Archive for the ‘Downtown’ Category

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

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Posted April 23, 2018 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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Hornby Street – 1000 block, west side

In our 1981 picture there was a parking lot on a raised podium on Hornby Street. Down the street London Place was nearing completion; a hybrid condo-over-office building in the red brick favoured by the City Planner of the day, designed by Anthony Debecki. The parking lot was the former playground of the Dawson School, with a site stretching from Hornby to Burrard and Helmcken to Nelson. The first building was completed as the West End School in 1893, on Burrard; it was enlarged in 1897, and became the King George Secondary School when a new Dawson elementary was built at the end of the block on Helmcken Street in 1913. The schools were demolished in 1972.

Once the School Board sold the block it was acquired by Peter Wall, who built the dark glazed Wall Centre on the site. Three architectural practices designed the almost black glazed initial towers; Hamilton, Doyle, Bruno Freschi and Chris Doray. One tower houses the Sheraton Wall Centre hotel, the other is condos, and that end of the block was completed in 1994.

At this end of the block, on Nelson, we can see the podium of the equally dark (but originally promised crystal clear) One Wall Centre, with condos over additional hotel rooms designed by Busby and Associates, and eventually completed in 2001. Once the switch to dark rather than clear glazing was revealed during construction, the City issued a stop work order. Eventually a compromise was agreed with the condos in clearer glazing, and the lower hotel floors retaining the dark glass. It was re-clad a darker shade, but slightly different from the hotel floors on the failing upper floors a few years ago. (The failure was said to be of the seals on the clear glazing, and replacement was also necessary because solar gain heated units beyond the capacity of the air conditioning to handle on very sunny days).

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W08.02

Posted April 16, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Dawson School, Helmcken Street

There was a school located on this block from 1893. Although today we think of the West End starting at Burrard Street, and this location as part of Downtown, this was initially called the West End School. Thomas Tracy designed the first building which fronted Burrard, which opened in 1893, and G W Grant designed an addition to it in 1897. It became known as the Dawson School in 1900. (It’s visible behind the 1913 school on the left of the picture.)

Later this building on Helmcken Street was added, the Sir William Dawson School, designed by Norman Leech, (the Board of Education’s resident architect), in 1912 with a $135,000 building permit. In 1914, the Burrard Street building became the King George High School when this new Dawson elementary school building was opened. It’s the building that Jimi Hendrix asked whether it was still standing when he played the Pacic Colloseum concert in 1968. He implied he had attended the school, although there are no records that confirm it (or any other Vancouver school).

The school was named for Sir John William Dawson, a Canadian geologist and president of McGill University, and closed in 1972, (the year this image was taken), and demolished later that year. The School Board eventually decided to sell the site and today it’s one of the forbidding dark glass towers of the Wall Centre; this corner is part of the hotel use completed in 1994, other parts of the complex include condos.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-276

Posted April 12, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Dawson School, Burrard Street

This is the enlarged Dawson School on Burrard Street, seen in 1902, with its new name, five years after it was doubled in size. The right hand half of the building was the first part to be built, opening as the West End School in 1893 (the third in the city, after the East End School and Central School). On the left is a picture of construction wrapping up in 1892. The lack of symmetry of the earlier building, and the blank windows in the design suggests it was built with the expectation that it would be made larger.

Thomas Tracy designed this first building which fronted Burrard, which in 1892 was pretty much still a dirt track. Tracy was appointed City Engineer in 1891, and was also responsible for the construction of sewer and water supply systems throughout the city.  When the school needed to be enlarged a few years after initial construction, G W Grant was hired, but he used Tracy’s design as a template and added a new northern wing in an exact match of Tracy’s.

Tracy – who was always referred to by his military title as Colonel Tracy in the newspapers – was reported to have been dismissed from his job in early 1905, although he was still working for the city in August, and his dismissal was only reported in the London, Ontario press, (where he originated from), not in Vancouver. His interests extended beyond his professional duties; he owned and developed property on Hastings Street, and by the spring of 1905 he was already designing water and sewer systems for other municipalities including Fernie and Ladysmith while holding down his Vancouver job. He stood for election to the Board of Parks at the end of 1905 when he was described as Ex-City Engineer Tracy.

When a new Dawson School was added to the south of this building, facing Helmcken Street, the original building became the King George High School. At some point it lost the pointed roof on the central tower on the northern end, as seen in this undated VSB image. The school was replaced in 1963 with a new building in the heart of the West End.

Today the site is the landscaped gardens (over the underground parking) of the Wall Centre hotel and condos, with two towers completed in 1994 and the taller tower to the north in 2001.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Sch P29 and CVA SGN 48

Posted April 9, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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1301 Granville Street

Where the Best Western Hotel now stands, in around 1921 there was yet another motoring related business. Rand and Carter sold Goodyear Tires, and for a very short time the Maple Leaf Motor Truck. It appeared – and disappeared – here in the early 1920s, although it was announced that the company had been acquired in December 1920 for $20,000. The odd thing is that the truck company claimed to be based in Montreal, but the only place that there’s any mention of the company is in Vancouver newspapers, and BC Government notification of the registration of the business in 1921. There’s one advertisement for the truck in ‘Canada Industrial’ magazine, also in 1921, which confirms the Montreal location.

A Windsor blacksmith, Moise L Menard produced a series of trucks in the 1910s in his wagon works from one-ton to three-and-a-half ton models. in 1916 Menard built an aerial ladder fire truck for the Walkerville fire department. He sold out to the Maple Leaf Manufacturing Co. of Montreal in 1920. ‘Canadian Machinery’ explained the story “The Maple Leaf Manufacturing Co., Ltd., has recently been incorporated to carry on the manufacture of commercial motor trucks. The personnel of the directorate is identical with that of the Machinery and Munitions, Ltd., which for four years carried on extensive operations in the making of munitions, at plants in Lachine and Sorel. The former plant has been taken over by the new company, and the Windsor plant and general interests of the Menard Motor Truck Co., which has been engaged in motor truck manufacture since 1908, has also been acquired. The Maple Leaf Company will manufacture standard motor trucks and all truck parts, for both domestic and export trade. It is expected that a big business will be built up with the group of countries with which Canada enjoys favored agreements.” The company seems to have disappeared as a truck builder fairly quickly; in 1923 they were still listed on Granville Street along with Rand Tires, and Reo Motors Ltd had been added to the mix; a year layer maple Leaf Trucks were no longer offered here.

The building was newly built. In 1919 Howard & Davis of the Rand Tire Co had hired architect and builder Bedford Davidson to build the $10,000 building – apparently (from the street directory) the first to be constructed on the lot, although the building permit references ‘repairs’. By 1930 Bowell-McDonald Motors were in the building, and five year later the building seems to have disappeared, with nothing shown on this corner at all. That’s not quite accurate: the address moves down the block  (from 1301 to 1313 Granville), and the building was completely repurposed, initially as the Trianon Balllroom, later the Howden Ballroom. The ballroom use lasted through to 1994, the year that Green Day, Beck and GWAR played the hall (on separate bills, obviously). In 1997 the new Best Western Hotel was completed, designed by Gomberoff Policier Bell, and incorporating an Elk’s Lodge when it first opened.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Trans N18

 

Posted March 29, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Howe Street – 500 block, east side

On the left side, on the corner with West Pender is Pender Place, relatively newly built when this 1981 image was shot. Completed in 1973, it’s a pair of identical towers designed by Underwood, McKinley, Wilson & Smith. We’ve seen the other tower (on the corner of West Pender and Granville Street) in earlier posts, including when it was the location of the main post office, and in the 1930s.

The previous building on the corner of Howe Street was only two storeys high. Beside it, across the lane at 540 Howe Street was another modest building, replaced in 1953 by a new office building for Canada Trust designed by McCarter and Nairne. In 1964 the Stock Exchange acquired the building, and after alterations to create a trading floor, moved in, although not for very long. It was redeveloped as part of the northern part of Pacific Centre Mall, completed in 1990. The new building, including a parkade entrance, is actually shorter on this part of the block than its predecessor.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives  CVA 779-W01.29

200 Nelson Street

This two storey warehouse dates to the same year as its neighbor; 1911. This was also designed and built by a builder recorded on the building permit by the City’s clerk as ‘Snider, Geo. & Brethune’. The City Directory listed ‘Snider and Brethour’, run by George Snider and Edgar Brethour, and John S Brethour. Sometimes the Building Permit clerk got the company name right – as there are several other significant buildings listed as being built by Snider and Brethour. George Snider was from BC, born near Sooke and living in Victoria with his wife Amy in 1901. Both Edgar and John Brethour were also born in BC, outside Victoria. They were almost certainly cousins; both their fathers were from Ontario, and both were farmers.

Their client here was the Mainland Transfer Co, confirmed by the 1911 Insurance map who label this building as Mainland Warehouse. Mainland Transfer was incorporated on May 28, 1902, with a capital stock of $50,000, in $100 shares. It seems to have been created by taking over the interests of Atkins & Johnson, who had been in the city from the 1880s. Mainland’s 1902 premises at 120 Water Street were where Atkins and Johnson had been a year earlier. Those gentlemen had gone on to run the Hotel Metropole.

The company became much bigger in 1904 when Gross and McNeill merged with them and Frank Gross (from New Brunswick, arriving in Vancouver in 1887) became manager. John D McNeill, from Ontario and Frank Gross founded their draying and transfer business in the late 1890s. After the merger McNeill briefly became general manager and then 1n 1906 left Mainland and became president of Great Northern Transfer, (handling all the freight related to the Great Northern Railway) and the Vancouver Coal Company.

Mainland Transfer grew significantly in 1906 when it combined operations with the Vancouver Warehouses Ltd. By 1913 Frank Gross was Manager of Mainland Transfer, based on Pender Street, and a director of Vancouver Warehouses (whose warehouse was on Beatty Street) Willie Dalton was both manager of the warehouse company and secretary-treasurer of Mainland Transfer. He arrived in Vancouver (from Huddersfield) in 1904. Robert Houlgate was President of Mainland Transfer in 1913, and he also had a Yorkshire connection, as he had been a bank manager in Morley before joining the Huddersfield based but Vancouver located Yorkshire Guarantee and Securities Corporation, Limited in 1898.

In 1920 this was Mainland Transfer Co Warehouse No. 3, but they shared the premises with Sawmill Machinery Co, Holbrooks Ltd (who were pickle manufacturers) and Crane Co.’s warehouse. In the mid 1930s Gold Band Beverage bottlers were here alongside Gilchrist Machine Co who sold logging equipment, the BC Feed and Egg Co who wholesaled feedstuff, and the Ford Motor Co who assembled vehicles brought in to the rail dock at the back of the building. By the end of the war there were several different businesses here, including Restwell Upholstery, the Green Mill Coffee Shop and the Railway and power Engineering Co. By the late 1950s this part of the 1000 block of Mainland Street was owned by T Eaton and Co. Eaton’s had a showroom in this lower building, and a warehouse in the three storey building next door, which they had occupied from the early 1940s.

These days the building has a variety of tenants including a private 30 student elementary school for children aged 5 to 9.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E18.19