This 1924 image doesn’t have an architect associated with it – it was the Chevrolet car lot. The single storey building on the right of the picture occupied by the car company was built by Purdy & Henderson for R T Harvey in 1911 at a cost of $7,000. The house on the left dated back to before 1901, (apparently back to 1892), but there don’t seem to be any records readily available of who built it. The Hotel Abbotsford was being run by John McLuckie, who had also built it.
Five years later there was still a garage here run by the improbably named partnership of Mutch and Little; (John I Mutch and Milton H Little), and a decade later in 1940 it was still a garage run by Bell Motors. In 1946 there was a Shell service station on the corner, but as the sign on the forecourt shows, by 1949 it had been bought by Charles Bentall’s Dominion Construction. A year later there was a new building – the Bentall Building – a contemporary design with five floors of offices occupied by a series of Insurance companies including Northwestern Mutual Fire Assurance, Travelers Insurance and Eagle Star, and the headquarters of Canadian Forest Products. The building only took 22 weeks to build, and we don’t know who designed it. Frank Musson, who would design the Bentall Centre towers on the opposite side of the Pender and Burrard junction didn’t reach British Columbia until 1957. Charles Bentall had lost a court case brought by the AIBC to prevent him from designing his own buildings without being a qualified architect, so another architect must have been associated with the new structure.
The first Burrard Building only lasted a matter of thirty years. In 1984 a new office development was started, again by the Bentall Group, for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. We’re a little unsure of the correct architectural credit: Musson Cattell Mackey claim the design on their company website, but it’s also attributed to another company, Waisman Dewar Grout Carter.
The hotel Abbotsford is still standing – and it’s still a hotel. Today it’s the Downtown Day’s Inn.
Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3478