The building on the south east corner of Robson and Granville has been around for a while. Initially we thought it was the Charleson Corner Building, built (or at least altered) in 1909 for D B Charleson, with the work designed by Honeyman & Curtis and completed at a cost of $3,500. Charleson would have been familiar with the territory – he arrived in 1885 and became a contractor, clearing huge areas of the city on contract to the Canadian Pacific Railway.
However, Charleson’s building only lasted until 1922 when it was demolished by T A Turnbull at a cost of $500 in May, and in June Townley & Matheson took a permit for the Service Investment Co for the replacement we see today, built at a cost of $31,000. The demolition permit was issued to Sharples and Sharples, property and insurance brokers in the city – we haven’t been able to confirm if they’re associated with the Service Investment Co (although there was a Service Securities at 1002 Granville run by Mrs M Wood). We assume that the Service Tobacco Co (who were in the new building) may be associated with the development.
In 1911 Sharples and Sharples published “Vancouver, British Columbia, The Liverpool of the Pacific”. One half of Sharples and Sharples was John Wilson Sharples, born in Cumberland, moved briefly to the USA but arriving in Canada aged two in 1883. He started work with the Nanaimo Free Press, moved to Vancouver and worked for W H Malkin, moved to the Royal Bank of Canada and became the Manager of the Granville Branch in 1905 before setting up his company in 1910. He had two older sisters, but the other Sharples was the oldest of his four younger brothers (Henry, Arthur, Edmond and William). In 1911 John, Henry and Edmond were all still living with their mother, but John joined the Canadian forces in the First World War and was killed in 1918. Sharples and Sharples continued with Henry and the Estate of J W Sharples identified as principals, and in 1920 Edmund was shown as a salesman with the company.
In 1923 the new building’s tenants were the Service Tobacco Shops Ltd, The Dairy Market and the Crown Market, and the British Bakery, with the White Lunch in the next building. By 1950, when Artray shot this VPL image, the United Cigar Stores were on the corner, Mallek’s Womens Apparel were next door, and the cafe was the Ham’n’ Egger, with Pine Tree Nut to the south. The White Lunch was still operating in the next building. The building was still known as the Service Building, and there were eleven tenants upstairs including a hairdresser, the Tourist Aid Bureau, an accountant, the Escort and Tourist Guide, a dentist and two tailors.
Today, over ninety years after it was built, the Lennox pub occupies the corner while the upper floor and the other store are a shoe store.