Archive for the ‘Downtown’ Category

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 taken in 1966, 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 1966 it stood alone; now it’s jostled by the Royal Centre and the later phases of the Bentall Centre. In 1966 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 1966. 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 1966 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 1966 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 at the end of the 1920s. 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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Posted 17 June 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone, Still Standing

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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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West Pender Street – 300 block, south side

There has been one building replaced since this 1975 image was shot by W E Graham. On the right is the Victoria Block, (today part of the Victorian Hotel). designed by W F Gardiner in 1909 for the National Finance Co. Next door, the miniature temple is the British Columbia Permanent Loan & Savings Co’s premises. It was designed by Hooper and Watkins in 1907, and was one of the first reinforced concrete structures in the city, costing $40,000 and built by A E Carter. On the outside it has a sandstone skin, while inside there’s marble, elaborate plaster ceilings designed by Charles Marega, and a gorgeous Tiffany-style stained-glass skylight, featuring leaves and fruit. The decorative castings were the work of Fraser and Garrow, who advertised themselves as being “perfectly at home in any manner of work that makes for the embellishment of interiors or exteriors.”

The developer was a local finance house whose founder was Thomas Talton Langlois, originally from Gaspe in Quebec. He arrived in in BC in 1898 when he was 31, and already a successful businessman. Here he organized the British Columbia Permanent Loan Co.; was president, of the National Finance Co. Ltd., the Prudential Investment Co. Ltd. and the Pacific Coast Fire Insurance Co. He also developed an Arbutus subdivision which had pre-fabricated craftsman style houses built in a factory on West 2nd Avenue, and then re-erected on site.

The building was completed at the point where the developer was facing a minor problem. The Times Colonist advertised “A REWARD OF ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS. A reward of $100.00 will be paid to any person furnishing evidence which will lead to the conviction of the person who has started or any other person or persons who are spreading a report to the effect that the British Columbia Permanent Loan & Savings Company is losing or liable to lose money through its connection with any subsidiary, company. The B. C. Permanent has absolutely no connection with any other company, either in the way of investments or loans, except a balance of one hundred and twenty-five shares, being one-twelfth of the Issued capital stock of the. Pacific Coast Fire Insurance Company, This investment was authorized by unanimous vote of the shareholders some six years ago and has proven an exceptionally profitable Investment. For confirmation of these facts we would refer any person to the company’s auditor, Mr. W. T. Stein, C. A., Vancouver.”

Thomas Langlois, like many successful Vancouver business people, retired to California. He moved in 1921, and died there in 1937 and was buried in Inglewood Park Cemetery. From 1935 the building became home to the Bank Of Canada. In 1979 it was altered to office space and renamed Park House, and in the past few years has been repurposed as an event space called The Permanent.

To the east is a former printing company building, which has been redeveloped with the adjacent site for Covenant House, a not-for-profit organization that supports street youth. The 1929 building was designed by J S D Taylor for McBeth & Campbell. The facade was renovated in 1948 by architect W H Birmingham. It was given Neo-classical treatments including a decorative cornice installed below the original corbelled brick parapet. In 1998 it was redeveloped and the facade tied into the new 50 bed hostel, designed by Nigel Baldwin.

The small brick building to the east (that looks like small houses) was redeveloped for the 1998 scheme, and had originally extended to the 1929 building site as well. It was developed by ‘National’ (Presumably the National Finance Co), designed by W F Gardiner and cost $7,000 to build in 1909.

At the end of the block Hooper and Watkins (again) designed the $25,000 I.O.O.F Hall, and Lyric Theatre in 1906. The main floor space these days is a furniture store.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1135-17

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Robson and Howe – south east corner

‘Infinity’ is a rental residential block over a substantial retail podium, built in 1998. Designed by Musson Cattell Massey for PCI Group, it was home to Chapters bookstore for over 20 years, before they downsized to a new store and it was refitted for SportChek, who added the bright red ‘swoosh’ to the tilted box on the facade.

In 1968 Bob’s market sold flowers, grocery and meats until 2am from a somewhat run down single storey building. The building permit shows W A S Richards (an obscure architect with very few commissions) designing a $6,000 brick store here in 1910 for Mrs E Gould – almost certainly Emma Gold, who later hired builders to carry out repairs seven times between 1916 and 1923. Emma was the widow of Louis, and together they ran The Gold House on Water Street, one of the city’s earliest hotels. Louis arrived in the early 1870s; he was born in Poland, and was in Kentucky for a while. He initially leased a store from Jack Deighton, selling pretty much anything in the first Jewish-owned business in the area.

Emma followed a little later, and was a trader independent of her husband. She was born in Prussia (later she said Germany) somewhere between 1830 and 1835, and was probably christened Fredrica. She ran the Royal City Shoe and Boot Co in New Westminster in the late 1880s, and from 1892 referred to herself as a widow, although Louis didn’t die until 1907, in Kamloops. In 1901 Emma and her son Edward were living in Vancouver, where Edward was listed as a commercial agent. Emma was an active developer in the city; she had property on Water Street as well as this lot. Emma was 91 when she died in New Westminster in 1929, so was in her 80s when she commissioned the various alterations of this building through the 1920s. She was buried with her husband, Louis, in Mountain View Cemetery.

Here’s a 1948 picture of the same corner. The image shows the earlier version of the building, before a stucco ‘modernization’. Alongside on Robson Street in both pictures was a two storey frame building with residential bay windows over stores, dating back to 1903. It was developed and built by David Evans at a cost of $3,000. In 1921 Maclure & Lort were hired by the then ‘owners’, Sharples & Sharples to carry out $3,000 of alterations to remodel the two store fronts and create a separate entrance to the top floor. Sharples and Sharples were agents, who represented absentee owners like Edward Farmer who was in the US, in Forth Worth, but hired them to look after his building next east on Robson, on the corner of Granville.

David Evans was shown in the 1901 census aged 50, born in Wales. His wife was 41, and they had a 2 year old daughter, Joy.  We know he was a merchant tailor, and the reason we know he’s the correct D Evans is because he moved his business here from Homer Street when it was completed in 1904. His father-in-law, Peter Awrey and Peter’s wife Rachel were living with the family. Peter died aged 83 in 1905, after a fall while looking at a construction site from the uneven wooden sidewalk.

David was shown in 1911 aged 60, having arrived in Canada in the early 1870s. He wasn’t shown as having employment. His wife Martha was from Ontario, was nine years younger, and their BC born daughter was aged 12. David died in 1916, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery. His infant son, Caradoc, was the first burial in the cemetery in February 1887, and the headstone shows that Martha was known as Nellie.

The Daily World reported “Mr. David Evans, 65 years of age, died at his home at 1235 Tenth Avenue West at 11:30, after a lingering illness. Mr. Evans came to Canada 43 years ago, and has been a resident In Vancouver for the past 30 years. He was a native of Carmarthenshire, South Wales, and leaves a widow and one daughter to mourn his loss. Mr. Evans was a retired merchant tailor, having retired from business about six years ago. He was the first bandmaster in this city, and was cornet soloist In the first regimental band formed In this city.”

In 1921 Martha Evans and her daughter Joy were recorded in the census living on West 17th, with Joy shown as a civil servant. Later Martha moved to Seattle, but she returned to the Pioneer’s Picnic in 1939, when she recorded aspects of her family history.

“Mr. David Evans came to Vancouver before I did; he came before the Great Fire, June 1886; I came November 16th 1886. The planks on Hastings Street were not laid at that time; afterwards they planked the centre of it. I remember that, once, Mr. Evans and I went for a walk up Granville Street; the Hotel Vancouver was building; they had more than the foundations finished. Mr. Evans and I stopped and stood in the stumps, about Robson Street somewhere south of Georgia Street; the stumps were all around us, and Mr. Evans said to me, ‘I wouldn’t be at all sure but there will be business on this street some day, but it won’t be in our day.’

“The first burial in Mountain View was my little son, Caradoc, about ten months old; February 1887; the date is on the headstone. At that time Mountain View Cemetery was just a little clearing in the forest; the fallen trees lying about everywhere as they had fallen.” Martha Evans died in 1948 aged 87.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-341 and Str P258.

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Posted 27 May 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Robson and Howe, looking west

We’ve had to wait to post this view of the 800 block of Robson for the completion of the new plaza, replacing a temporary closure that was tested over the past couple of years. Now paved with stone to match the Art Gallery plaza to the north, (although without the busy pattern), it’s reopened just in time for the summer.

The ‘before’ shot is dated to somewhere between 1980 and 1997, but we can pin that down better. The frame of the building under construction is 800 Burrard, designed by Eng and Wright Partners and completed in 1983. That would suggest this was taken around 1981.

In front of the office tower is Mayfair House, from 1980, and the two mid-rise buildings to to south are the Wedgewood Hotel from 1964, designed by Peter Kaffka, and Chancery Place, completed in 1984. On the right is 777 Hornby, designed by Frank Roy and completed in 1969. We’ve seen it in an earlier post looking north on Hornby, on the far side of the plaza. He’s a relatively obscure architect, and we assume based in a different province, as Thompson Berwick Pratt and Partners were supervising architects. He got his architectural training at the University of Manitoba, and his degree in 1950. The Archives have a 1967 brochure for the building, which is the only way we know the designer.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 772-929

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Posted 6 May 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Downtown South and Yaletown from above

The image today wasn’t taken at quite the right altitude, so we’ve lined up the buildings along Burrard Inlet and haven’t tried to stretch (and so distort) the image to get the lower part of the picture perfectly aligned. In every other aspect, it’s a great match between 1982 and May 2020.

This is the part of Downtown Vancouver that has seen the greatest change. While Granville Street has been zoned (up to now) to restrict building heights, to allow the sidewalks to stay naturally lit and brighter, almost everything to the east in Downtown South has been allowed to go higher – although there are viewcones that cross the area restricting the height (and therefore density) of some buildings. There are also guidelines to limit shadowing of parks – which now exist, although from this distance they’re hidden by a sea of mostly residential towers. Yaletown – the original three street warehouse district of 1900s buildings also has height limits, and can be seen on the right.

Apparently on the waterfront, although actually a couple of blocks back, on West Hastings, the Lookout and revolving restaurant on the Harbour Centre stood out in 1982. It’s currently getting three close neighbours, with new office towers being developed a block to the west, and another controversially contemporary designed tower may be developed beyond it, much closer to Burrard Inlet. In the Central Business District we’ve reached the point where older offices up to 15 storeys high, and completed as recently as 1982, are now being replaced with new office towers at least twice as tall, with much higher standards of energy efficiency.

Image source: Trish Jewison in the Global BC helicopter, on her twitter account 5 May 2020.

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Posted 15 February 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

West Pender Street – 1100 block, south side

We saw the buildings on the north side of the block in earlier posts. Here are three buildings on the south side of the street in 1981. Two have been redeveloped since then, and the third has been approved for redevelopment.

On the corner was 1196 W Pender, a 1952 building. We haven’t been able to identify the architect of the modest building. To the east was an unusual 3-storey building, that dated back to 1955. The fully glazed office building was designed by McKee and Gray for James Lovick. Robert McKee was a Vancouver-born architect whose mid-century designs are now gaining wider recognition, and Percy Gray was an architect and engineer who co-operated with him in the design of a number of 1950s buildings.

Jimmy Lovick, their client, had been active in local advertising since 1934, and in 1948 set up his own practice. He opened James Lovick & Co. offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. A decade later Lovick & Co. was the largest agency in Canada, with additional offices in Edmonton, London, Ont., Halifax, New York and San Francisco. Rival companies stole some of Lovick’s business, and when he passed away in 1968 (having flown a million miles with Trans-Canada Airlines) the company was less prominent. It merged into New York advertising giant BBDO some years later. The two buildings were demolished in the early 2000s, replaced in 2008 by a 31 storey residential tower called Sapphire, designed by Hancock, Bruckner, Eng + Wright, with a childcare facility on the upper floors of the podium.

Next door is (for now) a 15 storey office tower designed by Charles Paine and Associates for Dawson Developments, and completed in 1974. Long the home of the Canada Reveue Agency, they recently moved to less central locations, and the building was acquired by developer Reliance Holdings for $71.4m in 2016. They have obtained permission for a replacement 31 storey office tower designed by IBI Group in Vancouver and Hariri Pontarini of Toronto.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W14.34

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Posted 11 February 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Lost Gas Stations in Downtown Vancouver

We’ve seen a lot of Downtown and west End locations where there used to be gas stations – we think there were at least 99 of them in the past where they’ve now disappeared. Today there’s just one left – for now. On the corner of Davie and Burrard, the last remaining Esso station has been bought by a property developer. A block away there was a Shell station, developed in 1951, and seen in this image from the same year in the Vancouver Public Library photo collection. The garage structure is still there, with additional elements added as restaurants. The gas station had closed by the early 1980s, and became a Mr. Submarine store for a while.

Further south, at Seymour and Pacific, Imperial Oil had a gas station, seen here when it first opened in 1925. Townley and Matheson designed the structure, which was built by Purdy & Rodger at a cost of $6,900. The gas bar was replaced with part of the Seymour off-ramp of the Granville Bridge, completed in 1954. If the number of service stations seems low today, that wasn’t the case in the 1920s. This was 601 Pacific, and Imperial Oil had another Townley and Matheson designed gas bar at 740 Pacific, and Union Oil had another on the same block. By 1930 this gas station no longer existed.

In the background is the Bayview Hotel, later renamed The Continental, and in its later years operated by the City of Vancouver as an SRO hotel until it was demolished in 2015. In its early years the hotel was an expensive investment for Kilroy and Morgan, who spent $100,000 to build the hotel designed by Parr and Fee in 1911.

Finally (for the time being), there was a larger gas station on Robson Street, operated here in 1974 by Texaco. In 1985 it was redeveloped with a 2-storey retail building that includes a London Drugs store, and smaller retail units on Bute Street. Initially there were houses built here, but the motoring use of the site was over decades – in the 1930s Webber-MacDonald Garage was here, repairing and selling pre-owned automobiles, which became the Robson Garage a few years later. The corner however had a different building; the Bute Street Private hospital was here for decades. It became a rooming house, but was still here when Hemrich Brothers (who ran a garage on Howe, and then Dunsmuir Street for many years) were running the Robson Street garage in the later 1950s. The big new Texaco canopy, facilities  and forecourt replaced the buildings on the street until the 1980s redevelopment put buildings back along Robson.

Image sources: VPL, City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1399-530 and CVA 778-333

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Posted 8 February 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown, Gone, West End

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