Archive for February 2016

1190 Burrard Street

900 block Davie n

John Maclean was an American-born builder, who in 1901 built two frame houses on Davie Street alongside one that stood on the corner that had already been built a little earlier that year. That was almost certainly also built by Mr. Maclean – he also built a house on the next lot to the north on Burrard Street in 1902.

1190 auction 1910In 1905 John Paul, the truant officer lived next to the lane (the furthest east of the houses); Edward Langley, a manager with Prior & Co was in the centre house and Arthur Wellesley Davidson, mariner, was living in a house on the corner with Burrard. The captain was living in Vancouver as a master mariner at the time of his marriage to Eva Van Arsdel Margeson in 1900 in Hantsport, Hants Co., Nova Scotia (where he had been born). He retired as a marine superintendent with Canadian Pacific Railways.

By 1908 the captain, and the house, were gone. Instead there was a corner store with two apartments upstairs. (We assume that’s the building still standing today). In 1910 Joseph Tolson and his wife Alice ran the grocers on the corner – the Gold Standard Grocery. Upstairs were Mrs H R Smith at 1188 and Samuel D Lowry, a contractor in the other unit. A year later William Flemming was running the grocery, Mrs Maud Little (widow of William) was at 1188 and William Marshall was at 1190 1/2. We’re not sure whether it was Mrs. Smith or Mr. Lowry who had high-class tastes in expensive furniture, but in September 1910 there was an auction to sell the contents – the address suggests it might have been Samuel Lowry’s property.

The houses lasted into the 1920s. In 1925 there was a new development of three small stores on Burrard that thanks to Patrick Gunn we can identify the developer and architect. Griffith & Lee developed the $6,871 Stores/Offices built by Adkinson & Dill and designed by W F Gardiner. The developers had a number of building permits around the city dating back to 1914. A number of those identify them as ‘agents’, and the company were mortgage and financial agents based in the Winch Building, so may have been operating for a client in obtaining the building permit. Julius H Griffith and Edgar S Lee had been in business in the city for many years. Mr. Griffith was active in the arts, as a member of the Kipling Club and also treasurer of the Symphony Society in the early 1920s. He was also an active member of the lawn tennis club, and the 1911 census showed him living on Georgia Street, aged 44, having been born in India to English parents. His son, also called Julius was born in 1912 and moved to London with his parents in 1928. He became an accomplished artist, returned to Canada in 1946 and his work is in a number of Canadian collections including the National Gallery of Canada. Edgar Lee was from Ontario, his wife Lillian was English and in 1911 they were shown as ‘boarders’ with their son, Douglas at 1001 Georgia – although the street directory said they were living in Shaughnessy Heights. They were probably staying at the address while work was being carried out on their house; their temporary address was Glencoe Lodge.

The three stores and the apartment are still standing – for now – but seem likely to face redevelopment in the near future. Our 1981 images show that the view along Burrard hasn’t really changed much, while down Davie the Swan Wooster building, built in 1984 fills in the skyline with residential towers behind. London Place is now a condo building rather than a hybrid office/residential, and time has taken its toll of the stuck on red brick façade.

1190 Burrard 2

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W08.15 and CVA 779-W08.14


Posted February 4, 2016 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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East Georgia Street east from Main Street

E Georgia from Main

Our 1978 view along East Georgia shows both the Charles Woodward store to the north (on the left), and the Pacific Hotel (the London Hotel) on the southern corner. We looked at the history of the drugstore on the left hand Woodward ad 1900side a few weeks ago, (built when this was known as Harris Street, named after a CPR surveyor who became a shareholder in the Vancouver Improvement Company). We also looked at Dan McPhalen’s London Hotel on the southern corner a little more recently, with its four storey later addition. Beyond the early Woodward’s store is the George Rooms. On the right, across a lane from the London Hotel addition is a typical 3-storey building on a 25 foot wide lot, with a 50 feet wide rooming house from 1910 next door to the east. Designed by E E Blackmore for George King, that project cost $25,000 and was called the Shakespeare Rooms when it opened. The smaller corner building’s history however alludes us: supposedly built in 1910, it was a rooming house called the Washington Rooms in 1911, staying in that role until the early 1980s; the upper floors have been vacant for over three decades.

It wasn’t the first building on the lot – there was a frame house built here earlier than 1901. Morris Jones ran the rooms in 1911, while Emma King ran the Shakespeare Rooms. There were four Emma Kings in Vancouver in 1911 – fortunately only one had a husband called George. They were both from England: George was 57, and an agent, and Emma was 45. Their 16 year-old son Albert had been born in Ontario, but Dolores, who was five, was born in BC. There were 26 roomers living with them, mostly involved in the construction boom that year: carpenters, stone-cutters, painters and labourers. Morris Jones lived with his wife Elizabeth – he was from England and she was from the USA, and they had 18 roomers, also carpenters, plumbers and labourers. This stretch of the street had a few Chinese businesses – almost all laundries, but it wasn’t really part of Chinatown. The Shakespeare Rooms had Fidelity Real Estate in the main floor office, while the Washington Rooms had G Crosette’s grocery store and the Italian Commercial Exchange. There was another Italian further down the street; Giambattista Bruzzone was another grocer at the end of the block.

Today it’s home to the Liang You Book Co Ltd – although it’s really a convenience store. It’s main contemporary claim to fame is that scenes for the Doctor Who movie were filmed in the lane behind the building exactly 20 years ago. (For those who care, Paul McGann took over the role from Sylvester McCoy in a movie version in an attempt to revive the TV series after a seven year hiatus, but it would be another nine years before the TV series finally returned to British TV audiences. As is often the case, the area was portraying Chinatown – but San Francisco, not Vancouver.)


Posted February 1, 2016 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone, Still Standing