Archive for November 2015

West Georgia and Seymour – se corner (2)

Seymour & Georgia se

Georgia & Seymour SE 1937 VPLBC Telephone Georgia & Seymour 1927 VPLThis set of 1920s stores sat on the corner of Georgia and Seymour until the mid 1970s. The first appearance in a street directory is 1928, when the Georgia units were first occupied by: 550 Grouse Mtn Highway, 556 Van the Tailor, 560 Waverly Barber Shop, 570 Surety Finance, 580 Sandwich Shop, 590 Goodyear Shoe Reprg and 596 Van Publicity Bureau. This image dates from 1973, not too long before the buildings were cleared. There are very few online sources of information for the 1920s for the city, and it is difficult to identify architects unless there’s a distinctive style.

Like the car dealers on West Georgia and the Film Centre on Burrard (by H H Gillingham) this building added mission-style details to the facades. Thanks to Patrick Gunn we’re now able to confirm that Gillingham was the architect for owners Allen & Boultbee, and the cost was $45,000. The insurance map shows that the retail units, and the Publicity Office on the corner were a thin veneer with most of the block taken up with the Strand Garage at the back of the building. These 1927 and 1937 Vancouver Public Library image shows that the building really didn’t change much before it was replaced with the building below.

700 Seymour east

We looked at this same corner in an earlier post where an even earlier building than those shown here are featured. Before the 1920s building there was a row of tenements, built around 1901 and owned in 1915 by George Trorey. In the mid 1970s (see here in 1981) there was a new low-rise commercial building added as part of the huge BC Tel Seymour building, with a sunken plaza and a White Spot restaurant. That building, designed by McCarter, Nairne and Partners, was demolished in 2012 for the new Telus Garden office building that has just been completed. The White Spot has been replaced with Glowbal, a partly open air restaurant under a huge and complex canopy designed by Henriquez Partners Architects (whose offices will also be here). Lovers of ‘pirate packs’ will be pleased to note that in the meantime White Spot opened two new locations nearby.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-366 and CVA 779-E05.36


Posted November 5, 2015 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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815 West Hastings Street (1)

815 W Hastings

The Merchant’s Exchange Building was completed in 1923. Designed by Townley and Matheson, it sat on a corner lot (on Hastings and Howe) between two much taller neighbours, the Metropolitan Merchant's Exchange interiorBuilding to the west and Thomas Hooper’s Pacific Coast Building across the lane to the north. We even know what it looked like inside: the Archives has an interior shot, also from 1923 titled “Men working in office of Vancouver Merchants’ Exchange building at 815 West Hastings Street” – although “Men sitting around in a rather stiff self-conscious manner in office of Vancouver Merchants’ Exchange building at 815 West Hastings Street” might be more accurate. When it opened the Daily World announced that “Grain merchants and other tenants are already moving in, and it is expected the building will be fully occupied in a few days”. The developer was A Melville Dollar, son of Robert Dollar who created a shipping line that ran across the Pacific and to Europe. Mr. Dollar managed the Canadian arm of the business, which had a dock in the Great Northern Dock.

It was purchased in 1927 by G A Stimson & Co who subsequently developed the Marine Building. (Although based in Toronto, Stimson’s vice-president was Joe Hobbs, a man described by Eve Lazarus as the founder of “Hobbs Bros, a ship holding company and front for his smuggling activities” who then “went about converting luxury yachts into rum running vessels” during prohibition. The local press reports identified Hobbs Brothers as the purchasers, for $400,000. The building stood for around 50 years: in 1975 it was replaced with a modest 9-storey red brick office designed by Eng and Wright. The building was designed with the top floor windows curved to match the Metropolitan Building next door – which was very soon demolished and replaced with the Terminal City Club.

Image Sources: City of Vancouver Archives Bu N67.1 and Bu N67.2