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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