Archive for December 2011

Seymour Street – 500 block east side (1)

Three buildings on the top end of Seymour Street, just below Dunsmuir, seen here in 1926 in this Vancouver Public Library image. On the left is a Braunton and Leibert designed building built by Hoburg Surges Co for Standard Trust & Industrial for $50,000 in 1913. It’s a wonderfully complex terra-cotta facade that has seen better days, but was preserved when the rest of the building was refitted for Sam the Record Man. Next door is the Arts and Crafts Building. As can be seen, it was built in two stages.

The first phase was designed by Thomas Hooper for Evans and Hastings (who were printers), and constructed by Norton Griffiths Steel at a cost of $45,000 in 1911. In 1927 R T Perry was hired to add another three storeys, which he achieved without dramatically altering the building’s style.  The architect of the 1920 Railway Club building (in 1926 George H Hewitt & Co) is still a mystery, but the developer was probably Viggo Laursen.


West Cordova from Abbott (1)

We’re looking west up West Cordova Street from the junction with Abbott in this 1889 Vancouver Public Library image. Somebody at the studio of Bailey and Neelands took the photograph – both the Bailey and Neelands families moved west from the same small area of rural Ontario that a number of other successful Vancouver pioneers came from. The only building in common in both pictures is right at the end of the street and almost out of sight. That’s the Arlington Block, developed by Dr. James Whetham in 1887, almost certainly using N S Hoffar as the architect. The pink building is the Panama Block, built in 1913. The block on the left is G W Grant’s first known project in Vancouver “commercial block for W B Wilson, 1887”. It was illustrated in an 1887 promotional publication “Vancouver – Pacific Coast Terminus of the CPR”.

There are several businesses that will be very successful on this side of the street including G E Trorey, whose business was later bought by Birks jewellers. (When Birks took over they also got the clock Trorey bought in Boston for $2,000 in 1905. When they moved their business to its new location they also moved the clock, which became the Birks Clock). Johnston and Kerfoot are there, who outfit many Klondike excursions in years to follow, and McClennan and McFeely, who will grow a trading empire in the city. Bailey Brothers, the photographers, are based about half way up the street, just before Kurtz and Co’s cigar factory. On the right is the Cosmopolitan Hotel, the Savoy Theatre (designed by William Blackmore), a Chinese company, Kwong Hang Chung Co (showing they weren’t all confined to Chinatown) and Rae’s Boot and Shoe Co, among others.

In between the two photographs Woodwards took over the entire south side of the street, and these days it’s the base of the 43-storey Woodwards W tower by Henriquez Partners with a mix of condo and non-market housing above retail, including Nester’s Market. Most of the right side is Henriquez’s redesigned Gastown Parkade, but the Cook Block from 1901 and the 1911 Runkle Block designed by G L T Sharp are both still standing.


Beatty Street – 500 block (1)

We’re on the 500 block of Beatty Street in 1927, looking north to the World Building which is now covered in the advertising for the Bekins moving and storage company. There are a series of warehouses coming up the hill, ending with one designed by Parr and Fee for Robertson-Godson in 1909. That building was removed to make way for the SkyTrain station and public plaza and steps down to International Village, but the rest are still there, often with alterations.

These days the bottom of the hill has the Sun Tower (as it’s been known since the Sun newspaper moved in in 1937). The steel dome is painted to look like copper, and although W T Whiteway gets the architectural credit it was suggested by G L Sharp that he actually drew the initial design. Storey and Campbell’s 1911 warehouse also designed by Whiteway is next up the hill, converted to apartments in 1996. The Bowman Lofts were converted in 2006 and the Crane Building next door two years later. Both have extra new-build floors added on top as part of the residential conversion. The Bowman building was built in 1906, added to in 1913 and then rebuilt to Townley and Matheson’s designs in 1944, while the Crane building had Somervell & Putnam as architects and cost over $120,000 in 1911.

At 548 Beatty Bruno Freschi took a 1904 warehouse and radically reinterpreted it in 1983 by pushing the front wall back leaving a front windowless screen as balconies. 560 Beatty (today, but 576 when built) dates back to 1909, when it was built by J M McLuckie for Fred Buscombe, at a cost of $35,000. Next door at 564 Beatty the original architect is also a mystery up to the top of the first floor. It was built in 1907 by Jonathan Rogers, but in 1912 J P Matheson added two more floors for new owner R A Welsh. This view has changed with a four storey addition by IBI/HB being built, with new windows replacing the never-meant-to-be-seen side of the building, and a cafe added to the plaza.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Str N165


West Pender – 500 block (1)

We’re on West Pender Street, and on the left, before Richards Street are the offices of the Confederation Life Association. In Toronto they occupied one of the grandest buildings in the city – in Vancouver their home was much more modest. It’s probably the Walsh Block from 1906 designed by Grant and Henderson.  These days it’s a parking lot (for now). On the opposite corner is the Fripp and Wills 1893 commercial block for J.M. Spinks, R.G. McKay and Dr. Powell. Phillip Timms took this 1908 image now in the Vancouver Public Library collection.

Across the street is E W Maclean’s real estate office, designed in 1888 by William Blackmore for T Prest. Further down are a variety of trades and offices including the fisheries inspector, and the Monte Carlo Rooms (Mrs Lambert, prop.) At 521 W Pender Belding and Paul were silk manufacturers, perhaps suppliers to their neighbours, E and S Currie, neckware manufacturers. At the end of the block Mahon, Mcfarlane and Mahon had their offices. In 1919 they complied the survey when the City considered taking over the street railway system.

More change was coming to the block soon – on the corner a new office and store was designed by W A Doctor in 1909 for Joe McDonald, who also built it. At 532 in 1909 an $11,000 building was designed and built by Michael O’Keefe for Captain Pybus, and at the end of the block the Union Bank of Canada hired Waterson & Bryson to alter an existing building in 1910. Today there’s a 1990 parkade designed by Kingsley Lo, Captain Pybus’s building still stands, as does the former Union Bank building which may be Honeyman and Curtis’s design for A St George Hamersley (more accurately, Hammersley) from 1905.


Posted December 27, 2011 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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800 Main Street

Our 1968 picture shows the first London Drugs store on the corner of Main and Union Street. The company was established by a ‘flamboyant pharmacist’, Sam Bass who started in a 1,000 sq ft space and soon expanded his chain to become market leader in the Lower Mainland by 1970. Bass sold out to a US corporation in 1968, who in turn sold to local grocery chain H Y Louie in 1976.  Soon after this picture was taken the City of Vancouver moved to replace the ageing Georgia Viaduct with a new structure, completed in 1972, which required the demolition of the entire 800 block. (seen below when construction had already started).

The drugstore building, originally designed by W F Gardiner for the National Finance Co, Ltd and built by Adkinson and Dill for $30,000 in 1909 was part of the clearance, along with the Pioneer Junk Co whose building replaced a blacksmith’s shop. If a decision is taken to replace the viaducts, no doubt this picture will change again.


West Pender and Granville – sw corner (2)

Here’s another shot a few years later of the Granville and Pender junction in a 1906 Phillip Timms image at the Vancouver Public Library. The Post Office and Customs House is still there on Pender, and there’s a new building on the corner with Granville. It was home to F W Welsh, grocers, and P Burns, butchers. Just out of shot was a building shared by a dressmaker and tailor where Emil Guenther, an architect, had his office.

The building went up in 1899, and it could be by C O Wickenden who designed a building on Pender for a Mr Tompkins that year – although nobody called Tompkins appear living on Pender in the street directory that year or in the following years. It didn’t last very long as Somervell and Putnam’s Merchants Bank (later a Bank of Montreal branch) was built in 1915, and later converted to the Segal School of Business by Simon Fraser University. Underwood, McKinley, Wilson & Smith’s Pender Place now occupy the Post Office spot. After the Post Office operations moved out, the building became the Dominion of Canada Assay Office.


Granville north from Georgia

Here’s a shot of the 600 block of Granville Street from the corner with West Georgia seen in a 1906 Vancouver Public Library image. The traffic is still driving on the left, and way down at the end of the street you can see the Canadian Pacific station buildings. The 500 block had a variety of businesses, including some apartments just up the hill from Pender Street, the First Church of Christ Christian Science Hall and the Bank of Montreal.

The 600 block had offices occupied by several physicians, the Grotto Billiard Hall, the Simpson Block with a baker and confectioner, the Seattle Rooms and the New York Block (a very early office building developed by CP Director Sir George Stephen, and designed by New York architect Bruce Price). There were offices of tea and liquor merchants and Frances Carter-Cotton of the News-Advertiser, and closest to us the Hudson’s Bay Company store. The store was built in 1892 and designed by C O Wickenden, but it only lasted to 1925 when it was demolished and replaced by the terra-cotta covered design still there today, designed by Burke, Horwood and White. The first phase of the current building had been built in 1912 on the Seymour and Georgia corner.

The rest of the block today contains The Hudson, a massive condo building with over 400 suites and some retail space below, designed by Stantec Architecture. It incorporates the facades of the 1892 Hunter Brothers block and the BC Electric Showroom by Hodgson and Simmonds from 1928.