Archive for the ‘Altered’ Category

Capitol Theatre – Granville Street (2)

We saw an earlier version of the Capitol on Granville Street in a post we wrote several years ago. Here it is in a different iteration with a later façade, with the Capitol Theatre still pulling in the patrons. They were watching ‘Wait until Dark’ starring Audrey Hepburn as a young blind woman, Alan Arkin as a violent criminal searching for some drugs, and Richard Crenna as another criminal, based on a play first performed a year earlier on Broadway (in 1966).

We’re not sure what ‘Prince Eugene’ sold, in the somewhat rundown 1940s looking building next door, with Basic Fashions as its neighbour, and we don’t know the name of the business to the south, although it looks to have been another clothing store. To the south of those was a building still standing today (and recently looking even better with new less prominent retail canopies). This is the Commodore Ballroom, originally developed by George Reifel and designed by architect H H Gillingham, opening in 1929. In the basement was, and still is, the Commodore Bowling Lanes. There were always retail stores underneath the ballroom facing Granville, and they have changed on a regular basis. In 1967 we can see Canada’s largest shoe retailers, Agnew-Surpass, a business that finally closed in 2000 (although gone from here earlier). The Meyers Studios were next door, a photo studio specializing in portraits, while Dean’s Roast Chix, under the red awning, was presumably a restaurant.

The Capitol was closed and redeveloped in 2006, and the link across the lane removed. A new series of double-height retail units were developed to replace the theatre entrance and adjacent buildings, designed by Studio One Architects.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-50

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Posted December 3, 2018 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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West Georgia and Homer Streets looking south

We’ve noted in other posts how parts of Downtown in the early 1980s were like the early clear-felled forest – except used as parking lots. The earlier buildings in this part of Downtown had been cleared away, but the replacement buildings took many years, and in some cases decades, to appear. There wasn’t a lot more development on the other side of the street, either.

Amazingly, we haven’t seen a view of this block, where the new central; branch of the city’s Library was completed in 1995. Architect Moshe Safdie has always denied any intentional reference to Rome’s Colosseum, and the design was the public’s preferred winner after a 1990 design competition. At the time the City’s biggest investment, the federal government supported the project by leasing an office tower and the upper floors of the internal library ‘box’. The top floors have just been returned to the City, and repurposed as stunning new rooftop gardens and meeting rooms.

Image source, City of Vancouver Archives CVA 772-829

Posted October 11, 2018 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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Robson Street – 400 block, north side

We looked at the block to the east of here in the previous post. This block in 1981 was as empty as the 300 block. The 1970s saw a lot of clearance Downtown, but redevelopment took longer, and there was a sea of surface parking for many years.

Today there’s a strata hotel (rooms are owned by different owners as investments) and a residential tower with two floors of retail, including a supermarket.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E09.27

Posted October 8, 2018 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

West Georgia Street west from The Bay

Here’s a bonus Hotel Vancouver shot – one built from 1912 to 1916, on the left, which cost the best part of three million dollars to build, designed by Painter and Swales, and the one still standing today, started in 1928 and designed by Montreal-based architects Archibald and Schofield, but not completed until 1939.

The newly installed canopy on the Hudson’s Bay building entrance isn’t an exact replica of the original, but it’s a vast improvement on the heavy steel canopies that were added later than this 1931 image shows. The third Hotel Vancouver was at this point just a shell – it was sealed up to ensure water didn’t get in, but no interior work was carried out as the depression in the economy dragged on during the 1930s. It was only the prospect of a Royal Visit by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to the city that finally prompted the completion of the new hotel. It was opened during the royal visit in 1939 having cost $12 million.

Once the third hotel was opened, the second was decommissioned, but was used to house returning war veterans during the late 1940s. It was torn down in 1949; a sad fate for an impressive structure. The site sat vacant as a parking lot for many years, until construction of the Pacific Centre Mall started in the early 1970s. This part of the site is home to the TD Tower, designed by Ceasar Pelli & Associates in bronze tinted glass, reflecting Cathedral Place and the Royal Centre across the street

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 260-226

Posted May 24, 2018 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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Richards and Davie Street – se corner

Here’s the north end of the 1200 block of Richards Street, which today houses the Choices supermarket – one of the earliest food stores to open in the old Downtown South commercial neighbourhood as it started its transition to high rise residential. It started life as a laundry, which was still its use in our 1981 image when it was being operated by Canadian Linen Supply. In 1929, when it was built, it was operated by Canadian Linen Co; the same company still operating over 50 years later.

The architects were Townley and Matheson, who applied their art deco styling to the industrial premises, adopted avery effectively by Stuart Howard Architects in the design of the Metropolis Tower completed on the adjacent site in 1998. The laundry building was converted to retail use as part of the same project, with a density bonus covering the cost of retaining a single storey heritage structure.

This 1934 image shows that very few changes had taken place over the life of the building up to 1981, when it looked very similar, and the scale of the surrounding area matched. These days there’s a park across the street, and a series of residential towers have replaced almost all the older commercial structures.

Image sources; City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E08.15 and CVA 99-4653

Posted April 23, 2018 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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Robinson Block – 46 Water Street

Here’s 44-46 Water Street; one of the few Water Street buildings we haven’t covered to date. The Terminus Hotel is to the east, and the Kane Block to the west. It’s known as the Robinson Block, although though there wasn’t anybody called Robinson in the city in 1889, when it was supposedly first completed, who might have developed it. It looks very similar to the Town & Robinson block built around the same time on Carrall Street, designed by C O Wickenden, so he may well have designed this, but it also looks like W T Whiteway’s Ferguson Block, so we can’t be sure.

There’s a report in the Daily World from 1890 of a visit by Mr. I Robinson, an ‘English capitalist’ from London, who had made real estate investments in the city; he seems to be the most likely candidate to have developed the building. He also owned the Stewart House hotel on Water Street, and Town and Robinson, as well as the Carrall St building also developed the Metropole Hotel, where they hired N S Hoffar as architect – Henry Town was another English investor. The Yorkshire Trust had a client with Vancouver real estate investments called Isaac Robinson, so he seems likely to have been the developer. The Daily World tells us he was also a director of the Vancouver City Land Company.

The building was only about 40 feet deep when initially built, and an addition was constructed at the back around 1905. In 1901 a repair permit was issued to ‘Sherdahl’ as the owner, presumably Sven Sherdahl who owned the Dominion Hotel along the street. (That seems to have been around the time that some of Isaac Robinson’s estate was being sold). Numbering on Water Street changed over time, but we’re assuming that the Terminus Hotel was always next door, so we’re looking at the occupants of the building to the west of that. In 1890 the site was shown as vacant, and in 1891 A J Struthers, a commission agent was here (numbered as 36), with the Salvation Army at 38. In 1892 the building was numbered as 42, with both the Salvation Army barracks and T W Clark and Co based here. They were wholesale produce and commission merchants, run by Joseph Coupland who had been running a general store on Seymour Street a year earlier. (Joseph would be elected an alderman in 1895, and was nicknamed by the local press ‘me too Coupland’ for his consistent support for mayor Henry Collins). R S Graham, abook-keeper and teamster Birron Dunamaker were also here. Two years later Charles Rengel and F R Stewart, a wholesale commission merchant were here, and in 1895 the store was again vacant. In 1896 the new tenant was Z Franks, whose business would be here for many years.

Zebulon Franks had been born in the Ukraine the son of a rabbi, but his entire family were killed in 1881 in a pogrom that wiped out a third of the jewish population in his home town, and he escaped to Paris and then sailed for New York. He intended to make for California, but by the summer of 1882 was working in Winnipeg for the Canadian Pacific Railway, which was then being built. He married Esther Blonde in Winnipeg in 1883. Like him, she’d fled Ukraine. Pessie (or Bella) and Sarah (later called Sadie) in Manitoba. Zebulon and Esther arrived in Vancouver 1887 and a third daughter, Rosie, was born in 1888, then Abraham in 1890, Myer in 1894 and Leah in 1895. Esther died soon after Leah’s birth, and Zebulon was left with six children and a business to run. He married Yetta Halperin (born in Palestine in 1877) in 1898, and had six more children in the next ten years, Solomon (known as Sam), David, Robert (sometimes listed as Israel), Miriam, Monte and Annabelle.

Initially Zebulon opened a grocery store on Carrall Street that imported kosher meat from Seattle. On Water Street he ran a hardware and second-hand store that sold stoves, guns, and logging, fishing and trapping supplies, and which served as the first house of prayer for the nascent Orthodox Jewish community.

We know what the store looked like inside from this image from 1902: Zebulon is on the left; his daughter Sarah is beside him. The other gentlemen were identified as Mr. Beecroft, and Joseph Blonde

In 1910 the store moved from here to 101 Cordova, and in 1921 the listing switched from Z Franks to Y Franks, as Yetta apparently took over running the company.

Zebulon died in 1926; all 12 children were still alive, and scattered throughout North America: the obituary notice said “The deceased is survived by six daughters, Mrs A C Fleishman, Seattle, Mrs I Jacobs, Tacoma, Mrs Leah Horowitz, California, Miss Annabelle Franks and Mrs R. Meyers of this city.  Six sons, Abraham, Tacoma, Dr Bob Franks, Alaska and Myer, Sam, David and Monty of Vancouver.”

In 1927, following Zebulon’s death, she was still running the business. Several of Zebulon’s children including Annabelle, Myer and Samuel were working for D Franks & Co, a sacks and barrels business run by son David in Yaletown on Hamilton Street. In 1931 Annabelle was running D Franks, and David had taken over at Mrs Y Franks business on Cordova. Myer was secretary-treasurer of Iron & Metals, and had moved to Shaughnessey. A year later Y Franks and Co moved to Seymour Street, taking over the premises previously occupied by rival stove dealer William Ralph. (They closed in and V A Wardle and Co briefly occupied the building). The company continued to operate from there for decades, adding other locations, and remaining in business today on the north shore. Yetta Franks died in Los Angeles in 1963.

In the 1960s the building was given a ‘renovation’ that obscured the original appearance of the front facade, including stucco applied over the stonework, and replacement of the front facade brickwork and the original windows, seen in this picture from around 1979. Fortunately, in 2006 the building was once again renovated, but this time Busby, Perkins + Will restored the original appearance of the Victorian Italianate design. There’s a store in front, one residential unit above, and a restaurant fronting onto Blood Alley Square behind. Surplus density (for not tearing down and replacing the structure) was transferred to other development sites elsewhere in the city.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 810-134 and CVA Bu P675

 

Posted December 28, 2017 by ChangingCity in Altered, Gastown

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Burrard Street – 700 block, west side

In 1974 this Burrard Street location was yet another surface parking lot. It had been used for commercial parking for over 20 years, and Tilden’s car rental operation was here all that time. In the 1950s Stanley Park Cabs were also based on the same lot. Ten years earlier the cab company was Terminal City cabs, and the Central Burrard Service station sold gas and oil. The Palomar Supper Club was located to the north, off the picture to the right. In 1935 the gas bar was known as the Glencoe Service Station, with the Canadian National Garage sharing the lot. A decade earlier two battery companies were located here; the Battery House and the Willard Storage Battery Co. The building they occupied had been built in 1921, replacing two earlier houses. In 1925 there were two houses on the northern half of the lot. All four houses had first been built before the early 1900s

Today there’s a 1993 building with floor floors of commercial uses designed by Musson Cattell Mackey. The Irwinton Apartments are still standing to the south, and the reclad Burrard Building to the north.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-24

Posted December 27, 2017 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown