Archive for the ‘Broadway’ Category
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
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 built in 1928. We haven’t been able to identify the architect, and while Jantzen’s Portland factory was designed by Richard Sunderleaf, we’re pretty certain that he didn’t design this one (as the company was under local ownership, and there’s a comprehensive record of everything he did design). We also 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.
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
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 Westminster 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). Nothing really happened for a year, and when it did it wasn’t Mr Bird’s 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.
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
What could be better to locate opposite a prominent billboard than another billboard? Here’s the south-west corner of Cambie and Broadway in 1932 with site occupied by a hoarding. Up the street is the funeral home of Nunn and Thompson, but the entire corner site is taken up with a trio of advertising billboards. There had been buildings here – the 1912 Insurance map shows two structures although the street directory said the store on the corner with Bridge Street (as Cambie was called then) was vacant.
In 1941 the corner was still vacant, but there was a new Safeway store next door at 510 West Broadway and there had been stores further west for many years. In 1986 the existing building was built on the corner, and ten years earlier the office building used by the Vancity Credit Union, and now the City of Vancouver, was built up the hill on the corner of West 10th.
Image source; City of Vancouver Archives CVA 20-112
Cambie Street had three gas stations down the hill at West 5th Avenue. There was another on the corner of West Broadway (although on the west side of the street). And here’s another block up the hill, where Shell hoped to catch the drivers coming down Cambie before Standard Oil or Union Oil could get their custom. These 1937 VPL Leonard Frank images show the three pump forecourt, the lube bay, and the rather smart houses along West 10th Avenue.
The Park View Service Station appeared in the late 1920s, and was still there in 1950. For a number of years there was a large parking lot – which has now shrunk a little with the addition of the Canada Line transit station in 2009.