Archive for the ‘Altered’ Category

Robson and Howe, looking west

We’ve had to wait to post this view of the 800 block of Robson for the completion of the new plaza, replacing a temporary closure that was tested over the past couple of years. Now paved with stone to match the Art Gallery plaza to the north, (although without the busy pattern), it’s reopened just in time for the summer.

The ‘before’ shot is dated to somewhere between 1980 and 1997, but we can pin that down better. The frame of the building under construction is 800 Burrard, designed by Eng and Wright Partners and completed in 1983. That would suggest this was taken around 1981.

In front of the office tower is Mayfair House, from 1980, and the two mid-rise buildings to to south are the Wedgewood Hotel from 1964, designed by Peter Kaffka, and Chancery Place, completed in 1984. On the right is 777 Hornby, designed by Frank Roy and completed in 1969. We’ve seen it in an earlier post looking north on Hornby, on the far side of the plaza. He’s a relatively obscure architect, and we assume based in a different province, as Thompson Berwick Pratt and Partners were supervising architects. He got his architectural training at the University of Manitoba, and his degree in 1950. The Archives have a 1967 brochure for the building, which is the only way we know the designer.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 772-929

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Posted 6 May 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

East Hastings Street – 300 block, south side

 

There has been one building replaced since our 1978 image was taken. On the far left is an SRO Hotel, the Hazelwood Hotel. It was built in 1911, and designed by Thomas Hooper for Sanford Snider and Mr. Hooper himself. It was bought by B C Housing and comprehensively restored six years ago.

Next door was a house, built before 1900, (and so too early to trace the builder easily) that was replaced by the Dragon Cove rental apartments (with just six apartments) in 1982. The two storey building to the west was rebuilt in 1978, and has just two apartments – originally there had been a house here built by W J Beam in 1901. The three-storey Jordan Rooms to the west were built in 1909. S Goranson owned the store and paid for alterations in 1911, but George A Dobson apparently owned it, and paid for a brick addition costing $1,200 that year, and more in 1922. There is a George A Dobson who was a carpenter in 1911 and a millhand in 1921. G A Dobson had a $3,700 development approved on East Hastings in 1908, during a period when the details of projects have been lost, but that’s likely to be when he built this.

In 1911 George was living with his parents, Francis and Esther, who were both from Scotland. They had two other sons, and a daughter living with them, as well as a granddaughter, Jean, who was 4. Frank was retired, and George wasn’t just a millhand – he was the mill supervisor, and he had obtained permits to alter their home on East Pender. He was living with his parents and siblings ten years earlier when Frank was an engineer, and George was working at BC Sugar as a carpenter. George Allan Dobson married Maud Keane in Huron, Ontario in 1904, but she died in September 1908, aged 30 and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery with a substantial granite marker inscribed ‘Maud Annie Keane, beloved wife of George A Dobson’. The family lived nearby on East Pender, and the Daily World reported in October “We are favored with Instructions from Mr. G. A. Dobson to sell the contents of his home, including 2-piece parlor suite, covered In silk, center tables, reception chairs, oak extension table, set of dining chairs in oak, leather seats; sideboard, Singer sewing machine, etc. ; four bedrooms, all completely furnished; kitchen utensils, garden tools, eta Goods on view morning of sale.”

George’s brother Alvin was 34 when he died in 1918 in Vancouver, and his sister Maggie died in 1955. George was 73 when he died in 1941. He was buried with his late wife, and the inscription “DADDY” Margaret Jean Keane, born in 1907, was single, and aged 76 when she died in Vancouver in 1984.

In 1911 the newly completed Lincoln Rooms were on the upper floors, run by Mrs. F Ryall, while Swan Goranson’s grocery was on the main floor. He was still there in 1919, but upstairs was now the Burnaby Rooms. By 1922 they had become the Dundee Rooms. Swan Goranson, who had arrived in Vancouver in 1888, and opened his first grocery store on East Hastings ten years later. He married, and had twin sons and then a daughter, born in 1913, There were many Scandinavians in the area; Swan’s children spoke only Swedish until they started at Seymour School. Later the family moved to Kerrisdale, and in 1924 Swan gave up the store and ran one in Ioco in Port Moody, with a tobacconist opening here. Upstairs by 1930 the name had changed again to the Jordan Rooms, and that name has stuck. There are just four rental units, two on each floor.

To the west is the First United Church, completed in 1964 and designed by James Earl Dudley, and soon to be redeveloped, but originally the location of the the East End Presbyterian Church.

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Posted 19 April 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, East End

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1145 Robson Street

There aren’t many large office buildings on Robson Street, but this one has been around over 70 years. It received a makeover in 1986, when it got a post-modern appearance designed by Downs Archambault, and a new name as John Robson Place. Our 1974 picture shows it as it was completed in 1948, when it became the Unemployment Insurance Commission offices. Over the years other government departments were also located here, including Indian and Northern Affairs. 

The Vancouver Sun announced the project in 1948. “SIX-STOREY BUILDING FOR ROBSON STREET Preliminary work has begun on a six-storey, $375,000 office building for Alvin Estates Limited at 1145-1155 Robson, between Bute and Thurlow. The building is reported to be for occupancy of a government agency. Contractors are Allan and Viner Construction Company. Swinburne A. Kayll is architect and F. Wavell Urry is consulting engineer. Plans show a six-storey reinforced concrete building with 99 feet frontage and 131 feet depth. Entrances are to be finished in marble and glass block. Provision is made for two passenger elevators.” The picture shows that they actually built seven floors.

These days the space is occupied by a number of businesses; software developers, accountants, a mining company, a travel agency and management agencies and now has retail units at street level

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-332 – 1100

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Posted 12 April 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, West End

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The West End from above

This is another pairing of an Archives image with Trish Jewison’s helicopter shots. She’s the Global BC traffic reporter. The before shot is from 1969, and shows just how many new towers had been completed in the previous decade in the part of the West End where Denman meets Davie. The after is from Trish’s twitter feed in May 2020.

On the left, on Beach Avenue, the Sylvia Hotel had already been standing for over 50 years, but further east its big slab neighbour had only been standing for 10 years. The skinny, wide Ocean Towers was designed by Rix Reineke. Together with Peter Kaffka’s Imperial Tower (the tallest tower in the picture, just right of centre) they changed the design of the city. Both were fine examples of modernist architecture, but the design of Ocean Towers, completed in 1959, created opposition because of the way it blocked light and views behind it, and Imperial Tower in 1962, almost 120 feet wide and 30 storeys high increased concerns. New zoning rules introduced as a result required towers to avoid being slabs, and spaced apart, and those rules still apply, and can be seen across most of Metro Vancouver.

There are three new towers on the same block of Davie just above Imperial Tower in the picture, and a fourth (with blue balconies) across the street. They’re all spaced out at a minimum of 80 feet apart, and have squarer floorplans, similar to CBK Van Norman’s design for Beach Towers from 1965 on the lower right of the picture. Those four towers are all on lots that previously held retail or parking uses, so the extra 585 rental apartments haven’t displaced any existing residents. Even the Safeway Store was rebuilt, and it’s a much nicer store too.

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Posted 5 April 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered

Downtown South and Yaletown from above

The image today wasn’t taken at quite the right altitude, so we’ve lined up the buildings along Burrard Inlet and haven’t tried to stretch (and so distort) the image to get the lower part of the picture perfectly aligned. In every other aspect, it’s a great match between 1982 and May 2020.

This is the part of Downtown Vancouver that has seen the greatest change. While Granville Street has been zoned (up to now) to restrict building heights, to allow the sidewalks to stay naturally lit and brighter, almost everything to the east in Downtown South has been allowed to go higher – although there are viewcones that cross the area restricting the height (and therefore density) of some buildings. There are also guidelines to limit shadowing of parks – which now exist, although from this distance they’re hidden by a sea of mostly residential towers. Yaletown – the original three street warehouse district of 1900s buildings also has height limits, and can be seen on the right.

Apparently on the waterfront, although actually a couple of blocks back, on West Hastings, the Lookout and revolving restaurant on the Harbour Centre stood out in 1982. It’s currently getting three close neighbours, with new office towers being developed a block to the west, and another controversially contemporary designed tower may be developed beyond it, much closer to Burrard Inlet. In the Central Business District we’ve reached the point where older offices up to 15 storeys high, and completed as recently as 1982, are now being replaced with new office towers at least twice as tall, with much higher standards of energy efficiency.

Image source: Trish Jewison in the Global BC helicopter, on her twitter account 5 May 2020.

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Posted 15 February 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Lost Gas Stations in Downtown Vancouver

We’ve seen a lot of Downtown and west End locations where there used to be gas stations – we think there were at least 99 of them in the past where they’ve now disappeared. Today there’s just one left – for now. On the corner of Davie and Burrard, the last remaining Esso station has been bought by a property developer. A block away there was a Shell station, developed in 1951, and seen in this image from the same year in the Vancouver Public Library photo collection. The garage structure is still there, with additional elements added as restaurants. The gas station had closed by the early 1980s, and became a Mr. Submarine store for a while.

Further south, at Seymour and Pacific, Imperial Oil had a gas station, seen here when it first opened in 1925. Townley and Matheson designed the structure, which was built by Purdy & Rodger at a cost of $6,900. The gas bar was replaced with part of the Seymour off-ramp of the Granville Bridge, completed in 1954. If the number of service stations seems low today, that wasn’t the case in the 1920s. This was 601 Pacific, and Imperial Oil had another Townley and Matheson designed gas bar at 740 Pacific, and Union Oil had another on the same block. By 1930 this gas station no longer existed.

In the background is the Bayview Hotel, later renamed The Continental, and in its later years operated by the City of Vancouver as an SRO hotel until it was demolished in 2015. In its early years the hotel was an expensive investment for Kilroy and Morgan, who spent $100,000 to build the hotel designed by Parr and Fee in 1911.

Finally (for the time being), there was a larger gas station on Robson Street, operated here in 1974 by Texaco. In 1985 it was redeveloped with a 2-storey retail building that includes a London Drugs store, and smaller retail units on Bute Street. Initially there were houses built here, but the motoring use of the site was over decades – in the 1930s Webber-MacDonald Garage was here, repairing and selling pre-owned automobiles, which became the Robson Garage a few years later. The corner however had a different building; the Bute Street Private hospital was here for decades. It became a rooming house, but was still here when Hemrich Brothers (who ran a garage on Howe, and then Dunsmuir Street for many years) were running the Robson Street garage in the later 1950s. The big new Texaco canopy, facilities  and forecourt replaced the buildings on the street until the 1980s redevelopment put buildings back along Robson.

Image sources: VPL, City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1399-530 and CVA 778-333

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Posted 8 February 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown, Gone, West End

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1259 Granville Street

This is the Vancouver Motor Supply Co seen 101 years ago in this 1919 Stuart Thomson picture. It was underneath a building which featured white glazed bricks and centre-pivoted windows, a trademark of Parr and Fee, who designed at least seven hotels in a few blocks of Granville Street all built to a similar design over two or three years. This one was built by Peter Tardiff, (sometimes Tardif), in 1911 at a cost of $60,000 was developed by W A Clark. He was a real estate broker from Ontario, and was one of two William Clark’s involved in real estate in the city, which must have been confusing at times. In 1911 he lived with his wife, May, their five daughters, and a servant, Tanda Ishira, who was from Japan. When it first opened this was the Newport Rooms, then the Newport Hotel, a name it retained for many years.

The retail space saw constant change many years, some of which we’ve researched. When the picture was taken in 1919 Vancouver Motor Supply Co the business had just been taken over by H J Arthur. The Daily World said he was “formerly of the Arthur and Hand Tire company. Mr. Arthur has a host of friends among the motorists of Vancouver, and his new enterprise should prove most valuable to all. He Is getting settled gradually and arranging the new stock, and announces that he is in a position to render the service that should be given to the public by a real up – to – date accessory house. A line of tires will be contracted for in the near future, making equipment for the motorists most complete. With one of the best years that the local trade has ever known In prospect, it is certain that Mr. Arthur will meet with the best of success in his new enterprise.” The business obviously didn’t take off. Herbert J Arthur became a wood dealer, and in 1921 was a salesman, living at Boundary Bay. In 1920 the store was vacant, and in 1921 it was the home of the IXL Cafe, run by John W Smithson and Chas Glazie. The store was split in two a year later, with Nick Kokinas selling confectionery next to the Bailey Cafe. By 1925 it had returned to motordom duty as the Consumers Tire Supply Co, run by E James and R J Beck, and by 1930 a more familiar name, the Vancouver home of Maytag. In 1940 Wosk’s sold stoves here, and in 1950 G W Ross, an Auctioneer had his sale room here. Five years later Mrs. R Macdonald had a used book store, and there was a furniture store in the other half of the building.

More recently it became the Granville Hotel, although it operated as a single-room occupancy rental property, with shared bathrooms. Acquired by the City Of Vancouver in 2003 for $2.8m, it’s still run as an SRO Hotel, the Granville Residence. The city spent over $4m to repair the building, including rebuilding the façade which was in a pretty poor state in the early 2000s. The room count reduced from 100 to 83, and each room is now self-contained with bathrooms, a small cooking area and average 160 sq. ft. in area. It leases to as low-rent housing for people age 45 and over, and for people age 35 and over with disabilities who may be working or on income assistance.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-701

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Posted 25 January 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Granville Street looking north from above

We’re pretty certain our before image was shot soon after Expo 86 was over, but before anything had been developed on the land acquired by Concord Pacific from the Provincial government. Our after shot was taken earlier this year, and is a very close match, although the helicopter’s elevation was slightly different to the 1980s shot, so the perspective is very slightly different.

To the west of Granville Bridge the Admiralty condos were completed in 1986, and further west Seawalk South in 1987, so that’s probably the accurate date, as the 1988 Granville House, next to the bridge, hasn’t started construction. The biggest building up Granville street is the Chateau Granville Hotel, (from 1977, built at a 45 degree angle to the street), and further north the Vancouver Centre with the Scotia Tower was completed a year earlier. The lone dark tower on the eastern edge of Downtown is 401 W Georgia completed in 1984. Next door is the Post Office, now getting two office towers added to the renovated heritage shell.

Today the Harbour Centre, with the rooftop viewing platform, still has a waterfront view, but the Marine Building is now almost lost in a sea of office and hotel towers. The cluster of early 1900s warehouses built on CPR land and known as Yaletown is still standing, with a few buildings having added a couple of floors, but the surrounding residential district has been given the same name and has seen dozens of residential condo and rental tower. The image captures almost all of the Downtown Local area. (Everything to the west of Burrard and south of W Georgia is the West End). In 1986 there were just 5,910 people living here; in the last census, in 2016, there were over 62,000 people, and there will be several thousand more likely to have been added in the recently completed towers, including the surprisingly colourful Charleson on Richards and Vancouver House next to Granville Bridge.

Image source: Trish Jewison in the Global BC traffic helicopter, published on twitter on 25 July 2020

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Posted 31 December 2020 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

East Hastings Street – west from Columbia

We saw a 1905 image down the middle of this stretch of East Hastings in an earlier post. Until the mid 1900s there was very little built on the south side of the street. Here we are looking at a similar view a few years later, showing the south side. The Holden Building is the large office building – a tower in its day – completed in 1911. Next door is the significantly smaller Desrosiers Block, which was one of the few buildings in the earlier post as it was built before 1901. At the end is the Woods Hotel, today known as the Pennsylvania. It was built in 1906 and designed by W T Whiteway who also designed the Holden for William Holden. The Desrosiers Block was developed by Magloire Desrosiers, a tinsmith, who would have designed the elaborate decoration on the building (which recently received a much-needed restoration of its facade), but the architect is unknown.

Closer to us there’s a vacant site next to the Holden. That was developed at the end of 1911 by Con Jones as a billiard hall, with retail below, designed by H A Hodgson. The image therefore must date from the early part of 1911, when the Holden was complete, but before the vacant spot was developed. The lower floor of the building later became famous as The Only Seafoods restaurant.

The 2-storey building to the east was built after 1903, (when the insurance map shows the site as vacant) and before 1911, when it had been developed. There’s a 1904 building permit for the building. It was developed by Yip, Yen C and designed and built by Mr. O’Keefe. Michael O’Keefe was a Victoria based builder, who was more than capable of designing straightforward brick buildings, and Charlie Yip Yen was the nephew of Yip Sang, who ran the Wing Sang Company. The 1920 insurance map still shows a 2-storey building with ‘rooms over’ and a Chinese laundry on the lane.

Next door, the single storey building (with a hoarding on the roof for William Dick’s clothing store) was developed in a similar timeframe, and in 1920 was another billiards hall. It was built in 1910, designed by Sharp & Thompson for Brown Bros & Co, who also constructed the $7,000 investment. They were florists and nurserymen, and they developed this as their city store. Their greenhouses were at Main and 21st Avenue. There were four Browns involved in the business, William, Edward (who was company treasurer), Alfred (who was a florist, and lived near the greenhouses) and Joseph, who lived in Hammond. Today the site once occupied by Yip Yen’s building and the single storey billiard hall were replaced twenty years ago with a non-market housing building called The Oasis, with 30 units designed by Linda Baker for the Provincial Rental Housing Corporation (known today as BC Housing).

Across Carrall Street the original car barn for the Interurban has been demolished, but the new building, still standing today, which included the headquarters for BC Electric on the upper floors had yet to be built. Designed by W M Somervell it was completed in 1911. As the Holden Building was completed in the same year, this confirms the picture should be from early in 1911 when the Holden was complete, and the new BC Electric Headquarters was under construction, but not yet visible.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA M-11-52

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Posted 3 December 2020 by ChangingCity in Altered

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Vancouver General Hospital

This 1900s postcard shows the original buildings of the Vancouver General Hospital. The City’s first hospital buildings were in Downtown, but the activity relocated to the southern edge of the city in 1906. (16th Avenue was the border with neighbouring South Vancouver). today it’s knows as the Heather Pavilion, but it was originally known as the Fairview Building. The two wings were added in 1908, and there was a further addition in the middle added in the early 1950s, and mostly removed a few years ago. The 1900s buildings were designed by Grant and Henderson in either the Romanesque revival style, or the Italianate Style, planned in accordance with the Beaux Art school of design (depending on which document you read).

In 2002 the structure seen in the postcard were awarded heritage protection as part of the VGH campus rezoning, and there are plans to restore the stonework to replicate the original appearance. Most of the exterior walls of the original structures remain intact despite the additions. When it opened the design was not considered to be anything special. The Vancouver Daily World said “The view from the hospital window and balconies is nothing short of magnificent overlooking as it does the whole of the city and harbor and the snow clad mountain beyond. It Is an outlook that cannot fail of having a cheering effect on the convalescing patient”. “As to the building itself, no claim may be laid to architectural beauty modern; utility was the great aim of the architects and to this beauty of lines was properly made subservient. But even in its unfinished state it is an imposing and majestic pile, solid and substantial and businesslike.”

Today there are much larger and more important hospital buildings on the campus, and the Heather Pavilion was constructed long before seismic codes became an important aspect of building design. The building has therefore been used as ancillary offices for many years, rather than as clinical facilities. The revised hospital precinct plan, in 2000, identified the possibility of upper floors being used for bio-tech research, but rehabilitation of the structure is still some way off in the future.

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Posted 23 November 2020 by ChangingCity in Altered, Broadway

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