Archive for October 2020

Cambie Street north at West Cordova

This view north towards Burrard Inlet and the north shore is said to have been photographed around 1900, but actually it must be a little earlier than that. Two of the buildings are still standing, and most of the others we can see were built not too long after the picture was taken. On the left edge is the Horne Block, developed by James W Horne in 1895, and designed by N S Hoffar. It has an unusual arrangement of two floors of retail, exploiting the slope of Cambie Street. The upper floors were initially offices, but for many years have been SRO residential, with 18 rooms known as Danny’s Inn.

Next door is the Panama Block, developed in 1913. It’s triangular, without a lane, and was designed by fairly obscure architects (Wallington & Wheatley) who only appeared in the city in 1912, just as the economy tanked. The owners were McConnell, Abbott & Drayton and it cost $10,000 to build. We looked at who the developers were in the linked post.

Across the street to the north is one of the earlier buildings still standing today, developed as the Springer-Van Bramer Block, by American ships captain and mill owner James Van Bramer and mill manager Ben Springer. Built in 1888, it’s another N S Hoffar design, and once had the insignia of the Freemasons, whose hall was on the top floor. Down the hill, the Regina Hotel was the only building in Granville Township that survived the 1886 fire. It was replaced in 1907 by the Hotel Edward, developed by Swedish mining engineer Charles Edward Beckman at a cost of $21,000, although we don’t know the architect. He leased it for ten years to two former police officers, former jailer John Deptford, and Constable Gosby. They were fired by Chief Chisholm, after a bottle of liquor was found in a cell with its inmate. The chief in turn resigned his post, claiming he couldn’t run the police force due to interference from other officials in the city. John Deptford ran the hotel for several years, and today (unusually) it’s office space upstairs, rather than residential.

On the right, hidden by the trees, today there’s the McDowell, Atkins and Watson building from 1899, designed by J E Parr just before he formed his partnership as Parr and Fee. As there’s an earlier building in the picture, it must date back to closer to 1898. The developers were druggists, noted for their home-grown syrups like Linseed and Hoarhound, their Beef, Iron and Wine preparation and Extract of Sarsasparilla and Iodides. A few years later Stark’s Glasgow House moved their dry goods store here.

Across Cordova is the Whetham Block, developed by Dr. Whetham (who also built the Arlington Block in 1887 that faces the Springer-Van Bramer building). This building came a year after the Arlington, so was built in 1888, and was designed by N S Hoffar. Although a medical doctor, James Whetham spent his time as a real estate developer; by 1889 he had the sixth largest land holdings in the city, was on the board of trade and was a city alderman. In 1969 the almost windowless building that replaced Whetham’s was the one of only two buildings completed for Project 200, a massive redevelopment plan that would have seen the entire waterfront of Gastown demolished to be replaced with a row of towers over a waterfront freeway. Once the plan was dropped, this rather more modest structure was home to CNCP Telecommunications – perhaps the first serious hi-tech investment in the city, designed by Francis Donaldson and developed by Grosvenor Estates. Today it has been refigured as office space, as there’s no longer a  need for buildings full of equipment.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 371-2095



Posted 29 October 2020 by ChangingCity in Altered, Gastown

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BC Electric Yard from West Pender Street

We saw a glimpse of the Terminal building for BC Electric, with their offices above, in an earlier post, and in slightly more detail. Fronting onto West Hastings, the building runs almost the full depth of Carrall, and the construction was valued at $350,000. W Marwell Somervell designed the building, completed in 1911.

A 1910 cutting identifies J L Putnam as running the office for the Seattle-based Somervell, and subsequently he became a full partner, and may well have designed this building. It had a basement and five floors; the basement had meter rooms, mechanical and furnace departments, and a ‘trainmen’s lounging room’. Among other rooms on the main floor was a gas showroom and a ladies’ retiring room.

The depot had three tracks, and as the main 1923 Vancouver Public Library image shows, a shed was part of the original design. (It’s shown on the contemporary insurance map as ‘steel frame’). This 1914 postcard shows that the building looks bigger from the opposite side of the street, as the shallow aspect of its design isn’t apparent.

The last interurban service ran in 1958, but it ended earlier in Vancouver;  The last streetcar line in Vancouver, the 14 Hastings East, ran for the last time on April 22, 1955. The office building was no longer used by BC Electric after 1957, when they moved to their new Burrard Street tower. It continues as an office building, with a lighting showroom in the enclosed car barn entrance.


Posted 26 October 2020 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Robson and Bute Streets

This section of Bute has been closed to through traffic and turned into a local plaza. In 1981 there were single storey retail stores on Robson and up to the lane, and two houses across the lane on Bute Street, one on the corner of Haro Street. That’s still standing, but the house behind it has been demolished. The houses were built in 1906, on Haro, and 1907, on the lane. The Haro building was big, and developed by Edward Hobson. In fact it was never a home, but a rooming house, with 8 tenants when it first opened, and 12 today. The developer, Edward Hobson, was an English-born builder and investor. We looked at his history in connection to his Homer Street apartments, also still standing today. He was 49 when he developed the apartments here, and living with his wife Mary, whose surname was Reilly before she married Edward. This became known as Reilly House.

To the north, the house on the lane was unusual; in 1907 as it was described as “Concrete dwelling [cement]” and cost $6,700 to build. John J Hanna, who built the house, moved in soon after. He was an undertaker, and the Archives have an appropriately stern portrait of him. He was a member of the Vancouver Pioneers’ Association, and apparently first shows up in the Vancouver street directory in 1895 working as a clerk for Lockhart and Center; undertakers. A year later George Center and John Hanna were in business together as undertakers, based on Cordova, and after 1912 on West Georgia. They owned a motorized hearse as early as 1915. John was from Ontario, (his father was Irish and his mother from the USA). While the street directory got his first name wrong before 1895, the census shows he was here earlier; in 1891 he was aged 31, and living with his wife, Sarah, also from Ontario, and their children aged Otto, 1, and Leila, 4, and working as a house builder.

His obituary in the Province in January 1934 gave his life story “Mr. J. J. Hanna, 74, president of Center & Hanna Ltd. and one of Vancouver’s moat prominent old-timers, died suddenly early this morning while en route to California to visit his daughter. Mrs. Hanna was with him when he passed away. Apparently in good health, Mr. Hanna left here Monday morning, and at 7 o’clock last night caught the steamer Santa Rosa from Victoria. Shortly after midnight he was taken with a heart attack. The ship was then off Cape Flattery. The remains win be taken to Ban Francisco and returned to Vancouver for the funeral at the end of this week. A highly-esteemed citizen, Mr. Hanna had spent the last forty-two years in Vancouver. He was born in Janetvllle, Ont, and as a young man engaged in the shoe business in that town. In 1891 he came to Vancouver, and two years later formed a partnership in the undertaking business with Mr. George L. Center, who died some years ago. Their establishment in early days was on Cordova street, on the north side, between Abbott and Carrall streets. A prominent Mason, Mr. Hanna was member of Mount Herman Lodge and of King David Lodge in West Vancouver. He was also past grand master of Western Star Lodge No. 10 I. o. o. F. and a leading member in the Rotary Club. He was a past president of the Vancouver Pioneers Association; also of the Victoria County Old-timers. Besides his wife, he leaves a son, Mr. Otto Hanna, 6113 Angus drive. and a daughter, Leila, 6876 Marguerite, now visiting in Los Angeles. He has two brothers, W. J. Hanna In Victoria and A. E. In Meaford, Ont. Two sisters, Mrs. J. R. Magee of Janetvllle and Mrs. M. Richardson of Peterboro, Ont., also survive.” Sarah Hanna continued to run the business until her death in 1937.

We don’t know who developed the single storey retail here, but it wasn’t until the 1930s. This block of Robson was still houses until then; tobacconist Con Jones lived on the south west corner of Bute and Robson (just out of shot) for over 20 years. In 1988 the stores were redeveloped with a more substantial 2-storey retail building, with a restaurant on the second floor, designed by Sidney Suen.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 779-W09.36


Posted 22 October 2020 by ChangingCity in Altered, West End

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Main Street – 400 block, east side

Technically this picture isn’t of Main Street; it’s of Westminster Avenue. The picture dates from 1907, and the Main Street name switch took place in 1910. This block had fancier buildings than are found today, as Westminster was one of the more important city streets, crossing False Creek on a bridge and leading to Kingsway which in turn linked to New Westminster, already an established town when Vancouver was created.

This block started at Hastings street, just behind the photographer. We don’t know who built any of these buildings, because they all pre-date 1900 and we don’t have building permits for the 1890s. There were two more buildings on the block to the north; the first in this picture is the City Meat Market in 412 Westminster Ave. It was part of the business empire of Pat Burns, run in Vancouver by his brother Dominic. Upstairs Dr. H R Storrs had his office, as did James Duncan, a commercial agent, and Lockwood and Fleming, who ran a real estate business. Next door was G W Hutchings, who ran a furniture store. He sold floor covering as well – carpets and linoleum.

This view is from a postcard – probably produced by Valentine & Sons. They also had a coloured version, although the colour was added by hand before the cards were printed as a reproduction.

At 420 W J Orr sold boots and shoes, at 424 the Royal Bank of Canada branch was on the main floor, but they were building a new larger building at the end of the block, and upstairs Edward Oliver ran his contracting business and H C Freshwater ran the Freshwater Studios, on the corner of Hastings. Lewis and Sills sold hardware beyond that, and their business provides the only permit we can find: they carried out repairs in 1901. ‘Scott’s Toggery’, a clothing business, occupied the next building (replaced in 1908 by Weinrobe & Co, who sold men’s furnishings – so another clothing business). The building at the end of the block, on the corner of East Pender, is one we’ve looked at already. In that post, with an image of the building in 1901, C F Foreman had their grocery business in the 1889 building. In 1907 The City Brokerage Co had offices upstairs, with the Canadian Bank of Commerce below, and grocers La Belle & Co had replaced Foreman’s on the corner. Ulderic La Belle (and his son, with the same name) ran the store. He was from Quebec, as was his wife, Marie, but their son (who was apparently known as Ulrie when he was young) was born in Manitoba in 1890, and their younger children Yvonne in 1893 and Albert in 1896 were born in BC.

Today a few of the buildings are still the original structure, although they all have new facades. 434 Main (the Orr and bank buildings) was rebuilt in 1986 by the Hoy Ping Benevolent Association.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Str P425


Posted 19 October 2020 by ChangingCity in Altered, East End

Powell Street – 300 block

Here’s the 300 block of Powell street looking westward. We looked at the history of T Maikawa’s art deco department store on the right (which today is a food manufacturing business) in an earlier post. In 1936 it replaced a 3-storey building with bay windows, seen here in 1929. It was a boarding house run by Y Uchibori, built around 1907 (when the building permits are missing). Mr. Maikawa had his store on the main floor. Before that there was a house here, occupied for many years by Maggie Phillips, a widow who worked as a nurse. The smaller buildings to the west were owned by builders Champion and White.

Next door. on the edge of the picture is another 3-storey building, a $35,000 apartment building designed (according to the permit) by ‘Horton & Phillips’ for ‘Mrs. Tuthill”. She lived in Glencoe Lodge at the time, and was originally from New York. She married David S. Tuthill, an accountant, in 1874, and they moved to Portland, Oregon. He was apparently successful in business; by 1897 he was president of the Acme Mills Ltd. He died at his home in 1897, from a gunshot to his head, which was probably self-inflicted. By 1899 Emma Tuthill had moved to Vancouver, and become a partner in F.R. Stewart and Company, a firm of wholesale produce merchants. Her daughter, Helen, married a Portland bank manager in 1898, and they also moved north, (her husband became an accountant at B.C. Sugar, and later President) but she died in 1915. Her mother died in 1927, and both are buried in Mountain View Cemetery. The architects were actually Horton & Phipps, but the clerk could be permitted the error as they were a Victoria partnership.

On the left is the 1912 rental apartments designed by William Gardiner, according to the building permit for David Sanguineti, who paid E J Ryan $45,000 to build the building. David and his wife Mary were from Italy and in their late 40s in 1911, and apparently earned enough income from their three lodgers and other sources to not have to work (according to the census). Their lodgers included an Italian tailor and an engineer.

David had arrived in Canada in 1880, when he would have been aged around 17, and Mary was 33 when she came in 1898. We had some trouble tracing David in Vancouver, until we remembered the struggles clerks had with spelling names. That way we found David living in the household of Angelo Calori in the Hotel Europe, in the 1901 census, when he was recorded as David Sanguinati, a barkeeper. The street directory managed a typo and a spelling puzzle, and called him Davis Sanguinetti in 1901 (the first time we find him in the city), David Sanginnet in 1902 and Sanguinette in 1904. By 1909 David was living on East Cordova and was the hotel Europe’s clerk, listed as Sanquineti. Strangely, although he supposedly developed this relatively expensive building in 1912, he was listed as David Sanguite, a labourer, that year.

In 1914 David applied to prospect for coal and natural gas on a 640 acre property on the Fraser River. By 1916 he was recorded as Sanguineti again, and once more was the clerk at the Hotel Europe. He still had the same job in 1920, and was only 59 when he died in 1921. He has a prominent memorial in Mountain View cemetery, which tells us he came from Genova. His widow, Maria Martina Sanguineti was buried with him following her death in 1937. She died at St Paul’s hospital, and the funeral cortege left from Angelo Calori’s home in the West End. For David to have accumulated sufficient funds to develop a building like this from a clerk’s job in a hotel seems unlikely. It seems more likely that he was backed by other partners, most likely Mr. Calori who was very successful, and reasonably wealthy.

The building housed the Sun Theatre from 1912-1918. It was in the eastern half of the building, so not quite in this image. C F Edwards ran the movie theatre initially, and in 1913 advertised ” CHANGE OF PROGRAMME DAILY THE SUN THEATRE 368 POWELL STREET, 6 BIG REELS. 5c. The home of Variety – Meet Me at the Sun. (Kindly note the Star is not the only six-reel show in town.) The operation appears short-lived, or at least there was no advertising after that year. By 1915 the building had become part of Japantown. The Canadian Japanese Association had their offices in the Sun Rooms, along with Japan Canada Resources Co and M Yamada’s real estate business, and the Theatre.

A story in the Vancouver Sun showed the attitudes to the Japanese population after they had been forced from the coast into internment camps in 1941. “PRESENT OPERATOR FINED $50 FORMER JAP LODGINGS ‘NOT FIT FOR HUMANS’ E. C Thompson, operator of a rooming house at 376 Powell, was fined $50 by Magistrate Mackenzie Matheson Monday for an Infraction of the health bylaw. In fining the defendant His Worship expressed the belief that former Japanese rooming houses were “in a filthy condition and not fit for human habitation.” Counsel for Thompson told the court his client had taken over the premises in 1941 and had since that date been ‘waging a relentless war on vermin’.

Today the Japanese connection has been restored with the building’s name; Sakura-So, now owned by the Lookout Emergency Aid Society, and providing 38 units in a renovated SRO. (There’s also the New Sakura-So, a seniors housing facility located in Burnaby). All of the tenants have come from the street or shelters, and have a chronic history of homelessness, and are supported by on site tenant support workers paid for through income from tenant rents, retail rents, and an annualized grant from Vancouver Coastal Health. Sakura So offers “supported transitional units” and aims to move residents to better and more permanent housing over time. Lookout spent over $3m improving conditions and adding bathrooms in the property in 2015. A grant of $190,000 from the City of Vancouver was tied to an agreement that the rooms would remain as social housing, at welfare rates, for 60 years or the life of the building.

The building next door was built as a bank in 1913. Designed by Parr Mckenzie and Day, it cost $30,000 as it was built with reinforced concrete construction for the Japan Trust Co. It replaced a building that had been erected in 1904 as tiny ‘cabin’ housing developed by H C Train.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-2467


Posted 15 October 2020 by ChangingCity in Altered, East End

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False Creek from above

This 2019 image, taken by Trish Jewison from the Global BC helicopter almost perfectly lined up with our 1982 aerial image. Cambie Bridge has been rebuilt on a slightly different alignment, SkyTrain tracks have been built, and BC Place stadium had a brand new inflatable roof in 1982, and a fairly new retractable one in 2019. There were towers at the end of False Creek, on Quebec Street, but they were the towers of a concrete batching plant, not the residential towers built by Bosa over nearly 20 years from start to finish.

While the buildings on Granville Island look almost the same – although Emily Carr School of Art hadn’t been developed – on the north shore of the creek the only building standing near the waterfront was the CP Roundhouse, still there today (after a fight) and repurposed as a community centre. Amazingly, considering it was still a working waterway with log booms occupying water lots while awaiting processing in the remaining sawmill, there were more recreational boats moored nearly 40 years ago than are permitted today.

While the Concord Pacific development had yet to be designed, the Expo ’86 World’s Fair was being planned; the name, and the committee to make it happen were selected at the end of 1981. Almost all vestiges of industrial use were replaced for a few months with what is surprisingly the last World’s Fair to be held on North American soil.

Image source: Trish Jewison Global BC helicopter.


Posted 12 October 2020 by ChangingCity in Altered

Canton Alley

This narrow Chinatown alley was, on some maps, Canton Street. It ran south from West Pender, which is where the buildings in the pictures are addressed to. We’ve seen the 1912 building (designed by J G Price) that fronted Pender until 1948, but this is an earlier building. The 2-storey building was developed by the Wing Sang Company in 1903, cost $10,000 and was designed by ‘Mr. O’Keefe’. Michael O’Keefe wasn’t really an architect, he was mostly a builder, but he was willing to design buildings for Chinese owners to build themselves. He didn’t even live in Vancouver; the only likely M O’Keefe we’ve found was a carpenter, and later a builder, living in Victoria.

Canton Alley, through the archway, was apparently developed in 1904, was a courtyard enclosed by two parallel rows of buildings running south from Pender Street. The permit for the construction describes a $50,000 project for ‘Five separate buildings on same ground’ on ‘CPR ground W of Carrall & S of Pender & N of Keefer Chinatown’, also designed by Mr. O’Keefe, but built by Yip Sang & Co. (Yip Sang was the anglicized name of the owner of the Wing Sang Company, and some early records switch ‘Yip’ and ‘Wing’). The premises were damaged in the 1907 anti-Asian riots, and in the subsequent hearings Wing Sang was described as owning half the buildings here. That was technically accurate, but overlooked the fact that the Lun Yick Co, a wholly owned Wing Sang subsidiary also owned property. Wing Sang may have been the lead owner with other Chinese merchants; although rivals in business, more expensive and ambitious transactions were often carried out by a consortium of owners. In 1911 several buildings were damaged by fire, and there were several buildings reconstructed on Canton Alley, and the entire Pender block was redeveloped as a six storey rooming house.

Canton Alley very quickly gained a reputation – and not a good one. The narrow space was home to over 500 residents, almost all men, packed in to small rooms with bunk beds. There was effectively an entire town centre in the alley, with grocers and general stores, restaurants, tailors, barbers, an employment agency and an umbrella repairer. In 1905 readers throughout North America could read about a dispute between partners in a Canton Alley tailoring business that led to two deaths. A row between two partners led to one owner, who wanted to split the partnership (and be paid out) shooting first the son of his partner, then killing the partner and then himself. The local press were happy to report the local police opinions. “Looks like a desperate dope fiend and crank,” observed Detective Waddell as he surveyed the hatchet-like face and glazed eyes of the murderer”.

In 1906, as the police closed down the nearby Dupont Street brothels, the Daily World reported that some of the women were moving to rooms in Canton Alley. Sure enough, by the end of the year police were raiding and arresting the ladies. “Celestlne Brown was named as the keeper, and Merle Thomas and Lena Hamilton as assistants”

The police interest in the ladies continued into 1907. Another raid was referenced in the Daily World, and suggested that 25 women were living in the alley. Belle Walker was fined $50 three days later, with a note adding “the police seem determined to put a stop to other than Chinese women living in the Chinese quarter”. Yip Sang was unhappy that his leaseholders were sub-letting their premises, but it was reported that a meeting at the Empire Reform Association got so heated that the landlords had to have a police escort to safely leave the meeting.

At the end of the year the intrepid Police Officer Latimer apprehended Fred Symonds in a Canton Alley house; he was wanted for beating a woman in the alley and stealing $50, using a ‘sandbag’ as a weapon – actually a length of garden hose with a iron bolt inserted. Attempting to escape arrest by using the weapon on the policeman added a charge of assault on an officer for the Ottawa-born Symonds.

Several assaults, sometimes involving firearms, were reported, almost always involving a gambling game. An opium den was raided in 1905, although the production of the drug in an adjacent building was a legal business at that time. Later raids through the 1910s, 20s and 30s for the same reason were taken more seriously, as the processing of opium was now illegal as well. In 1909 another sensational story filled the press, and was reported in other cities. A complex story of attempted murder and suicide saw Canton Alley’s illegal gambling under scrutiny after a stabbing nearly killed a would-be informer. He was apparently seeking payment to not tell the authorities about the death of another Chinese resident, a laundryman from Seymour Street who lost heavily at a game in Canton Alley, and refused time to repay his debts, chose suicide using opium. The newspaper in passing mentions that his was the third death from opium poisoning in three weeks.

Things seem to have quietened down once the buildings were rebuilt after several significant fires. There are reports of theft, a Chinaman was found shot dead, presumed murdered, but as no-one heard the shots that killed him no investigation seems to have been considered necessary. When the Daily World was reporting that a store holder was fined $10 for selling pears not properly marked under the Fruit Market Act (in 1912), then serious crime would seem to have slowed. In 1914 sacks of flour were stolen. Gambling and opium raids were frequent, and carried out with mixed success. (Several senior police officers found other employment over the years, having been accused of accepting bribes to turn a blind eye to illegal operations).

The Chinese population of the city fell after the 1923 Chinese Immigration Act (or more accurately, the Chinese Exclusion Act) forbid any Chinese immigration to Canada. Canton Alley remained occupied, although the street directory clerk couldn’t generally be bothered to record anything other than ‘Orientals’. The buildings here were eventually demolished in 1949. The site remained vacant for years, but in 1998 the CBA Manor and an adjacent building were built, designed by Joe Wai and Davidson Yuen Simpson. The 4-storey social services centre run by SUCCESS recreates the alley entrance as an entrance to a gated courtyard, (just as Canton Alley was after the 1907 riots).

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 689-56.


Posted 8 October 2020 by ChangingCity in Chinatown, Gone

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West Hastings Street – 100 block, north side (2)

We looked at this part of West Hastings, where the Woodward’s store once occupied most of the block, in an earlier post. That showed the street in 1904, when Woodward’s store was only 4 storeys high on the corner of Abbott. Here we can see the 1923 street, and there’s an addition to the west (built in 1913), as well as two more upper floors. That wasn’t the end of the company’s expansion here. By 1981 (below) there had been further additions to the west, and further floors added on top. W T Whiteway was the architect of the $60,000 1904 building on the right, a four storey ‘brick and stick’ construction (a heavy wooden frame with a brick facade). A few years later Smith and Goodfellow designed the $35,000 vertical addition (in 1910). Three years later the store got the further addition, a $100,000 westwards extension designed by George Wenyon with a steel and concrete frame.

There was still a Woolworths store next to Woodward’s in 1981. It had been developed by the company in 1926 at a cost of $33,000, built by Dixon and Murray, and Woolworth’s may have had their own architect to design it. Previously we think there was a building that had been owned by Crowe & Wilson, who employed Bedford Davidson to carry out repairs and alterations in the late 1910s and early 1920s. They were significant developers in the area and had developed another building, the Selkirk Block, a bit further to the west, and visible on the top picture.

The Woodward’s redevelopment (designed by Henriquez Partners for Westbank) retained the wood-frame building on the corner of Abbott, but all the other buildings were demolished in 2006, after sitting empty since Woodward’s went bankrupt in 1993. The 1903 building now had added concrete reinforcement on the western facade to give the old frame seismic stability, while the bricks were tied back and the original lettering faithfully restored after being covered in layers of paint for decades. New retail uses including a TD Bank now sit underneath office space. Further west the new part of the project here includes non-market housing and Simon Fraser University’s Arts campus over a London Drugs store.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Str N49.2 and CVA 779-E16.27


Water Street – 100 block south side (2)

We’ve seen the buildings further to the west in an earlier post. We also looked at the history of the two very similar buildings on the left of the picture; 110 and 118 Water Street. On the left, Sharp and Thompson designed a rooming hotel for Dr. Alfred Thompson costing $65,000 to build, which opened in 1913. Next door the same architects were responsible for the 1911 block for Albert DesBrisay, built at a cost of $62,000. Dr. Thompson was the MP for the Yukon, although he moved to Vancouver (and practiced medicine) in the 1920s. Albert was from New Brunswick, and part of a sizeable family who were all in business in Vancouver. He was a commissioners agent, and had been in Winnipeg for some time. His investment rooming house initially called The Colonial Rooms (as seen in this 1914 picture).

The third building in this part of the block was another investment for a local developer, but one that came with substantially lower costs as there were no architect’s fees. W T Whiteway designed the $45,000 warehouse for himself in 1910. By 1916 he had already sold the building; Kirkland & Rose hired R W Watson to carry out $3,500 of repairs and alterations. In 1925 A E Henderson designed another $1,400 of repairs to the warehouse.

John Rose and Henry Sinclair Kirkland were manufacturer’s agents, specializing in confectionery supplies. Before they moved here they were futher west at 312 Water Street. They moved in here around 1918, with the Canadian Chewing Gum Co and Cowan Co who were chocolate manufacturers in Toronto and represented by Kirkland and Rose.

The building beyond the gap was another $60,000 investment, built in 1912 for McLean Bros, (three brothers from the Scottish Islands). It was designed by Thomas Hooper and like the Kirkland & Rose warehouse was a victim to Woodward’s expanding empire, in this case to add a parking garage.

Today the Colonial Hotel, and the adjacent Gastown Hotel are both managed by Atira Women’s Resource Society. The Colonial is still privately owned, while BC Housing bought the Gastown Hotel and has carried out a number of internal improvements to what had become a very run-down building. The rest of the block to the west was demolished to build Woodward’s Water Street parkade, which was re-built by the City of Vancouver a few years ago, and has been altered again this year with the addition of a childcare facility on the roof.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA LGN 987