Archive for the ‘Downtown’ Category

Burrard Bridge

The Burrard Bridge was built between 1930 and 1932 This image was photographed some time in the 1940s, when the new connection across False Creek still hadn’t prompted redevelopment along Burrard. Today the concrete piers of the bridge, with their art deco lanterns, seem insignificant, but in earlier days they stood out.

In our bridge photo the houses on the east side of the 1300 block were built in the early 1900s. The first six, to the north had been completed by 1904. We’ve lost most of the permits up to 1908, when there were 13 houses (the full block), so we don’t know who built most of them. The first house on Burrard was developed in 1905, cost $2,000 and was built by Jacob Hoffmeister, who was 26 that year, and had moved into the house by 1906.

He was one of six Hoffmeister Brothers, several of them electricians and later involved in the early motor trade. From Ontario, all six accompanied their father (and two sisters) west. Reinhart and Jacob were both involved with Hoffmeister Electric, a company that specialized in the design, construction, and installation of electric generators, often in very large industrial businesses. The company was founded in 1898, and finally closed in 1960.

His neighbour was Ansil Thatcher, a machinist, who had carried out alterations to his home in 1907. He was from Williamstown, in Michigan, and said he was 29 when he married Elizabeth Dickie who was 22 and from New Brunswick in 1900 in Vancouver. (Actually he was 4 years older).

Before the bridge was built, as we noted in earlier posts, Burrard Street was ridiculously wide for a residential street that didn’t lead anywhere (except to a small wharf). Here’s a 1923 image showing the street north from West Georgia. Today it’s part of the Central Business District, but then, not so much.

The bridge was designed by G L Thornton Sharp, of Sharp and Thompson, working with John R Grant, its engineer. Some of the bridge’s steelwork was clad in art deco towers, and the detailing on the light columns and lanterns (which were purely decoration) matches. The structure is a hybrid of various bridge types, and was designed for a possible lift span for a rail crossing under the deck, that was never built. It was built with six lanes that could theoretically carry traffic volumes that have never existed. A redesign in the past decade saw the addition of first one, and then a second protected bicycle lane, and replacement lighting and new fences on the outer edges, as well as extensive seismic upgrades.

Image sources: CVA 1184-1697 and CVA Str N180

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Posted 23 December 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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Burrard Street north from Melville

This 1929 Vancouver Public Library image, photographed by Philip Timms,  shows the nearly new Loyal Order of Moose Lodge No. 888 on the east side of the street at 636 Burrard. The builder for the $70,000 development was the Dominion Construction Co. It’s possible the company designed the project in-house; Charles Bentall was not averse to sketching how projects could be built, even though he wasn’t a qualified architect.

Down the street is Southard Motors Ltd. at 600 Burrard. Designed by R A McKenzie, it cost $15,000, was built by Bedford Davidson, and developed by G G McGeer – former Liberal politician Gerry McGeer. He had represented Richmond in the Provincial government in the 1920s, and would be re-elected in the early 1930s both as MLA and mayor of Vancouver, and then as an MP.

Southard had been on West Georgia in 1925, selling Essex cars – a part of Hudson Motors of Detroit. In 1930 they had this branch, and one in a different West Georgia location. As well as the Essex Super-Six they were selling the Hudson Super-Eight.

Archelaus Southard was president of the company, with a house in Shaughnessy. He was from a Methodist family, was born in Ontario, and was more often called Archie. In 1895 he was in Alberta, working as a tailor. That year he married Flora McDonald, and in 1911 they were living in Medicine Hat, where he was a merchant. He must have been successful; they had an 11-year-old daughter at home, Kathleen, an American governess and a Swedish maid. They appear to have had a son, also christened Archelaus, in 1918. The Southard name traces back to a family living in New York in the 1700s, and had a tradition of sons being christened Archelaus stretching back several generations; (-some in the the 1800s were Quakers). The owner of Southard’s Motors was 77 when he died in 1950, and his wife Flora was 85 on her death in 1959.

In 1930 the company relocated to Granville Street – in 1938 they were selling Chrysler cars. Knight Motors moved in here, selling Chevrolet motors in the early 1930, although by 1936 De Wolfe Motors had replaced them. Like Southard’s operation here, they apparently sold pre-owned vehicles, but De Wolfe seem to have specialized in trucks, and were Reo Distributors for B C. Named after Ransom Eli Olds, and based in Lancing, Michigan, as well as cars, Reo (or REO, the company favoured either option) were best known for their Speedwagon trucks.

At the start of the war the premises were vacant, and by 1941 Empire Motors had moved in. They sold Ford and Mercury cars, and Ford trucks. They stayed here until the early 1950s, when the site was redeveloped as a Home Gas Station, with the Midtown Motors garage, run by Philip and David Kobayashi, specializing in body repairs and like Empire, offering u-drive cars.

On the north side of Dunsmuir, the half-timbered English styled building was the YWCA, developed in 1905 to W T Dalton’s design, with a 1909 addition.

Today Park Place, addressed as 666 Burrard and completed in 1984, occupies the sites of the lodge and the garage. The YWCA was replaced with a much larger building in 1969, that was closed in 1995 and demolished in 1997. It was replaced several years later by the Cactus Club Cafe a low-rise building associated with Bentall 5, an office tower built in two stages to eventually reach 33 floors in 2007, (but initially only 22 in 2002).

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Posted 9 December 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Barclay and Thurlow Streets, ne corner

This picture dates from 1887, and is in the Uno Langmann Family Collection of Photographs at UBC. It was taken by a Montreal photographer, William Notman, who took a trip across the country on the new railway, taking photographs of scenic views on glass slides that he then turned into postcards on his return. This sepia print has faded a bit, but the McCord Museum (who have had Notman’s photographic archive since 1956) have made a clearer print.

We’ve enlarged part of the McCord image to show how we can locate the location of the two trees. That’s the First Hotel Vancouver off in the distance, apparently still under construction. The gentleman in the picture is actually sitting in a buggy, so there’s presumably a horse hidden by the left hand tree. Notman titled the image ‘Douglas Pines’, but they were actually Douglas Firs; there is a tree called Douglas Pine but it only grows to 150 feet, and it’s a native of Mexico. These trees could have been approaching 400 feet tall.

It’s not at all clear why they were still standing. The area between where the picture was taken (which Major Matthews, the City Archivist estimated to be where Barclay meets Thurlow today, and the hotel, had been cleared by two different contractors. “The forest on District Lot 541, or “C.P.R. Townsite” was felled in the spring of 1886 by Boyd and Clandenning, who, under contract, received twenty six dollars per acre for slashing and felling, and two dollars extra for cutting the limbs off; $28.00 in all.

The forest on District Lot 185, or “Brighouse Estate,” adjoining to the west of Burrard street, was felled to about Nicola street, in the spring of 1887 by John “Chinese” McDougall, and his employment of Chinese in preference to whites was the cause of the Chinese Riot of Feb. 1887. For some reason not known, solitary trees were left standing. These are two of them. 

Later, Boyd and Clandenning were paid three hundred dollars per acre for close cutting and clearing everything off the “C.P.R. Townsite” so that fire could not run through it again as it had done on 13 June 1886.”

This site was soon built on – there were two houses here by the turn of the century. One was part of a row of homes running down Barclay, and another was built at the rear of the lot, facing Thurlow. The Barclay house, from 1896, was home to Charles Wilson (Q.C.), a lawyer with Courbold, McColl, Wilson and Campbell from 1894. The Thurlow house seems to have confused the directory clerks (the number probably got altered in the early years of its existence) but by 1901 it was numbered as 908 Thurlow, home to Cortes Corydon Eldridge, born in Quebec and the first customs appraiser in the city.

Mr. Wilson was so well thought of as a defense lawyer that he travelled to Vernon to defend Euphemia Rabbitt, a 25 year old married woman who had shot and killed James Hamilton, a miner who had had threatened her, and who was described at her trial as “erratic and most abominable in his speech, especially about women”. Wilson’s cross examining of witnesses was so successful that Mrs. Rabbitt was found quilty of ‘justifiable homicide’ after only 20 minutes of deliberation by the jury, and she left the court a free woman. In 1899 it was suggested he might be appointed attorney general of the province, but in 1900 he stood for election in the Provincial election as part of the Liberal-Conservative Party of Canada. Technically this was the last election held without party affiliations; in practice most candidates identified their support. Mr. Wilson was not elected.

In 1992 Aquilini Investments built a 36 unit strata building here, on 7 floors, called Barclay Terrace. Enough owners were willing to sell to a developer that a 47 storey replacement, designed by ACDF Architecture of Montreal has been proposed, with 270 condos and 91 non-market rental units.

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Posted 21 October 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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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