550 and 564 Cambie Street

The smaller building, on the left in this 1974 image, is still standing today. We think 550 Cambie dates from around 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, so they might have developed the building.

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, 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

1087

%d bloggers like this: