Archive for March 2018

1080 Mainland Street

In 1911, the year before this building was developed, Clarence Tingley was Secretary & Treasurer of the Vancouver Transfer Co Ltd, living on Howe Street. Fred Tingley was Manager of the same company, and in 1911 lived in Kitsilano. Both brothers were born in British Columbia; Clarence Harper Tingley in 1869 and Frederick Chipman Tingley in 1873. Their mother died the year after Fred’s birth.

Their father, Stephen, was born in New Brunswick, and came to BC in 1861 to prospect in the Cariboo Gold Rush. After years of no luck (despite walking from Yale to Williams Creek, a distance of 370 miles, carrying a 100 pound pack), he was hired as a stage driver for the Barnard’s Express in 1864. Known as the “Whip of the Cariboo”, he incorporated as a partner with the British Columbia Express Company in 1871 and drove stagecoaches in the Cariboo region over what was then one of the most hazardous roads in North America. In 1886, Tingley became sole owner of the express company which he ran for before selling out in 1894. He had bought a ranch at 108 Mile House, still standing today, where he built the BX Barn Service, stabling stagecoach horses. He sold out for $11,000 in 1903, and increased his fortune as the “Discoverer of the Nicola Coal & Coke Mine”.

Fred came to Vancouver before Clarence, and managed the Vancouver Transfer Co, originally established by Francis Stillman Barnard of Barnard’s Express, while Clarence was still ranching. By the early 1900s they were both involved in the Transfer Co, and in 1912 Tingley Bros hired ‘Snider, Geo. & Brethune’ (according to the building permit) to design and build a 3-storey warehouse in the CPR Reserve on Helmcken Street – which we’re almost certain has to be this building (as we’ve accounted for all the other Helmcken Street buildings built around this time). In fact, the builders were George Snider and Edgar Brethour, who ran their business from offices in the Dominion Building. In 1911 Clarence was living with his wife Blanch, born in Nova Scotia, and their three children, Elizabeth, Stephen and Hall, all aged under seven. Fred was living with his Scottish wife Sarah and their three daughters, Jean, Henrieta and Myrtle, all aged five and under.

The new building served double duty; it was the stables for the Transfer Co, and also home to the Elevator Supply & Equipment Co Ltd, managed by Arthur Gamwell. In 1920 the Transfer Co still had their stables here, but shared the building with the Chevrolet Car Company. By 1930 there were multiple tenants, including the Orange Crush Bottling Co and the Van Loo Cigar Co. In 1940 when this Vancouver Public Library image was taken, Tingley Brothers still operated here, although now they were listed as ‘property owners’. Clarence died in 1942 and Fred in 1947. In 1940 the building was used by T Eaton and Co, and United Milling and Grain. By 1950 the entire warehouse was occupied by T Eaton and Co, and by 1970 Dogwood Wholesale Stationery were in the building.

Over the years the Yaletown warehouse district became under utilized and run down. In 1988 Simon and Associates designed a radical change of use for the vacant building, designing a boutique hotel conversion. The use never took off, although the additional floor, balconies and curious ‘bay’ windows are a legacy from that idea – and instead a 64,000 sq. ft., multi-tenancy design centre (showroom/office) project was created. Yaletown Galleria still operates today, with a mix of retail and office tenants.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E18.21


West Pender and Howe Street – se corner

This modest two storey structure appeared in 1909. It was ‘designed’ by Charles Perry, a builder who wasn’t registered as an architect, but who advertised his ability to supply plans for construction projects. It cost $4,600, and may have incorporated an earlier 1901 warehouse built on the corner for the Thompson Brothers in 1901. That was designed by W T Dalton on the first 25 feet of West Pender. We think Mr. Perry might have added and incorporated the next fifty feet of frontage copying Dalton’s style.

The owner was E McGinnis. We’re not sure who he was; there wasn’t anybody called McGinnis in the city whose initial was ‘E’, and hadn’t been for several years. There was a ‘Mr. McGinnis’ who had developed property on Davie Street in 1903, and there were no obvious McGinnises who might have had the resources to do that living in the city, so if the initial is correct he’s most likely to have been an absentee investor. Emery McGinnis was a Whatcom businessman in the 1890s and 1900s, but there’s nothing to positively identify him with this building, or any other investment in the city.

The Thompson Brothers also designed and built the next building up Pender Street in 1901 – with the slightly higher cornice line in this 1945 Vancouver Public Library image. The next building to the east was also from 1901; C E Turner hired Blackmore and Sons to design the $6,000 two-storey commercial building. The rest of the block was a more substantial investment by E Lewis in 1902, who spent $20,000 on another W T Dalton designed store that incorporated five lots. We’ve researched Edward Lewis and his shaky past in Montreal in an earlier post.

The tenant in the first storefront on Howe in 1910 was Haskins and Eliot, who sold cycles. We’ve seen their store in two other locations in earlier posts, but they stayed here over a decade. On the West Pender frontage Andrew Papandrew, a confectioner had his store. In 1920 it was still in the same use as the Academy Candy Store, run by George Assemas and George Polidas. In 1930 the Minute Lunch was located here, and the cycle shop remained on Howe, but now as Harry Routledge Co Ltd. The upper floor appears to have residential use by the 1930s.

Pender Place, the development that fills the entire site today, is a pair of office towers completed in 1973 designed by Underwood, McKinley, Wilson & Smith.

Posted March 15, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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West Pender Street – 900 block, south side

We’ve seen the two buildings on the left in a fairly recent post. On the corner was a building developed by Yorkshire Trust in 1952, designed by McCarter and Nairne. Next door were the Benge Furnished Rooms, later renamed the Midtown Hotel, originally built in 1909 by Fred Fuller using Parr and Fee as architects.

Beuond those buildings in our 1981 before shot is a single storey building, and beyond it the National Trust Building on the corner of Burrard. It dated back to around 1958, and was also designed by McCarter, Nairne & Partners. It replaced the Glenwood Rooms, built for Mrs. Charleson and designed by Honeyman and Curtis, completed in 1907, and seen on an earlier post.

The single storey building seems to have been built around 1924. It’s a little difficult to trace the history. There are two houses shown on the 1912 insurance map, and they first appear as logical numbered addresses in the 1913 street directory. John T Foster lived in one, and Christiana Mcpherson in the other, running furnished rooms at the same location a year earlier. The houses were built before 1900, but had totally different numbers on the block when they were first built. As a result the numbers ended up out of sequence, so one of the older houses, 910 Pender, was between 918 Pender and 934 Pender in 1912. A year later it appears to have been renumbered in sequence as 920. John Foster was still living at 920 in 1921, and Charles Mitchell at 934, an address that eventually disappears in 1924.

A year later the Owl Garage was located here, “R B Brunton , A J Parnin, Props. 100 Car Steam Heated Storage. 24 Hour Service (Day and Night) – Gas, Oils, Accessories.” The Vancouver Archives hold the records for the work of Townley & Matheson, whose “Job no. 193: owner J H Todd, garage, Pender Street” is this building. By the mid 1930s it was still a garage, but by then the Jewel Garage, run by A Cameron and J Parnin. In 1940 it was the Jubilee Garage, (H Turner, J A Whitelegg). By 1950 there seems to have been a substantial change. The garage use had ceased, and it appears to have become an office for Bell Irving & Co, O’Brien Advertising, and the Gas-Ice Corporation who manufactured dry ice. In 1952 the advertising company hired architects McCarter and Nairne to design a building, or conversion here, but it appears that the original 1922 structure was retained. By 1981 these were clearly retail uses, but the original image is quite blurred so no business names are identifiable.

Today this is part of the office occupied by Manulife, completed in 1985, designed by Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden Partnership. Initially  it seems to have been developed by the Montreal Trust Company.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W04.25


Posted March 12, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Robson and Seymour streets – se corner

This shows yet another Downtown gas station – another of the Home Gas bars scattered throughout the city, seen here in 1931. The Vancouver Public Library caption says this was the south west corner of Robson and Seymour, but actually (allowing for the fact that the Downtown grid is shifted 45 degrees) it should be the south east corner – 822 Seymour. In 1931 it was operated by Motordrome Ltd, who advertised that they paid cash for used cars, and on their billboard claimed to be The Safest Place to Buy a Used Car. As well as the gas bar, car sales and service they also had an Auto Laundry. In 1932 C D Dayton was manager. Motordrome had moved from West Broadway a year or two earlier, and taken over the Super Service Garage of S L Blackburn, who had offered a similar range of services here from 1924. Before that there were houses here, built in the 1890s.

Here’s a picture of Blackburn’s operation in 1928 taken from an elevated position across Seymour Street. The garage, which at that time sold Imperial Ethyl gasoline, had opened just four years earlier. Sherman Blackburn had previously operated the Vancouver Auto Exchange with A A Johnston three blocks north of here on Seymour. He was aged 33 in 1921 (when he first showed up in the city), and was from Quebec, where his one-year-old-son had also been born. His wife Ivy was 10 years younger, and from England

Motordrome didn’t do well; the early 1930s were not a period where people were buying cars – even pre-owned cars. In 1933 Flack Investments was run by Cyril Flack, born in Manitoba in 1905 and son of Samuel who was from Ontario. We aren’t aware of any connection to the developer of the Flack Block on West Hastings. The company hired Charles Van Norman to design the Blackburn Public Market for the site. S L Blackburn having given up the motoring business managed the new enterprise which had over 40 stalls which vendors could rent to sell poultry, produce etc. The market lasted past 1950, only to be replaced with another gas bar and garage; in 1954 the Robson Motordrome parking and service station, and a year later Sangster’s U-Drive gas station and parking.

We shot our ‘after’ shot several years ago, but nothing has really changed. In 2004 L’Aria was built here, with three commercial floors including a Korean supermarket, and 81 strata apartments above.

Image sources: Vancouver Public Library and City of Vancouver Archives CVA 2011-010.1883


Posted March 8, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Empress and Phoenix Hotels – East Hastings Street

Here’s the Empress and the Phoenix Hotel on East Hastings in 1981. The Empress was built in 1913 for L L Mills, while next door the Phoenix (as it was called in 1981) had been built as the Empress Hotel in 1908 by V W Haywood.

Vicker Wallace Haywood, (who understandably preferred to be known as Wallace), was born in PEI in 1864. He worked on the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1883, and Esquimalt Dry Dock in 1885, and arrived in Granville in time for it to burn to the ground. He became a policeman in Vancouver in 1886, featuring in the posed image of the four policeman standing in front of the City Hall tent. (That image was taken several months after the city rebuilding had started). His police post became a little precarious in 1889, when he and Jackson T Abray, another constable, were accused of pocketing fees for rounding up absent sailors and returning them to their ships, as well as using the chain gang to clear their respective yards. As the other two policemen at the time faced more serious charges, (and Chief Stewart was dismissed), they were allowed to return the fees, pay $10 for the use of the prisoners, and keep their jobs. In 1892 he was still in the police but jointly owned the Cosmopolitan Hotel on Cordova Street with Jackson Abray, (who was no longer a policeman), and by 1895 he was a Sergeant, but continued to face accusations of corruption from a vindictive Alderman W H Gallagher, described by the Daily World as a ‘despot’.

There’s more about Mr. Haywood on the WestEndVancouver blog. He took the opportunity to leave Vancouver in 1897 and headed off to the Klondike to find gold. Unlike many of his compatriots, he was very successful, bringing back $55,000 of gold from his stake on Bonanza Creek in his third year, and featuring in the New York Times. (His first year was said to have been worth $60,000). He spent winter 1898 in New York, and met Captain Jack Cates in the Klondike, and on their return they jointly owned a steamship, the Defiance, and in 1900 bought a property on Bowen Island established by Joseph Mannion. They renamed the property the Hotel Monaco, with campgrounds and picnic sites but in 1901 Mr. Haywood sold out to Captain Cates, who continued the enterprise with new partners, Evans, Coleman & Evans.

That year Mr. Haywood returned to PEI and married Minnie Woodside, and in 1907 he formed a real estate agency with his brother, William. In 1908 he developed a hotel, designed by H B Watson, and when it opened in 1909 called the Empress, run by Alex Burr.

L L Mills apparently acquired the hotel in 1910. Lyle Le Roy Mills was born in the US, in Iowa, and in 1911 was aged 42. His wife Elsie was from Sweden, three years younger, and like the Haywood family they lived in the West End. It was an extended family as Lyle’s mother, Margaret who was 85 was living with them, and Elsie’s mother, Carrie Swensen, and her sister, Ellen. Lyle’s brother, Oscar and his wife Cora were also living at 1967 Barclay with their children, Oscar Le Roy, 13, and Earl Van, 11. Oscar worked as a barman at the Hotel. Lyle and Elsie had married in Washington state in 1904, and it may not have been Elsie’s first marriage as she was Elsie Anderson.

In 1912 Mr. Mills obtained a permit to build a new much bigger hotel addition next door. The new Empress, costing $90,000 was described as the ‘world’s narrowest tallest hotel’ when it was built, and was the only Vancouver building designed by F N Bender. Like Mr Mills and his brother Oscar, who also worked at the Empress, the architect was an American, working in Independence, Kansas, and he almost certainly got the job because he was married to Lyle and Oscar’s sister. Elsie Mills was recorded as designing a building a house for herself on East 46th Avenue in the same year.

The last reference to Mr. Mills as proprietor of the Empress was in 1917. He disappears from the street directory that year, and seems to have moved to Seattle. There’s also a more detailed biography on the WestEndVancouver blog. He died in Lakeview, Washington in 1948, fourteen years after his brother, Oscar, who died in Vancouver in 1934.

It appears that he might have sold the hotels back to V W Haywood (or perhaps the financial arrangement for the two hotels was more complex). In 1918 W Haywood carried out repairs to 235 E Hastings. Mr. Haywood stayed in the city for many years, and seems to have a variety of investment interests; (in 1930 for example he was listed as a fox farmer). V W Haywood died in Vancouver in 1950, and was buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Burnaby. His wife Minnie died in 1956 and was buried with her husband.

By the 1930s the two hotel establishments were operated separately; in 1935 the newer building was called the “New Empress Hotel, 235 E Hastings. Edith M. Gilbert, Owner and Manager, 60 Rooms with Private Baths. Fireproof, Strictly Modern. Rates at Moderate Prices”. Next door was the Old Empress Hotel (H Iwasaki) rooms 237 E Hastings. Today the Empress is a privately owned SRO Hotel, while the older hotel is now the Chinese Toi Shan Society family association building.

Image source: Peter B Clibbon


Posted March 5, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Howe and Davie Street – sw corner (2)

On our previous post we saw this corner as a Home gas station in 1929 with Georg Mutch’s tire store. By 1940 this had become Coleman’s Service station, selling gas and oil, run by T B Coleman and B J Brennan. In 1981 it was selling Texaco products, after that company had acquired the Canadian McColl-Frontenac Oil Company in 1941. The gas station finally closed in 1990, and the site needed extensive remediation, and sat vacant for several years.

While it was vacant the Landis Hotel was built to the north west, across the lane on Hornby Street. Completed in 1993, it was intended as a hotel and strata residential building, but has never been used as anything but a hotel. Behind it on Burrard a 10-storey office building had been built in 1978, looking absolutely unchanged today.

On the gas station corner Anthem Properties built Alto, a condo building with 110 units on 14 floors over retail, completed in 2010.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W09.02


Posted March 1, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone