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 The ‘after’ shot is a bit out of date, as that’s the bottom of the ‘Future Shop’ blade sign, which now reads ‘Best Buy’.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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