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

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

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