Here are the last houses on the 700 block of Hornby Street not long before they were demolished in 1956. The house on the far right appears to date back to around 1894. F W Boultbee lived here; around the time the house was built he started as the clerk to the water company (initially a private company). He later continued with the city when they took over the water responsibilities, retaining the role for 21 years. He was later Lt Col F W Boultbee, commanding the 6th Regiment, Duke of Connaught’s Own Rifles. He had arrived with the railway, building snow sheds on the CP Railway route before arriving in the city a little before the fire. He seems to have been named Frank Washington Boultbee, (although for some strange reason known as ‘Tom’) born in Ancaster, in Ontario, in 1864. He died in 1933. He had married Beatrice Cora Boultbee ten years earlier – although they had the same surname Beatrice was from Sheffield in England, so probably a distant relative. Frank’s older brother was John Boultbee, the city’s first magistrate who negotiated the city’s incorporation in 1886.
The house on the far left was also built around 1898, and was occupied by the Haddon family, headed by Rev Thomas Haddon the Reformed Episcopal Church minister (although the census just put ‘Church of England’). Rev Haddon was from England, as was his wife Isabella. He seems to have taken over the church in 1896, and seems to have been in Victoria before this – an 1894 Times Colonist piece records him delivering “an interesting lecture upon travels in many lands, the address being handsomely illustrated by means of stereoscopic pictures”.
While he had arrived in Canada in 1868 (so aged 26) his wife arrived in 1872. From the 1901 census we know that they had two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, who, if the records are to be believed were born in Quebec, seven months apart, both in 1874. Next was another daughter, Nellie, also in Quebec, a son, Robert, born in Ontario in 1879, and George, born in BC in 1885. (There was apparently at least one more son, William, not listed as living at home). Rev Haddon had retired by 1901, died in 1903 and was buried in Mountain View cemetery.
The house in the middle was added by 1900, and the earliest occupants were H W Findlay (who was an insurance agent who became advertising agent at the Province newspaper) and William Duke. Both had apparently moved on by 1901; that year Mrs Celine Exteater was listed as living in the house to the north. The clerk compiling the directory had a hearing problem or the typesetter was trying for a more intriguing name – actually she was Selina Extence, aged 59 who a year later was running ‘The Georgia’ boarding house (on Georgia Street) and living with her 11 year old son, Harry, and 3 boarders including Herbert Findlay who was listed in the Hornby house in 1900. Selina was from England, but her son had been born in BC.
M Lewar – or Lewer, a clerk with the Bank of British North America in the house in the centre of the picture. He seem to have been missed or identified with a different name in the 1901 census, and left the city soon after. The occupants – so we assume tenants – of the two houses to the north changed constantly. In 1903 John C Rolston, an artist lived in the house on the right and Alexander McDonald, a conductor had rooms in the other. Isabella Haddon stayed in the house following the death of her husband, and all three houses had the same residents in 1905 as in 1903.
Today the site is part of 777 Hornby, a 1969 office block designed by Frank Roy.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu P508.101