Robson and Jervis Streets

This fine craftsman house at 1300 Robson Street was built in 1904 by Bedford Davidson, and cost a significant sum for the day – $6,000. It was designed by Honeyman and Curtis for Dr Boyle. He was a medical doctor, but also a property developer. In 1909 he built the Travelers Hotel, which is now called the Metropole Hotel, on Abbot Street. He also developed the Royal Hotel on Granville Street in 1911, and he had Bedford Davidson build four houses in 1903 on Thurlow, and another set of four on Broughton.

Dr Robert Clarke Boyle first moved to Vancouver in 1899 or in 1900 and appears in the 1901 census with his wife, Margaret, and daughter Mildred, who was six. They had an English nurse, and Robert’s sister, also called Margaret was living with them. A decade later, when they were in this house, the family had grown with 10 year old Bidwell, and Edward, who was three. They had both a nurse and a servant. Dr. Boyle and his wife were both shown as born in Ontario, but Mildred was born in Manitoba. If the 1935 obituary noting his sudden death is correct, his wife was in Winnipeg when they met, where Dr. Boyle studied. He initially practiced medicine in Morden, Manitoba before moving to Vancouver.

Unlike some of the city’s property developing physicians, Dr. Boyle had a widely regarded medical practice, based in his home, and became president of the Vancouver Medical Association. The family’s wealth meant that they could afford to educate their children in England. A 1914 newspaper report noted “Mrs. Robert C. Boyle returned to town on Monday from a lengthy stay in England. Her daughter. Miss Mildred Boyle, and her elder son, who have been attending school there, will follow later, arriving here in August. By 1920 Dr. Boyle moved to Richmond, to Sea Island, then back to Vancouver (on Beach Avenue) in the 1930s. His practice was based on Granville Street. In 1931 the newspaper reported “Dr. R. C. Boyle one of the best-known surgeons of Vancouver, was operated on at St. Paul’ Hospital yesterday for , appendicitis, following a hurried trip from Campbell River, where he was holidaying.” Bidwell Boyle married Zaida Dill in 1929, and later moved to the US. He and Zaida were living in Oregon when he died in 1966.

Over the years the house was occupied by several residents – we don’t know if Dr. Boyle sold it, or leased it out. It’s seen here in a 1930 Vancouver Public Library image when Frank J Lyons, a barrister, was living here. A few years later the BC Teacher’s Federation and publishers J C Dent had their offices located here. We’re assuming that the building was retained, rather than redeveloped for offices. A 1969 aerial appears to show little redevelopment of the houses in this location at that period. The Listel Hotel was developed here in 1986, designed by the Buttjes Group, and opening as O’Doul’s Best Western Motor Hotel.

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Posted March 12, 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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