The archives description of this picture suggests this is N K Confectionery in 1943. The street directory for that year says in 1943 it was the Westlock Grocery run by Gilbert Mascott who lived upstairs with his wife, Dorothy and Doris Mascott, a student (so probably their daughter). The building sits on the north west corner of Howe and Helmcken.
We’re reasonably certain that the image dates to around, or before 1941. The last year that this address was identified as N K Grocers was in 1941, when the store was run by Morito Haramoto, who lived upstairs with his wife Tsuyuko. If the picture dates from when he ran the business, that may be him in the picture. He ran the store from at least 1938, but the grocery was called N K Grocery before this, and in 1935 was operated by Y Fukui.
The family fortunes of the Haramotos must have changed dramatically at the end of 1941. From early in 1942 all Japanese Canadian were sent to internment camps, a situation that lasted until some time after the war (unless they agreed to be returned to Japan). We haven’t managed to discover what happened to the family, but we think the Haramoto family must have been sent to Slocan (the same camp that David Suzuki’s family were sent to and where Joy Kogawa’s novel Obasan is set) as Tsuyuko Haramoto died there, aged 29, in 1943.
We haven’t identified an architect for the older building. It appears to have been completed on a vacant site in 1927 when a grocery was opened by Winifred E Waters. There had been a house on the same corner some years earlier. Today its a coffee shop underneath the Imperial Tower designed by Buttjes Architects and completed in 1994.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 371-873