Thurlow and West Pender Street – south side

This 1967 image shows an office building that today looks like it dates from the 1980s. 1112 West Pender and several of it’s neighbours developed in the ’80s were clad in red brick, but in 1960, when it was completed, it had a more contemporary look. There were angled vertical aluminum sunshades in front of the windows – a device seen on contemporary buildings like the UK Building and the City Library. We suspect there may have been issues with that idea in our West Coast climate, as they didn’t survive very long on any of the buildings.

On the east side of Thurlow, closer to us, were three buildings from an earlier era. They were all demolished soon after this picture was taken. A new office building was developed here, completed in 1971, designed by Gerald Hamilton and Associates for Dawson Developments. That 12 storey building, with pre-cast concrete panel walls, was demolished in 2019, with an adjacent parkade, and is now the site for the construction of a new 33 storey office tower.

On the left were the Crosby Rooms at 1054 W Pender, with Coffee Time CafĂ© and Ivan’s Barber’s Shop. We’re pretty certain this was developed by Leonard P Newton, an English-born real estate broker. L P Newton obtained a permit to build a rooming house in 1910 at 1054 Pendrell, but the legal lot recorded was this one, and the rooms here were completed in 1911, so it seems likely that the clerk made an error. Mr. Newton and his family were shown in Vancouver in the 1911 census, with his son, married daughter and her son living with Leonard and his wife Agnes who was from Ontario. The name of the rooms may have reflected Mr. Newton’s origins; a Leonard Newton was born in Lancashire in 1856. As with most investment rental properties, the owner didn’t manage the rooms. Initially that was Louana MacDonald. Over the years the proprietor (who was usually not the owner) changed many times; in the 1950s the rooms were managed by Victor and Lorna Zbyryt.

Next door, the lot runs all the way back to Eveleigh Street, and there were several buildings constructed over the years. Here, we think there was a house on the street that was moved in 1911 to middle of the lot, and this new brick 3-storey building replaced it. The architect was C O Wickenden, and the permit says the project cost $7,500. The architects fees were probably discounted, as the owner was also C O Wickenden. A year later he spent a further $8,000 on the property, making alterations (and perhaps adding the retail units). He made further minor alterations in 1913, and in 1917. His home address was here too, all the way though to the 1920s. We think he may have occupied the house that was moved to me centre of the lot.

Charles Wickenden, who was born in Kent, in England, practiced architecture in Vancouver from 1889, but this wasn’t his first city where he designed buildings. He first moved to New York in the early 1870s before moving to New Brunswick in 1876, where his work included Acadian College in Wolfesville, Nova Scotia. He may have met his wife, Clara there, as she was from New Brunswick. In 1881 he had moved west to Winnipeg, where he had several prestigious commissions including court houses and the Hudson’s Bay Company. He announced he was moving to Victoria in 1888, but instead started designing a long list of significant Vancouver buildings in 1889, including Christ Church. He retired from designing buildings around 1914, and died 20 years later.

At the end of the block there was a single house in the 1900s and early 1910s, with this retail addition appearing later. It was owned in 1923 by Credit Foncier, who paid for some minor repairs.


Posted April 23, 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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