1100 Haro Street

1100 Haro 1

This picture was taken in 1890 and shows a very new home, identified as the home of merchant and mayor Fred Cope. The ‘official’ version of Fred’s history says he was born in Oxford, England in 1860. It also says that when he was elected mayor in 1892, in a closely fought race that saw him win by just 11 votes, he was the youngest mayor elected in the city’s history, at just 32. The 1891 Census record shows a quite different record; Fred Cope was born in Ontario in 1850, so was aged 41 (and 42 when elected mayor). His wife, Annie, (Ann on her wedding certificate) was shown as three years younger, and they married in Vancouver in August 1889, although she had also been brought up in Norfolk County, Ontario, and born in Walsingham. When he ran for mayor, The Daily World had a testimonial confirming that he was born in Ontario where he had previous elected experience as a Councillor, Reeve and County Councillor. However, the house was actually developed and occupied a few years before Fred moved in.

Fred first appears in Vancouver in the fall of 1888; he was in partnership with Frank Young, selling dry goods, clothes millinery and carpets, from West Hastings near Richards, in a building we showed a few years ago. In 1889 both partners had a room in the Leland Hotel. In 1890 Fred was living on Hamilton Street, and when the 1892 directory was published this was the home (for the first time addressed as 1100 Haro) – of J F Galbraith – Fred was still on Hamilton Street. Julius Galbraith ran the ‘Japanese Store’ on West Hastings, appeared for the first time in a street directory living at 30 Haro Street in 1889 – which we think might well be this house, as the street was completely re-addressed in 1892. Like Fred, he was from Ontario, as was his wife Sarah. Unlike Fred and Annie he had children – in 1891 there were four daughters who had been born in Manitoba, one in Ontario and a son and infant daughter in British Columbia. We assume that’s the family pictured on the balconies. It looks as if the family later moved south to Oregon; they’re shown living in Grant’s Pass in 1910.

1100 Haro 1890sFred Cope was elected mayor of Vancouver in 1892, and again in 1893 (with an improved majority), taking over from David Oppenheimer (with whom he was closely aligned). His timing was unfortunate: the economy was in a steep decline, businesses were headed to bankruptcy and soup kitchens were opening. The mayor and council were forced to restrict investment in new facilities, cut wages and lay off city employees. Fred moved to this house in 1893 or 1894, (the first street directory that shows him here). By the end of the 1890s the house looked very different, with significant street trees (one we think is still growing today). Cope and Young continued in business for a while as house furnishers with premises on Cordova Street.

In 1897 there are two people called Fred Cope living in the city – Frederick T Cope, (a contractor who was born in England) lived on Richards Street. He was younger than the former mayor, and he’s probably who the biographies got the mayor mixed up with.

In 1899 Mrs Cope was shown living on Robson Street. In the fall of 1897 Fred had headed for Alaska with a pack train to supply the gold rush that had helped reinvigorate the Vancouver economy. He was crossing a ford between Shallow and Middle lakes when the horse he was leading fell. He tried to help the horse and the current swept him away. His body wasn’t found until June 1898, and his wife discovered that although he had $5,000 of life insurance, the company would not pay up because the Canadian area of the Klondyke next to Alaska was ‘uncivilized territory’. His obituary confirms he was 47 when he died, and that he had first entered business with Frank Young in Simcoe, Ontario. They had sold the furnishing business before Fred had the idea of making money from running a pack train to the Klondike with Ambrose Blayney, with his wife accompanying him as far as Skagway. After his death Annie Cope took on running a lodging house at her Robson home, shown in the 1901 census living with her servant Sui Chong and a number of lodgers including three couples.

In 1901 this was the home of Howard Walters of Britannia Mines. The metal-bearing ore at Britannia was discovered in 1888, began production in 1905, and after nearly 70 years of underground operation produced more copper than any other mine in British Columbia. At one time it was the largest copper mine in the British Empire. For most of its life Britannia was owned by the Howe Sound Company of New York, which was formed in 1903 for the purpose of financing the development of the mine. the Britannia Copper Syndicate was headed by Howard Walters of Montana and J A Adams of Vancouver. By 1901 the Syndicate had acquired numerous claims along Britannia and Furry Creeks with 75 acres of waterfront where the town of Britannia Beach was eventually built.

From 1904 for over 20 years the house was the home of Thomas F Paterson, who with his brother William (W Innes Paterson) ran the Paterson Timber Company. T F Paterson had started life in Ontario in teaching, and then studied agriculture (obtaining a degree from Toronto University), moved to British Columbia and helped establish the province’s Agricultural Institutes, before joining the editorial board of the Vancouver Sun.

He acquired a third share in a Port Moody lumber company in 1898 before forming his own company with his brother in 1902, adding further businesses in the next few years. He continued to have a financial and Board position with the Vancouver Sun’s parent company as well as pulp and paper interests. Up until the 1920s Mr. Paterson and his family (three daughters and a son) lived in the house at 1100 Haro Street, before moving to a new house on West 3rd Avenue just before the replacement apartment block (still there today) was constructed.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives Bu P144.2 and SGN 349


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