East Hastings Street – 100 block, south side (2)

Here’s the eastern end of the 100 block of East Hastings in a picture from 2002. (We looked at the western end in an earlier post). On the left in Molson’s Bank building, while the tallest building is the Regent Hotel, and on the far right of the picture is the Empire Hotel. The pale brick Molson’s Bank was designed by H L Stevens, who was based in New York but had a branch office in Vancouver for a few years from 1911 and was responsible for several landmark buildings in Vancouver and the United States. Molson’s had an earlier 1898 branch on West Hastings, while this building, the East End Branch, costing $80,500, was approved for construction with a concrete frame in 1912. The bank continued to use the building until the 1930s, and the upper storeys were initially used for offices for doctors, dentists, lawyers, and other professionals, (including court interpreter and notary public W A Cumyow), but by 1922 had become the Graycourt Hotel (rooms).

Later the whole building became the Roosevelt Hotel, over the years becoming more run down and in the late 1990s home to some of the women who were victims of the Pickton murder case. It was acquired by BC Housing, and is now run by the Portland Hotel Society, with 42 units of non-profit housing for Downtown Eastside residents. The community members are largely individuals dealing with physical and mental health issues, social stigma, emotional trauma, substance dependence, and other issues.The building underwent a major renovation in 2015 as part of BC Housing’s SRO Renewal Initiative, and reopened, beautifully renovated, in August 2016.

162 E Hastings, to the west, was probably completed in 1913 (as 148 E Hastings), although it received its building permit in 1911. Designed by Parr and Fee for Adolphus Williams, it was purpose-built as a Billiard hall & cigar stand built by Hemphill Brothers and cost $10,000 to build. Mr. Williams was a lawyer, magistrate and former politician; (he represented Vancouver City in the BC Legislative Assembly from 1894 to 1898). Mr. Williams apparently quickly sold the building to real estate agents Hope and Farmer, who carried out a number of repairs and alterations including a 1919 permit to use it as the Veteran’s Canteen.

Next door to the east is the Regent Hotel, which the City of Vancouver are seeking to expropriate because of the condition that the owner has allowed it to fall to, and east of that was the Pantages Theatre, designed by E E Blackmore in 1907, and tragically demolished and redeveloped as a controversial condo building in 2011.

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