Archive for July 2013

Cambie and Broadway nw (1)

Cambie & Broadway 1

Here’s one of the busiest corners in town – remarkably so considering it’s not in the Downtown. In 1932 it was just a bit more quiet. City Hall wasn’t here – the decision to locate it on Strathcona park wouldn’t be made for three years. There was a gas station on the corner, one of a remarkable number nearby, and a billboard. The gas station offered complete lubrication and Dunlop tyres. Beyond the billboard was another billboard, and the home of Albert C Jeffers.

Today the Crossroads development, designed by Busby and Associates, showcases green construction with a mix of office space and big-box retail and a residential component down the street to the west. And on the other side of the (much busier) street there’s still a billboard.

Image source, City of Vancouver Archives CVA 20-84


Posted July 11, 2013 by ChangingCity in Broadway, Gone

West Georgia and Burrard

Glencoe Lodge

Here’s the home of J M Browning, the Canadian Pacific Railway’s land agent, soon after it was built in 1888. It was quite a way out of town on recently cleared land at the corner of Burrard and Georgia. It looks as if the site had been graded, but the street was still playing catch-up. It was actually a CPR commision for a double cottage, designed by Bruce Price who had a lot of work from the CPR, including Sir William Van Hornes’s mansion on Sherbrooke Street in Montreal, the Hotel Frontenac in Quebec and the Banff Springs Hotel. The house only stayed a home until 1905. Browning was successor to L A Hamilton, the surveyor who supervised the subdivision of the new city (and got to name the streets).

A P Horne (who worked for Mr Browning in the land department) described him as ‘a delightfully charming man’ and ‘very Scotch’. Thomas Roberts, who was an early resident, recalled helping build the house. ‘I helped to build the Browning House on the northwest corner of Burrard and Georgia. There was a man nearby; he was blasting stumps, and he broke the circular windows which Browning had had brought out at a cost of thirty dollars. The big glass window panes were semi-circular and it took a long time to replace them.’

The Browning weren’t young for all this activity; in 1891 John M Browing was aged 65 and his wife Magdalena (who was born in Quebec to a Scottish family) was 57. They had no children at home, and one domestic, Hannah.

As the city grew westwards, sugar magnate B T Rogers assembled a site including the house, had it lifted and added to, and turned it into a hotel. In the meantime J M Browning also became property developer in 1894 with a building at Granville and Dunsmuir.

From the 1930s to the early 1970s there was a gas station here. Today the banking hall of the Royal Bank sits on the corner, part of the Royal Centre built in 1973.

Image source City of Vancouver archives CVA LGN 483


Posted July 10, 2013 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Cambie Street and 5th Avenue

Standard Oil 5th & Cambie

Here’s the Standard Oil station at 5th Avenue on Cambie Street. Photographer Stuart Thompson was commissioned by the company to record their new filling station, and he photographed it in 1935. Just as coffee shops seem to cluster today, so apparently did filling stations. The driveway to the right of the picture led into the older Union Oil gas bar. Union and Standard were rivals, Union based in California and Standard in New York.

They weren’t the only auto businesses in the area – Nye’s service station can be seen behind the gas bar in both pictures. Designed by Townley and Matheson it was built in 1923 and also sold gas. While the Nye building lives on in a new role, as a funeral director’s, the two gas bars were replaced in 1993 by the ICBC office complex housing the main police station with one of the Insurance Corporation’s assessment centres.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4774


Posted July 9, 2013 by ChangingCity in Broadway, Gone

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731 Burrard Street

731 Burrard

This is the home of jeweller C N Davidson in 1898. That’s Mrs Cecilia Davidson in front, so presumably it’s her son, Freeman on the pony, and Cicero (her husband, born in Ontario in 1859) holding their younger son, Irwin (who seems to have been known by his middle name, Norman). Freeman’s rather unusual name came from his father’s mother, who was Jane Freeman. Records suggest it was probably similar to his uncle’s name: records show Freman Davidson was born in Brantford, Ontario, in 1862. There looks to be a family resemblance in the gentleman holding the pony, so that’s probably his brother Augustus A Davidson who was listed at the same address in 1898. A year earlier the two brothers had incorporated the Shamrock Mining Co (with shares worth $250,000) with a third partner, William Brooks. At that time Augustus lived in Victoria running the Victoria branch of Davidson Brothers, jewelers.

We saw a smaller version of this image when we looked at an early picture of the Parr and Fee designed stores that Mr Davidson built on his property in 1911. They’re still standing today, as is Irwinton Court, the apartments he built here on the other part of his land in 1912. The family moved deeper into the West End, to Harwood Street. This house appears to have been built in 1891 – Mr Davidson is listed here in the 1892 Street Directory. Two doors away ‘C O Wickendin’ the architect was in residence (actually the prolific C O Wickenden who was designing many of the important buildings in the city around then). Cicero Napier Davidson remarried in 1922 when he was aged 60, and widowed. His wife, Rose Dalton, was from England, divorced and aged 36. Augustus also settled in Vancouver, and on his death in 1950 was buried in the Burnaby Masonic cemetary.

Image source: City of Vancouver CVA Str N2


Posted July 6, 2013 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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