Renfrew Lodge – Hemlock and West 10th Avenue

These days Renfrew Lodge is known as Hemlock Place, but the new name is really the only change in nearly a century. This picture was taken in 1928, a couple of years after the building was completed. It was one of over a dozen apartment buildings developed by a family of developers originally from Ontario, the Lightheart Brothers. (We’ve recently updated our information on the family on the Building Vancouver blog). There were seven brothers, all involved in various development projects. This one was developed by George Lightheart. Although many of the buildings were designed (and built) in-house by the brothers, in this case the $90,000 building had an architect – H H Simmonds.

George Lightheart had previously built a family house on Burns Street, and partnered with his brother Jacob on a number of groups of houses and apartments, but this was apparently the only apartment building he developed on his own. He was born in 1883, and only 46 when he died in 1930. The notice in the newspaper noted he had died in the General Hospital, and would be buried in the family plot at Mountain View cemetery, but no further details were given about the circumstances of his death.

He arrived in Vancouver in 1902 and married Mabel Cairns (from P.E.I.) in 1915, and they soon had a daughter, Margaret, followed by a son, Ralph, who was only 12 when his father died. In 1921 the family had two servants; Margaret Scott, who was Irish, and Hilda Johnston, who was Swedish. Mabel’s sister, Winnifred Cairns was also living with the family in George’s new $8,000 Connaught Drive mansion (that he had designed and built). Mabel died in 1954, and her sister Winnifred (who never married, and stayed in Vancouver) in 1960.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu N252


Posted 4 February 2021 by ChangingCity in Broadway, Still Standing

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