Archive for August 2022

The Hall Building – West Pender Street

This 1929 image is very unusual for the angle that was used. The image is attributed to Stuart Thomson and shows a newly completed office building that was overshadowed by its flashier neighbours from the same era, the Marine Building, the Royal Bank, the Georgia Medical Dental Building and across the street, the Stock Exchange Building.

It’s unusual because the architects were from out of town – Northwood and Chivers were a Winnipeg firm of architects, and almost everything else they designed was in that city. While today it’s just known by its address, 789 W Pender, and earlier as The Hall Building, when it was being developed it was called the Coast Investment Building. It was 10 storeys high, and developed by the Hall Investment Corporation, whose President was E E Hall, who also ran Coast Investment. Hall Company Limited were Investment Bankers, and a January 1929 news story explained the development history. “Acquiring the half-interest of Sir Stephen Lennard. E. E. Hall of the Hall Investment corporation becomes sole owner of the $700,000 office block now under construction on the northeast corner of Pender and Howe streets, under the terms of a deal completed today. Mr. Hall has purchased all the stock of Sir Stephen in the Coast Investment company, which was formed for the purpose of erecting the building.”

The building was constructed by Carter-Halls-Aldinger, and they rushed to complete it in September ahead of the Marine Building. The Winnipeg architects weren’t acknowledged in the Vancouver press; McCarter and Nairne were described as the designers – we thought their role was to supervise the construction, but this 1929 sketch in the Vancouver Public Library gives equal billing to both firms. The likely reason for a Winnipeg designer became evident in the notice of the death of Elmer E Hall, in 1939, aged 74. He had arrived in Vancouver from Winnipeg in 1928, and had been born in Nashua, Iowa. He grew up as a farm boy before taking employment at a bank in Iowa. He came to Canada in 1906, and started a banking business in Outlook, Saskatchewan. He moved to Winnipeg in 1908, and his company The Central Grain Co became highly profitable. When it merged in 1928 he brought his funds to Vancouver. He was a director of many businesses in Winnipeg, including Equitable Trust, a Western Grocers and Security National Insurance Company of Canada, which operated a large line of grain elevators.

In 1970 McCarter Nairne and Partners designed an adjacent 15 storey building for the Montreal Trust, set back from the 1929 heritage building’s facade, and replacing single storey restaurant buildings. The expanded building still operates as successful multi-tenanted CBD office space.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3792



The Beverley – 1225 Nelson Street

This 1925 apartment building was showing signs of wear when it was photographed in 1978. It’s looking better today, after a recent render and paint restoration, but it’s still missing the architectural details on the pediment that had been included on the original structure, seen in this 1920s Vancouver Public Library picture.

At first we thought this might be the first building constructed on this part of Nelson Street. In 1921 there was a row of houses facing Bute Street, to the right of this lot, but there was only one house on the remainder of the entire block, a few lots to the west, with glasshouses along the lane and a large garage. In 1911 John W Gibb was the owner, a broker whose history we looked at in relation to an investment warehouse he built on Beatty Street.

There had been another house on the street, on this lot, developed by E J Maitland in 1901. It was occupied by Frank Henderson in 1911, but had apparently been demolished by 1912.

W G Patrick developed this building, in 1925 which the permit says cost $29,000 to build and was designed by Gardiner & Mercer. Mr. Patrick lived just outside Vancouver, on West 16th Avenue (on the other side of the street, in South Vancouver). He was born in Dundas, Ontario in 1881. In 1921 he was manager of Ford Motors, living with his wife Eva, their children, Beverley and Jack, his niece, Hazel Wilson, who was 21, and a Japanese domestic maid. The couple had married in 1906, and two earlier children, born in Ontario died in infancy. John (Jack) was born in 1912 in Vancouver, so the family had arrived around the turn of the decade.

By 1940 they had lived near UBC for over a decade, and William was working for Ocean View Development, who owned the Ocean View Burial Park in Burnaby. Eva died in 1945, and William married Rose Brooks, (ne Staley), who died in 1955. W G Patrick died in New Westminster in 1968, aged 87.

The apartments were completed quickly, in September 1925 it was reported that “Mr. and Mrs. Neill McAllister have recently moved from their Kerrisdale home to the West End where they have taken up residence at “The Beverley,” 1225 Nelson street”.

The property was for sale in 1957 “OUTSTANDING INVESTMENT To Be Sold Immediately THE BEVERLEY 1225 NELSON ST 22 SUITES CARPETED HALLS OAK FLOORS TILED BATHROOMS HEAVY OIL BURNERS ELECTRIC LAUNDRY REVENUE $19,000 , PRICE $125,000.” Today the building is getting close to a century old, and is still rental apartments.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 786-2.18


Posted 25 August 2022 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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737 West Pender Street

These modest single storey buildings were built in the 1920s, and seen here in 1931. The left hand building was developed in 1924 by Stamatis & Evans, (Tom, and George), who hired W T Whiteway to design the $20,000 restaurant.

Constantine Stamatis was the oldest member of a family of restauranteurs in the city. He was born in Greece in 1879, and it looks like he was initially in the US; we think he married Helen Dupont in Seattle in 1910 (where he was recorded as Stanatis). He first appeared in the street directory in 1912 as the first family member to arrive in Vancouver, running the People’s Waffle House on Powell Street, and living on Keefer Street. A year later his home got more crowded when Harry and Tom Stamatis moved in. Harry was a waiter and Tom was shown as the proprietor of both the Waffle House and the Fountain Cafe on W Cordova. (There was some shuffling of responsibilities; in 1914 J R Smith owned the Fountain Cafe and C Stamatis was shown as a waiter there. The People’s Waffle House that year was owned by both Thomas and G Stamatis – Constantine was more often known as Gus, or sometimes Gust).

Thomas Stamatis was born in 1885, according to a 1914 border crossing at Blaine. The third brother, (Aristotle) Harry Stamatis was born in 1895 in Thebes, according to his 1923 death certificate. In 1916 Tom Stamatis was the only family member still listed in the city, and he ran the National Oyster House at 727 W Pender, (a few doors to the east of here) which a year later became the National Oyster and Chop House. By 1920 it was renamed the National Cafe, and George Evans had joined him in running the business. Tom had married Victoria Kyrias in 1918, when his birth name of Anastasios Stamatis was recorded. Victoria was 24, and originally from Macedonia.

‘Gust’ Stamatis reappeared in the directory briefly in 1919 (so he may have been fighting in the war). He ran the King’s Cafe on Carrall Street, and when Harry reappeared he was a waiter at the Palace Cafe. As Constantine Stamates he was apparently the only family member in the city in the 1921 census, living alone on Parker Street and running a restaurant. George Evans was shown running the National Cafe at 727 W Pender, and Thomas was running the Trocadero Cafe on West Hastings, but in 1922 Thomas was shown running both the National and the Trocadero.

Their new cafe here was described as “First-class lunch counter and restaurant, for Mr. T. Stamatis of the Trocadero & National Cafes; one-storey & bsmt., lower floor substantial enough to carry another story if owners choose in future; brick & tile construction”. It opened in 1924 with a full page story in the Vancouver Sun. There was a bakery upstairs, and coolers in the basement.  “There is a machine for paring potatoes, a machine for slicing potatoes for preparation as “French fried,” a machine for slicing bread, a machine for mashing potatoes, a machine for peeling and coring apples, a machine for washing dishes in fact one for almost every task where human judgment and skill are not needed to do a better Job than a machine could do.” The whole project was reported to cost $85,000

The only reference to George Evans was in the permit to build this, and the opening news piece. He lived on West Pender, and later on Burrard, but seems to have been missed by the 1921 census. He continued to partner in ownership of the restaurant here, and on West Hastings, with Tom Stamatis until at least 1939. He appears to have been Greek – we assume Evans was an anglicized version of his name. He was active in the Hellenic Society, and he often attended events with his wife and Tom Stamatis and his spouse.

By 1932 there was a Trocadero on Granville, and another on West Hastings. As well as this National Lunch, there was a short-lived National Lunch #2, two blocks from the Trocadero, on Granville. The Granville Trocadero and National Lunch #2 had both closed by 1935. In 1933 there was a fire on the roof of the restaurant, but it doesn’t appear that the damage was sufficient to close the business.

In 1935 Gus Stamatis developed a close relationship with Nobutaro Okazaki who farmed a homestead owned by Gus, four miles south of the New Westminster Bridge in Surrey. The restaurants got their supplies from the farm – one of the earliest examples of ‘farm to table’. All that ended when the Okazaki’s were forced into a camp in the interior in 1942, and in 1947 Trocadero Farm was sold to Surrey Council as the home of the future Surrey Memorial Hospital.

Constantine (Gus) Stamatis died in 1941, aged 62, survived by his brother Thomas, and three sisters, in Greece. Tom took over as manager of the National Lunch, and president of the Trocadero, and that year Mrs. Thomas Stamatis hired C B K Van Norman to design a new home for them. In 1953 Thomas and his wife Victoria applied to change their name to Stamatis Standish. George Stamatis (their son) and his wife Eunice had changed their name to Standish in 1945, and so did their son Christopher. Thomas died in 1957, in Surrey, and Victoria four years later, in Vancouver.

Next door was a building owned by W E O’Brien. He carried out repairs in 1924 but in 1927 rebuilt the premises on a double lot at a cost of $14,492 with Townley & Matheson designing the building. When they were completed there were three storefronts; Campbell Brothers (shoe repairers) at 731, the Soo Barber Shop run by A Cowell at 733 and the Soo Cigar Stand with F Edwards at 735. By 1931, when this photo was taken, 735 was part of the National Lunch, with the shoe repairer, Andy’s Barber Shop and the St Dunstan’s Cigar Stand all operating in the same unit.

The developer, William E O’Brien had for many years been a ‘Dance Master’. The British Columbia Land and Investment Agency Building on West Hastings was known more often as The O’Brien Hall. William and his wife Gertrude were from Ontario. By 1930 the O’Brien’s were no longer shown in the street directory, but they were living in Vancouver again in 1935, in retirement. Gertrude died in Vancouver in 1951, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery, and  William in 1957, when he was buried with her.

The building to the left of these buildings had been built in 1929, designed by Winnipeg srchitects Northwood and Chivers, and named the Hall Building. In 1970 the Montreal Trust Building replaced the National Cafe and was attached to the earlier building, set back from the facade, in a style to match, designed by McCarter, Nairne and Partners. Sprott Shaw College occupy space in the building, with a contemporary furniture store on the main floor.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3985 fire CVA 99-2803




Posted 22 August 2022 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Compton Lodge – 2095 Beach Avenue

Today’s building is over 70 years old, and is considered an ‘A’ category heritage building. It’s predecessor only lasted twenty years before it was redeveloped. Compton Lodge was designed by R T Perry, and cost its developer, J P Hodgson, $34,000 to construct in 1928. The builders were Hodgson, King & Marble, which gives us a helpful clue about the identity of the developer. Joseph P Hodgson had built three houses on the adjacent sub-divided lots in 1923 – the arched entrance of one of the Beach Avenue homes helped us line up the image accurately. He initially moved into the house on Pendrell.

Remarkably, considering the location (next to Stanley Park and overlooking English Bay), it appears that this was the first building constructed here. The view of the ocean was blocked by six houses built on the south side of Beach Avenue, and Englesea Lodge would have blocked the view to the east. It was designed in the fashionable Tudor, half-timbered style, and R T Perry also designed a very similar building in Calgary for a Vancouver client in 1929.

Joseph Pollard Hodgson was born in England in 1880 and became an engineer. He married Persis Compton, who was also born in 1880, in California. (Hence the name of the apartments). Their marriage was in 1909, in Rangoon, at the time the capital of British Burma. They had a son, Foster, who died in 1910, a daughter, Jennie, in 1912 and another son, Roger in 1916. They first appear in the city in 1913, when Hodgson and King were listed as contractors, and the family lived on Robson street. J P Hodgson’s specialism was bridge construction, and while Hodgson King and Marble built several significant buildings (including Point Grey School, Tudor Manor in the West End and the $300,000 Union Bank on Granville Street), their best known construction was the Burrard Bridge.

As far as we can tell, this was Joseph’s only investment (as well as the houses next door), and he moved from Englesea Lodge, where he lived in the 1920s, to the North Shore. He died in 1935, aged 54 and Persis was 77 when she died on Christmas Eve, 1957. The inquest inquiry found Joseph’s death was “by poisoning, self-administered, while temporarily insane”. It must have come as a huge shock to the family, who were away from the city at the time of his death.

The apartments were put up for sale for $65,000 in 1929, when the revenue was listed as $8,640. Less than 30 years after the building was constructed, it was demolished. In fall 1958 ‘The Beach Park’ was advertised for sale, as a self-owned apartment building. (There was no strata act at the time, so purchasers owned fractional shares in a company that in turn owned the structure). At some point the building became a market co-op; an alternate mechanism for collective ownership. The building is considered important enough to be listed ‘A’ on the Recent Landmarks Inventory of post-1940s buildings compiled in 1990, but that doesn’t guarantee any protection, and the list doesn’t even appear to be available online. The designer was, as far as we can tell, an engineer called R Antonius.


Posted 18 August 2022 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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St Paul’s Church – Pendrell & Jervis Streets

Here’s St Paul’s Anglican church in the West End, in it’s new location after it was moved from Hornby Street, along Davie. Except this is a different St Paul’s Church, as the previous church was only used for a very short time here before it was moved to the side of the site, and then subsequently redeveloped (twice) with a new hall before this 1939 image was taken.

The church on the corner was built in 1905, so it was just completed in this image (right). The former church that was moved from Hornby can be seen alongside, repurposed as a hall for church functions. While we don’t know who designed the first church (erected in 1889, and moved here in 1898), we know the architect of the 1905 building was William Henry Archer. The news report of the permit for the $13,000 project showed ambitions for further improvements that were never undertaken. “Church; 57-ft x 111-ft; tower & spire to be erected at a later date and also veneer entire church w/ stone from the present high basement up”. Mr. Archer, who was from Ireland, is unusual in that as well as St Paul’s, he designed both a Buddhist and a Sikh temple in Vancouver.

A rectory and parish hall were built in 1910, designed by Grant and Henderson, (although the permit described it as a $15,000 Sunday School building). They had also designed alterations to the school room a year earlier. In 1929 Frank Mountain designed a new hall, the redevelopment built by Nye Construction costing $28,000, with the new gothic styled building, still standing today. A house was apparently purchased by the church on Pendrell a block from here; repairs were carried out in 1929, and the Rev King, the rector, was living there in 1930.

As with so much of the West End, the landscaping and street tree program has completely changed the character of the neighbourhood, and in summer it’s almost impossible to tell that the church and adjacent hall look exactly as they did in the 1939 image. It looks as if the street tree was already planted in 1939, but the fire hydrant has been relocated.

The one addition to the street is a Victorian style streetlight, with a red bulb, unveiled in 2016. Located to the right of the tree, it acknowledges the diverse community of sex workers who lived and worked in the area from the mid-1960s until 1984, when a street-activities bylaw forced them into other locations, mostly on the Downtown Eastside.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Ch P50 and Ch P52.


Posted 15 August 2022 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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1119 Broughton Street

This is the same house in both images, but it’s not in the same location. Redeveloped in 1994, there are now 8 condos on the lot. The house here was originally constructed in 1904, and the architect designed it for his own use.

Thomas Fee was born in Quebec, and trained in architecture in Minneapolis in the late 1880s, and initially arrived in Vancouver in 1891. However, he wasn’t yet building or designing homes, instead he was shown on the corner of Davie and Seymour, in Yaletown, working as a grocer. He was shown aged 27 in the census that year, and his wife was 20. He next appears again in the directory when he had started building houses in Vancouver from around 1894, when he was living on Robson Street. In 1898 Fee went into partnership with English architect John Parr, and immediately turned out designs for buildings like the Ralph Block on Hastings Street as well as many houses. They often featured a circular corner turret, as this does, although strangely, it’s down the street rather than on the corner (perhaps for a view over English Bay).

In the 1901 census Thomas Fee, was shown aged 38, living with his wife Francis (now shown only 3 years younger than him), his six year old daughter Olga, four year old son ‘Blakley’ and his wife’s mother, Jane Paton aged 73. They were living on Burrard Street at the time. Thomas apparently felt the need to underplay his age by two years; earlier census entries and his death notice say he was born in May 1861. He had married Frances Paton in Melbourne Methodist, Drummond, Quebec in 1888, when she was 22.

By 1911 the Fee family had moved to another house he had designed at 1025 Gilford Street. (It was demolished in the 1960s). Frances had her name spelled correctly, Olga was listed with her full name, Olga Merle, Blakely’s name was recorded correctly as Blakely Fowler and Grace Helen aged nine was now a member of the household. Jane Paton was still alive, given her full name, Lucretia Jane, aged 83, and Frances’s sister Helen Elizabeth was also living in the house, along with Charles Fee, Thomas’s brother. It appears that Blakely changed his name as a teenager; the last reference under that name was a trip to the US when he was 16; in subsequent records (including his marriage in 1918) he had taken his father’s name and was Thomas Arthur Fee jnr.

Even when he was building his family home Thomas Fee was looking to add investment value. The permit for the corner of Broughton and Pendrell was for two frame dwellings, so almost certainly the house next to the Fee family home was Thomas’s investment property, also designed by Parr and Fee. That house was lost in a fire in 2018.

The first occupant here after the Fee family moved was Henry B Ford, a family physician in partnership with his brother-in-law, and with a Downtown practice. He was here with his wife and four children for three years, before moving across False Creek.

Andrew A Logan, a timber broker, lived here for many years from around 1911 (and we assume bought the property). He was an Ontario butter and cheese trader in the 1880s, in Morrisburg, and moved to Vancouver in 1908. In 1908 he held a timber licence in the Kootenay, on Alice Arm. In 1913 he had interests in mining as well as lumber; he’s believed to be seen here in an Archives image from around 1913, examining a quartz sample with gold deposits from the Gem mine, near Nanaimo.

In 1915 Mr. Logan only just escaped death, when he was bludgeoned on the head in his basement by an assumed burglar (who was never identified). We’ve put the details of the story as they appeared in the local press on the left.

Mrs. Logan died in 1922, aged 70 having caught a cold that turned into pneumonia. At the end of the year Andrew remarried to Mrs. Emma Wright, of Winnipeg, who had been born in Ontario in 1872.

In 1925 the press reported “Vandal Hurls Stone Through Art Window
An unidentified vandal on Friday afternoon destroyed a stained-glass window In the home of A. A. Logan, 1119 Broughton street, by hurling a large stone through It. Though the act was committed In daylight, no residents In that locality appeared to have been the perpetrator of the act of wanton damage.

Andrew and Emma moved to the St Julien Apartments in 1928, selling off ‘costly furnishings and an excellent piano’ at auction (including a mahogany four-poster bed, and French novels). Andrew died there in 1929; two of his three children lived in Winnipeg, with one son in Vancouver. Emma died in 1953, in Essondale, in Coquitlam. By that point the house here had become a rooming house run by J Collins. Our image shows the house in 1985, two years after it been converted back to a single family home. The renovation and condo project in 1994 that saw the house moved to the corner was designed by Clare McDuff-Oliver.

Image source: CVA 790-1699 and CVA 1376-547


Posted 11 August 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, West End

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St Paul’s Church – Hornby Street

St Paul’s Church was built in Yaletown, which at the time was a newly developing residential neighbourhood, between Homer and Burrard Streets, on the southern end of the Downtown peninsula. It appeared in the 1890 street directory, but our photograph was taken in 1889 when it was first completed. We haven’t been able to trace an architect, but it occupied lots on Hornby Street, between Davie and Drake. The residential neighbourhood developed slowly, with many of the residents working for the railway company who had their maintenance yards and roundhouse nearby. Within a few years of its construction a tower was added to the church.

We’re not sure why, but at the end of 1898 it was announced that “there is talk of St Paul’s church being removed from Hornby Street to the corner of Butte and Pender streets.” Perhaps the fact that there was a West End Methodist, and a West End Baptist church, but no Anglican building, was a factor, The rector by then, the Reverend H J Underhill was already a West End resident. He had become rector in 1896, and a year later was the first resident of a new house on the corner of Barclay and Broughton streets.

In January 1899 there was an illustration in the newspaper, (taken from a photograph), showing the church raised on huge timbers in preparation for moving. It’s new home was not ‘Butte and Pender’, but rather Jervis and Pendrell.

The Archives have that image (left) and another (below) showing the church moving along Davie Street, apparently on rails, built for the task. The West End was more sparsely occupied that Yaletown at the time, so it wouldn’t have created much disruption. The report said the removal was successfully accomplished by the contractor, J N Menzies. ‘The church is 85 x 25 feet, and the tower is 40 feet high.

The site on Hornby, briefly occupied by the church, was vacant for several years, but by 1911 three houses had been built where the church had stood.

In 1989 The Ritz Asia Company built a new hotel here, designed by Eng & Wright. Today it’s a Residence Inn by Marriott, the latest incarnation of the hotel. Before this, it was known as the Cascadia Hotel and Suites, and when it first opened it was the Westbrook Hotel.

The adjacent Landis Hotel was developed in 1993, theoretically as a residential annex to the hotel, although it has always been operated as a hotel.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Ch P33, Ch P37 and Ch P36.


Posted 8 August 2022 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Blenheim Court – 1209 Jervis Street

This is one of the earlier West End apartment buildings that’s still standing today. Built in 1910, it was developed by John A Seabold, who spent an impressive $85,000 on its construction, with Arthur Bird hired as architect. A year earlier the same development team developed The Capitola, also on Davie Street, and also still standing today.

We looked at Mr. Seabold’s history in that post; an American, he was in the city from 1900, and his wife Louise joined him in 1901. When he arrived he was a waiter, aged 26, and soon elected president of the waitresses and Cook’s Union. Less than 10 years later he built this apartment, with 42 suites, which, according to a full page advert taken out by Arthur J Bird, the architect,  “thirty-three of which include parlor, dining-room bedroom, kitchen and pantry, and also a bathroom. Some of these have balconies, and all suites are fitted with clothes and linen closets. The bathrooms are floored with terrazzo flooring, furnished by the British Columbia Supply Co. The doors in the building are all fitted with Sargent’s locks, which were supplied by Messers. Lewis & Sills. One very modern convenience in this building is that the suites have a complete system of local phones, connecting to city phones, which will be a great boon to the tenants.”

At the start of the First World War Mr. Seabold was said to have abandoned some of his property in Vancouver, and headed back to the US. At the age of 40 he said he was called up, and with a German family background he was unwilling to be involved in the fighting. However, he had already sold his interest in Blenheim Court. In December 1911, Roberts Meredith and Co sold his half share in the building for $85,000 ‘to Vancouver and London capitalists’. (He also managed to sell the Clarence Hotel for $40,000 in 1914.) Early residents of the building included Charles Bentall, at the time newly married and an employee of Dominion Construction, a business he would end up leading in subsequent years.

In 1959 the building was in the news when Robert White, a barman at the Arctic Club, was murdered in his apartment. One of three ‘bachelor murders’ in the West End that year, his killer claimed self-defense (despite stealing the victim’s wallet), and was sentenced to 3 years for manslaughter.

In 1990, five years after our image was taken, the property made the news when the owners at the time, PCI Realty Corporation, made substantial financial payments to tenants to move, so that a floor-by-floor renovation could be carried out. Gladys Vines, who was 83, and had lived in the building for 51 years, was offered $3,000, based on $50 a year of tenancy, plus moving expenses. (Eviction notices were also issued, so it was goodwill gesture rather than a requirement in those days).

More recently, in 2015, new owners of the building were accused of using a loophole in the Residential Tenancy Act by only issuing fixed term leases, and then increasing rents as much as 20% in subsequent leases for the same tenant. That led to a change in the Tenancy Act in 2017 to ensure that rents couldn’t be increased by more than a legislated amount.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-1682


Posted 4 August 2022 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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East from Burrard Bridge (1)

This view looking east from the Burrard Bridge dates from between 1956 and 1958. It shows that the area between the bridge, and the Granville Bridge in the background, changed pretty dramatically in the 1980s, when now named as Granville Slopes, this was one of the False Creek neighbourhoods planned by the City of Vancouver to revitalize the Downtown Waterfront. One of the most important elements of the 1983 plan was the inclusion of public access along the entire length of the edge on a newly constructed seawall.

Unlike areas to the east of here, where Concord Pacific acquired all the former Expo lands, a variety of developers were involved in the development on land acquired by the City and then sold off. The design principle adopted here was similar to other waterside neighbourhood, where densities closest to the water are lower than further up the slope to the north. The City’s planning department used the area to provide “a testing ground for a number of the planning and urban design precepts that have helped shape the rest of False Creek North, Downtown South, Coal Harbour and other high density neighbourhoods.”

In the area south of Beach Avenue (seen in this image) just under a thousand apartments were developed and completed between 1986 and 1995, designed by six different architectural practices. The False Creek Yacht Club lease the water lot and have a marina and clubhouse, a world away from the shacks constructed on pontoons and squatted on the waterfront under the bridge from the 1930s to the mid 1950s.

The shanties first appeared during the depression in the 1930s, and grew over time. The cutting from 1950 indicating they would be cleared was published in St John’s, and similar stories appeared in many Canadian local news outlets. The interest arose out of a sensational murder case that we’ve outlined in another post. The murderer lived in a shack on the south shore, opposite these homes, but there were over 300 shanties all along the shores of False Creek. The Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce urged that the ‘nest of perverts’ should be removed as soon as possible, but the eviction notices were only finally issued in 1955, and as our picture shows, they weren’t immediately acted on.

These structures were on a site that had been a wharf for many years, run by McDonald Marpole & Co, who ran a coal delivery business, with storage on the waterfront, and also a shipyard building mostly wooden scows. Next door the Vancouver Granite Co had a series of stone cutting sheds from the 1900s, and Wilkinson’s had a wire and steel warehouse closer to Beach Avenue.

In the early 1900s the Colonial Portable House Co had their Planing Mill here. They built modest kit-build summer cottages, as seen here in a 1908 advert in ‘Westward Ho’ magazine. They were ‘Ready to Erect, Adapted to any climate’, and claimed to be good as either permanent homes, schools or churches, or as summer cottages.

Canadian Pacific’s rail track cut across the site, heading for the Kitsilano Trestle across False Creek. Beyond it on the waterfront were cement and lime stores and gravel bunkers, although some of the area had fallen out of use by the 1950s. There was still a government customs warehouse here, and the Vancouver Granite yard and Beach Avenue shipyard were still in operation.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives (copyright) CVA 203-6


Posted 1 August 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown