Archive for the ‘Altered’ Category

Seymour and Dunsmuir Streets – looking south

We saw the building on the corner, 570 Dunsmuir, when it was developed in 1926 as a bus depot, and then turned into a bigger building in 1957. Here it is in its rebuilt form, some time in the 1980s (and seen below in 1974). There was a new bus station opened in 1947 further along Dunsmuir to the east, and BC Electric ended up owning the old terminal having bought out the bus company. They used it as offices, but moved to their new office building on Burrard, in spring 1957 and by December a larger building had been completed here by adding additional floors to the shell of the transit centre. A consulting, design and construction engineering company, The BC Engineering Company, moved in,

They were a wholly-owned subsidiary of BC Electric, and their new offices had a bright two-tone blue scheme designed by Townley and Matheson with C B K Van Norman. The company became International Power and Engineering Constultants (IPEC). By 1980 H A Simons, an engineering company specializing in designing mills occupied the space.

They had clearly moved out by 1993, when the Sun reported that “A man has been charged after police raided a vacant office building and found a loaded handgun, marijuana and a home-made lab used to make amphetamines. Vancouver police liaison officer Del Valerie Harrison said the arrest was made at 9 p.m. Monday at 570 Dunsmuir. Charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking is Erberto Ferretti, who was allegedly living in the seven-storey structure.

In 1997 the building was given a further makeover by a company called 570 Dunsmuir Holdings. We don’t know who designed the new blue glazing. The contractors, Ledcor, stopped work when their payments were stopped because a BC-based mortgage company, Eron, run by Brian Slobogian and Frank Biller, were forced to call in the receivers and stop payments to the developer. The men behind 570 Dunsmuir Holdings were said to be Peter Bryant, and Martin Chambers, a dis-barred lawyer with convictions for financial improprieties. 570 Dunsmuir Holdings had an $8.5m mortgage with Eron to pay for the makeover, so eventually the building became part of Eron’s inadequate assets. The building was sold to Churchill Property Corp. in 2004 for $11.19m as part of the foreclosure of Eron.

In 2005 the Canadian Press reported “The Churchill Building, better known to thousands of scammed investors as 570 Dunsmuir St., is part of financial dog’s breakfast that was Eron Mortgage Corp.

Almost eight years after the Vancouver-based firm collapsed, taking $240 million of investors’ money with it, Eron founder Brian Slobogian is to be sentenced today after pleading guilty to one fraud and five theft counts.

His lawyer has recommended a three-year prison sentence while the Crown is looking for six-and-a-half to seven years behind bars.

The hearing will be closely watched by former Eron vice-president Frank Biller, who faces trial by judge alone April 4 on 14 charges of theft, fraud and breach of trust. Both men had previously been found guilty of securities violations, fined $300,000 each and handed trading bans in what the B.C. Securities Commission calls the biggest fraud in B.C. history.

In a parallel process – symbolized by 570 Dunsmuir – Eron’s judicial bankruptcy
trustee is disposing of the last of its assets. Only four of the dozens of Eron developments remain to be sold.

Slobogian was sentenced to six years, and Biller to three, (but they served much less time in prison). In 2022 U.S. Authorities reported that Francis Biller was wanted for involvement in a civil fraud case involving a boiler-room operation based in Medellin, Colombia, that they allege netted US$58 million. Martin Chambers was convicted on other charges of money laundering in the U.S., and spent 13 years in an Arkansas jail from 2002. He died in 2022.

TransGlobe of Toronto paid $15m for the building in 2006, and today it’s still office space on a site with a major re-development potential. Underneath, the base of the building has a nearly 100 year old frame.

CVA 772-1372 and CVA M-15-87



Posted 12 January 2023 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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570 Dunsmuir Street

Here’s a 1926 building photographed after dark in 1936. There is a daytime shot from 1938 (below) but it was taken from an upper floor window, so we can’t replicate it. Townley and Matheson designed the building as the bus station for the regional long-distance coach company, Pacific Stages, Ltd. The passenger depot was constructed by E J Ryan for $150,000.

Ivor Neil’s Terminal City Motor Co had initially operated a car hire business, but added some buses. Under a new name, Pacific Stages Transportation Ltd, he expanded to offer service between Vancouver and Port Moody and Coquitlam. Buying up other companies he eventually served the Fraser Valley and south as far as Seattle.

Sensing potential competition to their bus and streetcar network,  BC Electric Railway Co acquired the business in 1925 creating the BC Motor Transportation Co. “Operating All Classes of Motor Vehicles, Including Pacific Stages, Yellow Cabs, Sightseeing Cars, Flat Rate Cars, Drive Yourself Cars and Baggage Transfer.” Their new premises saw services headed to West Vancouver, Horseshoe Bay, through Surrey, to Mission, and even to Harrison Hot Springs, as well as to Seattle. The Vancouver Archives have images of the building’s construction in 1926. The teardrop styled buses in the picture above were built in Vancouver by Hayes.

There was a barber, beauty salon, shoe shine, travel bureau, cigar stand and the Fountain Lunch to provide services to passengers and the surrounding area. Continued service expansion meant a new terminal was built a few blocks to the east in 1946. BC Electric contined to use the building for a while, with their General Sales division occupying the building in 1950. There was also an auditorium, that we suspect may have been created from the bus garage area at the back of the main floor.

In 1957 there was a dramatic makeover of the building. In March the BC Electric staff moved to BC Electric’s new office building, and by December a larger building had been completed here by adding additional floors to the shell of the transit centre. The BC Engineering Company moved in; consulting, design and construction engineers. They were a wholly-owned subsidiary of BC Electric, and their new offices had a bright two-tone blue scheme designed by Townley and Matheson with C B K Van Norman. The company became International Power and Engineering Constultants (IPEC) and later H A Simons, a specialist engineering company specializing in designing mills took the space.

After a further reclad of the building by new, and financially dubious owners in 1997, it was bought by Churchill International Property Corp for $11.19m at the end of 2004. TransGlobe of Toronto paid $15m for the building in 2006, and today it’s still office space on a site with a major re-development potential. Underneath, the base of the building has a nearly 100 year old frame.

Image Sources: Vancouver Public Library and City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-82



Posted 9 January 2023 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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Downtown & False Creek from above

This is another older image matched up to Trish Jewison’s twitter pictures from the Global BC traffic helicopter (on May 16, 2021). It’s from the 1940s, and is one we’ve only recently been able to access as part of the collection that Uno Langmann donated to UBC. We’ve featured pictures of Burrard Street, and how suburban it felt, but this image really brings that into focus. The Burrard Bridge was newly completed, and there were industrial operations on both sides of False Creek on either side of the bridge. To the east of the bridge was a collection of run-down shacks where a residential population squatted on the foreshore.

The Vancouver Block can be seen on the left, on Granville Street, and it’s still visible today, one of the taller buildings on the retail strip. The gasometer on the right of the picture was on the end of False Creek, and the resulting pollution from the coal gas production is one reason for the parks among the residential towers developed by Concord Pacific. (The most polluted land is capped and sealed under a park, rather than risking disturbing it). That’s the earlier Georgia Viaduct crossing the industrial activity and railyards now occupied by the two stadia.

On the left St Paul’s Hospital is just visible, and across the street was Dawson School, where today the dark towers of the Wall Centre have been built. Because the shots were taken from different elevations, although they line up almost perfectly, it’s possible to see further up Burrard Inlet in the contemporary shot. In the foreground it’s easy to see the two newest and noteably taller towers. Vancouver House from this angle looks like any other rectangular condo, as the dramatic scooped cutout is hidden from view. The 54 storey Burrard Place is just left of centre, the first of three towers planned for the same block of Hornby. Between them, the contrasting black glazing and white marble balconies of the Pacific by Grosvenor stands out, another recent addition to the skyline. In the 1940s this part of Downtown was still single family homes, although some had been converted to commercial uses, and others to rooming houses.

Image source: Langmann Collection UBC


Posted 26 December 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown, West End

Fidelity Life Insurance – 1112 West Pender Street

This is the new Fidelity Life Insurance Company building on West Pender, designed by McCarter Nairne & Associates. Construction commenced on the $1.6m building in 1959, and it was announced that the company (which already owned a small office in the city) were moving their headquarters here from Regina, rather than moving to Toronto. Harry Cutler was the Canadian manager of the business, and a series of other sibling companies also moved here. A 1961 profile said, “The Fidelity Life Assurance Company is a member of the Friend’s Provident and Century Group of England, whose other Canadian operations include the Pacific Coast Fire Insurance Company, Century Insurance Company, Limited, and The Anglo Scottish Insurance Company, Limited, all operating in the general insurance field.” That was the year this picture was taken.

At least one of the businesses originated in Vancouver; Pacific Coast Fire Insurance. We saw the company’s first office building, developed in 1911 and still standing on Howe Street. It once had a waterfront view but is now two rows behind newer buildings. The building was developed by the National Finance Corporation with J W Horne, and the insurance company could trace its history back to 1894 when James Welton Horne, David Henry Wilson, and Edward Odium deposited 111,845.65 to act as security against potential claims against the business. J W Horne had tried to get the business off the ground in 1890 with five other sponsors. An additional $15,000 was required in 1906, furnished by the Dominion Trust Company.

Five years after they moved in, the businesses were combined as the Century Insurance Company of Canada. They moved offices to the opposite side of the street in the 1980s, and then to Toronto in January 1987. That year the company discontinued activities, and two years later an order was issued winding up the property and business into the Dominion Insurance Corporation. The building originally had angled vertical aluminum sunshades in front of the east-facing windows – a device seen on contemporary buildings like the United Kingdom Building and the City Library. They were replaced with red brick veneer panels on the balconies that continued onto the Pender facade, so that the building appears to have been built in the 1980s.

Today it has a variety of businesses with lawyers, suppliers of polycarbonate sheeting, and designers of blockchain technology (at least for now).

Image source: Fred Schiffer Jewish Museum L.23530


Posted 22 December 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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Phillips Building – Melville Street

This 1960 Office building is the one we chose for the cover of The Changing City, a book we wrote over a decade ago. It’s known today as the Wyland Building, but when it was developed it was the Phillips Building. Today there’s another Phillips Building, not far away, developed in 1965. The newspapers said the building was designed by Hollingsworth & Birmingham, although a 1962 RAICS Jounal said it was B Renke, and the developer was described in the Province as being “John Phillips, former Calgary and Texas oilman.” We’ve tried to find a Calgary oilman called John Phillips who might have developed an office building in Vancouver, and come up short. A John Phillips had been involved in an earlier project in the city developing a West End apartment building in 1954.

The Vancouver Sun reported on the million-dollar investment, and its new tenants, B.C. Forest Products. On July 3 a $3,000,000 destroyed the sawmill and offices of the business. By 5pm the following day “four floors in the new Phillips Building at 1190 Melville had been arranged, just a pulse beat from the city’s heart. That Monday was a July 4 to remember for John Phillips, a former resident of Texas. He had built the ultra-modern office block as a speculative venture. All seven floors had been vacant since February. But by nightfall he had leased all floors, at a total annual rental of about $150,000. It was an odd coincidence, but the same day MacMillan, Bloedel and Powell River Co. had agreed to take over the top three floors.”

The name change came in 1985, just after when we assume the new glazing was installed. That year the US artist Robert Wyland painted a 12,000 sq. ft. mural on the side of the building, using 153 gallons of General Paint’s exterior latex, applied with a spray gun. The top of the picture is still visible above the townhouses on the condo tower built next door, but the orcas that were the subject of the mural have been hidden. We don’t know how long a 60-year-old modest class B office building can survive in a neighbourhood of tall residential and commercial towers, but for now the mirrored facade offers a reflection of the heritage Stadacona apartments across the street, and the Ritz condo tower beside it.

Image source: Jewish Museum LF.01597


Posted 15 December 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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Maxine Motel – Bidwell Street

We looked at the early years of this West End building in the previous post. Initially developed in 1929, the facade we see today was built in 1936 and 1938, designed by Thomas McArravy and Ross Lort. A further southern addition was added some time after 1939, but before 1954. It was very shallow, as behind it was 1233 Bidwell Street, an early house on the block that had been bought by the building’s owners in 1929.

They were Maxine MacGilvray and her husband, Ivor Bebb. The married in 1928 and became partners in her already expansive beauty products and salon business. The depression in the early 1930s meant a trip to the beauty salon was a luxury many women chose to cut out, and the business suffered. There was also a Beauty School here, training many of the young women then recruited to work in the beauty salons.

In 1940 the US census shows the couple were living in Washington, in Seattle, where Ivor was shown as manufacturing cosmetics for his beauty shop, while Maxine was shown running the shop. Their ages and places of birth were recorded accurately – Maxine was from Wisconsin, and Ivor was 10 years her junior, aged 36, from Wales, (although their advertising had Maxine from Beverley Hills, and Ivor ‘of Paris and London’).

They were still travelling back to Vancouver for their business here. In 1939 “Gaily colored streamers and large green shamrocks decorated the reception-room of the Maxine School of Beauty Culture on Friday evening, when the juniors of the school entertained at a dancing party for, the graduating seniors. Guests were received by Maxine and Mr. Ivor Bebb, president and vice-president of the school, and during the evening prizes were presented to several students.” The house at 1223 Bidwell still showed I. Bebb as resident.

In 1940 Ivor Ewan Bebb became an American citizen, and the application shows he was born near Welshpool. His wife, Max Elwy Bebb was born in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and Ivor said he had moved from Vancouver to Seattle in 1930. In 1941 a new business, the Max-Ivor company, was incorporated in the US and continued to operate until 2001.

In 1942 the Maxine Beauty School was shown operating here, but a year later this was the Maxine Apartments – eight in total. The house at 1223 was still listed too. In 1943 The Max-Ivor Motel, on Highway 99 at 6188 4th Ave in Seattle was opened.

In March 1943 the tenants in the Maxine Apartments got their rent reduced on appeal from $45 to $37.50, and George Hodgson, a shipyard worker, was given immediate notice to quit. He successfully sued G L Gillette and Maxine Ltd, joint owners of the property, after Mr. Gillette, who acted as janitor, removed the door to his suite and refused to put it back on. A month later things had escalated: “the tenants were asking for a second reduction in their rent, alleging that the management is neither providing heat nor collecting garbage. The landlady, her manager, and at least four tenants all had something to say” The case had been before the judge six times, and two or three times in police court – and once in the Supreme Court. In 1944 Maxine tried to get the building back from her lessee, Joseph Cuillerier, (who was already in prison awaiting extradition to England on embezzlement charges), arguing he was operating the building as an apartment hotel, rather than a rental building. She initially failed, but then succeeded on appeal. In 1945 1223 was still shown, but now with 4 suites rather than as a house, with Ivor as resident in Suite 1. In 1946 the building had 12 apartments, and the house was no longer listed, so that seems likely to be when the southern alterations and small addition were made.

In 1947 Ivor E Bebb successfully rezoned 5 lots in Seattle to permit a mobile home park, although he continued to keep his apartment in Vancouver, presumably commuting over the border to manage their interests in both Seattle and Vancouver. By 1948 this became the Maxine Apartment Hotel. You could rent a one, two, or three-room apartment with tiled kitchens and private bathrooms daily, weekly or monthly.

Maxine Bebb died in 1952 at the age of 58. We often struggle to find people in the census, but remarkably Ivor and Maxine were surveyed twice in the 1950 US census. In the first record Ivor said he was 50 (adding four years to his age) and born in Wales while Maxine knocked 11 years off her age, to 45, and chose California for her birth state. In the other record Maxine admitted to being 53 (which was only three years off) and born in Wisconsin, while Ivor was shown as 46 (which was true), and was shown born in ‘Wales, England’ (which would have upset anyone from Wales). Their days in the beauty business had apparently ended; Ivor was running an auto court, while Maxine was manager of an apartment hotel. Ivor took a trip to Britain in 1953, following his wife’s death.

In 1960 the Hotel here featured unexpectedly when Joseph Corbett, Jr., aged 32, listed on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list for kidnapping and murdering the 44-year-old chairman of the Coors Brewing empire, was captured here. At the end of October, a Vancouver resident thought she saw the man in the West End, and a policeman recalled seeing Corbett’s car outside the Maxine. His landlady identified ‘Mr. Wainwright’ from his photograph, and a combined FBI and Vancouver police team arrested him without incident.

Corbett, who was from Seattle had been convicted of shooting a man in the back of the head in 1951, which he claimed was self-defense. Initially in a maximum-security prison, his good behavior, saw him transferred to minimum security, from which he then escaped in 1955. Adolph Coors had left for work in February 1960, but never got there. His bones and clothes, with two bullet holes in his back, were found in a remote mountain dump in September.

Corbett’s booking shot from 1960 showed a neatly dressed man with tinted glasses. He was found guilty in 1961 and sentenced to life imprisonment. Released in 1980, he only gave one interview, in 1996, where he maintained his innocence. With a recent cancer diagnosis, he killed himself with a single shot to the head in his Denver apartment in 2009, aged 80. He left no note, and there was nobody to claim the body.

From 1964 to 1970 Ivor was president of the Jefferson Park Lawn Bowling Club in Seattle. He apparently remarried; when Olaf Stevens died in 1955 his obituary referenced a daughter, Mrs Ivor E Bebb of Seattle, and a granddaughter, who was born, we believe, in 1954. Ivor was aged 85 when he died, in Seattle, in 1989, a year after the Max-Ivor hotel had closed. Grace Rena Bebb, the last person associated with the Max-Ivor company died in Renton in Washington in 2001.

In Vancouver, in 1965 the motel was owned by Maxine-Beach Lodge Limited. In 1968 Mrs. Margaret Finigan, a tenant (28) lit a cigarette while gas was apparently leaking from the stove and suffered third degree burns (and didn’t improve her apartment’s decor). The apartments were still here in 1972, but not for much longer.

In the mid 1970s an architect, Vic Pimiskern, acquired the building, and ran his practice here as well as opening a restaurant here called Maxines, specializing in ribs. In 1978 Denny Boyd, a columnist in the Sun told a moonshine story (but didn’t suggest there were any of the elusive tunnels we mentioned in the previous post). “Maxine’s young charm students were often shocked to find the carcasses of dead sheep hanging in the basement. Maxine used to extract tallow from them to use in the preparation of her own line of cosmetics. It is said that she also had a productive still operating in that basement lab, cooking up prohibition moonshine for her many friends“.

In the late 1980s this was Fogg n Suds on The Bay, becoming Mescalero, a Mexican and south-west themed restaurant in the 1990s, then Balthazar’s, and finally Maxine’s Hideaway, when the owner spun some attractive but totally fictitious stories about tunnels, rum-running and bordellos.

In 2013 the Alexandra, a condo and market rental building designed by Henriquez Partners was developed by Concord Pacific and Millennium, incorporating the facade of the original Maxine Beauty School, now serving as a coffee shop.

Image source: SFU postcard collection msc130-5071-01


Posted 13 October 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, West End

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The Sun Press Building – Beatty Street

The ‘today’ view will be demolished soon, as this re-purposed printing works will be replaced with a curving office tower to be called SAM and designed by BIG, the architecture firm led by Bjarke Ingels. The Vancouver Sun built their new press building on the corner of Beatty and Georgia in 1949, and it started operating in 1950. We don’t know who designed it. The paper sold 175,000 copies, and the 14 high-speed Scott presses that had been installed could print 60,000 copies an hour.

In 1953, on a slow news day, the newspaper reported that ‘prowlers’ had entered the premises over the New Year holiday and had stolen the chocolate from a vending machine. By 1957 both the Province and the Sun were owned by the same company, and plans were made to expand the building to change to larger Goss presses. Commonwealth Construction built the additions, which were extensive and mostly on the back of the building. In 1964 a replacement printing plant was built on Granville Street, south of the bridge, and the last copies of The Sun rolled off here in July. To ensure continuity of production, the presses from here were subsequently moved to the new plant, where there were already two lines of Goss presses operating.

In 1967 the 15,000 sq. ft. warehouse space was advertised as available to lease, and only a year later construction was underway for its new owners, Central Heat Distribution, adding boilers and chimneys to connect to a new circuit of steam pipes that ran round the Downtown. It was the city’s first private district energy heating company, and was controlled by the Trans Mountain Oil Pipe Line Company. Initially 17 buildings contracted to link up, and one boiler was all that was needed, although in theory there was space for eleven. The system expanded rapidly, and by 1973 a fourth boiler was being commissioned. (The steam that can sometimes be seen escaping from inspection covers is not the system leaking, but ground water in contact with the super-heated steam pipes, which despite 3″ of insulation get hot enough to turn water into steam on the outside).

In 2014 Central heat Distribution was sold to Westbank, who will be developing the new office building and replacing the existing steam generation boilers with a new more energy efficient replacement on site. An application has been submitted to allow the steam to be generated by electricity, which would lower GHG production substantially. The project was nearly derailed when Cadillac Fairview tried to acquire the property based on a 1970 covenant registered against the land. A court case established that the intent was to ensure that Pacific Centre Mall, owned by Cadillac Fairview and currently heated by the plant, would get first refusal if redevelopment threatened their heat supply. As this is not contemplated when the plant is redeveloped, the claim failed. The central heat system is now run as Creative Energy, and has 215 connected customers in over 45 million square feet of buildings.

Image source: Leonard Frank, Jewish Museum, LF.00299


Posted 3 October 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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East from Burrard Bridge (2)

Here’s a view eastwards down False Creek from Burrard Bridge taken in 1941. (We saw a closer view taken in the 1950s that was posted last month). In the foreground is the Kitsilano Trestle, originally built by Canadian Pacific in 1886 (although by 1941 the structure was more elaborate than the original, and considerably strengthened). It was torn down in 1982, deemed a navigational hazard for shipping. From 1902 CP had run two passenger trains a day from Vancouver to Steveston, an established river port with up to 10,000 seasonal residents working in the 29 canneries. In 1905 BC Electric leased the line, and electrified it, running the ‘interurban’ that departed from Downtown, crossed the Kitsilano Trestle and in Vancouver stopped at Millside (4th Avenue), 9th Avenue (Broadway), Kerrisdale (41st), Magee, and Eburne, on the Fraser River, before crossing to Richmond.

In 1958 the trains were abandoned as BC Electric’s “Rails to Rubber” program converted most of the streetcar lines to trolley bus lines. To the west of the trestle, on the waterfront, there were the abandoned pilings of the wooden wharf used for Macdonald and Marpole’s coal shed and stables. Next door were the huge stone blocks of the Vancouver Granite Co, which had expanded into the area occupied by the Vancouver Marble and Tile Co. A S Allen’s stone contracting business shared the area as well as a paving contractor. On the other side of the trestle was a boat building yard, the Beach Avenue shipyards. Their first boats built here were the tugs ‘Edith’ and ‘Navvy Jack’ in 1907, but by the 1940s production was limited to scows, (large flat-bottomed barges with broad square ends used chiefly for transporting bulk materials). George Cates, originally from Nova Scotia, ran the Cates Shipyard here initially from around 1900. In 1902 he built the steamer, “Britannia” powered with a steam engine built in Glasgow by McKie and Baxter and equipped with reversible, plush covered pullman seats for the comfort of the day passengers. His brother, Captain John Cates owned land at Bowen Island where he built a picnic ground, and later a hotel. It was a family business – Miss Lillian Cates was co-owner of the Terminal Steamship Limited (and the sponsor of the launching of the “Britannia”). Captain W. Cates was the captain and Willard Cates was the engineer.

The Granville Bridge, seen in 1941 beyond the trestle, was the second to be built here. The first was constructed in 1889 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, running over the sandbar on the southern shore. Two years later it was widened for streetcar tracks, which narrowed to a single track where they crossed the opening swing span that was tied with wire ropes to a central wooden tower. It was replaced in 1909 with the bridge in the picture, mostly built of steel, with a through truss swing span which could be open for shipping on a central pivot. In 1915 four Germans were arrested after a fire broke out on the bridge that was thought to be an arson attack.

The present 8-lane bridge opened in 1954, designed to have the traffic capacity for a freeway system that was never built. It followed the alignment of the first bridge, but crossed Granville Island created in place of the sandbar (and just visible on the right of the picture). The bridge has recently had extensive seismic upgrades (that are costing a lot more than the original construction of $16.5m). Once complete a new bicycle crossing and wider sidewalk will be created on the west side of the bridge, while retaining six traffic lanes.

On the skyline the only building visible in 1941 is City Hall, completed in 1937 and located outside Downtown. Today there are offices along West Broadway and hospital buildings to the south, with more taller buildings likely in future as the SkyTrain is extended along Broadway and a new plan for the area increases permitted development density and encourages new higher density rental buildings.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 586-682


Posted 5 September 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, False Creek

1119 Broughton Street

This is the same house in both images, but it’s not in the same location. Redeveloped in 1994, there are now 8 condos on the lot. The house here was originally constructed in 1904, and the architect designed it for his own use.

Thomas Fee was born in Quebec, and trained in architecture in Minneapolis in the late 1880s, and initially arrived in Vancouver in 1891. However, he wasn’t yet building or designing homes, instead he was shown on the corner of Davie and Seymour, in Yaletown, working as a grocer. He was shown aged 27 in the census that year, and his wife was 20. He next appears again in the directory when he had started building houses in Vancouver from around 1894, when he was living on Robson Street. In 1898 Fee went into partnership with English architect John Parr, and immediately turned out designs for buildings like the Ralph Block on Hastings Street as well as many houses. They often featured a circular corner turret, as this does, although strangely, it’s down the street rather than on the corner (perhaps for a view over English Bay).

In the 1901 census Thomas Fee, was shown aged 38, living with his wife Francis (now shown only 3 years younger than him), his six year old daughter Olga, four year old son ‘Blakley’ and his wife’s mother, Jane Paton aged 73. They were living on Burrard Street at the time. Thomas apparently felt the need to underplay his age by two years; earlier census entries and his death notice say he was born in May 1861. He had married Frances Paton in Melbourne Methodist, Drummond, Quebec in 1888, when she was 22.

By 1911 the Fee family had moved to another house he had designed at 1025 Gilford Street. (It was demolished in the 1960s). Frances had her name spelled correctly, Olga was listed with her full name, Olga Merle, Blakely’s name was recorded correctly as Blakely Fowler and Grace Helen aged nine was now a member of the household. Jane Paton was still alive, given her full name, Lucretia Jane, aged 83, and Frances’s sister Helen Elizabeth was also living in the house, along with Charles Fee, Thomas’s brother. It appears that Blakely changed his name as a teenager; the last reference under that name was a trip to the US when he was 16; in subsequent records (including his marriage in 1918) he had taken his father’s name and was Thomas Arthur Fee jnr.

Even when he was building his family home Thomas Fee was looking to add investment value. The permit for the corner of Broughton and Pendrell was for two frame dwellings, so almost certainly the house next to the Fee family home was Thomas’s investment property, also designed by Parr and Fee. That house was lost in a fire in 2018.

The first occupant here after the Fee family moved was Henry B Ford, a family physician in partnership with his brother-in-law, and with a Downtown practice. He was here with his wife and four children for three years, before moving across False Creek.

Andrew A Logan, a timber broker, lived here for many years from around 1911 (and we assume bought the property). He was an Ontario butter and cheese trader in the 1880s, in Morrisburg, and moved to Vancouver in 1908. In 1908 he held a timber licence in the Kootenay, on Alice Arm. In 1913 he had interests in mining as well as lumber; he’s believed to be seen here in an Archives image from around 1913, examining a quartz sample with gold deposits from the Gem mine, near Nanaimo.

In 1915 Mr. Logan only just escaped death, when he was bludgeoned on the head in his basement by an assumed burglar (who was never identified). We’ve put the details of the story as they appeared in the local press on the left.

Mrs. Logan died in 1922, aged 70 having caught a cold that turned into pneumonia. At the end of the year Andrew remarried to Mrs. Emma Wright, of Winnipeg, who had been born in Ontario in 1872.

In 1925 the press reported “Vandal Hurls Stone Through Art Window
An unidentified vandal on Friday afternoon destroyed a stained-glass window In the home of A. A. Logan, 1119 Broughton street, by hurling a large stone through It. Though the act was committed In daylight, no residents In that locality appeared to have been the perpetrator of the act of wanton damage.

Andrew and Emma moved to the St Julien Apartments in 1928, selling off ‘costly furnishings and an excellent piano’ at auction (including a mahogany four-poster bed, and French novels). Andrew died there in 1929; two of his three children lived in Winnipeg, with one son in Vancouver. Emma died in 1953, in Essondale, in Coquitlam. By that point the house here had become a rooming house run by J Collins. Our image shows the house in 1985, two years after it been converted back to a single family home. The renovation and condo project in 1994 that saw the house moved to the corner was designed by Clare McDuff-Oliver.

Image source: CVA 790-1699 and CVA 1376-547


Posted 11 August 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, West End

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East from Burrard Bridge (1)

This view looking east from the Burrard Bridge dates from between 1956 and 1958. It shows that the area between the bridge, and the Granville Bridge in the background, changed pretty dramatically in the 1980s, when now named as Granville Slopes, this was one of the False Creek neighbourhoods planned by the City of Vancouver to revitalize the Downtown Waterfront. One of the most important elements of the 1983 plan was the inclusion of public access along the entire length of the edge on a newly constructed seawall.

Unlike areas to the east of here, where Concord Pacific acquired all the former Expo lands, a variety of developers were involved in the development on land acquired by the City and then sold off. The design principle adopted here was similar to other waterside neighbourhood, where densities closest to the water are lower than further up the slope to the north. The City’s planning department used the area to provide “a testing ground for a number of the planning and urban design precepts that have helped shape the rest of False Creek North, Downtown South, Coal Harbour and other high density neighbourhoods.”

In the area south of Beach Avenue (seen in this image) just under a thousand apartments were developed and completed between 1986 and 1995, designed by six different architectural practices. The False Creek Yacht Club lease the water lot and have a marina and clubhouse, a world away from the shacks constructed on pontoons and squatted on the waterfront under the bridge from the 1930s to the mid 1950s.

The shanties first appeared during the depression in the 1930s, and grew over time. The cutting from 1950 indicating they would be cleared was published in St John’s, and similar stories appeared in many Canadian local news outlets. The interest arose out of a sensational murder case that we’ve outlined in another post. The murderer lived in a shack on the south shore, opposite these homes, but there were over 300 shanties all along the shores of False Creek. The Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce urged that the ‘nest of perverts’ should be removed as soon as possible, but the eviction notices were only finally issued in 1955, and as our picture shows, they weren’t immediately acted on.

These structures were on a site that had been a wharf for many years, run by McDonald Marpole & Co, who ran a coal delivery business, with storage on the waterfront, and also a shipyard building mostly wooden scows. Next door the Vancouver Granite Co had a series of stone cutting sheds from the 1900s, and Wilkinson’s had a wire and steel warehouse closer to Beach Avenue.

In the early 1900s the Colonial Portable House Co had their Planing Mill here. They built modest kit-build summer cottages, as seen here in a 1908 advert in ‘Westward Ho’ magazine. They were ‘Ready to Erect, Adapted to any climate’, and claimed to be good as either permanent homes, schools or churches, or as summer cottages.

Canadian Pacific’s rail track cut across the site, heading for the Kitsilano Trestle across False Creek. Beyond it on the waterfront were cement and lime stores and gravel bunkers, although some of the area had fallen out of use by the 1950s. There was still a government customs warehouse here, and the Vancouver Granite yard and Beach Avenue shipyard were still in operation.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives (copyright) CVA 203-6


Posted 1 August 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown