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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