Archive for the ‘Downtown’ Category

646 Seymour Street

Since 1959 this has been a parkade. Developed by the Hudson’s Bay Company to provide parking for the store across Seymour Street, there’s a high-level pedestrian bridge link over the street. In 1974 the Bay’s name was still visible; since then it has become the Parkwell Plaza, now owned by a developer; the Holborn Group.

The 1950s canopies have been replaced, and neither Duthie Books or Purdy’s Chocolates trade here any more, but the stores along the street are still operating, and cars still park above. No doubt in the near future the parkade will be replaced, developing almost all of this block including the Dunsmuir Hotel. When it does, there will have to be a substantial parade underground, as the developers have to provide several hundred spaces for The Bay as well as those required by their own project.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-417


Posted December 29, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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Burrard Street – 700 block, west side

In 1974 this Burrard Street location was yet another surface parking lot. It had been used for commercial parking for over 20 years, and Tilden’s car rental operation was here all that time. In the 1950s Stanley Park Cabs were also based on the same lot. Ten years earlier the cab company was Terminal City cabs, and the Central Burrard Service station sold gas and oil. The Palomar Supper Club was located to the north, off the picture to the right. In 1935 the gas bar was known as the Glencoe Service Station, with the Canadian National Garage sharing the lot. A decade earlier two battery companies were located here; the Battery House and the Willard Storage Battery Co. The building they occupied had been built in 1921, replacing two earlier houses. In 1925 there were two houses on the northern half of the lot. All four houses had first been built before the early 1900s

Today there’s a 1993 building with floor floors of commercial uses designed by Musson Cattell Mackey. The Irwinton Apartments are still standing to the south, and the reclad Burrard Building to the north.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-24

Posted December 27, 2017 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Dunsmuir Street – 100 block, north side

There’s very little to say about the ‘before’ shot – in 1974 this was a parking lot. In earlier years this was the location of the second YMCA building, which was replaced by a third in 1940. A year later the newly vacated building was adopted for the war effort, with initially the Canadian Government Department of National Defence Support Column moving in, later replaced by the Armouries. After the war the Glad Tidings Pentacostal Assembly took over, staying until at least 1960. Off in the distance, down Cambie Street, there was a Chevron gas station, unusually  located mid-block rather than on a corner.

It wasn’t until 1994 that the site was redeveloped with the Seimens Building – now known as the Amec Building, designed by Aitken Wreglesworth Associates. It was cantilevered out to allow the building’s base footprint to miss the tunnel for the SkyTrain which angles across the site from the nearby station on Beatty Street, and picks up the abandoned Canadian Pacific rail tunnel further west. The tunnel was cut in 1931, to allow trains from the Cordova Street station to move to the Drake Street railyards to be cleaned, supplied and made ready for the trip back to the east. CP stopped using the tunnel in 1979.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-65

Posted December 26, 2017 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

690 Beatty Street

Today this is a pocket park, next to the Drill Hall on Beatty Street. In 1921 Union Oil of Canada obtained a permit for a new $1,500 gas bar here, presumably using an in-house design as no architect was mentioned. The building was first noted in the street directory in 1923, although no name was associated with Service Station No. 163. In 1929 the owners are identified as Roach & Rosbotham: Leonard A Roach and Thomas Rosbotham.  In 1926 Thomas was the attendant at a Union Oil service station, and a couple of years earlier he was an orderly at the Shaughnessy Hospital. In 1931 they opened another service station on Dunsmuir Street.

By 1933 this was known as the Georgia Viaduct Service Station, run by Henry Howe. He ran the same business right through to at least the 1950s, as Henry Howe and Sons.

The new public space, built as part of the Spectrum tower development (sitting on top of Costco) in 2007 featues an artwork by Toronto artists Yvonne Lammerich and Ian Carr-Harris called “Writing to You”. The artwork has two cast bronze sculptures at either end of the pedestrian mews. On one side is a table on tiled ground with a letter lying on its surface with several pages left out. On the other side of the site rests a military trunk on broken ground with a corresponding letter on the trunk. The letters are from over eight hundred that Major Lloyd Augustus of the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own) and his wife Mary Augustus wrote to each other every day during the Second World War, while Lloyd was stationed overseas.

The Archives image from the 1940s doesn’t identify the location, just that it’s Harry Howe’s Service Station. There are several other great images shot by Jack Lindsay in 1945 of the gas station, including this one that shows an attendant filling the gas tank of a 1937 DeSoto Touring sedan with British-American (B-A) Premium Peerless Ethyl gasoline.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1184-1748 and CVA 1184-1749


Posted December 25, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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564 Beatty Street

Here’s a warehouse on the row of Beatty Street buildings that are, for the most part, still standing after over 100 years. That doesn’t mean they haven’t seen significant change, and this one more than most. It’s a modest three storeys facing Beatty, but has an additional three floors that face the lane at the back. There was a significant grade change here, with a cliff face, and developers took the opportunity to have the back of the buildings at the lower level serviced by rail tracks, and the front by street delivery several floors higher. (The difference increases rising up Beatty Street).

When it was built this was just a single storey structure to Beatty Street. It was built during the period of missing permits, so we don’t know who designed it, but the developer of the $20,000 investment was noted in the press as ex-alderman Jonathan Rogers, who had already built a series of Vancouver buildings, and a few years later developed the Rogers Building on Granville Street.

In 1912 J P Matheson designed the additional two storeys for Robert A Welsh (not Walsh, as the register of Heritage Places would have you believe. It was built around 1907, not in 1909). We assume he’s the same Englishman called R A Welsh who was in Moosejaw;  two brothers, E B  and R A Welsh, settled four miles due west of Henry. “They abandoned their homestead in the spring of 1891 and moved to Vancouver where they became very wealthy“. In Vancouver they had a feed store on Water Street, then opened the Celctic Cannery on the Fraser river. The Celtic Cannery opened in 1897 and in 1902, BC Packers purchased Celtic Island and Deering Island to form Celtic Shipyards. About 25 Japanese families employed in the fishing industry resided in single family homes on the north and south shores of Celtic Island and on Middle Island, known today as Deering Island. Robert was living in the city in 1901, with his wife Mary and daughter Doris. His brother, Edward was also resident with his wife Ruthella. Both brothers were shown aged 35, with birthdays only 6 months apart, so there was an error by one of the recording clerks. Robert soon moved away from the city, although he continued to have business interests here. He used the funds from the sale to BC Packers to buy a cannery in Bellingham in Whatcom County in 1905. He made a profit that year of $25,000, which he reinvested into Alaska with similar success. Edward lived in the West End and became a broker.

The original tenant of the building in 1907 was the Gurney Foundry Co. Ltd., an Ontario stove firm that used this as its B C distribution warehouse. Gurney bought the property in 1913. In 1938, when this Vancouver Public Library image was taken, it was occupied by Metals Ltd. They handled Plumbing and Heating Supplies, Pipe, Fittings and Valves. Clare Bros. Jewel Ranges, Good Cheer and Pease Furnaces, Berry Bros. Varnishes, Arco Boilers and Corto Radiators. Much more recently the building has had a seismic renovation and addition. Unlike other warehouses on the block, rather than adding a lightweight addition, IBI designed a concrete framed 4 storey addition for office use. Combined with a new central elevator shaft to tie the frame together and add rigidity, the new structure built over the original brick wall improves its seismic performance.

Posted December 21, 2017 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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Burrard and Melville Streets

From 1891 this was the home of Rev E D McLaren. Ebenezer Duncan McLaren was the minister of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church from 1889 until he retired due to ill health in 1911. He was born in 1850, in Lanark, Ontario and he attended Queen’s University in Kingston. He graduated in 1873 and was minister 0f several churches in Ontario. He married, and had three children; two born in Ontario and one soon after the family arrived in Vancouver. He lived in this house from his arrival in 1891 through to his retirement in 1911, when he moved to the West End, and in 1922 had a $7,000 house built on Connaught Drive. It’s likely that he had this house built, and while we know his neighbour a block away was architect C O Wickenden, we don’t know who designed it.

Following his retirement, in 1912 he was invited to become president of Western Residential Schools, but they closed soon afterwards, partly because of the war-time depression. In 1916 he went overseas as chaplain with the 158th Battalion. After the war, he returned to British Columbia, where he was the chaplain of the Shaughnessy Military Hospital in Vancouver and the Tranquille Provincial Sanitarium near Kamloops. He died in 1935. That was a year after the house had been replaced by Union Oil’s Burrard Service Station, one of a number in this immediate vicinity.

Today the Hyatt Hotel towers over the retail entrance to the Royal Centre, with a restaurant above a Staples office supplies store.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-958

Posted December 18, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Hornby Street – 500 block, west side

We’ve seen the building on the corner (on the right of the picture) in an earlier post. It’s the Yorkshire Trust building built in 1952 and designed by McCarter and Nairne. The Yorkshire Trust Company was established in the 1880s and existed until 1988. It’s backers came originally from Huddersfield, hence the company name. Founded by George Pepler Norton as the Yorkshire Guarantee & Securities Corporation, the Yorkshire connection was lost in 1965 when the company was acquired by Credit Foncier, and in 1988 the Yorkshire name was lost when it was amalgamated with others in the creation of the Central Guaranty Trust Company.

Today there’s an office building occupied by Manulife, completed in 1985, designed by Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden Partnership. Initially we think it was developed by Montreal Trust.

To the south in our 1981 image was a parkade – one of many that have disappeared. Here it was replaced in 1995 by the new YWCA, designed by Charles Bentall Architects. It was built here to allow the previous (and larger) YWCA building to be replaced with the Bentall V office tower.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W04.26

Posted December 11, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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