Archive for March 2022

1455 West 8th Avenue

This 1910 apartment house was designed and built by J H Bartholomew for himself. The permit was for $35,000, and when completed, he had 26 apartments to lease. When they opened sometime late in 1912 these were the Belnord Apartments, and in 1913 John Bartholomew was running the Belnord Cafe, which was also at this address. It’s known today as the Creswell Apartments, and there’s one less apartment (and no cafe).

John was living on his own in 1911, listed as a builder, born in Ontario in 1864. He was in Vancouver in 1901, living with his wife Carrie, but when he moved here to run the apartments he had built, she remained in their former home on West 7th. John died in September 1913.

He had married Caroline “Carrie” Mabee, daughter of Charles Mabee and Sarah Ryerse, in March 1886 at Waterford, Ontario, Canada. At the time he was a farmer, living in Dakota, USA, aged 22 (four years older than Carrie). There’s no sign of them in Canada in 1891, but they moved to Victoria around 1892 where John was a lather. In Vancouver from around 1895, John was a boatbuilder living in Fairview, before becoming a house builder. He is buried in the Vanessa Cemetery (Vanessa, Norfolk County, Ontario). Carrie died in Burnaby in 1945, aged 78.

1445 West 8th to the east ought to be the narrowest building in the city (although not the shallowest). At just about 8 feet wide, the afterthought was squeezed next to the Oddfellows Hall, on the adjacent lot to the east. It was home to Gowan Sutton, postcard publishers, from 1923, and was possibly newly built (for $750) that year. The Hall, designed by C B Fowler cost $22,000 in 1922, and the alterations were a year later, built by H A Wiles for H A Radermacker, who was a real estate agent on Granville Street and probably managing the Oddfellows property. In this 1985 image Fairview Sheet Metal were in the building, installing furnaces an building chimney liners, while today there’s a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-0614



Posted 31 March 2022 by ChangingCity in Broadway, Still Standing

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Burrard and West Pender Street, south-east corner

We caught a glimpse of this apartment building in an earlier post, but here’s a better image of the corner block. Shown on the insurance map and in the City Directory as The Glenwood Rooms, it was completed in 1907, and is seen here a year later. J J Honeyman (of Honeyman and Curtis) obtained the building permit for the $20,000 building in August 1906. It was built by Bedford Davidson for Mrs E Charleson. This was Eliza Charleson, who lived at 2003 Haro Street with her husband Donald in 1911. They had moved out of their home, which had been on this site, by 1906, moving to their new house, identified initially as on Chilco, but subsequently as Haro (as it was on the corner).

Eliza Mahon MacWhinney married Donald Brims Charleson in Sarnia, in Ontario, in 1872. Donald’s parents were from Scotland, and had settled in Quebec, where he was born. Donald was aged 30 when he married, and Eliza was 19, the daughter of W H Macwhinney. The Charlesons had a son, Donald, who died in the year he was born, in Sarnia in 1874. Donald was in the lumber business, and owned two schooners, the Bavaria and Siberia, for transporting logs, and he logged oak around Sarnia. Percy was born there in 1875, Edith in 1877, Gertrude in 1879, and Clare in 1883. Before they moved west, Donald was involved in logging the area. An 1881 report said “Mr. D. B. Charleson, of Sarnia, who is one of the heaviest lumber dealers in Western Canada, has had delivered at Brigden station, on the Canada Southern, for shipment east, 70,000 feet of square timber and a large number of staves. It will require 250 cars to convey all this material to its destination.” After they arrived in Vancouver they had a final son, Donald, born in 1891.

The Charleson family arrived a year before the fire, in 1885, and Donald worked for many years with the Canadian Pacific Railway; initially for them, and later as an independent contractor. From 1886 he cleared much of the Vancouver townsite; the Archives have the letter from 1886 appointing him to clear the land, at a salary of $65 a month, and once a contractor, through clearing the land he was also a lumber supplier. (It was a different contractor that inadvertently started the fire that destroyed the town of Granville, and no doubt Donald and Eliza’s first home here with it). Mr. Charleson soon became an active member of the new city – he was a School Trustee in 1886 when the first school outside the mill was built, and he was a founding member of the Vancouver Club, and one of the founders of Christ Church.

Walter Moberley recalled “On May 24, 1887, we had horse racing on Granville street, which had just been cleared, and the stumps taken out from Georgia to Pacific street. And that reminds me that there was one other house south of Hastings on Granville, a very rude sort of building in which Mr. Charleson boarded the promiscuous gang of men who were clearing the townsite. Downstairs was an eating room, and upstairs at night the men lay like sardines round the walls.” In 1889 he got a contract to clear the south side of False Creek, and he also had the contract loading and unloading the C.P.R. trans-Pacific liners. Donald also developed an investment property on Granville Street, also designed by Honeyman and Curtis.

Eliza’s investment property was clearly identified with her; ‘Charleson Block, 1908’ was prominently displayed on the cornice. The rooms were apparently going to be called the Stanley Apartments – the name in gilt over the doorway, but they were called the Glenwood Rooms from their first day of operation.

This was not a nominal investment by Eliza on behalf of he husband; she had actively traded property in her own name in the early 1900s. (She’s seen here in a portrait from the early 1900s). She sold this property in 1920: The Province reported “BURRARD-PENDER PROPERTY IS SOLD FOR FIFTY THOUSAND Negotiations were completed this morning for the sale of a piece of property at the corner of Pender and Burrard streets to a local firm of auctioneers. The sale is the first reported in that district In some time. The property has a frontage of 78 feet on Pender street and a depth of 120 feet along Burrard street. It is occupied at present by a three storey brick building which the purchasers will remodel for their business. The deal, which involved $50,000. was put through by Sharples & Sharples. The vendor was Mrs. E. Charleson of this city.

Their son Percy still lived at home. He was a stock and investment broker, operating the first stock exchange in the city. He apparently lived a very comfortable life, sailing in his 30 foot sloop called Halcyon. In 1922, aged 47, he was already living off his investments, which included buildings on Granville Street (including the one developed by his father).

In 1922 he was dramatically killed in a train accident in Unity, Saskatchewan, while on a hunting trip. A car in which he was travelling was hit by a train, and he and a companion were killed. He had signed in to the local hotel as Mr. and Mrs. Charleson, but his father confirmed that Percy wasn’t married. It was a month later, after he had been buried in Mountain View Cemetery, that his companion was identified; Mrs. Ruth Cleveland, of Vancouver (formerly from Tennessee). The Regina newspaper claimed Mrs. Cleveland had been living with Percy for some time before the accident, although the Vancouver press chose to drop that paragraph. His estate was worth $492,000, and his will left it to his mother, and in the event of her death, his father. Eliza died in 1926, and Donald in 1928. Charleson Park, on the south shore of False Creek is named after the man who logged the slope.

The manager of the Glenwood Rooms was William Hansford who was 66, born in Clarksburg (West Virginia) when he married widow Alice Doster born in Wabash, Indiana, and aged 57 in 1907 There’s no sign of them in the city before the year they got married. By 1911 the proprietor had become A R Hansford and  Alice Hansford was identified in the 1911 census living with her lodgers and niece, Marie Jones. In the census there were 40 lodgers living in the building, with a huge range of employment including an American capitalist and his wife, F W Liddle and R M Ward who were both musicians, Mr and Mrs T F Curror, from South Africa, who had no employment, Harry Davidson who was a brickmaker and M C McQuarrie who was a barrister. Mrs. Hansford took over a new rooming house on Davie Street, and took the Glenwoods name with her. In 1913 these were The Stanley Apartments, run by Mrs Helena Cottingham.

This building (the second on the site, after the Charleson’s house was redeveloped), lasted about 40 years. For a while Johnson Motors operated on the corner, then in 1955 a new four storey office building designed by McCarter and Nairne and named for its tenant, the National Trust (a Montreal based bank) was completed. That building lasted just under 30 years; today it’s the plaza in front of an office building occupied by Manulife, completed in 1985, designed by Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden Partnership.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Str P137 and CVA Port P327


Posted 28 March 2022 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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819 Prior Street

The recent sale particulars for this 12 unit apartment building said it was built in 1901. Usually we find buildings are actually older than current records suggest, but in this case it’s the other way. This building was actually given a permit in 1910. The owner / builders,  Gwillim & Crisp hired architects Campbell & Bennett to design their $7,000 investment. The company name might suggest a building partnership, but actually they were a law practice.

Frank Llewellyn Gwillim was from Herefordshire in England, born in 1870. He came to Manitoba in 1882, and in 1893 was called to the bar of the Northwest Territories, and in 1897 in Manitoba, and then in the Kootenay district of BC. The partnership with Frederick George Crisp was formed in the Yukon a year later, where Frank was the first public administrator of the Yukon territory. He left to come to Vancouver in 1906, and Frederick Crisp stayed in Alaska for two years before rejoining his partner in Vancouver in 1908.

Fred Crisp was was born in 1877, in Ingersoll, Ontario, and in 1898 moved to Dawson City and became a lawyer in the Yukon. He married Annie Gow, born in Manchester, England in 1877, who had arrived in Canada in 1884. We haven’t traced their wedding, but they had a son, William, in 1904 in Dawson City. Frederick Dawson Crisp followed in 1907, also in the Yukon, and having moved to Vancouver, Allen Gow Crisp, in 1909.

It’s safe to assume neither of the owners ever lived here. Fred Crisp moved around the West End three times between 1908 and 1913 before settling in Shaughnessy on Balfour Avenue. ‘Following an operation’, Frederick died in Vancouver in 1924 aged 48. He was buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver. Annie remarried in 1925, to George Clark, a farmer, but he died in 1934. Annie lived to 86, dying in Vancouver in 1963.

Frank Gwillim lived on Barclay Street in the West End from 1906, and then on Robson Street, Downtown, before moving to Balfour Avenue in 1912. He wasn’t there long; at the outbreak of war in 1914 he signed up, and went to war at the age of 44. Lieutenant Frank Llewelyn Gwillim of the 29th batallion of the Candian Infantry died ‘of sickness’ in 1916, and was buried with his nephew, 2nd Lt. Drummond of the Black Watch, in St Giles churchyard in Mansell Gamage in Herefordshire. His headstone was paid for by Fred Crisp.

The apartment building has six units on each floor, each with two bedrooms in around 500 square feet. Since our 1978 image it has been clad in cedar shingles, and it’s now on the Heritage Register (although not protected with a Heritage Agreement). There’s no real open space, just a paved yard with parking spots. The sales brochure ominously mentioned ‘Rents are very low and can be substantially increased with some upgrades to the building’. It was offered at $3.3m, slightly below its assessed value.


Posted 24 March 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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West Broadway and Cambie – north-east corner

There aren’t too many places where an earlier building has been replaced by a vacant site. This corner lot has had a billboard for decades, only removed in 2020. The Royal Bank here was designed by Kenneth G Rae, in 1911, and built at a cost of $30,000 by ‘Jon. Roger’ (almost certainly contractor, and sometime developer, Jonathan Rogers). It’s seen here a year after it was built.

The bank remained here until 1953, when it transferred to a new branch across Cambie to the west, replacing a previous gas station. As far as we can tell, this corner has remained undeveloped for over 70 years. As the contemporary image shows, there’s construction in this location now, for the new east-west extension of SkyTrain underground along Broadway. There’s already a north-south station across the street, serving the Canada Line, so this will be an even more important location. A new plan has been developed to encourage higher density developments close to transit, so this must be a prime spot for site consolidation and development.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives SGN 1014


Posted 21 March 2022 by ChangingCity in Broadway, Gone

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Richards and Helmcken Street – south-west corner

In the 40 years between these two images another building was constructed, and has already been replaced. In 1981 this was a Chevron gas station, across the lane from Brookland Court, developed by William and Joseph Lightheart and originally called the Lightheart Apartments.

This site was originally developed with four houses facing Helmcken, with the Star Laundry next door to the south on Richards. They had been developed in 1905 by Mrs. Desrosiers, and they were obviously investment properties as M A Desrosiers carried out repairs to them in 1921. Magloire Desrosiers had arrived in 1888, and became the city’s best-known cornice maker, having started out as a tinsmith. Marie, Magloire’s wife, who had (nominally at least) developed the houses here, died in 1934, and his death was in 1936. The houses were still standing in 1955, so the gas station was developed after that (and the gas bar design has a 50s style). It was one of two gas stations on the same corner – we saw the Shell station on the south-east corner in an earlier post. We also looked at the houses still standing on the north-east corner.

In 1985, Jubilee House was developed here, a low-rise building with 89 units of non-market housing. By 2015 it was described as “falling apart”, with no sprinklers and poor accessibility to those with disabilities. The building was owned by the City of Vancouver, who subsequently swapped the site with developer Brenhill for one they owned across the street. They built the larger New Jubilee House first across the street, to allow all the tenants of the old building to stay in the same area (and 73 more below-market rental units to be added in the new, larger building). Brenhill were then able to develop 8X on the Park, a 36 storey condo and rental tower with a total of 388 units. This fourth development to be built on the site, it’s likely to last a lot longer than all the previous buildings.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E07.02


Posted 17 March 2022 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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74 West Hastings Street

Today, and in our 1978 image, this was the Grand Union Hotel. However, it only obtained that name a few years after it was developed.

The building to the west was developed by Chinese merchant Loo Gee Wing. The 1908 building had ‘Loo Building’ on top, and was named on the insurance map. The Song Mong Lim Co was listed as the initial developer, but that was the name of Loo Gee Wing’s wife, who tried to avoid paying construction contractor’s bills by ‘selling’ the property to her husband – a scheme that led to a stern admonishment by a judge.

Here the building is more modest, and seems to have also been completed before the Loo Building. The address appeared in 1908 as The Sterling Building, with Kwong Sang & Co, Chinese merchants occupying the main floor and E D Locke presumably occupying an office in the upper floors. The Loo Building appears later, in 1909.

Earlier, Loo Gee Wing had more ambitious plans for the combined site. He had a design completed for a 12 storey ‘big hotel and theatre’, to be built with a steel frame by a Seattle contractor. The project never proceeded, and Mr. Gillies, the builder tried, and failed twice to obtain payment for his involvement. During the trial it emerged that he had never constructed a steel building, or anything taller than 3 storeys. (The architect, B. W. Houghton of Seattle also sued for his fees). By 1905 plans for a theatre had been dropped, and the project downsized to develop just the corner lot, initially to a four storey hotel, and then back to a five storey office.

Although this building has also been attributed to Loo Gee Wing, we doubted that because of a statement in a December 1907 newspaper report about the site history and the Loo Building being constructed, noting ‘Finally a third of the property was taken over and built on.’ An earlier September 1907 report confirmed this. “CHINAMAN TO BUILD ON HASTINGS STREET Yesterday a building permit was issued to Yuen Chang for a $20,000 building on the Loo Gee Wing corner of Hastings and Abbott streets. Yuen Chang gave $4,000 for the eastern forty feet of the lot. The building will be a three – story one of brick and stone. Stores will occupy the lower part and the two upper storeys will be residential flats.” The developer’s name was probably more commonly Chong Yuen, the same Chinese merchant who built the 1911 building now known as the Chinese Freemasons Building. We don’t know who his architect was here.

In 1910 Kwong Sang still occupied the main floor, and upstairs The Astoria Rooms, run by David Baker, had opened, and the Sterling Building was also listed. A year later the Electric Vigo Co had been added to the occupants. They were upstairs, and their advertisments (initially in the Vancouver Sun, and later in the Daily World) promised much, if somewhat alarmingly. “After the first application of Electro – Vigor my ailment began to get better, and within two months I was completely cured. Needless to say, I was freed from the drug habit as well, and my general health greatly improved. Electro – Vigor is not like electric belts, doctors’ batteries and other appliances you may have seen or used. It does not shock or burn the sensation is pleasant, exhilarating. The current Is scientifically applied, so that It goes Just where it is needed. Electro Vigor Is easy to use. All you need to do is adjust it properly, when you go to bed, and all night long, while you sleep, it saturates the nerves and vitals with a glowing stream of electric energy.” The business was here for some years; one of our readers spotted the advert on the left from 1915.

Kwong Sang were replaced by The Raeburn Clothing Co in 1912, and in 1913 Bergman’s Cafe hired Otto Moberg to design $1,250 of work; presumably the interior of the space. G Bergman was shown carrying out minor repairs that year, and by 1914 the Bergman Rooms were here with the Cafe, Electro Appliance Co and Talbot Engineering. The Electro Appliance Co offered Dr Bell’s equipment, promising to cure almost everything with the addition of voltage.

Mr. Bergman’s involvement was short; In 1916 W S Thomas was listed as owner when alterations were proposed to the building, and in 1917 Mr DeFehr was owner. Isbrand DeFehr had run a much larger hotel called the Grand Union, on the same block, to the east. He had sold it (twice) and when it was then sold again for redevelopment as The Pantages Theatre, he acquired the Bergman Rooms and Cafe and established a new Grand Union. He was owner until around 1921, when Waghorn, Gwynn & Company, carried out work on several occasions.  In 1925 The Grand Union Hotel was listed as owner when $8,000 of changes were carried out, and Mrs G Campbell was in charge. Margaret Campbell was here in 1930, with H Hyams as the manager of the Beer Parlor. An auction notice for furniture appeared in the Province newspaper in 1930 suggesting that the hotel had 40 guest rooms. A year later a new manager, Mrs C Withyman was running the hotel (presumably with new furniture), and the beer parlor and a shoe shine and cigar stand were underneath. By 1955 the building was run by William J Chernecki’s Grand Union Holdings, with the Hotel, and a Tobacco Shop.

The beer parlor appeared quite often in the press; never in a good light. In 1929 “The Grand Union beer parlor’s cash, register containing $70 was stolen from the premises some time early Sunday morning and later found empty and smashed on the Canadian Pacific Rail way tracks under the Georgia viaduct.” In 1941 a fire axe was recovered from the bar, “stolen from the SS. Princess Louise on Saturday evening and C.P.R. police called on city constables to assist in its recovery. It was located in the possession of a private from an Edmonton regiment in the Grand Union beer parlor.”  In 1947 The Sun reported ” Knife-Wielding Sailors Disarmed. Two knives in the hands of two sailors, one a Filipino, the other a Negro, were confiscated by police following an argument in the Grand Union beer parlor, West Hastings Street, Thursday night. Police said the pair got Into an argument with a waiter and produced the knives.” In the same year “Dennis Halliday, 22, was sentenced to one month In jail today for assaulting Norman Sumner, bartender at Grand Union beer parlor” In 1954 the safe was broken open, and $6,000 stolen. Police made three arrests. A recent review by a long-time barman sums up the place today. “I enjoyed working there for over 33 years and got along with most customers but it being on skid row had a lot of shady people enter with bad moods and temper.


Posted 14 March 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Haro Street Children’s Hospital

In 1919 when this image was taken, the Children’s Hospital was in the West End. It was owned by the City of Vancouver, who were responsible for some aspects of healthcare, and they had developed the ‘3-storey reinforced concrete creche’ in 1913. The architect was obscure: A Williams and Company, and George Williamson built the $43,800 project. Alfred Williams wasn’t actually an architect, but rather a consulting engineer. The new building involved the demolition of several houses built in the early 1890s.

The creche was a day nursery, run by the Associated Charities of Vancouver, and initially established in a house on Thurlow Street. The Medical Officer for Health, Dr. Underhill, supported the project as a way of improving child health in the city – which he said had the highest rate of child mortality in Canada. When this opened in 1914 it was only the second purpose-built childcare facility in Canada. (One in Toronto opened a few months earlier). By 1916 there was a sharp drop in attendance due to a shortage of employment for domestic workers (with the war economy in operation), so the Vancouver General Hospital took over the building in 1917. The creche moved to the Relief Department building, on Cambie Street, and this became the Infant’s Department of the hospital. It remained in that use until 1951.

The building was empty in 1952, and in 1953 the McRae Hotel was operating here. It offered daily and weekly rates, and free parking. Other than advertisements for rooms, it only seems to have featured once in its years of operation when in 1967 “A man accused of beating up three women had the charges against him Wednesday when the complainants failed to appear at his trial. Prosecutor John Hall told Magistrate Bernard Isman he was forced to withdraw charges against, John Hamel, 37, who gave his address as the McRae Hotel, because the three complainants had moved out of town and could not be located.” It was still operating in early 1969, “Rooms from $12 weekly, 5 min. walking distance to downtown”.

We haven’t found any pictures of Haro Street to confirm that the hotel was created from the hospital building, but a 1960 aerial image confirms it was still standing, so we assume that to be the case. In 1970 ‘Central Plaza’ a 21-storey rental tower replaced the hotel, and the apartment building next door. That was the Lindsay lodge Apartments, developed in 1912 by Mrs G S McConnell, and designed by ‘Mr McMartin’ at a cost of $16,000. Gilbert McConnell and his wife lived at 1168 Haro in 1912, and had moved to Barclay Street a year later. Nettie McConnell clearly followed her husband’s development experience, which included developing the McConnell Block in 1890. Her choice of architect was as obscure as the hospital’s designer; there was nobody in Vancouver called McMartin who might have designed the building.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-225


Posted 10 March 2022 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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Rotary Clinic – West Pender Street

Tuberculosis was still a significant disease in Canada in the early 20th Century, although treatment no longer necessarily involved a long stay in an isolated sanatorium. With no national health service, treatment options were often reliant on charity. The Rotary Club of Vancouver was organized in 1913, in affiliation with the International Association. It was a businessmen’s service organization, with men from various professions joining to raise funds for community projects. Early efforts of the Vancouver Rotary Club were directed at tuberculosis relief, and in 1917, it was decided to establish a free health clinic.

The building was approved in 1918, designed by J A Benzie and built by Baynes and Horie at a cost of $48,000. It was the built on a site the permit referenced as the ‘old hospital site’. There were two earlier buildings that had served as the city hospital until a new building was constructed in Fairview, (today it’s VGH). They were still standing, but repurposed, when this building was constructed, but the first brick building, constructed in 1888, had already been demolished by 1911 and this building was constructed where it had stood, a block to the east of the Central School.

B.C.’s per capita death rate from TB was the highest in Canada, so the new clinic, which opened in 1919, was badly needed. The staff included a medical director, two nurses, and a technician. In addition, there were two “district” or visiting nurses who travelled by car to do case-finding and follow-up care for patients in their homes. In the 1930s, when Vancouver city health department could not fund the necessary visiting nursing services for TB patients, the Rotary Club took on the funding until the city could once again finance it.

Examinations were free for those who needed care but were unable to pay for medical assessment. About 25 per cent of those examined proved to have TB. To give some idea of the numbers, 6,291 patients came for consultation in 1926. In 1933 the facility closed down; the City established a TB Division of the City Health Department that year, and the province had funded a sanatorium. In 1936 a new building in VGH opened to provide treatments for TB and other chest illnesses.

This became the City’s Public Health Building, later known as The Metropolitan Health Unit #1, which was included in the City Directory for the last time in 1949, the same year that Walter E Frost took this picture. Later that year the site was cleared, and a year later the City’s Parking Corporation were given custody of the land. In 1970 they added the parkade that’s still on the site today. The structure has a value of $207,000, (and seems to be in a constant state of repair in the past few years), but the land is valued at $112 million.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-59


Posted 7 March 2022 by ChangingCity in Gone, Victory Square

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Central School – West Pender Street

This was the most prominent school building in the central part of the city, when it was built in 1889. It was an impressive structure for a city that was only three years old. Thomas Hooper won the contract to design the building, (with Balston Kenway, the supervising architect for the Provincial government) seen here in 1902. In 1892 the High School was built on Dunsmuir Street, at the back of the same lot. It can be seen in the background, on the right.

Central School was the first masonry built school, and opened in 1890. The principal, Alex Robinson noted in 1891 the difficulties of running a school with untrained teachers. “An earnest desire to promote the advancement of the pupils was noticeable in the work of all the teachers, and any cases of failure that may have occurred in the teaching of the particular branches are to be ascribed rather to inexperience than to a lack of enthusiasm. A Provincial Normal School is urgently required. As matters stand at present, to place over divisions containing 75 pupils and upwards, young teachers fresh from our High Schools, whose knowledge of method has been acquired by the reading of some text-book on the subject, is manifestly unfair both to the pupils and teachers themselves.” A ‘Normal School is one where teachers were trained in the ‘norms’, but it would be 10 years before one was built in Vancouver.

The School closed in 1946, and was demolished in 1948 to make way for the first Vancouver Vocational Institute building. This was a novel enterprise, initiated by the School Board, and designed by Sharp & Thompson, Berwick Pratt. There was significant unemployment during the depression, and many men went untrained straight to the war. There were many returning veterans needing training for peace time employment, and high school graduates needed specific pre-employment training. The Vocational Institute (and today, Vancouver Community College) offered courses to train for many trades that traditionally required a three or four year apprenticeship – which weren’t available in sufficient numbers.

The high cost of the building (two million dollars) and its large equipment content, meant an intensive utilization of the facility was planned from the first day. It was used in the evening for part-time apprenticeship and vocational upgrade courses as well as the full-time day programs.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Sch P27 and Vancouver School Board.


Posted 3 March 2022 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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