Johnston Storage – Richards Street

Elmer Johnston arrived from Ontario with his wife and young child as a teamster; established his company in 1913 by leasing 2 floors of a warehouse on Beatty Street then sub leased it to a stove company as dry, secure storage. He leased space on Hamilton Street and had premises on the CNR land at the north foot of Main St in the early 1920s (the company were still operating horse-drawn wagons in 1922)  and by 1927 had most of this fine new warehouse on Richards Street where it meets Pacific Boulevard.

So far we’ve been unsuccessful at tracing the architect – although it looks like a Townley and Matheson design (similar to the Canadian Linen building a block away that is now the home to Choices Market). In 1912 Thomas Hooper designed a 2-storey $75,000 cold store and warehouse for this corner for Merchants Ice & Storage Company, but nothing was actually built for several years, and we’re not sure if this was a redevelopment or addition to a slightly older building.

By 1940 Elmer Johnston was president of both the B.C. Automobile Association and the Vancouver Tourist Association and by 1960 Johnston Terminals Ltd claimed to be “the largest and most diversified physical distribution organization in Canada. . . .”  The company still operate in the city today – and the building is still standing as a storage warehouse – but perhaps not for much longer.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3801



Posted 30 August 2012 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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