Archive for July 2022

The Selkirk – 1225 Barclay Street

This is another 1920s West End rental building, but unlike many of the buildings built in the mid-war years, this one hasn’t survived. Gardiner & Mercer designed it in a similar ‘mission’ style to several other buildings they designed in the mid 1920s. This was built in 1926, (and photographed a year later) costing J Stenhouse, its developer $55,000 to have Smith Bros. & Wilson build it.

John Stenhouse was the accountant at Vancouver Barber Supply, and he lived next door at 1213 Barclay Street. When the Selkirk was completed, the house became the Selkirk Annex apartments, and John moved to an apartment at 1170 Barclay, the Florida Apartments.

We had problems finding John; we knew his wife was called May, and that they had a daughter in the early 1930s called Carole. He wasn’t in the city in the 1921 census, the most recent we can currently access. We finally found a clipping with an obituary of John’s brother, James, who died of a heart attack aged 50 in 1943. James was a stonecutter, living in Ohio, and his father, also James, was alive, and living in Hawick in Scotland. He died three years later, and his gravestone tells us that John’s mother was Janet Hind, a sculptor. We were able to find John’s birth, in Hawick in 1891, and his wife; Rena May Muttart, who was from PEI, born in 1900. John came to Canada in 1910. In 1916 Rena was living with her family in Edmonton and John was living in Lethbridge. She was still at school in 1918. In December 1934 we find him retired at age 43 with his wife Rena, 34, and their infant daughter Carole (who was born that year) aboard the Letitia of the Donaldson Line travelling from Quebec to Glasgow on a visit.

In 1947 the Province reported an accident: “Propeller Hits Arm, City Pilot Injured John Stenhouse, 60, suffered an arm fracture Sunday when he attempted to start the motor of his airplane. His arm was caught by the propeller. A light plane pilot Mr. Stenhouse is the proprietor of a barber and beauty shop supply house in Vancouver. He lives at 1432 West Forty-seventh.” (John was 56, not 60).

In 1948 Rena was working as a saleswoman for Mme Runge, a clothing store in South Granville, In 1949 It appears that John and Rena had separated, as she was shown living on West 1st Avenue. In 1952 she had become Mrs. Rena Aston, marrying Cecil Aston who was president of the Medical Hall Drug Co.

In 1952, John Stenhouse’s presumed death generated an unusual story in the local press: “Girl Given Two Years To Decide A 19-year-old city girl has been given two years to decide whether to fight her mother’s claim for a half share of the $289,000 left by her father when he disappeared more than a year ago, Chief Justice Farris Thursday adjourned the Supreme Court claim of Mrs. May Ashton, 5611 Chancellor, until Dec. 1 of next year. At that time it will be adjourned for another year. The unique case revolves on the interpretation of a separation agreement between Mrs. Ashton, the former Mrs. John Stenhouse, and her husband. Mr. Stenhouse, proprietor of a beauty parlor supply business here, took off in his light plane to visit his daughter, then in Eugene. Ore., in October of last year and has not been seen since. He has been declared dead. The claim asks simply that the separation agreement be set aside. Chief Justice Farris heard the preliminary application and decided Carol Lynne Stenhouse should be 21 before she is asked to decide whether to fight the action. He adjourned the case accordingly.

Two years later the Vancouver Sun reported on Carol’s decision in the case “Supreme court proceedings over the $300,000 estate of John Stenhouse have been wound up by dividing it equally between his widow and daughter. Sixty-year-old Stenhouse owned three apartment buildings and operated Coast Novelty Co., a barbers’ supply firm. He disappeared Oct. 6, 1951, while flying his own plane to Eugene, Oregon, to visit his daughter, Carol Lynne, who was attending university there. The question, of the estate came before the courts three years ago but was postponed until the daughter came of age so that she could consent legally to an equal division with her mother, now Mrs. Cecil Aston of University Hill.”

By 1957 Cecil and Rena were living in Penticton, and took a trip on the Queen Mary, (New York to Southampton, First Class). In 1961 they applied to buy a 2.4 acre plot on Okanagan Lake to build a summer home. Rena M Aston’s death was in 1964, in Coventry, Warwickshire, England, and Cecil died in 1980.

Lord Young Terrace was developed here in 1989, a 28 unit strata building designed by Hywel Jones for Nova Developments.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu N255.



Posted 28 July 2022 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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Elysium Hotel, West Pender Street (2)

This is our second look at this surprisingly short-lived hotel building, the New Elsium Hotel built on West Pender Street. The image in our first post wasn’t particularly good (as the photo had faded, or been badly under-exposed) and we now have much more information about the mysterious developer ‘C C Smith’. Robert Moen, of the comprehensively researched WestEndVancouver blog, has worked out who C C Smith probably was – not a Smith at all, but a gentleman called Christopher Cameron McRae.

The September 1909 permit for the $95,000 construction was to C C Smith, and the architect was identified as Sholto Smith, to be built by ‘McNeil & Marsegh’. The building was described as apartment or rooming house. Expectations were for the building to open in April 1910, but before it was completed, Robert Forrest took on the project, and it would seem that C C Smith was no longer involved as a developer. Robert Forrest, a civil engineer who ran the Glenwood Rooms, also on West Pender, purchased the site.

A court case in 1911 tells a different story to the building permit (and tells us something about the construction of the building). A bricklayer called Sydney Hosgood filed a claim in the BC Supreme Court for over $10,000 for the injuries he received when the scaffolding he was working from collapsed. In November 1909 he was working on the fourth floor, when ‘the walls separated, allowing the fifth floor to fall in on top of him’. He was knocked unconscious and thrown onto a verandah two floors below. In the case C C Smith was described as the contractor, and Joshua Mansergh was the client. (The case was found in favour of Mr. Hosgood, who was awarded $3,500 in damages against Mr. Smith, who declined to pay, and was cited for contempt. We don’t know if he went to jail, or eventually paid up).

There’s considerable confusion about the roles of Smith, and Mansergh. A 1909 Daily World article said “Mr C C Smith is having this magnificent structure erected having great faith in the future development of Vancouver”. One article about the judgement referred to him ‘of North Vancouver’, but that seems inaccurate. Charles C Smith, a real estate broker there, was perhaps being confused for the developer.

Joshua Mansergh has been as elusive as ‘C C Smith’. He was listed as a contractor between 1909 and 1911, in partnership with a variety of changing partners, and while he was sometimes listed as John, a mining claim he made in 1911 shows he was a contractor, and confirms he was named Joshua. In a 1909 court case Mansergh and Burkley failed to get additional payment for a stables they erected in the West End. In 1910 the architect, Sholto Smith, designed a house for himself (and his wife and child) on W 14th Avenue, which was built for him by Mansergh and Walker, so there was clearly a business relationship between Sholto Smith and Joshua Mansergh.

Another court case in 1910 strengthened that connection; J Wilson sought $500 from Mansergh for wages from the construction of the Wigwam Inn. The defence was that he was a partner, and not entitled to wages, but the court awarded him $421. The Wigwam Inn was up Indian Arm, developed in 1910 by Benjamin Dickens and Konstantin ‘Alvo’ von Alvensleben, and one of the few buildings we know was also designed by Sholto Smith.

J Mansergh lived in rooms at 991 W Pender, which was the home of a Mrs. Cropley. As a contractor he only seems to have built two houses in three years, (one of them the house for Sholto Smith). He doesn’t seem to have been listed by any Canadian census, or indeed, in any other publications except reported court cases – where he generally lost. He’s most likely to have been born in 1873 in Yorkshire in England; the only Joshua Mansergh we can find born in the later half of the 1800s was a joiner in 1901.

In 1923 an obituary appeared in the Vancouver Sun under the headline ‘C C Smith dies in City Hospital’. It references his wife, daughter Donalda, and a home on W 11th Avenue, and says he was a 58 year old contractor who came to the city from Ontario 31 years ago. All the other newspapers referred to the death of C C McRae, with the other details the same. There’s no indication why the Sun should identify Mr. McRae as ‘Smith’.

C C McRae called himself an architect in 1894, with on office on Cordova, and married Jennie Boyd McMillan, of Mount Pleasant, in 1902, when he described his occupation as architect. The Museum of Vancouver has a copy of their framed wedding photograph. Jennie was a school teacher, and their daughter Donalda was born in 1909, and became a social worker. (In 1907 the couple had a son, who only lived for a week). Jeannie McRae lived in Vancouver until her death in 1951, and Donalda died, having never married, in 1987.

Apart from the name ‘Smith’, there seems unlikely to be any connection between C C McRae and Sholto Smith. The architect was born in Nice, to English parents, and arrived in Quebec when they emigrated, and he was aged ten. His training as an architect was in Montreal, and he ended up practicing in Moose Jaw between 1906 and 1908, and then moved to Vancouver. He married Charles Woodward’s daughter, Peg, in 1909, and picked up some work for the retail magnate, as well as the Elysium and the Wigwam Inn. As the economy paused, work dried up, and the family moved back to Moose Jaw. Following the war, and the failure of his marriage, he moved to New Zealand.

The earlier post describes the fate of the hotel following its construction. It was demolished in the late 1970s, and replaced with an office building designed by Hamilton Doyle in 1985.

Image source: Simon Fraser University, British Columbia Postcard Collection.


Posted 25 July 2022 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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1150 Haro Street

This is one of the earliest houses still standing in the West End, dating from around 1892. It would have been based on a ‘plan book’ of standard designs for a local carpenter to erect. This 1985 image shows it before a comprehensive restoration returned its appearance to much closer to how it first looked.

We’re only looking at the earliest residents here, or this would be an even longer post. The first time the building appears in the street directory is in 1892, when it was numbered as 1120, and three different members of the Francis family were listed. Arthur had rooms here, there was Mrs. Lizzie Francis, a music teacher, and William Francis, a professor of music. Miss Maud Purvis was also shown at this address, although the name section shows her as a lodging house keeper on Richards street. The family had been in the city for the 1891 census. Arthur was aged 21, the brother of William, 27. Their mother was Elizabeth, who was 59. Both William and Elizabeth were from the Isle of Java; Arthur had been born in Holland, and it looks like he might have been a hack driver, (the clerk’s writing is hard to make out), while William was listed as a school teacher.

William’s death in 1946 shows his father was Emanuel Francis, and his mother before she married was Elizabeth Purvis. Emanuel and Elizabeth had been born in West Sumatra. in Indonesia, but they got married in Germany in 1860. They had four sons between 1861 and 1869, and Emanuel died in 1874 when Arthur, the youngest, was only five.

The Francis family seem to have done well in Vancouver; in 1910 the ‘Dominion Instant Heater Co’ was incorporated with a $100,000 valuation. The corporate members were William Francis, a broker, Emile Chevalier, an accountant, Arthur Brydon-Jack and Edwin Ross, solicitors, all of Vancouver, and ‘Arthur Oliphant Philip Francis, gentleman, of Victoria B.C.’. The company was established to purchase the rights to Gray’s Instantaneous Heater from Edmund Francis.

William and his brother Edmund were lodging together in 1901, where they were both recorded as accountants. Elizabeth Francis died in 1893, and two of the brothers later married, quite late in life, Edmund in 1908 in Ottawa, when he was 41, and William in 1911 when he was 47. Both their wives were younger, and both had two children. Arthur never married. Edmund died in 1942, aged 75 and William and Arthur in 1946 at the ages of 81 and 76 respectively.

We think this must have been a rental property initially, as the residents changed quite often. In 1894 ‘Campbell Johnson’ was living here. He was Ronald Alexander Campbell-Johnston, born in Suffolk in 1863. He was apparently sometimes referred to as R C Campbell Johnson, and in 1895 he had moved to Granville Street, and this house was vacant. He was listed as a metallurgist, assayer and mining engineer, who had been educated at Sherbourne School, England, and in the Royal School of Mines at London, from which he was graduated in 1881. He managed mines in India, before returning to the United Kingdom, working for a Welsh company, refining nickel copper and cobalt in Swansea before going to the United States in 1888 in charge of the zinc mines at Joplin, Missouri. He was there for two years then moving to manage a nickel mine in Sudbury, Ontario, before setting up as an independent assayer and moving to Vancouver.

He was only in the city until 1896 before heading to the Kootenays, before returning to Vancouver in 1906. His wife, Amy, often accompanied him on trips, collecting many native artifacts and costumes in areas where few if any western women had gone. Some of her collected material, and paintings can be found in the Museum of Vancouver, while the writings and mining reports by Ronald Campbell-Johnston can be found in the UBC Library collections. In the Weekly Report for a Vancouver newspaper Ronald Campbell-Johnston wrote: “Indian relics on this coast, when not carefully preserved, are fast disappearing, and sent abroad; also being altogether and ruthlessly destroyed through the agency of the missionaries, in order to force these tribes to forget their old ceremonies” Amy was also involved in the suffrage movement along with Mary Ellen Smith – the province’s first woman MLA. Her daughter, Masie Hurley, collected an important collection of native art and artifacts that are now in the collection of the Museum of North Vancouver. She, like her mother, advocated for Indigenous peoples’ basic human rights as well as for changes to the Indian Act.

When the family were living on Haro, Masie was shown born in Swansea, and aged nine, and her brother Ronald, born in India was five. Another brother, Alexander was born in Wales in 1900. Both sons died on active service in France in 1918, a day apart and only two months before the Armistice. Their father died in 1929, and Amy in 1948, both in Vancouver. Their daughter, Masie, died in 1964.

In 1896 directory David Sterling and Samuel Prenter were both living in the house. Samuel was chief timekeeper for the CPR, and David was a clerk for the CPR, and the father of Samuel’s wife, Annie. Samuel had been born in Antrim, Ireland in 1865, and his father-in-law David (who was Charles David in some records) ‘at sea’ in 1837. He had worked for the CPR, and his daughter, Annie, was the oldest of six children, born in Bruce Mines in Ontario in 1868. She had married Samuel in 1893, and the family moved to Burrard street in 1897. David was in Seattle when he died, in 1909, and Samuel was trainmaster for the CPR, and living in a different house on Burrard (which was a quiet, wide tree-lined boulevard lined with houses at the time). His family were still in Vancouver in 1921. By then he had become the secretary-treasurer on the Vancouver Brewery, aged 56. Annie was 53, and their son, Reginald, was 25, and still in the family home, which was now on Harwood Street. He was a partner in the law firm Macdonald, Macdonald & Prenter. Daughter Kathleen was 17, and a student. Annie died in 1937 and Samuel in 1938.

John Roland Stitt, a former grocer and dry goods merchant, lived here with his family from 1897. He was previously the manager of the store at Hastings Mill. In 1901 there were four daughters at home. John was from Ireland, and his wife Isabella was French, and John was working in the City Treasurer’s office. They were still living here in 1902, when the numbering reallocated it as 1150 Haro. In 1905 they moved to West 8th Avenue, when John was working at the News-Advertiser but later that year he was appointed to be the Clerk in the Land Registry Office at a salary of $60 a month.

Clara Thicke, the widow of Walter moved in. We’ve seen Clara before, standing in front of her 1893 home on Hornby Street. He husband, Walter, died in 1903, when they were living on Robson Street. Clara was here for two years, before moving again, to Thurlow (with her three sons).

William J Twiss, an insurance manager lived here from 1907 to 1909. He was also from Ireland, from County Kerry, and in 1906 at the age of 36 had married Sadie Jewel Brenton, who was 25 and born in Newcastle upon Tyne. James was the British Columbia manager for Mutual Life of Canada, and played a prominent role in the bankruptcy of the Dominion Trust Company. He built a beautiful craftsman style house on West Boulevard in 1912, and was later described as ‘a prominent businessman, property developer, military man, Point Grey School Board Trustee, and Alderman for the City of Vancouver’. The couple had four sons and two daughters, although one son was killed in an airliner crash in 1941. Sadie died in 1957, and William, aged 83, in 1953.

From 1910 to 1917, Joseph McTaggart, of McTaggart and Sons grocers, owned the house. McTaggart and Sons Grocers was located at the corner of Granville and Robson.  Joseph was from Ontario, and would have been 62 when he moved here with has wife, Minerva, who was shown four years younger, two adult children, (one a lawyer, the other a bookkeeper), and a niece. They had lived ‘over the shop’ on Granville before moving here, and had seven sons, two of whom died as young children. All but the youngest (Charles, born in 1890) had been born in Kemptville, Ontario. Joseph died in 1917, and Minerva stayed for two years before moving to another house on Haro, a block away. She died in Ontario in 1937, aged 84, and was buried in Vancouver in Mountain View Cemetery. Their lawyer son, Donald McTaggart, became the counsel for the City of Vancouver, drew up the Vancouver Charter, and was an alderman when he died in 1956.

For a while this was a seniors centre, but it sold in 2013 for $1.7m and is now a rental property. The 3-bed 2-bath house rents at $7,495 a month.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 791-0727


Posted 21 July 2022 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

Pacific Street east from Burrard (2)

We looked at a version of this view from a different angle a few months ago. This image by the City Engineers, is dated 1980-1997, but we can pin it down to 1982 when the Kilborn Building (on the left, and pretty much the only building on the image) was completed. The construction hoarding is up, but it looks almost complete.

In the 40 years since the image was taken, the tree in the middle has grown a lot, and thousands of new apartments have been added, including several hundred very recently. On the left is The Pacific, 39 storeys and 224 apartments, with an arts facility (gifted to the City) beyond it. Beyond it are two towers, The 501 from 1999 at 32 storeys and behind it The Charleson, from 2017 at 43 storeys.

Across the street to the south, Pacific Promenade is the earliest residential building in the picture, from 1994, with a brick skin. Behind, and to the south, is Pomaria, from 2007, and the biggest tower, the 52 floors of Vancouver House, only recently completed. From here it looks like a normal tower, but the base starts as a triangle and then gradually increases into a rectangular floorplate at the top. Further east are the first of Concord Pacific’s Beach neighbourhood towers – (there are more to the south, hidden from this point).

This is by no means a completed development picture. Another 50+ storey tower is planned beyond Vancouver House, on a podium of non-market housing. On the left the City have a recently approved rezoning to add four more towers to replace the off-ramp loops from Granville Bridge, replacing them with a regular street grid, and freeing up development sites. Closest to us, in a location that will no doubt one day block the view of Vancouver House, is a large City-owned site that has yet to see a development proposal.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 772-275


Posted 18 July 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Howe Street – 600 block, west side

This row of houses was photographed before the street had been levelled. This remarkably clear image dates from around 1889, and shows two families out on the porches of their homes. (It also shows why reports of  injuries to people crossing the street at that time were probably not exaggerated.)

The houses would have been built on wooden piles hammered into the forest floor, and the sidewalk was built level on heavy timber posts. The street levelling often took a few more years to complete. Even today, it’s still sometimes possible to come across sawn-off stumps in the crawl-space underneath houses from the 1880s and early 1890s, with the house supported on wooden posts or short brickwork columns.

As best we can tell, these were on today’s 600 block; described as ‘between W Georgia & Dunsmuir’. In 1889 it was the 400 block, and these would have been the second of two identical houses, both (confusingly) numbered as 427 with 429 Howe Street in the middle and 431 beyond.

George DeWolf was managing Director of the British Columbia Smelting Co, living at 427 Howe. By 1891 he was in real estate, and had moved with his wife and three daughters to Georgia, on the corner of Bute. His wife Frances was English, but George was from Nova Scotia, and his eldest daughter Elsa would have been about six when the photo was taken. In 1890 the numbering had been sorted out, and George was at 425 (which would have been off the picture to the right).

J M Clute also lived at 427. He worked for J S Clute and Co, dry goods (and J S Clute lived next door at 429, as well as an otherwise unidentified Beasley family). In 1891 J M moved on to work in real estate, (although the street directory thought he was still in the dry goods business), and  J M Clute had moved to rooms in the Manor House Hotel. He was from Ontario, and his wife was American. They had two daughters, aged 13 and 9 when the picture was taken, which makes him a more likely candidate to be in the picture.

A Mr. Watson (occupation unspecified) was at 431 Howe, where there was a family party in the porch, and a boy wearing a sea captain’s hat (maybe a pirate?) apparently intrigued by the photographer. In 1890 Mr. Watson had moved, and been replaced by James Lacey Johnson, an insurance agent.

The houses didn’t last too long. As we saw in an earlier post, by the 1930s this was already a commercial street. The commercial buildings that replaced these homes were modest, and in turn redeveloped in 1984 by the Metropolitan Hotel, designed by Dalla-Lana / Griffin Architects for Hongkong Land. When it opened it was managed as the Mandarin Hotel, and was said to be the most expensive investment per room in North America, and designed on Feng Shui principals. That didn’t help turn a profit – the hotel lost millions in each of its first 3 years of operation, and it was renamed as the Delta Place (and at least one website exists that says it’s still called that, although it became the independently owned Metropolitan in 1995.) There’s a squash court among the hotel’s fitness offerings, as well as a swimming pool.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA SGN 140


Posted 14 July 2022 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

169 East Hastings Street

We took a look at this modest 2-storey building’s neighbour to the west (the left) at 163 East Hastings a few years ago, intending to look at 169 when a better ‘before’ image was available. Our 1978 image as as good as it gets, and while the facade today is looking solid, (but boarded up) the building behind was just extensively damaged by fire, so we’ve categorized it as ‘gone’. The Maple Hotel to the east was only slightly damaged in the fire.

The 2-storey building on the left was built in 1903 for George Munro, and designed by Parr and Fee. 169 East Hastings, on the right, was built a year later. The architect, and builder, was listed as A Pare, and the developer was Thomas Storey, who only spent $5,500 on his 2 storey investment. We generally don’t dig into the biography of the architect, but we’ve made an exception of Mr. Pare. That’s partly because he was listed as an architect in the city for several years, but this is the only building associated with his name in the register of building permits. To bring up a family in the city, we assume he must have designed other buildings, but somehow they were not recorded.

The 1901 census showed him as Aime Pare, but other records (possibly with French speaking recorders) show Aimé Paré. His wife was Victorine Langré before she married, and while he was from Quebec, she was French. While later records show him born in 1845, the 1880 US Census shows him 5 years older.

Aimé and Victorine were in Portland, Oregon in 1875, and California from 1875 to 1890, before moving north. In 1880, in San Francisco, his wife was aged 23 and they had three children aged five, three and two. In 1881 Victorine was in Montreal, with her three children, but not Aime. He was in Fresno from 1884 to 1887 (with son Eugene born there in 1885), and he designed the Chula Vista school in 1888. Around 1890 he was in Washington State, and in 1892 he was apparently living in Idaho, where his son Aime Stanislaus Pare was born. That year he submitted a design in the competition for the British Columbia Parliament Building in Victoria.

he was first listed as an architect in Vancouver, living on Barnard street, in 1895. A year later he was listed as a contractor, and in 1897 he had moved to Keefer, and was an architect again. In 1899 only Mrs. Pare was listed, perhaps because Aime’s name consistently appears as an architect in the annual city directories of San Fransisco from 1898 until at least 1914. He was listed in Vancouver again in 1900, and in the 1901 census three of their (we think eight) children were shown living with their parents. Victorine, unusually, was listed as agnostic; Aime was Roman Catholic, and the children were Presbyterian.

The family moved to Pacific street in 1903, and Aime (listed as Airne) was a contractor again in 1904, and a year later when he became Amie. On 23 December 1904 Victorine Pare died in Vancouver. “Mrs. Victorine Langley [sic] Pare, a native of France, aged forty-eight years, died in the General Hospital last night.”

In 1906 Aime had rooms on Granville street, and his son, Eugene ( a fireman) was living in the Pacific Street house with his brother Joseph, a night watchman. There’s no sign of him in Vancouver after that, although his daughters Emma, Leonie and Vina were both still living in the city. Emma married Charles McPhalen, but died in 1909. Leonie married John Weeden, and lived in Chilliwack but later ran the Victorine Langre chocolate shop on Denman Street in the 1930s. She went on to spend many years as a prospector and placer miner and died in Lillooet in 1980.

Aime’s client, Thomas Storey, was also a builder, and also from Quebec. He was listed in the 1911 census aged 46, with his wife Lavina, who was 20 years younger, and their 5-year-old daughter, Mabel. He was doing well enough to have a domestic, who was Scottish. Lavina Campbell had married Thomas Storey in Ottawa in January 1904. He admitted to being 36; she was 20.

In 1913 he developed an apartment building at Heather on the north side of West Broadway. He appears regularly in the press, although not in conjunction with this property. He was regularly awarded construction contracts, and also acquired, and sold property. His other activities apparently avoided news coverage.

In 1922 Lavina Storey’s death was recorded. She was struck and killed by an automobile in Oakland, California, where she was staying for her health. She had been planning on returning to Vancouver, where her parents were still living. It seems likely she was estranged from her husband, who is not mentioned in the death notice, which said “she was well known here, having lived In the city for more than 20 years. She is survived by a daughter, Mabel Storey, who resides with her mother’s family”. In 1926 Mabel’s engagement and forthcoming marriage was noted. She married Charles Whitely, who was divorced and ten years older, in Port Moody.

In 1928 and 1929 Thomas sold properties in the city, also 2-storey buildings, probably originally erected by him. In April 1940 his sudden death was announced at the age of 73. Described as a ‘retired contractor’, he suffered a heart attack while working on a house-painting job, and died before he could reach the hospital. In June his estate of $18,000 was announced, mostly going to his married daughter, who was living in Vancouver again.

The first tenant here was F W Tyrell, who sold ‘gents furnishings’. By 1908 this had been numbered as 151 E Hastings, and was home to The Crystal Theatre, one of the city’s earliest movie theatres, run by Bradford Beers and Edward Trippe. (There had been an earlier Crystal Theatre on E Cordova, run by John Murray Smith). The Province reported “Messrs. Beers & Trippe of Chicago have for a financial consideration of $25,000, purchased a number of Important real estate holdings in Vancouver number of real estate holdings in Vancouver belonging to Mr. J. W. Williams, a well-known business man”. The package included the Exhibit, the Variety and the Crystal. In March, when the Bijou opened down the street, the Crystal responded by offering 10c vaudeville.

At the end of 1908 the property was part of a portfolio owned by ex-alderman W J Cavanagh. He had apparently skipped town ‘across the line’, leaving a heap of debts, including three properties where he held a half share (including The Crystal) valued in total at $20,000, but with $66,000 of mortgages held against them. By March 1909 the mess seemed to have been sorted out. Evans Coleman & Evans had advanced one of the mortgages, and according to the Province, ended up owning the building. The sold it for $40,000 to ‘a local capitalist’. However, in April, court proceeding were still trying to settle Mr. Cavanagh’s affairs. He had apparently transferred property to Miss Lilly Campbell before his flight from the city. She declined to answer questions about the transaction. “She was disposed not to answer questions and declared that she would not be compelled to. When asked where the papers were she reluctantly admitted she could get them if she desired, but she didn’t desire. Mr. Grant asked that the court order her to produce the papers.” We can’t find a further report on Miss Cambell’s dealings with the court, but in August the property was sold again, this time by A E Steels, for $45,000.

None of these transactions affected the theatre, which seems to have specialized for a while in showing wrestling matches and boxing fights. In early 1910 the cinema advertisements announced “The Films at the Crystal Theatre have never been shown in the city before” – although often not what they were. In April it was Tom Thumb ‘bring your children’, and a few days later Sarah Bernhardt ‘strong drama’. In May Cupid In The Motor Boat was showing, followed by Gold Diggers. Tickets were still 10c. The theatre wasn’t mentioned for several years, although there were repairs in 1913, but in 1917 the manager, Mr. Brown, was fined $40 when the Juvenile Detention Home discovered one of their charges was playing truant and watching movies during the day. In 1919, the year the cinema closed, James Connors was remanded for discharging a revolver in the cinema.

By 1920 renumbered as 163, the building became a branch of Vancouver Drug Store, with the Crystal Rooms (still numbered as 151 1/2) over. There was an apparently revolving door of new tenants, and businesses. In 1928 the London & British North America Co. Ltd. were owners and the Gerrard Shoe Co were tenants. In 1935 Bert Henry’s tobacco store was here, and the rooms seem to have closed (although there seem to have been residents in the building again in the 1940s). In the late 1930s there was a confectionery store, and ice cream parlor, but it soon closed and the contents of the business were sold at auction in 1939.

In the 1940s Main Taxi had their office in the front, and there was a billiards hall run by B Tomljenorich at the back. By 1945 they had become Balmoral Cabs, with New Hastings Billiards, but by 1948 were Main Taxi again. Marie Wagenstein was one of the cab drivers, and nearly lost her licence in a sting operation where she was asked to buy liquor for a friend, who was a police operative. She was convicted of selling liquor, but the magistrates granted her a taxi licence despite the legal case. (That wasn’t her only problem – she also had a dangerous driving conviction). In 1947 Veteran’s Amusements and Specialties had a store here – one of their specialties was apparently firearms, as a .22 calibre rifle was stolen from the business, and later recovered. In 1950 a raid on the premises netted 38 charges of being inmates in a disorderly house, and two of keeping a betting house. Jack Green was one of the two two organizers, and he was back in court a year later as part of a huge gambling ring covering dozens of premises in the city, including this one.

In 1965 the International Bookshop was raided by the city morality squad of the Vancouver Police Department, who took away 1,486 magazines and pocket books under the obscenity section of the Criminal Code. The case eventually wound up in court in 1967, only to be dismissed on a legal technicality because the Crown failed to correctly identify the owner of the business. The raids continued in 1968 through to 1971, with both books and films seized and prosecutions brought against the owner (who lived in Surrey). Bail was set in one case at 10c, with the judge saying the arrest was ‘deplorable, unwise and unnecessary’. In another case bail was set at $100, and eventually (18 months later) the business was fined $4,000, and its owner a further $1,250. The owner appealed the case, and sold the business (but not before being arrested again for selling an obscene book to an undercover police officer).

By 1978 the store was still International News, and now offered jokes and an Arcade, as well as gifts and souvenirs. It didn’t serve minors, but did sell ‘herb mixtures’ that claimed to offer a ‘legal high’ (but without any illegal substances). By 1982 the rules seemed to have changed. JNK News ran an advert in the Vancouver Sun for X-Rated video cassettes and adult merchandise. But in 1983 100 tapes were seized by the police from 3 stores, including JNK News. Despite continued raids in the mid 1980s, the store stayed in business. In 1988 it had video peepshow machines showing 70 second clips from porn films for 25c.

When the fire destroyed the back, and interior of the building, it had been used by the Street Church for nearly 30 years. Randy Barnetson founded a church here in 1993, which provided both food and clothing to Downtown Eastside residents, as well as regular worship and bible study. He died in 2020, and lead pastor is now Christina Dawson, who is from the Nuu-chah-nulth Nations. The church is looking for a new location to operate from. The future of the buildings is unknown, but with the Balmoral Hotel to the west intended to be demolished and replaced with a new rental building, it’s possible the site could also include these buildings.


Posted 11 July 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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Denham Court – 745 Jervis Street

Sharp and Thompson were hired by Mrs. E E Bewes to design this $37,000 apartment building in 1912. It stood on the corner of Alberni and Jervis, and is seen here in a 1912 photo in the Vancouver Public Library collection

Mrs. Bewes didn’t live in Vancouver – or, apparently Canada. Mr. E E Bewes travelled from Liverpool to Quebec in 1912, but otherwise there’s no trace of a Canadian connection. The Pacific Builder and Engineer added a little more information in a 1912 entry (with typos). “Mrs E E Bewes, 615 Pender st, will build a 5-sto brick apt house at 748 Jervis st. The plans were prepared Sharpe & Thompson”. Clearly this is just a rework of the building permit, with the same error on ‘Sharp’, and an additional error in misreading 745 for 748. It does tell us that her address was 615 Pender. Unfortunately, that’s the Crown Building, an office full of lawyers, real estate brokers and other offices, so it doesn’t get us any further in identifying who she was.

Then we came across a list of planning applications from the Eton District Council, in Buckinghamshire in England. Mrs E E Bewes obtained permission to build a bungalow at Mopes Farm, Denham in 1920. As this was Denham Court, she seemed a very likely candidate to be our developer.

Her address was shown as The Marish, Denham. That’s a 17th century half-timbered Grade 2 listed building in Denham Green, and the resident was ‘W Austis Bewes’ in 1901. A county directory said “Mrs. Goodlake and Mrs. Bewes are the chief landowners. The soil is loam and gravel; subsoil, chalk. The chief crops are oats, barley, grass and wheat. The area is 3,880 acres of Iand and 59 of water; assesable value, £8,999; the population in 1901 was 1,146, including Denham New Town“.

Wyndham Anstis Bewes was a lawyer, born in Dublin in 1858, although he was christened three months later in Plymouth, and three years later his family were still living in Devon, where his mother, Mary was listed as an ‘officer’s wife’. He was sent to Repton School in Staffordshire, attended Cambridge to study law, but was forced to leave due to ill health. He completed his studies in London, and was called to the bar, and became a lawyer. He became an authority on the laws of Spanish-speaking countries, and translated into English the codes of commerce of various South American countries.

He married in South Kensington in 1890 to Ellen Elizabeth Muller, who was aged 50, seventeen years older than he was. In the 1891 census they were living in Kensington, where Wyndham was a barrister, and had an instant family with Alicia and Charlotte Wyld, his step-daughters, aged 14 and 15 living at home.

Ellen was shown born in ‘Chili British Subject’, (Chile) and her death record shows that she was the daughter of William Christian Muller of Hillside, Shenley in Hertfordshire, and the widow of Edward Wyld of The Tile House, Denham in Buckinghamshire. She married Edward Wyld, a Scotsman, in Marylebone in 1869, when she was 29, and he was 45. They had 10 children in 13 years, and the youngest, also Edward was only aged 4 when his father died in 1887. His father had been a wine merchant, and the family lived at Tolbooth Wynd in Leith. In the 1881 census, Edward Wyld was shown as an ‘Australian Merchant’, and he was shown as a merchant (living in Shropshire) twenty years earlier. He worked for Brown & Co of Moorgate and Sydney, (wine merchants) and was also made a board member of the British Bank of South Africa in 1876. As well as her two daughters at home in 1891, Ellen also had younger children who were perhaps away at boarding school.

We hadn’t found any reason that Ellen Bewes would have invested in an apartment building in Vancouver, but we found a reference on the Social Page of the Province: “Mr. and Mrs. Wyndham Bewes of “The Marish,” Bucks. England, are the guests of Mr. and Mrs. C. Tweedale. They expect to return home in three weeks“. In 1913 the Sun reported that ‘W Bewes and wife’ were staying in Revelstoke. Quite how Cyril Tweedale came to know the Bewes family remains a mystery, but his influence appears to have been considerable. The block developed by Ellen Bewes in 1912 looks very similar to a West End apartment that Cyril developed, also designed by Sharp & Thompson in 1912, and also no longer standing today.

There was a fire at Denham Court that caused $3,000 of damage in 1914, and advertisements for suites that year were run with those of Gilford Court, Cyril Tweedale’s building. The residents were mostly professional, and sometimes were shown by the social pages receiving guests in their suite. In 1920 there was an unwanted guest in one suite “Gaining entrance through a rear window that faced on an air shaft in the Denham Court apartments, 725 Jervis street, last night, thieves ransacked the suite of Victor A. McLean, taking Jewelry, expensive lace and wearing apparel which, according to the police report, is valued at more than $3,000.” In 1927 Mrs. Armitage, mistaking the accelerator pedal for the brake, drove at full speed into the front of the building. Although rendered unconscious, she was taken home. The building was apparently unhurt.

Ellen Bewes died in 1928, and her husband, Wyndham, in Cambridgeshire in 1942. In 1929 Cyril Tweedale brokered the sale of the building to a local investor for $40,000, cash. It changed hands again in 1941, and in 1949 D Nemetz sold it to W H Miller of Kamloops for $50,000. Apartments continued to be offered through the 1950s, always stating ‘adults only’. By 1962 it was even more restricted, becoming Denham Court Men’s Residence. In 1974 it gained a new lease of life – albeit only for a short while, when a company owned by Derek Adams acquired it. The Sun reported “In two, three, five years it will come down,” Adams says ruefully. “A 12-apartment three storey building in that area isn’t economically feasible. But we’ve rehabilitated it, and we’ll keep it going as long as possible.” Opened in 1913, Denham Court was a West End landmark, an imposing example of elegance and good taste, a fashionable address tenanted by well-known names.”

The site of Ellen’s investment was redeveloped in 1990 with a 31 storey condo building designed by Eng & Wright, called Emerald West.


Posted 7 July 2022 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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1213 Barclay Street

William Templeton was a successful grocer with his Ontario Grocers store at the corner of Hastings and Carrall. He was in Vancouver when it was still called the town of Granville, and lost his earlier premises in the 1886 fire. Initially William and his family lived in the East End, but as early as 1890 he had moved to a new house on the corner of Barclay and Bute, and the street directory also listed stables here. (That’s probably the building in the background behind the house, that would have been on Haro Street, and which was gone only a few years after this picture was taken). He was one of only 10 residents on the entire length of Barclay Street, and assuming this image dates to 1897, it was several years before the road was made up.

William Templeton was born in Belleville, in Ontario, in 1853 to Irish parents from County Donegal. His father, also William, was a grocer. His wife, Clementina Hawley was born in Boston, Massachusetts is 1860 to Scottish parents, and married William in Boston in October 1879. Their son, yet another William, was born in Ontario in 1880, and Maud 14 months later, in the same year that William’s father died. In 1886 the family moved across the country. Kathleen was born in 1888 while they were still living on East Hastings and Edwin in 1892, about two years after the family moved into their new house, and a year after the Templeton Block had been built on East Hastings, designed by C O Wickenden. (He may have also designed the house, but there are no records to confirm that).

Not long after he arrived in the city, William became involved in local politics. He ran for mayor, unsuccessfully, in 1890 against David Oppenheimer, representing himself as serving the “working and middle class”, (and representing himself as a member of the working class), with Oppenheimer a “higher class businessman”. He is also said to have mocked Oppenheimer’s German accent and to have lost supporters as a result.

A year later he set his sights lower and was elected as an alderman. He was a School Board trustee from 1892 to 1897, when he ran for mayor again, this time successfully. This picture of the mayor was taken that year and our main image was taken in the same year and almost certainly shows some of his family; Maud would be 15, Kathleen 9, and their mother is possibly the figure on the veranda. As a politician, even the City’s records note he was ‘a bad political strategist with an aggressive personality’. In 1898 his rival candidate for mayor was an engineer, James Garden, who won election by a comfortable margin. One of the issues in the election was the granting of licenses to music halls in the city, which Templeton opposed and Garden supported.

The campaign for the 2,210 votes was bitterly fought, and often nasty. The Rossland Times recorded that “he told of the shameful lies that had been circulated about him and remarked “These slanders cut into my heart like a knife.” The Victoria Daily Times, on reporting his death on 16th January, four days after the election reported “inquiry elicited the fact that Mayor Templeton had been unable to sleep for five nights, and on Saturday sank into a deep slumber that became a trance. He passed away on Sunday afternoon at three o’clock.” At the time the death was described as due to apoplexy – a stroke – although newspapers in other parts of the province said heart disease, or a cerebral hemorrhage. Later reports suggested an overdose of sleeping potion, with the suggestion that it might have been suicide, although no contemporary reports suggested that.

The entire city closed its doors for three hours for his funeral. Mayor Garden made a statement stating that he would rather have lost the election than have Mayor Templeton’s death occur. In July Mrs. Templeton sold the grocery business to J S Foran, who had been running it in the interim. She continued to live here, and was recorded in the 1901 census as Clem Templeton, aged 40, with her son, William, who was working in the customs office, and Maud, Kathleen, and ‘Edward’ who were all still in school. Ida Bliss, a lodger was also in the house.

On the last day of 1906 Clementina married Charles Parsons, who was from Quebec, and three years older. The 1921 census finds the family living on Pine Crescent, with William and Edwin Templeton still living with their mother and her husband. Mah Sang, their domestic was also living with them. Charles was vice-president of Wallace, Parsons, Farmer Co, a wholesale dry-goods business. In 1925 a new house was commissioned on W 32nd Avenue, designed by Townley, Matheson and Partners. Mrs. Parsons was photographed in 1940 for the Archives, looking much younger than her 80 years. Clementina was 83 when she passed away in February 1943, and her husband died in May of the same year.

In 1907 a banker, Alexander Fraser Sutherland was living in this house, carrying out alterations, and he was still here in 1921. He was originally from Garden of Eden in Nova Scotia, and had five children. He had spent time in California, for his health, in the 1890s, and was then in Seattle for five years from 1898. While he was a financier, he also had logging interests, with an operation on Vancouver Island in 1907. He also acquired land in the Chilcotin in 1910, when he was described a ‘Alexander Fraser Sutherland, capitalist’ In 1917 he was made Inspector of Investment and loan societies in Vancouver. He was aged 83 when he died in 1931, although he had already moved out of the house.

In 1926 J Stenhouse built a new apartment building on the garden area on the side of the house, and this became the Selkirk Apartments Annex. In 1964 a 12-storey concrete rental building replaced the house, named ‘Baron’s Court’, and addressed to Bute Street. The landscaping has grown to the point that in summer the building is almost invisible from this view.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives SGN 1080.2


Posted 4 July 2022 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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