478 Union Street

This store and dwelling was constructed in 1911, the year the street name was changed from Barnard (because of the confusion with Burrard, apparently). The application said it was built by, and for S Rinio at a cost of $5,000. (A house on the same block cost between $1,000 and $1,500, so the building cost quite a bit more, although it’s a small structure only filling half a city lot). The Street Directory said he was Sam Rainas, although by 1921 they had corrected that to Samuel Raino, showing him living on an upper floor, with Luigi Giuriato’s store on the main floor. Luigi was grocer, and lived above the store, so presumably the Raino family had the top floor. Luigi founded Bonus Foods, starting by making ravioli in his kitchen, and expanding to become a successful business employing his sons Lino and David (both UBC Alumni). The company was sold in 1978 to American food producer Curtice Burns.

The 1921 Census gives us a more accurate name for the building’s developer. Saverio Raino was aged 61, born in Italy, moved to Canada in 1886, and became a Canadian Citizen in 1906. His occupation was shown as ‘Labour work for The City’. His wife, Terresa, was also Italian, aged 58, and had arrived in 1901. We can find the family in 1901, listed as Raniuo, with Saverio, ‘Tresa’, and a 13 year-old daughter, Mary. In 1921 their sons, Joseph and Dominic, were both shown at home, both aged 19. Joseph was a barber and Dominic a telegraph operator. Rosina was 17, and also at home; Mary had presumably left home by then.

Dominic’s birth certificate showed him as Rannio, but when he married Georgina Hunter in September 1926 it was as Dominic Benedictus Raino. Joseph Anthony Raino married Grace Vivian Sanders in August 1927 in Wesley Church. Grace was from Blue Earth, Minnesota. Their mother, Teresa Paterna Raino died a month before Joseph’s wedding, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery with Saverio, who had died in March 1926, and their daughter Theresa, who died as a baby. Eldest daughter Mary Raino married Luigi Trasolino, had three children, and died in 1951. The youngest, Rose Raino, married Nicola Biagioni in 1924 and died in 1982 in Penticton.

The store continued as a grocers over many years, with a variety of owners. In 1930 it was Miye Soga; in 1940 the somewhat misleadingly named Scotty’s Grocery, actually run by Mrs A Ferronato and in 1950 F Wong’s Grocers. In 1972, when our before image was taken, it had become the G & T Grocery. Today it has recently been returned to retail use, selling less everyday but more ‘artisinal’ offerings.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-921.

Posted February 15, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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