Georgia and Howe looking west

Georgia from Howe 2

Here’s the site of the third Hotel Vancouver as it appeared some years before it was built – but after it was supposedly going to be built (in 1916). Just behind the photographer’s left shoulder was the new courthouse; today it’s the Vancouver Art Gallery (at least for now). On the next block was the Wesley Methodist Church which stood on the corner of Burrard between 1902 and 1934. Designed by William Blackmore, it ‘borrowed’ its design from a church in Boston.

Georgia St postcard c1908If it looks as if the site for the hotel was vacant, it was. A couple of houses were erected at the northern end of the block, and there were glasshouses built on the corner of Burrard in 1901, but by around 1908 (when this postcard was probably photographed) it was cleared and had a wooden fence around it. It seems to have had a stables on it for a while, but the street directory shows nothing on that block over many years, and the 1922 detail from an aerial shot (below) confirms that. It isn’t surprising that the city finally lost patience with the railway company and forced the issue on the construction of the hotel.

CN Hotel location 1922Across the street, behind the trees in our 1916 image (and more easily seen in the slightly earlier postcard was (and is) Christ Church – today a Cathedral, but then a parish church for that part of the West End. The church had its own history of partial completion, just like the hotel, but was substantially completed by 1895. Alongside, on the corner of Hornby, were a row of single storey retail units, built (and designed) by A Sharp for S Weaver in 1901. Almost certainly this was Solomon Weaver, a Polish born Jewish businessman who had arrived in Vancouver from Ontario with his wife (who had been born in the US) and children. In 1901 his profession was ‘money broker’, and he had two children at home (although actually there were three). He had first arrived around 1894 and opened a business as pawnbroker and jeweller.  In 1911 he was described as a manufacturer, and he was shown (probably inaccurately) as having been born in Russia. There are few details about Mr Weaver’s origins, although he was an important member of the reform Jewish congregation, serving as first president of Temple Emanu-El (who met in the Labour Temple) and a founder of the B’nai Brith Lodge in the city. He established the BC Wire and Nail Company in 1905, and although it burned down within a year, and within two it was closed, and apparently sold off, he remained president and was associated with the firm until 1911.

Today the north side of the street is lined with office buildings; the 1986 Hong Kong Bank building is closest to us, the Cathedral Place tower from 1992 is next, and beyond the Cathedral is Royal Place completed in 1973. Between the two images a different set of buildings were built and demolished, including the Georgia Medical-Dental Building, imploded in 1989. Soon the Trump Tower will be visible, off in the distance.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives SGN 1523

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Posted December 24, 2013 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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