of businesses on Powell Street. Sadakichi Maikawa owned a grocery business across the streets, and a few years later Nippon Autos a little further west. The family have written about the restaurant as ‘Maikawa Fuji Chopsuey’.

Before it was built there was, we think, a single storey retail building here. In the early 1920s the street directory shows Samuel E Williams running a shoe shine business here alongside several other retail stores for a number of years. He carried out repairs to the building several times between 1917 and the early 1920s. Samuel added a different ethnic mix to the neighbourhood. He was aged 58 in 1921, married to Effie, and they had both been born in the US. Samuel’s father was born in Cuba, and his mother in the West Indies, and the couple were recorded as racially African, having arrived in Canada in 1912. They lived further west on Powell where they rented a four room apartment for $15 a month.

When it first opened in 1931, the street directory says I Murakami was running the Fuji restaurant, but by 1934 S Maikawa was shown as president of the restaurant company. We think this was Sadakichi Maikawa who we believe developed the building, and at this time also running a grocery, meat and fish store at 333 Powell. His name was listed as the restaurant owner through to the early 1940s when all Japanese were forcibly removed from the coast, and their property confiscated.

Audrey Kobayashi recalled how the restaurant operated. “The second floor was rented as a private dining room for weddings or other large gatherings, and opened onto a balcony overlooking Powell Street. This was one of only a few restaurants where Japanese-Canadian women and children could go. Most of the Japanese restaurants in the area were the domain of men, and restaurants in other parts of Vancouver usually would not serve Asian customers. In 1942 the banquet hall was used by the federal government to administer the uprooting of Japanese Canadians

The building remained vacant through the war years, and only in 1946 were there new businesses; Orloff’s Ltd wholesale drygoods and Hemenway’s Ltd display letters. By 1955 View-Master distributors and A D T Sales, manufacturers agents were here. In the mid 1970s Sunrise Market opened here, expanding from the adjacent building. Arriving in Canada in 1956, Leslie and Susan Joe began making small batches of fresh tofu in the back of their grocery store. As demand for tofu grew throughout the 60’s and 70’s, so did the business and in 1983 factory space was purchased nearby to transition the small operation into a large scale manufacturing plant. Sunrise Market still operates here, and Sunrise Soya Foods is now Canada’a largest manufacturer of tofu.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3873

Posted April 2, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

Tagged with ,