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782 Harris Street

Today this is a recently comprehensively rebuilt family home on East Georgia Street, but when it was built in 1909 the streetcars ran past 782 Harris. The builder and owner was H Hutchings, and the permit for $2,000 for a ‘Frame store & dwelling house’. In 1910 Henry Hutchings, a carpenter, was living here, and he developed quite a number of houses around the city in 1912. In 1911 he was shown in the census as living at 782 Harris with his wife, who was 43 (two years younger than Henry), both coming from Newfoundland.

His wife was christened Leah Badcock, the daughter of sealer and cod fisherman Josiah Badcock and his wife Olivia. Henry and Leah had three children at home in 1901, (when they were living a block away at 831 Harris, in a house Henry probably built in 1900, when they arrived in Vancouver). There were two daughters, Mildred and Jessie, and a son, James (shown as Douglas in subsequent census records). Mildred was born in Newfoundland in 1895, but Jessie was born in Boston, Mass. in 1896. James was born in 1899 in Vancouver.

They had another son, Mundon Josiah Hutchings, in 1903, and then Russell Hutchings in 1905, but the family had disappeared from Vancouver by 1913, and it looks like they moved to King County (Seattle) in 1912. They’re all in Seattle in 1920, with what must have been quite a surprise to the family, another son, Willard, born in 1915, when Leah was 45, and her daughter Mildred (who was still living at home) was 25.

For many years this building remained vacant, through the renaming of the street to East Georgia in 1915, until in 1917 John S McDonald, a stonecutter, moved in. He was here for a couple of years, and then the property was again vacant. In 1924 Abraham Charkow moved in with New Century Produce. Abe had run an egg store in 468 Union a few years earlier, and at 775 E Georgia in 1920. K Jacob Charkow moved in, and stayed into the 1930s. The New Century Grocery was at 784 E Georgia, and K J Charkow lived at 782. Abe Charkow ran the wholesale fruit and vegetable business, which was on West Pender. Jacob Charkow started out with a horse and buggy and then was in the egg business, and was twice president of Schara Tzedeck synagogue. His son, Samuel had been born in Poland in 1903, which is where his father, Kopel Jacob had been born in 1858, the same year as his mother, Greta.

Jacob was still here, in business, aged 75 in 1935, but the building was once more vacant in 1937. The Western Jewish Chronicle announced Kopel’s retirement. He died in 1941, at which time the new residents of this building only rated a directory entry of ‘orientals’.

By 1945 it appears that the store use was abandoned and there were two homes in the building, with S J Chow listed living at 784 and Sam Wright, an orderly at Shaughnessy hospital living at 782 with his wife, Helena. They were still listed here in 1950, now both at 782, with Rose Chow, a clerk at Yee’s Confectionary on E Hastings living at the rear of 782 E Georgia. In 1952 Harry Low, a clerk, and his wife Francis replaced the Wright family.

At some point the building became a rooming house – possibly in the early 1950s as by 1955 both 782 and 784 were shown as ‘occupied’. With only 3 units, it wasn’t large enough to be protected as an SRO, and the structure was in a notably tired state in our 1978 image, and wasn’t much better in 2017 when it was offered for sale. Mr. Hutchings would no doubt be astonished to see the back-to-the-studs renovation, and even more surprised that his $2,000 development was worth 1,000 times his initial investment, 113 years later.

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Posted 23 June 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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326 West Cordova Street

We know that this building had been significantly altered before this image was taken in the 1960s. That’s because it was first built in 1903, it had a different facade. It was developed by T Simpson who hired Thomas Hunter to build the $9,000 investment designed by Parr and Fee. It was the second design for the double lot site – a $12,000 version had been submitted a year earlier.

The image on the right is a part of a 1932 picture showing West Cordova, and our building is the two storey structure in the centre of the picture, next to the tall building (which is the Mercantile Building on the corner of Homer).

Although there were two Thomas Simpsons in Vancouver in 1903, neither developed the building here; one was a clerk in the Tiny Dog store, and the other a grocer. The T Simpson who developed this was Theodore Simpson, (confirmed by a paragraph in the 1903 Contract Record, which reckoned the costs had stretched to $15,000). Mr. Simpson’s choice of Thomas Hunter as the builder wasn’t in the least surprising. In 1892 Jennie Simpson, Theodore’s daughter, married Thomas Hunter.

At the end of 1902 the Province reported that “Work was started this morning on the demolition of the buildings formerly occupied us the Rustic and Golden Tip restaurants, to make room for the erection of a handsome new brick and stone block. The new building, which will be of two stories, will measure 50 by 120 feet, and is being built for Mr. Theodore Simpson of this city. The estimated cost of Its construction is not made public, but is understood to be in the neighborhood of $15,000. The architects of the new block are Messrs. Parr & Fee and the plans show a handsome structure of brick with a cut stone front. It Is understood that the lessees of the new block will be the wholesale clothing firm of Mackay, Smith & Co., who at present occupy premises further along Cordova street.”

Theodore Simpson arrived in Vancouver in 1891, but was apparently missed by the census. He soon had a problem that required the attention of the City Council “the contractors who deposited stumps etc on the property of Theo Simpson on the corner of Melville and Thurlow Street, be notified to have same removed or buried.” In 1892 he was living on Seymour Street, but by 1894 he was already shown as ‘retired’ and living at Melville and Thurlow. Thomas Hunter was the head of household there in the 1901 census, with Theodore and his wife, Isabella, living with Thomas’s family. Theodore was 62, and from England, shown arriving in Canada in 1845, and Isabella was six years younger.

Their daughter, Thomas’s wife, (Jane, Jannie or Jennie), had been born in Ontario, and that’s also where Isabella came from. Theodore was 25 when he married Isabella Day, aged 19, in Newmarket, Ontario in March 1864. In the 1871 census he was listed there as ‘baker’ – the same as in Vancouver in 1901, (although he was never associated with any work in Vancouver, and was described as ‘gentleman’ in the 1898 voter’s list, suggesting he was already retired with investments). In 1881 the family (Theodore, Isabella, and Jane, born in 1865) were living in Summerside, in Prince Edward Island.

In the spring of 1902 the family had a shock when Isabella passed away. Theodore submitted plans for this location soon after. He died in 1925, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery with Isabella, and Jane Day, who was born on the same date as Isabella, (so presumably her twin sister) who had died in 1912.

This building was significantly  altered, and given its contemporary appearance, in 1955. That year Lounge Fashion Clothes (manufacturers) occupied the building, with Braemar Clothiers, Fletcher Lock & Safe in the middle unit and CanaDay’s Apparel (men’s wear) in the third. Fletcher’s had been in the building since at least the 1920s, and in 1925 a wholesale trunk and bag company were here too, the Langmuir Manufacturing Co.

Today Sphere Communications are here, buying and selling pre-owned cellphones, alongside Gastown Printers and Indigo Sutra, a home furnishing store specializing in items made with sustainable and natural fibres from around the world.

Image sources City of Vancouver Archives CVA 810-246 (copyright) and extract from Str N14

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Posted 20 June 2022 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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Mayfair Apartments – Bute Street

The negative of this 1927 Vancouver Public Library image isn’t in great condition, but it shows the Mayfair Apartments are almost unchanged in nearly 100 years. The picture shows the building when it was almost 20 years old – it was designed by Parr and Fee in 1908 for John A Honeyman, and cost $18,500 to build.

Mr. Honeyman was living at 1522 Comox Street that year, and retired, according to the street directory. He wasn’t in the city in 1901, but fortunately he was in 1911, shown employed in real estate, and living on Bute Street (but not in his apartment building). The 1911 census said he was aged 70, born in Quebec, and living with his daughter, Mabel, (recorded as Mable).

John Alexander Honeyman was one of ten children. His parents, John Honeyman, from Glasgow and Eliza Levit (who was English) moved to Kingston in 1841 from Quebec. Mr. Honeyman was 16 when he moved to Quebec, and 26 when he moved to Ontario and started the Ontario Foundry and later the Canada Locomotive Works. His son, John A was born just before the move from Quebec. His father founded a new foundry in Portland in 1849, but didn’t move there until 1862, after two years in Colorado. He continued to spend time mining in Idaho with one of his sons, building quartz mills for the ore as well as prospecting. He finally settled down in Portland in 1867 (aged 52), and established the City Foundry and Machine Shops with his sons John A and Benjamin in 1873. John A had been working at his father’s foundry in Kingston from 1856 to 1860, but then moved to New York where he became foreman of a foundry, before moving to San Francisco in 1868, working for the Union Iron Works. He moved to Portland, working as a foreman, and then moved to work with his father and brother, Benjamin.

Benjamin was still at home with his parents in the 1870 census, aged 23, but his brother, John, had already married in 1864 and aged 29 was living with Jane (28) who was from Birmingham, England and son David, who was 4, and had been born in New York. In the 1880 census there were three sons, and Mabel, who was aged 1. She was born in Oregon, as were her two older brothers Charles (6) and William (9), and David was now 14. The census didn’t say what John did, but Polk’s Business Directory in 1889 confirmed that he was co-owner of the City Foundry with Benjamin F Honeyman. He was still there in 1897 operating his own foundry, but J H Honeyman  had retired, and died in Portland in 1898. John A had already decided to move his foundry to Nelson, in BC, which prospered, and saw him building a new machine shop on the corner of Hill and Water Street in 1904. The 1901 census found three children; Charles (24) Mabel (20) and Ben (18) all still at home.

John A first arrived in Vancouver in 1907. That year the Oregonian Newspaper announced the sale of the old Honeyman Foundry for $25,000 US. In 1908 John’s wife, Jane E Honeyman died in Seattle. Her death certificate identified her as aged 65, and the cause of death as apoplexy. The informant was D A Honeyman – her son David, who she was presumably visiting at the time of her death. Her body was returned to Vancouver, and she was buried in Mountain View Cemetery. In 1912 John built two houses on Odlum Drive in Grandview, hiring builder Peter Tardif to design them, but supposedly constructing them himself. He moved into 1354 Odlum Drive, where in 1914 he was described as ‘foundryman’, although we haven’t identified a business he was still running at that time. The other house he built was occupied by Frank Taylor, who was doorman at the Pantages Theatre, so presumably that was for rental income.

In the 1921 census John A Honeyman was a lodger in a house on Hornby Street owned by Nathanuel Darling, who lived there with his wife Mary. John was 80, and they were in their 60s, and originally born in New York, but in Vancouver since the 1880s after he worked on the construction of the railway. The street directory said Miss M Honeyman also lived there – we assume his daughter Mabel. By 1923 John and Mabel had returned to 1354 Odlum Drive, and were there still there in 1928.

John A Honeyman died in 1930, as did his son, David, who was aged 65 and in Chicago, although he was buried in San Francisco. Mabel Maud Honeyman apparently never married, and was in Riverview Hospital when she died in 1964.

The Mayfair had 12 apartments, and as with any West End rental building the tenants constantly changed. The first time names were recorded was in 1911, when two of the tenants were female. From 1916 to 1920 Miss Anne Batchelor and Miss Margaret Wake, both professional artists, lived together in suite 7. Anne was the daughter of a Cornish vicar, and granddaughter of Queen Victoria’s household manager. She studied at the Heatherley School of Art, and arrived in Vancouver in 1909, aged 42, and a year later looked after Emily Carr’s studio while she travelled to Europe. in Vancouver she was a Christian Science practitioner. Margaret had studied at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, and established herself as a successful artist. before she came to Vancouver, aged 44, in 1911.

By 1913 the two artists were displaying their work in the same exhibitions, and shared an apartment in the same year. In 1920 Miss Batchelor purchased an residence on Barclay Street, and it was reported that Miss Wake would stay with her for the summer months. Miss Batchelor had a summer cottage on Savary Island, and Miss Margaret and Miss Katherine Wake were often visitors. The two worked together on a portrait commission that is now in the Museum of Vancouver. Margaret became ill, and died in 1930, but Anne was 96 when she died in 1963 in her home on Granville Street. There are far more details of the ladies on westendvancouver. In 1955 half of the tenants were female, all but one listed as ‘Mrs.’, so presumably widowed or separated. Today the suites are still popular in what is now one of the oldest apartment buildings in the West End.

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Posted 16 June 2022 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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389 East Hastings Street

There’s not a lot of change to this building in over 40 years, since our 1978 image was taken. The house here was built by builder Robert Maxwell for Dr. Thomas Jeffs, whose home was initially addressed as 341 East Hastings, although his medical practice (in partnership with Dr. W B McKechnie) was on Cambie Street. Dr. Jeffs spent $1,800 on building his home in 1901.

William Jeffs and Margaret Weir brought two of their family to Canada from Ireland: James, born in 1839 and Isaac. Once arrived here, John was born in 1844 in Ontario, George in 1846 (who died in Vancouver), Sarah and Thomas, who was aged 4 in the 1861 census. William was a farmer, and his four eldest sons were shown in 1861 as labourers. The early census suggests Thomas was born around 1857 or 1858, and his death in 1923 aged 65 shows that he was born in Queensboro, Ontario, in 1858, (although other records suggest 1857). By 1871 Isaac had become a clerk, and only George (who was known by his middle name, Armour), was farming with his father. Thomas attended Toronto University to obtain his MD, and initially practiced medicine in Ontario.

Thomas Jeffs married Sarah Waller in 1882, in Hastings Ontario, and three years later, Charles Edward Jeffs was born. Sarah died in November 1887. In 1891 Thomas was in Peterborough, in Ontario with a wife called Minnie, aged 28 (so born around 1863) shown two years older than her husband, (recorded as William), a physician and surgeon. There were no children shown, but Francis, William’s younger brother was in the household, aged 18 and working as a druggist.

Thomas W Jeffs, a physician, and Mary Couen were recorded being married in York, Toronto, Ontario on June 29 1895, with W McKechnie and Annie Couen as witnesses. Thomas was shown born in 1858 and Mary in 1864. Mary’s parents were shown as Charles Couen, and Martha Reid. Mary’s father, Charles Cowan married Martha Reid in 1855, in Simcoe in Ontario. They had a daughter, Annie, in 1868 who married William Boyd McKechnie. (Annie died in Spallumeheen in 1948). They also had a son, Charles in 1865 and a daughter, Martha in 1861 (who also died in Vancouver, in 1934).

Thomas and Minnie (Mary) Jeffs moved to Cumberland in BC in the year they married, then to Revelstoke, and the family were first recorded in Vancouver in the 1899-1900 directory, with the Cambie surgery, and living on Denman. A year later they had moved to 522 Gore, a few blocks from here, and Dr. McKechnie, who had practiced in Revelstoke from 1896 to 1900 had joined the practice. We assume that the doctor’s wives were sisters.

For the 1901 census there were some seriously inaccurate ages recorded; it said Mary was 11 years younger than Thomas (showing him born in 1860, and her in 1871). Thomas’s son, Charles, was now living with them, born in 1888 in Ontario. The couple added William to the family in 1896 and Mary in 1900. In the 1911 census Thomas’s wife was called Minnie, and she was two years older than him, now suggesting 1864, (so knocking six years off his age) with her born in 1866 (so two years less than reality). William was 14 and Mary 10. (When Charles died in Seattle in 1941, in Seattle, his mother was recorded as Minnie Jeffs).

This block of East Hastings was oddly numbered in the early 1900s so this was 341 in 1901 (the year Dr. Jeffs built the house, and was listed that year in the street directory), but by 1911 had been renumbered to 389. By 1903 a second Dr. McKechnie had arrived in Vancouver, Dr. R E McKechnie, who was in partnership with Dr. Tunstall, and as far as we can tell, unrelated.

Dr. Jeffs was a director of the Orange Hall, elected as an alderman in 1906, Police Commissioner in 1907 and was appointed coroner in 1909, a position he held for many years. In 1907 he built a big house on Salisbury Drive that cost $6,000, and the family lived there until 1920. (That house was moved on its site, and restored a few years ago). He built a new home on Charles Street in 1922, but died in 1923.

The Ing Suey Sun Tong Association purchased this house on East Hastings and Dunlevy through donations from members in 1920. It looks as if the store was added in 1921; a permit was approved for $2,000 of alterations that year, designed by H H Simmonds. Wa Young and Co made minor repairs in the 1920s; they ran the grocers in the store. The family association still own the building, although their members are increasingly aged and infirm. In the 1950s new arrivals to Canada could share a dormitory on the upper floor for $3 a month – up to 20 people lived here. Today you’re more likely to find a game of mahjong in progress.

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Posted 13 June 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Davie and Bute Streets – ne corner

Dr. Ernest Hall lived, and practiced medicine in Victoria, but spent quite a bit of time in Vancouver. An eye, ear, nose and throat specialist, he had a regular surgery as early as 1893, “Office over McDowell’s drug store, Cordova street. Cross eyes painlessly cured; artificial eyes supplied”

The 1901 census said that he was W Ernest Hall, aged 40, from Ontario. His wife, Mary was a year younger, and they had a 2 month old son, and a Chinese cook, Ah Sing. His birth record says he was Ernest Amos Hall, born in 1861 in Hornby, Esquesing Township, Halton, Ontario, son of Robert Shirrow Hall and Jane Greenwood. He was the youngest of four, his brother Thomas was three years older, (and also a doctor in Vancouver), and he had an older sister Orpha and brother, John. His wife, Mary Louisa Fox was from Trafalgar, Halton, Ontario, where they married in 1885.

Dr. Thomas Hall and his wife, Dr. Ruth Hall moved to Vancouver in 1905. They were married in 1902, the year she graduated as a doctor too. He had been married first to Elizabeth Knight, and had four children, a daughter (Amy) Violet in 1887 in Woodstock, Ontario, daughter Unina in 1892 when they were in Worcester, Massachusetts, Victoria in 1893 and a son, Vernon, in 1899 in Kansas. In 1906 Thomas and Ruth opened the Hillside Hospital at Burrard and Barclay in collaboration with Dr Ernest Hall and Dr. Robert Telford. In 1908 Thomas entered private practice and until his death in 1931 his wife aided him in his work. ‘Dr. T P Hall’s Magic Lotion’ was sold in the city for a while.

In 1909 Dr E Hall developed a building on Fort Street in Victoria, designed by Thomas Hooper. He also hired the same architect to design a $32,000 hospital for this corner, but it was never built. Instead, in 1912, he had a permit for a ‘frame store house’ here, also designed by Thomas Hooper, costing $5,000 to build. In June he applied to carry out alterations to a dwelling house, costing $4,000, at 1181 Davie, although he apparently never moved there. That year he was shown in the Vancouver directory at 1301 Davie, the home of Dr. Thomas Hall, his brother. That year he gave a lecture to the Mission Circle “Under the patronage of the same organization a lecture of exceeding interest and importance was given by Dr. E. Hall on “White Slave Traffic.” A large and appreciative audience gathered and were much edified, by the remarks of the lecturer.”

In 1913 Dr. Ernest Hall had an office on Granville Street and a home address at 1185 Burnaby St. His brother moved his practice from his home address to the same office in 1914. By 1915 Ernest had moved back to Victoria, although he continued to practice in Vancouver from the Granville St office. He also still gave public lectures, as we saw in conjunction with the opening of the new Methodist Church on Dunlevy Ave. in 1916.

In the 1921 census Dr. Ernest Amos Hall was living on Fort Street in Victoria with his wife Mary, sons Victor who was 20 and a medical student, Frederick,14, attending a private school, and Grace, 18, who was at business school.

Our Vancouver Public Library image shows the Davie and Bute building in 1926 when it was the home of the Capitola Pharmacy, the business having moved a year earlier from the other end of the block. Next door at 1195 was the Model Grocery. Upstairs were four apartments, addressed to Bute Street.

Dr. Thomas Proctor Hall, died in 1931 in Vancouver, his brother John a year later in Denver, Colorado, and also in 1932 Dr. Ernest Hall, in Victoria. By 1945 the corner had become the Reliable Drug store, next to the Alpine Fancy Bakery, and there were still four apartments upstairs. The building was altered in 1976, and had office space on the upper floor with a walk-in medical clinic, that would no doubt make Dr. Hall happy about the continuity of use. The drug store is now a payday loan store, with a Thai restaurant and a phone store alongside.

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Posted 9 June 2022 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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157 – 165 East Cordova Street

This single storey retail building has been around since 1912 when Purdy & Lonergan designed and built it for $12,000 – which seems a surprisingly high amount of money for the period. This is half the building; the other half is to the right of the picture and slightly higher (because of the grade change on this part of Cordova), and addressed to Main Street. The developer was recorded as E McGuinness. Nobody of that name appears in the street directory, but a Mr. and Mrs. Edward McGuinness had been living on Davie Street in 1906. The Daily World even reported their movements, so they were clearly known around the city: “Mr. and Mrs. E. McGuinness and family of Davie street have returned home from Seattle”.

They were still at 1121 Davie in 1907, but in October there was an auction sale of the contents of the house, and in 1908 Mr. and Mrs. Richard S Ford were receiving visitors at that address (on Tuesdays), according to ‘The Elite Directory of Vancouver’. (Richard was publisher of the ‘Saturday Sunset’ newspaper). The McGuinness family weren’t obviously in the city before 1906, or after 1907, and in both of those years Edward is shown as ‘retired’. We can’t even be sure that he’s the developer of these buildings, but there are no other obvious candidates.

In 1909 E McGuinness obtained a permit for a brick store on the corner of Pender and Howe, according to the Contract Record, designed by C F Perry. Mr McGinnis (sic) also developed eight houses on Davie Street in 1903, including the house where he briefly lived from1906. In 1909 Mr. and Mrs. E McGuinness sailed for New South Wales from Victoria.

There are a couple of possible people who might be the developer. E J McGinnis was listed in the Vancouver directory as the Canadian Pacific Railway’s agent in Seattle in the early 1890s, but isn’t obviously resident at any time in Canada. There is also Edward W McGinnis, who died in Vernecliffe, Bainbridge Island, just south of the border. He was a Real Estate Broker who was born in 1861 in Massachusetts, and he was in Seattle when he died. Whoever the developer was, he probably wasn’t a Canadian resident for any longer than the 2 years in the mid 1900s.

The four stores here were initially occupied by Polyjos, a restaurant run by Colombas and Dascales. Next door was C Y Song Hing, a shoemaker, then the BC Cycle Co and at 165 Albert Burns sold hardware. At the end of the war only Albert was still in business. two of the units were vacant, and the People’s Mission occupied 159.

By the mid 1920s the expanding Japanese community had moved west from their Powell Street hub; Moriyama & Co occupied 157-161 and S Matsumiya was in 163. A decade later Moriyama were still at 157, selling second hand furniture, 163 was the Sunshine Mission and the Pacific Trading Co sold brushes at 165. In 1942 Mrs Moriyama, who was still trading that year, was forced to move to an internment camp, and only one of the four units was occupied a year later, by the Sunshine Apostolic Mission. That year Rev. Barker from Toronto, billed as a former well-known organist and professional musician, lectured at the mission “When the lights go out on the road to hell.” The lights went out in the mission too, as subsequently the street directory couldn’t be bothered to list the occupants of any of the units other than the generic ‘Orientals’.

We’re fairly certain that the units were used as residences, although in 1948 the Scandinavian Baptist Mission occupied one unit. In 1951 Anthony Cappello was living at 159 when he was acquitted on drug possession charges. In 1955 there were five units, as there are today. At 157 Lin Lee lived here, 159 was occupied by J Payne, a tailor, 161 by Ko Yak Sing, 163 by Tai Lai and 165 by Young Chow, who was a typesetter. DERA, the early non-profit housing association had their offices here in the mid 1970s, but don’t appear to have been here when our 1985 image was taken.

Today there’s a sign maker, a Harm Reduction Consultancy, an art gallery and a Vintage Clothing store.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2449

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Posted 6 June 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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310 West Cordova Street

These two small buildings are part of a block of very old (for Vancouver), and low-density buildings in what was once one of the most important city streets. On the extreme left of the frame Dr. Whetham’s Arlington Block can be seen, built in 1887. We looked at the building on the right, (home of the Frank & Oak clothing store today), in an earlier post. 314-316 W Cordova was developed in 1905 by R McLeod. We only have newspaper references, not a permit, so we can’t identify the architect, or which of several ‘R McLeods’ this might be. There was contractor called Rod McLeod, although we might expect him to build his own investment. Another possibility was Robert McLeod, an engineer in Victoria who had been married in Vancouver in 1900, and had an interest in a mining company near Nelson.

Next door to the east, (the left hand of the pair), is 310 West Cordova, which was initially numbered as 308. This is the Turner Block, originally designed by C O Wickenden for George Turner in 1889, so it’s one of the oldest buildings in the city. The Heritage Foundation’s website takes their information from the Heritage Statement for the building, that says it was built as a restaurant in 1914, but there’s no permit to support that, although it was altered quite early in its life. The building was vacant in 1915, but there’s an undated image that shows the Arlington Hotel and this building, when it had arched second floor windows. There was a single storey building to the west, so the picture was taken before 1905. It’s possible the upper floors were altered, or the building rebuilt when the Washington Cafe moved in. It opened in 1916, and that might be the source of the Heritage statement date, although we would expect a building permit for any major work, and there doesn’t appear to be one.

There was a George Turner in New Westminster who is well-documented; he was the provincial surveyor. This was a different George Turner; he lived at this address briefly in 1889, but by 1891 had rooms in the Leland House Hotel, where he was was listed in the street directory as ‘speculator’.

He was apparently missed in the 1891 census, but was listed in 1901 as a lodger at the Merchant’s Exchange Hotel, on Seymour Street. That record said he was aged 50, born in 1850 in the United States, and he was a miner who had arrived in Canada in 1886. His age records varied; when he died in 1914, in Savona, his birth date was 1846, and The Province published two obituaries, one citing each year, so it was unclear which was true. He died wealthy, but unmarried, and left his estate to two sisters, Katherine Meeker of Asbury Park and Mary Welles of Los Angeles. Katherine’s family tree shows a brother called George, one of seven children born in New York state, in 1848, so it appears he had a habit of adding or subtracting two years either way when saying how old he was.

It’s not clear what George did before arriving in Canada, but he was already a wealthy man (so perhaps he was a successful miner). He arrived in the city just as it became Vancouver, and acquired property very early, with at least three different lots allowing him to be on the 1887 voter’s list. (In those days, men who owned property could vote, irrespective of nationality). By 1889 he had $30,000 worth of property, and two years later it was worth $10,000 more. Biographies identify some of George’s fortune from mining in the Rossland, Slocan and Sandon areas, but we were wary of confirming that as there was at least one other George Turner (a Spokane judge and politician) who was associated with mining shares in BC, and who is not the Vancouver speculator, and there were three other George Turners with miners certificates. However, it appears reasonably clear that he was involved in both the Great Western Mine in Sandon, and the Two Friends Mine in Slocan in the 1890s where he was superintendent, and had a reputation as ‘an honest broker’. In 1897 he had rooms in Black’s Hotel in Sandon.

When he was in Vancouver he was a member of both the Vancouver Club and the Terminal City Club, and enjoyed playing chess – in 1892 he was president of the Chess and Draughts Club. His business interests outside mining included the early Street Railway company, their rivals, the Gurney Cab Co, and later a milling and grain business and the McLaren-Laurentia Milk Co. He acquired land in the San Joaquin Valley in California, where he established a ranch and was on a fishing trip to Savona in 1914 when he died.

A variety of businesses occupied the premises over the years. From 1916 it was home to the Washington Cafe, and the upper floor had been linked to the Arlington Block and was part of The Arlington Rooms. At the back was a separate 3-storey building that had been used as the Soldier’s Training School. Thomson and Stoess owned 310 W Cordova in 1926, but the repairs were to a workshop, factory and warehouse, so that was probably the building at the back. In 1930 Kydd Brothers occupied the space, and the Washington Cafe was still in operation in front.

Initially no owner was identified for the cafe, as it was ‘Chinese’ (and that was all you apparently needed to know). It had opened in 1911 in the Arlington Block, when it was run by Mer Wing. Two waitresses were wanted in 1911, when the wages offered were $9 a week. In 1922 John Ming Ching was listed (in the Chinese Section of the Directory) as manager. In 1931 Gin Gin was manager, and in 1935, the last time it appeared, Wong Do.

In 1936 the building was empty, and by 1939 a safe manufacturer, J & J Taylor, had moved in, with Sinclair Bros making confectionery in the building on the lane. That situation remained the same in 1955, the last year we can check directories online. A few years ago The Deluxe Junk Co had a clothing consignment store, then by 2016 Woodsons had their law office over a Versace Home store, and today Neumann & Associates, a law firm have their offices over the Indonesian Trade Promotion Centre

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives (copyright) CVA 810-21 and UCR California Museum of Photography 1996.0009.X4834

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Posted 2 June 2022 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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Burrard Street – south from Burnaby Street

It’s 1914, and we’re looking south on Burrard street from around the top of the hill that slopes down to False Creek, a little further north than the previous post. Down the hill there are extensive industrial operations, including a brickworks, a sawmill, boatbuilding and wharves along the water’s edge. There was no bridge until the early 1930s, so no transit ran along this stretch.

The fire hydrants are almost in the same location 108 years later, but now there’s also a bigger, blue hydrant that would allow the fire brigade to fight fires with seawater in the event of an earthquake. The smoking object down the street is a mystery. It could be a piece of heavy equipment, perhaps related to paving the road (at last – it’s been unpaved for over 25 years). As far as we can tell there was no significant building or industrial plant on that alignment, only a boat building yard and construction materials storage.

We know a little about the row of houses on the left. They’re the 1300 block (even numbers) on Burrard, and they were almost all built after 1905 and before 1909, in the few years where the permits have been lost. Five houses were built earlier – and we have some records for their construction. There were two larger houses that each occupied a lot-and-a-half, (so with a 50 foot frontage). P P Findlay owned, designed and developed 1348 Burrard, a $2,000 dwelling, in 1904. It wasn’t occupied until 1906, when Thomas Allen, who was in real estate, moved in.

George Sills was recorded hiring A Sykes to design a house at 1352 in 1905. (We think the clerk made an error, as we can’t find a George Sills in Vancouver). G Thorpe built the $2,000 house, and in 1905 it was Thomas Sills, a CPR employee, who was living there. Thomas had emigrated from Yorkshire, England when he was one, and was married to Sarah Kilpatrick in Vancouver in 1891, who was 19 years older, and born in Ontario. He was a fitter in the CPR shops, and as well as building his own home, Thomas dabbled in the province’s other main obsession, mining. He applied to buy 640 acres in the Cassiar District of the Skeena in 1910, when he was described as a machinist. In 1911 Sarah’s brother, George Kilpatrick, and her sister, Elizabeth were living here too. Sarah died in 1915, aged 69, and in 1919 Thomas married Elizabeth (who although 8 years younger than her sister was still 11 years older than Thomas). Elizabeth died in 1936, and Thomas 21 years later at the age of 91.

The first house on the block was 1310 Burrard, and in 1905 George Fortin, owner of the Louvre Saloon in Gastown lived there. In 1905 he obtained a permit for a $2,200 frame dwelling. We looked at his history in connection with the block he developed on West Cordova.

At the far end of the block Jacob Hoffmeister’s permit was also in 1905 for a $2,000 dwelling, and in 1906 he was living at 1386 Burrard. His next-door neighbour up the hill at 1378 was Ansil Thatcher, a machinist, and he carried out $400 of alterations in 1907. We looked at both Jacob and Ansil’s houses in an earlier post of this row looking north from Burrard Bridge.

The other houses seem to have been built by speculative builders and then sold on. Thomas Morton (who first bought the West End before the city had been created), Reilly Bros, William Gormley, a carpenter and Elliot Brothers were among others who all built multiple dwellings along Burrard in the early 1900s.

Today there’s a rare ‘street wall’ block of brick-clad apartments, called Anchor point. There are three buildings, each a separate strata, nine storeys high designed by Waisman Dewar Grout Architects for Daon Developments and completed in 1978. There have been unsuccessful attempts by developers to acquire enough of the units to trigger a redevelopment, but so far that hasn’t happened. A new tower completed last year beyond Anchor Point, The Pacific, gives a sense of the scale that a replacement might seek to achieve. On the west side of the street, on the corner of Burnaby Street is the Ellington, a 20 storey condo from 1990, while Modern, a 17 storey condo building from 2014 can be seen to the south.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives LGN 1126

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Posted 30 May 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Burrard Street – south from Harwood

We took a while to pin down where this image should be shot from. The 1930 picture shows Burrard Street at it’s southern end, heading downhill close to where it stopped at False Creek. Because the Burrard Bridge was yet to be constructed here, the wide boulevard of Burrard was only partially paved, and there were wide verges that cars parked on.

There’s a single house down the street on the right, and from the insurance map we think that must be 1000 Beach Avenue. It was an isolated house, next to a brick factory owned by the Pacific Pressed Brick Co in 1920, with Champion and White’s Building material wharf and gravel bunkers beyond it on the side of False Creek. The house appeared in 1906, and the occupant was William W White, manager. He wasn’t too bothered about the builders yard because he was the ‘White’ in Champion and White. We looked at the biography of Samuel Champion in connection to a property he developed on Powell Street.

William W White was 38 in the 1901 census. (He arrived from England in 1889, and was shown as living alone and a general labourer in the 1891 census). His wife, Alice, who was a year younger, arrived in Canada in 1891, and they married in July. In 1892 their daughter, Hilda, was born, followed by Eveline in 1894, and son William Wall in 1898. Mabel came along two years after the census in 1903.

Alice Urch married William Walter White in Vancouver in 1891. She was born in Newington, and brought up in London. He was born in Manchester, but his parents had married in London. His mother, Rebecca Fosdick, and her mother, Emma Fosdick, were probably related as they came from different households in Devonshire.

In 1911 William was also president of Coast Quarries Ltd. He died in 1919 when he was only 55; Alice was listed as his widow that year, living in the same house with her daughter Evaline who was a teacher at Franklin School and son William, who was working for Champion & White. Evaline married William Mann, a Scot in July that year and Hilda married David Irwin in October. Alice was still here in 1921, when Mabel, a stenographer, was still at home, and William, who now worked as assistant manager for McBride & Co, one of Champion & White’s rivals. A year later only Mabel was listed in the city, living on West 10th Avenue. William married Ada Nicholson in January 1922.

John Donaldson, of the ‘Exclusive Shop’ moved into the house here. In 1931 Knud Jensen, a labourer at Coast Cement was here, the house was vacant a year later (unsurprisingly as the bridge was under construction almost on top of it), but in 1933 Miss E H Fraser, a telephone operator at BC Tel was living in the house. She stayed for several years, and so too did the house. In 1955 W Percy Beale, listed as a mate, was living here.

Alice White was 80 and still in Vancouver when she died in 1944. Her daughter Hilda died when she was living in Trail, in 1965, and her husband, David, a year later. Her daughter, Evaline Mann died in West Vancouver in 1972, and Mabel Bayley in North Vancouver in 1983. William died in Nanaimo in 1987.

Today the spot the house stood on is part of Sunset Park, to the north of the Aquatic Centre, the windowless swimming pool that was completed in 1974, and supposed to be replaced in a few years time. At 1005 Beach, across the street, ‘Alvar’ a 28 storey condo tower was developed by Concert Properties in 2004.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives, Walter E Frost, CVA 447-103

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Posted 26 May 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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East from Burrard Bridge – south shore

In 1950 a sensational murder trial drew attention to the squatters along the shores of False Creek. Blanche Fisher was 45, living on East 12th, an unmarried seamstress working for a departmental store. Her partially clothed body was found in November 1949 washed up against the pier of the Kitsilano Trestle, and a police investigation began. Initially it was thought she might have committed suicide, but the state of the body suggested it might be murder. All that was known was she had been to see a movie at the Rio on East Broadway the night before.

In 2020 John Mackie unearthed the story from the paper’s archives and retold it in the Vancouver Sun. Press reports said that initially Frank Ducharme was arrested for vagrancy, but when the police searched his float house, they found dozens of items of women’s underclothing. During his appeal case, the basis of Ducharme’s arrest was outlined, over a month after the body had been found found. “About 1.30 on the morning of December 5th the police were attracted by his appearance and as they approached him he ran, but was caught and taken into custody. He was wearing a handkerchief about his head, a silk shirt, an overcoat and scarf, and a pair of rubber boots rolled down in a manner that his legs were bare  around the knees. There was no indecent exposure but the condition observed as to his person at the police station might suggest that he was abnormal.”

When they searched his untidy shack on the south bank under Burrard Bridge, the police found “a pair of black gabardine shoes and a shattered wristwatch” that matched what Fisher had been wearing the night of her death. The watch crystal and her umbrella were found behind the back seat of his Hupmobile. He was then charged with her murder, and after an extensive examination of his mental fitness to stand trial, it was held in March 1950.

The court case revealed that it was raining on the night of the murder, and Frank Ducharme had offered Miss Fisher a ride home. He admitted to driving around Marpole and Kitsilano before his unwanted attentions caused her to struggle, at which point he “grabbed her by the throat to keep her from yelling”. In interviews he sometimes admitted to having had a sexual encounter, but that it was consensual. At other times he changed his story and claimed she ran away from him onto the Kitsilano Trestle, slipped, fell into the Creek and drowned, and sometimes he denied any knowledge of the woman.

“Ducharme initially said he had been born in Toronto, had grown up an orphan in Winnipeg and was in the RCAF during the Second World War. He also said he was unmarried. He was actually born in Elkhorn, Man., had a mother and six sisters, and had been discharged from the RCAF to the mental ward of a hospital in Weyburn, Sask. The 34-year-old had been married twice, had a couple of convictions for indecent exposure and went by the pseudonym Farnsworth after he moved to B.C. in 1947.” A neighbour said he saw Ducharme in a rowboat with a woman’s body on the night of the murder. He was convicted of murder, and an appeal judge, in concluding he was ‘definitely a psychopath of some description’ rejected the appeal, and he was hanged at Oakalla Prison in July 1950.

This 1949 image shows there were industrial buildings further back in the Burrard slopes area, but closer to False Creek the land had never been developed, and the shacks clustered along the edge of the water, with the ones in the water on pontoons. After the case the City took the initiative to finally clear the squatters off the foreshore.

Soon after the Kitsilano Trestle was removed in the early 1980s development of the final phase of False Creek South started. The BC Credit Union office building had been completed in 1978, and the residential buildings here were built between 1983 and 1989 with 700 dwellings, the majority in strata buildings.

The wharf and moorings here have more commercial fishing boats than other marinas, and are operated by the False Creek Harbour Authority. The water quality in the Creek has been steadily improving, and weighted nets have been installed trying to mimic natural habitat like eel grass or a kelp bed to encourage herring spawning. (Because the piles of the wharves are chemically treated, and there are sometimes hydrocarbons on the surface of the water, the intention is to keep the hatchlings in the water and away from the pilings or the surface). This has been hugely successful, with millions of fish maturing and returning to spawn in recent years.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Dist P135.1

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Posted 23 May 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, False Creek