East Pender and Main Street – ne corner

This is another corner where the building in our ‘before’ picture was built too early for us to identify an architect or developer. There was a 2-storey building here by 1889. It had furnished rooms on the second floor, and three retail units facing Westminster Avenue, (Main Street) running back half the depth of the lot (so sixty feet from front to back) along Princess, (East Pender today). The first space, on the corner, was shown as a Presbyterian Church, which was next door to a notions store and a dress maker. (The church notation seemed odd, as there was a church located nearby on Oppenheimer Street – todays East Cordova, but the 1890 street directory confirms the location, with J M McLeod as pastor). The dressmaker was Mrs. David E Shook, who was assisted by Miss Eliza Little and Miss Alice Adams. The notions store was listed as ‘fancy goods’, and was owned by Thomas Moorehouse. As both business owners appear to be new in town in the 1890 directory, we’re tentatively dating the building to 1889.

By 1901 the insurance map shows the upper floor used as offices, with a grocer where the church had been. That would be C F Foreman’s store – seen here in an 1895 image. His store had occupied the corner after 1891, and the census identified him as ‘Christ Foreman’. (That year the dressmaker was Miss Haywood, and W J Kidd sold dry and fancy goods). The 1901 census clarified C F Foreman was from Ontario and was Christopher Foreman. His wife Elizabeth, and their four children were all born in Ontario as well, and his daughter Lily was born in Toronto, so the family lived there at some point.

Mr. Foreman ran the City Grocery, a high class grocery store. Here’s a detail of the corner of the store, numbered as 432 Westminster in 1895 That year Miss Jane Dick was a dress and mantle maker in the northern store, and George Hobson (and Hobson Brothers) operated a boot and shoe store from the middle store. (By 1895 the numbering of the block had changed from the 200 block to the 400 block). George was a builder from Ontario, who sold footwear here from 1893 to 1896, and lived round the corner on Princess. The other brother, W D Hobson, was also associated with the footwear business, but didn’t stay in Vancouver. George switched to selling groceries on East Hastings in 1897, moving to the West End in 1901.

The painted signs noted that as well as importing teas and coffees, Mr. Foreman sold boots and shoes as well, and he supplied boots to the Klondike during the 1890s gold exploration. Mr. Foreman was elected as a School Trustee in 1894 and 1895, and to City Council as an alderman in 1900, and again in the next two years. In 1898 he had moved next door to the middle unit, was only selling boots and shoes, and McNair, Duke and McNair had taken over the City Grocery, with the Hastings Shingle Manufacturing Co sharing the address (presumably in the upper floor offices) for several years. Summers and Orrell were in the first store, selling millinery; Miss Bell Summers and Mrs. Jane Orrell shared the business.

As is often the case, the street numbering and the businesses had almost all changed again by 1901; these were 440 to 450 Westminster Avenue. Foreman’s were still in business, but had moved a bit further north towards East Hastings. The City Grocery was still in business, but the middle unit had been subdivided and occupied by a jeweler, a butcher and a piano dealer, while a tailor and a real estate dealer shared the first store.

The building today, according to the Assessment Authority, dates from 1901, but a glance at our comparison shows it was effectively rebuilt, and as their records only start in 1901, it is probably the building seen in the picture as far as structure and internal walls are concerned. The remodeling took place before the 1980s, and today, as it has been for many years, it’s home to the Chinatown branch of the TD Bank.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Str P265



Posted December 23, 2019 by ChangingCity in Altered, East End

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