Keefer and Main Street – se corner

This building on Main Street at Keefer had seen better days when this image was shot in 1978, and we’ve looked at it from the Keefer side in an earlier post. We identified several different businesses who operated on the corner in that post, and we’ve found several more that we note here. Our after shot was taken a couple of years ago, before HSBC Bank moved out, and Vancity Credit Union moved in, but the building there today looks exactly the same – just the signs have changed. Wayfoong House was built in 1996 and designed by W T Leung. It has four floors, with offices above retail and a double height corner atrium. When HSBC moved out Vancity took over the second floor office space and banking hall and Tim Horton’s opened around the corner on Keefer Street.

The original building, at least in part, may have dated back to the 1890s. There were stores here as early as 1889; a single storey building with a dress maker, a ‘notions’ store, and a cobbler. At the time this was Westminster Avenue, and this was the 400 block. By 1901 there was a 2 storey building here, (probably the one in our picture), and this was the 600 block, but still Westminster; it became Main Street after 1910. In 1892 Alexander Hogg had a grocery store at 600 Westminster (on the corner) and in 1895 lived at 606 Westminster (presumably upstairs). Mr. Hogg was still here in 1901, with J T Brown, a shoemaker, at 608. Alexander Hogg was aged 50 that year, and from Ontario, as were his entire family. His wife, Mary J, was 46, and William, their son, was aged 26 and still living at home, working as a CPR Official. Their daughter, Mary E, was 23, and sons Alexander, 21 (born in Gore Bay, Manitoulin Island) and Perry, 19, (born in Gordon Township, Manitoulin Island), were both working as clerks. Ida and Mabel, who were 13 and 9, were still at school. A decade earlier, in the 1891 census, Mr. Hogg was shown as aged 48, and Mary was 40, so they had managed to age less than ten years in a decade.

Mrs. Charles Burns, in conversation with Major Matthews, the city Archivist, in 1938, remembers delivering eggs from her chickens late in the afternoon to Vancouver grocers, and Mr. Hogg arranging for a man to put her groceries on the Interurban for her to be able to take them home to Grandview. Her family lived in a cleared area that today would be Kitchener Street, but at the time it had no address. “There was a water well, but no electric light, sewer, sidewalk, and the road was a trail from the Vancouver-Westminster interurban.”

In 1903 the corner unit was occupied by Quigley & Co who sold dry goods, with Mr. Brown’s shoemaking business was still next door. Harry Franklin sold stationery in the third unit. That year ‘Mr. Martin’ built $500 of alterations to the premises, designed by Dalton and Eveleigh. Robert Martin, an Ontario-born importer hired W T Dalton to design repairs to several properties, so we think he was the likely owner at the time.

In 1905 the corner store was vacant, with Frank Murphy’s stationary store at 608 (and another store selling the same goods next door to him). In 1910 J K Campbell was selling clothing from the corner store, the middle store was shared by George Snyder, a jeweler and the Western Investors Co, and the third unit was occupied by the F Humphrey of Humphrey and Stone, sewing machines, sharing their unit with Chilcot and Dorais who sold real estate. Mr. Humphrey carried out repairs to the building in 1913. Clement & Haywood carried out repairs in 1916 (which would be Clements and Heywood, a local real estate investment company part owned by Herbert Clement, an MP at the time). and Joe Grosslee a year later. In 1919 Mrs. Soda paid for more repairs. Dominick Soda (an Italian) ran a confectionery business in the corner store in 1916, with David Morris making shoes next door and Frank Spatari a tailor in 608 on the right. He shared the space with Rose King, a barber.

In 1921 G Cadona obtained a permit for further repairs, although there’s nobody with that name in the street directory. The only Cadonas in British Columbia were Louis and his wife Ada, originally from England, who were in the Cariboo. At the beginning of that year Garden Taxi (run by Pete and Paul Boury and Pete Angelo) were operating from the corner store, with A Morris selling second hand goods next door and Solomon Harris in 608 also dealing in second hand goods. By the end of the year Joseph Cilona, another Italian, confectioner, was running the corner store, and we’re guessing that’s who carried out the changes from a cab office back to a store.

By 1950 Tom’s Grocery was here, and it was still here in the early 1970s. Continuing a use that had appeared many years earlier, the A1 Western second hand store was next door, and Mrs. E Tyer sold new and used furniture next to that. In our 1978 picture Harry James Agencies sold real estate and insurance from the middle unit, with Joe Eng representing the Manufacturer’s Insurance Co in the other half of the unit. Both of the other units were closed, although it looks as if a Chinese business might have been fitting out 608.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-483

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Posted August 1, 2019 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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