615 Burrard Street

Clark Parsons Buick 1219 W Georgia (really 615 Burrard)

Major Matthews, the City Archivist, wasn’t always accurate in his identification of the thousands of photographs he accumulated. Here’s a case in point, an image titled ‘Clark Parsons Buick Limited showroom building on West Georgia Street’ dating from 1927. Actually it’s on Burrard Street – we’ve seen a corner of it in an earlier post. In 1930 the company were advertising the advantages of the clark parsons ubc 1930used cars to UBC students in their Annual publication ‘The Totem”. W G Parsons was listed as the President: W Clark (identified as Robert W Clark in the street directory and later advertisments) was the Secretary-Treasurer of the company.

They sold McLaughlin Buick of Canada under the slogan ‘Vibrationless beyond belief’ and the cars were built in Canada as part of the General Motors Canadian operations. It’s possible J Y McCarter designed the building – he was responsible for the design next door in the same year at 635 Burrard, and we think some of the frame of a part-built hotel was used in the buildings here. The reason Major Matthews got the wrong label is that Clark Parsons moved to this building in 1927: in 1926 they were newly in business at 1219 W Georgia; we think W Parsons was most likely to be Wallace Parsons who was an auto mechanic in 1925.

By 1931 the company had expanded – as well as these premises there were Used Car Stores on Melville Street and Granville Street – although only Melville was open a year later, and in 1933 just this property remained active. A year later the business here was Bowell McDonald – a Pontiac and Buick dealership who later added Chevrolet and became better known in a foreshortened version of their name – Bow-Mac.

Today the site is part of the Burrard SkyTrain station, and park honouring Art Phillips, the former mayor.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives Bu N293



Posted 26 October 2015 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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