800 block Gore Avenue – east side

Although the houses seen on the right look (kind of) old, these are all recent buildings, replacing some seriously old ones on the left. This part of Gore Avenue was initially developed early enough that we don’t know who built the buildings, only how some were altered over the years. To the north of the lane (on the left) were 802 to 808 Gore – that’s 808 in front of the car; 806 set back and peeking over the top, and 804 on the left. To the south were 830, 834 and 836 (two addresses sharing a sub-lot), 840 was the house on the right and beyond it, off the picture to the right, was 848 Gore.

The earliest permit we have for the block was for William Main spending $200 in 1902 on an “addition to frame dwelling”. In the street directory he had already moved, but in 1901 he lived at 840 Gore, the house on the right. William was a laborer, so he’d done well to own a house and have $200 to add to it, presumably before selling it and moving on. We’re reasonably confident that several of the buildings on this half block were here in the 1890s, but were initially numbered as 810, 812 and 814. They were occupied in 1895 by Alex Main, John McPherson, and David Main. Even earlier, in 1891, William Main was listed – but no numbers had been assigned to the street at that point. He was a seaman, aged 30, living with his wife Margaret (30) and two other relatives, James Main (a cousin, who was a carpenter, aged 21) and Alexander Main, also a seaman, 24, all born in Scotland.

They had arrived in 1889; in 1890 William was living on Prior Street, so the house looks to date from around then, and was the first on the block. In 1901 William was 42, a sailor, Margaret was 35, and they had two nephews living with them, Robert and James, aged 8 and 6 (both born in BC), and a lodging couple, Archibald (a tinsmith) and Jennie Bell, from Ontario. By 1911 the family had moved to Manitoba Street: William and Margaret added (or admitted to) a few more years – he was 57; Margaret was 51 and his brother, David was with them, as well as three nephews, and their daughter, Elizabeth, who was 15 and shown born in Scotland.

The next building to the north, 830 Gore, appeared as a house in 1895, with John McPherson, a carpenter, living there. In 1900 it was Edward Downing, a gas-fitter and in 1902 Harley Wylie. That suggested it might have been a rented property, but Harley owned it in 1911 when he added a $50 addition to the frame house that was here. Harley was from the US, and lived with his mother and sisters in 1901, when he was a 21 year old bottler, which was what he was still doing in 1911, working for the Pacific Bottling Works, run by William Quann, not too far from here, on Railway Street. In 1922 Ben Gerdo was here, but in 1923 R Leonard carried out $1,200 of alterations to the property – although there doesn’t seem to be anyone with that name in the city. By then there were Chinese residents on the block, and the directory tended to put either ‘Occupied’ or ‘Chinese’ – on properties, including this one, which after then had two addresses, so presumably two units.

802 Gore, which was a store, disappeared from the directories some time in the 1910s, (probably readdressed to Union Street) but the other three houses were here for decades. All the houses first appeared around 1901, and were probably approved just before the records we can easily access.

The houses gradually disappeared after this 1958 image. By 1962 the ends of the block had been demolished, and by the 1970s 806 had also gone. By 2003 only the two houses on either side of the lane were still standing, and in 2008 the three new houses to the south were developed, designed by Intarsia. In 2012 a second strata with five houses were built to the north of the lane, designed by Weidmann Architectural Design.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu P508.52

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Posted February 13, 2020 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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