The Wilson Block – 929 Granville Street

Although Parr and Fee had most of Granville Street’s design work sewn up, it wasn’t a complete monopoly. C H Wilson commissioned Dalton and Eveleigh to design a warehouse that he then built in 1910 for $75,000. Crowe and Wilson (the same Wilson) had built a single storey building to the left of the warehouse in 1904, which they designed themselves.  The 1910 warehouse is the right hand building in the picture – if you look closely you can see that the left hand 4 windows are slightly different from the right hand six. W T Dalton had designed many buildings developed by Crowe and Wilson over the previous decade. Some time after 1912 the second part of the building was added. Charles H Wilson had arrived in Vancouver three weeks after the fire in 1886 from Ontario and rapidly joined the real estate boom as both a contractor and real estate broker. He was successful enough to have an area called Wilson Heights named after him (and 41st Avenue was Wilson Avenue for a while). He was elected Alderman from 1902 to 1905.

In the 1920s the Manufacturers’ Association of British Columbia used the larger building as a showcase for BC produced goods – which suggests a somewhat more important role for this part of town than would be the case today. The building had the rather misleading slogan ‘B. C. Art Gallery’ painted on. By 1939 when this picture was taken William Warrall’s furniture emporium had taken over the building and advertised their 42,000 of space over five floors. In 1989 Perkins and Cheung designed the substantial renovations for Tom Lee Music, a company who opened their first store in Hong Kong in 1953. The small single storey building to the left of the warehouse also dates back to 1910 and was designed by A J Bird for J R Reid. The building to the right is the Vermilyea Block.

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