Archive for the ‘Broadway’ Category

1455 West 8th Avenue

This 1910 apartment house was designed and built by J H Bartholomew for himself. The permit was for $35,000, and when completed, he had 26 apartments to lease. When they opened sometime late in 1912 these were the Belnord Apartments, and in 1913 John Bartholomew was running the Belnord Cafe, which was also at this address. It’s known today as the Creswell Apartments, and there’s one less apartment (and no cafe).

John was living on his own in 1911, listed as a builder, born in Ontario in 1864. He was in Vancouver in 1901, living with his wife Carrie, but when he moved here to run the apartments he had built, she remained in their former home on West 7th. John died in September 1913.

He had married Caroline “Carrie” Mabee, daughter of Charles Mabee and Sarah Ryerse, in March 1886 at Waterford, Ontario, Canada. At the time he was a farmer, living in Dakota, USA, aged 22 (four years older than Carrie). There’s no sign of them in Canada in 1891, but they moved to Victoria around 1892 where John was a lather. In Vancouver from around 1895, John was a boatbuilder living in Fairview, before becoming a house builder. He is buried in the Vanessa Cemetery (Vanessa, Norfolk County, Ontario). Carrie died in Burnaby in 1945, aged 78.

1445 West 8th to the east ought to be the narrowest building in the city (although not the shallowest). At just about 8 feet wide, the afterthought was squeezed next to the Oddfellows Hall, on the adjacent lot to the east. It was home to Gowan Sutton, postcard publishers, from 1923, and was possibly newly built (for $750) that year. The Hall, designed by C B Fowler cost $22,000 in 1922, and the alterations were a year later, built by H A Wiles for H A Radermacker, who was a real estate agent on Granville Street and probably managing the Oddfellows property. In this 1985 image Fairview Sheet Metal were in the building, installing furnaces an building chimney liners, while today there’s a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-0614


Posted 31 March 2022 by ChangingCity in Broadway, Still Standing

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West Broadway and Cambie – north-east corner

There aren’t too many places where an earlier building has been replaced by a vacant site. This corner lot has had a billboard for decades, only removed in 2020. The Royal Bank here was designed by Kenneth G Rae, in 1911, and built at a cost of $30,000 by ‘Jon. Roger’ (almost certainly contractor, and sometime developer, Jonathan Rogers). It’s seen here a year after it was built.

The bank remained here until 1953, when it transferred to a new branch across Cambie to the west, replacing a previous gas station. As far as we can tell, this corner has remained undeveloped for over 70 years. As the contemporary image shows, there’s construction in this location now, for the new east-west extension of SkyTrain underground along Broadway. There’s already a north-south station across the street, serving the Canada Line, so this will be an even more important location. A new plan has been developed to encourage higher density developments close to transit, so this must be a prime spot for site consolidation and development.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives SGN 1014


Posted 21 March 2022 by ChangingCity in Broadway, Gone

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Renfrew Lodge – Hemlock and West 10th Avenue

These days Renfrew Lodge is known as Hemlock Place, but the new name is really the only change in nearly a century. This picture was taken in 1928, a couple of years after the building was completed. It was one of over a dozen apartment buildings developed by a family of developers originally from Ontario, the Lightheart Brothers. (We’ve recently updated our information on the family on the Building Vancouver blog). There were seven brothers, all involved in various development projects. This one was developed by George Lightheart. Although many of the buildings were designed (and built) in-house by the brothers, in this case the $90,000 building had an architect – H H Simmonds.

George Lightheart had previously built a family house on Burns Street, and partnered with his brother Jacob on a number of groups of houses and apartments, but this was apparently the only apartment building he developed on his own. He was born in 1883, and only 46 when he died in 1930. The notice in the newspaper noted he had died in the General Hospital, and would be buried in the family plot at Mountain View cemetery, but no further details were given about the circumstances of his death.

He arrived in Vancouver in 1902 and married Mabel Cairns (from P.E.I.) in 1915, and they soon had a daughter, Margaret, followed by a son, Ralph, who was only 12 when his father died. In 1921 the family had two servants; Margaret Scott, who was Irish, and Hilda Johnston, who was Swedish. Mabel’s sister, Winnifred Cairns was also living with the family in George’s new $8,000 Connaught Drive mansion (that he had designed and built). Mabel died in 1954, and her sister Winnifred (who never married, and stayed in Vancouver) in 1960.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu N252


Posted 4 February 2021 by ChangingCity in Broadway, Still Standing

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Main Street and West Broadway – south-west corner

Here’s a 1985 view that hasn’t really changed a lot in the nearly 36 years since our picture was taken. The building on the south-west corner of Main and West Broadway was still a branch of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Completed in 1953, we’re reasonably certain that McCarter and Nairne were the architects. They designed a very similar building for the bank in 1950, on West Hastings, and also designed a larger Downtown branch in 1957, on Granville Street. The first bank here had been built for the Bank of Commerce in 1921, designed by W F Gardiner. Most recently there’s been a Tim Horton’s here, but the building was also a loonie store and a showroom for condo developments in recent years.

To the south along Main Street was a single storey retail building that had been built in 1929. A fire destroyed it in 2011, and it was replaced with another single storey (and mezzanine) building, completed in 2013. They had originally been developed in 1911 by A F McKinnon. Further south the flanking wall of Belvedere Court can be seen, an apartment building built in 1912 to Arthur J Bird’s design for D E Harris. Along West Broadway there are a series of single storey retail buildings, the oldest from 1926, and the most recent (today), next to the bank, completed in 1994. The two storey building with a bay window that was replaced had also been developed by A F McKinnon, in 1906. He owned and developed several other properties in this part of Mount Pleasant, including the Broadway Rooms two blocks to the north.

We know he was a local resident as the Mount Pleasant Advocate, in 1904, reported that “Little Alice, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. J. McKinnon, while playing yesterday fell from a pile of lumber and broke her right arm. Dr. Brydon-Jack was summoned and put the injured member in plaster-paris.” Mr. McKinnon ran a confection manufacturing business, and lived on W 10th Avenue with Alexander McKinnon, who was in real estate. We suspect they were father and son, and both called Alexander. The 1901 census shows A F McKinnon, born in Ontario, aged 62, who was involved in lumber and his son A J McKinnon, aged 24, born in the US, and a book keeper. His son’s wife, from Ontario, was also listed as A J McKinnon, and they had two daughters, Alice and Francis. A F McKinnon’s other daughter, Fannie aged 28 and also born in the US, also lived in the household. The street directory shows A F McKinnon in real estate.

By 1921 Alice was a nurse, still living with her parents and five siblings. Her father, Alexander was aged 43; he was born in the USA, but his father was Canadian. His wife, Mary, was born in Ontario, and her father was English as were both their mothers. Alice was the oldest still at home, at 22, and had been born in BC, so the family had been in the Province from the 1890s. Alexander was shown arriving in Canada in 1897, and was listed in the street directory as ‘real estate’, but intriguingly in the census as ‘chauffeur, automobile’. 

All the buildings from Belvedere Court northwards will soon be demolished, including the ones along Broadway. In 2025 the new extension of Skytrain will have a station at the corner, and in the meantime the site will be a large construction site to allow the station construction. The tunneling will be carried out by two passes of a boring machine, so disruption should be less than when the Canada Line was built. 


Posted 14 January 2021 by ChangingCity in Broadway, Mount Pleasant

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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.


Posted 23 November 2020 by ChangingCity in Altered, Broadway

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Columbia Street from 6th Avenue

Columbia from 6th

Here’s another of the undated and unidentified location shots from the City’s Archives. From the cars we’re putting this into the 1970s; it’s at least 30 years ago as the Expo 86 pavilion now occupied (for only a short while longer) by the casino is just visible today. We’re looking north on Columbia Street towards False Creek and the mountains.

Back then Downtown seemed a whole lot closer to the Mount Pleasant industrial area. You could see the Woodwards ‘W’, The Sun Tower, and the Dominion Building. Today there are two rows of buildings in the way; the residential towers built on the Expo lands, and the more recent buildings of South East False Creek.

The industrial area hasn’t really changed that much – at least, not here. There are still a few of the houses that show how this area first developed, including one on the corner of 5th Avenue that dates back to 1909. It’s clearly visible in the 1970s, and hidden today by one of the street trees added in the past 40 years.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 800-239


Posted 5 May 2016 by ChangingCity in Altered, Broadway

Jantzen Building – Kingsway and East 10th Avenue

Jantzen 196 Kingsway

We mentioned the Jantzen swimwear factory in a recent post about their earlier premises. Built for the Universal Knitting Co, whose machines knitted Jantzen swimming costumes for the Canadian market under licence from the parent company, it was completed in 1928. The developer of the building was Terminal Securities, who hired Robert Wilson to design the $50,000 investment, built by the Northern Construction Co. We don’t know when this Vancouver Public Library image was taken (because they don’t know either), but the lack of trees suggests it was probably fairly early in the life of the building.

Jantzen continued to produce garments here until the 1990s. After that it became a warehouse for bathrooms and architectural hardware, and more recently a series of ‘pop-up’ uses while the new owner negotiated for a significant redevelopment that will see a residential tower and new retail space on the site.


Granville Street north from West Broadway

Granville from Broadway

It’s the 1890s. Mrs. H.E. Campbell in conversation with Major Matthews recalled the road from Eburne (Marpole today). “We went over to Vancouver once in a while, driving up Granville Street, as it is now called, but then it was just a slit in the forest, a solid wall of trees on both sides from Eburne to False Creek, with timber so tall you had to look straight up to see the sky. We went over to Vancouver on the first day of July 1890, and the mud on Granville Street was up to the hubs. The sun could not get in to dry the road—the trees were too tall. The road was no wider than a wagon, and, every half mile or so, there was a little space, somewhat wider, where the wagons could pass.” The bridge had been added in 1889, although there wasn’t a bridge over the Fraser River – just a rowboat ferry. Granville Street was called Centre Street initially, and 7th Avenue was the first east-west street to link Westminster (Main) and Centre (Granville).  Ninth Avenue (Broadway) only became important when the carline was added. This stretch of Centre Street was widened and rolled in 1891, and to the south the forest started at 16th Avenue.

At the bottom of the hill the bridge to the city started at Third Avenue. Beyond that was the creek; In the early 1900s Major Matthews recalled “False Creek was a haven for ducks in the winter time. There were literally hundreds, perhaps thousands of them; all kinds from butter balls to mallards and hell divers. They could, at times, be shot … They were poor eating, being too fishy.” The Major lived on the south shore, close to Ash Street.

Today there are retail buildings (many of them art galleries), some with office space above, and down the hill the tower of the Portico development that replaced the Pacific Press plant.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 371-2587


Posted 4 September 2013 by ChangingCity in Broadway

The Lee Building – Broadway and Main

Lee Building

Herbert Oliver Lee – generally known by his initials – arrived in Vancouver in 1903 from London Ontario when he would have been aged around 26. Two years later he married Beatrice, who was aged only 20 and from Carlton Place, also in Ontario. The marriage took place in Vancouver where Herbert had already established a grocery store on Main 8th to Broadway 1906 BarrowcloughWestminster Avenue (today’s Main Street), just north of the junction with Ninth Avenue (today’s Broadway). Here’s his store in 1906. The second floor seems to have been a hall, referred to as ‘Lee’s Hall’.

Mr Lee must have been successful in the fast-growing city, and by 1907 had apparently acquired a plot next to his store right on the corner of Broadway and Main. The corner was the home of the Mount Pleasant Methodist Church from 1891 until 1909, although it was closed a few years earlier. A 1907 advertisement in the Mount Pleasant Advocate placed by H O Lee said “For Sale or Rent, the old Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church Building.” Clearly he had no takers – or at least none he liked, because in 1910 he hired architect A J Bird to design the Lee Building for the site. There’s just the one reference to this scheme in the Province newspaper, although Mr Lee did take out a building permit for a $100,000 steel framed building that year with W C Stevens to be the builder, and Mr Lee himself as architect (which seems a bit unlikely, and Mr. Stevens later claimed to have designed the building, even though it wasn’t actually built. Nothing really happened for a year, and when it did it wasn’t Mr Bird’s, or Mr. Stevens’ design that was used. Instead Stroud and Keith were the architects for a $200,000 six-storey building (although as built it’s seven). Allan Stroud was a Toronto based architect who arrived in Vancouver in 1909, partnered with A W Keith in 1910 and designed very few buildings before leaving again after 1912. This is one of only two buildings still standing that the partnership designed, and easily the biggest that was built.

It was the largest building in Mount Pleasant for many years, and Mr Lee continued to live in the building with his family. Our 1939 VPL image shows it soon after his death, which was in 1937. His wife, Beatrice, died in 1948. The family apparently lost control of the building due to a debt of $12,000 to the Royal Bank, and eventually the building was sold in a rather unusual arrangement of joint shareholder ownership – almost a strata, but not quite. The building houses a mix of residents, offices and retail stores.

The shops are pushed back behind an arcade, but that’s not how Stroud and Keith designed the building. The sidewalk in front of the building was taken for widening Broadway in 1953 and the arcade – which is more like a corridor – was the compromise solution. Fortunately this was achievable with a steel framed building (erected by J Coughlin and Sons, who conveniently had offices in the same building as the architects).

The single storey retail stores on the left, on Westminster Avenue included a Safeway store in the 1930s. Today’s replacement buildings are still low, having been rebuilt in the past two years following a fire.


Posted 21 July 2013 by ChangingCity in Broadway, Still Standing

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Cambie and Broadway sw (2)

Cambie from 8th south

Here’s another view up Cambie Street, this time from closer to West 8th Avenue. It’s supposedly 1931, the gas station and billboard we saw in earlier posts were also here – and the Bridgeway gas station appears to heve been owned by General Gasoline and sold Union 76 gasoline. The problem with that is that Union 76 was only introduced in 1932. The name referred to the 1776 United States Declaration of Independence, and was also the octane rating of the gasoline in 1932.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 20-85


Posted 17 July 2013 by ChangingCity in Broadway, Gone