The Tweedale Block is one of a number of surviving four-storey buildings on East Hastings that look quite similar top each other. That’s because the architects, Thornton and Jones, were responsible for several buildings here. This one was built in 1910 (and not 1915 as the Heritage Statement says) at a cost of $26,000 by Baynes & Horie for Cyril Tweedale, who had his name placed just below the cornice line. His initials are also set in a cartouche among vegetative decoration on the spandrels.
The building was built as a rooming house, and operated under the name of the Olympia Rooms (later the Olympia Hotel) until 1987, when the name changed to the Sunlight Hotel. It continues to be used for residential accommodation. It has changed very little in the 100 or so years it’s been standing, and so relatively little since this 1972 Curt Lang image in the Vancouver Public Library. Two years after this building was built he had another $33,000 apartment building constructed on Pendrell Street, designed by Sharp & Thompson. That’s also still standing today, although significantly altered in appearance.
Cyril was an investment broker and realtor. He was born at Bacup, Lancashire, in 1881, and was christened Cyril Aitken Tweedale, the middle name coming from his mother, Fanny. The family may have moved south as Cyril attended Portsmouth Grammar School and King’s College University in London. He started in banking, but in 1903 he moved to Canada as a member of the “Barr Colony.” The Reverend Isaac M. Barr had set up a plan to establish a community of British settlers, who would take up farming in Saskatchewan. Cyril joined a group of about 2,000 proposed settlers, most of whom had almost no experience in farming. He travelled with one group of the colonists on the S.S. Lake Manitoba, which sailed from Liverpool in March 1903. Much more fascinating detail is available on the westendervancouver blog.
He initially worked for Richards & Akroyd, insurance, financial and real-estate agents, “one of the oldest and most prominent firms in that line of work in Vancouver”. Mr. Tweedale rose through the various departments of the business, and was made manager of the real estate department, acting in that capacity until 1910. He started working for himself, and set up his own finance business called London and Western Canada Investment Company, which he operated until the late 1920s, when he joined the Royal Trust Company. The Investment Company were involved in both finance and insurance, specializing in handling transactions for English investors.
Cyril married Clara Wood, from Montreal, in 1906, and they had three children; Phyllis, Cyril Dudley and Esme Josephine. His list of interests was broad; he was a military man, in both the infantry and cavalry. He was a member of the Automobile Club, the Canadian Highway Association, the Vancouver Horse Show Association, the Canadian Club, the Royal Yacht Club, the Vancouver Hunt Club and the Brockton Point Athletic Club. In 1916 the family moved to Victoria, and in 1918 he joined a tank corps, fighting in France. He moved back to Vancouver after the war, starting up his real estate business, and in 1922 he built a house on Angus Drive. He continued working through to the 1930s, and died in 1938. His wife, Clara, died in 1954.