626 Seymour Street

This small retail unit sits on part of the assembled Bay Parkade site, that will one day be redeveloped by the Holborn Group. Seen here in 1974, it was part of the Y Franks appliance chain. Our ‘after’ shot was photographed over two years ago, when the Source electronic chain still operated here. Today the unit is vacant (and under 24 hour video surveillance, according to the developer’s rather ominous website images).

The building was constructed in 1921, built by Baynes and Horie and cost $12,000, designed by Thomas Fee for F G Evans. In the early 1920s Fee spent much of his time in Seattle, but continued to design Vancouver buildings. Frederick Evans was shown in the street directory as the manager of Dominion Canneries B C Ltd, with a house in Shaughnessey Heights that he had built in 1920 at a cost of $15,000. However, the census for 1921 shows his occupation as ‘none’ which implies he had just retired at 52 (although he actually continued to manage the canning company until the early 1930s), and suggests that this was an investment property. He was born in Ontario, as was his wife Sarah, but the two children, 17 year old Muriel and Winifred, 13, had been born in BC. In 1911 the family lived on Haro Street, and Frederick was listed as a produce broker. In both census records they had a servant as well – in 1911 from Scotland, and in 1921 from England. The canning company handled fruits mostly, but also Green Beans, Peas, Tomatoes, Tomato Soup, Pork and Beans, Jams, some late vegetables and citrus fruit for marmalade. In the mid 1920s they opened a new production facility on Drake Street.

When the building was first completed, the first tenant was William Ralph, who had built his own property on West Hastings in 1899. Ralph sold stoves, and other appliances. In 1929 the premises were vacant, and then V A Wardle, a furniture company moved in. In 1932 they were replaced by Y Franks, the stove and appliance company run by Yetta Franks, the widow of Zebulon Franks, and her son David. Over 40 years later the company was still operating here.

Image source; City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-415



Posted 12 February 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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