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

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Posted 4 July 2022 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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