Archive for January 2020

965 Granville Street

This 1916 Vancouver Public Library image shows the Dominion Theatre. The marquee says it was showing ‘Notorious Gallagher – a 1916 American silent drama film directed by William Nigh and starring Nigh, Marguerite Snow and Robert Elliott. Nigh also wrote and produced the movie for Columbia Pictures, but the plot seems to have been lost to history.

The building however, is still with us: having just received its latest makeover to reopen as the Colony Room bar, having previously been the Caprice nightclub. The building was designed by Parr and Fee, who probably designed a majority of the buildings in this part of the city. E J Ryan built the $50,000 building, which was only really a single storey space despite the second floor windows. It was built of reinforced concrete & brick, and the Daily World were probably going beyond accuracy by describing it as “one or the finest moving picture houses in America” The newspaper promised “one of the most costly mosaic fronts will adorn the street entrance with a large overhanging colored prism”, but we have lost that as well as the ornate pediment.

The theatre added sound, and then colour, and Ivan Ackery, who would later run the Orpheum, was manager in the 1930s. It became the Downtown Theatre in 1967, then the Caprice Showcase Theatre, closing as a cinema in 1988 but retaining the name in its new incarnation as the Caprice Nightclub.

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Posted January 30, 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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1260 Granville Street

Hayes Anderson were a newly created truck company in late 1921 when this image was probably taken. They assembled their trucks in a manufacturing plant on 2nd Avenue: the factory is still standing today, but for sale for redevelopment. This building was earlier – it dates back to 1910 when it was developed by Reinhart Hoffmeister. He and his brothers developed a series of buildings around Downtown, often occupied by motoring related businesses. There were several on the other side of the same block, and like this one, the Hoffmeisters also indicated that they were both architect and developer of the building, which in this case was valued at $10,000. Although it was described on the permit as two storey, it looks as if it was built as three.

The earliest company to move in here was the Pacific Garage and Auto Co, owned by S R MacClinton and Howard B Spence. They sold a surprising number of different automobile brands: Peerless, Mitchell, Waverley Electric Pleasure Cars, Johnson Motor Trucks and Stevens-Duryes. The business lasted only a year with the Metropolitan Motor Car Co moving in. They were run by Charles R Thomas, and sold Hudson Automobiles – in March 1912 Mr. Thomas recorded the remarkable success of selling eight cars on the same day. The Waverley sales were taken on by Hoffmeister Brothers, in their premises on West Pender Street. The Canadian Pacific Porters Club were initially upstairs, but in 1912 McGillivray & Reek ran a pool hall.

Unusually, the building continues to have office space on the upper floors, as it did in this 1922 image.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Trans N20

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Posted January 27, 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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1100 Granville Street – west side (3)

Here’s the remaining southern end of Granville Street’s 1100 block. In this 1928 image there’s a Royal Bank branch on the corner of the street. It was there three years later, when we looked at its history in an earlier post. The corner building was designed and built by Bedford Davidson for P Burns & Co at a cost of $5,000 in 1916. The West End Meat Market was part of the meat empire controlled by Pat Burns, and there had been an earlier store here for several years. Four years later builders Coffin & McClennan carried out $500 of repairs for the Royal Bank of Canada – who were the tenants on the corner from when the building was constructed in 1916. In 1952 the building was replaced with a bigger bank building, possibly designed by Mercer and Mercer (the bank’s preferred local architects of the day). The building is still standing, but not as a bank. For many years it was a Chinese restaurant, painted pink, although it’s been repainted green very recently.

There are two very similar two-storey buildings to the north. Both were constructed in the early 1900s when the permits have been lost. They appear around 1909, when Madame Jane De Gendron, a dressmaker was at 1183 Granville, Gordon Baird sold hardware next door at 1181, and the upper floor was at 1179 was vacant. The Depot for Christian Literature was at 1175. 1169 (upstairs) was shown as vacant

The single storey building was designed by Sharp and Thompson for F Cockshult in 1923, built by Baynes and Horie for $4,000. With a name like that, you’d think it would be easy to trace the developer. He certainly didn’t live in Vancouver, but someone with that name; Frank Cockshult, was recorded crossing into the US from Canada in 1909. Ho crossed again several times after that, but always as Frank Cochshutt, which is how he was recorded in the census as well. He lived in Brantford, Ontario, where he was involved in the family business; a very successful agricultural equipment company. The family certainly visited Vancouver – in 1930 The Vancouver Sun recorded “Mr. and Mrs. Frank Cockshutt of Brantford, who have been holidaying In California, are at the Hotel Vancouver en route home.” Why he would build a single storey retail store here is a mystery. It certainly wasn’t to open a showroom for the company wares – it was first occupied by the West End Floral Co, then the Roselawn Floral Co. Here’s another view of the same buildings, looking south rather than north, taken in 1981. It shows that the single storey building was still a florists. Today it’s split between a donair café and a Vape store (replacing the tattoo store in the ‘after’ shot we took a couple of years ago).

The next two storey building also appears (as a single storey building) around 1908, when and Halpins Grocery was at 1167. A $500 permit was taken out by L D Mitchell to build “Offices/Stores; one-storey brick building” in 1915. As there was already a store here, we assume that the modest value suggests an addition or alteration. The second floor must have been added later, although BC Assessment seem to think the building dates back to 1905. Today it’s vacant, having been a an unauthorized cannabis retail store before regulation limited their numbers.

There’s an approved development permit to replace all the building from the corner to the Clifton Hotel with a seven storey residential building, but the developer seems to be in no hurry to build it, and is offering several currently vacant units for rent.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4505 and CVA 779-W03.21

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Posted January 23, 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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1100 Granville Street – west side (2)

We looked at the buildings on the northern end of the block in our previous post. Here they are in 1981, and they’re all still standing today, even though most are over 100 years old. Here’s the middle of the 1100 block of Granville, (not the 700 block, as the Archives have it titled), with Carl Gustafson’s Clifton Rooms (now the Clifton Hotel) on the right of the picture. This picture is bookended by another Parr and Fee designed Hotel, the St Helen’s Hotel, at 1161 Granville, designed for G A Lees and H F Maskell and completed in 1911. It was built by Hemphill Brothers and cost $60,000, and opened in December 1911, but became an annex for the Hotel Barron across the street. In between are four more modest one and two storey buildings.

The three storey building next door is 1157 (today). There was nothing on the site in 1903, and in 1912 J B Houston spent $100 adding a one-storey brick furnace house to the building that had been constructed, but there’s no permit for the building itself, which first appeared in 1909 as a rooming house at 1153 Granville run by Andrew J Napier, and a vacant retail unit at 1155 A year later it was occupied by G W Cowan, musical instruments and Roddick & Calder – D Calder and J G Roddick, who lived here, and ran the West Side Rooms. Either there were two establishments in the same building, or Mr. Napier owned the property and Roddick and Calder ran it, (or the directory was confused). Those arrangements ended quite quickly – only a year later Robert Rowbottom was at 1155 running the furnished rooms, with the Standard Investment Co, run by K J Robinson, The Granville Pool Rooms (Steven & Muldoon, props.) and Walter Richards running a tobacconists at 1157. By 1968 these were known as the Clark Rooms, and they were allowed to convert to market rental from rooming house.

The single storey retail units to the north were constructed in 1930 and 1924, although there were earlier structures, one occupied by the West End Liquor Co (before prohibition). Beyond them, next to the Clifton, there’s an older 2-storey building that was one of the earliest on the block – although it’s not as old as BC Assessment think – they date it to 1901 – but there was nothing here on the 1903 insurance map. In 1911 it was William Thomson’s store – selling pianos, organs, player pianos and musical instruments. It looks as if there was a rooming house upstairs, run by M Catherwood in 1910, John Webster the year before (the first year we think the building operated), and David Izen in 1911. If it was built in 1908/09 the development permit has been lost.

This part of Granville still sees a regular turnover of businesses, and nothing seems to last long. Mostly businesses cater to the nearby clubs, with inexpensive street food sold late into the night, and there were restaurants here in 1981, including the Fisherman’s Net selling seafood and Ming’s Café, bookending a branch of the Bank of Montreal. More recently there have been new restaurants here like the twisted Fork Bistro and Umeda tempura opening through the day, and attracting lineups at weekends.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W03.22

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Posted January 20, 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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1100 Granville Street – west side (1)

The building on the corner is one of the newer buildings on this block of Granville, only dating back to 1919. It started life as a car showroom, designed by A E Henderson for agents Griffith & Lee, built by J B Arthur at a cost of $15,000. In 1921 the Oldsmobile dealership of Bowell McDonald was here, and later a Chevrolet dealership. By the 1930s it became retail stores – and in 1981 when this picture was taken, Lo Cost Rent A Car.

Although it’s now incorporated into the same lot today, the single storey building to the south was designed and built by builders Tinney & Humphries for Mr. C J De Vos Van Steenwyck. There’s no sign of anyone with that name in the city at that time, but Clara Jacoba De Vos van Steenwyck (who was a Baroness), arrived in New York in 1914, and gave Vancouver as her residence. She was resident in Vancouver in the 1920s, featured in a Vancouver Sun profile in 1945, and died here in 1960. She applied to both lease and own large areas of land in BC in the 1930s, and we rather suspect that the ‘Mr’ in the building permit was inaccurate, as she apparently never married. A 1924 permit for a house on W47th Avenue identified her as ‘Van Steenwyk, Miss’. She carried out repairs to this building in 1920, when it was identified as ‘George’s Place’ in the permit. (The accurate spelling of the baroness’s name was Steenwijk, but that seems to have been too difficult for Canadian records). George’s Place was run by George Mottishaw and George Truesdell, but the street directory doesn’t tell us what the Georges did.

The next, two-storey building is unusual because it was built in 1909, and of concrete construction (just in its infancy as a construction technique). It was built by Chaffer & Kimber at a cost of $3,700 for E Lovick, and designed by Thomas Hooper. Actually it was probably either F or H Lovick – Frank and Harold Lovick ran a piano store here (Hicks and Lovick), although Herbert soon worked as the accountant for the News Advertiser. Hicks and Lovick continued here through to the early 1920s, (Gideon Hicks was in Victoria). The Frank Lovick Piano Co continued later in the 1920s on the 1000 block of Granville.

The four storey building to the south is the Clifton Hotel, the Clifton Rooms when it opened in 1910. It was developed by C F Gustafson, a Swedish contractor, who started out building houses in the early 1900s, and later an apartment building in the West End in the 1920s. This building’s design was a cookie cutter of at least five others, all still standing today, all designed by Parr and Fee, with centre pivoted windows and a front façade of glazed white brick. Today it’s still a rooming house.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W03.14

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West Georgia Street – 1200 block, north side

The heritage apartment building on the corner of West Georgia and Bute in this 1981 picture is called The Banff today, but started life as Florence Court. Designed by H B Watson, it was built for an Irish-born real estate broker called James Byrne in 1909. In 1999 The Venus, a 34 storey condo tower was built to the west, replacing low commercial buildings. There were car showrooms here in the 1910s, (as we saw in the previous posts) and an original early 1900s house until at least 1948.

The next building down the street is one of the earliest international style office buildings in the city, and pretty much the only one that hasn’t been altered or re-clad. Completed in 1959 for Imperial Oil, it was designed by Hal Semmens soon after his partnership with Douglas Simpson had ended. The building is clad in two shades of grey, a darker blue grey and a pale grey, both in opaque glass, divided into a series of horizontal rectangular panels. Although founded in Ontario, Imperial has had a long history in Vancouver, opening Canada’s first service station in the city in 1907.

Across Jervis, on the shorter 1300 block, another condo tower was added in 1997. The Pointe is one of Bing Thom’s earliest towers, using an angled frame aligned with the street on a building partly set at an acute angle (to align with the Pender Street angle to the north) to create a dynamic design that’s unlike any other Vancouver residential tower. It was an early project for Grand Adex, a Concord Pacific related company, and was designed with Hancock Bruckner Eng and Wright.

Beyond it is a 1969 building, now a heritage building, built as the headquarters for the now defunct West Coast Transmission Co. Its unique characteristics were designed by Rhone and Iredale, collaborating with Bogue Babicki, a Polish-born engineer who worked on some of the most iconic Vancouver buildings including the Law Courts and Science World. The structure is designed to withstand a strong earthquake, and is said to be based on analyzing large trees that had survived earthquakes in other regions. They are able to sway during the quake and are therefore able to dissipate energy.

The building was designed with a concrete core to act as the trunk, with the elevators and utilities running vertically. The rest of the building was then hung from the core (with the frames starting from the top down, seen here in 1969) using steel cables to support them from the top. The cladding was then added from the bottom up. Over time the cables stretched a little, so there was a slight slope on the floors.

The building was converted in 2006 to residential use, and given a new name, Qube, with new replacement glazed walls to reasonably closely match the original (but now with opening windows, as required by residential code). It still ends up suspended some distance above the ground, with just the core reaching the ground (a detail lost from this distance, and with street trees along Georgia).

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W14.03

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Posted January 13, 2020 by ChangingCity in Still Standing

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The Berkeley – Bute Street

If we had waited for winter, more of this West End apartment building would be visible, but we chose summer as the building looks pretty much the same as when it was built in 1913, but the context has changed as the area’s street landscaping has matured. The apartments were worth $200,000 when they were built by Oliver Lightheart, the youngest of six Lightheart brothers who all came from Nottawasaga in Ontario, and all went into the construction and development business in Vancouver. Oliver was only 25 when he developed this building, and given the outlay it’s possible he may have had support from other family members. We have written about his family elsewhere, and seen his later investment property (also in the West End, and built in 1928) in an earlier post.

The Vancouver Public Library image dates from 1930, when there were no street trees on Bute, only on Nelson. The building was renovated in 2011, and continues to offer 36 rental units – these days ‘heritage’ apartments.

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Posted January 9, 2020 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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Granville Street – 700 block east side (4)

This undated image shows the other buildings that were replaced when the Best Buy / Winners retail building was built here in 2003. We looked at the buildings to the south (just out of the picture, to the far right) in our previous post. In the ‘before’ image the two-storey building on the right of the picture has been split up, and part of W T Whiteway’s 1904 façade is obscured with sheet steel on Murray Goldman’s store. We know from another Archives picture from the early 1970s that to the south of the Goldman store, Le Chateau had a store here, so this image probably dates to the mid to late 1960s. We also know it dates to before 1974 because that’s when the Birks Building (past the Vancouver Block) was demolished in 1974.

The Goldman stores were a Vancouver institution; Mr. Goldman’s advertising (and humour) were well known, and popular. His 2011 obituary noted “The downtown outlet moved to Granville Street, where it thrived until the city banned street parking in favour of a bus-and-pedestrian mall. The move drove away shoppers. “Business would start slow in the morning,” Mr. Goldman complained, “then taper off through the rest of the day.” He moved the outlet indoors and underground at the nearby Pacific Centre Mall, where it would later become Goldman and Son. He had introduced a son, David, to the business when he was 14. The family business is now best known for its Boys’ Co. stores.”

To the north, behind the Brill trolley bus, was a two storey building with bay windows on the upper floor. In 1906 it was home to The Opera Café (run by J A Byers), Larson Bros, tailors and Direct Importing Tea & Coffee Co, managed by Herbert Cragg, with four apartments upstairs. That’s the first time it appears, so it was built around 1905, a period when the building permits have been lost. Our earlier image of this block suggests the central part of the building had an ornate pediment, lost by the 1970s. The Opera Café soon became the Granville Café, the Opera Pool room was in the middle, behind a shoe store, and Sam Scott sold clothing in the third retail unit. The apartments were occupied by Rhoda Backett, a masseuse, Thomas J Ogle, who was proprietor of the Windsor Hotel, (next door), John Glenn of Glenn & Co, an agency that dealt in timber and coal lands, and Mrs. I M Paterson. Rhoda was unusually independent: she was born in Lambeth in England in 1876, arrived in Canada in 1905 (having sailed to Boston), and had Emily Short, who was 10 years younger, lodging with her in 1911. In 1909 she owned the Turkish Baths on West Pender, and in 1911, she applied to buy 640 acres of land in the Coast District ‘near the Red Stone Indian Reserve’ in the Chilcotin. A year earlier she applied to buy 640 acres in Omineca, near Fort Fraser. It doesn’t appear she was successful in acquiring the land: she stayed in the city and became a nurse. She was still single when she died in Vancouver in 1949. In 1913 Thomas Fee said he owned the building when he carried out $400 of repairs, but there’s also another owner, Mr Doud (who owned the Boston Lunch, on West Hastings) who had Walter Hepburn carry out repairs to the Imperial Lunch here that year. He probably ran the café, rather than owning the building. In 1919 The Orpheum Café (another name change that occurred a few years earlier) paid for more alterations.

Beyond it was the former Windsor Hotel, although by the mid 1910s it was the Castle Hotel. It started life just 50 feet wide, as this 1909 image shows. There was an initial $10,000 building here in 1904, developed by A Williams, built by Baynes & Horie, and designed by Grant & Henderson. It looks like it was only a small building, with retail space – described as ‘brick and stone store’. The hotel appears in 1908, so was probably built above or alongside the retail building, but it too is in the ‘lost permit’ period. It also added a new four storey element to the south, and then was increased in height in 1911, with Grant & Henderson designing a $55,000 three storey addition built by C F Perry (again for A Williams). The resulting building is shown on this 1920s brochure, published by Glen Mofford in his history of the Castle. Subsequently two storeys were removed, so our 1970s image shows only five floors.

There were several A Williams in the city; the most likely to have the funds was Adolphus Williams, a lawyer and politician, born in Ontario but practicing in Vancouver since 1889. He developed another building on East Hastings, and possibly other properties as well. On his death in 1921 half of his property was bequeathed to his wife. On her death three years later it passed on to other relatives. A legal case in 1945 finally settled a complex taxation question related to the estate, which was described as being principally made up of real estate interests in Vancouver. In 1913 he also held successful gold mining interests near Lillooet.

Walter Hepburn (who repaired the building next door) was shown as the owner of the building in 1915 when he submitted a permit listing William Blackmore as designing $10,000 of work to alter the interior of the Castle Hotel, enlarging the lobby, bar & grill. As Blackmore had died in 1904, it was probably his son, E E Blackmore who designed the work. There was a main floor bar and lounge, with tapestries on the wall, transformed into men and women’s beer parlours a year after the end of prohibition in 1922 and a full three years before they were legally allowed to exist in Vancouver. (They used a “private club” legal loophole that many other Vancouver establishments adopted). In the 1950s the bar became known as a gay drinking establishment, although management threw out anyone who touched a same sex partner, leading to a “kiss in” protest by the Gay Liberation Front in the 1970s. Like all the buildings here it was demolished, in this case in 1990.

Between the Vancouver Block & the Birks Building was another small 3-storey building, dating back to 1912. It was another Grant & Henderson design, for John West, who spent $15,000 building the three storey structure, dwarfed by the $400,000 Vancouver Block completed two years earlier, and the $550,000 Birks building completed in 1912. It created another example of the ‘saw tooth’ pattern of development seldom seen outside Vancouver, and slowly disappearing as more consistent height buildings maximize permitted density across the city.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 800-437 and CVA 64-4.jpg

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Posted January 6, 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Granville Street – 700 block east side (3)

We looked at some of the buildings here 7 years ago. A little more recently we took this ‘after’ photograph of a similar view, and we’re posting it now to look at a couple of buildings overlooked in the earlier post. The ‘after’ shot is a bit out of date, as that’s the bottom of the ‘Future Shop’ blade sign, which now reads ‘Best Buy’. Today’s building is a comparatively low density fairly recently completed retail building, with the electronics store on the second floor, and a Winners store on the top. If it was being redeveloped today it would almost certainly have office space above that in a much larger building, but it was developed at a point (in 2003) when office vacancy rates were higher and demand much less than it is today.

In 1910, when George Alfred Barrowlclough took the picture, Joseph McTaggart’s store was on the corner, and Le Patourel & McRae’s Drugstore was to the north. We looked at the building a few years ago – it was built in 1904 by J Rogers – almost certainly Jonathan Rogers, the developer and builder of the Rogers Building down the street a few years later. He hired T E Julian to design the building which had the Sunset View apartments upstairs. We think that Mr McTaggart may have owned the building because in 1912 he got a permit worth $400 for repairs designed by Thomas Hooper. That same year the Royal Bank of Canada also hired Thomas Hooper to convert it to a bank branch at a cost of $10,000. The Bank finally closed in 1961, still looking quite similar then to 50 years earlier. It was replaced by a more modern bank building, which in turn was torn down for the retail building.

The next buildings seem to be designed ‘as a piece’, but built separately as one is three storeys, and the other only two. We’re fairly certain that the 3 storey building was built for a developer who lived in the West End, but made his money as a successful mineral miner near Nelson. The Ymir Herald in 1904 reported “Philip White, one of the pioneer mining men of Ymir, was in town again this week. Mr. White is one of the fortunate ones who has reaped a harvest from his mining operation! in this rich section, and he is now located at Vancouver, where he is enjoying u well deserved rest. He has acquired several building lots in the coast metropolis, and is erecting large brick buildings. He has also a ranch of 1200 acres and 150 head of cattle in the Chilicotin district in northern British Columbia. During his stay here he visited the Wilcox mine, which owes its present day success to his indefatigable and untiring persistence, by which it was successfully steered through many troubled financial crises.

This was still a cleared site in 1903, but developed by 1911. That year we know Philip White extended 782 and 784 Granville (the second building to the north) at a cost of either $1,800 or $2,000 (or, less likely, both, as he had two different permits for the same lot, with different builders). He paid for more repair in 1922, and in 1916 he paid for $1,400 of repairs to the next building, 788 Granville. While we don’t have a permit, we do have a Contract Record note that Philip White had hired W T Whiteway to design a Granville Street block in 1905, so this seems the likely candidate. It was a 3-storey building, of pressed brick, so that would accurately describe the building.

The next door to the north was also designed by W T Whiteway a year earlier, for J C Woodrow. It was built by David Jane, and cost $14,000. C S Gustafson (‘of 1436 Thurlow’) had a permit in 1916 to add an extra floor, but it doesn’t appear that he followed through – instead in 1921 he added a light well and had permits for other alterations. Mr. Woodrow’s death notice in a Keremeos newspaper in 1909 mentions his property interests “Mr. Woodrow was a native of England, but entered the butcher business in Vancouver about twenty years ago, and prospered so that he was able to retire four or five years ago with a large estate, the administration of which has taken up much of his time since then. Being an intimate friend of W. H. Armstrong, he became associated with the latter in the organization of the Keremeos Land Co., in which he was a large stockholder and an active director.”

Carl Gustafson, who later owned, and altered, the building was a builder from Sweden who started by building houses in the West End as early as 1903, and developed the Clifton Hotel on Granville Street in 1910. In 1911 he was shown as aged 37 (having arrived in 1890), living with his wife Hannah and their three sons and their domestic servant, and a lodger. In 1928 he built a West End apartment building, The Biltmore.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 229-09

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