Water Street – 100 block (2)

Water 100 block 1

This is the eastern end of the north side of the 100 block of Water Street – so we’re looking from the corner of Abbott Street, and the picture is dated to 1906. The building closest to us is the Canadian Fairbanks Building at 101 Water Street, designed by E E Blackmore and W T Whiteway for McLennan & McFeely, and completed a year earlier. They only had half the building – the other half was for rent. Next door was the former Methodist chapel which was being used as a flour and feed store by Frederick Allen. The building was replaced in 1923 with the modest 2-storey building still there today, commissioned by Rainsford & Co and designed and built by Dominion Construction.

Next door is a two-storey building known as the Lovell Block. The Heritage Statement of Significance for the buildings says it was built in lovell 18881888-89, and that it was built “for pioneer Vancouver businessman John Badcock Lovell”. In that respect it’s incorrect: J B Lovell was a Victoria businessman, although he did have a number of Vancouver investments including another Lovell Block in 1900 and the Bodega Hotel. Mr Lovell also bought the site of the Methodist church in September 1888. The construction of his new block, like so many at the time, was fast and not very well done. In December it had to be started again, as the Victoria Colonist piece shows, and it wasn’t completed until 1889. Perhaps the more careful reconstruction is why the building is still standing.

Mr Lovell was born in England in 1831 and had been in BC since 1858. He was a miner, ran the Express at Richfield, a number of trading stores and was Coroner in the Stickeen region in 1874. He managed the Victoria Co-operative Company store, although in 1881 he was listed as a miller, and in 1891 and 1901 as a merchant in Victoria. He married Margaret, 28 years younger, in 1873 and they had three children. He died in 1915, aged 84.

Next door was a 3-storey (and basement) building where J Y Griffin & Co wholesaled produce and provisions, managed by Robert Robertson. In 1908 their specialty was packing pork and beef. The building next door was occupied in this picture by F R Stewart, another wholesale produce firm, and Baker, Leeson & Co; wholesale grocers. Two years later Mr Leeson was running his business on his own and moved down the street a bit, and a year after that he had teamed up with two new partners from New Brunswick and built a much bigger warehouse on the next block for Leeson, Dickie Gross & Co. F R Stewart also built new premises after this image was taken at 129 Water St, seen on the edge of our earlier post; designed by Parr and Fee in 1910.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-270

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