Archive for the ‘Downtown’ Category

West Georgia Street – north side

We had to make up a title for this image, which was taken some time in the 1970s or early 80s. It was part of the City Engineers slide collection – and the best they could come up with was ‘Untitled’. We’re guessing early 1980s, because the park here was established in 1983, with funds from the Calgary-based Devonian Group of Charitable Foundations who provided over $600,000 to develop the site.

We’ve seen in an earlier post that there were buildings along this side of West Georgia as recently as 1964. The land here became vacant in 1959, when the Georgia Auditorium (built in 1927) was demolished. It was a popular venue with 2,500 seats, but became irrelevant after the construction of the QE Theatre Downtown. Behind it the Vancouver Arena had been built in 1911, a much larger arena with 10,500 seats and the city’s ice hockey and curling rink. It burned down in 1936.

Once those buildings had gone, there was still a lot of asphalt, but not much happening on the waterfront here 40 years ago. Since the picture was taken the spindly new trees have matured, and Devonian Harbour Park is effectively a continuation of Stanley Park. There’s a different sort of forest to the east – the forest of Bayshore towers. On the left, on the waterfront, the Waterfront Residences were designed by Henriquez Partners, and completed in 1999. Next to the street, the 1710 Bayshore Drive condo buildings were designed by Eng, Wright and Bruckner and completed two years earlier. The developers were a Japanese company, Aoki Corporation. They acquired the land when they bought the Westin Corporation, which had developed the Westin Bayshore Hotel, visible in the distance. It was designed by D C Simpson in 1961, with the 20 storey tower added in 1970.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 800-2709

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Posted 23 September 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Vancouver Auditorium – West Georgia Street

The Vancouver Auditorium – or Georgia Auditorium – initially the Denman Auditorium – was built in front of the Vancouver Arena and opposite the Horse Show Building (which had by then become the Stanley Park Armories) in 1927. It was developed by the Patrick family’s Vancouver Arena Co, and it didn’t have an architect design it, but an engineer, L T Alden and cost $60,000 to build. Frank and Lester Patrick built the 2,500 seat building to promote shows that were too small for the cavernous Arena, next door. In its early days, there were boxing and wrestling matches, (as there had been in the Horse Show Building early in its life) and rallies and political meetings. The Arena was destroyed in a huge fire in 1936, but although damaged, the Auditorium continued in operation.

During World War II, it was taken over by the Canadian Navy and was temporarily used as a storage facility by Boeing Aircraft. The Palomar Supper Club owner Hymie Singer returned from the war, and bought the Denman Auditorium and Arena site apparently intending to build a new Arena (but that was never pursued). He promoted shows in the Auditorium: in 1948 jazz vocalist Kenny Hagood brought his show to town, in 1949 the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and in 1950 violinist Jascha Heifetz performed. The building was renovated as a concert venue in 1952, renamed the Georgia Auditorium, and the mix of shows, rallies and large meetings continued. Dave Brubeck played in 1953, as did Charlie Parker and Ella Fitzgerald. She returned in 1955, and Jascha Heifetz again played the venue.

In 1957 a ‘who’s who’ of contemporary music appeared. The Province critic’s review was less than enthusiastic: “The young patrons, the great majority in the 15-year-old bracket, sat through two hours of brash musical noises highlighted by Fats Domino. The first show started at about 7 p.m. and the Auditorium was cleared to allow another show to go on at 9:30 p.m. The Audience was amazingly well behaved as special duty policemen patrolled the aisles. Guitarist Buddy Knox, who rose to fame with a record called “Party Doll” did three songs and was well received.” That same year both Ella Fitzgerald and Dave Brubeck returned their tours to the auditorium.

A year later Sir John Gielgud appeared in a world tour of “Shakespear’s Ages of Man”, and also in 1958 operatic soprano Lily Pons performed. The venue closed in 1959, with the opening of the new civic theatres Downtown, with the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and The Playhouse offering a much better (and more comfortable) customer experience. This image was taken that year, with a sign offering ‘This Valuable Corner Property For Sale’. By August it had been demolished, and the site sat for many years. Various residential tower schemes were proposed, some by local developers, one by a New York developer, but none found acceptance. Eventually residential buildings were allowed further east, and this became a park that joins into Stanley Park known as Devonian Harbour Park after the Calgary charitable foundation that donated $600,000 to move the project forward.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1123-6

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Posted 16 September 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Robson and Bute – north east corner

This image is labelled as the former Bute Street Private Hospital, seen in an Archives image taken somewhere in the 1940s to the 1960s. The Library have a copy too, and say it was photographed in 1960.

Dr. Simon J Tunstall was born in St. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec in 1854, and after qualifying in medicine in Montreal he headed west in 1881, working for the Canadian Pacific Railway in Lytton and Kamloops, where he established a medical practice. He was married by a ship’s captain in Victoria in 1885 to Marianne Innes, daughter of the naval storekeeper at the naval base in Esquimalt. In 1892 they moved to Vancouver, where Dr. Tunstall’s office was on Cordova, and they were living initially on Hamilton Street, then East Hastings, and in 1898 at 1036 Robson, with the doctor’s office moving to the Flack Block. The Tunstall family had moved to this house by 1905.

It first appears around 1900, home to Bertha Wolfe, a Jewish widow who had previously lived across Bute Street on the next block along. Described as a boarding house keeper, in 1901 she lived with her daughter, Ethel, her niece, Minnie Meyer, three Chinese domestic servants and eleven lodgers. Bertha (who was also born in the USA) had been married to Marcus Wolfe who was an insurance agent and real estate broker in Nanaimo, born in New Orleans and who died in 1896. In 1881 he was living in Hope, working as a clerk, living with Isaac Oppenheimer and his family. He shot himself in what was described at his inquest as “death by his own hand during a fit of temporary aberration”. He had apparently been in financial difficulties, so it’s unlikely that Bertha had the funds to build the house, although she may have been able to borrow them. She ran the boarding house here until 1904; by 1905 Dr. Tunstall had moved in. There’s no sign of Mrs. Wolfe in the city after this. Her daughter Babette, (Ethel was her middle name), married in 1906 to Alexander Green, who became a bank manager and in 1915 they moved to Victoria. In 1930 he drowned in the Thompson River in Kamloops while he was on a train journey from Vancouver to Toronto.

The Tunstall’s needed the large house; the 1911 census shows five daughters at home, aged 15 to 24. That year Dr. Tunstall built a garage, but in 1902 he had become a much more ambitious property developer, building a large commercial block on the corner of Dunsmuir and Granville. He maintained his practice until around 1912, when the house was sold and the family moved to West 2nd Avenue. He added an additional two floors to the Tunstall Block. In 1913 Marianne was living in the West End – Dr. Tunstall apparently suffering from problems with alcohol, entered a nursing home The Tunstall’s apparently moved again to another house on West 2nd in 1914, although Marianne had taken her daughters on a trip to Europe ‘for a year’ in 1913. Dr. Tunstall died in 1917, leaving an estate estimated at $250,000 (although eventually it was assessed at $134,000). His will had a disputed codicil, added in 1916, leaving funds to Emma Playter and her son. The Tunstall family members alleged that Simon had made the codicil while he was the victim of alcoholic dementia, but the case was settled in 1918 before it could be heard in court. Marianne stayed in Vancouver, and all five daughters married. Her second daughter’s husband, John Browne, died in 1920, and Marjorie and her three young children moved in with Mrs. Tunstall. Marianne died in 1935 aged 73.

The private Bute Street Hospital operated from 1913, run by Mrs. Mildred A Moran. The Province had earlier announced “Bute Street Lot Sold For $80,000: English Capitalists Buy Site of Private Hospital in West End: Will Erect Pressed Brick Business Block in Near Future”, but in practice the house was retained as the hospital. In 1913 (Emily) Pauline Johnson, the poet, died here of cancer, and in the same year, W R Angus, pioneer and developer of a house nearby. In 1917 hockey legend Fred ‘Cyclone’ Taylor had his ruptured appendix fixed, and despite fears that he wouldn’t be able to play again, was skating five weeks later. Fortunately the hospital saw many births as well as deaths: pioneer Vancouver oncologist Dr. Richard Beck was born here in 1913. The last year the hospital was listed was 1931; a year later it had become Minaki Lodge, and it remained a rooming house (again) until it was demolished, probably not long after this image was taken.

Next to the hospital (on the edge of the picture) was J McRae’s 1928 Robson Garage, designed by Townley and Matheson. By the early 1970s this was the site of a Texaco Gas Station, only to be replaced in 1985 with a 2-storey retail building that includes a London Drugs store, and smaller retail units on Bute Street, designed by Hale Architects.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 2011-010.1800

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Posted 13 September 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Vancouver Arena – West Georgia and Denman

The Vancouver Arena was sometimes called the Denman Arena, as it sat on the water side of West Georgia Street, to the west of where Denman Street crosses. It was developed in 1911 and is seen here around 1920 (and not 1913) in a Vancouver Public Library image. It was the city’s biggest venue, with 10,500 seats around the artificial ice surface, used for ice skating, ice hockey and curling. Thomas Hooper designed the $300,000 arena for the Vancouver Arena Co., Ltd, controlled by Frank Patrick. (The permit was for $80,000, but that was just the cost of the structure; the land and ice making equipment added significantly to the investment).

It was the first artificial rink in Canada, and was claimed as the largest indoor ice rink in the world at the time it opened (although Madison Square Gardens was actually bigger). Frank Patrick was from Ottawa, and came to Vancouver in the early 1900s when he ran the local operations of the Patrick Lumber Co. based in Nelson and run by his father, Joe. A former professional hockey player, he founded the Vancouver Millionaires hockey team in 1911, bringing Fred ‘Cyclone’ Taylor to lead the team in 1912, and winning the Stanley Cup in 1915 by beating the Ottawa Senators at the Denman Arena.

In 1914, the Arena was used to house over 1,000 soldiers who were assembling to form the 23rd Infantry Brigade. The soldiers left Vancouver in August 1914 to be deployed as the first Canadian troops in World War I. The arena was also used for other sports, musical performances and public assemblies. Here’s the 1917 motor show on the floor of the Arena.

In 1921 it hosted the first international women’s ice hockey championship, organized by Patrick’s Pacific Coast Hockey Association. In 1924 William Lyon Mackenzie King, the Canadian Prime Minister, during a tour of the west, broadcast a speech from the arena which may have been the first political broadcast in Canada. The CCF held a political rally in 1935 that attracted 16,000 people – the largest indoor gathering that the city had ever seen.

Wooden buildings in Vancouver had a history of burning down, and in the mid 1930s the Arena was given a brick skin (and a new nickname, ‘The Pile’) in order to avoid the fate of the Victoria and New Westminster arenas. In August 1936 a crowd of around 4,000 watched a boxing match between Max Bauer and James J Walsh. Later that evening the nearby boat builders yard caught fire, and around 1.30am the flames spread and engulfed the Arena. Two lives were lost and three firemen injured. The Arena was destroyed, along with seven industrial buildings, two homes and fifty-eight small boats.

The Patrick family announced plans for a replacement, but that never happened. They had built a smaller building in front of the Arena, the Georgia Auditorium, and although damaged that was saved from the fire. In 1945 the Arena site was sold to Hymie Singer, a local theatre and club owner, for $80,000, and he announced a new million-dollar arena, that was also never realized. Once the Auditorium closed in 1959 the site was eyed by several developers for a forest of towers, but eventually it became part of Devonian Harbour Park.

Image sources; Vancouver Public Library and City of Vancouver Archives CVA 94-56

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Posted 9 September 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Pacific Street from Burrard

We’re looking southeast from Pacific Street on March 13 1931. These houses aren’t that old, but they’re about to be demolished for the new Burrard Bridge. Further north, Burrard was a wide boulevard, lined with big houses, but here it narrowed and dropped down a steep grade to False Creek. That all changed when the Burrard Bridge was built.

The houses on Pacific (on the left of the image) were built during the lost permit period, but we’ve traced several of them. Edward Hunt developed one of the homes in 1907, as a permit reference in the Daily World mentions the lot number. That house cost $2,000, and five months earlier Edward built another house on Pacific for $1,800. The 1908 street directory confirms there were four houses here (where there were none in 1906), and Edward Hunt was living in 934, the third in the row from Burrard. William Rickson, a merchant was at 928, Daniel MacLaren, a tailor at 940 and John Allen, a real estate agent was in the corner house, 946 Pacific.

We initially couldn’t find Edward in the 1911 census, (although there was another Edward Hunt who was a developer in the city at the time). Fortunately our contractor had been in the city in 1901, when he was a carpenter, living on Howe Street. That year’s census showed him from England, aged 44, having arrived in 1888. His wife, Mary was a year older, and they had three daughters. The eldest who was 18 was born in the US, her 14 year old sister Ethel, in England, and 11 year old Nellie in BC.

Edward built several other houses on Pacific and elsewhere in the West End, sometimes in partnership with George Calder. Down the hill H C and L Elliott built at least three of the houses in 1906 and 1907, each costing $2,500 each to construct. We think house-building was a side gig for the Elliott brothers: Harold (Clinton) Elliott was a shipwright born in Pugwash, Nova Scotia in 1870, while Lloyd was a ship’s carpenter, born four years later. They were from a family with ten children, and we think their older brother, Frederick had also come to Vancouver around 1902 with Harold, and Lloyd arriving a little later. Their father was a farmer, born in New Brunswick.

While some of those lasted decades, these houses didn’t last much longer than this picture – barely 25 years. All the houses here were cleared away as part of the construction of Burrard Bridge, which had started in 1930, with the new bridge opening in July 1932. In January 1931 The Province reported “Houses on Right-of-way of Burrard Bridge Doomed – Tenders will be called by the city for removal or demolition of several houses on property acquired by civic authorities for the northern right-of-way for Burrard bridge. This was decided by the civic bridges and railways committee Monday afternoon. It was reported the buildings are In need of repair and decorating.”

There’s still potential for development to the south, but a recent reconfiguration of the offramp from the bridge to incorporate a bike lane has altered the developable space.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Br N38.1

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Posted 26 August 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Granville Loops from Above

There are loops at both the north and south end of Granville Bridge. We’re looking at the Downtown end of the bridge, and at a contemporary image taken by Trish Jewison in the Global BC traffic helicopter and published in July 2020. Vancouver House, the cantilevered Bjarke Ingles designed rental and condo tower had already been topped out next to the bridge.

The before image dates back to 1968, when Downtown South was still a mixture of rooming house hotels on Granville Street and low-rise commercial uses both east and west of Granville. Pacific Street runs underneath the bridge, and to the west Beach Avenue ran up to the bridge, but to the east were rail tracks and a sawmill. These days Beach continues as Beach Crescent, looping up around the top of George Wainborn Park, built over the capped contaminated land from the decades of industrial uses. Six buildings developed by Concord Pacific can be seen developed around the western and northern edges of the park. Another tower is planned across from Vancouver House, with a similarly tall tower of condos over a podium of non-market housing to be owned by the City.

There are plans to remove the loops, which occupy a lot of land, and replace them with new streets following the prevailing grid. That will allow two more development sites to be released for four more towers. The Continental Hotel, which sat in the middle of the eastern loop, has already been demolished, although it was still standing when we posted its history in 2013. Across the street to the north the Cecil Hotel has also gone, replaced with the Rolston condo tower, although the adjacent Yale Hotel has been saved.

Further north the biggest slab building in the image in 1968 was the headquarters of BC Electric. It was 11 years old in 1968, and shone out like a beacon at night as the lights were always left on. (The electricity bill went to the owners). Today it’s still there, hidden behind the Wall Centre tower and called The Electra. It’s now a mix of residential condos and commercial units and was converted in 1995,when it had a new skin (as offices generally don’t have opening windows, but that’s a requirement for residential units). To its left St Paul’s Hospital was more obvious in 1968, and just as likely to fall down in the event of the anticipated earthquake. Its replacement is under construction, and Concord Pacific have agreed to pay $1 billion for the old hospital as a future redevelopment.

In the area above the top of Vancouver House there are plans already approved for several more high-rise towers. The first to be built, The Butterfly, is already under construction behind the First Baptist Church (which is getting a major seismic upgrade as part of the development).

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 215-22 and Trish Jewison, Global BC on twitter.

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Posted 2 August 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown, West End

1460 Howe Street

Briefly, this storage warehouse had a final blaze of glory as a sales centre. It’s seen here ten years ago, before that transformation took place. Now the location has been developed with one of the City’s ‘iconic’ residential towers. Vancouver House is justifiably memorable as it sits next to Granville Bridge on a triangular base which gradually expands to a rectangular upper part. Designed by Danish architect Bjarjke Ingles, the tower is clad in brushed steel panels with a copper inset under each balcony, and the engineering required to manage the cantilever saw some huge reinforcing steel added to the concrete skeleton.

The building that sat here before the tower was built had been here for just over 100 years before it was demolished. It was built for $50,000 by Baynes and Horie, a construction partnership that operated for several decades. The developer was one half of the partnership, William Horie, originally from Port Daniel, in Quebec. He arrived in the city in 1889, a carpenter, and teamed up with English born builder Ed Baynes a few years later. They quickly adapted to building in reinforced concrete when that technology spread in the early 1900s, and tackled ever larger jobs, as well as investing in commercial and residential buildings for themselves.

Initially this reinforced concrete building was the Canada West Auto Garage in 1920 on the insurance map, but Begg Motor Co (No. 2) in the street directory. That company had built another multi-storey garage in 1912 on West Georgia. They continued to occupy these premises until the 1930s, but in 1933 it was vacant. For a few years this was a warehouse for Dominion Furniture, but by 1944 Johnstone National Storage had moved here (seen in this 1946 image).

They also had a large multi-storey warehouse nearby on Richards Street. Over time this, like their Richards Street building, was converted to a self-storage building, still operated by Johnston. More recently, like this site, a residential tower has replaced it. New self-storage buildings have been developed in several of the remaining industrial areas outside Downtown.

Elmer Johnston was from Ontario, where his obituary was published in 1949. “Died in Vancouver General Hospital after an operation ten days previous. Survived by wife and son Harry, of Vancouver. Brother to Herbert C. Johnston, Barston, Calif.; Mrs. L. Olsen, Bremerton, Wash.; Mrs. J.A. Dutcher, Bradford, ON; Mrs. George Gardiner, Victoria; and Mrs. Rowland Pike, Vancouver. Born in Bradford in 1883. Moved to Vancouver in 1903. Founded the Johnston Storage Co. in 1913. President of Johnston Terminals Ltd., Johnston National Storage Ltd., Terminal Cartage Ltd., Birke and Wood Ltd., Brade Storage and Distributing Co. Ltd., and affiliated companies. Past president of the Vancouver Tourist Association, member of the Vancouver Kiwanis Club, past president of the Vancouver Terminal City Club, The Evergreen Playground Association, the Canadian Warehouseman’s Association, and the transportation section of the Vancouver Board of Trade.”

Secondary image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 586-4180

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Posted 8 July 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Central Business District from above (3)

Our ‘before’ image was most likely taken in 1969, and the contemporary shot was published in February of this year. We think the image dates from the fall of 2018. The angle and elevation are, for once, almost identical. Many of the buildings standing in 1966 are still there today, but not all of them.

The far left of the image shows the Hotel Vancouver, and to the west the Burrard Building. It looks slightly different because it was re-clad in 1988. Behind it was, and is, the MacMillan Bloedel Building. In 1969, the year it was completed, it stood alone; now it’s jostled by the Royal Centre and the later phases of the Bentall Centre. In 1969 only the first two buildings had been completed, still standing today but hidden by the larger Bentall V tower across Burrard Street.

Across the street from the Hotel Vancouver was the Georgia Medical Dental Building replaced in 1991 with Cathedral Place, with a roofline that is either a copy of, or an homage to, the Hotel’s copper roof. Towards Burrard Inlet from the Bentall Centre was the 1955 Customs Building designed by CBK Van Norman, (and no longer standing) and then the Marine Building, still standing apart in 1969. Today the top of the tower is just visible, surrounded by newer office and hotel buildings – and condo towers beyond on Coal Harbour.

Closer to us, the Vancouver Block with its distinctive clock tower can still be seen, and in 1969 the cranes were starting assembly of the TD Tower, the first part of the Pacific Centre Mall. The York Hotel and Granville Mansions were still standing, although not for long as they would soon be replaced by the departmental store section of the Mall. The Bay department store still stands unchanged from it’s second iteration – although that may not be true for too many more years. The date the image was taken can be estimated from the tower apparently changing colour, towards the right edge of the picture. The Cannacord Tower was re-clad with a lighter skin of double-glazed windows while the tenants remained working inside; the work was about a third of the way down from the top in August or September 2018. Tucked into the bottom left corner of the image, the new City Library can be seen. In 1969 several blocks in this part of the city centre were surface parking lots and short parkade structures. Towards the bottom of the picture, the Kingston Hotel had one on either side; now it has a 46 storey condo tower and a 22 storey office headquarters as neighbours.

Image sources: Ted Czolowoski published in ‘Through Lion’s Gate’ in 1969, published by the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board, Trish Jewison in the Global BC helicopter, on her twitter feed 2 February 2021.

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Posted 1 July 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

550 and 564 Cambie Street

The smaller building, on the left in this 1974 image, is still standing today. We think 550 Cambie dates from around 1929. There was an earlier building on the site; in 1909 it was shown as ‘cabins’, which was true until about 1920, when we assume the site was cleared. It was still shown vacant on the 1928 insurance map. In 1929 Cope and Sons were shown occupying 550 Cambie, so they might have developed the building.

Fred and his son Frank Cope ran an electrical wholesaling business here, and had been in the city since the 1890s. Frederick Thomas Cope was born around 1861, and had come from England in 1875. (As far as we know he wasn’t related to Fred Cope who was the third mayor of Vancouver, who was born in Ontario). His wife Marjory was from Ontario; their two children, Frank and Bert were born in Manitoba in 1886 and 1888, and Fred was a housebuilder in Brandon in the 1891 census. They first show up in Vancouver in a street directory in 1900; Frederick Thomas Cope was in an electrical wholesaling business with Charles Frey on West Hastings, and F I Cope (who lived at the same address on Hornby Street) was a contractor. In 1905 the directory identified F I Cope to be Frank, who was by then an electrician. By 1910 Bert had also joined the family business, although it was still Cope and Son. By 1913 Fred was company president and Frank company secretary, and both had moved to West 13th, while Bert was living on Granville Street, By 1922 all three lived on W13th at different addresses, and were all working at Cope and Son.

In 1939 The Wellington Plating works were here, offering to re-chrome motorist’s headlight reflectors. They were located at the back of the building. Cope and sons were still here, with H Morris and General Printers and Publishers. In 1956 fire men fought a $75,000 two-alarm blaze which ripped through top floor of warehouse of Van Horne Electrical Supply Co. 550 Cambie. (They were the successor of Cope & Sons). 

The site where the larger building sat (564 Cambie) was developed with a building shown on the 1901 insurance map occupied by the Vancouver Transfer Co. We’ve seen another building that the company developed later on Mainland Street (in 1912), when we looked at the company history.

Founded by Victoria businessman and politician Francis Stillman Barnard of Barnard’s Express in 1886, it was controlled by Fred and Clarence Tingley in the early 1900s. In 1904 Reid Tingley built an addition to the company’s stables here, almost certainly seen in this picture of their premises around 1908, published in Greater Vancouver Illustrated.

Once Vancouver Transfer moved out, George Jones ran the Cambie Street Boarding Stable here through the First World War. By 1918 Julius A Tepoorten had taken ownership, and spent $150 on repairs. By 1920 Central Sheet Metal works had moved in, with Albert Morris, a cabinetmaker and J Morris’s export and transfer company. The Sheet Metal Works was still listed here in 1928. There were possibly major alterations in 1921; J A Tepoorten obtained a permit for $5,000 of repairs and alterations built by Dominion Construction. It’s possible this was initially a single storey structure; in 1974 the windows on the upper part of the building don’t match those on the main floor.

We suspect the redevelopment and additional floors probably occurred in 1928. ‘J A Teporten’ obtained a permit for $23,000 of alterations, designed and built by Dominion Construction. Tepoorten Ltd was first listed here in 1929, with Western Distribution Ltd and Cunningham Drug Stores. The building was now numbered as 560 by 1930, and Knowles and Macaulay, and Terminal Drug Stores had replaced Tepoorten Ltd in the building.

Julius Tepoorten was born in Michigan, and went to school in Ontario. He was apprenticed to James E. Davis & Company, wholesale druggists of Detroit, and went to Victoria in 1887. He travelled the whole of BC representing Langley & Co until 1909, when he set up his own wholesaling business. He married Mary Dolan in Michigan in 1889, and they had ten children, eight of whom survived. His business was based on Water Street, but moved here in the years he amalgamated with National Drug and Chemical Co of Canada. He retired in 1929, but retained a shareholding in the company, and died in 1939.

In 1940 there were seven businesses in 560 Cambie; Knowler and Macaulay, Western Distribution, Ryan Cotton (manufacturers agents), Latch & Batchelor (wire rope) C Korsch Ltd (millinery), Barham Drugs (wholesale) and F W Horner Ltd (pharmaceutical manufacturers). In 1955 there were only two companies shown, BC Leather Co wholesale and Pro-Made Golf Co. They were a Vancouver golf club manufacturer, founded by Roy Francis. Following his death his sons inherited the company, and moved production from Pender Street to here. They sold the business in 1957, but it continued with other brands as well, with Pioneer Envelopes, Pro-made Golf Company, Royal Scot Golf Company and Golfcraft occupying 560 Cambie that year.

In our 1974 image Van Horne Electrical Supply were still at 550 Cambie, and Joe Boshard’s painting company was about to give 560 Cambie a makeover. The building was demolished by 1990, replaced in 1994 by The Seimens Building, designed by Aitken Wreglesworth Associates as the local offices of the international engineering company. This is effectively the back of the building, with the front facing West Georgia and Beatty, curved and cantilevered out over the Dunsmuir Tunnel that cuts across the edge of the site. The tenants name has changed over the years, with Seimens replaced by Amec, and now by Wood Canada Ltd. There’s a proposal to replace 550 Cambie with a much larger office building.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-56

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534 and 536 Cambie Street

Sometimes, even Downtown, there are modest buildings surviving longer than might be expected. Here are two on the 500 block of Cambie Street. Perhaps not surprisingly, in the short time since we started researching their history, a redevelopment has been proposed to build a 22 storey office building.

The building on the left dates from 1925, while the other was supposedly developed in 1912 (according to the Assessment Authority), but we haven’t identified an appropriate Building Permit. That may be because the structure still standing was clearly an addition to an earlier house, that no longer exists. The house was built at some point in the mid 1890s, and can be seen here in 1974 (and there was also originally a house on the lot to the north, on the left). The numbering on the block was altered in 1896, so the houses here had, for a while, non-sequential numbers, which makes it difficult to be certain of what was built when. Through the later 1890s the house seen here was occupied by two households; D A Campbell, a teamster, and A Cooper Dinsmore, another teamster. In 1898 some of the Scurry family moved to 514 Cambie (renumbered that year as 536). They ran a barbers saloon on Abbott Street. They appear to have moved next door (to the north) to 534 around 1901, when Martha Scurry (widow of Hiram) was living in the house that stood here, before the existing building was constructed in 1925.

The building on the corner of the lane is proposed to have its facade incorporated into the new development. The developers were the Cleland Bell Engraving Co., and the architects Benzie & Bow. Rogers and Purdy built the $17,000 building. The heritage statement for the new office tower repeats an inaccurate internet document about Cleland Bell, identifying Mr. Cleland as William Nelson Cleland, born in Brantford, Ontario in 1871. Unfortunately, the engraver was called Norman Cleland. Norman was William’s younger brother, and had also been born in Brantford. William arrived around 1899, and worked initially as a dyer, then as a clothes presser, and in 1902 he was working for the Perth Dye Works. Norman arrived in the city in 1902, and was a printer at Evans & Hastings. Both brothers had rooms on Richards Street in 1902, and lived on Robson Street in 1904 with William Cleland snr, who was presumably their father, and an accountant. The household didn’t identify a mother in the 1881 census when Norman was 6, and William jnr. aged 10 (There was also an older sister, Jessie and a middle brother, George). These arrangements stayed unchanged until 1907, when Norman went into partnership with Harry Welsh and established a printing business on Pender Street. (William Cleland was with B C Dye Works, and a year later co-owned the Berlin Dyeing and Cleaning Works). William Cleland senior died in September that year, aged 79.

In the 1911 census Norman Cleland was head of a household of three that included William, who was also listed as a printer, and described, unusually, as Norman’s partner, and Jessie, their sister. William had been living in his own rooms earlier in the year, and working as a presser again. Norman had a new business partner, and was now ‘Cleland and Dibble, Engravers and Printers’, on Water Street. William was briefly involved in real estate in 1913, the same year that Norman married an Australian widow, Margaret Zasama, in Victoria. In 1914 both brothers had moved to West 12th, where they each had apartments in the same building.

In 1919 Norman’s business name was changed to Cleland-Bell, and he was managing director; A L Bell was president, and William Cleland was working as a clerk. In 1926 the business became Cleland-Kent with a new partnership with Harry Kent. Although the business name continued under new management, Norman Cleland appears to have retired from the business around 1935, and after a year’s absence he took over a business called Art Engraving for a few years, with William also working there as a salesman. In 1935 he developed a retail building on East Broadway. William and Jessie lived on Point Grey Road, and Norman and his wife lived close by on the same block of West 1st Avenue. Norman died in Vancouver in 1944, aged 68. William Cleland was aged 82 when he died in 1953, His sister, Jessie, died in Vancouver in 1962, aged 92. Neither had been married.

Cleland-Kent continued to exist as a business, and occupy space in this building, through the 1950s. Their name was still on the building in our 1974 image, so we assume an engraving business continued in operation, even if the front door had been bricked up. Today, for the time being, there’s a new doorway, and a lawyer and a finance company have offices there.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-55

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Posted 14 June 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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