Archive for the ‘Broadway’ Category

514 West Broadway

Like the previous post, this small commercial building was developed on West Broadway when it was a much less important, mostly residential street. This one also lasted 100 years, but has been recently redeveloped with a W T Leung designed office and retail building.

E Stanley Mitton designed the building in 1910 for F D Elkins. G Griffiths was the builder, and the permit was for a modest $13,000. Francis (“Frank”) Dawson Elkins was a realtor and insurance broker, born in Reading, England probably in 1873 (on his death certificate and census return), but possibly 1874 (his marriage certificate), or 1875, (his US Naturalization) . The 1911 census said he arrived in 1891, and he’s on a Manitoba entry in Broadview Manitoba in that year, and in Winnipeg in 1901 (with his widowed mother).

He was in Vancouver in 1906, the superintendent for the London Guarantee and Accident Company. He married in 1908, and a year later had a real eatate office on West Hastings with his brother, James. His bride was Edna Cook, the daughter of a prominent Vancouver builder, agent for Otis Elevator (and former alderman), Edward Cook. In 1911 they moved to Shaughnessy Heights, but in 1914 Frank joined the Canadian Expeditionary Forces, serving in Canada, England and France. He was a captain when was released from military service in 1919.

He returned to working as an insurance agent, but in 1925 Frank, Edna and his mother headed south to live in California. He set up in Santa Monica, (where he had two sisters living) and became a US citizen. His mother died in 1935, and in 1940 Frank was the owner of a wholesale and retail antique business. Edna died in 1954, and Frank two years later.

In 1936 Hatt’s Stove Works would sell you an Aeroflame sawdust burner for your range or furnace. By 1945 you could buy a (slightly) cleaner option, with Melny’s offering Fawcett wood and coal ranges, and Guerney gas broilers. The company were here for 35 years (including when this 1974 image was taken) before being replaced in the late 1970s by Carpetland, replaced a couple of years later by a Chinese furniture importer, the Lacquer Box. In 2004 a restaurant opened here; Dan Yal’s Tandoor & Bar, offering a full lunch for $6.49.

Upstairs were six suites; in the 1930s they were leased furnished. A resident of an apartment here for five years, Mrs Elizabeth Smith, aged 40, a passenger in a car driving on Keith Road in North Vancouver was killed when the car left the road and sheared a power pole in two.

In 1948 Thomas Hammond Griffith, a pensioner, and resident here was featured in the Sun in an article on how to live on $40 a month. ‘Only eat one meal a day’, was Mr. Griffith’s advice. He paid $10 a month for the room, and aged 77, only owned one sweater, and a pair of trousers he bought three years earlier. In 1954 a 4-room suite was $65 a month.

The building was home to a hairdressing school and a Szechuan restaurant in 2017, just before it was demolished.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1095-00308



Posted 9 March 2023 by ChangingCity in Broadway, Gone

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566 West Broadway

This modest two-storey building has lasted over 100 years on the same location, but may not be around too much longer. With the extension of the SkyTrain along West Broadway, and a prominent developer advertising its current lease, it’s safe to assume redevelopment is on the cards.

It was built in 1910, and only cost $10,000. The owner, and builder was B Naffzinger, and Townsend & Townsend were the architects. It’s relatively unusual for a building designed by them, as generally they faced the building in beige brisk with a red brick diamond pattern. In this case they added a magnificent pediment with their client’s name prominently displayed, as the 1912 image here shows, with Melvin H. Clapp Shoemaker and Robert G. Woods Candies occupying the storefronts.

This was Mr. Naffzinger’s only development. As half of Tompkins and Naffzinger, he was a property agent with an office, in 1907, at 535 Ninth Avenue (this block, before it became Broadway). In 1908 the business had 21 lots for sale on Ninth Ave, ‘a rare chance for speculation’ (which is a joke, as it seems as if half of Vancouver were involved in property speculation). In 1909 Benjamin Naffzinger was appointed a Notary Public. Clearly the business was doing well; in 1910 is was reported that Mr. Naffzinger and family have returned after spending the winter in Los Angeles. In 1912 he had changed partners to Fred Duerr, and moved their office to closer to Main Street.

Benjamin made it into the 1911 ‘Who’s Who in Western Canada, where he was a financial broker born in Danvers Illinois, starting out as a telegraph opertaor in Chicago. He came to BC in 1906, and had married Florence MacLachlan (born in Aylmer, Ontario) in Chicago in 1886, with one daughter, Bessie, born in 1889 in Chicago. He’d already headed west, as the 1900 census showed the family living in Corning, California.

Benjamin Naffzinger died, aged 61, in 1922. Florence, his wife, was aged 75 when she died in Seattle in 1935.

There were four suites upstairs: A-D, and tenants tended to stay for a while. It was a quiet neighbourhood, although one afternoon in March 1937 Mrs. B J Wood’s window was broken with a stone. Ten years later B W Aubert lived in suite B, and was selling a 1940 Ford coach, and was willing to trade for an older car and cash. In 1954 Allen Orr reported $68 stolen from his suite – a year earlier he had been in a car accident Downtown, ending up with scrapes and bruises.

In 1955 truck driver William Pearson, who lived here, was arrested for stealing a wallet with $125 in it from an Edmonton fan who had come to watch the Grey Cup game. That year a suite leased for $45 a month. In 1964 that had risen to $65 a month, and in 1998, $945.

Our 1974 image shows the Round The Clock Steak and Pizza House, and a realtor’s office. Round the Clock became Kosta’s Pizza Restaurant a year later, and in the late 1980s there was a Sitar Indian Restaurant here. The space upstairs is now an office, with one main floor unit a Yoga and Fitnesss Studio and the other recently vacated by a hairdresser.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archites CVA 1095-00307 and CVA 371-881


916 West Broadway

The Leyland Apartments – nine of them at the time – appeared for the first time in the 1930 street directory. R C Singleton built the $28,000 property for his ownership, designed by William Tuff Whiteway. Richard Cline Singleton was born in 1891, in Winfield, Cowley, Kansas. Cline Singleton briefly appears in 1920, working for Joseph H Singleton, a grocer, who had been in the city for a few years. We think that’s his father, born in 1863 in Indiana. Cline Singleton was listed in the 1900 census living with his parents Joseph and Carrie, who died a year later.

We think that by 1921 Cline Singleton was working in California; he referenced knowledge of a school in Ventura in a letter in the Vancouver press, and was listed in 1921 as the Head Farmer at the California School for Girls (a reform school in Ventura), the year the LA Times ran a story ‘Girls Plotted to Burn Whole School, Escape‘.

Cline married Mary Maverette Stockwell, probably while he was in California; Mary was born in 1885 in Indiana, but in 1920 was still single and living with her father, Lucius, in San Diego. Her mother, Phoebe, had died in 1888 leaving Lucius with four children. She had attended Indiana University, studying English, and in 1910 was teaching English and Botany at the High School in Cloverdale, Indiana. (When her father died in 1941 he was back in Indiana).

By 1923 Cline Singleton was a grocer on East 28th Avenue, and Joseph Singleton was at the same address. A year later Joseph ran the grocers store, and Cline was a partner in Fairview Brokerage on West Broadway. By 1927 both men were listed as carpenters, living on Nelson Avenue in the West End. They both obtained building permits over a number of years. Cline advertised that he would build a bungalow, either on the client’s site, or one he owned. Several examples of his work are still standing today; typical 1920s bungalows with a roughed in basement, (not necessarily high enough to stand in), with a bedroom in the roof with a dormer window. They generally cost $4,000 to build. In 1929 Cline built two apartment blocks, including this one.

Joseph Harrison Singleton died in Vancouver in 1934. His obituary said he was a well-known contractor, who had come to the city 19 years earlier. The newpaper report said he was 71 when he collapsed and died, leaving one son, Cline. That year R Cline Singleton and his wife Maverette were living at The Singleton Building on West 10th Avenue. They were still there in 1937, but by 1941 they were back in San Diego, and were still there in 1950 when Cline was working as a real estate broker.

In 1954 Richard C Singleton and Mary M Singleton of El Cajon, San Diego, successfully bid $3,840 for 640 acres of “rolling hill land, located at an elevation of 3,800 feet and crossed by numerous small gullies. The soil is of first quality, supporting greasewood and other heavy desert growth and chaparral. The land contains no springs; however, water from wells is available in the vicinity. The land is fair for grazing, but is not suitable for agriculture” He died on 5 June 1968, in Carlsbad, San Diego, California, United States, at the age of 77, and Mary in 1982 at the age of 96, also in San Diego.

The apartments were advertised in the Leyland from August 1929 as three-room at reasonable rent. In 1962 the rent for a one-bedroom suite was $80. In 1969 a 2-room suite was $87 a month, electric and heat included. In 1976, two years after our image was shot, a one-room suite was $220. The building was one of only a few residential buildings in a sea of commercial development, and was acquired for the construction of a new station on the Arbutus Extension of SkyTrain. Currently it’s been replaced by a deep hole, future home to the closest station to Vancouver General Hospital, and awaiting the arrival of the two boring machines, Elsie and Phyllis, currently heading to the site from the east. In a few years a new development can be built, but zoning in this stretch of Broadway requires commercial rather than residential buildings, and as the hospital ER Department and the helipad is immediately to the south, the building’s height will be limited.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1095-00259


Posted 19 January 2023 by ChangingCity in Broadway, Gone

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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 by C Anderson for $5,000. 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.