524 Homer Street

 

From 1925 to 1927 the Canada Garage was at 428 West Pender Street. From before the 1900s to 1925 there were houses on this Homer Street lot, but from 1926 the Pacific Garage run by M Balmer  and R H Lampman was shown here in the street directory. The odd thing is that there’s a photograph in the Archives of this building dated 1925 and showing it as the Canada Garage (seen on the right). One possibility is that the owners of the Canada Garage intended to move, or duplicate their operation on Pender but then thought better of it, and the Pacific Garage was opened here instead.

One of the first owners of the Pacific Garage also didn’t stay around: Murray Balmer wasn’t listed in the city in 1924, or by 1927. He seems to have been born in New Brunswick, and was in Chase before he moved to Vancouver, and died in Princeton in 1951. Robert Lampman however had been repairing cars on Pender Street in 1924, and was still in the city as service manager of Fordyce Motors in 1927, when J O, A P and R L McLean had taken over the garage. A year later N MacRae had taken over the business. In the 1930s the building was also the office and terminal for Maple Leaf Stage Line.

The 1925 permit to demolish the house that stood here was issued to Homer Garage, but the $30,000 construction permit for the garage was to J H Todd & Sons Ltd, with the building being designed by Townley & Matheson. The owners almost certainly built the garage as an investment. J H Todd & Sons were a Victoria-based fishing canning company. Jacob Todd had built his first cannery on the Fraser River in 1882, having run a wholesale grocery business in Victoria. He was originally from Brampton, Upper Canada, of Scottish stock, and had worked his way westwards, operating as an itinerant trader in the Cariboo, and in Barkerville (losing $10,000 including his building and stock when it burned down), before settling down in Victoria. His canneries produced ‘Horseshoe’ brand salmon, and eventually he owned five locations before the business finally amalgamating with B C Packers in the 1950s.

A variety of different owners ran the Pacific Garage: by the 1950s it was N M Crosby, and by the 1970s it had become the Marine Garage. It was still standing in 1981, as can be seen in this earlier post, but was replaced in 1992 by BC Hydro’s new office tower, designed by Musson Cattell Mackey.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-197,  and  CVA 1399-529.

 

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Posted May 3, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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