Archive for June 2021

205 Main Street

In 1904, according to the building permit, M McRae hire C B McLean to design an $8,500 hotel on the corner of Powell Street and Westminster Avenue. Dowse and Carter built the hotel, which opened as The Melbourne Hotel in the fall. Mr. McLean wasn’t active in the city for very long, but also designed the Invermay Hotel on West Hastings. Here he added a couple of bay windows on the second floor, above a main floor bar.

Later that year 1904 the press carried the following advert: MELBOURNE HOTEL New and up-to-date; steam-heated and electric light; excellent table (white cook); guests receive every attention; cars to all parts of the city pass the door. Rates $1.25 and $1.60 per day. Special rates to steady boarders. D. McRAE. E. McCANNEL Cor. Westminster Avenue and Powell Street. The street directory confirmed Donald McRae, proprietor, although failed to mention Mr. McRae in any other entry. (The only Donald McRae living in the city throughout this period had a job as a customs locker). The Government Gazette published a legal notice at the end of 1904: WE, Donald McRae and Elizabeth McCannel, members of the firm of McRae & McCannel, carrying on business as hotel-keepers at the City of Vancouver aforesaid, in the Melbourne Hotel, under the style of McRae & McCannel, do hereby certify that the said partnership is this day dissolved, the said Elizabeth McCannel retiring from the said partnership. The said McRae is to carry on the said business and pay all liabilities thereof, and is entitled to the stock in trade, moneys, credits and effects of the said partnership, and to indemnify and save harmless the said Elizabeth McCannel against the payment of any partnership liabilities. Witness our hands at Vancouver, B. C., this 29th day of December, A.D. 1904.

We’ve had more luck tracing Elizabeth than Donald. She was living in the city in the 1901 census, and she, rather than her husband, was listed in the street directory. Mrs. Elizabeth McCannell ran the Windsor on East Hastings, although the census only listed her husband Donald’s occupation, as blacksmith. We’re pretty certain it’s the correct household as there are 16 boarders as well as the couple’s 4 daughters and a son-in-law (and grandaughter), so a house seems an unlikely option. Elizabeth’s husband, Donald McCannel, died in 1903. It’s likely that Donald McRae was a relative, possibly her brother, as before she married she was Elizabeth McRae, from Glengarry County, Ontario. She had four children, and didn’t stay in the city after handing over the Melbourne. She died in San Francisco in 1919. Our best guess is that Donald and Elizabeth planned the hotel to help out when Elizabeth found herself a widow, but the arrangement didn’t work out, leaving Donald to take over, and then dispose of the hotel.

Whoever he was, Donald McRae wasn’t running the hotel for much longer. In 1906 John Gaugler was running The Melbourne. In 1908 Earle and Rice were running the hotel, which had been successful at attracting long term residents. There were several engineers, a couple of carpenters and a lumberman and a prospector among the residents. In 1910 Rice and Richter were listed as proprietors, although John Rice appeared to run things, and lived in the hotel. The tenants were a cut above the average East End rooming house; they included Ben Roe, the master of the steamer ‘Farquhar’ and Isaac Forsythe, a master mariner, a fireman on the Great Northern Railway, John Gray, an engineer, the Co-owner of The Dominion Emploment Agency, William Kelman as well as a clerk and a barman who worked at the hotel.

In 1921 M Amano was listed as proprietor of the Melbourne Rooms. The census shows Daiichi Amano, a 27 year old Japanese rooming house proprietor, and his 23 year old wife, Katuyo. Their lodgers were now more typical of the area’s population; a carpenter, a fisherman, two loggers and a pile driver. They were from Japan, Ireland, Quebec, Italy – and one from British Columbia. In 1931 it was once again a hotel, with Dan Mackenzie running the hotel. There was a waiter in the dining room, and a clerk at the front desk. He was still running the hotel a decade later, which had a beer parlour, two waiters, a steward and a porter. The Museum of Vancouver have one of the fancy, art deco styled chaise lounge sofas from the period Dan owned the hotel. After the war the Melbourne Hotel and rooms were being run by John Costock and Goliardo (‘Gillie’) Brandolini. Mr. Brandolini was still running the hotel in 1955. Elma Brandolini was the hotel clerk, and other Brandolinis were running the New Empire Hotel, and BC Hotels, so theirs was a family of hoteliers.

At some point in the early 1970s the bar of the Melbourne joined over thirty other bars and lounges, and transformed into a stripper bar, the No.5 Orange. It was still run by the Brandolinis, Harry and Leon, and was rated as one of the classier venues. Bon Jovi apparently spent time here when they were recording their new album nearby in the mid 1980s, and the shower installed on stage helped them come up with the title of their new album, ‘Slippery When Wet’. Courtney Love performed here for a month in 1989 (before she became a singer). Out of several dozen bars, almost all the other similar venues have closed; there are just four remaining, and (temporary Covid closure excepted) the No.5 continues to be one of them, although the hotel rooms have long gone.



Posted 28 June 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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332 Jackson Avenue

We looked at the history of the rooming house on the left edge of this picture in an earlier post. it was designed by W F Gardiner for Frank Vandall in 1911. There were two other buildings on the same 2 lots, and the rooming house on the southern end, next to the lane was given a permit slightly earlier, in 1910. A rooming house was designed by George A Horel for John Elliott. At the time it was 320 Jackson, although by 1912 it was shown on the insurance map as 332 Jackson.

The small cottage sandwiched in the middle was the last remaining outlier of the original development here. There were four houses in a row in 1901, with two being redeveloped for the Vandall Block, and another for John Elliott’s rooming house. They first show up in 1896, when all four were initially shown in the street directory as vacant, so they were probably built speculatively. The City School was on Oppenheimer Street (E Cordova today) on the next lots to the east.

There were seven John Elliotts in Vancouver in 1911, and two listed as ‘real estate’ One lived on West 7th Avenue, was aged 48, from the USA, and listed as a builder. He lived with his wife Nettie, and daughter Elva, and had arrived in 1896. His real estate activity was new; in 1908 it appears that he was a butcher. Another candidate was  John G Elliott, also from the US, aged 50 and lived on Barclay Street in the West End. His census entry says ‘agent, finance’, but the street directory shows a real estate partnership with his son, Irving S Elliott, who lived on East 6th Avenue. John G and his wife May Alice had come from the US in 1906, and still had four daughters living at home in 1911. There was a least one other John Elliott who was a contractor, and we haven’t found a way to pin the permit for this building down to any specific positively identified John Elliott.

It may not really matter, because the street directory seems to suggest that Mr. Elliott’s building may not have been built. There are a series of entries for a single named resident (suggesting a house, rather than an apartment) through to the 1920s, when the directory compilers gave up (or weren’t interested), and just put ‘Japanese’. The first identifiable rooming house here was in 1929 when the lshisaka Rooms, run by S Ishisaka, were listed. By 1932 they had been renamed the Jackson rooms, with S Kishida running them. Once the Japanese were removed from the BC coast, E Karlson took over in 1942. Mrs. Julia Haras was running the rooms in 1945, and Peter Holyk in the 1950s. He was from the Ukraine, had been a miner with a home on East Georgia in the 1930s, and died in 1977.

The two rooming houses continued operations for many years, (and are still operating today), although they came under the same ownership as a single legal lot, and the combined building is now known as The Jackson Rooms. In 1988 a new addition of an infill building was developed where the cottage at 316 Jackson was still standing in our 1978 image.


Posted 24 June 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Oppenheimer Lodge – East Cordova Street

This non-market housing building was only 4 years old when our ‘before’ shot was taken in 1978. The building has lasted remarkably well for one over 40 years old. In the late 2010s it had a $2.7m makeover to replace the roof and windows, and to patch up waterproofing, but compared to many buildings from the same era it’s doing really well. The 147 units of non-market seniors housing was originally developed by the Federal Government, using the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. It’s now owned by the Provincial BC Housing agency, who in turn identified the City of Vancouver to manage the seniors complex.

This was one of the last designs by architects Erickson/Massey, the Vancouver starchitects of their day. They split up in 1972, and Arthur Erickson then started his solo practice. While this was being built he was designing the Museum of Anthropology. Geoffrey Massey, son of movie star Raymond Massey, also continued in practice, and died in December 2020 from pneumonia in a hospice near Lion’s Gate Hospital in North Vancouver aged 96.

In 1973 the Vancouver Sun reported on the project. “Applications are now being received for low-rent bachelor apartments at Oppenheimer Lodge, Cordova Street at Jackson. Applicants, men or women, must be at least 40, single, with incomes of less than $250 a month and savings of less than $1,000. They must be residents of the skid road area. Oppenheimer Lodge is being built jointly by federal, provincial and city governments.

So far there have been 460 applications for apartments at Oppenheimer. Lucky ones, for about $54 a month, will get a 10-foot by 16-foot living room, plus a fridge and a stove and a private wash-room. Not exactly opulent, but bright and cheerful. The unsuccessful will return to dingy rooming houses and cheap hotels, where $60 rents an 8-foot by 10-foot bedroom, no place to cook. And the bathroom is somewhere down the hall. “Selection is a monstrous task,” says United Church minister Bob Burrows. “There is so much need. “Perhaps the hardest thing we’ll have to do is break the news to those who miss out.”


Posted 21 June 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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550 and 564 Cambie Street

The smaller building, on the left in this 1974 image, is still standing today. 550 Cambie dates from 1929. There was an earlier building on the site; in 1909 it was shown as ‘cabins’, which was true until about 1920, when we assume the site was cleared. It was still shown vacant on the 1928 insurance map. In 1929 Cope and Sons were shown occupying 550 Cambie, and they might developed the building for $29,000 using Dominion Construction to build it (and probably design it too).

Fred and his son Frank Cope ran an electrical wholesaling business here, and had been in the city since the 1890s. Frederick Thomas Cope was born around 1861, and had come from England in 1875. (As far as we know he wasn’t related to Fred Cope who was the third mayor of Vancouver, who was born in Ontario). His wife Marjory was from Ontario; their two children, Frank and Bert were born in Manitoba in 1886 and 1888, and Fred was a housebuilder in Brandon in the 1891 census. They first show up in Vancouver in a street directory in 1900; Frederick Thomas Cope was in an electrical wholesaling business with Charles Frey on West Hastings, and F I Cope (who lived at the same address on Hornby Street) was a contractor. In 1905 the directory identified F I Cope to be Frank, who was by then an electrician. By 1910 Bert had also joined the family business, although it was still Cope and Son. By 1913 Fred was company president and Frank company secretary, and both had moved to West 13th, while Bert was living on Granville Street, By 1922 all three lived on W13th at different addresses, and were all working at Cope and Son.

In 1939 The Wellington Plating works were here, offering to re-chrome motorist’s headlight reflectors. They were located at the back of the building. Cope and sons were still here, with H Morris and General Printers and Publishers. In 1956 fire men fought a $75,000 two-alarm blaze which ripped through top floor of warehouse of Van Horne Electrical Supply Co. 550 Cambie. (They were the successor of Cope & Sons). 

The site where the larger building sat (564 Cambie) was developed with a building shown on the 1901 insurance map occupied by the Vancouver Transfer Co. We’ve seen another building that the company developed later on Mainland Street (in 1912), when we looked at the company history.

Founded by Victoria businessman and politician Francis Stillman Barnard of Barnard’s Express in 1886, it was controlled by Fred and Clarence Tingley in the early 1900s. In 1904 Reid Tingley built an addition to the company’s stables here, almost certainly seen in this picture of their premises around 1908, published in Greater Vancouver Illustrated.

Once Vancouver Transfer moved out, George Jones ran the Cambie Street Boarding Stable here through the First World War. By 1918 Julius A Tepoorten had taken ownership, and spent $150 on repairs. By 1920 Central Sheet Metal works had moved in, with Albert Morris, a cabinetmaker and J Morris’s export and transfer company. The Sheet Metal Works was still listed here in 1928. There were possibly major alterations in 1921; J A Tepoorten obtained a permit for $5,000 of repairs and alterations built by Dominion Construction. It’s possible this was initially a single storey structure; in 1974 the windows on the upper part of the building don’t match those on the main floor.

We suspect the redevelopment and additional floors probably occurred in 1928. ‘J A Teporten’ obtained a permit for $23,000 of alterations, also designed and built by Dominion Construction. Tepoorten Ltd was first listed here in 1929, with Western Distribution Ltd and Cunningham Drug Stores. The building was now numbered as 560 by 1930, and Knowles and Macaulay, and Terminal Drug Stores had replaced Tepoorten Ltd in the building.

Julius Tepoorten was born in Michigan, and went to school in Ontario. He was apprenticed to James E. Davis & Company, wholesale druggists of Detroit, and went to Victoria in 1887. He travelled the whole of BC representing Langley & Co until 1909, when he set up his own wholesaling business. He married Mary Dolan in Michigan in 1889, and they had ten children, eight of whom survived. His business was based on Water Street, but moved here in the years he amalgamated with National Drug and Chemical Co of Canada. He retired in 1929, but retained a shareholding in the company, and died in 1939.

In 1940 there were seven businesses in 560 Cambie; Knowler and Macaulay, Western Distribution, Ryan Cotton (manufacturers agents), Latch & Batchelor (wire rope) C Korsch Ltd (millinery), Barham Drugs (wholesale) and F W Horner Ltd (pharmaceutical manufacturers). In 1955 there were only two companies shown, BC Leather Co wholesale and Pro-Made Golf Co. They were a Vancouver golf club manufacturer, founded by Roy Francis. Following his death his sons inherited the company, and moved production from Pender Street to here. They sold the business in 1957, but it continued with other brands as well, with Pioneer Envelopes, Pro-made Golf Company, Royal Scot Golf Company and Golfcraft occupying 560 Cambie that year.

In our 1974 image Van Horne Electrical Supply were still at 550 Cambie, and Joe Boshard’s painting company was about to give 560 Cambie a makeover. The building was demolished by 1990, replaced in 1994 by The Seimens Building, designed by Aitken Wreglesworth Associates as the local offices of the international engineering company. This is effectively the back of the building, with the front facing West Georgia and Beatty, curved and cantilevered out over the Dunsmuir Tunnel that cuts across the edge of the site. The tenants name has changed over the years, with Seimens replaced by Amec, and now by Wood Canada Ltd. There’s a proposal to replace 550 Cambie with a much larger office building.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-56


534 and 536 Cambie Street

Sometimes, even Downtown, there are modest buildings surviving longer than might be expected. Here are two on the 500 block of Cambie Street. Perhaps not surprisingly, in the short time since we started researching their history, a redevelopment has been proposed to build a 22 storey office building.

The building on the left dates from 1925, while the other was supposedly developed in 1912 (according to the Assessment Authority), but we haven’t identified an appropriate Building Permit. That may be because the structure still standing was clearly an addition to an earlier house, that no longer exists. The house was built at some point in the mid 1890s, and can be seen here in 1974 (and there was also originally a house on the lot to the north, on the left). The numbering on the block was altered in 1896, so the houses here had, for a while, non-sequential numbers, which makes it difficult to be certain of what was built when. Through the later 1890s the house seen here was occupied by two households; D A Campbell, a teamster, and A Cooper Dinsmore, another teamster. In 1898 some of the Scurry family moved to 514 Cambie (renumbered that year as 536). They ran a barbers saloon on Abbott Street. They appear to have moved next door (to the north) to 534 around 1901, when Martha Scurry (widow of Hiram) was living in the house that stood here, before the existing building was constructed in 1925.

The building on the corner of the lane is proposed to have its facade incorporated into the new development. The developers were the Cleland Bell Engraving Co., and the architects Benzie & Bow. Rogers and Purdy built the $17,000 building. The heritage statement for the new office tower repeats an inaccurate internet document about Cleland Bell, identifying Mr. Cleland as William Nelson Cleland, born in Brantford, Ontario in 1871. Unfortunately, the engraver was called Norman Cleland. Norman was William’s younger brother, and had also been born in Brantford. William arrived around 1899, and worked initially as a dyer, then as a clothes presser, and in 1902 he was working for the Perth Dye Works. Norman arrived in the city in 1902, and was a printer at Evans & Hastings. Both brothers had rooms on Richards Street in 1902, and lived on Robson Street in 1904 with William Cleland snr, who was presumably their father, and an accountant. The household didn’t identify a mother in the 1881 census when Norman was 6, and William jnr. aged 10 (There was also an older sister, Jessie and a middle brother, George). These arrangements stayed unchanged until 1907, when Norman went into partnership with Harry Welsh and established a printing business on Pender Street. (William Cleland was with B C Dye Works, and a year later co-owned the Berlin Dyeing and Cleaning Works). William Cleland senior died in September that year, aged 79.

In the 1911 census Norman Cleland was head of a household of three that included William, who was also listed as a printer, and described, unusually, as Norman’s partner, and Jessie, their sister. William had been living in his own rooms earlier in the year, and working as a presser again. Norman had a new business partner, and was now ‘Cleland and Dibble, Engravers and Printers’, on Water Street. William was briefly involved in real estate in 1913, the same year that Norman married an Australian widow, Margaret Zasama, in Victoria. In 1914 both brothers had moved to West 12th, where they each had apartments in the same building.

In 1919 Norman’s business name was changed to Cleland-Bell, and he was managing director; A L Bell was president, and William Cleland was working as a clerk. In 1926 the business became Cleland-Kent with a new partnership with Harry Kent. Although the business name continued under new management, Norman Cleland appears to have retired from the business around 1935, and after a year’s absence he took over a business called Art Engraving for a few years, with William also working there as a salesman. In 1935 he developed a retail building on East Broadway. William and Jessie lived on Point Grey Road, and Norman and his wife lived close by on the same block of West 1st Avenue. Norman died in Vancouver in 1944, aged 68. William Cleland was aged 82 when he died in 1953, His sister, Jessie, died in Vancouver in 1962, aged 92. Neither had been married.

Cleland-Kent continued to exist as a business, and occupy space in this building, through the 1950s. Their name was still on the building in our 1974 image, so we assume an engraving business continued in operation, even if the front door had been bricked up. Today, for the time being, there’s a new doorway, and a lawyer and a finance company have offices there.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-55


Posted 14 June 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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Firehall #6 – Nicola Street

Fire hall #6, in the West End, was commissioned in 1907 and opened in 1908. Even though it was developed in the period when the building permits have been lost, we know the architects of the project. Honeyman and Curtis designed the building, possibly the first in North America specifically designed for motorized firetrucks.

It was photographed in 1908 with its Seagrave Hose Wagon and Auto Chemical Engine – both state-of-the-art equipment for the time. After the 1886 fire the City was willing to fund the fire department generously. The Seagrave machines cost around $5,000 each – more than it cost to build most West End houses at the time. (Seagrave still make fire trucks today, but the entire Vancouver fleet are now built by Spartan).

There was a delay getting the building started; the architects reported to the City Council that it was such a busy time for contractors that it had been difficult to get any of them to bid. “The public advertisement had not drawn a single call for the specifications, but by personal effort several contractors had been Induced to figure.” In the end Peter Tardif won the contract to build the fire hall.

The building was expanded in 1929, with a design by A J Bird, and there was another picture taken by Stuart Thomson, with the latest engine proudly on display.

As far as we can tell, that’s an American La France ladder truck in the picture on the right. Not too many were built with the firemen sitting over the front wheels.

Our main image dates from 1975. The hall received a further makeover, and was seismically upgraded in 1988, designed by Henry Hawthorne Architect. The fire staff continue to fight fires and attend other emergency calls throughout the West End, equipped with a Spartan Gladiator Sirius LFD engine, and pump. Recently the city’s ladder trucks have changed from 75 foot units to 105 foot (to better service fires in 6-storey buildings) so the ladder trucks are now located in other West End and Downtown fire halls.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-395, CVA 99-3730 and FD P39.2


Posted 10 June 2021 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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391 Powell Street

This 3-storey building was 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 State. She married David S. Tuthill, an accountant, in 1874, and by 1878 had moved to Portland, Oregon. His apparent success in business was an illusion; by 1897 he was involved with several businesses including as president of the Acme Mills Ltd. The San Francisco Call reported on his death that year “David S. Tuthill, a prominent citizen and cashier for the firm of Allen & Lewis, committed suicide some time between 11 o’clock last night and 7 this morning. When his sister went to call him. as was her custom, she received no response. Opening the bedroom- door she found her brother stretched on the bed, dead, with a gaping bullet hole in his right temple. It is the general opinion that Tuthill was short in his accounts. The opinion is based on the fact that yesterday he deeded all his property to the Security and Savings Trust Company for a nominal consideration. Tuthill had been connected with the firm of Allen & Lewis for nineteen years. He was a native of Ellenville, N. Y , where his parents reside. He leaves a widow and one daughter.

Records suggest David and Emma had two daughters, but Mary was four when she died in 1881. Helen, who survived, was born in Ulster County, New York in 1875. By 1899 Emma Tuthill had moved to Vancouver, and she seems to have succeeded where her husband hadn’t. For an investment of $20,000 she become a special partner in F.R. Stewart and Company, a firm of wholesale produce merchants on Water Street. Her daughter, Helen, married a Portland bank manager in 1898, and they also moved north, where he became manager of the Vancouver branch of the Bank of British Columbia. Her husband, J W Fordham Johnson was originally from Spalding, in England, and when the bank was dissolved he became the accountant at B.C. Sugar. They had a daughter, Beatrice in 1899, and in 1901 Emma was living with her daughter and son-in-law, their infant daughter, servant, and Chinese cook.

Helen and John had another daughter who they christened Helen, in 1904. John was in Fiji from 1905 to 1907, managing the Vancouver-Fiji Sugar Company, but he became ill, and returned to Vancouver as secretary of the British Columbia Sugar Refining Company. In 1912 the family moved to The Crescent in Shaughnessy, but in 1915 John’s wife, Helen, died, aged 39. John remarried in 1918 and from 1931 to 1936 he was the lieutenant governor of British Columbia. Both John and his wife developed property in Downtown in the 1920s.

From around 1910 Emma Tuthill moved into Glencoe Lodge, although her presence was only sometimes recorded in the street directory. She developed this building in 1912. The architects were actually Horton & Phipps, but the clerk could be permitted the error as they were a Victoria partnership. Emma died in 1927, and like her daughter was buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

The apartment building was completed in 1913, and became The Maple Rooms in 1914. Located in the heart of the Japanese community, their management was listed as ‘Japanese’. The stores downstairs were operated by K Imahori, a confectioner. and I Enata who ran a dry goods store. In 1917 the rooms were bought by Kurita Shojiro, who for a while was a contractor in the fishing industry.

In 1920 the Canadian Japanese Club was here, alongside the confectionery store. In 1925 the rooms had became the Nankai Hotel, and by 1930 the Victory Rooms run by K Nakashimada, with Ashai Paper Box on the main floor, alongside a restaurant run by T Kato. In 1940 the rooms and the box factory were still operating with the same owners, but the restaurant was the Sumiyoshi Cafe. After the war, when the Japanese had been cleared from the area, H Eng Soo was running the Victory Rooms. Harry Soo Eng was still running the rooms in 1955, with Choi Har Moon Pon. In 1972 the interior of one of the rooms was recorded by Niriko Hirota, who photographed its resident, Kiyoji Iizuka, one of the few Japanese who returned to the area. He had fought in WW1 as a volunteer soldier.

Residential use apparently ended in 1975. The facility was taken over by the St. James Society with the building renamed Victory House, offering a program for those with psychological disabilities. That was probably operating here when our 1978 image was taken. The building was deemed unfit, and was replaced by a new Victory House on East Cordova in 1997. Five years later St James built a new non-market housing building here; Somerville Place, with The Bloom Group (the new name for St James) having offices on the main floor.


Posted 7 June 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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132 Powell Street

We’re taking a bet that this is a 1912 project developed by Harry Hemlow, and designed by W F Gardiner. The Province newspaper identified a “three-storey apartment house; mill construction; 50′ x 100′; buff coloured pressed brick facing; sandstone used for window ledges; two stores on ground floor; 48 modern rooms up“. There’s a permit for Harry in 1912 that identifies a different block and inaccurate street numbers (that wouldn’t even be on that block), but otherwise it’s a match. The newspaper reported that Harry’s investment was close to Columbia Street – which this is, and it was the lot that Harry owned in 1886 that allowed him to be on the Voter’s List. E J Ryan built the $40,000 investment, which appeared in the 1913 street directory as ‘new building’. A year later the stores were occupied with The Cascade Cafe, and T Ikeda’s dry goods store, with the Cascade Rooms (also run by T Ikeda) upstairs.

Harry Hemlow was a true Vancouver pioneer – he was in the area when it was the town of Granville. He was from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and was running the Sunnyside Hotel on the waterfront, that burned down in the 1886 fire. Harry was elected an Alderman on the first Council in 1886. He was interviewed by Major Matthews just before his death in 1932, and asked why he became an Alderman. “For a bit of a lark”. He disappears from the street directories for a couple of years, having apparently gone bankrupt in 1887, but by 1891 had returned and was City Clerk, and from 1893 he ran the BC Electric Railway’s interurban train system. This wasn’t Harry’s only development – he also built a garage in 1912, designed by W T Whiteway. A 1916 biography describes Harry, at 55, as retired: “Is a large property owner; gives special attention to breeding fine stock, particularly Jersey cows. Married Olive May Caples, daughter of W. M. Caples, M. D., Portland, Ore., 1886. Society: A. P. & A. M. Recreations: motoring, hunting, fishing. Conservative; Presbyterian.” In later years his health failed, and Harry died in 1932. “The interment was in the Masonic cemetery. Mr. Hemlow died Monday night at the General Hospital. He resided for the past two years at the Hotel Martinique”. Olive and Harry had divorced, and at his death Harry had apparently no known descendants, and no money to leave them anyway.

Taira Ikeda had been in Vancouver since at least 1904, and had run a store in an earlier wooden building on the same block. A 1907 Daily World article described him as a ‘well known Japanese storekeeper’ when reporting the death of his 19-year old son Setusge, after a four month illness. The Province described him as ‘a well-to-do storekeeper of the East End’. In the inquiry into the anti-Asian riots, the Inquiry listed Tonakichi Ikeda as the store owner’s full name, and awarded him a significant award of $461.50 for the damage to his store and stock, having been forced to close his business for 20 days. Using the longer version of his name finds Tonakichi Ikeda entering Canada from the US in 1910, where his birth was shown in Hiroshima in 1865.

In 1917 the pool hall was run by H Watanaka, (and there was also a barber and a cigar stand) and the Cascade Cafe was run by J P Lum. By 1920 the pool hall morphed into a billiard hall run by John Popelpo. The Cascade Rooms were still upstairs, but by 1916 Taira Ikeda had become a timber exporter (presumably to Japan) with his brothers Yoshio and ‘Fred’. They also advertised to supply labour to lumber companies. By 1925 the operators of the building were irrelevant to the directory compliers; The Cascade Cafe was listed as ‘Chinese’, and the Cascade Rooms ‘Japanese’. The Westerners names were listed – Joel Wepsala ran the pool room and T Jinde was the barber.

During the war, the Japanese names (and the Japanese) disappeared from the area. The stores were vacant, and the Cascade Rooms were run by Louie Quong Yon. In 1955 G Ho was running the rooms. In our 1978 image the sign says ‘Mimi Hotel, Housekeeping Rooms – vacancy’. The store was vacant. The name changed again in the early 2000s to Lucky Lodge – although not so lucky for many of the tenants as the business licence was nearly cancelled when the owners were accused of welfare fraud and extorting money from their tenants. They were also forced to carry out repairs to make the building safe and meet the by-laws a couple of years later. It’s still an SRO rooming house, with a relatively new East Indian restaurant occupying one of the two retail spaces.


Posted 3 June 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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