Dunsmuir and Howe – ne corner (2)

We looked at the Hambro Building that was built here in 1920s. Like much of Downtown, today’s commercial district started life as a residential neighbourhood, and in this 1899 picture the Japanese Consulate was on the corner. Previously the consulate had been at 730 Burrard Street, With Tsugoro Nosse as Consul. (He moved on to run the Consulate in Chicago). From 1898 it was Hon. S Shimizu, and this new location had been the Consulate for a little before the change of consul, probably starting in 1897 A year earlier the Consulate had placed a wanted ad in the Daily world “WANTED – NEW LARGE HOUSE, suitable for office and residence, near Hotel Vancouver or Vancouver Club.” We think the Consul when the image was taken was called Seizaburō Shimizu, who had been Consul in Hawaii, and moved on to be Japanese Consul in Ottawa in the 1920s.

At the time the image was taken, the consul was kept busy writing to the Federal Government, objecting to the discrimination against the Japanese in British Columbia shown in Provincial legislation like the Alien Labour Bill to which assent has been given in 1898. In turn he was consulted by the government over a number of years about the Japanese voluntarily restricting migrants from moving to British Columbia, where hostility to Asiatic employees was building as the economy faltered. He had moved on by 1902, some years before the Japanese response to the anti-Asiatic riot that broke out in 1907, causing significant damage in Japantown (centred on Powell Street). At the time about 8% of the population of the city were Chinese, and several thousand Japanese from a population of around 100,000. The riots served their purpose: Japan agreed to restrict the number of passports issued to make labourers and domestic servants to an annual maximum of 400 under a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ enacted in Canada in early 1908, the year the consulate moved to the newly constructed ‘Imperial Block’ on West Pender.

Once the Japanese had moved, the new occupant of the former consulate was D’Auria Francesco D’Auria ‘vocal teacher’. He was, as his name suggests, an Italian, born in Naples, and a successful composer and orchestral conductor. He had founded the first, shortlived, Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1890, moving on to Winnipeg in 1895, and then Minneapolis before arriving in Vancouver in 1904.

Today the final 1990 phase of the Pacific Centre Mall is here, with an office building designed by the Zeidler Roberts Partnership.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu N429

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Posted November 29, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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