1111 Seymour Street

These are the Hollywood Apartments, seen in a 1927 Vancouver Public Library image. The apartments were intially addressed as 1121 Seymour, but became 1111 a few years later. Land agents Smith and Partners were offering three vacant lots here for $11,000 in 1906, and by 1909 there was an illustration in the press of the 18 apartments facing a twenty-six foot lawn. The owners were identified as D E Harris and J J Gregg, and the National Finance Co handled the leasing.

We found Mr. Harris obtaining the permit for a 3-storey apartment ‘between Davie and Helmcken’ for $20,000 in September 1908. Although he was a contractor, he hired A J Bird to design the building, and Mills & Williamson to build it. He lived on Ontario Street.  Mrs. Harris, before her marriage, was the unusually named Sydenia McFeetors, from Ross, Renfrew Ontario, who married Daniel Ely Harris in Rosedale, Manitoba in 1892. Daniel was shown as six years older, and was also from Ontario. We know the family arrived here in the early 1900s; their third child, Violet, was born in Ontario in 1903, and Everett, her brother, in 1908 in Vancouver.

In 1909 Sydenia Harris acquired 640 acres in the Cariboo, near Quesnel, using her husband as agent. Annie Gregg, wife of J J Gregg also bought land in the same area, using Mr Harris as agent, and he assisted a series of other purchasers who also bought land in the same area. In 1914 Mr Harris was identified in the paper as a land speculator, owning 10,000 acres in the Fort George district.

The residents of these apartments featured in the press from time to time. In 1916 Miss Ethel Dawson lost control of her car, which ‘ran amuck’, severely damaging another auto and sending two people to hospital. In 1921 Mrs Marie Tudor, who lived here, sued Gordon Gartley, the driver of the vehicle that killed her husband in Stanley Park earlier in the year. In 1925 the Ladies Meeting of the Royal Society of St George met in suite 9. W H Taylor had his car stolen in 1934, but Walter McElroy of Robson Street was arrested after police gave chase, catching him at Granville and W54th. A. Bakerman had jewelry stolen from his suite in the same year, and Mrs McKellar also had a ring stolen from her suite a month after that.

In 1944 William Johnson, a taxi driver, received a 10-day jail sentence for driving while drunk, and lost his licence for six months. A year later several residents’ sons were reported as killed, missing or wounded in the war, while another resident was injured in a car crash racing to meet her husband, returning from the war. The driver was charged with the manslaughter of one of the passengers, but acquitted. His widow and daughter sued, and received $10,000 each in civil proceedings. In 1946 William Johnson was again in court in an alcohol related proceeding – this time for selling it illegally; he got a $300 fine. Ironically, Mrs McKenzie held regular meeings of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in her suite for five years from 1949.

Effie Carmichael and James McArthur, both living here, were charged with running a gambling game in a South Vancouver home in 1959, but the case was dismissed. Harry Waterfield was aged 37 in 1963, and a tenant here, when he faced his 17th charge of breaking and entering (over a period of 21 years). Found guilty as a habitual criminal, he faced an indeterminate sentence of life imprisonment. In 1965 Alexander Williamson, aged 52, had a fall in the hall of the building, and another fall the same day from his second floor window that killed him.

When the developer, Daniel Harris died in 1953 he was aged 86, (so born around 1867). Sydenia Harris was aged 81 years when her death was reported in 1959. That suggests there was probably an 11 year difference in their ages. She was survived by 2 sons, J. Stafford Harris, Toronto, and E. Raymond Harris, Halifax, N.S.; 1 daughter, Mrs. T. Cameron, Vancouver.

In the early 1980s the kitchens were removed and the interior re-modelled to provide hotel rooms, managed as an annex to the Chateau Granville hotel across the the lane. Demolished in 2015, two years later Wall Financial completed construction of a 40 unit 6-storey building designed by Endall Elliot Associates that was submitted as a strata building, but then retained as leasehold apartments.



Posted 27 February 2023 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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