It’s just possible that this is one of the buildings that Thomas Fee designed and built for himself. In 1915 he certainly owned it, and submitted a permit for $75 of repairs he had designed. Often the design of the windows in Parr and Fee buildings shows the same unusual central pivot on the main pane – there’s an example on the building to the north (on the left of the picture). However, this isn’t a definitive design feature – the Fee Block in the 500 block of Granville that Thomas designed for himself in 1902 had sash windows. The bay windows aren’t common on Parr and Fee buildings, but we’ve seen them use them on other buildings like the Alexandra Hotel. With no permit we can’t be certain one way or another. The building probably got built around 1906; it wasn’t there in 1903 (the block was almost completely empty then), but had been completed by 1912.
Galloway-Dorbils Books occupied the first store. The 1920 edition of the Ubyssey had an advertisement for “Edwin J. Galloway, The Old Book Shop, established 1890. High School and University Books, a specialty. New and Second-Hand Books of every description carried in stock, or procured at short notice. Libraries or single books purchased for cash at a fair valuation,” By 1943 when this Vancouver Public Library image was taken the name was slightly changed; Mr. Galloway died in 1931 but the business continued as Galloway – Dorbils.
The first storeowner here was Charles W Hills who sold ladies millinery. Charles was born in Toronto, but he arrived in Vancouver via Victoria with his wife, Jane, and young son, William. He moved to California around 1911, but Jane stayed in Vancouver and ran the business for a few more years. By 1943 the hats could be obtained from the Aristocrat Cleaners, but the first store here was occupied by one of Vancouver’s finest photographers, Philip Timms.
This 1908 Vancouver Public Library picture of his store shows the edge of the Hills window as well as the store on the other side, Kyle and Sons Goodcheer Market, a butcher and grocer. Timms didn’t purely concentrate on photography; his store sold books, sheet music, and photographic supplies. He didn’t last very long here – by 1901 he had already moved and it looks as if the Hills store took the opportunity to expand.
In 1908 there were four suites upstairs: Mr Hills lived literally ‘over the shop’, next door was Daniel Kirkpatrick and the third was occupied by Charles W Armstrong and Hugh M Dunn in the remaining unit. In the 1943 picture the Elite Café were tenants; the Museum of Vancouver have the cafe’s A La Carte Menu from 1948.
We’re not sure how long this building lasted. The next image we’ve found for the building is from 1981. There’s a store on this site, but not this store; it’s only a single storey building. By the late 1990s the site was vacant, and it was only in 2012 that a replacement was built, an office and retail building designed by Studio One Architects for Bonnis Properties.