Kenmore Apartments – Gilford Street

The Kenmore Apartments have been on the 1000 block of Gilford, in the West End, for over 90 years. The building was designed by McCarter and Nairne, better known for their commercial buildings (including the Marine Building) than residential projects. The building was supposedly completed in 1926, and has 32 rental apartments. This 1943 image suggests the stucco didn’t perform too well on what was a relatively new building, and since then the cornice (which was never tremendously prominent) has been lost.

During the 1950s Malcolm Lowry and his wife Margerie would winter here, when it was too uncomfortable to live in his squatter shack on the North Shore. The proximity of the bar of the Hotel  Sylvia was no doubt an attraction. The Kenmore was also home to Colonel E S Davidson, a retired widower in his 80s and owner of Tippie, a Yorkshire terrier who got her own obituary in the local newspaper when she died in 1940, aged 19. There’s more about the Colonel (and Tippie) on westendvancouver.

There was a house here before the apartments were developed. It was addressed as 1900 Comox, and completed around 1906 when J A McCrossan was the first occupant, described as an ‘inspector’ in 1906 (actually he was the city’s electrical inspector), and manager of  B C Dental Supply Co in 1908. This was apparently a short-lived move; In 1907, he had resigned his position as the city electrician so that he could become manager of the new company. It appears that he reconsidered this approach, because after 1909 he continued to be the city electrician for another four years. There’s more on him, also at westendvancouver.

The first time The Kenmore appears in a street directory was in 1928, so there seems to have been a delay in completion. Even at that point twelve of the apartments were vacant. The agents for leasing the building were Macaulay Nicolls Maitland & Co Ltd. Today there’s never a problem in filling a vacancy.

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Posted March 30, 2017 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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