View west from the foot of Broughton Street

Broughton Street crosses West Hastings and ends in a traffic circle that allows vehicles to turn around and head south again. This is the view standing in the middle of the circle, looking west. In front is the edge of Cascina and Denia, a pair of towers designed by James K M Cheng, completed in 2003. To the north the Coal Harbour marina shelters boats and a few live-aboard homes, but in 1925 this was the water’s edge, with logs washed up on the foreshore.

The landscaping for the condo towers includes street trees planted into pits protected by reproduction circular saw blades. Although there’s no explanation, it’s not a random choice by the landscape architects. Off in the distance was the former Pacific Coast Lumber Co, with a sawmill, drying kiln, planing mill and steel sawdust burner. Today the Bayshore Hotel sits on the land that the mill occupied, and the railtrack that ran along the edge of the water has long gone.

James G Scott was born in Stratford, Ontario in 1860, and came west to New Westminster founding the Pacific Coast Lumber Company in 1891. He had married Lizzie Stewart in Guelph in 1887 and they had a son, Douglas, in 1892. By 1898 Scott was elected an Alderman in New Westminster, and he was elected Mayor for the year 1900. The following year he was elected again, this time by popular acclamation. In 1902 the family moved to Vancouver where he had built a new mill in Coal Harbour, at the foot of Cardero Street.

The decision to allow the construction was not initially supported by Vancouver interests. The approval came from Ottawa, but the Vancouver harbourmaster tried to get construction stopped several times, with threats of injunctions made, but apparently never pursued. In 1902 the mill was expanded, filling in between Pender Street and the rail tracks (which was on a trestle) with a ‘floating dry-dock’. It was a big mill operation consisting of a sawmill and shingle mill, side by side.  From the western end of the CPR railway terminus, a short line was extended to serve the mill.  A large pier jutted out into Coal Harbour to load sea-going vessels, and a loading dock serviced wagon traffic.  The mill dominated the waterfront on the approach to Stanley Park, in an area that had once been natural mud-flats. Mr. Scott ruffled further feathers when he placed piles in the harbour to moor his logs – and was then required to remove them. He became part of the BC Lumber Association and was soon trying to ensure major lumber purchases by prairie lumber buyers went through Association buyers – not always successfully.

The family home was at 746 Cardero in 1904, and by 1907 they had moved to Pendrell. There was an auction sale that year, including fine furniture and an American Billiard Table, and in 1908 the family were living in an apartment on 1175 Haro, where Mr. Scott was shown as retired (although no retirement notice ever appeared in the press). George Gibson had taken over running the mill.

Mr. Scott had an active interest in the North Vancouver Ferry and Power Company for a number of years, and when a rival operation was proposed he sold out his interest to the City of North Vancouver. In 1909 the Scott family were living on Haro Street, but a year later the Province announced an “Auction of high-class furniture and piano at Mrs. J. G. Scott’s residence, 1175 Haro street, Tuesday next”. In 1911 the Daily World reported “Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Scott of Vancouver, who went east about a year ago, have been enjoying a Mediterranean trip during the winter, and have visited many points of Interest on the continent. They are accompanied by their son.”

During wartime the family had returned to Vancouver, and no longer retired, James was listed as ‘lumberman’ and living on Larch Street. Son Douglas was working for the Empress Manufacturing Co in 1916 and was on active service a year later. We don’t know what happened to Douglas after the war, but he survived the war, with his death recorded in Victoria in 1961.

His parents, age 60, were living in, and running the Ivanhoe Hotel on Main Street in 1921. James died on a visit to Chicago in June 1924, and his body was returned to Ontario. His will was probated in August, and he left an estate of $72,286.49 to his widow, Eliza Stewart Scott. She died in 1941 and was buried with her husband in Ontario.

The mill looks to have stopped operations briefly in the early 1920s and reopened as the Vancouer-Iowa Shingle Mill. In 1923 Chinese saw operator was killed when a sawblade he had replaced flew off the machine. The company moved their operations to Marpole, on the Fraser River by 1928, and the mill was no longer in active use soon after this picture was taken.

The site was redeveloped as a rather isolated Bayshore Hotel, with the first building completed in 1959. It was to be called the Edgewater but opened with its current name. A 20 storey tower was added in the early 1960s, and there was a further addition in the early 2000s. Recently purchased by Concord Pacific, it’s likely that a redevelopment proposal will emerge in the future.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu N38.

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Posted 31 October 2022 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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