1259 Granville Street

This is the Vancouver Motor Supply Co seen 101 years ago in this 1919 Stuart Thomson picture. It was underneath a building which featured white glazed bricks and centre-pivoted windows, a trademark of Parr and Fee, who designed at least seven hotels in a few blocks of Granville Street all built to a similar design over two or three years. This one was built by Peter Tardiff, (sometimes Tardif), in 1911 at a cost of $60,000 was developed by W A Clark. He was a real estate broker from Ontario, and was one of two William Clark’s involved in real estate in the city, which must have been confusing at times. In 1911 he lived with his wife, May, their five daughters, and a servant, Tanda Ishira, who was from Japan. When it first opened this was the Newport Rooms, then the Newport Hotel, a name it retained for many years.

The retail space saw constant change many years, some of which we’ve researched. When the picture was taken in 1919 Vancouver Motor Supply Co the business had just been taken over by H J Arthur. The Daily World said he was “formerly of the Arthur and Hand Tire company. Mr. Arthur has a host of friends among the motorists of Vancouver, and his new enterprise should prove most valuable to all. He Is getting settled gradually and arranging the new stock, and announces that he is in a position to render the service that should be given to the public by a real up – to – date accessory house. A line of tires will be contracted for in the near future, making equipment for the motorists most complete. With one of the best years that the local trade has ever known In prospect, it is certain that Mr. Arthur will meet with the best of success in his new enterprise.” The business obviously didn’t take off. Herbert J Arthur became a wood dealer, and in 1921 was a salesman, living at Boundary Bay. In 1920 the store was vacant, and in 1921 it was the home of the IXL Cafe, run by John W Smithson and Chas Glazie. The store was split in two a year later, with Nick Kokinas selling confectionery next to the Bailey Cafe. By 1925 it had returned to motordom duty as the Consumers Tire Supply Co, run by E James and R J Beck, and by 1930 a more familiar name, the Vancouver home of Maytag. In 1940 Wosk’s sold stoves here, and in 1950 G W Ross, an Auctioneer had his sale room here. Five years later Mrs. R Macdonald had a used book store, and there was a furniture store in the other half of the building.

More recently it became the Granville Hotel, although it operated as a single-room occupancy rental property, with shared bathrooms. Acquired by the City Of Vancouver in 2003 for $2.8m, it’s still run as an SRO Hotel, the Granville Residence. The city spent over $4m to repair the building, including rebuilding the façade which was in a pretty poor state in the early 2000s. The room count reduced from 100 to 83, and each room is now self-contained with bathrooms, a small cooking area and average 160 sq. ft. in area. It leases to as low-rent housing for people age 45 and over, and for people age 35 and over with disabilities who may be working or on income assistance.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-701


Posted 25 January 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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