Archive for the ‘Downtown’ Category

Temple Building – 515 West Pender Street

The Temple Building was built in 1905 and designed by Grant and Henderson for trader and broker Richard Winch. In 1906 the main floor had two tenants; BC Assay and Chemical Supply Co were at 513, while W S Holland of Holland and Davidson Real Estate was at 517. Upstairs, at 515 was the Monte Carlo Rooming House. This arrangement remained for several years, although the real estate offices by 1909 were occupied by “the International Brokerage Co. A Sinclair, timber broker, the B C Ink Co and A Erskine Smith, mines” (he was a mining broker, living up the street in the St Francis Hotel).

Mr. Winch was amazingly successful, amassing a fortune from starting in grocery and game retailing,  canning salmon, and then also became a broker, supplier, and insurance and shipping agent. He invested his profits from these businesses into real estate, building one of the city’s most prestigious office buildings, and trading in real estate across the city. He owned a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost in 1910, and had three servants at home in 1911. When this 1946 Vancouver Public Library image was taken, Vick’s Radio Service was in one main floor retail unit, Harvey & Riach’s furniture store occupied the other space, and upstairs were the Temple Rooms.

Next door at 519, Guilding & Folley, auctioneers occupied the building, although we’ve drawn a complete blank on who designed or developed it in the mid 1900s, but early tenants included John Williams, an inspector of fisheries, Hood Bros real estate and the Prudential Life Insurance Co. (There’s a building name on the cornice, but the image isn’t clear enough and it was erased in later years). As William Hood built other property on Pender, he and his brother Robert could have developed this as well. (There were in fact a second Acland Hood Hall, also on West Pender).

The Hood brothers arrived around 1906 from Cupar, in Fife, Scotland, and successfully ran a real estate business for over 50 years. (Robert Hood developed a sideline as a writer – his first novel was published in 1918, and he published seven books; fiction, non-fiction and poetry over a thirty year writing career). They were more ambitious than some of their rivals, advertising in an Oregon newspaper in 1920 for example “FIVE-STORY and basement modem brick hotel, on Granville street, Vancouver. B. C, 75-ft. frontage, most of furniture goes with building, tenant’s lease expiring, for sale at a sacrifice. HOOD BROS., 626 Pender street west, Vancouver.”

Today the Conference Plaza development is here, completed in 1996 and designed by Aitken Wreglesworth Associates. The Pender Street facades recreate a low podium similar in scale to what was there before, with a 30 storey 252 unit condo tower on the corner with Seymour.

Posted May 25, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Dunsmuir and Homer Street – sw corner

We’ve seen the buildings here in a couple of earlier posts: the first building constructed here was St Ann’s Academy, and subsequently the parking structure with retail on the main floor (seen again here in this 1970s Vancouver Public Library image). It was replaced in 1984 with the low-rise component of 401 West Georgia, a 22 storey office tower designed by Aitken, Smith, Carter Architects. Now there’s a proposal for what would be the fourth building to be located here, an 11-storey office building designed by B&H Architects.

The area will change more, because there’s a tower proposed to be built on the parking garage of the Scotiatower, completed in 1976. That will be to the left of the tower, behind Zoltan Kiss’s 1974 tower for the Diamond Family, seen behind the parkade  (so pushing the image back to over 40 years ago). Down the street, beyond the Holy Rosary Cathedral, the Dunsmuir Hotel will be included in some way in the redevelopment of the Bay Parkade, and on the immediate left hand edge of the picture the Post Office has a proposal to add office, rental and condo residential towers on top of the repurposed heritage structure.

Posted May 22, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

1105 Granville Street

In 1919 A E Henderson designed a $15,000 garage for agents Griffith & Lee, built by J B Arthur. This picture was taken two years later, and shows the Oldsmobile dealership of Bowell McDonald. They soon added Oakland cars to the mix; an Oldsmobile six sold from this showroom in 1924 would have cost you $1,345. (According to the Bank of Canada inflation calculator, that would be $18,700 today).

Not too much later, in 1925, Bowell McDonald expanded, moving to another concentration of vehicle showrooms on West Georgia. Later they moved again to Burrard Street, became Bowell McLean, and then to West Broadway, where their name can still be seen behind the Toys r Us sign. After they headed to West Georgia, Chevrolet Sales moved into this building, but by the 1930s the vehicle connection was lost and this became the West Port Food Market. Over the years a variety of retail stores have come and gone – and the building has been smartened up in recent years, initially for clothing store Le Chateau, and now for another clothing store, 8th & Main.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Trans N13

Posted May 11, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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Hartney Chambers – West Pender Street

The building on the corner of Homer and West Pender is numbered as 347 West Pender, because this is only a short block. It’s a small building because it shares the lot with an older structure, the original offices for the Daily World newspaper in 1892, and later for the News Herald. Down the street is the Pender Ballroom and the Riggs-Selman Building.

Hartney Chambers was completed in 1909, and designed by W F Gardiner, who then had his offices here. He tendered the building in the last week of February 1908, and tenants were advertising their businesses in the building a year later. Tenants leased either a single or double room in the building, and so were small , often one-man businesses. The Daily World in July 1908 described the building, which today could benefit from some attention, but at the time had ‘a handsome entrance’ to the offices on the upper floors, with a tiled entrance and space for a shoe shine stand. The facades, which have been painted for many years, was originally of pressed brick with New Zealand stone trimmings. The building was fitted with electric lights and steam heating,

We had no idea about who the ‘Hartney’ is that the building was named for, or why the name appeared on it. There were no contemporary records we can find that link the building to an investor called Hartney, although there were two possible candidates in the city, Charles and Patrick, and neither one seems more likely than the other. Both ended up running hotels in the city. The Hartney Real Estate Co had offices in 1907 on West Hastings, but frustratingly their advertisements don’t identify the owner, and the company seems to have lasted only a few months.

The developer was listed on the building permit as Peter G Drost, and the Daily World referred to it as the Drost and Turnbull Building. Adkison & Dill built it at a cost of $22,000. Drost continued to own the building, as he carried out some repairs in 1919. He was born in Ontario around 1863, and in 1891 was living in Whitewater in Selkirk, Manitoba where he was a grocer. That’s where the ‘Hartney’ name almost certainly comes from; Mr. Drost acquired a homestead in Manitoba, and then in the 1890s ran a flour and feed store in the newly expanding railway town of Hartney. In 1895 a fire destroyed much of the centre of the town, reaching Drost’s store.

In 1901 he was still in Manitoba, but in Brandon. He first shows up in Vancouver in 1903, with this rather odd entry, as a manufacturer. The advertisement from the Delta News from November 1902 explains a little more.

In the 1911 census he was living on the 2600 block of Columbia street of Vancouver. In the census he was described as retired (at age 48), but in the directory he was listed as a broker, with his office in this building on West Pender. His wife, Anne, aged 52 was with him, also from Ontario, along with Estelle, 26 and Harold, 23, born in Ontario, and four more sons aged 18 to 12, all born in Manitoba. In 1911 Mr. Drost used the same team of architect and builder to build a rooming house on Powell Street.

Mr. Drost was a Methodist, and involved in running the Central City Mission. In 1912 he was manager of the Mission, reporting that “2,034 men had been given free beds apart from the men who had been given free shake – downs”. In 1930 he had a huge row with the directors, who ran the operation in a way that he didn’t believe followed Christian values as it was run as a private company, and sometimes turned the destitute away. Clearly his disagreements were eventually resolved as the Archives have this image of him in 1949, burning the mortgage for the Mission.

Our image was shot some time in the 1970s, and today the building is still standing as a backpackers hostel. In 1918 it was home to the Vagabond Club, but by 1920 there were some rooms in residential use and by 1930 it had switched to entirely residential use as the Hartney Apartments.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-16 and CVA 371-1576

Posted May 4, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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317 West Pender Street

In this 1974 image the Victory Block (as it’s now named) had space to rent, and a fire escape on the façade. To the west was the Pender Ballroom, and to the east the Roberts Block. When it was built in 1908 (the same year as the Roberts Block) it was called the Riggs Selman Building, named for its investor developers, Samuel Spencer Selman and Dr. Herbert Wilkinson Riggs. If he read it, Mr. Selman was no doubt unimpressed by the news report that “Dr. H. W. Riggs and Mr. S. Salmon have taken out a permit for a four-storey brick block to be erected on Pender street, between Homer and Hamilton street, at cost of $40,000. The building will have a frontage of 50 feet.”

Oddly, for such a strikingly designed building, there’s no reference to an architect. There is another building completed that year which has some architectural details somewhat similar to this block, albeit rather less exuberant; the Shaldon Hotel on East Hastings was designed by H B Watson.

Dr Riggs was a physician and surgeon, born in Wicklow in Ontario in 1872. He trained in Winnipeg and Edinburgh, and arrived in BC in 1899. In 1901 he was still single, but he soon married and had two daughters, lived on West Georgia and was a member of the Terminal City  and University Clubs. As with many of the city’s successful professionals Dr Riggs also took a keen interest in property development. As well as this building, he had interests in the Dominion Trust Company (in 1907) and the Federal Trust Company, and was a director in both companies. He was a Freemason, and also governor of the Pacific-Northwest District of the Kiwanis from 1918 to 1920. He was president of the Vancouver Medical Association and in 1930 was appointed by the Provincial Secretary to the Board of Vancouver General Hospital.

Samuel Selman was a realtor in 1908 (representing the Manitoba Land Co), and born in Ontario in 1862. He married Clara Barr in Ontario in 1883, and by 1901 they had moved to Victoria, and had several children, Ella, (or Elba as she was shown in Victoria), May, Hubert, Gordon, Mary, (Marie on her wedding certificate), and Roy. Clara’s mother, Mary Barr also lived with them. Tragically, Ella accidentally died of drowning in English Bay in 1908; at the time she was crippled, on crutches, and slipped in the water. Samuel switched employment a number of times. In 1901 he was shown in the census as a lumberman, although he doesn’t appear in the street directory in Victoria until 1903 when he was listed as a grocer. In 1911 he was President of the Canadian Pipe Co, a position he first held in 1909. He died in 1947,

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-265

177 West Pender Street

The building in this 1943 image has proved difficult to pin down. With help from Patrick Gunn, and some complex photograph comparisons, we’ve finally worked out its history. The main complication was that this block, for no obvious reason, had street addresses that at one time had no logical sequence. When it was given a building permit, this was recorded as 151 (and 155) West Pender, located between 169 and 183 West Pender.

The 1911 permit is to ‘architect’ W J Prout: the owners and builders were shown as Parks and McDonald, and it cost $35,000 to build. “W. J. Pront [sic] 1101 Hornby st., has been awarded the contract for the construction of a 4-story brick store and apartment building to be erected at 155 Pender W., at a cost of $35k, for Parks & McDonald, 641 Jackson. There will be stores on the ground floor and apartments on the three upper floors. Hot water heating and hotel plumbing will be installed. The permit was issued yesterday and plans were prepared by the owners.”

In 1911 William J Prout was a 37 year old lodger living at 1101 Hornby, a contractor who had arrived from England in 1905. He was born in Cornwall in 1874, and married Margaret Warwick, who was a year younger, and clearly hadn’t joined her husband in Vancouver in 1911. By 1921 they had been reunited; Maggie Prout, William Prout and their children Beatrice (23, a telephone operator in a store), Florence (21, a milliner), Williana (18) and Dorothy (12) were living on 24th Avenue. All the children, like their mother, had been born in Ireland, and they had all arrived in 1913. Their 21-year-old son, Herbert was no longer at home – he was born in Belfast, so that was probably where the family had previously been living. Mr Prout wasn’t really a qualified architect, he was a building contractor, but he designed at least seven buildings in the city. Usually he built his own buildings – this is the only example where someone else is listed as builder, but it’s likely that he was really the builder as well.

There were only three people in the city in 1911 with the name Parks – Annie, a widow, Frederick, a labourer and Frederick H, manager of the International Timber Co. This building was for a while known as the Parks Block (although it was shown as The Calumet on the 1912 insurance map, and the Calumet Rooms for a few years in the street directory). The most likely of the three to be the developer, Frederick H Parks lived in an apartment on Nicola Street, was a 32 year old American, as was his 30 year old wife Minna, and they had arrived in Canada in 1907 and 1908. Fred was born in Minnesota, and Minna in New York. A few years later they moved south, to Seattle, and later Los Angeles. The other possible developer is Aubrey Parks, who was listed as a real estate broker in 1912. He was in partnership with Mrs G V Emerson as Parks & Emerson. There would seem to be absolutely no way of telling who Mr. McDonald might be – there were dozens of possible investors with that name in the city in 1911, and no other record that we can find which links a person called Parks with a person called McDonald. However, the fact that the Daily Building Record said Parks & McDonald were based at 641 Jackson Ave means we can narrow it down to J McDonald, who in 1911 is listed as a labourer, (an unlikely occupation for the developer of a $35,000 building) but who was listed as John Macdonald, a grocer, in 1912.

The Calumet was run by Richard S Morrison, and claimed to have ‘Every Modern Convenience’. It was mentioned in the press quite a bit in 1916 when a Mr. Morrison leased a room that was used as a base for ‘vote rigging’ by the Liberal Party in a by-election that year. Paid recruits from Seattle were said to have impersonated thousands of absent servicemen using forged documents, in an extraordinarily complex, expensive (and apparently successful) scheme. In 1918 the Calumet became the Parks Rooms, and in 1919 H A Benjamin was running the establishment. Later it became known as the Parks Hotel.

The hotel use – and we think the building – ended in January 1950. Apparently The Daily Province started using the basement of the building that year, and had 500 tons of newsprint stored in the basement. The fire, once it got a hold, was stubborn and devastating, and created huge amounts of smoke. The image has a note saying “the fire was attended at 1:05 pm and struck out at 5:24 pm, “34 overcome with smoke and 18 were hospitalized.” We were not sure if the building was destroyed, as the Daily Province continued to be identified with the address until the mid 1950s. However, an early 1950s aerial photograph clearly shows a hole here. After 65 or more years as a vacant site, that could soon change as there are plans for a 10-storey non-market housing building to be constructed here.

Image sources: Vancouver Public Library and City of Vancouver Archives CVA 354-134

Posted April 24, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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West Hastings and Burrard se corner

There are indications that Downtown Vancouver will soon lose its last gas station, located at Davie and Burrard. There were once dozens of places where you could buy gas on the peninsula – we once counted 99 different locations. Here’s one of those that disappeared (in this case decades ago). We looked at this corner when it was occupied by the Townley family home. It was located here in 1889 but by 1925 it was gone, and soon after a service station appeared on the site, initially run by Thompson and Graham, then in the 1930s by Frith & Lawrey.

In 1949, when this image was shot by Walter E Frost, Tom Hurrell was running the Quadra Service Station. The gas pumps offered Home Gasoline, and there were dozens of Home gas bars across the Lower Mainland, some of them featured in company movies viewable on the City Archives website. In 1949, the company’s advertisement announced it as a BC owned business, (the headquarters were just up Burrard Street), with over 300 locations to buy gas. Founded in 1928, the company lasted until 1978, although the gas stations were run by Imperial Oil after 1976.

Tom Hurrell apparently arrived in the city, and took over the gas bar in 1939. This picture was taken in the final year of its existence. A year later a two storey branch of the Bank of Toronto was here, later home to a branch of the Bank of British Columbia. In 1984 the Waisman Dewar Grout Carter designed building was completed that’s there today, an unusually silver reflective office called Commerce Place (home to the CIBC Bank in town) that reflects a view of the Marine Building that’s across the street. Tom Hurrell went on to run a gas station on Granville Street, and moved to live in West Vancouver.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-389

Posted April 17, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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