Archive for the ‘Downtown’ Category

The Hall Building – West Pender Street

This 1929 image is very unusual for the angle that was used. The image is attributed to Stuart Thomson and shows a newly completed office building that was overshadowed by its flashier neighbours from the same era, the Marine Building, the Royal Bank, the Georgia Medical Dental Building and across the street, the Stock Exchange Building.

It’s unusual because the architects were from out of town – Northwood and Chivers were a Winnipeg firm of architects, and almost everything else they designed was in that city. While today it’s just known by its address, 789 W Pender, and earlier as The Hall Building, when it was being developed it was called the Coast Investment Building. It was 10 storeys high, and developed by the Hall Investment Corporation, whose President was E E Hall, who also ran Coast Investment. Hall Company Limited were Investment Bankers, and a January 1929 news story explained the development history. “Acquiring the half-interest of Sir Stephen Lennard. E. E. Hall of the Hall Investment corporation becomes sole owner of the $700,000 office block now under construction on the northeast corner of Pender and Howe streets, under the terms of a deal completed today. Mr. Hall has purchased all the stock of Sir Stephen in the Coast Investment company, which was formed for the purpose of erecting the building.”

The building was constructed by Carter-Halls-Aldinger, and they rushed to complete it in September ahead of the Marine Building. The Winnipeg architects weren’t acknowledged in the Vancouver press; McCarter and Nairne were described as the designers – we thought their role was to supervise the construction, but this 1929 sketch in the Vancouver Public Library gives equal billing to both firms. The likely reason for a Winnipeg designer became evident in the notice of the death of Elmer E Hall, in 1939, aged 74. He had arrived in Vancouver from Winnipeg in 1928, and had been born in Nashua, Iowa. He grew up as a farm boy before taking employment at a bank in Iowa. He came to Canada in 1906, and started a banking business in Outlook, Saskatchewan. He moved to Winnipeg in 1908, and his company The Central Grain Co became highly profitable. When it merged in 1928 he brought his funds to Vancouver. He was a director of many businesses in Winnipeg, including Equitable Trust, a Western Grocers and Security National Insurance Company of Canada, which operated a large line of grain elevators.

In 1970 McCarter Nairne and Partners designed an adjacent 15 storey building for the Montreal Trust, set back from the 1929 heritage building’s facade, and replacing single storey restaurant buildings. The expanded building still operates as successful multi-tenanted CBD office space.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3792


737 West Pender Street

These modest single storey buildings were built in the 1920s, and seen here in 1931. The left hand building was developed in 1924 by Stamatis & Evans, (Tom, and George), who hired W T Whiteway to design the $20,000 restaurant.

Constantine Stamatis was the oldest member of a family of restauranteurs in the city. He was born in Greece in 1879, and it looks like he was initially in the US; we think he married Helen Dupont in Seattle in 1910 (where he was recorded as Stanatis). He first appeared in the street directory in 1912 as the first family member to arrive in Vancouver, running the People’s Waffle House on Powell Street, and living on Keefer Street. A year later his home got more crowded when Harry and Tom Stamatis moved in. Harry was a waiter and Tom was shown as the proprietor of both the Waffle House and the Fountain Cafe on W Cordova. (There was some shuffling of responsibilities; in 1914 J R Smith owned the Fountain Cafe and C Stamatis was shown as a waiter there. The People’s Waffle House that year was owned by both Thomas and G Stamatis – Constantine was more often known as Gus, or sometimes Gust).

Thomas Stamatis was born in 1885, according to a 1914 border crossing at Blaine. The third brother, (Aristotle) Harry Stamatis was born in 1895 in Thebes, according to his 1923 death certificate. In 1916 Tom Stamatis was the only family member still listed in the city, and he ran the National Oyster House at 727 W Pender, (a few doors to the east of here) which a year later became the National Oyster and Chop House. By 1920 it was renamed the National Cafe, and George Evans had joined him in running the business. Tom had married Victoria Kyrias in 1918, when his birth name of Anastasios Stamatis was recorded. Victoria was 24, and originally from Macedonia.

‘Gust’ Stamatis reappeared in the directory briefly in 1919 (so he may have been fighting in the war). He ran the King’s Cafe on Carrall Street, and when Harry reappeared he was a waiter at the Palace Cafe. As Constantine Stamates he was apparently the only family member in the city in the 1921 census, living alone on Parker Street and running a restaurant. George Evans was shown running the National Cafe at 727 W Pender, and Thomas was running the Trocadero Cafe on West Hastings, but in 1922 Thomas was shown running both the National and the Trocadero.

Their new cafe here was described as “First-class lunch counter and restaurant, for Mr. T. Stamatis of the Trocadero & National Cafes; one-storey & bsmt., lower floor substantial enough to carry another story if owners choose in future; brick & tile construction”. It opened in 1924 with a full page story in the Vancouver Sun. There was a bakery upstairs, and coolers in the basement.  “There is a machine for paring potatoes, a machine for slicing potatoes for preparation as “French fried,” a machine for slicing bread, a machine for mashing potatoes, a machine for peeling and coring apples, a machine for washing dishes in fact one for almost every task where human judgment and skill are not needed to do a better Job than a machine could do.” The whole project was reported to cost $85,000

The only reference to George Evans was in the permit to build this, and the opening news piece. He lived on West Pender, and later on Burrard, but seems to have been missed by the 1921 census. He continued to partner in ownership of the restaurant here, and on West Hastings, with Tom Stamatis until at least 1939. He appears to have been Greek – we assume Evans was an anglicized version of his name. He was active in the Hellenic Society, and he often attended events with his wife and Tom Stamatis and his spouse.

By 1932 there was a Trocadero on Granville, and another on West Hastings. As well as this National Lunch, there was a short-lived National Lunch #2, two blocks from the Trocadero, on Granville. The Granville Trocadero and National Lunch #2 had both closed by 1935. In 1933 there was a fire on the roof of the restaurant, but it doesn’t appear that the damage was sufficient to close the business.

In 1935 Gus Stamatis developed a close relationship with Nobutaro Okazaki who farmed a homestead owned by Gus, four miles south of the New Westminster Bridge in Surrey. The restaurants got their supplies from the farm – one of the earliest examples of ‘farm to table’. All that ended when the Okazaki’s were forced into a camp in the interior in 1942, and in 1947 Trocadero Farm was sold to Surrey Council as the home of the future Surrey Memorial Hospital.

Constantine (Gus) Stamatis died in 1941, aged 62, survived by his brother Thomas, and three sisters, in Greece. Tom took over as manager of the National Lunch, and president of the Trocadero, and that year Mrs. Thomas Stamatis hired C B K Van Norman to design a new home for them. In 1953 Thomas and his wife Victoria applied to change their name to Stamatis Standish. George Stamatis (their son) and his wife Eunice had changed their name to Standish in 1945, and so did their son Christopher. Thomas died in 1957, in Surrey, and Victoria four years later, in Vancouver.

Next door was a building owned by W E O’Brien. He carried out repairs in 1924 but in 1927 rebuilt the premises on a double lot at a cost of $14,492 with Townley & Matheson designing the building. When they were completed there were three storefronts; Campbell Brothers (shoe repairers) at 731, the Soo Barber Shop run by A Cowell at 733 and the Soo Cigar Stand with F Edwards at 735. By 1931, when this photo was taken, 735 was part of the National Lunch, with the shoe repairer, Andy’s Barber Shop and the St Dunstan’s Cigar Stand all operating in the same unit.

The developer, William E O’Brien had for many years been a ‘Dance Master’. The British Columbia Land and Investment Agency Building on West Hastings was known more often as The O’Brien Hall. William and his wife Gertrude were from Ontario. By 1930 the O’Brien’s were no longer shown in the street directory, but they were living in Vancouver again in 1935, in retirement. Gertrude died in Vancouver in 1951, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery, and  William in 1957, when he was buried with her.

The building to the left of these buildings had been built in 1929, designed by Winnipeg srchitects Northwood and Chivers, and named the Hall Building. In 1970 the Montreal Trust Building replaced the National Cafe and was attached to the earlier building, set back from the facade, in a style to match, designed by McCarter, Nairne and Partners. Sprott Shaw College occupy space in the building, with a contemporary furniture store on the main floor.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3985 fire CVA 99-2803




Posted 22 August 2022 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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St Paul’s Church – Hornby Street

St Paul’s Church was built in Yaletown, which at the time was a newly developing residential neighbourhood, between Homer and Burrard Streets, on the southern end of the Downtown peninsula. It appeared in the 1890 street directory, but our photograph was taken in 1889 when it was first completed. We haven’t been able to trace an architect, but it occupied lots on Hornby Street, between Davie and Drake. The residential neighbourhood developed slowly, with many of the residents working for the railway company who had their maintenance yards and roundhouse nearby. Within a few years of its construction a tower was added to the church.

We’re not sure why, but at the end of 1898 it was announced that “there is talk of St Paul’s church being removed from Hornby Street to the corner of Butte and Pender streets.” Perhaps the fact that there was a West End Methodist, and a West End Baptist church, but no Anglican building, was a factor, The rector by then, the Reverend H J Underhill was already a West End resident. He had become rector in 1896, and a year later was the first resident of a new house on the corner of Barclay and Broughton streets.

In January 1899 there was an illustration in the newspaper, (taken from a photograph), showing the church raised on huge timbers in preparation for moving. It’s new home was not ‘Butte and Pender’, but rather Jervis and Pendrell.

The Archives have that image (left) and another (below) showing the church moving along Davie Street, apparently on rails, built for the task. The West End was more sparsely occupied that Yaletown at the time, so it wouldn’t have created much disruption. The report said the removal was successfully accomplished by the contractor, J N Menzies. ‘The church is 85 x 25 feet, and the tower is 40 feet high.

The site on Hornby, briefly occupied by the church, was vacant for several years, but by 1911 three houses had been built where the church had stood.

In 1989 The Ritz Asia Company built a new hotel here, designed by Eng & Wright. Today it’s a Residence Inn by Marriott, the latest incarnation of the hotel. Before this, it was known as the Cascadia Hotel and Suites, and when it first opened it was the Westbrook Hotel.

The adjacent Landis Hotel was developed in 1993, theoretically as a residential annex to the hotel, although it has always been operated as a hotel.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Ch P33, Ch P37 and Ch P36.


Posted 8 August 2022 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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

Elysium Hotel, West Pender Street (2)

This is our second look at this surprisingly short-lived hotel building, the New Elsium Hotel built on West Pender Street. The image in our first post wasn’t particularly good (as the photo had faded, or been badly under-exposed) and we now have much more information about the mysterious developer ‘C C Smith’. Robert Moen, of the comprehensively researched WestEndVancouver blog, has worked out who C C Smith probably was – not a Smith at all, but a gentleman called Christopher Cameron McRae.

The September 1909 permit for the $95,000 construction was to C C Smith, and the architect was identified as Sholto Smith, to be built by ‘McNeil & Marsegh’. The building was described as apartment or rooming house. Expectations were for the building to open in April 1910, but before it was completed, Robert Forrest took on the project, and it would seem that C C Smith was no longer involved as a developer. Robert Forrest, a civil engineer who ran the Glenwood Rooms, also on West Pender, purchased the site.

A court case in 1911 tells a different story to the building permit (and tells us something about the construction of the building). A bricklayer called Sydney Hosgood filed a claim in the BC Supreme Court for over $10,000 for the injuries he received when the scaffolding he was working from collapsed. In November 1909 he was working on the fourth floor, when ‘the walls separated, allowing the fifth floor to fall in on top of him’. He was knocked unconscious and thrown onto a verandah two floors below. In the case C C Smith was described as the contractor, and Joshua Mansergh was the client. (The case was found in favour of Mr. Hosgood, who was awarded $3,500 in damages against Mr. Smith, who declined to pay, and was cited for contempt. We don’t know if he went to jail, or eventually paid up).

There’s considerable confusion about the roles of Smith, and Mansergh. A 1909 Daily World article said “Mr C C Smith is having this magnificent structure erected having great faith in the future development of Vancouver”. One article about the judgement referred to him ‘of North Vancouver’, but that seems inaccurate. Charles C Smith, a real estate broker there, was perhaps being confused for the developer.

Joshua Mansergh has been as elusive as ‘C C Smith’. He was listed as a contractor between 1909 and 1911, in partnership with a variety of changing partners, and while he was sometimes listed as John, a mining claim he made in 1911 shows he was a contractor, and confirms he was named Joshua. In a 1909 court case Mansergh and Burkley failed to get additional payment for a stables they erected in the West End. In 1910 the architect, Sholto Smith, designed a house for himself (and his wife and child) on W 14th Avenue, which was built for him by Mansergh and Walker, so there was clearly a business relationship between Sholto Smith and Joshua Mansergh.

Another court case in 1910 strengthened that connection; J Wilson sought $500 from Mansergh for wages from the construction of the Wigwam Inn. The defence was that he was a partner, and not entitled to wages, but the court awarded him $421. The Wigwam Inn was up Indian Arm, developed in 1910 by Benjamin Dickens and Konstantin ‘Alvo’ von Alvensleben, and one of the few buildings we know was also designed by Sholto Smith.

J Mansergh lived in rooms at 991 W Pender, which was the home of a Mrs. Cropley. As a contractor he only seems to have built two houses in three years, (one of them the house for Sholto Smith). He doesn’t seem to have been listed by any Canadian census, or indeed, in any other publications except reported court cases – where he generally lost. He’s most likely to have been born in 1873 in Yorkshire in England; the only Joshua Mansergh we can find born in the later half of the 1800s was a joiner in 1901.

In 1923 an obituary appeared in the Vancouver Sun under the headline ‘C C Smith dies in City Hospital’. It references his wife, daughter Donalda, and a home on W 11th Avenue, and says he was a 58 year old contractor who came to the city from Ontario 31 years ago. All the other newspapers referred to the death of C C McRae, with the other details the same. There’s no indication why the Sun should identify Mr. McRae as ‘Smith’.

C C McRae called himself an architect in 1894, with on office on Cordova, and married Jennie Boyd McMillan, of Mount Pleasant, in 1902, when he described his occupation as architect. The Museum of Vancouver has a copy of their framed wedding photograph. Jennie was a school teacher, and their daughter Donalda was born in 1909, and became a social worker. (In 1907 the couple had a son, who only lived for a week). Jeannie McRae lived in Vancouver until her death in 1951, and Donalda died, having never married, in 1987.

Apart from the name ‘Smith’, there seems unlikely to be any connection between C C McRae and Sholto Smith. The architect was born in Nice, to English parents, and arrived in Quebec when they emigrated, and he was aged ten. His training as an architect was in Montreal, and he ended up practicing in Moose Jaw between 1906 and 1908, and then moved to Vancouver. He married Charles Woodward’s daughter, Peg, in 1909, and picked up some work for the retail magnate, as well as the Elysium and the Wigwam Inn. As the economy paused, work dried up, and the family moved back to Moose Jaw. Following the war, and the failure of his marriage, he moved to New Zealand.

The earlier post describes the fate of the hotel following its construction. It was demolished in the late 1970s, and replaced with an office building designed by Hamilton Doyle in 1985.

Image source: Simon Fraser University, British Columbia Postcard Collection.


Posted 25 July 2022 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Pacific Street east from Burrard (2)

We looked at a version of this view from a different angle a few months ago. This image by the City Engineers, is dated 1980-1997, but we can pin it down to 1982 when the Kilborn Building (on the left, and pretty much the only building on the image) was completed. The construction hoarding is up, but it looks almost complete.

In the 40 years since the image was taken, the tree in the middle has grown a lot, and thousands of new apartments have been added, including several hundred very recently. On the left is The Pacific, 39 storeys and 224 apartments, with an arts facility (gifted to the City) beyond it. Beyond it are two towers, The 501 from 1999 at 32 storeys and behind it The Charleson, from 2017 at 43 storeys.

Across the street to the south, Pacific Promenade is the earliest residential building in the picture, from 1994, with a brick skin. Behind, and to the south, is Pomaria, from 2007, and the biggest tower, the 52 floors of Vancouver House, only recently completed. From here it looks like a normal tower, but the base starts as a triangle and then gradually increases into a rectangular floorplate at the top. Further east are the first of Concord Pacific’s Beach neighbourhood towers – (there are more to the south, hidden from this point).

This is by no means a completed development picture. Another 50+ storey tower is planned beyond Vancouver House, on a podium of non-market housing. On the left the City have a recently approved rezoning to add four more towers to replace the off-ramp loops from Granville Bridge, replacing them with a regular street grid, and freeing up development sites. Closest to us, in a location that will no doubt one day block the view of Vancouver House, is a large City-owned site that has yet to see a development proposal.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 772-275


Posted 18 July 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Howe Street – 600 block, west side

This row of houses was photographed before the street had been levelled. This remarkably clear image dates from around 1889, and shows two families out on the porches of their homes. (It also shows why reports of  injuries to people crossing the street at that time were probably not exaggerated.)

The houses would have been built on wooden piles hammered into the forest floor, and the sidewalk was built level on heavy timber posts. The street levelling often took a few more years to complete. Even today, it’s still sometimes possible to come across sawn-off stumps in the crawl-space underneath houses from the 1880s and early 1890s, with the house supported on wooden posts or short brickwork columns.

As best we can tell, these were on today’s 600 block; described as ‘between W Georgia & Dunsmuir’. In 1889 it was the 400 block, and these would have been the second of two identical houses, both (confusingly) numbered as 427 with 429 Howe Street in the middle and 431 beyond.

George DeWolf was managing Director of the British Columbia Smelting Co, living at 427 Howe. By 1891 he was in real estate, and had moved with his wife and three daughters to Georgia, on the corner of Bute. His wife Frances was English, but George was from Nova Scotia, and his eldest daughter Elsa would have been about six when the photo was taken. In 1890 the numbering had been sorted out, and George was at 425 (which would have been off the picture to the right).

J M Clute also lived at 427. He worked for J S Clute and Co, dry goods (and J S Clute lived next door at 429, as well as an otherwise unidentified Beasley family). In 1891 J M moved on to work in real estate, (although the street directory thought he was still in the dry goods business), and  J M Clute had moved to rooms in the Manor House Hotel. He was from Ontario, and his wife was American. They had two daughters, aged 13 and 9 when the picture was taken, which makes him a more likely candidate to be in the picture.

A Mr. Watson (occupation unspecified) was at 431 Howe, where there was a family party in the porch, and a boy wearing a sea captain’s hat (maybe a pirate?) apparently intrigued by the photographer. In 1890 Mr. Watson had moved, and been replaced by James Lacey Johnson, an insurance agent.

The houses didn’t last too long. As we saw in an earlier post, by the 1930s this was already a commercial street. The commercial buildings that replaced these homes were modest, and in turn redeveloped in 1984 by the Metropolitan Hotel, designed by Dalla-Lana / Griffin Architects for Hongkong Land. When it opened it was managed as the Mandarin Hotel, and was said to be the most expensive investment per room in North America, and designed on Feng Shui principals. That didn’t help turn a profit – the hotel lost millions in each of its first 3 years of operation, and it was renamed as the Delta Place (and at least one website exists that says it’s still called that, although it became the independently owned Metropolitan in 1995.) There’s a squash court among the hotel’s fitness offerings, as well as a swimming pool.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA SGN 140


Posted 14 July 2022 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Burrard Street – south from Burnaby Street

It’s 1914, and we’re looking south on Burrard street from around the top of the hill that slopes down to False Creek, a little further north than the previous post. Down the hill there are extensive industrial operations, including a brickworks, a sawmill, boatbuilding and wharves along the water’s edge. There was no bridge until the early 1930s, so no transit ran along this stretch.

The fire hydrants are almost in the same location 108 years later, but now there’s also a bigger, blue hydrant that would allow the fire brigade to fight fires with seawater in the event of an earthquake. The smoking object down the street is a mystery. It could be a piece of heavy equipment, perhaps related to paving the road (at last – it’s been unpaved for over 25 years). As far as we can tell there was no significant building or industrial plant on that alignment, only a boat building yard and construction materials storage.

We know a little about the row of houses on the left. They’re the 1300 block (even numbers) on Burrard, and they were almost all built after 1905 and before 1909, in the few years where the permits have been lost. Five houses were built earlier – and we have some records for their construction. There were two larger houses that each occupied a lot-and-a-half, (so with a 50 foot frontage). P P Findlay owned, designed and developed 1348 Burrard, a $2,000 dwelling, in 1904. It wasn’t occupied until 1906, when Thomas Allen, who was in real estate, moved in.

George Sills was recorded hiring A Sykes to design a house at 1352 in 1905. (We think the clerk made an error, as we can’t find a George Sills in Vancouver). G Thorpe built the $2,000 house, and in 1905 it was Thomas Sills, a CPR employee, who was living there. Thomas had emigrated from Yorkshire, England when he was one, and was married to Sarah Kilpatrick in Vancouver in 1891, who was 19 years older, and born in Ontario. He was a fitter in the CPR shops, and as well as building his own home, Thomas dabbled in the province’s other main obsession, mining. He applied to buy 640 acres in the Cassiar District of the Skeena in 1910, when he was described as a machinist. In 1911 Sarah’s brother, George Kilpatrick, and her sister, Elizabeth were living here too. Sarah died in 1915, aged 69, and in 1919 Thomas married Elizabeth (who although 8 years younger than her sister was still 11 years older than Thomas). Elizabeth died in 1936, and Thomas 21 years later at the age of 91.

The first house on the block was 1310 Burrard, and in 1905 George Fortin, owner of the Louvre Saloon in Gastown lived there. In 1905 he obtained a permit for a $2,200 frame dwelling. We looked at his history in connection with the block he developed on West Cordova.

At the far end of the block Jacob Hoffmeister’s permit was also in 1905 for a $2,000 dwelling, and in 1906 he was living at 1386 Burrard. His next-door neighbour up the hill at 1378 was Ansil Thatcher, a machinist, and he carried out $400 of alterations in 1907. We looked at both Jacob and Ansil’s houses in an earlier post of this row looking north from Burrard Bridge.

The other houses seem to have been built by speculative builders and then sold on. Thomas Morton (who first bought the West End before the city had been created), Reilly Bros, William Gormley, a carpenter and Elliot Brothers were among others who all built multiple dwellings along Burrard in the early 1900s.

Today there’s a rare ‘street wall’ block of brick-clad apartments, called Anchor point. There are three buildings, each a separate strata, nine storeys high designed by Waisman Dewar Grout Architects for Daon Developments and completed in 1978. There have been unsuccessful attempts by developers to acquire enough of the units to trigger a redevelopment, but so far that hasn’t happened. A new tower completed last year beyond Anchor Point, The Pacific, gives a sense of the scale that a replacement might seek to achieve. On the west side of the street, on the corner of Burnaby Street is the Ellington, a 20 storey condo from 1990, while Modern, a 17 storey condo building from 2014 can be seen to the south.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives LGN 1126


Posted 30 May 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Burrard Street – south from Harwood

We took a while to pin down where this image should be shot from. The 1930 picture shows Burrard Street at it’s southern end, heading downhill close to where it stopped at False Creek. Because the Burrard Bridge was yet to be constructed here, the wide boulevard of Burrard was only partially paved, and there were wide verges that cars parked on.

There’s a single house down the street on the right, and from the insurance map we think that must be 1000 Beach Avenue. It was an isolated house, next to a brick factory owned by the Pacific Pressed Brick Co in 1920, with Champion and White’s Building material wharf and gravel bunkers beyond it on the side of False Creek. The house appeared in 1906, and the occupant was William W White, manager. He wasn’t too bothered about the builders yard because he was the ‘White’ in Champion and White. We looked at the biography of Samuel Champion in connection to a property he developed on Powell Street.

William W White was 38 in the 1901 census. (He arrived from England in 1889, and was shown as living alone and a general labourer in the 1891 census). His wife, Alice, who was a year younger, arrived in Canada in 1891, and they married in July. In 1892 their daughter, Hilda, was born, followed by Eveline in 1894, and son William Wall in 1898. Mabel came along two years after the census in 1903.

Alice Urch married William Walter White in Vancouver in 1891. She was born in Newington, and brought up in London. He was born in Manchester, but his parents had married in London. His mother, Rebecca Fosdick, and her mother, Emma Fosdick, were probably related as they came from different households in Devonshire.

In 1911 William was also president of Coast Quarries Ltd. He died in 1919 when he was only 55; Alice was listed as his widow that year, living in the same house with her daughter Evaline who was a teacher at Franklin School and son William, who was working for Champion & White. Evaline married William Mann, a Scot in July that year and Hilda married David Irwin in October. Alice was still here in 1921, when Mabel, a stenographer, was still at home, and William, who now worked as assistant manager for McBride & Co, one of Champion & White’s rivals. A year later only Mabel was listed in the city, living on West 10th Avenue. William married Ada Nicholson in January 1922.

John Donaldson, of the ‘Exclusive Shop’ moved into the house here. In 1931 Knud Jensen, a labourer at Coast Cement was here, the house was vacant a year later (unsurprisingly as the bridge was under construction almost on top of it), but in 1933 Miss E H Fraser, a telephone operator at BC Tel was living in the house. She stayed for several years, and so too did the house. In 1955 W Percy Beale, listed as a mate, was living here.

Alice White was 80 and still in Vancouver when she died in 1944. Her daughter Hilda died when she was living in Trail, in 1965, and her husband, David, a year later. Her daughter, Evaline Mann died in West Vancouver in 1972, and Mabel Bayley in North Vancouver in 1983. William died in Nanaimo in 1987.

Today the spot the house stood on is part of Sunset Park, to the north of the Aquatic Centre, the windowless swimming pool that was completed in 1974, and supposed to be replaced in a few years time. At 1005 Beach, across the street, ‘Alvar’ a 28 storey condo tower was developed by Concert Properties in 2004.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives, Walter E Frost, CVA 447-103


Posted 26 May 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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1365 Seymour Street

Today’s view leaves a great deal to be desired – and it won’t be changing any time soon. This block of Seymour Street faces the off-ramp from the Granville Bridge, and is narrowed to half the width the road was before the ‘new’ Granville Bridge was built, so the ‘before’ image would have been located across the street just beyond the ramp. (There’s a mysterious room under the ramp at this point, with a solid steel door).

Vancouver Parts Co Ltd. developed the building in 1928, hiring Henry Sandham Griffith to design it, and spending $18,000 having G R Coulson build it. It was built with reinforced concrete, and was inaccurately described as a car showroom in the Engineering and Contract Journal. Before they developed here, the Parts Co were at 1260 Granville Street, sharing with Hayes Anderson Motors. The company first appeared in 1922, when D Hayes was the company secretary. Douglas Hayes was the manager of Hayes-Anderson, so the parts business was initially an adjunct business, but one he knew well, as that was his business before establishing the truck company. By 1928 William E Anderson was shown as company president, while Doug Hayes was listed in association with their truck business (although William Anderson was also president of that business). A year later, when they moved in here it was Doug Hayes who was listed as running the business.

In 1934 the business management switched to Alex Eadie, a year after this picture was taken. He had been working at the parts company when Hayes and Anderson were still involved. In 1921 William Anderson lived on Vancouver Island, but he moved back to Vancouver in a new $20,000 home on Angus Drive that year. He retired around 1930, and was no longer living in Vancouver in 1931. Douglas Hayes was originally from Dublin, Ireland, born there in 1887. He married Ella Beam in New Westminster in 1923, and they had two sons, Donald and George, and a daughter, Eleanor. It was Douglas’s second marriage; his first was in Manhattan in 1914 to Lillian Rosin, from Ontario, who died in 1923 aged 32. When he married Ella he a son, Douglas and a daughter, Lillian from his first marriage. Douglas Hayes was 95 when he died in Duncan on Vancouver Island in 1983.

Vancouver Parts were only at this address until 1951, when Sanford Addison was the managing director. The business moved to West 4th Avenue, and the 24-year-old building was demolished for the construction of the new Granville Bridge Seymour Street off-ramp. There are plans to remove the loops beyond the ramp, and create a new road grid and six new buildings, but the on and off ramps that link to Howe and Seymour steets will remain.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4567


Posted 19 May 2022 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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