Pacific Street from Burrard

We’re looking southeast from Pacific Street on March 13 1931. These houses aren’t that old, but they’re about to be demolished for the new Burrard Bridge. Further north, Burrard was a wide boulevard, lined with big houses, but here it narrowed and dropped down a steep grade to False Creek. That all changed when the Burrard Bridge was built.

The houses on Pacific (on the left of the image) were built during the lost permit period, but we’ve traced several of them. Edward Hunt developed one of the homes in 1907, as a permit reference in the Daily World mentions the lot number. That house cost $2,000, and five months earlier Edward built another house on Pacific for $1,800. The 1908 street directory confirms there were four houses here (where there were none in 1906), and Edward Hunt was living in 934, the third in the row from Burrard. William Rickson, a merchant was at 928, Daniel MacLaren, a tailor at 940 and John Allen, a real estate agent was in the corner house, 946 Pacific.

We initially couldn’t find Edward in the 1911 census, (although there was another Edward Hunt who was a developer in the city at the time). Fortunately our contractor had been in the city in 1901, when he was a carpenter, living on Howe Street. That year’s census showed him from England, aged 44, having arrived in 1888. His wife, Mary was a year older, and they had three daughters. The eldest who was 18 was born in the US, her 14 year old sister Ethel, in England, and 11 year old Nellie in BC.

Edward built several other houses on Pacific and elsewhere in the West End, sometimes in partnership with George Calder. Down the hill H C and L Elliott built at least three of the houses in 1906 and 1907, each costing $2,500 each to construct. We think house-building was a side gig for the Elliott brothers: Harold (Clinton) Elliott was a shipwright born in Pugwash, Nova Scotia in 1870, while Lloyd was a ship’s carpenter, born four years later. They were from a family with ten children, and we think their older brother, Frederick had also come to Vancouver around 1902 with Harold, and Lloyd arriving a little later. Their father was a farmer, born in New Brunswick.

While some of those lasted decades, these houses didn’t last much longer than this picture – barely 25 years. All the houses here were cleared away as part of the construction of Burrard Bridge, which had started in 1930, with the new bridge opening in July 1932. In January 1931 The Province reported “Houses on Right-of-way of Burrard Bridge Doomed – Tenders will be called by the city for removal or demolition of several houses on property acquired by civic authorities for the northern right-of-way for Burrard bridge. This was decided by the civic bridges and railways committee Monday afternoon. It was reported the buildings are In need of repair and decorating.”

There’s still potential for development to the south, but a recent reconfiguration of the offramp from the bridge to incorporate a bike lane has altered the developable space.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Br N38.1

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Posted 26 August 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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