305 Water Street

305 Water St

This Water Street warehouse dates back to 1897. Built for the McClary Manufacturing Company, it is the only building in the city designed by the architects. McClary Manufacturing were formed in 1871 and produced stoves, tin, copper, and pressed wares, agricultural implements, and other ironware and machinery, based in London, Ontario. The company expanded across Canada, establishing a Vancouver presence in 1894. Partners John and Oliver McClary were initially tinsmiths in New Hampshire, starting work together in Canada in 1852; Oliver, as an older brother, taught John the skills, and John developed the business.

William E. Drake moved to Vancouver in 1892 to work as manager of the Vancouver branch of the McClary Manufacturing Company, and although we can find a reference to him in the city that year, the company’s presence only shows up around 1895 when they were occupying a warehouse a little to the west of this building. In 1898, he was declared the attorney for the Company at its British Columbia headquarters on Water Street. He resigned from the company in 1911, replaced by James Galloway.

London-based architects Moore and Henry were hired to design of all the McClary warehouses, thanks to the marriage of John Moore to Oliver McClary’s daughter. The building is Classical Revival – a  style not generally favoured by Vancouver’s architects. In 1902 another floor was added in a sympathetic addition, designed by W T Dalton and built by Edward Cook at a cost of $7,000. In 1920 McClary’s were still here, but later in the 1920s they became General Steel Wares of Toronto (who bought McClary’s in 1927), as can be seen in this 1940 Vancouver Public Library image.

Now converted to offices, the building has recently picked up awards for the careful renovation supervised by Chercover Massie & Associates, Architecture & Engineering, in association with Donald Luxton & Associates.

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