Silverdene – 999 Denman Street

This 1927 West End apartment building is remarkably unchanged in nearly a century. It was built by Dominion Construction Co., and designed by R T Perry for Vancouver Holdings Ltd. Costing a reported $80,000 to build, (more than the $65,000 on the permit), it has a concrete frame and a ‘buff-coloured tapestry brick’ facing. The Province newspaper reported ‘The building is one of the finest of its type in the city and Is completely equipped with every modern convenience. It is claimed by the owners to be fireproof and soundproof.’ The walls between units had hollow tile construction, and there was matting between the floors called Cabot’s Deadening Quilt. ‘It Is claimed by the owners of the building that a piano played in one suite cannot be heard in the one adjoining, so well is it soundproofed’. The basement boasted ‘one of the newer types of electric washing machines‘.

Vancouver Holdings were H H Stevens property investment vehicle. We looked at his history as a (very) conservative politician in an earlier post where we looked at The Queen Charlotte, another 1927 apartment building developed by Stevens. This project wasn’t quite smooth sailing. City Council approved the building, but when they considered it in March, the Civic Building Committee wanted the apartment to be set back from the building line. The developers did not agree, pointing out that the location wasn’t one where a setback was required. After a 3 month delay, the building went ahead without the setback. It was completed by December, and photographed in 1928.

W H Stevens was the local manager running the apartments; he wasn’t in the city in 1921, which is the most recent census we can access. He was a grocer, in Yale, in 1911 and was born in 1877, arriving in Canada in 1887. We believe he was Henry Herbert Stevens’ slightly older brother (as H H was 9 when he arrived in 1887), and was William Harvey Stevens. He died in 1962, and was buried in Burnaby.

Today the building is owned by Equitable Real Estate, whose portfolio includes some of Vancouver’s best heritage buildings (as well as some contemporary ones). The laundry facilities are still ‘of the newer type’: there’s a common Laundry room with fob activation for the washers and dryers.

Image source; City of Vancouver Archives CVA Str N267.2

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Posted 20 January 2022 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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