Archive for September 2014

Arts & Crafts Building – Seymour Street

Arts & Crafts Building Seymour

We saw the Arts and Crafts Building on the 500 block of Seymour Street in an earlier post. It was built in two stages; the first phase was designed by Thomas Hooper for Evans and Hastings and constructed by Norton Griffiths Steel at a cost of $45,000 in 1911, during the city’s first really big boom. In 1927 R T Perry was hired to add another three storeys, which he achieved without dramatically altering the building’s style. Subsequent restorations of the building have also respected the original design far more than in many examples.

Evans and Hastings were printers and publishers, sometimes printing books privately published by the author. They had been around in the city for a long time; in 1890 Thomas Evans and Thomas W Hastings bought the printing business of Robert Mathison, the first printer in the city, and renamed it to reflect the change in ownership. Among the wide range of printing jobs that Evans & Hastings could handle were promotional portrait photographs. Thomas Hooper had his printed by the company in 1910. The company operated from 641 Hastings Street before moving to Seymour. Thomas Evans lived up the street in the 700 block of Seymour; Thomas Hastings in the West End.

When this 1924 Vancouver Public Library image was taken there were a number of tenants on the upper floors of the building. Daly & Morrin Ltd (manufacturer’s agents for drapery) and Cluett Peabody Co (shirt manufacturers) were on the second floor while on the third floor were the Dominion Map and Blue Print Co (still in business today as Dominion Blue) and The Multigraphers, Henry Levy, who supplied chemists, Arthur Smith who was another manufacturer’s agent, the McRoberts Optical Co and Percival W Thomas who was an assayer and chemist.

Later, Evans and Hastings were taken over by the Wrigley Printing Co with premises on the 1100 block of Seymour. Today the building still holds its value as an office building, sold in 2013 to an offshore investor for over $15 million.


Posted September 4, 2014 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown, Still Standing

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600 block West Pender Street

600 block W Pender

We’re looking at a 1927 picture of the south side of West Pender. Nearly 90 years later almost all the buildings are still there, in one form or another. On the far left, on the corner of Seymour Street is the Clarence Hotel. It was built in 1894, and we don’t know who designed it. Next door was a small single storey building, designed initially by Honeyman & Curtis for H E C Carry in 1914. Although modest, it cost $5,000 at the time. Today it’s part of the bar of the Clarence – these days called Malone’s.

Next door to the west is the building which has seen the greatest change: in 1927 it still had the classical bank façade designed by Thomas Hooper for the Vancouver Investment Co in 1910 at a cost of $10,000. It looks as if the frame is still the same, but the ornate columned front has long gone. The company was founded in 1896, and it wasn’t solely a property developer – the 1899-1900 Henderson’s Directory identify it as a mining company with shares worth $250,000.

To the west is an early bay-windowed rooming house almost certainly from 1907 when it probably cost $25,000 to build. We know it was built for Cavanagh & Holden, but we haven’t been able to identify the architect. William Holden initially owned it, and from 1912 to 1925 it was owned by Lillian Holden. It was recently known as the Piccadilly pub, with a rooming house above. More recently it’s been given a significant makeover, with the rents for the renovated micro suites rising accordingly.

The London Building changes the scale of the block in dramatic fashion. Costing $245,000 it was designed by Somervell & Putnam for the London & British North America Co and was built by the Canadian Ferro Concrete Co in 1912 at the height of the city’s development boom. The developer had evolved from local investment company Mahon, McFarland & Procter, Ltd.

On the corner of Granville the Merchants Bank of Canada hired the same architect in 1915 to design a bank built by Purdy & Henderson at a cost of $135,000. Initially it only stretched 50 feet round the corner – it was added to later along Granville. Today it’s part of Simon Fraser University’s Downtown campus.


Posted September 2, 2014 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing