Archive for March 2018

1301 Granville Street

Where the Best Western Hotel now stands, in around 1921 there was yet another motoring related business. Rand and Carter sold Goodyear Tires, and for a very short time the Maple Leaf Motor Truck. It appeared – and disappeared – here in the early 1920s, although it was announced that the company had been acquired in December 1920 for $20,000. The odd thing is that the truck company claimed to be based in Montreal, but the only place that there’s any mention of the company is in Vancouver newspapers, and BC Government notification of the registration of the business in 1921. There’s one advertisement for the truck in ‘Canada Industrial’ magazine, also in 1921, which confirms the Montreal location.

A Windsor blacksmith, Moise L Menard produced a series of trucks in the 1910s in his wagon works from one-ton to three-and-a-half ton models. in 1916 Menard built an aerial ladder fire truck for the Walkerville fire department. He sold out to the Maple Leaf Manufacturing Co. of Montreal in 1920. ‘Canadian Machinery’ explained the story “The Maple Leaf Manufacturing Co., Ltd., has recently been incorporated to carry on the manufacture of commercial motor trucks. The personnel of the directorate is identical with that of the Machinery and Munitions, Ltd., which for four years carried on extensive operations in the making of munitions, at plants in Lachine and Sorel. The former plant has been taken over by the new company, and the Windsor plant and general interests of the Menard Motor Truck Co., which has been engaged in motor truck manufacture since 1908, has also been acquired. The Maple Leaf Company will manufacture standard motor trucks and all truck parts, for both domestic and export trade. It is expected that a big business will be built up with the group of countries with which Canada enjoys favored agreements.” The company seems to have disappeared as a truck builder fairly quickly; in 1923 they were still listed on Granville Street along with Rand Tires, and Reo Motors Ltd had been added to the mix; a year layer maple Leaf Trucks were no longer offered here.

The building was newly built. In 1919 Howard & Davis of the Rand Tire Co had hired architect and builder Bedford Davidson to build the $10,000 building – apparently (from the street directory) the first to be constructed on the lot, although the building permit references ‘repairs’. By 1930 Bowell-McDonald Motors were in the building, and five year later the building seems to have disappeared, with nothing shown on this corner at all. That’s not quite accurate: the address moves down the block  (from 1301 to 1313 Granville), and the building was completely repurposed, initially as the Trianon Balllroom, later the Howden Ballroom. The ballroom use lasted through to 1994, the year that Green Day, Beck and GWAR played the hall (on separate bills, obviously). In 1997 the new Best Western Hotel was completed, designed by Gomberoff Policier Bell, and incorporating an Elk’s Lodge when it first opened.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Trans N18

 

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Posted March 29, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Howe Street – 500 block, east side

On the left side, on the corner with West Pender is Pender Place, relatively newly built when this 1981 image was shot. Completed in 1973, it’s a pair of identical towers designed by Underwood, McKinley, Wilson & Smith. We’ve seen the other tower (on the corner of West Pender and Granville Street) in earlier posts, including when it was the location of the main post office, and in the 1930s.

The previous building on the corner of Howe Street was only two storeys high. Beside it, across the lane at 540 Howe Street was another modest building, replaced in 1953 by a new office building for Canada Trust designed by McCarter and Nairne. In 1964 the Stock Exchange acquired the building, and after alterations to create a trading floor, moved in, although not for very long. It was redeveloped as part of the northern part of Pacific Centre Mall, completed in 1990. The new building, including a parkade entrance, is actually shorter on this part of the block than its predecessor.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives  CVA 779-W01.29

200 Nelson Street

This two storey warehouse dates to the same year as its neighbor; 1911. This was also designed and built by a builder recorded on the building permit by the City’s clerk as ‘Snider, Geo. & Brethune’. The City Directory listed ‘Snider and Brethour’, run by George Snider and Edgar Brethour, and John S Brethour. Sometimes the Building Permit clerk got the company name right – as there are several other significant buildings listed as being built by Snider and Brethour. George Snider was from BC, born near Sooke and living in Victoria with his wife Amy in 1901. Both Edgar and John Brethour were also born in BC, outside Victoria. They were almost certainly cousins; both their fathers were from Ontario, and both were farmers.

Their client here was the Mainland Transfer Co, confirmed by the 1911 Insurance map who label this building as Mainland Warehouse. Mainland Transfer was incorporated on May 28, 1902, with a capital stock of $50,000, in $100 shares. It seems to have been created by taking over the interests of Atkins & Johnson, who had been in the city from the 1880s. Mainland’s 1902 premises at 120 Water Street were where Atkins and Johnson had been a year earlier. Those gentlemen had gone on to run the Hotel Metropole.

The company became much bigger in 1904 when Gross and McNeill merged with them and Frank Gross (from New Brunswick, arriving in Vancouver in 1887) became manager. John D McNeill, from Ontario and Frank Gross founded their draying and transfer business in the late 1890s. After the merger McNeill briefly became general manager and then 1n 1906 left Mainland and became president of Great Northern Transfer, (handling all the freight related to the Great Northern Railway) and the Vancouver Coal Company.

Mainland Transfer grew significantly in 1906 when it combined operations with the Vancouver Warehouses Ltd. By 1913 Frank Gross was Manager of Mainland Transfer, based on Pender Street, and a director of Vancouver Warehouses (whose warehouse was on Beatty Street) Willie Dalton was both manager of the warehouse company and secretary-treasurer of Mainland Transfer. He arrived in Vancouver (from Huddersfield) in 1904. Robert Houlgate was President of Mainland Transfer in 1913, and he also had a Yorkshire connection, as he had been a bank manager in Morley before joining the Huddersfield based but Vancouver located Yorkshire Guarantee and Securities Corporation, Limited in 1898.

In 1920 this was Mainland Transfer Co Warehouse No. 3, but they shared the premises with Sawmill Machinery Co, Holbrooks Ltd (who were pickle manufacturers) and Crane Co.’s warehouse. In the mid 1930s Gold Band Beverage bottlers were here alongside Gilchrist Machine Co who sold logging equipment, the BC Feed and Egg Co who wholesaled feedstuff, and the Ford Motor Co who assembled vehicles brought in to the rail dock at the back of the building. By the end of the war there were several different businesses here, including Restwell Upholstery, the Green Mill Coffee Shop and the Railway and power Engineering Co. By the late 1950s this part of the 1000 block of Mainland Street was owned by T Eaton and Co. Eaton’s had a showroom in this lower building, and a warehouse in the three storey building next door, which they had occupied from the early 1940s.

These days the building has a variety of tenants including a private 30 student elementary school for children aged 5 to 9.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E18.19

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 and John 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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