800 block – East Hastings Street

800 E Hastings south side

On the right of our 1965 image is the Rice Block. We looked at Mr Rice’s earlier history, and his architect, Otto Moberg, in the previous post. The block, built in 1912 was initially called the Thistle Rooms, with the Thistle Restaurant, which was one of the retail units in the building on Hastings Street, run by Mrs. Lily Muir from 1913. The Thistle Rooms in 1914 were run by Joseph Duminie. He was born in Ontario, and in 1911 was still living there.

By 1920 D H Rice had started yet another career – he was General Manager of the International Advertising Co, living at 800 E Hastings (the alternate address for 404 Hawks). T Ozaki was running a grocery store at 804, James Haughton had a drugstore on the corner, and the Scottish Ham Curers were at 802 East Hastings. Strangely, there’s no mention of the rooms above, although there are residents listed in the directory giving their home address as 800 E Hastings. A year later the Ham Curers have become Sweid Produce, D H Rice is now “gen mgr Internatl Moving Bill Board”, and had moved again, to 1232 W 15th.

In 1922 he appears to have cloned himself – there’s an entry for “Danl H of Rice Inv Co” living at 1041 Comox (but oddly, cross checking there was nobody called Rice listed there – the Bonaventure Apartments, so maybe that was an error). That company had offices at 321 Pender, and there was also a listing for “Danl H agt Natl Life Assce Co r 800 E Hastings”

In 1923, Danl H was a broker, home was  now 1663 Robson. Lorne Rice was a dentist living at the same address: we identified Lorne aged 1 in 1901 when his parents were in Rossland where his father was a grocer. Lorne had moved out again in 1924, and in 1925 Daniel was now a salesman with Paddon & Vogel, real estate brokers at 445 Homer.

In 1926 he has a new business partner and yet another new home address: Danl H Rice of Rice & Nickerson h 2870 Laurel. Another Rice was living at home; Angela was a stenographer with Fleisehmann Co. Lorne was a dentist on Robson Street, and had his own home on Nelson Street. W D Nickerson and Dan Rice were now selling real estate from an office at 441 Homer Street – two doors down from his previous employers, Paddon & Vogel. Things stayed the same for the next few years: by the late 1920s Angela had left home and Daniel’s partner was no longer involved, but he continued in the real estate business, as did Mr. Paddon (but not Mr. Vogel) two doors away.

Once things started getting difficult in the real estate business and the 1930s recession set in, Daniel switched businesses once again. By 1932 he was manager of the Pacific Mutual Benefit Association, still living on Laurel. Lorne Rice had moved his practice address, and his home several times, but he was still a dentist, now on Granville Street. In 1933 Angela Rice still had the same job, but was living on W 13th. The Laurel Street address appears, but now the resident was Olive Rice, widow. The death certificate is confusing – it says that Daniel Rice was born in Ireland (which is quite possible, but it doesn’t match census returns describing him as American, or his brother’s birth in Minnesota). He was aged 62, described as retired, and living with his son, Lorne, on W 36th Avenue for 27 years (which as we’ve seen is very inaccurate, as they had both moved several times over the years). A year later Angela had moved in to live with her mother. Olive Catherine Rice, born in Ontario in 1874, wife of Daniel Henry Rice, died in St Paul’s Hospital in 1955. Her death was registered by her daughter, Angela Berts. A year later another of the Rice’s children, Lawrence, died in Golden aged 57. We assume this is Lorne Rice’s real name, born in Toronto in 1899, and married to Mary McDonald from Boston in Vancouver in 1924.

Two doors up the street is the Hastings Dance Studio, home to the Vancouver Table Tennis Club. It started life as an Italian venue, a hall for the Venetian Benefit Association, designed by R T Perry in 1928. Opening as the Silver Slipper Club, Stevie Wilson outlines in Scout Magazine how in the 1930s The Celestial Gents (Canada’s first modern Chinese swing band) played here, as did The Pony Pals, an early version of the 1940s BC country band The Rhythm Pals. After a period when it was called the Hastings Auditorium, (as in this 1965 image, with dancing on Wednesday and Saturday) in the 1980s it became the Viking Hall. It was home to concerts by punk bands including the Pointed Sticks, who played here in Dennis Hopper’s movie ‘Out of the Blue’. Now located in a part of the city where developers are eyeing up opportunities, and where the recently adopted Downtown Eastside Plan anticipates redevelopment, it’s long term future is probably in peril.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 772-20

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Posted September 28, 2015 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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