Hamilton Street – 1200 block

There’s a large warehouse on the northern end of the 1200 block of Hamilton Street (in the middle of our 1981 image) that’s no longer standing. It’s probably the largest building no longer in Yaletown, (lost to a fire) replaced in 2002 by the Opus Hotel.

In 1912 W O’Neil & Co were shown here for the first time. We think this must be a warehouse associated with William O’Neil’s building supply business, based on Seymour Street. Canadian Pacific Railway released the land for development around 1910, and the entire area built up in only a couple of years. While we can identify almost all the permits for the Yaletown warehouse buildings, this location has proved elusive.

The O’Neil firm was founded in Vancouver in 1898,. Among the items they sold was stained glass, initially acting as an agency for the noted Canadian stained and art glass firm of Robert McCausland of Toronto. By 1910 it appears that the company employed artisans in Vancouver, and the company’s 1913 catalogue said “We employ a competent corps of artists and are in a position to contract for and execute anything in the Art Glass line, from simple geometrical lines to the most elaborate memorial and ecclesiastical work. The following pages give just an idea of what we are continually doing, and we have an extensive portfolio of beautiful designs in Leaded Lights to select from, or we can submit designs for special work. Hand painted designs executed and fired in our own Kilns.” William Nelson O’Neil was from Brampton, Ontario, and unlike many of his business colleagues, who were initially in the West End, and later Shaughnessy, he chose to live with his wife and daughter in Fairview.

By 1920 this had become a storage warehouse – Mr. O’Neil was also president of the Western Warehousing Co, who operated the large warehouse, although by the mid 1930s it had become the Christie Brown biscuit warehouse, and by the mid 1940s the Hudson’s Bay Company were using the building as their service department.

Next door, the 3-storey building was developed for Woodward Department Stores Ltd, and designed by Smith and Goodfellow. The $25,000 warehouse and stable was built by McNeil & Campbell. It was later used by the national Furniture Co as their warehouse.

In 1981 there was a vacant site next door; in 1996 Raymond Ching designed a 12 unit condo building called Greenwich Place. It’s not completely clear from the street directory, and there are relatively few early images of this street, but it appears that the residential building might have been the first structure built here.

Next door we can just see the edge of a five storey warehouse that supposedly only cost $20,000 to build, designed by W J Kerr for J & A Phillips, and built by the owners in 1912. Today it’s a strata commercial building with Rodney’s Oyster House downstairs.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E13.20

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Posted December 17, 2018 by ChangingCity in Gone, Still Standing, Yaletown

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