Archive for the ‘Altered’ Category

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


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


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


Posted 23 May 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, False Creek

Stanley Park and the West End from above (2)

The angle on these two images is very slightly off, although it was shot at almost the same elevation. Our ‘before’ shot is from 1973 by William Roozeboom was taken from slightly further south, so he was just past the seawall. Trish Jewison, in the Global BC traffic helicopter shot the more contemporary image in July 2020, and the slightly different location of the picture means the entrance to False Creek can be seen.

Compared to the early 1970s much of the structure of Downtown, from this angle, has remained unchanged (although it’s significantly denser). Our previous aerial comparison posted a few weeks ago was of the same part of the city, shot much lower, in 1964, when the West End towers were starting to appear. Many more were built in the late 1960s, and a few in the early 1970s. In 1973 The Sheraton Landmark was under construction, although the revolving restaurant had yet to be added. It opened a year later, but when our 2020 image was shot it had just been demolished, with the foundations removed and an even bigger hole had been dug for two residential towers that were starting to appear above grade.

The largest area of change is to the north, along the waterfront of Coal Harbour, which was still industrial in the early 1970s. We saw a different angle from 1972 in another William Roozeboom image. Off in the distance, in 1973 the south shore of False Creek was almost empty, having been cleared and commencing redevelopment as the city’s first large scale urban renewal where older industry was replaced with a residential neighbourhood.

In 1973 the dark glass on the TD Tower in the Pacific Centre on Granville Street really made it stand out – today there are more towers clustered around it, but it’s still possible to make it out without much difficulty.

It’s possible to see the line of Robson Street in 2020, because the buildings tend to be lower. For a stretch of several blocks there’s a policy to restrict higher buildings to get more natural light onto the street, and closer to Stanley Park there are older, and lower scale buildings. That’s currently changing as there are three more towers proposed on Robson, one recently completed as well as the two being built on the Landmark site, and to the north along Alberni there are twelve more submitted or underway, several of them designed by international architects with some extraordinary contemporary designs.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 23-06 and Trish Jewison, Global BC helicopter.


Posted 18 April 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered

Stanley Park and the West End from above (1)

The angle on these two images is pretty close, although we think they must have been shot at slightly different elevations. The 1964 image by Williams Bros. Photographers Ltd was taken from slightly higher, so Burnaby Heights, in the distance, are less prominent. Trish Jewison, in the Global BC traffic helicopter shot the more contemporary image in September 2020.

The West End was in the middle of transforming from modest density to many more high-rise towers. The zoning changed in 1956, and from then until 1972 over 200 towers replaced many older houses, often carved up into rooming houses. There are two prominent towers looking on to Stanley Park. Panorama Place, designed by Robert Rapske, was still under construction in 1964, completed a year later. The entire building, developed by Cosmos Holdings, cost $2.5m to construct. Built as apartments, the 147 units were acquired by Dawson Developments and converted to a co-op in 1973, so buyers acquire shares in the co-op, rather than a strata freehold. A construction crane collapsed when the building was close to completion, killing one of the workers.

A block and a half to the north, the Silhouette Apartments had been completed in 1963, but with 96 rental units following an almost identical shape, and we believe designed by the same architect. The tower replaced the family home of Jonathan and Elizabeth Rogers, completed in 1910.

In 1964 both the Marine Building and the Hotel Vancouver were still prominent on the skyline. The slab of the Georgian Towers hotel had been completed in 1955, the first modern tower to start the continuing transformation of West Georgia Street. Today, all three buildings are lost in the forest of towers, and the skyline has two standout towers, the Shangri-La hotel and apartments, and the former Trump Tower, now changing to the Paradox Hotel. In the foreground is the seasonal, heated, outdoor pool at Second Beach. Built in 1932, in the 1960s it was still filled with ocean salt water, although that meant from time to time a mud shark or octopus could end up sharing the pool. Stanley Park, and Devonian Harbour Park have both grown much more in the intervening 56 years, so there’s far more of a forest in the foreground.

In the background today the container cranes of the Port of Vancouver can be seen, located in a spot that was still part of Burrard Inlet in the early 1960s. Closer to us the industrial operations on the shoreline of the Inlet have gone, replaced by the condos and rental towers of Coal Harbour, although the initial buildings of the Bayshore Inn (now the Westin Hotel) had been opened on the waterfront in 1961 (seen here in a 1960s postcard).

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Air P108.2 and Trish Jewison’s twitter account.


Posted 21 February 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered

Burrard Inlet waterfront from above

This 1965 aerial lines up really well with Trish Jewison’s shot posted six months ago and taken from the Global BC traffic helicopter. There were very few landmarks available to match the pictures. Way up at the top right, behind the Citygate towers lined up across the end of False Creek, Pacific Central Station (the Canadian Northern station) still runs a few trains across Canada and into the US. Next to it, today, the new St Paul’s Hospital is under construction. In 1965 there were still tracks from the Great Northern Railway; the station was demolished very soon before this picture was taken, (to avoid taxes).

The tracks that now terminate behind the CP Station at Waterfront used to run westwards (towards the bottom of the picture) through Coal Harbour. The Marine Building sat on the top of a cliff overlooking the tracks (that had been laid along the beach). The area where the train tracks were is now a row of expensive condo towers, marking the edge of the Central Business District to the south. Remarkably, in 1965 the northern end of the Central Business District was still dominated by The Marine Building. The first Bentall Centre tower broke ground in June 1965, and topped out exactly a year later. The site is already under construction in the picture. The second was completed in 1969, both now dwarfed by later and taller towers (with a fifth tower on the block under construction and a sixth recently proposed).

On the waterfront Canada Place was built on Canadian Pacific’s Piers B-C, originally constructed in 1915, with the buildings added in 1927. The Convention Centre occupies the space under the sails, and was expanded with the new addition with the huge green roof in 2009. It sits where Pier A once stood, with the Canada Immigration Building still standing beside it. The Pier was cleared away in 1968, and the Immigration Building was demolished in 1976 to create more space for the CPR trailer pier parking area.

The shoreline today is quite different from when the waterfront had industrial uses, and Harbour Green Park sits where there were a series of oil tanks. Bayshore Marina was already in existence, as was the Bayshore Hotel to the west, with the main wing opening as The Bayshore Inn in 1961, and the tower added in 1970. The hotel sold for redevelopment in 2015 for $290m.

Image sources City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1399-417 (copyright, Townley & Matheson fonds), and Trish Jewison, July 2021, Global BC traffic helicopter.


Posted 3 January 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Pacific Street east from Burrard (1)

It’s hard to believe there was so little along this stretch of Pacific Street in the 1980s. The picture is undated – it’s listed as being taken some time between 1980 and 1997. We can fix that because of the Kilborn Building, the red brick office complex on the north side of Pacific. In the image it’s just completing construction, so this is most likely to be 1982. Waisman Dewar Grout Architects designed the 7 storey office building, clad in the City Planner of the day’s favoured brick veneer.

There had been houses along Pacific on both sides of the block headed east since the 1890s. The houses on the south side of this block were cleared away for the construction of the Burrard Bridge, while on this side there had been just one house, fronting Burrard Street and beyond the lane were four single storey cottages. They predated the turn of the century, and their early residents held responsible positions. There was Thomas Sharp in No. 1, manager of the Globe Sign Works. Fred Cope was at No. 2, a contractor later involved with a large electrical wholesaling company that bore the family name. At No. 3 was Mr. Eaton, who worked for the CPR, and at No. 4 H J Saunders, the bookkeeper for Robertson & Hackett’s sawmill, who shared his address with Mrs. Elizabeth Peat, a ladies nurse. Jacob Hoffmeister, an electrician and business partner with his brother Reinhart lived in 1386 Burrard, the first house past Pacific up the hill, which he built for $2,000 in 1905. The lane between his house and the cottages was built over when the Kilborn Building was developed.

Beyond Hornby there was, and is, a small house. It used to be just off Pacific, on Hornby, and for decades was home to Il Giardino, Umberto Menghi’s legendary Italian restaurant. He sold up in 2013, and developer Grosvenor proposed a condo tower with zig-zag balconies, designed in Montreal. The Leslie House, the 1888 house last used as the restaurant was lifted, shifted, and now sits on Pacific on new foundations just beyond the tower. The developers also offered to build an 8-storey arts building (production space, not residential) on the lot to the east. It has a black-and-white staggered facade, just visible under the traffic light.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 772-273


Posted 27 December 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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157 Water Street

This seven storey warehouse has been redeveloped recently with its more modest next door neighbour. The facade is all that was retained, so today it’s part of a contemporary concrete framed building that shouldn’t suffer damage in the event of an earthquake.

The window frames on the top two floors have been replaced to match the remainder of the building, which was initially intended to have three storeys. We don’t know who designed the building, but Edward Cook was the contractor for the development, which was for the BC Plate Glass & Importing Company; he submitted the permit in 1905, and additions in 1906. The Province reported that he “intended to be 3-storeys, however, he rented the add’l floors as rapidly as they could be planned“. Edward was a prolific contractor with over 40 buildings constructed by 1891. He had arrived in spring 1886, and built a small house for his family to move into, but it burned down in the fire a few days later, and their first home was a tent. Edward developed a few projects for himself, but here we assume he might have been the contractor (and possible the designer) of the building.

The glass business was run by Arthur Bogardus, Charles Wickens and Frank Begg. Bogardus and Wickens had a retail and glazing business, and Frank Begg joined them in the early 1900s. They moved into a Yaletown warehouse a few years after this. They were still based here in 1910, sharing the building with the Otis-Fensom Elevator Co. Both businesses had moved to new Yaletown buildings by 1913, when Burke & Wood Ltd, a freight transfer company, Alcock & Downing, importers, the Carey Safe Co (warehouse) and R Madden & Son, wholesale produce occupied the building. In 1920 A P Slade’s produce warehouse took over the entire building, which they continued to occupy for many years.

By 1950 Eaton’s, the department store, had taken over the space. As Gastown was converted to a destination retail location this became home on the lower floors to the Games Company, who were here in this 1985 image. There was a 1995 proposal to convert the upper floors to residential use, but that never happened. The recent redevelopment initially proposed to rebuild the facade as 6 storeys, re-using the existing bricks but creating greater floor to ceiling height. That idea was dropped, and all seven floors were recreated in a concrete frame behind the facade. The building (including the adjacent Harper Warehouse) was fully leased to Microsoft while still under construction. A French-Japanese music and fashion label store and their associated Café Kitsuné will occupy the retail spaces.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2089


Posted 25 November 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Gastown

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151 Water Street

We have waited to look at the history of this early Water Street warehouse until completion of the new office building that has been built behind, and above, the restored facade. Initially three additional floors were proposed to be added in a complementary ‘heritage’ style, but the plans were changed to add greater height in a contemporary style, set back to retain the heritage element’s integrity.

This was a 1912 warehouse developed by J M Harper and designed by A J Bird. Seen here in 1985, it had already transitioned to retail use, but it started life as a produce warehouse, built by Willis and Fisher for $16,000. Mr. Harper was an absentee developer, living in Kamloops where he was a partner in a wholesaling and retailing business supplying miners. He partnered with A S McArthur, both in the dry goods business and in property development in Vancouver, including a building at Hastings and Main.

J M Harper was often referred to in the press as Major Harper (having raised a mounted military unit in 1908), and he had extensive business interests. He was also an independent voice in the community. When Kamloops Board of Trade petitioned for the local Kamloops Band reserve to be reduced in size in 1913, Major Harper was one of few voices in opposition, “J.M. Harper merely pointed out that the Indians had never been treated fairly by whites and in any event Kamloops had a lot of room to branch out in without bothering the Indians.”

In the 1911 census James M Harper was aged 51, living on ‘income’, with his wife Elizabeth who was 48 and five children aged between 8 and 20. Both parents were shown born in Scotland, and we can track the family’s movements before settling in Kamloops; their oldest daughter, ‘Ena’, was born in Alberta in 1891 and Norman, their 18-year-old son in Manitoba. The other sons and daughter were born in BC. (Ena was Georgena in the 1901 census, born in the Northwest Territories, and Elizabeth was shown born in Ontario. In 1891 the family were living in Lethbridge, when Alberta was still part of the North-West Territories). From their son’s 1920 wedding in Vancouver, we can find his father was James Milne Harper, and his mother Elizabeth Paterson. James was born in Banffshire in 1859, one of 10 children.

Tragically, their son, Norman Stuart Harper, was killed on active service in the First World War. A postcard, written to his mother, showed up in a Washington state antique store. It revealed that he was in hospital in London in May 1918, having been injured landing his bi-plane. Less than two months later he was shot down and killed while on a bombing mission over Germany. He was buried by the Germans with full military honours, but his family only managed to trace his death in 1920. The 1921 census shows James and Elizabeth still in Kamloops, with three children still at home and Georgina Paterson, Elizabeth’s sister living with them. J M Harper died in Vancouver in 1937, already widowed.

The newly completed building attracted multiple tenants; Olmstead Budd Co Ltd wholesale fruit suppliers, Swartz Bros wholesale fruits, California Fruit Growers Exchange, Pacific Fruit & Produce Co and A Francis Tourville, produce broker. In 1920 The Foottit Co., Ltd became the tenants here, produce dealers headed by Harold and Ernest Foottit. A year earlier they were both working for F R Stewart and Co, a rival produce business whose premises were a few doors to the west. Harold was 39, and had arrived in BC in 1906. His wife Edith Longfellow arrived from England a year later, (they had married in 1905), and their son, (Harold) Raymond was born in 1914. Ernest was two years younger, and like his brother came from Hull. Ernest married Beatrice Thorley, who was also from Hull, in 1908, Harold Foottit was living in Vancouver when he died in 1968. Ernest died in 1971, in Seattle, where he was Superintendent of the Home Savings Building for many years, and was buried in Burnaby.

Their business didn’t prosper, and by 1923 W R Cook and Co had moved in here. Both Foottit brothers returned to working for F R Stewart. By 1930 the Independent Fruit Co had moved in, and a decade later the building was occupied by Slade and Stewart who were also in the adjacent building. Later Robison Cotton Mills used the warehouse, and as the area became more of a tourist destination in the 1960s an antique and contemporary art dealer took over the space. In recent years it became known as a destination for buying first nations art and artefacts, in Frances Hill’s store. Recently redeveloped, a flagship clothing store are fitting out the retail units while Microsoft have occupied the offices on the upper floors.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2090


Posted 18 November 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Gastown

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Kitsilano and Downtown from above

This 1968 Vancouver Archives image lines up pretty well with Trish Jewison’s June 2021 helicopter view. By 1968 quite a few towers had been built in the West End, especially closer to English Bay, but there are many more today. In 1971, the census after the ‘before’ image was taken, there were 37,000 residents in the West End, 2,000 of them aged 14 or under. In 2016 that had risen to 47,000, and there were still 2,000 aged under 15. In the foreground Kitsilano has added 9,000 over those 45 years, going from 34,000 in 1971 to 43,000 in 2016. The number of children has also hardly changed; falling slightly from 4,500 in 1971 to 4,300.

The greatest density change, and population rise is in Downtown, running east from Burrard (which can be see cutting north from the Burrard Bridge in 1968). The BC Electric headquarters of the day can be seen on Nelson Street at Burrard; in 1968 it was an office building with old houses nearby. in 1971 Downtown only had 6,500 residents, and only 175 of them aged under 15. In 2016 that had risen to 62,000 residents, 4,000 of them aged 0-14. The renamed ‘Electra’ is now a mostly residential condo building.

Vanier Park, the green area behind the Museum of Vancouver (with its Haida hat roof) looks a bit bigger today. That’s because it is (although the slightly different angles and elevations of the two images may exaggerate the difference a little). In an era before DFO permits, and concerns for riparian habitat, Park Board supervisor William Livingstone accepted the fill from the excavation for the Macmillan Bloedel tower that was being built Downtown in 1968, and had it bulldozed into False Creek to create a larger park.

Then, as now, the biggest building in the Kits Point neighbourhood was developer (and mayor in 1968) Tom Campbell’s ‘Parkview Towers’, designed by Peter Kaffka and completed in 1961. That’s likely to change a lot soon, as the Squamish nation are planning on developing Sen̓áḵw, an 11-tower, predominantly rental project with 6,000 units on the relatively newly-confirmed Indian Reserve. Concord Pacific have acquired the former Molson brewery across the street, and are no doubt ho[ping to build a lot more than a replacement industrial development.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 215-31 and Trish Jewison, Global BC traffic helicopter.


Posted 11 November 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered