Archive for October 2017

163 East Hastings Street

This modest commercial building was built in 1903 for George Munro. Today it’s numbered as 163 E Hastings, but was 149 when it was built. We’re reasonably certain George was an absentee landlord, as we think he was in Victoria when this was developed, although he moved here a few years later. We looked as his history in connection to a tenement dwelling he developed in Strathcona also built by a George Munro. There were at least two other people called George Munro living in Vancouver when this building was developed; one was a miner, and the other a gardener, but George E Munro seems the more likely. He continues to be associated with the property over many years, carrying our repairs in 1917, and hiring the same architects who designed this to design a house some years later.

When it was first built in 1903 the building cost $7,000 and the architects were Parr and Fee. When it was first occupied, A J Periard, a merchant tailor occupied the premises. A few years later, Vancouver Millinery were located here; Adolphus Periard had moved a couple of doors to the west. In 1911 George E Munro was living in Graveley Street, and had a $10,000 house designed by Parr and Fee for 14th Avenue. In 1912 there was a permit to add a two-storey brick addition at a cost of $8,000, also designed by Parr and Fee, but there was an economic crisis in the city around that time, and clearly two more floors were never actually built. In 1913 George applied to make some alterations to a dwelling house at this address for the Greek Canadian Club, an organization incorporated in 1912, but who either never moved here, or never came to the attention of the city’s Directory compilers.

After the war, this was numbered as 161 E Hastings, and Roderick Macleod sold cigars and Owen Griffiths ‘notions’. Over the decades businesses have come and gone regularly; among them in the 1920s the BC Jewelry & Loan Co., in the late 1930s the Business Mens Club, which after the war was upstairs and renamed as the East End Business Men’s Club. Our 1979 image suggests there was still a club upstairs, or at least access to one, with a retail store on the main floor. In recent years there were artists studios on the upper floor, and various fast food take-out cafes have occupied the retail space at different times. Today the whole building is boarded up, in a block that is seeing some restoration of older buildings, while others deteriorate badly.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 810-164

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Posted October 30, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End

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727 Keefer Street

The building permit for a frame tenement building on Keefer Street was issued Wednesday, March 18, 1908 to George E. Munro, valued at $2,000. The water service permit application was issued March 23, 1908.

George Edmund Munro was from Prince Edward Island, and his wife Hadie was from Ontario. In 1908 when the tenement was developed, George was aged 46. In the 1911 census he was living in Vancouver and his occupation was shown as ‘income’, and Hadie was listed as ‘Addie’. That year they were living at the Bellview Apartments on Nelson Street. George had married Hadie in 1891, and the records show George was from Georgetown, and Hadie Mugridge was born in Hamilton and was three years younger than George. The 1901 census shows them living in Victoria, where George was in partnership as a commission agent with John W Morris as George E Munro & Co. He was living with ‘Adie’, and his mother-in-law, Elizabeth Mugridge, and was inaccurately shown born in Nova Scotia.

The 1911 street directory was the first time they were shown living in Vancouver, so George had built this property while he was still living in Victoria. By 1909 he had retired to his newly built house in Esquimalt, but in 1911 he moved to Vancouver, and commissioned Parr and Fee to design a $10,000 house on West 14th Avenue, although that was probably never built, as he continued to live on Nelson Street. He had also developed a commercial property on East Hastings in 1903, and planned to add two more floors in 1912, but decided against it, presumably because of the economic crash that preceded the war.

Georgia and Hadie are shown emigrating to the US in 1914, in Vermont, but apparently didn’t stay as they continued to live in Vancouver. In 1919 George was President of real estate company Ecclestone & Co, and in 1921 built a new home on Angus Drive. He died in 1930.

The tenement remained virtually unchanged for nearly a century. The only mention of the building was in January 1934, in the Times Colonist, with a short news report: “Struck down by an automobile on Kingsway, near St. Catherines Street, on Tuesday. Mrs. Jane Smithson, 727 Keefer Street, died almost immediately. The automobile, police say, was driven by J. H. Ruddick, Dunbar Street.”

The 1973 image shows the building avoided the ‘urban renewal’ of Strathcona that saw over a third of the area’s buildings cleared away. In 2002 the building was extensively renovated, and the 12 apartments each had a bathroom added.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 808-22

Posted October 26, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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700 block Homer Street – west side

We saw the building on the right of this image in an earlier post. Until recently it was home to Budget Car Rental: as this 1981 image shows the company operated on this lot for many years. Now you have to go to the airport to hire a Budget vehicle: the site is intended to have a new office tower built in the near future. As early as 1920 this was public parking – C A Hughes obtained a building permit for the southern end of the Budget lot for a ‘parking station’ that year.

Down the street is a single storey garage structure, that replaced a series of dwellings built in the early 1900s. In 1933 Madame Reo, a clairvoyant (known to her friends as Mrs Ella Evans) operated here. In 1937 Stonehouse Motors moved into their new premises on the corner, and the Superior Plating Works were located down the street, staying here for over 25 years. The Stonehouse Motors service department was located further along the street, replaced in the 1950s by Collier’s Motors who had their sales office nearby on West Georgia.

The largest building on the block today is a church, that started life as a theatre. Sponsored by the Ford Motor Company, the theatre was originally known as The Ford Centre for the Performing Arts when it opened in 1995, designed to bring Broadway shows in an 1,800 seat auditorium designed by Moishe Safdie for Garth Drabinsky’s Livent (who declared bankruptcy in 1998). It sold in 2001 to new owners who renamed it The Centre for Performing Arts, and for several years they brought touring shows to the theatre. The theatre’s sale to the Westside Church took place in 2013, although more recently movie and musical performances have continued to use the theatre from time to time.

On the left the city’s Central Library has been built, and beyond the theatre thousands of apartments have been developed, from the early 1990s onwards.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E09.31

Posted October 23, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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160 West Cordova Street

We have seen this 1888 building on Cordova Street in an earlier post, but we haven’t been able to identify the architect or developer. In the earlier 1902 image Rae’s wholesale and retail could be seen. This 1936 shows the building occupied by sheet metal workers Kydd Brothers.

In 1906 Norman Kydd was shown living in the city for the first time, working as a clerk, but by 1908 Kydd Bros – Harry F and Norman were established selling hardware and kitchen furnishings at 128 E Hastings. Norman was living in The Manhattan, and Harry at 1160 Robson, although they each had suites in the Manhattan a year later.

By 1912 the firm moved from East Hastings to West Pender: both brothers had moved home; Harry to West 3rd Avenue, (to a building still standing today) and Norman to Comox Street in the West End. The move to West Pender prompted an advertisement in the Daily World which gives a good idea of their line of business “A Big Tool Demonstration Tomorrow Night at Kydd Brothers, Limited HARDWARE SALE Tradesmen in all lines are cordially invited to be present. Prominent men in all trades will be here and a pleasant evening may be spent in looking over the tremendous stock of tools now in display that are being closed out before this firm moves to its new store. The purpose of the gathering is to bring men together working in the same trades to inspect tools that are now down from the shelves laid side by side for quick disposal. It Shall Not Be Obligatory on Anyone to Buy – but men expert in their trades will be here to give views on the merits of the particular tools they use and discussion will follow which will go to show why certain makes of tools are preferred over others and why they are used. Old Heads Will Reason With Young Ones and the gathering of tradesmen in all lines in this store on Saturday night will be of splendid educational benefit to those who are interested on the work they do and the best tools to use to do it. Fine lines of hardware and mechanics’ tools are being sold at factory cost; everything outside of association goods. Its a big chance to replenish the tool chest at easy prices because the stock here is to be completely closed out.” Later Norman Kydd would have a retail store on Granville Street.

Norman and Harry Kydd were born in Ozark, Kansas, of Scottish parents, but moved to Ontario as children. Harry’s business career began as auditor for the Armor Packing Co. in Richmond, Virginia. Later he was moved to other company branches, including Philadelphia. He joined Norman in 1907, with Harry’s role as an entrepreneurial salesman. The firm took on the sale of stoves which were installed upon purchase. The sheet metal shop, shown here, was opened in the 1920s. and in 1936, when this image was shot, it was still home to Kydd Brothers, although by that time Harry was the only brother involved in the business. In 1919 Norman had established his own business on Granville Street, and by the early 1920s had moved south, later living in Seattle.

At one time Kydd Brothers employed 20 plumbers, but following a strike in the late 1920’s (where the new wage was raised to $1 an hour), Kydd Bros left the installation market and stuck largely to plumbing sales to both retail and wholesale trade.

A third brother, Malcolm also moved to Vancouver, and became an employee of the Royal Bank. By the 1930s he was manager of the Port Coquitlam branch of the bank, and in the 1940s manager of the Huntington Rubber Mills of Canada Ltd., factory in the same municipality. He died in 1945.

Harry had died a few years earlier, in 1941. He had run for Alderman in the city at least twice in the late 1920s and early 1930s on a platform of honest administration and fiscal conservatism. After the Second World War, Harry’s son Charles was running the company when the commercial division was relocated to the south side of False Creek where they became BC Plumbing Supplies. This building was rebuilt in 1953 as a single storey structure and today is associated with the Cambie Hostel next door.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4875

Posted October 19, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone, Victory Square

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500 block Granville Street – west side (4)

Here’s another image of Granville Street; the west side of the 500 block looking north from Dunsmuir in 1910 in a Vancouver Public Library image. On the corner is the Tunstall Block, built in 1902 by D Saul for Dr Simon Tunstall at a cost of $22,000, designed by G W Grant. In 1909 he added two more floors at an additional cost of $20,000. That suggests that our Vancouver Public Library image isn’t as dated from 1910, but probably from a year earlier. The next three-storey building to the south was another designed by G W Grant for Bedford Davidson in 1903, at a cost of $10,000.

The biggest building on this end of the block was the four-storey Gordon Drysdale block, built for his dry goods business in 1907 and designed by Hooper and Watkins with an addition in 1912 by S B Birds. Next door the smaller building to the north was known as the Anderson block, dating from before 1888 when there’s an Archives image of the building standing alone on the street, with the fire brigade filling their fire engine with water outside. At the time C D Rand and Co, the real estate company, operated from the building.

The fifth building down is the Inglis Reid Building, another G W Grant design for builder and Investor Bedford Davidson, who also owned and built the building beside it in 1902. The steel frame is where in 1909 Miss Spencer decided to replace her eight year old 3-storey building with an 8-storey steel framed office, designed by E W Houghton of Seattle.

None of the buildings on this side of the street are still standing: today this is part of the northern block of the Pacific Centre Mall, designed by Zeidler Roberts Partnership and completed in 1990. In 2007 the corner of the block had a radical redesign by Janson Goldstein of New York for the new Holt Renfrew store, incorporating panels of slumped glass in the design.

Posted October 16, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Vancouver Community College – Dunsmuir Street

The Downtown campus of the Vancouver Community College started life as the Vancouver Vocational Institute, designed by a leading local architectural firm of the day, Sharp Thompson Berwick and Pratt. It was one of the earliest examples of the International Style in Vancouver, and the Pender Street façade is still looking much as when Bob Berwick designed it in 1948.

Here on Dunsmuir Street the façade of the building is quite different from our 1974 ‘before’ image. A 1983 expansion added a new larger structure, and reclad the street wall with reflective glazing. Today the whole building is a heritage structure, although it’s unlikely that redevelopment of this heavily altered element would raise many objections.

The Community College was built on the site of the 1892 High School, which in turn was re-purposed as the city’s Art School in the 1930s.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-68.

Alexander and Gore – sw corner

This 1934 Vancouver Public Library image shows the Nippon Auto Supply garage run by S Maikawa. Sadakichi Maikawa was one of five brothers, four in Vancouver owning a variety of Japantown businesses including hotels, rooming houses, communal bath houses (furoya), restaurants like the Maikawa Fuji Chopsuey, Taishodo Drug Store, Furuya grocery store and the Maikawa Fish store. T Maikawa was the largest store in the area, owned by Tomekichi Maikawa, who divided his time between his Vancouver business interests and a lumber business in Japan. This garage first appears in the street directory in 1926, but the business operated two years earlier than that at 102 Main street.

The Nikkei National Museum have Sadakichi Maikawa’s story. He was born in Matsubara Mura, Inugami gun, Shiga prefecture. He came to Vancouver on May 31, 1906 and went to a cannery in the Skeena to work. He opened a fish shop at 246 Powell Street in October of the same year with his brother Tomekichi. They moved to 369 Powell Street in November of 1907 and opened a grocery store. He worked hard for five years and then called his wife Chieko from Japan in 1911 who helped with the store. Kazuyoshi, Mickey Maikawa was born November 23, 1911 on Powell Street. Sadakichi went back to Japan in 1912 for business and when he came back, his brother Sannosuke helped this business and he opened Maru Man. At that time there was no competition, so Maru Man did quite well. But his wife got ill and passed away, and he had to abandon the store and begin a transportation business in December of 1913 at 369 Powell Street. He was ahead of his time in using automobiles instead of horses and had a lot of customers, enabling him to expand his business. He opened another fruit store at 324 Powell Street as well. He married Tetsuko, his second wife and eventually had eight children in total, by 1928 they had a nice large home at 551 Powell Street. His Transfer business grew into Nippon Auto Supply which had the largest garage and storage for automobiles perhaps in Vancouver. Sadakichi was a keen fisherman; his nephew recalls him driving his Buick at high speed to get to the Fraser river to fish.

Mickey Maikawa later ran the automobile business, and was also a star Asahi Baseball team player. He started playing in 1923 at the age of 12 and became a versatile pitcher. He was on the team from 1928-1934 who won the Terminal League Championship in 1930 and 1933 and played against the Tokyo Giants in 1935. Mickey also played for the Seattle Taiyos every weekend. Sadakichi supplied the trophy which was awarded to the team batting champion every year from 1934 to 1941.

The Maikawa family moved to Bridge River, a self supporting camp at the time of internment. The children had to be educated by correspondence as there were no schools there. Eventually they moved to Toronto, having had their business confiscated. The original structure is still standing, and looked the worse for wear for many years. A recent renovation has seen it used for a number of film and TV shoots.

Posted October 9, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing