Here’s something of a mystery. In 1968 this Cardero Street house was a little the worse for wear, but that wasn’t surprising as it had been standing on this spot since 1904. According to the building permit it was designed and built by C W Thomas for C W Thomas. The mystery is who C W Thomas was. There are plenty of Thomas’s in the city, but none with the initials C W, and none with the initial C who could build a house this expensive (over $2,000 at the time). C W Thomas didn’t own, build or design anything except this one building, and there are no C W Thomas’s in the city directory around this date, (or in New Westminster), or in British Columbia before or after in the census.
The only C W Thomas we can find as an architect around this time had been in partnership with Gilbert Davies since 1896. The only problem is that he was in Shanghai, where he helped design the Astor House Hotel on the Bund – “the finest hotel in the Far East”. It seems far fetched that he would design and build a house in the west End – but perhaps he did.
Our image is from the 1968 listing, which offered it for sale for $33,000 as either a family home or for conversion to rooms, but also noted the possibility of a future assembly in the ‘prime apartment area’. And that’s what happened eventually – in 1980 three quarters of the block along Barclay Street was redeveloped, including all the Cardero Street frontage. A condo building designed by Raymond Y Ching and Associates was built, but it wasn’t sold off. Rather it offered rentals, including eight small townhouses on Cardero Street, seen here in Maurice Jassak’s image. Then in 2008 the whole complex was renovated and sold off as strata homes as ‘The Barclay’, including the townhouses along Cardero.