Archive for January 2014

First Baptist Church – Burrard Street (1)

Burrard Baptist

We caught a glimpse of this church in the previous post. Like Christ Church to the north, the church is the original on the site, on the north-west corner with Nelson Street. It was even a vacant site before the church was built – there were no previous structures here before the building permit was taken out in 1909. That’s not true to the south, where there were houses before St Andrews Wesley was built, as we saw in an earlier post. The cost of the church was $75,000, and the builders were Matheson & Heard. The architect was listed as ‘Burk’ – although really that was Burke, Horwood and White, based in Toronto and also responsible for the Hudson’s Bay store design. It was completed in 1911 in a Gothic Revival style, although the interior is newer. A 1931 fire destroyed the original interior and roof, and the replacement was more Arts and Crafts in style.

The rebuilding was led by Charles Bentall, a member of the church, who he was present in 1911 when the cornerstone was laid in 1910 by John Morton, one of the three original purchasers of the West End land holdings. Bentall was president of the Baptist Union of Western Canada from 1929 for four years, as well as head of Dominion Construction, He had been superintendent of the Sunday School on Burrard for many years although by 1928 he attended the Grandview Baptist Church – a more modest frame building. Bentall personally supervised the reconstruction – he even took a trip to the eastern US to source acoustic tile for the ceiling to sound proof the structure. This 1914 image shows the church three years after it was completed.

While there have been few changes to the church since the 1930s reconstruction, that may not stay true for much longer. The rezoning of the adjacent YMCA building, with a residential tower to fund the reconstruction and heritage restoration of that building also included a future tower behind the Baptist church.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives LGN 1239



Posted 31 January 2014 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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Burrard Street – north from Nelson Street

Burrard from Nelson 2

In many of the images we publish the contemporary view is of street trees, added over recent years, that makes seeing the buildings behind more difficult. That’s not the case on Burrard Street – back in 1923 the street foliage was every bit as lush as it is today (if not more so). Burrard was really a wide boulevard residential street then – it didn’t really go anywhere to the south; (the Burrard Bridge wasn’t completed until 1932). We’re standing in the middle of Burrard at Nelson Street, so that’s the First Baptist church on the left, built in 1911, and houses in the 900 block of Burrard Street on the right.

Unlike the houses on the 700 block, (a couple of blocks down the hill, on the right) we do know who designed and built the houses on this block – or at least, several of them (even if you can’t really see them for the trees!) Thomas Fee, architect partner to John Parr, designed and built four of the houses – presumably as investments. During his career as well as designing dozens of buildings for clients throughout the city T A Fee would build projects for himself costing tens of thousands of dollars. These houses were early investments, and more modest. They were among an impressive list of houses built by Fee in the West End – he seems to have bought several blocks of land and then built houses from at least 1901 to 1904. We don’t have records currently available before 1901, but it seems likely that there were earlier dwellings also built by Fee on the eastern (right) side here.

900 Burrard 1912This 1914 detail from an aerial view from the second Hotel Vancouver shows the back of the houses. In 1904 J H Field had the double lot on the corner of Nelson Street, (on the far right of the main picture, towards the left of the aerial shot) and added a second house at a cost of $950. The large house, four blocks up at 970 Burrard was a Fee investment, built in 1901 at a cost of $2,500. Further up the street at 940 and 946 Fee built two houses in 1901, one of them costing $3,000, while next door at 932 he built an even larger home – the foundation stonework cost $2,000 in 1902. Most of the houses closer to Nelson were built a few years before 1901; it was likely to be a popular location as the Dawson Public School was just a block to the south, across from St Paul’s Hospital.

The building down the hill on the left is Irwinton Court – still standing today and built by C N Davidson in 1912 to Braunton and Leibert’s design at a cost of $132,000. The two apparently vacant areas of land on the left before the apartments are the gardens of Hillside Hall (a private hospital in 1906, although by 1923 a rooming house) on the south side of Barclay Street, and the playing area of the Aberdeen School (built in 1912 for $135,000) on the north side. Behind the trees on the 800 block, beyond that, were more houses, all built before 1900, on both sides of Burrard Street.

Today, on the left is the newly restored YMCA facade with the Patina condo tower behind, the Sutton Place Hotel, and off in the distance the towers of the Royal Centre. To the east is the Dal Grauer electrical Substation with the Scotiabank cinema and Electric Avenue condos above and beyond that 800 and 850 Burrard, a 1980s condo and office development designed by Eng and Wright with two distinctly different elements on a single lot.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Str N181; extract from William Moore panoramic photo, CVA PAN N218


Posted 29 January 2014 by ChangingCity in Altered, West End

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Burrard Street – 700 block

800 block Burrard

We’ve looked at both the buildings that are standing today in this image. On the left (east) is the edge of the third Hotel Vancouver, while on the right is the 1950s City Library building. As the 1900 photograph shows, there was development here before of a very different character. These were very recently completed speculative houses, and we haven’t been able to identify who built them. In 1901 the first house was occupied by Frank S Findley, an ‘agent’ born in PEI who lived there with his BC-born wife Hattie and their two daughters. Next door was Robert Hamilton from Ontario of the William Hamilton Manufacturing Co, with his American wife Kate, and their son Charles Cornell – presumably Kate’s son from an earlier marriage. They had a Chinese servant as well.

James A Fullerton, an Englishman who was listed as ‘ship’s husband’ for the CPR lived in the next house with his wife Meg and their son Ross, and a domestic servant, Effie Craig. His job was, the legal dictionary says, “an agent appointed by the owner of a ship, and invested with authority to make the requisite repairs, and attend to the management, equipment, and other concerns of the ship he is usually authorized to act as the general agent of the owners, in relation to the ship in her home port.” It looks as if the Fullertons had been in Quebec for some time before moving to BC; Meg was born there, and so was their son.

Next door to them Miss Elizabeth Roycroft was listed as homeowner, although the census suggests William Roycraft was the head of household and his much younger sisters, Eliza and Eleanor were living there too, along with the Robinson Family, Charles and Amy and their 3-year old daughter. The Roycrafts were from Ireland; William was aged 74 while Eliza and Eleanor were aged 45 and 55. Scottish-born Hugh Youdall lived in the next house, a commissioners agent for H J Thorpe & Co, with Bertha, his American wife and their two sons and daughter, the oldest aged 21 having been born in Newfoundland. George Baldwin, a builder, was in the last house with Minnie, his wife, and two sons, Harold and Sidney. Both Baldwin’s had English ancestry although George was born in Quebec and Minnie in Nova Scotia.

The names of the occupants of this row of houses changes constantly over the next couple of decades – every two years there’s an almost completely different set of residents, perhaps suggesting that some were rented rather than owned. By 1930 most of the addresses had ceased to exist (as the Hotel Vancouver started construction) – although the three on the right lasted longer. By 1940 744 had gone, replaced by a used car lot, but 746 and 748 were still both standing and operating as rooming houses, still standing at the end of the war, but gone by 1950.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Str P13


Posted 27 January 2014 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

The Province Building – 140 West Hastings (2)

The Province Building v2 140 W Hastings

We’ve seen this building, and examined its history in an earlier post. Here it is again, but now restored to something much closer to its earlier appearance. In the previous post the building was in a somewhat dilapidated state, and for sale. Now restored to something close to it’s 1920s Townley and Matheson redesign, the building joins others on this transformed block in offering office and retail space. Now the only building on the block that really needs attention is the former Stock Exchange, next door.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1399-546


Posted 24 January 2014 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Christ Church – Georgia and Burrard

Christ Church

We’ve made several references to one of the city’s earliest churches, but we haven’t actually given it a post. It dates back to 1889 – or at least, the basement floor does. The congregation of 52 first met that year in the basement – apparently nicknamed the ‘root house’ at the time, but took a while to get the necessary finances together to compl;ete the building.

Despite the presence of CPR Executives in the congregation, including Henry Cambie, the company threatened to have the sheriff seize the land as they considered the half-built structure was damaging their land sales nearby. A number of other prominent Anglicans helped out, including Lacey Johnson, Henry Ceperley and W J Salsbury. J.W. Weart – a law student at the time – came up with a complicated scheme to establish a company that issued $40,000 of stock, and on the strength of the $4,000 raised by the parishioners then borrowed $18,000 on a mortgage from the Sun Life Insurance Company to pay for the building.

C O Wickenden was given the job of designing the church – not bad for an architect who had only arrived in the city the year before. Once building of thev main structure started – in July 1894 – things went fast and the church dedication service was in February 1895. The completed church is shown in this early picture (around 1900), and today it’s quite a bit bigger. In 1909 the first addition was completed, designed by Dalton and Eveleigh. The building was lengthened and widened to the north and a balcony added, increasing seating capacity to 1,200.

In 1929 the Archbishop of New Westminster constituted Christ Church as the Cathedral Church of the Diocese, and the bishop’s throne was moved from Holy Trinity in New Westminster. A year later the cathedral planned to expand again – this time designed by Twizell and Twizell. The land was acquired using funds from the estate of E D Farmer – the Fort Worth based real estate baron who built the Farmer Block, and who had died in 1924. The actual construction didn’t take place until 1937, once the depression was over. That’s pretty much the building you see today – although there has been extensive restoration and the roof and floor have been restored to their original appearance.

A 1970s proposal to demolish the church and replace it with an Arthur Erickson tower (that would incorporate a new church space) raised massive opposition. Instead a scheme was devised to allow the development potential of the site to be added to the adjacent site (Park Place – completed in 1984) and the cathedral became a designated heritage building. This was the first of many similar density transfer projects that has allowed some of the city’s older buildings to be saved – and even somewhat ironically an Arthur Erickson office building.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1376-174


East Pender Street – unit block (1)

Pender & Carrall east

We’ve seen the building on the left of this 1929 image in an earlier post – it’s the Wing Sang building developed over several years by Yip Sang’s company. We’re about half way up the block between Carrall and Columbia, looking east. Next door was a building that we haven’t been able to identify. It was there in 1903, and there were alterations in 1909 carried out by Duck Chew Lim, and more by Fong Lim in 1915 and Jim Lim in 1917. In 2008 a new building was completed; ‘East’, a 22 unit condo project over retail, designed by Walter Francl Architects.

Beyond that, in 1911, Campbell and Dawson were hired by Lang Kwan to build a $9,500 building that’s still standing today, albeit very much changed. In 1915 W H Chow designed alterations worth $400. In the 1920s it became the home of the Cheng Wing Yeong Tong Society Building. Hodgson and Simmonds designed the third floor addition, completed in 1926 to create the Tong headquarters with a recessed balcony and pediment-capped parapet. It was home to the Ho Inn chop suey house in the early 1970, (not to be confused with the Ho Ho), was damaged, and rebuilt after a fire in 1991.

The two storey building beyond it was designed by Emil Guenther for Loo Gee Wing, another of Chinatown’s merchant developers in 1904. It’s still standing, although it’s been changed. Across Columbia Street was the Great Northern Hotel (built as the Avenue Hotel), and also altered.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-2463


East Pender and Columbia Street (2)

Columbia Block 1972

Over the forty plus years since the earlier view of this building, relatively little changed on the building originally designed by R T Perry for Sam Kee. In 1935 they were the Tung Ah Rooms; they were still called that two decades later. Just as in 1929 W Santien and Co were occupying the store: but instead of dry goods they sold men’s furnishings – they were still there ten years later as well.  Next door was Tom’s Taxis and the Sen Sen barber’s store; in 1955 it had become the Joyland Arcade. At 107 in 1945 was Way Lee’s confectionary store;  ten years later the Dai Yew Club operated. By 1972 when this picture was taken Con’s Appliances occupied the main floor and the rooms upstairs hadn’t changed their name – they were still the Tung Ah Rooms, although the building had been tidied up and named the Columbia Block. A VPL shot from 1961 show’s Con;s was already established in the building then.

In 1974 the rooms were closed as a result of new City by-laws. It was closed down for seven years, and reopened in 1981 with an additional floor. It had fewer, quite a bit larger rooms, but they were still small. The developers were the Dart Coon Club – an organisation loosely associated with the Chinese Freemasons. The Club still exists, but have their club premises on the other side of the street, and they continue to administer the rooms here. The Chinese Freemasons included Harry Con, who ran Con’s Appliances and was also active in the Strathcona Property Owners and Tenants Association who eventually stopped the redevelopment of the entire Strathcona area. In 1967 he had published the first history of Canada written in Chinese, and in 1982 was awarded the Order of Canada. The club hired Joe Wai to design the renovated store fronts and third floor addition.

Today the Chinese Tea Shop have their store here, and along Columbia are three newly opened ‘pop-up’ stores. Three murals, added in 2010, show the Wah Chong Laundry (which was on Water Street), Chinese men in 1936, and a 1905 merchant called Lee Chong. The artist is Arthur Shu Ren Cheng and the work was initiated by the Vancouver Chinatown Business Improvement Association.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-451


Posted 13 January 2014 by ChangingCity in Altered, Chinatown, Still Standing

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East Pender and Columbia Street (1)

Columbia & Pender 1929

Here’s the three storey building on the north-east corner of East Pender and Columbia. It didn’t start life like this – it was a two storey building originally, and it was on the corner of Dupont Street (the previous name for this stretch of East Pender).

We’re not totally sure who designed it, or who developed it. It first shows up as the Avenue Hotel in 1896, and W S Cook was the proprietor in 1898. It was located in an interesting part of town that was partly Chinese (so the Hope Sun Co, tailors, were in a retail unit at 107 Dupont in 1898). However, the rest of the block was houses – housing the other main business activity that this part of Dupont was known for. Next door Mrs Laura Scott was resident, while at 115 Dupont Dora Reno was landlady, an American who a few years earlier had run a facility in Fairhaven, south of the border. They were by no means alone – the rest of this side of the block was occupied by young ladies including Pansy Moore, Frankie Preston and Florence Hastings.

In 1889 there had been a Chinese tenement, with Sam Lung’s laundry next door. By 1895 the site appears to be empty, and there were houses next door, occupied by Miss Mackenzie and Miss Jones. Miss Dora Reno was on the block then too, but at the other end at 131 Dupont. A year later this building, the Avenue Hotel was open, but the stores were still vacant. The ladies – or a number of ladies – were here (although only Frankie Preston and Dora Reno seem to be the long-term occupants of the block).

In 1901 Mr Cook was still proprietor of the hotel, and next door Laura Scott was landlady, with Dora Reno next door to her, then Miss Hill, Frankie Preston, Minnie Robertson, Hattie Stewart, Lottie Mansfield, Frankie Reid and Jennie Manning on the corner of the lane behind Westminster Avenue (today’s Main Street). The 1901 Insurance map shows the Avenue as a Chinese Hotel. The 1901 census confirms an observation from the 1891 census – while Miss Reno, Miss Preston and the other ladies on the street were usually listed as having the profession of lodging house keepers, there were generally three, four or five other ‘lodgers’ – all female, often listed as seamstresses, milliners or dressmakers. Most, but by no means all were from the USA, with others from a variety of European countries including England, Ireland, Germany, and France.

It’s likely that this version of the hotel was built by ‘Sam Kee’. He hired R T Perry to design a brick hotel costing $15,900 to build on Columbia Street in 1911, although the clerk recorded a street block on Pender. The Archives have a 1912 register for the Great Northern Hotel in the Sam Kee Company records. The Sam Kee business was on the opposite side of Dupont as early as 1889, and we know Sam Kee owned the hotel in 1915; he hired W H Chow to design alterations to 107 East Pender and he also carried out repairs to a club in the building in 1917. By that time it was no longer the Avenue Hotel – it was the Great Northern Hotel (it changed it’s name between 1906 and 1907). It was associated with the great Northern Railway who had their railway station across the street, with the tracks running in north on a trestle over False Creek. A few years later they built a magnificent new station on the False Creek Flats (demolished in 1965).

Even up to 1911 W S Cook was still proprietor, an amazingly long tenure in a city that generally saw a revolving door of hotel operators. William Cook hailed from Nova Scotia, and had been in the city in 1892 when he bought a lime-burning business based on Dupont street from Donald Menzies. While his family seems to have missed the 1901 census, in 1911 he’s head of a big household with a housekeeper, two married daughters (and their husbands), two sons aged 19 and 15 and a 10 year old daughter.

The club that Sam Kee repaired was the Oceanic Club, and by 1917 the Sam Kee store was next door to the hotel in a 1903 building designed by W T Whiteway for Chu Lai, a Victoria-based merchant. Technically there was no Sam Kee – that was a company run by Chang Toy, but the company name is almost always referred to as if there was a real person. By 1917 there were no ladies on the block – they’d been run off (mostly to Alexander Street) and all the businesses had Chinese names.

By 1929 when this image was shot, the hotel and the area was still almost completely Chinese. The hotel was no longer a hotel, and no names are associated with some of the business – just ‘Chinese’ and ‘Chinese Rooms’, although W Santien & Co were identified as being at 103 E Pender, Chinese dry goods merchants.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-2465


Robson and Burrard – sw corner (1)

Robson & Burrard ne 1935

Here’s the south-west corner of Robson and Burrard, diagonally across the street from the Vancouver Public Library building location and across the street from Cicero Davidson’s single storey retail building – still standing a century later. The building won’t last many years after this picture; in 1939 architects Palmer and Bow were hired to design a 1000 Robson 1980slarger Toronto bank here – two storeys instead of the single storey it replaced. This detail from a 1980s or early 90s picture shows the bank. The current building was completed in 1998 and was designed by W T Leung.

We can tell from building permits that the building in our main picture was probably developed by A F Perry, although what got built is a bit confusing – there are a number of permits and it’s possible some weren’t pursued. It wasn’t the first building on the site; initially there was a house that was addressed to Burrard – as that was the direction it faced. It was a big building, and in 1891 it was recorded as being occupied by John Rounsefell, although Mrs Mary Dempster was also living here in 1892. Thanks to an eagle-eyed researcher, Andrea, we now know that John Rounsefell was the father of Francis William (F.W.) Rounsefell, his brother, Geiorge, and Mary Rounsefell (married to William Dempster in 1890).  Frank became an accountant, worked in Brandon, Manitoba and then to Vancouver in 1888, later working as a bookkeeper for, and then partnering with Henry Ceperley to build a real estate empire in the city. In 1891 John, and his sons Francis and George were shown to be born in Nova Scotia; a slightly younger sister was born in England, as were several other younger siblings, so the family presumably reached British Columbia after initially leaving Canada, and then returning. (John Rounsefell was originally from Cornwall).

In the 1894 Williams Directory, John Rounsefell was living at 1126 Robson, with a Real Estate office in the Holland block, 413 Cordova. By 1898 he has moved to Chilliwack, BC. By 1895 800 Burrard had Walter Taylor living there, the manager of the Vancouver Fruit Canning Co, and he stayed for several years. In 1901 VDW Apr 23 1906 p6 PerryMrs Munsey, a widow, lived here, and in 1904 Daniel Healey. In 1905 A F Perry (retired) is shown living in the property. In 1906 we now know that he was planning some changes, thanks to this Vancouver Daily World cutting. As there doesn’t seem to be a 4-storey building here (at any time) it looks like Mr Perry changed his mind about what he would build several times in the next few years.

The 1911 census shows Alfred Perry, aged 58, was a retired contractor, born in Quebec, and with his wife Annie (an American) they ran a lodging house at 800 Burrard – they had 12 lodgers living with them.

The 1912 insurance map shows that the house was behind a row of shops, with two more to the east on Robson. There’s a 1909 permit for a brick dwelling house and shops, designed, built and owned by A F Perry. That may well be these stores, although it’s unclear if the dwelling house was built; there are two 1911 permits that relate better to what the 1912 insurance map shows. There’s an $8,000 rooming house, owned and designed by A F Perry and built by A F Heide, and also a Townsend & Townsend designed $1,500 brick store built by J P Foreshore, but that’s on the eastern half of the lot, so not likely to be the building in the picture. The Townsends also designed a brick addition to 936 Robson at the same time.

When this 1935 picture was taken The Bank of Toronto was on the corner, and next door was Stuart Thomson’s photographic studio. Thomson was born in Hampstead, England, and came to Vancouver from Australia in 1910. He became a well-known professional photographer in Vancouver and was noted for his aerial photography. Thomson sold his negatives to the Vancouver Sun newspaper in 1954, and the Sun newspaper donated them to the archives in 1963. The street numbering had changed by 1935 – the corner was 1000 Burrard, Thomson’s studio was 1002 and at 1004 was the Chesterfield Shop.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4836 and CVA 772-284 (extract).



Posted 6 January 2014 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Robson and Burrard – ne corner (1)

Robson & Burrard 2

Obviously the new Library, built in 1957, wasn’t the first building on this corner. It appears it was probably the third; here’s a picture of the second. It looks (from the Building Permits) as if it might have been designed and built by Bedford Davidson for McIntyre Bros in 1918. There were two earlier permit, for C E Turner, in 1916 and 1917, but they were for lower cost buildings, and this looks more like a $4,500  single storey retail project. It’s possible they partnered (or replaced) Mr Turner, as he operated the business in the corner unit in 1918.

The new stores replaced an earlier structure that almost certainly was a house. It appears in 1899, and was initially occupied by the Reverend L Norman Tucker. A year later Mrs E Wilkinson was running a private hospital here, which continued until 1903. For two years after that the house is vacant. In 1906 Andrew Haslam, described as a millman, has moved in. Mr Haslam who came to Canada from Northern Ireland as a boy, had owned a mill and been mayor of Nanaimo in 1893, and represented Vancouver for the Conservatives in the House of Commons from 1893 to 1896. His Nanaimo mill operations had gone bankrupt in 1905 after a fire destroyed the mill and his home. He moved to Vancouver to be the province’s first log-scale inspector, but he was soon logging on the Sunshine Coast (although that operation failed in 1908 as the narrow gauge railway Haslam brought in wasn’t able to handle the terrain). In 1911 William Thompson lived at this address; in 1914 Mrs Isabella Coulson was living there, and in 1917 Mr Charles E Turner, who would redevelop it.

McIntyre Bros would seem to be Charles and Edward McIntyre, and they ran a pool room on East Hastings Street. Charles McIntyre was in the city, running the pool room at 44 East Hastings from 1911. There were two Charles McIntyres before this – the most likely person to take on the pool room was a carpenter, but there’s no way of confirming it’s the same Charles McIntyre – the home addresses are different. Ed McIntyre appeared in 1912, and the pool facility moved over the next few years up the street to 66 East Hastings. The pool room had gone by 1919, and so had Charles McIntyre. There was still an Edward McIntyre in the city in 1919, but not in 1920. The East Hastings block they operated on was a popular location for cues; there was another pool room developed by Con Jones at 26 East Hastings known as the Brunswick Pool Room. The former McIntyre Bros pool room at 44 became a billiards parlour.

The Robson and Burrard stores, just like Robson Street today, saw tenants come and go over the years. In 1918 they were the Barker Bread Co, Charles E Turner, a grocer, was listed next door, but he was also the owner of the Prince Albert Market on the corner. Just a year later the Bread Company was still there, with a library run by John R Davidson, then a paint store, Ruby Duncan (a milliner, who had moved from the next block), Sophia Perosino (a dressmaker) and the Okanagan Fruit Company on the corner. By 1925, when this picture was shot, the Sincere Grocery store occupied the corner, with a vacant unit next door, then an optical store and W Edmund’s Music Store.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 371-1108


Posted 4 January 2014 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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