Archive for February 2019

Granville Street – 600 block, east side (2)

This 1889 picture shows the sporadic development of the newly established Granville Street – the Canadian Pacific Railway flagship street, designed to pull the centre of the new City of Vancouver onto their land and away from the earlier Granville Township near the waterfront to the east. Development here was either initiated by the railway company itself (like the Opera House and Hotel Vancouver, close to here), or by individual directors commissioning office buildings. The largest building here is the New York Block, designed by Bruce Price of New York. We assume the railway negotiated a collective deal for the directors, as he designed six buildings here, all in 1888, four of them for CPR Directors. The wooden Banff Springs Hotel, which was commissioned by the CPR had opened in 1888; the first of Price’s Canadian buildings to be completed. Price went on to design New York skyscrapers that were much bigger – for a while the American Surety Company building built in 1894 was the tallest in the city. His work for CPR continued with the iconic Château Frontenac in Quebec City.

His client here was Sir George Stephen, a founding member of the CP Rail backers, and a prominent Canadian businessman. He made his fortune in Montreal and was the first Canadian to be elevated to the Peerage of the United Kingdom. The ‘Canadian Builder and Architect’ identified him as the developer of the building. Born in Scotland, the son of a carpenter, he left school at the age of fourteen to work variously as a stable boy, shepherd and in a local hotel. He apprenticed as a draper, then moved to London. In 1850 he moved to Canada, joining his cousin’s wholesale dry goods business business in Montreal. He took over after his cousin’s death in 1862, and sold out in 1867 having started a successful wool-importing company and also investing in other textile businesses. In 1866 he partnered with Donald Smith, his first cousin, in a number of new business ventures. By 1873, he had become a director of the Bank of Montreal, and three years later he was elected president. In 1877, Donald Smith introduced him to Canadian railway promoter James Hill, which led to the creation of George Stephen & Associates, one of the most profitable partnerships in the history of North American railways. Having successfully reorganized and expanded the St Paul Railway, the company were selected to develop the coast-to-coast rail link for Canada: Stephen became the first president of Canadian Pacific Railway in 1881, and despite cost overruns from numerous unanticipated engineering, business and political problems, successfully completed the track laying in 1885, with the first train arriving in Vancouver in 1887.

This was not the first foray into Vancouver real estate; in 1887 the Lady Stephen Block had been completed on West Hastings Street, designed by T C Sorby. For many years it was hidden under a sheet steel facade, but it has been restored to its original appearance. The New York Block was described in somewhat over-the-top style by the Daily World as “certainly the grandest building of its kind yet erected here, or for that matter in the Dominion”. You can see that in 1889 even grand buildings still had plank sidewalks and uneven unpaved streets in front. The building lasted until the early 1910s; the 1912 Insurance map noting “to be torn down and new bldg. erected”. The economic downturn and war got in the way, and it was eventually replaced with the current Hudson’s Bay store in the early 1920s.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Str N96

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Posted February 28, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Granville Street – 800 block, east side

This is a view that will probably change a lot in the near future. The owners are reported to be contemplating redevelopment of the first three or four buildings from the corner of Robson Street. The building on the corner is from 1922, designed by Townley & Matheson for the Service Investment Co, costing $31,000. For now it’s the Lennox pub, with the closing Payless shoes alongside and upstairs.

Next door is a small building recently occupied on a temporary basis by Indigo Books. It was designed by Parr and McKenzie for Mrs. Sophia Cameron in 1912, built by E J Ryan and cost $12,000 to build. We don’t really know much about Mrs. Cameron. She’s not obvious in the 1911 census record, but there was a Mrs. Sophia Cameron living near here in 1901. She didn’t appear in the street directory, but her son, Maxwell did. He was listed as a clerk at Woodward’s departmental store, although he seems to have managed the clothing department. A few years later he established his own clothing store on Cordova Street, and moved from 404 Robson to the West End, first to further west on Robson in 1909, then to Thurlow by 1911. He is also unidentifiable in the 1911 Census. Both Sophia, who was 50 in 1901, and Max, who was 25, were shown born in Ontario, and Sophia was listed in 1901 as being on the Women’s Voting List.

Maxwell still had his clothing store, and still lived on Thurlow in 1921, so we can find him in the census of that year, and Sophia, his mother is still living with him, although twenty years after the 1901 census she’s only fifteen years older. In 1891 they had been living in Brantford, Ontario, where Sophia was already a widow, aged 40, and 16-year old Maxwell was working as a clerk.

Next is a four storey building, designed by Braunton & Leibert in 1913 for R A Allen. The 4-storey apartment and retail building, now known as the Clancy Building, cost $35,000. When it opened, the second establishment of Allen’s Café was here, and Robert A Allen was associated with the business, although the owner was listed as Osro M Allen. The Province newspaper clarified their relationship: R A Allen died in 1929, and he bequeathed $110,000 to his brother, Osro. “The assets include a lot at 814 Granville Street, worth $100 000. which is subject to a mortgage, so that the estate’s equity amounts to $79,720“. Osro’s father, and his wife, were both American, but Osro himself was born in Canada. In 1921 they were living in Point Grey (on Granville Street) and his American born children, George (29) and Jeanette were at home. Jeanette was divorced, with a two year old daughter, Elizabeth. Osro and his family had arrived in Canada, (presumably from the USA) in 1913. Robert was single, living on Hastings Street, and ten years older than his brother. He was born in Quebec, and was already running Allen’s Café and Rooms on West Hastings when his brother moved to Vancouver. He had originally run Allen’s Café at an earlier address on West Hastings from 1906.

Next to the Clancy Building was the Capitol Theatre. In its 1922 design it had a simple arched window. That was altered to a more contemporary (for the time) design in the 1940s, and it was redesigned again before the theatre finally closed in 2006. A simple glazed retail box replaced it, and another was built next door two years later.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E02.28

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West Hastings Street – 500 block, north side

Across Seymour Street in this 1907 image, the Empire Building was completed in 1889, designed by C O Wickenden and developed by Canadian Pacific Railway surgeon J M Lefevre, a member of the first City Council in 1886. It was replaced in the 1970s by a rather curious public space with a glazed dome. Our ‘after’ shot is already out of date, as a new office tower is now under construction. It will feature an open area underneath to continue to offer a covered open space (and a café).

On the east side of the junction is the Molson’s Bank, built in 1898 and designed by Montreal architects Taylor and Gordon.

Closest to us is a small office building, first occupied by realtors Mahon, McFarland and Mahon in 1899. An 1898 article in the Province newspaper identified them as developers, and the architect as W T Dalton. By 1903 the owner was Judge Irving. Paulus Aemilius Irving, who was born in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1857, was called to the bar in 1880 in Newmarket, Ontario and came west in 1882 to Victoria where he became a noted judge. He married in Victoria in 1883, the same year he was appointed Deputy Attorney General for British Columbia. His wife had six children in eleven years (three dying as infants). In 1889 he became a judge for the B C Supreme Court. He hired Dalton & Eveleigh in 1903 to make $500 of alterations to the property. He had had also designed Edward Mahon’s house which was on Seaton Street (West Hastings today) where the Marine Building was later built, and the Mahon Block on West Hastings for them in 1902.

David Spencer’s department store took over this block, although he never totally redeveloped the older buildings at this end. The Harbour Centre project replaced both the bank and Judge Irving’s building in 1976, with Simpson-Sears as the retail anchor. Their store occupied the lower floors of the new building adjacent to the Spencer’s department store that had been incorporated into the project. (Spencers became Eatons in 1948, but then moved out in 1972 to their new Pacific Centre Mall location).

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-566

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Posted February 21, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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567 Hornby Street

This is the Cave Building on Hornby Street in 1935. Not to be confused with the Cave Supper Club which was located a block away, this building got its name from its developer. Edward Cave-Browne-Cave, who was the manager of BC Assay and Chemical Supply Co. (a mining outfitter).

The Building permit was issued in 1912, and the architects were H L Stevens & Co. Edward was part of the British aristocracy; the first Baronet was Thomas Cave, a Royalist who fought in the English Civil War and appointed in 1641. Edward was born in Malvern, in 1879, the son of the Reverend Ambrose Cave-Browne-Cave. He moved to Canada in 1886, and arrived in Vancouver in 1901, moving to a house on the corner of Davie and Cardero where he lived with his wife Rachel for nearly thirty years. His business interests included President of the Glacier Creek Mining Co, and he was also President of the Vancouver Lawn Tennis Club.

(Another Edward Cave-Browne-Cave moved with his musical family to New Westminster in 1911, but while undoubtedly related, they are a different branch of the family).

BC Assay continued in business in the building through the 1920s, with Clement Cave-Browne-Cave becoming sales manager. (He was undoubtedly a relative, possibly born in Winnipeg, but not, we think, Edward’s son). In the 1930s he became manager, simplified his name to Cave (at least in the street directory) and the company became Cave & Company.

Today, the spot where the building stood is the lane between the 1995 YWCA Downtown building, and the 1999 Le Soleil Hotel.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 371-1340

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Posted February 18, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Granville Street south from West Pender

We’ve seen some of the buildings here, on the eastern side of the 500 block of Granville Street in a post from a few years ago, but looking northwards and in the 1930s. This ‘before’ picture is undated, but we’re pretty certain it was shot in the late 1960s or early 1970s before any street trees had been planted. That’s one of the 1954 Brill buses in BC Hydro livery – so between 1962 and 1973. When the new vertical white lights were added to Granville Street a few years ago, and the surface redesigned and replaced, this short section of street was the only one where the existing street trees were considered worthy of retention, and so a taller, more mature canopy exists here.

On the left is Somervell and Putnam’s 1916 design for the Merchant’s Bank, expanded in 1924 by the Bank of Montreal to Kenneth Guscotte Rea’s designs. More recently, in 2005, Paul Merrick designed its conversion to the Segal School of Business for Simon Fraser University.

Next door, across the lane, is an 1898 building, still standing today. Designed by GW Grant, it was built for W H Leckie and Co and occupied in part by the Imperial Bank, (although that use ended decades ago). William Henry Leckie was born in Toronto in 1874, and moved west in 1896. Although he managed the family business with his brother, Robert, only he was noted in the city’s early biography, although by the early 1900s, R J Leckie and Company also had a successful boot and shoe manufacturing business in Vancouver. Robert had arrived in 1894 to run the Vancouver branch of the business established by their father, John Leckie, who had immigrated to Canada from Scotland. He established a dry goods store in Toronto in 1857 which evolved into fishermen’s supply store, selling oilskin clothing, imported netting, sails, tents, and marine hardware. The firm began to manufacture its own goods, and the brothers continued that expansion by not only establishing this retail and warehouse building, but also owning a tannery on the Fraser River. Later they built a much bigger factory and warehouse on Water Street.

William Leckie didn’t constrain his activities to footware; by 1913 he was a Director of the Burrard Land and Improvement Co, the Capital Hill Land Co and of the Children’s Hospital.

Next door was a two storey building, completely obscured in the 1970s, and today refaced with a contemporary frontage. Originally it was developed by Hope, Fader and Co in 1898, and designed by W T Dalton.

To the south is a third fifty feet wide building. Today it has a 1909 façade, designed by Parr and Fee for owner Harry Abbott. The building dates back to 1889, when it was designed for Abbott (the Canadian Pacific Railway official in charge of the west coast) by the Fripp Brothers.

While the collection of buildings has retained the same scale for over a century, rumours suggest a development may see a new office tower that would retain two original heritage buildings facades.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 800-455

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219 and 221 Union Street

These two houses were built on Barnard Street, and demolished many years later on Union Street – (The street name was switched in 1911). The pink house on the left may be the older – there’s a house shown in the same position on an 1889 insurance map, and initially not numbered, although James Brooking was shown living here in 1890. A year later the compilers of the directory got thoroughly confused, listing the street as Bernard Street, and putting even numbered properties on the north side (which wasn’t generally the case). By 1894 they had that sorted out, and the numbering showed 213 Barnard on the left, vacant. and 215 Barnard on the right occupied by Sid and Levie Henry. A year later W T Farrall was in 213 and Amos Schorf in 215.

In 1896 John Rowell was at 213, and John Allen at 215. The regular occupancy changers suggests these were initially rented rather than owner occupied properties. For a number of years 213 disappeared completely, and the original house may have been demolished, or abandoned, but by 1901 that address was shown occupied by James Hogg, a teamster, then Robert Hogg, a laundryman a year later. The Hogg family are shown in the census; Robert was shown as a laundryman. The street directory said he worked for the Dominion Steam Laundry (which was on Powell Street). Before he moved to Barnard he was living on East Cordova. In 1901 he was shown aged 23 living with his wife Sarah, who was three years older. They were both from Ireland, and had arrived in Canada in 1899.

John Allen, now identified as a teamster, was still at 215. He was from Ontario, and was aged 50 in 1901. He had two daughters living at home with him, Bessie, who was 16, and Mary, 14. In 1903 number 213 became 219 with Robert Hogg still in residence, and John Allen still living next door, now numbered as 221. The Allens would stay at 215 for several more years, but the Hogg family moved out, replaced by Thomas Parry. The Parry family were from Wales, and all arrived in 1907, and this seems to have been their first home in Vancouver. Thomas was aged 45, and worked as a checker. His wife Alice was the same age, and their were four children at home aged between 15 and 21. Son Richard was a salesman, his sister, Mary, a bookkeeper, and the other two daughters, Dorothy and Gladys were all listed as ‘saleslady’. Gladys worked at David Spencer’s store – and it’s possible the other family members may have worked there too, as Spencer was also from Wales.

In 1911 John Allen was recorded by the census aged 55, and he now had a French born wife, Mary, 10 years younger. His daughters were no longer at home, but there were a lot of people sharing the house. Alex, James and Barney Paul, were roomers, and so too were Thomas Newland, James Watson and Alex Lambert. Lambert was the odd man out – he was English, and a prospector. The other lodgers were all Scottish, and all but one teamsters, like their host.

That year Barnard Street became Union Street, supposedly to avoid the potential confusion with Burrard Street. It nearly changed again seven years later when an Alderman proposed it should become Victory Street – but that change wasn’t supported. Why it got the name Union Street is unknown.

Over the years many other families occupied the houses, and the area changed character. Across the lane to the west a house that had been built in the early 1900s became a café – Vie’s Cafe, run by Vie Moore who was part of the city’s small black community, concentrated nearby including across the street to the south along Hogan’s Alley. The houses in our picture were however occupied in the mid 1950s by Chinese families; Lee Woo at 219 and Wong Hee Mun at 221. In fact, apart from a few commercial operations, this stretch of Union Street was predominantly Chinese.

Our before image dates from the 1970s, although it is wrongly identified as being Main Street in the Archives description. The site was cleared in the early 2000s, and in 2010 V6A was completed, a nine storey condo with retail along the street, including the Union Café that occupies the site of these houses.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-355

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Posted February 11, 2019 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

Callister Block, 30 West Cordova Street

The Callister Block, to the right, is the newest structure in this picture. The Dunn-Miller Block to the east was completed in 1889, and the McIntosh Block to the west, completed soon after. (The part of the Dunn-Miller block seen on the left of this image became a hotel in 1907, the Crown Hotel. Clarke and Stewart, stationers, occupied the main floor. in earlier years. It’s possible that Mr. Callister hired N S Hoffar to design the building.

John Callister arrived in Vancouver in April 1885, settled in the town of Granville, and a year later lost everything he owned in the fire that destroyed the city. He was born in Ballaugh in the Isle of Man and emigrated to the States and was a builder in Chicago and San Franscisco. In 1891 he was aged 40, a carpenter and builder. He never married, and was sufficiently successful to part own the Ellesmere Rooms in 1887, and to build this building around 1890. The earliest tenant on the main floor was L Davis, who ran a clothes house here in 1891. It appears the upper floors were initially a hotel, the Dufferin House, run by Miss Kearns.

For a few years the main floor were occupied by a furniture store owned by Sehl Hastie and Erskine Co, employing a cabinetmaker and an upholsterer, and by 1895 C Hach, who took over the business and also lived here. James Stark had his dry goods store here in 1898, moving on to new premises in 1904, replaced by Alexander Ross and Co, another dry goods merchant. Upstairs James Thomson & Sons were manufacturers agents for Stewart & McDonald of Glasgow, but in 1908 they moved to Water Street and two unions moved in: the Brotherhood of Painters Decorators and Paperhangers, and the Lathers Union.

A couple of years later they were replaced by the Apostolic Faith Mission from 1913 until around 1935. The other tenant was the Industrial Workers of the World, a radical labour union started in Chicago and often referred to as ‘The Wobblies’. In 1912, when Vancouver authorities tried to ban street demonstrations, the Wobblies started and won a spectacular free-speech fight. Still operating today, the IWW’s website notes that “After building mass workers’ power, the arrival of the First World War saw the IWW declared a banned organization by the Government of Canada from 1918 until 1923, which debilitated the union for many years afterwards”.

The building was purchased by the Army & Navy Store in 1960. Initially it was used as the Outdoor Store (seen in this 1965 W E Graham photograph), but a remodeling of the building in the 1970s saw it incorporated into the main retail store, with new construction behind the preserved facades.

John Callister, seen here in the early 1900s, didn’t live in the city. He acquired land and built his home in a forested area covering about three blocks in 1904 at Hastings Townsite, some kilometers to the east, across from today’s PNE location. Upon his death Callister, a bachelor, left his property to two nieces. One of the sisters died and Mrs. Ada M. Stevenson inherited all of the property.

In 1920, sports promoter and tobacconist Con Jones entered into an agreement to purchase “lot 5, Town of Hastings, Suburban Lands” for $10,000 from Stevenson. According to the Vancouver city archives only three payments of $1,000 were made. In the space of a year, Jones supervised the building of a grandstand and field and Con Jones Park opened in 1921. Later the field was acquired by the City of Vancouver, and renamed as Callister Park.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1135-55 and Port P600

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Posted February 7, 2019 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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