West Pender and Howe Street – sw corner (1)

Here’s the corner of Pender and Howe in 1947. That’s the Pender Hall upstairs, built in 1903 to the design of W T Whiteway for James Reid, who built it for $19,000. These days it’s another mid-height (15-storey) office building from 1978, designed by Underwood, McKinley, Wilson and Smith.

James Reid was probably Senator James Reid, born in Quebec and an early developer of Quesnel, who was a partner in the steamship Charlotte (his wife’s name), that was the only stern wheeler on the Upper Fraser River. Reid’s business also included saw and flour mills, mining operations and the main general store in Quesnel. In 1901 he moved to Vancouver, to Melville Street, aged 60, with his family including two young sons, a niece, and the family’s Chinese domestic. For no obvious reason, the 1901 and 1902 street directories show his wife as resident, a widow, but that was corrected in 1903 and 1904, when Senator Reid died, and the entry was changed again. He had been a Liberal-conservative politician, elected to represent the Cariboo in 1881, and again in 1887. He was appointed to the Senate in 1888.

In 1908 this was the building that the Federal Deputy Minister for Labour, William Lyon McKenzie King, hired for $5 a day to hold his inquiry into the anti-Asiatic riots that heard submissions for damage claims from the property owners. It was the claims for damage to opium processing facilities that led King to introduce legislation to shut the trade down in Canada – before that he didn’t know the industry existed.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu N209

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