Hastings and Westminster Avenue

We’ve looked at this corner in a post we published several years ago, when it was newly occupied by the Carnegie Library, with the City Hall alongside. Here it is earlier, in 1895, before the library was built (from 1902 to 1904), or the City Hall role had commenced. In 1895, when this picture was taken, this was the city’s public market, with A M Beattie’s City Auction Mart on the corner.

Mr. Beattie’s office was where meetings of the Vancouver Cricket Club were held. He was clearly also active beyond the city. For reasons lost in the mists of time the Barrington News of Barrington, Illinois reported in 1894 that “A. M. BEATTIE, Hawaiian Consul, at Vancouver, B. C., appointed by President Dole, received his exequatur. This shows that Lord Roseberry has concluded to look upon the provisional government as a fixture.” Why Mr Beattie was appointed to the job was clarified a year earlier in an article from the Vancouver World, reproduced in the Hawaiian Star “A. M. Beattie has received notice of his appointment as Hawaiian consul for Vancouver The appointment comes from the Provisional Government and is signed by Sanford B. Dole as President. Mr. Beattie is going extensively into the purchase of Hawaiian fruits and other products, and with T. V. Harvey on the ground to do the buying, he is in a position to obtain the best goods, personally selected at the lowest price, and also to have the packing and shipping superintended, He disposed of a lot of his importations this time in Victoria and the Sound cities, but local merchants have preferred to buy from an outsider.”

Mr. Beattie was from Scotland, although his wife, Alice, was from the USA. Her father had been born in Quebec, and so were all three of the couple’s children in 1891, aged 10, 7 and 5. In the census Mr Beattie was shown as being 38, and Alice 30. They also had a domestic living with them, born in Nova Scotia. From the 1901 census we know that Mr. Beattie was called Archibald (although he seems to have favoured his initial and middle name, Murray). He had arrived in Canada when he was aged three, and his wife in 1868 when she was six. (She had lost two years of her age from the 1891 census, and was now aged 38). as well as daughters Frances, Edith and Kathleen, who were still at home, William Beattie, A M’s brother was living with them.

In 1892 the family were living in a newly built house on Richards Street. They were in an older home in 1895 on Cordova Street, closer to the Auction Mart, that had been hooked up to the city’s water system in 1889 by an earlier owner, Richard Cook, who managed the Foundry. The house had been first built in 1886, and was later occupied by Thomas Dunn, the hardware mogul and developer. Still standing today, it’s probably Vancouver’s oldest house. The family were well off, and Alice Beattie’s gorgeous evening cloak is now owned by the Museum of Vancouver.

Mr. Beattie’s death, in 1915, was reported in the Daily World, with a detailed biography. “DEATH COMES IN SUDDEN GUISE Mr. A. M. Beattie, Well-Known Citizen, Drops Dead in Collingwood East. While walking with a friend in Collingwood Last last night, Mr. A. M. Beattie, the well known local auctioneer, suddenly fell to the ground, and expired before assistance could be brought. Dr. Fuller of Central Park was called as quickly as possible, but pronounced him dead on arrival. Mr. Beattie has recently been taking an active interest in South Vancouver politics, and was in Collingwood arranging for a meeting which will be held tonight, when heart failure occurred. The body was removed to the city and Coroner Jeffs notified. but it is not thought that an inquest will be necessary.

There was no more familiar figure in Vancouver than Archibald Murray Beattie, who has resided here for more than thirty years, and had seen Vancouver grow from a little village of shacks to a big city. During the period of that growth Mr. Beattie was engaged as real, estate agent, land auctioneer and in other business capacities and In private business and public life he earned esteem and respect. Mr. Beattie was born In Dumfries, Scotland, on May 25, 1851, the year of the first great exhibition, which it was fondly hoped would inaugurate an era of world’s peace. He came of a fine old Scotch family, which had long been associated with the land, and he inherited the feeling of joy which he often expressed at seeing waste places made fruitful. Brought to Canada as a young boy, he was put to school at St. Francis College. Richmond, Quebec. His progress was rapid, his instincts commercial, and while still a young man he was in business as a general merchant, founding the firm of Beattie & Alexander. In 1886 Mr. Beattie sold his interest in this business and came to Vancouver, and as soon as he arrived here he was convinced of its great future.

As a land auctioneer he has realized millions of dollars for the government and for private corporations by the sale of lands, and as a business man and notary public he has had to do with many big deals, though he never despised “business,” however small – if “straight.” He was a Conservative and Imperialist. When the Marquis of Lome, afterwards Duke of Argyle. was governor – general, A. M. Beattie was in command of the Richmond Field Artillery. He was frequently pressed to enter the political arena, but the only office he held was that of consul for the Hawaiian Islands. This office he held from 1892 to 1895. He was a member of the Anglican church, attending St. James, and he was much attached to the late Father Clinton. He was an active and popular member of the Masonic order. Before he left Richmond, Quebec, Mr. Beattie married Miss Alice H. Rollins, daughter of Mr. George Robbins, an official of the Grand Trunk Railway. His widow survives him

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives City P6

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Posted September 18, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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