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

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