Main and Powell Streets – south east corner

The building on the corner was constructed in 1903, built by J L McTaggart at the modest cost of $2,500. It no doubt helped that Mr. McTaggart claimed to design and built the structure himself. John L McTaggart was in the hardware business as McTaggart and Moscrop, with a store on Carrall Street. He was already in partnership with Mr. Moscrop in the hardware business by 1898, and he may have been in the city as early as 1890. In 1893 he was shown as aged 31, from Middlesex, Ontario, running a flour and feed store when he married Carrie McArthur from Yale, Michigan, who was 10 years younger. By the 1901 census they had two daughters and a son.

In 1912 he was running a grocery store at the corner of Granville and Robson. He was the victim of impersonation, when George McKay was accused of saying he was Mr McTaggart when telephoning orders for butter and eggs, which he requested to be left on the curb. He then stole them for sale in his own premises, leaving Mr McTaggart with a bill for goods he knew nothing about.

In 1914 he was on the Board of Control of the Exhibition Association, who ran the PNE site, and in 1917 he was considering leasing the failed City Market. The Daily World reported “The city council, sitting as the market and exhibition committe, and Mr. J. L. McTaggart. prospective leasee of the old city market building, on Main street, failed to come to any agreement on the renting of the city’s “white elephant” at the meeting; of that committee yesterday. Mr. McTaggart some time ago offered the city council to take a five year lease of the market for $800 per annum, but the committee to which the question was referred, did not think that was enough rental, especially as Mr. McTaggart wanted the use of the market weigh scales and slips. It was stated by Aid. Kirk that the market slips were already bringing in a total of $140 per month to the city although only a portion of the market building was leased. Ald. Gale moved that the city lease to Mr. McTaggart the unoccupied portion of the market together with the use of the wharf but not the right to charge wharfage for boats landing there. In supporting the motion Ald. Hamilton declared that It was important that the public should not be debarred for the next five years from landing produce in boats at the wharf. Mr. McTaggart declared those terms were not altogether satisfactory.” Council agreed to lease the building, but without a monopoly on the use of the wharf, at a subsequent meeting, although he quickly abandoned running the operation, which attracted very few customers.

Mr. McTaggart was well-known enough to have a cartoon in the local press. On at least two occasions, in 1909 and 1920 he ran (unsuccessfully) as an independent candidate for Alderman. Mr. McTaggart died in 1934, survived by his wife and daughter. He seems to have sold his development here fairly soon after it was built. It was initially leased to U Kawasaki, who sold Japanese goods, and a few years later it was a liquor store. By 1911 G T Sakie owned it, carrying out repairs, and two years later Marshall Smith carried out more repairs.

Next door the Queen’s Hotel opened in 1907, Harry Hopkirk, proprietor. In 1906, Henry Hopkirk ran the Queen’s Hotel at 423 W Cordova, so the new building inherited an existing business. There was work here in 1910, designed Dalton & Eveleigh and built by William O’Dell at a cost of $6,250 for ‘Mr. White’. That may be an error on the part of the clerk: the White Grocery Co Ltd occupied the main floor of the premises in 1911, moving from two blocks further south, but it was actually run by Randolph Fox and David J Turner. We suspect the name may have implied the lack of Asian involvement in the business. In 1910 G B Shepherd ran the Queen’s Hotel, and in 1912 L J Jamieson and L Falk.

In 1915 the property had some minor repair, when ‘J Beaty’ was listed as owner. There’s nobody listed under this name in the city, although there was a J Beattie. The hotel and café and grocery underneath didn’t have any proprietors listed, just their ethnicity. In 1919 U Kakitachi was listed as the owner of the building, carrying out $400 of repairs.

Unlike many of the city’s hotels, the Queen’s Hotel never changed its name. J Lee was running it in 1955, with Lee Lind operating the Queen’s Lunch on the main floor. This image (by Walter E Frost) dates to 1971, just before both buildings were replaced in 1973 with the contemporary brutalist Courthouse, designed by Harrison, Plavsic and Kiss. The $6 million building went to Council in 1971, where it was noted that “His Honour District Judge Eckardt spoke in connection with the matter, generally in favour of the report and the City Prosecutor appeared stating he was not in agreement with the proposed concept of the building.” It still operates as the Provincial Courthouse nearly 50 years later.

Image source, City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-369




Posted 26 March 2020 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

Tagged with

%d bloggers like this: