1460 Howe Street

Briefly, this storage warehouse had a final blaze of glory as a sales centre. It’s seen here ten years ago, before that transformation took place. Now the location has been developed with one of the City’s ‘iconic’ residential towers. Vancouver House is justifiably memorable as it sits next to Granville Bridge on a triangular base which gradually expands to a rectangular upper part. Designed by Danish architect Bjarjke Ingles, the tower is clad in brushed steel panels with a copper inset under each balcony, and the engineering required to manage the cantilever saw some huge reinforcing steel added to the concrete skeleton.

The building that sat here before the tower was built had been here for just over 100 years before it was demolished. It was built for $50,000 by Baynes and Horie, a construction partnership that operated for several decades. The developer was one half of the partnership, William Horie, originally from Port Daniel, in Quebec. He arrived in the city in 1889, a carpenter, and teamed up with English born builder Ed Baynes a few years later. They quickly adapted to building in reinforced concrete when that technology spread in the early 1900s, and tackled ever larger jobs, as well as investing in commercial and residential buildings for themselves.

Initially this reinforced concrete building was the Canada West Auto Garage in 1920 on the insurance map, but Begg Motor Co (No. 2) in the street directory. That company had built another multi-storey garage in 1912 on West Georgia. They continued to occupy these premises until the 1930s, but in 1933 it was vacant. For a few years this was a warehouse for Dominion Furniture, but by 1944 Johnstone National Storage had moved here (seen in this 1946 image).

They also had a large multi-storey warehouse nearby on Richards Street. Over time this, like their Richards Street building, was converted to a self-storage building, still operated by Johnston. More recently, like this site, a residential tower has replaced it. New self-storage buildings have been developed in several of the remaining industrial areas outside Downtown.

Elmer Johnston was from Ontario, where his obituary was published in 1949. “Died in Vancouver General Hospital after an operation ten days previous. Survived by wife and son Harry, of Vancouver. Brother to Herbert C. Johnston, Barston, Calif.; Mrs. L. Olsen, Bremerton, Wash.; Mrs. J.A. Dutcher, Bradford, ON; Mrs. George Gardiner, Victoria; and Mrs. Rowland Pike, Vancouver. Born in Bradford in 1883. Moved to Vancouver in 1903. Founded the Johnston Storage Co. in 1913. President of Johnston Terminals Ltd., Johnston National Storage Ltd., Terminal Cartage Ltd., Birke and Wood Ltd., Brade Storage and Distributing Co. Ltd., and affiliated companies. Past president of the Vancouver Tourist Association, member of the Vancouver Kiwanis Club, past president of the Vancouver Terminal City Club, The Evergreen Playground Association, the Canadian Warehouseman’s Association, and the transportation section of the Vancouver Board of Trade.”

Secondary image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 586-4180

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Posted 8 July 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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