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

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

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