Here’s a view of Water Street before the 1970s Water Street parkade was built. The picture dates from 1970, and the only building still standing to the east of Cambie street is the Leckie Building – the big red brick warehouse at the end of the block. The building on the left hand side of the picture is the MacLean Building. We saw it in an earlier post, Built in 1912 for McLean Bros, and designed by Thomas Hooper. There’s a vacant site next door – and beyond that a modest warehouse that in 1970 was Cost + Imports. We think it started life as a $4,000 building built for Tomlinson & Cook in 1910, and supposedly designed by them as well. They also took out a building permit down the street for 50 Water Street (the 1906 Kane Block) a few years later.
The strange thing is that there’s no sign of any entity called ‘Tomlinson & Cook’ in any street directory around this period. There were two people called Tomlinson who might have been involved in real estate in the city that year. James A Tomlinson was in partnership with J H McNab from 1901, running a flour and feed store. They obtained a permit to build a replacement foundation for their property in the 600 block of Westminster Avenue in 1910, and in 1911 he was also involved in the Pacific & Northern Unit Company, Limited, consisting of two portable sawmills, situated on the Skeena river. He lived on West 1st Avenue in 1911, having moved from Comox Street, where in earlier years he was listed as a merchant and a timber merchant. In 1911 he was aged 60, identified in the census as coming from Ontario.
The more likely candidate is William Tomlinson, who lived on Hornby Street, and was secretary-treasurer with the Vancouver Brokerage Ltd, one of the city’s many real estate and financing agencies, with offices on East Hastings.
Today all the building are part of the Water Street parkade developed in 1973, and redeveloped by the City of Vancouver in 2004, designed by Henriquez partners to fit into the warehouses still standing in the block.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-375