Archive for September 2021

Central Business District from above (4)

Here’s another view of Downtown from the air – this time we’re looking at 41 years of change, from 1980 to August 2021 When Trish Jewison posted the image she took from the Global BC traffic helicopter. We’re looking down on the Marine Building, with the Guinness Building alongside on the edge of an escarpment, with railtracks and freight yards to the north on the area reclaimed from the beach along Burrard Inlet.

Where there was a barge ramp 40 years before, there is now the green expanse of the roof of the Convention Centre’s west building, opened in 2009. In 1980 the first Convention Centre building had yet to be constructed.

The two towers in front of the Marine Building today are the Shaw Tower and the Fairmont Pacfic Rim Hotel, both designed by James K M Cheng and developed by Westbank in 2004 and 2010. Both have roads around them which are effectively huge bridges; underneath are the service areas and an underground road network. Those raised roads continue around the Waterfront Centre offices and Hotel, to the east, developed by CP’s Marathon Realty in 1991. Tucked in behind the Marine Building, the University Club is now the base of MNP Tower, a curved blue office tower. To the south was the Customs House by CBK Van Norman, replaced in the early 2000s with a new Federal office building.

Burrard Street runs south, in front of the Marine Building, and as we’ve noted in many posts here had modest buildings on the east side from the 1950s or earlier for many years, until Park Place and Commerce Place were both built in 1984, followed by newer towers including Bentall 5 in the 2000s. Three of the Bentall Centre towers, and the Royal Centre were already built in 1980, and the fourth, and largest, Bentall tower was completed in 1981 An additional 16 storey wood-frame tower has just been revealed, planned to replace one of the project’s parkades. Tucked in behind the Royal Centre is the Burrard Building, in 1980 in its original cladding and today with a replacement skin that looks like the architect originally intended. The more recent curtain wall technology allowed a larger glazing area than was first built, as the architect CBK Van Norman had first sketched.

This might look like an already ‘built out’ area, but there are two more office towers under construction, including the tallest built in the city, The Stack, another James Cheng design towards the top right of the image, replacing a parkade on Melville Street that hadn’t been built in 1980. At least one more already approved at 30 storeys to replace a 1970s building with 15 floors, as well as the proposed additional Bentall building, to be called Burrard Exchange.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1376-650 and Trish Jewison, twitter 8.8.21

1117

Posted 30 September 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered

27 West Hastings Street

The Army and Navy store closed its doors here in 2020, after 81 years in this location. Before 1939 the store was on the same block, but on the south side of the street. The building the business initially occupied here is the extensively glazed “Five-storey brick store building with basement and mezzanine on first floor; north side of Hastings, adjoining the warehouse of Wood, Vallance & Leggat;” This description was from a 1906 newspaper article titled “New block for Mayor Buscombe” So although the permits for that period are missing, we know the developer was Fred Buscombe, and the plans are in the Vancouver Archives so we also know that the architects were Parr and Fee. Smith & Sherbourne were the builders of the $45,000 investment.

Wood Vallance and Leggat occupied the building to the east which had been built around 1899 for E G Prior & Co. Later it was redeveloped as the Rex Theatre, and subsequently became an addition to the Army and Navy store. Our 1908 image shows Buscombe’s store here was called ‘The Fair’, and it replaced The Brunswick built in 1888 “on the fringe of the woods”. Perhaps this expansion of his business was a bit too much; a year later Stark’s Glasgow House moved in, having previously been on Cordova Street.

Fred Buscombe was mayor in 1905 and 1906. A merchant who had been president of the board of trade before he was elected mayor, he was elected to cut municipal spending, earning him the support of the business class and all three daily newspapers (who seldom agreed about anything). Born in Bodmin, in Cornwall, he was aged eight when the family moved to Hamilton, Ontario. He went to work for china and glassware company James A Skinner & Co. He visited Granville in 1884, and moved to Vancouver (as it had become) in 1891. He bought Skinner’s business in 1899, and had wholesale and retail businesses, as well as a Securities firm. He was also President of Pacific Coast Lumber Mills. A conservative, he was a prominent Freemason and a pillar of the Church of England, helping fund the construction of Christ Church. With his Ontario born wife Lydia the family had at least eight children, only five of whom survived.

Stark’s didn’t last very long here either; James Stark died in 1918, but this had already been renamed as The Hastings Street Public Market. A new tenant briefly moved in, but in 1919 “Terminal Salvage Co. is compelled to move so the entire building can be turned over to a Calgary Concern who will remodel the building for a public market”. This was the Cal-Van Market, and Buscombe Securities spent $3,000 in 1919 for the works for their new tenant. It was obviously a success, as Buscombe hired J E Parr to carry out another $25,000 of repairs and alterations in 1923, and Cal-Van was still in business through the 1930s. It had a boxing gym and whist arcade on the third floor.

The building has been altered behind the facade over the years, but despite the windows being painted over, it offers an opportunity to retain one of the most impressive early retail buildings still standing. The redevelopment of Army and Navy is apparently imminent, with a developer and architect working with the Cohen family (who ran Army and Navy, and still own the building) to design a rental housing, retail and possibly office project.

Image source: Vancouver Public Library

1116

Posted 27 September 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

Tagged with , ,

West Georgia Street – north side

We had to make up a title for this image, which was taken some time in the 1970s or early 80s. It was part of the City Engineers slide collection – and the best they could come up with was ‘Untitled’. We’re guessing early 1980s, because the park here was established in 1983, with funds from the Calgary-based Devonian Group of Charitable Foundations who provided over $600,000 to develop the site.

We’ve seen in an earlier post that there were buildings along this side of West Georgia as recently as 1964. The land here became vacant in 1959, when the Georgia Auditorium (built in 1927) was demolished. It was a popular venue with 2,500 seats, but became irrelevant after the construction of the QE Theatre Downtown. Behind it the Vancouver Arena had been built in 1911, a much larger arena with 10,500 seats and the city’s ice hockey and curling rink. It burned down in 1936.

Once those buildings had gone, there was still a lot of asphalt, but not much happening on the waterfront here 40 years ago. Since the picture was taken the spindly new trees have matured, and Devonian Harbour Park is effectively a continuation of Stanley Park. There’s a different sort of forest to the east – the forest of Bayshore towers. On the left, on the waterfront, the Waterfront Residences were designed by Henriquez Partners, and completed in 1999. Next to the street, the 1710 Bayshore Drive condo buildings were designed by Eng, Wright and Bruckner and completed two years earlier. The developers were a Japanese company, Aoki Corporation. They acquired the land when they bought the Westin Corporation, which had developed the Westin Bayshore Hotel, visible in the distance. It was designed by D C Simpson in 1961, with the 20 storey tower added in 1970.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 800-2709

1115

Posted 23 September 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

1030 Robson Street

This 1974 image shows a 3-storey brick apartment building on the 1000 block of Robson. It was developed by Oscar Schuman, (listed as Schumann on the permit), who was owner of the Beaver Cafe, and who lived on Point Grey Road. E J Ryan built the $20,000 development, designed by Parr, McKenzie & Day, in 1912.

Oscar was listed in the 1911 census as a 38-year-old German restaurant owner, with his wife, aged 22, called Olga, from Russia, and a daughter called Margaret who was two. In 1910 he had been fined $100 for selling alcohol in his unlicenced Hastings Street Cafe. In a sting operation, Inspector McMahon ordered whisky with his meal, and paid for it on leaving. Although the owner was not present, he was fined for the offence, as his defence that “He kept the whisky for making sauce, and no one was Instructed to sell It.” wasn’t considered credible. That same year the death of his baby daughter, Anna, was reported.

He first showed up in Vancouver in 1903, when he was running the ‘Saddle Rock Restaurant and Oyster Parlors’ in the Boulder Dining Room on Cordova Street. He sold that in 1907, and this wasn’t his only development – he also built a frame apartment in 1908 on Cornwall Avenue. Despite his German origins, he was still in the city in 1915, running his new rooms here, which were called the Auld Rooms. His family however moved on; there’s a record of Margaret crossing from Washington State to Victoria in 1915, and in 1920 Olga and Margaret were living in a boarding house in Seattle. Oscar himself had left Vancouver by 1916, and we can’t find him after that.

This became the Robson Hotel, run by Charles Pearse in 1918. By 1930 it had become Robson Lodge, a name it retains. Nothing much seems to have happened here. The address appears in the press, but only to advertise rooms. In the 1970s a room was $135 and in the 1980s a 2-room suite was $375 a month. The one excitement was in 1945, when the Sun reported “Police Arrest Silk-Tie Toter. Charles Bryan Codd of 1030 Robson was arrested by police late Sunday in a lane in the 100 block East Pender and charged with theft. Police say they found on him four boxes containing two dozen silk ties, allegedly stolen from the Gum Jang Company, 102 East Pender

In 1974 the Salamander Shoe Store and Happy Feet Shoe Repair were alongside the Robson Florist. At some point the entrance to the apartments was shifted from the centre of the main floor to the east side. For over a decade, this was home to a branch of Cafe Crepe, but that closed during the covid pandemic and the retail space is now for lease.

The single storey stores to the right were developed in 1922 by E Winearls, and built by Bedford Davidson. In 1999 they were replaced with a contemporary glass fronted box, designed by W T Leung.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-323

1114

Posted 20 September 2021 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

Tagged with ,

Vancouver Auditorium – West Georgia Street

The Vancouver Auditorium – or Georgia Auditorium – initially the Denman Auditorium – was built in front of the Vancouver Arena and opposite the Horse Show Building (which had by then become the Stanley Park Armories) in 1927. It was developed by the Patrick family’s Vancouver Arena Co, and it didn’t have an architect design it, but an engineer, L T Alden and cost $60,000 to build. Frank and Lester Patrick built the 2,500 seat building to promote shows that were too small for the cavernous Arena, next door. In its early days, there were boxing and wrestling matches, (as there had been in the Horse Show Building early in its life) and rallies and political meetings. The Arena was destroyed in a huge fire in 1936, but although damaged, the Auditorium continued in operation.

During World War II, it was taken over by the Canadian Navy and was temporarily used as a storage facility by Boeing Aircraft. The Palomar Supper Club owner Hymie Singer returned from the war, and bought the Denman Auditorium and Arena site apparently intending to build a new Arena (but that was never pursued). He promoted shows in the Auditorium: in 1948 jazz vocalist Kenny Hagood brought his show to town, in 1949 the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and in 1950 violinist Jascha Heifetz performed. The building was renovated as a concert venue in 1952, renamed the Georgia Auditorium, and the mix of shows, rallies and large meetings continued. Dave Brubeck played in 1953, as did Charlie Parker and Ella Fitzgerald. She returned in 1955, and Jascha Heifetz again played the venue.

In 1957 a ‘who’s who’ of contemporary music appeared. The Province critic’s review was less than enthusiastic: “The young patrons, the great majority in the 15-year-old bracket, sat through two hours of brash musical noises highlighted by Fats Domino. The first show started at about 7 p.m. and the Auditorium was cleared to allow another show to go on at 9:30 p.m. The Audience was amazingly well behaved as special duty policemen patrolled the aisles. Guitarist Buddy Knox, who rose to fame with a record called “Party Doll” did three songs and was well received.” That same year both Ella Fitzgerald and Dave Brubeck returned their tours to the auditorium.

A year later Sir John Gielgud appeared in a world tour of “Shakespear’s Ages of Man”, and also in 1958 operatic soprano Lily Pons performed. The venue closed in 1959, with the opening of the new civic theatres Downtown, with the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and The Playhouse offering a much better (and more comfortable) customer experience. This image was taken that year, with a sign offering ‘This Valuable Corner Property For Sale’. By August it had been demolished, and the site sat for many years. Various residential tower schemes were proposed, some by local developers, one by a New York developer, but none found acceptance. Eventually residential buildings were allowed further east, and this became a park that joins into Stanley Park known as Devonian Harbour Park after the Calgary charitable foundation that donated $600,000 to move the project forward.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1123-6

1113

Posted 16 September 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with ,

Robson and Bute – north east corner

This image is labelled as the former Bute Street Private Hospital, seen in an Archives image taken somewhere in the 1940s to the 1960s. The Library have a copy too, and say it was photographed in 1960.

Dr. Simon J Tunstall was born in St. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec in 1854, and after qualifying in medicine in Montreal he headed west in 1881, working for the Canadian Pacific Railway in Lytton and Kamloops, where he established a medical practice. He was married by a ship’s captain in Victoria in 1885 to Marianne Innes, daughter of the naval storekeeper at the naval base in Esquimalt. In 1892 they moved to Vancouver, where Dr. Tunstall’s office was on Cordova, and they were living initially on Hamilton Street, then East Hastings, and in 1898 at 1036 Robson, with the doctor’s office moving to the Flack Block. The Tunstall family had moved to this house by 1905.

It first appears around 1900, home to Bertha Wolfe, a Jewish widow who had previously lived across Bute Street on the next block along. Described as a boarding house keeper, in 1901 she lived with her daughter, Ethel, her niece, Minnie Meyer, three Chinese domestic servants and eleven lodgers. Bertha (who was also born in the USA) had been married to Marcus Wolfe who was an insurance agent and real estate broker in Nanaimo, born in New Orleans and who died in 1896. In 1881 he was living in Hope, working as a clerk, living with Isaac Oppenheimer and his family. He shot himself in what was described at his inquest as “death by his own hand during a fit of temporary aberration”. He had apparently been in financial difficulties, so it’s unlikely that Bertha had the funds to build the house, although she may have been able to borrow them. She ran the boarding house here until 1904; by 1905 Dr. Tunstall had moved in. There’s no sign of Mrs. Wolfe in the city after this. Her daughter Babette, (Ethel was her middle name), married in 1906 to Alexander Green, who became a bank manager and in 1915 they moved to Victoria. In 1930 he drowned in the Thompson River in Kamloops while he was on a train journey from Vancouver to Toronto.

The Tunstall’s needed the large house; the 1911 census shows five daughters at home, aged 15 to 24. That year Dr. Tunstall built a garage, but in 1902 he had become a much more ambitious property developer, building a large commercial block on the corner of Dunsmuir and Granville. He maintained his practice until around 1912, when the house was sold and the family moved to West 2nd Avenue. He added an additional two floors to the Tunstall Block. In 1913 Marianne was living in the West End – Dr. Tunstall apparently suffering from problems with alcohol, entered a nursing home The Tunstall’s apparently moved again to another house on West 2nd in 1914, although Marianne had taken her daughters on a trip to Europe ‘for a year’ in 1913. Dr. Tunstall died in 1917, leaving an estate estimated at $250,000 (although eventually it was assessed at $134,000). His will had a disputed codicil, added in 1916, leaving funds to Emma Playter and her son. The Tunstall family members alleged that Simon had made the codicil while he was the victim of alcoholic dementia, but the case was settled in 1918 before it could be heard in court. Marianne stayed in Vancouver, and all five daughters married. Her second daughter’s husband, John Browne, died in 1920, and Marjorie and her three young children moved in with Mrs. Tunstall. Marianne died in 1935 aged 73.

The private Bute Street Hospital operated from 1913, run by Mrs. Mildred A Moran. The Province had earlier announced “Bute Street Lot Sold For $80,000: English Capitalists Buy Site of Private Hospital in West End: Will Erect Pressed Brick Business Block in Near Future”, but in practice the house was retained as the hospital. In 1913 (Emily) Pauline Johnson, the poet, died here of cancer, and in the same year, W R Angus, pioneer and developer of a house nearby. In 1917 hockey legend Fred ‘Cyclone’ Taylor had his ruptured appendix fixed, and despite fears that he wouldn’t be able to play again, was skating five weeks later. Fortunately the hospital saw many births as well as deaths: pioneer Vancouver oncologist Dr. Richard Beck was born here in 1913. The last year the hospital was listed was 1931; a year later it had become Minaki Lodge, and it remained a rooming house (again) until it was demolished, probably not long after this image was taken.

Next to the hospital (on the edge of the picture) was J McRae’s 1928 Robson Garage, designed by Townley and Matheson. By the early 1970s this was the site of a Texaco Gas Station, only to be replaced in 1985 with a 2-storey retail building that includes a London Drugs store, and smaller retail units on Bute Street, designed by Hale Architects.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 2011-010.1800

1112

Posted 13 September 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with

Vancouver Arena – West Georgia and Denman

The Vancouver Arena was sometimes called the Denman Arena, as it sat on the water side of West Georgia Street, to the west of where Denman Street crosses. It was developed in 1911 and is seen here around 1920 (and not 1913) in a Vancouver Public Library image. It was the city’s biggest venue, with 10,500 seats around the artificial ice surface, used for ice skating, ice hockey and curling. Thomas Hooper designed the $300,000 arena for the Vancouver Arena Co., Ltd, controlled by Frank Patrick. (The permit was for $80,000, but that was just the cost of the structure; the land and ice making equipment added significantly to the investment).

It was the first artificial rink in Canada, and was claimed as the largest indoor ice rink in the world at the time it opened (although Madison Square Gardens was actually bigger). Frank Patrick was from Ottawa, and came to Vancouver in the early 1900s when he ran the local operations of the Patrick Lumber Co. based in Nelson and run by his father, Joe. A former professional hockey player, he founded the Vancouver Millionaires hockey team in 1911, bringing Fred ‘Cyclone’ Taylor to lead the team in 1912, and winning the Stanley Cup in 1915 by beating the Ottawa Senators at the Denman Arena.

In 1914, the Arena was used to house over 1,000 soldiers who were assembling to form the 23rd Infantry Brigade. The soldiers left Vancouver in August 1914 to be deployed as the first Canadian troops in World War I. The arena was also used for other sports, musical performances and public assemblies. Here’s the 1917 motor show on the floor of the Arena.

In 1921 it hosted the first international women’s ice hockey championship, organized by Patrick’s Pacific Coast Hockey Association. In 1924 William Lyon Mackenzie King, the Canadian Prime Minister, during a tour of the west, broadcast a speech from the arena which may have been the first political broadcast in Canada. The CCF held a political rally in 1935 that attracted 16,000 people – the largest indoor gathering that the city had ever seen.

Wooden buildings in Vancouver had a history of burning down, and in the mid 1930s the Arena was given a brick skin (and a new nickname, ‘The Pile’) in order to avoid the fate of the Victoria and New Westminster arenas. In August 1936 a crowd of around 4,000 watched a boxing match between Max Bauer and James J Walsh. Later that evening the nearby boat builders yard caught fire, and around 1.30am the flames spread and engulfed the Arena. Two lives were lost and three firemen injured. The Arena was destroyed, along with seven industrial buildings, two homes and fifty-eight small boats.

The Patrick family announced plans for a replacement, but that never happened. They had built a smaller building in front of the Arena, the Georgia Auditorium, and although damaged that was saved from the fire. In 1945 the Arena site was sold to Hymie Singer, a local theatre and club owner, for $80,000, and he announced a new million-dollar arena, that was also never realized. Once the Auditorium closed in 1959 the site was eyed by several developers for a forest of towers, but eventually it became part of Devonian Harbour Park.

Image sources; Vancouver Public Library and City of Vancouver Archives CVA 94-56

1111

Posted 9 September 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with ,

False Creek from Above westwards 1

It’s another holiday, so we’re looking at another image shot by Trish Jewison from the Global BC traffic helicopter. This time we’re over the end of False Creek, and the ‘before’ (found on another twitter stream, with no identified attribution) comes from 1981. BC Place stadium is underway, and next to the old Cambie Bridge the Sweeney Cooperage has already closed down. To the west of the bridge the railtracks of the marshalling yards have already been removed. The CBC Studios can be seen, built in 1974, and today the Central Library occupies the site to the north.

By the early 1980s the West End already had already seen plenty of recently developed towers, and had a population of 37,000. In the next 25 years it added over 10,000, and today has probably closer to 50,000 residents. Today there are well over 60,000 in the remaining part of the Downtown Peninsula, but in 1981 there were only just over 6,000.

On the left the Olympic Village just comes into shot, with Canada House beyond the shipyards basin and the Community Centre towards the bottom of the picture. The man-made habitat island was built to maintain the length of natural shoreline, which today is far less toxic than when the mix of heavy industries lined the southern shore of the Creek. The worst of the polluted lands on the north side of the Creek were capped and turned into parks, to avoid disturbance and likely contamination of the water. A final Creekside Park is planned for the bottom right of the picture, where two huge freight transfer sheds stood in the early 1980s, although they would soon be torn down to allow the construction of Expo ’86.

1110

Posted 6 September 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered

Horse Show Building – West Georgia Street

Our postcard shows The Horse Show Building, constructed on the south-west corner of West Georgia and Gilford, in 1909. There had been a successful horse show in the Drill Hall on Beatty Street a year earlier, so some members of the Vancouver Hunt Club decided to form an Association to have their own, larger hall. Eleven architects submitted designs, but the winner was from Seattle. Warren H Milner designed the $45,000 building, and a Seattle builder, A E White, was the lead contractor (with F C Franklin). (H B Watson, one of the rejected architects, defended the superiority of his design, but had to be content with morphing it into the design for the Industrial Building at Hastings Park a year later).

The building had a capacity of about 3,500 people, plus extra standing room, and for concerts, with chairs on the main floor, the capacity could be stretched to 7,000. Construction was fast – the permit was granted in January and the first show in the building was in April. This was despite the difficulties the contractors faced, as the architect explained to the Vancouver Daily World “We struck a swamp which we thought we would never get to the bottom of. It was several feet deep, and we had to fill that up with concrete. We also ran across great stumps twelve; feet across. Then for over ten days the ground was frozen so that wo could not get a pick into it. Then we had a great deal of difficulty in getting the dirt to fill the ring. We were just figuring on putting a suction pump into the bay and bringing out sand when some excavations were started and we managed to get along. Everything in the calendar has happened to delay us and nevertheless we have got through.”

The use of the building for horse shows, or anything else the public could attend, was short-lived. In 1910 there was a boxing match featuring Jim Jeffries, an American world heavyweight champion from 1899 to 1905. Sam Berger was also American and the first to win an Olympic gold medal in heavyweight boxing and became Jeffries’ manager in 1909. This is a Vancouver Public Library photograph taken by Bullen Photo Co., Vancouver. The date on the original is 31 January 1910, when Jeffries appeared in an “all-star combination” match.

There were a few other events held up to 1914, including three wrestling matches that year (in March Dulwall Singh defeated Tabusadzy, and the mysterious Walter Miller (The Masked Marvel) beat Al Hatch. In June Pat Connelly (billed as The Gallway Tiger, but based in Vancouver) beat Gus Schönlein (who wrestled as Americus, and was from Baltimore) and in August the crowd got their money’s worth from a bout between Dr. B F Roller (a physician, based in Seattle) against Pat Connelly, which ended without a winner as a time limit draw after two hours.)

Once war was declared the building was used for military purposes, becoming home to the Irish Fusiliers and soon renamed as the Stanley Park Armouries. It changed hands, and was owned by Morris Wagner, and he continued to lease most of the building to the Irish Fusiliers. Morris and his wife, Tina, were killed in an automobile accident in Mexico City, in 1958. The Toronto General Trust Corporation administered the Wagner estate, but in 1960 the building caught fire, and was completely destroyed. The site sat for 40 years, owned from the early 1970s by Runvee Georgia Properties Inc, a branch of Sir Run Run Shaw’s family business. It was bought by Prima Properties to develop Laguna Parkside, a 76 unit condo and townhouse project designed by Merrick Architecture, completed in 2007.

1109

Posted 2 September 2021 by ChangingCity in Uncategorized

Tagged with