Archive for March 2013

Randall Building – 535 West Georgia Street

535 W Georgia

In 1929 the brokerage firm of S W Randall Co saw their new office building completed on West Georgia. The designer was R T Perry; the building has elements of gothic and some art deco, and a somewhat unusual arrangement of two double bays of windows to the west and a single, slightly offset bay to the east. It bears some resemblance to Townley and Matheson’s Stock Exchange Building, completed a year later, and there are several other buildings by other architects, all taking the same gothic theme, and built around this time. Originally intended as a 10-storey building, as built it’s more modest.

Sam Randall was born in Ontario in either 1878, 1881 or 1882, (depending which record you believe) and probably arrived in Vancouver in 1914. (One version of his biography says it was 1908, but the 1911 census shows him still in Ontario). He was initially the sales manager of a hardware company, Fittings Ltd, and lived at the St Regis Hotel when he first arrived, but soon found a house on Main Street. By 1920 he had become president of the Canada Pride Range Co, and had a house on W 49th Avenue, and he was still in that same house and holding the same job in 1928. That same year he established his own brokerage company, having been a member of the Vancouver Stock Exchange before 1927.

Randall’s main passion was horse racing, initially entering the business in 1919. He became the dominant figure during the 35 years he directed the Ascot Jockey Club of Vancouver and the Vancouver Thoroughbred Association. The long-time operator of Exhibition Park, formerly Hastings Park in Vancouver from 1920, he also operated Lansdowne Park on Lulu Island from 1924, and managed the Willows track in Victoria until 1947 and also operated Brighouse Park in Richmond and Colwood on Vancouver Island. Randall was the first Canadian track owner to adopt the photo finish and the first western manager to install an electric starting gate 1939.

This wasn’t his first property development; in 1926 Townley & Matheson had designed a smaller building on Richards Street for him. He sold Lansdowne Park and the Randall Building in 1945, reportedly for a million dollars, to the BC Turf and Country Club, concentrating his efforts on the Hastings course. He retired due to ill health in 1955, and died in 1961.

In 1991 jeweller Toni Cavelti gave the building a comprehensive but completely sensitive upgrade, adding a penthouse floor (set back from the parapet) in the process. The project, designed by Blewett Dodd Ching Lee, gave the building an almost identical appearance to our 1929 image. Only the recently restored mural of medieval goldsmiths on the east side of the building (by Kitty Mykka) in 1993 made the building look any different. In 1999 Cavelti sold his company to Henry Birks who still sell Cavelti designed jewelry, and now Time and Gold operate in the store location.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3763.


New York Block – Granville Street

New York Block

In 1888 well-connected American architect Bruce Price designed the New York Block on Granville Street. It was one of a series of fancy new office buildings the Canadian Pacific Railway commissioned for their land holdings, particularly along Granville Street. The New York Block was in the 600 block of Granville, just down the hill from the Donald Smith Block, also designed by Price, and the CPR’s Hotel Vancouver. In 1889 it was valued at $25,000, and was faced and trimmed with granite, described by the Daily World as “certainly the grandest building of its kind yet erected here, or for that matter in the Dominion”. You can see that in 1889 even grand buildings still had plank sidewalks and uneven streets in front. The ‘Canadian Builder and Architect’ identified the developer: Sir George Stephen, a founding member of the CP Rail backers, and a prominent Canadian businessman. Originally from Scotland, he made his fame in Montreal and was the first Canadian to be elevated to the Peerage of the United Kingdom.

The building housed the CPR’s ticket, telegraph, and land offices until the turn of the century. It appears that a number of people, many of them CPR employees, lived in apartments in the building as well, an early example of ‘mixed use development’ in the city. A P Horne recalled attending parties in the building. “Father Fay was a fine fellow; he was popular; he could sing; had a good voice. Williams, of Williams Bros. and Dawson, surveyors, had a flat in the top of the New York Block; the Canadian Pacific Railway offices were below, and Sir George McLaren Brown was in them. Williams used to give parties in his flat, and Father Fay used to come and sing. Mr. Buntzen could play the piano in those days, and so could Mrs. Buntzen; play it well; and we used to have parties up in Williams’ flat.”

Bruce Price’s residential designs were important enough to influence Frank Lloyd Wright, particularly his designs in a New York planned suburb, Tuxedo Park. His early designs for hotels and stations for the CPR established the château style they continued to reference for decades. Among others, Price designed the Château Frontenac in Quebec and the Banff Springs Hotel. In New York, as in Vancouver, he favoured the Richardson Romanesque style, although in New York (where his office was based) he soon moved on to skyscrapers in a classical style.

The building lasted about 25 years, replaced in the early 1920s with the current Hudson’s Bay store. We’ve already shown in another post how the first Hudson’s Bay store was added to in 1914, and then the first store was replaced with this second phase of construction. The contemporary image shows the new glazed canopies that replace the heavier steel design that was in place until 2012.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu P79


546 Granville Street

546 Granville

Our building on Granville Street is almost certainly designed by W T Dalton for Hope and Fader Co., Granville Street, ‘next to the Imperial Bank’, 1898. The Imperial Bank was the building to the north – still standing today, although it ceased to be a bank many years ago.

The ‘Hope’ in Hope and Fader is almost certainly Charles E Hope, partner with Walter Gravely in the firm of Hope and Gravely, real estate agents. Hope was English, and in 1891 was living in New Westminster where he was identified in the census as an architect. He was born in Bradford, trained as an architect with his father and brother and then moved to Vancouver in 1889. He designed a public market in 1889 and the Alexandra Hospital, West 7th Avenue at Pine Street in 1891. He didn’t pursue an  architectural career for very long; after 1896 he became interested in mining development at Rossland, B.C. but clearly remained linked with the city as he was on the Vancouver School Board from 1906 to 1909. He opened a real estate office in Fort Langley in 1910. His brother, Archibald followed him to Vancouver and was responsible for the design of Postal Station C on Main Street – today known as Heritage Hall.

Silas Fader was the owner of the site, living at 544 and selling groceries from 546 (he’s described in the street directory as a “provision dealer”). His family were originally from Germany, but he had been born in Nova Scotia, as had his wife Edith and two older children. He had moved to British Columbia somewhere in 1888, with three more children born here.

In 1901 when our picture was taken the building was occupied by Walter Boult, a music dealer, and Norman Caple’s stationers. Dr Campbell had his consulting rooms upstairs. Caple had been in the city from before 1890 and was one of the city’s earlier photographers – we’ve seen his first premises on another post. He moved a little later up the street. The September photograph shows the building decorated for the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York. Mrs Bonnallie, in conversation with Major Matthews, recalled that the first run of the city’s first motor ambulance (that she had helped to raise funds for) ran over and killed American tourist outside Fader’s grocery store on Granville, becoming the first passenger to be transported in the vehicle.

546 Granville 1981Later in the 1920s Arnold & Quigley men’s clothing would occupy the building, and by 1981 as this picture shows Marks and Spencers were the tenanta and the building had been extensively changed. Most recently another clothing store has taken the space, with a total rebuild to modern retailing standards for the Loblaw ‘Joe Fresh’ brand, designed by Turner Fleischer with interior design by Toronto company burdifilek. Underneath it’s possible that a few sticks of the original 1898 structure still help keep the roof up (although if they do, it’s at the back – the front of the building has been totally rebuilt at least twice in recent years).

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives LGN 572 and CVA 779-E02.01


Posted March 10, 2013 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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Tremont Hotel – Carrall Street

Tremont House

We’ve already seen the building that replaced the Tremont House Hotel in an earlier post. Here’s the structure that was there a little earlier. It was one of the shortest-lived buildings in the history of the city, having apparently been completed quite soon before the fire that destroyed the entire city on 13 June  1886.

Carrall from Cordova north 1889, Bailey & NeelandsWe know the image was taken in 1886 – and obviously before July, and that the photograph is attributed to J.A. Brock. It’s in the early days of the city when the road hadn’t been made up, and the sidewalk was levelled with planks. Details about the hotel’s construction, the builder or anything else about the wooden building have eluded us. The design of the replacement building suggests the designer or builder of the two structures might be the same person – the cornice is a pretty good copy of the original building’s and it was made of wood not tin. The window arrangement is the same too, and when it was first built there was a balcony, as you can see on this 1889 Bailey and Neelands picture.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA Hot P29, Vancouver Sun


Posted March 7, 2013 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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501 West Georgia Street (1)

501 W Georgia

We don’t know who built this structure, although we know it dates from around 1908. The 1901 Insurance map of the city shows there was a house on a lot located 25 feet north of Georgia (just on the right edge of this picture). The lot had been owned by A K Stuart since 1886.

Mrs A K Stuart obtained a permit for a house on Richards Street in 1902, and A K Stuart obtained another for a house on Georgia Street in 1906. In 1903 James L Duff, a dentist lived here, and next door, to the west, was William Lonergan, a contractor, who stayed for a number of years. In 1905 the dentist had been replaced by Oswald Trowse, a dyer, and in 1907 A K Stuart, recorded as being a civil engineer, was shown living in the house.

Mrs A K Stuart would have been Margaret, who Allan Stuart had married in 1892. Stuart was a former CPR draftsman who helped bring the railway through the Rockies, and then settled in Vancouver in 1885 working for Thomas Sorby, helping design the first CPR buildings including the first Hotel Vancouver. From 1893 to 1901 he worked as Assistant City Engineer, before joining an engineering company supervising mines in Canada and Mexico.

By 1908 we’re reasonably certain this structure had been completed, as the building here housed the Cabello Cigar Manufacturing Company. (The Archives image is dated 1906, but we think it was probably shot a year or two later). A K Stuart had obtained two further permits in 1907 for alterations and remodelling on both Richards and Georgia, and it seems likely that this building was the outcome. The building lot was turned through 90 degrees and subdivided north-south rather than the original east-west alignment.

In 1909 Philip Timms, one of Vancouver’s leading photographers of the day was based here, to be replaced by Stuart Thompson, another photographer, in 1912. Timms had been born in Toronto in 1874, but had arrived in Vancouver with his new wife Lizzie in 1898. His first employment was working for S J Thompson, (no relation to Stuart Thompson), who was already established in New Westminster, taking high-quality platinum photographs of the scenery of the Rockies.

Timms was initially a picture framer, but by 1903 he was a photographer, deliberately trying to create a record of the rapidly growing city of Vancouver (a legacy we rely on for this blog). He produced at least 3,000 images, many of them printed as postcards by his brother, Art.

Stuart Thompson was born in Hampstead, England in 1881. He came to Vancouver via Australia in 1910, where he became a well-known professional photographer, noted for his aerial photography. Timms moved his business to his home address on Commercial Drive, but maintained his studio at 501 W Georgia until 1922 when Aras Pantages became the tenant.

Over the years the occupant of the building changed many times, including the National Cash Register Co who operated from here in the late 1930s, until today when a car leasing company operates from the building.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-592


Posted March 4, 2013 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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West Hastings and Richards – ne corner

Hastings & Richards ne

Our picture shows Scougale Dry Goods on the north-east corner of Hastings and Richards in 1900. To the right was a stationer’s store. The 1901 insurance map says that the Terminal City Club was upstairs. Vancouver records show there was more than one Scougale involved in the business – in 1900 Scougale Brothers donated $5 of goods to the Street Railway Worker’s Picnic and Sports Day. The building was new, having apparently been completed a year earlier and it was the only corner at this intersection that wasn’t a bank building. We haven’t been able to pin down a developer or architect, although W T Dalton did design a “Richards Block” on Hastings in 1897.

There are very few Scougales in Canada – and only one recorded  in BC in 1901 – James A Scougale, merchant, born in Ontario, was living in Vancouver and leased a room to Edward Mills, a miner also from Ontario. (Edward may well be the miner who later in 1901 was President of the Blue Bird Consolidated Mining Company of Darrington in Snohomish County in Washington State – a mine that failed to live up to its promise of valuable minerals). The family name was recorded in all sorts of variations; Scongale, Scougal and Scaugall amongst them.

James Andrew Scougale born on Colborne, Ontario in 1866. His father, also called James died in 1890 in Colborne, Northumberland, Ontario, and had been born in Scotland. There’s no sign of any other Scougale brother in the 1901 census, but both James and Adam Scougale were living at 416 Richards in 1902 . Family records show there was a third, younger, Scougale brother in BC as well, Andrew, All three brothers were living in Colborne in 1891; Adam was the olderest, aged 32 and was retailing dry goods as was his brother, James, aged 24 and Adam, 21, was a book keeper.

It doesn’t seem that the Scougales stayed in the city for long. While the company are still operating in 1902, they have gone by 1903 and in 1905 Adam is back in Colborne, listed as a witness at a wedding. He died there in 1922 aged 62, and James obviously also returned there eventually as he died there in 1927, aged 60. Neither men married.

It seems as if James (like his lodger) headed to the Yukon and sought mining wealth. A James A Scougale was involved in two mining claims; Rainy Day no, 11545 in 1909 and Hunker no. 10605 in 1910.  In around 1914 James Scougale was diamond drilling the Silver King Mine in the Yukon using a drill owned by the Territorial Government. (there’s a Scougale Creek in the Yukon as well). In 1923 he owned the mining rights to the Mt Cameron Property with Jack Alverson, but the value of that claim wasn’t clear. Alverson had previously netted $5,000 in a single season of mining at the Silver King Mine in 1913, before Scougale drilled it.

The Scougale’s apparently did well in BC: they returned to Colborne and opened two stores, one for hats and another for apparel. None of the three brothers ever married so the Scougale family ended when their grand niece died,having no children. The family name will live on despite this as their home for over 100 years in Colborne is about to become a heritage home known as “The Scougale Residence” built in 1820.

Woolworths 1974In 1916 the World Publishing Company were owners of the Richards building, getting Dominion Construction to repair and alter the basement. However, the building only lasted for about 40 years. In 1938 Gardiner and Mercer designed a replacement building for F W Woolworth that was still operating in this 1974 picture. While Woolworth’s have been gone for many years, the 1938 building is still there today.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA LGN 709 and CVA 778-143


Posted March 2, 2013 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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