East Georgia Street – 200 block, north side

This 1960s image by W E Graham shows very little change in this part of Chinatown over sixty years. On the right hand edge of the picture are the Arno Rooms. Completed in 1912, they were designed by E E Blackmore and S B Birds for Leon Way Co. When they opened in 1913 they were called the International Rooms, but they closed within a year, and didn’t reopen again until 1916 when they were called the Sunnyside Rooms. Two of the stores were vacant that year, but a Chinese grocer, Wing Sun Co occupied the corner. There’s no contemporary sign of a ‘Leon Way’ in any document other than the Development Permit, and it’s possible that it was a Chinese name that was recorded by the clerk as he heard it.

Next door is 271 E Georgia, which dates back to 1905. There’s the original house structure set back behind the store front. The next two-storey buildings were built in 1938 and 1936. The three storey building to the west of these was developed by A Urquhart in 1911, and designed by Stroud & Keith. It cost $20,000, and Allan Urquhart was also listed as the builder. He had added to a house further down the street to the west as early as 1903, and in 1909 was in partnership with Roderick McLellan in a liquor wholesaling business. There were apparently four Urquhart brothers, all born in Ontario. William ran his own liquor business, but Hugh, John and Allan were in partnership from around 1891 to 1911. In 1912 the main floor was a Chinese grocer’s Kwong Chong Co, with the Urquhart rooms upstairs.

Stuart & White designed the four storey building for someone recorded on the building permit as M K Nigore. The building cost $30,000 and was built by Dominion Construction Company, also in 1911. The street directory identifies this as the home to the Japan Rice Mill, owned and operated by K Negoro. There were two people with that name in the city in 1901, both arrived from Japan, one in 1898 and the other in 1911. As neither seem to have been identified in the 1911 census (at least not with that spelling), we don’t know whether it was either of them, and if so which one ran the Rice Mill. There’s a 1906 advertisement for the Rice Mill located on the opposite side of this block; the business got its rice from the Sam Kee Company’s wholesale rice importing business.

Beyond that, one of the oldest houses on the block has recently been redeveloped. 245 East Georgia was replaced with a nine storey rental building in 2018. Beyond it, in 2002 the Lore Krill Co-op replaced a warehouse designed by E E Blackmore in 1910 for T T Wallace, and home to Ah Mew’s produce business

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1135-34

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Posted February 24, 2020 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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