Methodist Church – Dunlevy Avenue

In 1889 Thomas Hooper was hired to design the Methodist Mission Church, on Dunlevy Street at Princess Street (today’s East Pender). Another church was built across the street to the east in 1905, a Swedish Lutheran chapel, but that was much more modest than Mr. Hooper’s building. There was also a Japanese Methodist Mission designed by Hooper and Watkins and built 15 years later a few blocks to the north.

The Daily World reported “The church will be built of frame with a frontage of 44 feet on Dunlevy Avenue and a depth of 60 feet on Princess Street, and a total height to the ridge of the roof of about 40 feet. The seating capacity will be about 300. The edifice will be put at the back of the lots, of which there are three, so that, later on, it can be converted into a schoolroom when the main church building is constructed. The plans of the building call for a vestry, class-room and choir gallery, apart from the general auditorium.”

In practice, this wasn’t a very good location to try to convert the Chinese population to Methodism, and In 1900 the mission moved to a purpose built building in the heart of Chinatown on Carrall at Dupont Street. In 1901 a new church building was started – the one in this 1905 image. The Province reported “The members of the congregation of the Princess street Methodist church have decided to erect a new edifice to replace the present church, which has become too small to accommodate the ever-increasing membership, and work on the new building will be rushed with all possible speed. This morning Contractor Carter had force of men a, work breaking ground for the foundation of the new building, which is to adjoin the present church. The old building will be utilized as a Sunday school upon the completion of the new. The church was designed by Architect Hooper of Victoria about twelve years ago, And he was recently asked to prepare drawings for a new auditorium, and also for the remodelling of the old building on modern lines. The new auditorium will have double the seating capacity of the present on and in design it will be the latest, the style followed being that known as “the pulpit In the corner church,” with dished floor, and the choir stalls will be at the side of the pulpit. All the windows will be of stained glass, and the ceiling vaulted. A sliding partition In the wall of the auditorium adjoining the Sunday school will give access to that part of the building. A balcony is to be erected in the Sunday school, and It will be subdivided Into classrooms of various sizes by movable glass partitions. The Sunday school building will also contain a commodious lecture-room, ladies’ parlor, library, and other rooms.

The church celebrated its anniversary in 1916 with services from guest preachers, the choir performing in the afternoon, and a surprising event in the afternoon “At 4 p.m. an illustrated address on “Social Diseases” will be given by Dr. Ernest A. Hall of Victoria. This lecture will be for men only and all men are cordially Invited to be present. Dr. Hall is well known as an authority on the subject of his address, and his clear and vivid talk to men has attracted large crowds wherever he has had the opportunity of speaking.” On Monday evening the Rev Hibbert of New Westminster showed lantern slides of his five years in Dawson City in the Yukon. Those were deemed acceptable to the ladies of the congregation.

Princess Street Methodist Church, which had become Central Methodist Church in 1908, became known as the Turner Institute in 1919, in honor of Rev. James Turner, the pioneer missionary of British Columbia. In 1925 the First Presbyterian, which was also nearby, amalgamated with the Turner Institute to form the First United Church.

We know there was a fire here, because there’s a picture in the Archives from 1935, but we can’t find a reference to exactly when it happened, or what happened to the structure, although as a result it seems that the site was cleared for some years.

In the early 1950s the YMCA developed a building here, and operated until 1978 when the Chinese Mennonite Church acquired the building. In 1984, the old YMCA building was demolished and a new church building designed by Siegfried Toews was constructed, and in 1995 the building was extended to add a 32 room seniors home designed by Isaac Renton Donald. Recently the church sold the building to the Atira Women’s Resource Society, but continue to lease the church space, now called the Chinatown Peace Church.

Image source Vancouver Public Library and CVA 447-143

1118

Posted 4 October 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

Tagged with

%d bloggers like this: