Archive for the ‘East End’ Category

54 East Cordova Street

Like the rooming house to the west, (more recently known as the Wonder Rooms) this building was designed by Hugh Braunton, in this case a year later in 1912. The developer was W G Harvey and the building opened as the Alvin Rooms, although they didn’t appear in a street directory until 1914, when they were run by H McIntyre.

The first year he was in Vancouver, 1895, W G Harvey’s store was at 322 E Cordova, and he was living at 515 Westminster Avenue. In 1896 the store had moved to 326 Westminster Avenue, and was described as ‘the leading East End Dry Goods Store’. In 1898 the store was at 400 Westminster Ave, and the family were living at 338 E Hastings, and in 1901 they had moved again, to 800 Hornby. That was the family home through the 1900s, although the store moved again to 70 W Cordova, and then in 1910 to the Hornby address. A year later William had retired, and moved to Shaughnessy, to the corner of Matthews and Granville.

Mrs W G Harvey died in 1919, and was only 58. We can trace from the details on her death certificate that Florence Gabriel married William George Harvey in St Mary’s Church St John’s, Newfoundland in 1891. The family must have moved west quite soon after that; Beatrix Harvey was born in 1892, in Victoria. (She married Ernest Williams in Vancouver in 1919, just before her mother’s death, and died in 1966 in Victoria). Lancelot William Harvey was born in 1893 in Victoria, married in 1921 and died in Coquitlam in 1980. In the 1901 census the children were recorded as Beatrice and Lance, and their uncle (W G’s brother) Herber Harvey was living with the family. W G Harvey was 64 when he died in Vancouver in 1925.

Miss J Anderson was running The Alvin Rooms in 1930, and Mrs S Saiga in 1940. In the 1940s these became the Franklin Rooms, in 1945 run by Choy Chin, and then by 1950 The Cordova Rooms, the name previously held by the building to the west. Choy Jung was shown running them that year, but by 1955 it was shown as Choy Chin again.

The Cordova Residence, as it’s now known, was part of the SRO Renewal Initiative of public owned heritage hotels, so we have documented evidence of the state of the building prior to restoration, and some of the more unusual aspects of the structure. It has a solid wooden frame – the main floor timbers are 12″ x 16″ with 2″ x 4″ laminated floors – suggesting a warehouse or perhaps industrial intended use. There’s an original wooden framed manually operated freight elevator from the main floor to the basement, and a belt-drive jack shaft to power a lathe also survives in the basement. The basement was linked to the building next door, and there’s an original rolling metal-clad fire door across the doorway. All of these elements were preserved in the renovation.

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Posted 22 July 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gastown, Still Standing

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B C Electric Substation, Main Street

The Vancouver Public Library say this image was shot on 8 July 1920 by the Dominion Photo Co. It shows the electric substation for BC Electric that dominated the street – and especially the wirescape – around this stretch of Main Street. It was built and rebuilt several times over a few years. Some work was designed in-house, but in 1903 Blackmore & Son had designed the substation on the corner here, costing $32,000 and built by E Cook.

This image shows a $12,000 addition built in 1912 as well; (the building on the right). A year earlier one of the the concrete smoke stacks had cost $16,000, designed by C C Moore and Company. They were specialist engineers who also supplied the boilers in the sugar refinery, and they had constructed the first $6,000 chimney in 1910 designed by Weber Steel Concrete Co, a US specialist chimney designer.

After this image was shot, in 1923, Coughlin & Sons were hired to carry out another $15,000 of alterations, although there’s no obvious difference to the buildings in this 1929 VPL image, except there seems to only one chimney remaining for the auxiliary power supply. (B C Electric had built a hydro-electric generating station at Buntzen Lake as early as 1903).

B C Electric built a new substation just to the north of these buildings, between 1945 and 1947. The Murrin Substation is still standing, and in use, today. Designed by McCarter and Nairne, the open air transformer yard replaced the buildings to the west, down Union Street. A new smaller substation building designed by Sean McEwan was added more recently on the corner. (William G. Murrin was the president of the British Columbia Electric Railway Company from 1929 to 1946.)

The Murrin Substation is currently expected to be decommissioned around 2030. BC Hydro reviewed a number of options, including rebuilding a new substation on the Murrin substation site. A new site has been acquired, as upgrading the existing facility isn’t a viable option because it sits on seismically unstable soil. It’s technically not feasible and cost prohibitive to seismically upgrade the site to appropriate levels.

With the viaducts to the immediate south expected to see removal and redevelopment, this stretch of Main Street will look very different in a few years time.

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Posted 15 July 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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468 Union Street

This rooming house has seen better days, but we were surprised to see how much it’s gone downhill since our picture from 1978. Back then there were still patterned stucco panels and windows with coloured glass and fancy glazing bars.

The 1911 census showed Jerome Martin was 57, living at 466 Barnard (today’s Union St), with his wife Mary, who was 42, and their 2 year old son, Harold. Jerome was a bricklayer, born in Belgium, and it said he arrived in 1905 and that Mary was from Ontario. She was, but Jerome had married Mary in Vancouver in April 1904. His marriage certificate said he was a bachelor, and a bricklayer. (It also, inaccurately, said he was born in 1858). Historian James Johnstone found that Mary Jane O’Brien applied for the water connection for a house at 466 Barnard in August 1904 (Although she was actually Mary Jane Martin by then)

In 1905 they were living in a house at the rear of 757 Prior, and Jerome was shown working as a mason. He got a permit for a frame dwelling on Barnard St in 1905, and another in 1906. From 1906 to 1908 the family were living at 466 Barnard, and Jerome was shown as a bricklayer. In 1908 J C Martin of 466 Barnard obtained another permit for a house on Prior Street. From 1909 to 1911 the Martin family lived at 753 Prior. (Different families were living at 466 Barnard over this period). In 1911 J C Martin had a permit for a $1,000 1-storey frame dwelling house at 466 Barnard. That was probably an initial permit for this building, although oddly, there doesn’t seem to be an detailed permit for an apartment. The water permit was obtained in October 1912 by Jerome Martin, so the building was completed at that point.

The 1912 street directory showed J Clement Martin as the proprietor of the Whitehorse Rooms, and living at the renumbered 468 Union. Later that year, in December, the Daily World reported “Chief Justice Hunter yesterday gave judicial sanction to the separation of Jerome Clement Martin and his wife, Mary Jane Martin. The custody of a child will remain with Mrs. Martin, and she will be paid $15 a month. This decision was the result of the chief Justice holding a private conference with Mr. and Mrs. Martin and effecting a settlement with the aid of counsel.

The 1913 street directory showed Jerome C Martin as proprietor of the White Horse Rooms at 468 Union, and the Roma Restaurant was shown here run by Guiseppe Giovanetti. In September that year the marriage was reported in the Tacoma Times of Jerome C. Martin and Eva Macfadden, both of Seattle. Eva was from Montana, and had been married once before; and this was recorded as Jerome’s third marriage. In 1914 the White House Rooms had no proprietor listed, and Mrs Lipovsky ran a grocery store. A year later the rooms weren’t mentioned, and Mrs Lipovsky was still running her store. She was a Russian-born widow; her husband, a sheet metal worker, died of acute appendicitis at the age of 42 in 1912. In 1916 Sarah Lipovsky had moved her grocery store to 433 E Georgia, and Jerome Martin was running the grocery store here.

Jerome Martin died in Vancouver in June 1917, and was shown as married, aged 63. In 1917 and 1918 468 Union was shown as vacant, and the rooms were not mentioned by name, but their address was shown as 468½ Union. Generally the proprietor of the rooms is shown, but not the tenants. Victor Dorigo was at the address in 1921, with his son, and sister. He was shown in the directory, but not George Carr who was living here with his wife Viola, or Daniel Strickland, a lodger. Roger Victor is shown in the directory, although it’s not clear why, as he worked for the CPR.

Bizarrely, in the 1921 census Victor Dorigo was shown as being born in the USA, his parents were born in Finland, and his ethnicity was shown as Russian. He and his son spoke Italian. He was also a storekeeper, with the confectionery store on the main floor that had previously been run by Eugenio Falcioni. Before them Abraham Charkow had an egg store at 468 Union in 1919. An online biography suggests the census clerk was getting very confused. Vittorio (Victor) Dorigo was born about 1893 in Fregona, Italy, to Guiseppi Dorigo and Regina Piazza. He arrived in the Port of New York, New York, on 16 May 1914, aboard the La Provence from Le Havre, France; age 21 with his destination as Michel, British Columbia. He married Vivian Walimaki about 1920. Victor and Vivian relocated from British Columbia to Ontario, Canada, sometime before 1929.

Herbert Strickland took over in 1923, running a butchers store, then in 1925 the Union Tailor Shop run by Louis Battistoni, joined by his brother’s shoe repair business. Upstairs J Moir ran the rooms, in 1928 with V A Warn.

In the early 1930s the Ungren family moved into 466 Union (on the lane), and John Ungren was shown running the Lethbridge Meat Market under the rooms. By 1932 his wife, Dora had taken over the store space as a grocery and John ran the rooms, and by 1939 they’d swapped again, with John running a confectionery store, and Dora ran the rooms, which the family had moved into. They renamed the rooms Adora Court in the early 1940s. The name stuck, although by then the Ungren’s weren’t there. A variety of names of tenants of the store, and the proprietor of the rooms cycle through the 1940s. At the end of the war John Ivancic was running the rooms, and the store had apparently become a residential address, with the Few family living there, replaced by William and Adwina Jones a year later.

In 1948 George and Katie Kohut were running Adora Court, in 1951 William Baert became caretaker, and in 1953 the rooms became ‘Chinese’, and a year later ‘Mrs Lam Ho’ was added as proprietor. She was still here when our 1978 image was taken, but new managers took over in the 1980s. The name ‘Lucky Rooms’ was adopted in 1999, and then the New Lucky Rooms, (although there was no obvious improvement to justify the name). There are 24 units here, with shared bathrooms. Although advertised as ‘Student Residences’, the rooms let like many others in the neighbourhood, to anyone who can pay the requested rent.

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Posted 12 July 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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800 – 822 Jackson Avenue

Leonard Sankey came to the three-year-old Vancouver in 1889. He was a carpenter, like his older brother Frank, and first appeared in a street directory in 1891 living on Prior Street. His brother lived across the street. They were from Herefordshire. Their father was Herbert Sankey from Ludlow in Shropshire and their mother Emma Bull from Bullingham in Herefordshire. Leonard was 26 when he married Fannie (christened Frances) Robinson, who was from Nottinghamshire. The were married in Vancouver in 1893, and by the 1901 census there were already four children at home, Vera, Ira, Gladys and Harvey.

Leonard built the $1,000 house at the end, on the corner of Barnard as it was then known, (Union today) in 1904. It was finished in 1905, and the family moved in. Two years later he obtained a permit to add four more houses at the cost of $1,000 each – although they were built as a single unit. The rental building was a simplified version of the Queen Anne style of the house. They both had a complicated gable roof and projecting bays, but his house had extra details like fish scale shingles and carved corner brackets.

We eventually found the family in the 1911 census. All four children were at home, and it looks like four had been enough for them. Most of their names were spelled wrongly, (Gladis, Harvie) and the ink ran out writing ‘Sankey’, but the address confirmed it was the correct family. Leonard was still a carpenter, as he was in the 1921 census when only Harvey, who was 22, was still at home, still a student. Unusually, the family didn’t all agree about religious denominations; Harvey was listed as Baptist, his father as Methodist, and his mother as ‘Christian Science’.

The family moved, first to Grant Street, then to Parker Street, but Leonard continued to own and rent the properties, carrying out repairs in 1922 that required a permit. From 1926 to 1928 his former home was used by the Canadian Jewish Council of Women, who provided a variety of social services to the Jewish community in Strathcona. Frances died in 1937 and Leonard was 97 when he died in 1964. The houses have stayed in single ownership, and have been maintained carefully – as can be seen in our 1978 image.

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Posted 5 July 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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205 Main Street

In 1904, according to the building permit, M McRae hire C B McLean to design an $8,500 hotel on the corner of Powell Street and Westminster Avenue. Dowse and Carter built the hotel, which opened as The Melbourne Hotel in the fall. Mr. McLean wasn’t active in the city for very long, but also designed the Invermay Hotel on West Hastings. Here he added a couple of bay windows on the second floor, above a main floor bar.

Later that year 1904 the press carried the following advert: MELBOURNE HOTEL New and up-to-date; steam-heated and electric light; excellent table (white cook); guests receive every attention; cars to all parts of the city pass the door. Rates $1.25 and $1.60 per day. Special rates to steady boarders. D. McRAE. E. McCANNEL Cor. Westminster Avenue and Powell Street. The street directory confirmed Donald McRae, proprietor, although failed to mention Mr. McRae in any other entry. (The only Donald McRae living in the city throughout this period had a job as a customs locker). The Government Gazette published a legal notice at the end of 1904: WE, Donald McRae and Elizabeth McCannel, members of the firm of McRae & McCannel, carrying on business as hotel-keepers at the City of Vancouver aforesaid, in the Melbourne Hotel, under the style of McRae & McCannel, do hereby certify that the said partnership is this day dissolved, the said Elizabeth McCannel retiring from the said partnership. The said McRae is to carry on the said business and pay all liabilities thereof, and is entitled to the stock in trade, moneys, credits and effects of the said partnership, and to indemnify and save harmless the said Elizabeth McCannel against the payment of any partnership liabilities. Witness our hands at Vancouver, B. C., this 29th day of December, A.D. 1904.

We’ve had more luck tracing Elizabeth than Donald. She was living in the city in the 1901 census, and she, rather than her husband, was listed in the street directory. Mrs. Elizabeth McCannell ran the Windsor on East Hastings, although the census only listed her husband Donald’s occupation, as blacksmith. We’re pretty certain it’s the correct household as there are 16 boarders as well as the couple’s 4 daughters and a son-in-law (and grandaughter), so a house seems an unlikely option. Elizabeth’s husband, Donald McCannel, died in 1903. It’s likely that Donald McRae was a relative, possibly her brother, as before she married she was Elizabeth McRae, from Glengarry County, Ontario. She had four children, and didn’t stay in the city after handing over the Melbourne. She died in San Francisco in 1919. Our best guess is that Donald and Elizabeth planned the hotel to help out when Elizabeth found herself a widow, but the arrangement didn’t work out, leaving Donald to take over, and then dispose of the hotel.

Whoever he was, Donald McRae wasn’t running the hotel for much longer. In 1906 John Gaugler was running The Melbourne. In 1908 Earle and Rice were running the hotel, which had been successful at attracting long term residents. There were several engineers, a couple of carpenters and a lumberman and a prospector among the residents. In 1910 Rice and Richter were listed as proprietors, although John Rice appeared to run things, and lived in the hotel. The tenants were a cut above the average East End rooming house; they included Ben Roe, the master of the steamer ‘Farquhar’ and Isaac Forsythe, a master mariner, a fireman on the Great Northern Railway, John Gray, an engineer, the Co-owner of The Dominion Emploment Agency, William Kelman as well as a clerk and a barman who worked at the hotel.

In 1921 M Amano was listed as proprietor of the Melbourne Rooms. The census shows Daiichi Amano, a 27 year old Japanese rooming house proprietor, and his 23 year old wife, Katuyo. Their lodgers were now more typical of the area’s population; a carpenter, a fisherman, two loggers and a pile driver. They were from Japan, Ireland, Quebec, Italy – and one from British Columbia. In 1931 it was once again a hotel, with Dan Mackenzie running the hotel. There was a waiter in the dining room, and a clerk at the front desk. He was still running the hotel a decade later, which had a beer parlour, two waiters, a steward and a porter. The Museum of Vancouver have one of the fancy, art deco styled chaise lounge sofas from the period Dan owned the hotel. After the war the Melbourne Hotel and rooms were being run by John Costock and Goliardo (‘Gillie’) Brandolini. Mr. Brandolini was still running the hotel in 1955. Elma Brandolini was the hotel clerk, and other Brandolinis were running the New Empire Hotel, and BC Hotels, so theirs was a family of hoteliers.

At some point in the early 1970s the bar of the Melbourne joined over thirty other bars and lounges, and transformed into a stripper bar, the No.5 Orange. It was still run by the Brandolinis, Harry and Leon, and was rated as one of the classier venues. Bon Jovi apparently spent time here when they were recording their new album nearby in the mid 1980s, and the shower installed on stage helped them come up with the title of their new album, ‘Slippery When Wet’. Courtney Love performed here for a month in 1989 (before she became a singer). Out of several dozen bars, almost all the other similar venues have closed; there are just four remaining, and (temporary Covid closure excepted) the No.5 continues to be be one of them, although the hotel rooms have long gone.

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Posted 28 June 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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332 Jackson Avenue

We looked at the history of the rooming house on the left edge of this picture in an earlier post. it was designed by W F Gardiner for Frank Vandall in 1911. There were two other buildings on the same 2 lots, and the rooming house on the southern end, next to the lane was given a permit slightly earlier, in 1910. A rooming house was designed by George A Horel for John Elliott. At the time it was 320 Jackson, although by 1912 it was shown on the insurance map as 332 Jackson.

The small cottage sandwiched in the middle was the last remaining outlier of the original development here. There were four houses in a row in 1901, with two being redeveloped for the Vandall Block, and another for John Elliott’s rooming house. They first show up in 1896, when all four were initially shown in the street directory as vacant, so they were probably built speculatively. The City School was on Oppenheimer Street (E Cordova today) on the next lots to the east.

There were seven John Elliotts in Vancouver in 1911, and two listed as ‘real estate’ One lived on West 7th Avenue, was aged 48, from the USA, and listed as a builder. He lived with his wife Nettie, and daughter Elva, and had arrived in 1896. His real estate activity was new; in 1908 it appears that he was a butcher. Another candidate was  John G Elliott, also from the US, aged 50 and lived on Barclay Street in the West End. His census entry says ‘agent, finance’, but the street directory shows a real estate partnership with his son, Irving S Elliott, who lived on East 6th Avenue. John G and his wife May Alice had come from the US in 1906, and still had four daughters living at home in 1911. There was a least one other John Elliott who was a contractor, and we haven’t found a way to pin the permit for this building down to any specific positively identified John Elliott.

It may not really matter, because the street directory seems to suggest that Mr. Elliott’s building may not have been built. There are a series of entries for a single named resident (suggesting a house, rather than an apartment) through to the 1920s, when the directory compilers gave up (or weren’t interested), and just put ‘Japanese’. The first identifiable rooming house here was in 1929 when the lshisaka Rooms, run by S Ishisaka, were listed. By 1932 they had been renamed the Jackson rooms, with S Kishida running them. Once the Japanese were removed from the BC coast, E Karlson took over in 1942. Mrs. Julia Haras was running the rooms in 1945, and Peter Holyk in the 1950s. He was from the Ukraine, had been a miner with a home on East Georgia in the 1930s, and died in 1977.

The two rooming houses continued operations for many years, (and are still operating today), although they came under the same ownership as a single legal lot, and the combined building is now known as The Jackson Rooms. In 1988 a new addition of an infill building was developed where the cottage at 316 Jackson was still standing in our 1978 image.

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Posted 24 June 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Oppenheimer Lodge – East Cordova Street

This non-market housing building was only 4 years old when our ‘before’ shot was taken in 1978. The building has lasted remarkably well for one over 40 years old. In the late 2010s it had a $2.7m makeover to replace the roof and windows, and to patch up waterproofing, but compared to many buildings from the same era it’s doing really well. The 147 units of non-market seniors housing was originally developed by the Federal Government, using the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. It’s now owned by the Provincial BC Housing agency, who in turn identified the City of Vancouver to manage the seniors complex.

This was one of the last designs by architects Erickson/Massey, the Vancouver starchitects of their day. They split up in 1972, and Arthur Erickson then started his solo practice. While this was being built he was designing the Museum of Anthropology. Geoffrey Massey, son of movie star Raymond Massey, also continued in practice, and died in December 2020 from pneumonia in a hospice near Lion’s Gate Hospital in North Vancouver aged 96.

In 1973 the Vancouver Sun reported on the project. “Applications are now being received for low-rent bachelor apartments at Oppenheimer Lodge, Cordova Street at Jackson. Applicants, men or women, must be at least 40, single, with incomes of less than $250 a month and savings of less than $1,000. They must be residents of the skid road area. Oppenheimer Lodge is being built jointly by federal, provincial and city governments.

So far there have been 460 applications for apartments at Oppenheimer. Lucky ones, for about $54 a month, will get a 10-foot by 16-foot living room, plus a fridge and a stove and a private wash-room. Not exactly opulent, but bright and cheerful. The unsuccessful will return to dingy rooming houses and cheap hotels, where $60 rents an 8-foot by 10-foot bedroom, no place to cook. And the bathroom is somewhere down the hall. “Selection is a monstrous task,” says United Church minister Bob Burrows. “There is so much need. “Perhaps the hardest thing we’ll have to do is break the news to those who miss out.”

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Posted 21 June 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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391 Powell Street

This 3-storey building was a $35,000 apartment building designed (according to the permit) by ‘Horton & Phillips’ for ‘Mrs. Tuthill”. She lived in Glencoe Lodge at the time, and was originally from New York State. She married David S. Tuthill, an accountant, in 1874, and by 1878 had moved to Portland, Oregon. His apparent success in business was an illusion; by 1897 he was involved with several businesses including as president of the Acme Mills Ltd. The San Francisco Call reported on his death that year “David S. Tuthill, a prominent citizen and cashier for the firm of Allen & Lewis, committed suicide some time between 11 o’clock last night and 7 this morning. When his sister went to call him. as was her custom, she received no response. Opening the bedroom- door she found her brother stretched on the bed, dead, with a gaping bullet hole in his right temple. It is the general opinion that Tuthill was short in his accounts. The opinion is based on the fact that yesterday he deeded all his property to the Security and Savings Trust Company for a nominal consideration. Tuthill had been connected with the firm of Allen & Lewis for nineteen years. He was a native of Ellenville, N. Y , where his parents reside. He leaves a widow and one daughter.

Records suggest David and Emma had two daughters, but Mary was four when she died in 1881. Helen, who survived, was born in Ulster County, New York in 1875. By 1899 Emma Tuthill had moved to Vancouver, and she seems to have succeeded where her husband hadn’t. For an investment of $20,000 she become a special partner in F.R. Stewart and Company, a firm of wholesale produce merchants on Water Street. Her daughter, Helen, married a Portland bank manager in 1898, and they also moved north, where he became manager of the Vancouver branch of the Bank of British Columbia. Her husband, John Johnson was originally from Spalding, in England, and when the bank was dissolved he became the accountant at B.C. Sugar. They had a daughter, Beatrice in 1899, and in 1901 Emma was living with her daughter and son-in-law, their infant daughter, servant, and Chinese cook.

Helen and John had another daughter who they christened Helen, in 1904. John was in Fiji from 1905 to 1907, managing the Vancouver-Fiji Sugar Company, but he became ill, and returned to Vancouver as secretary of the British Columbia Sugar Refining Company. In 1912 the family moved to The Crescent in Shaughnessy, but in 1915 John’s wife, Helen, died, aged 39. John remarried in 1918 and from 1931 to 1936 he was the lieutenant governor of British Columbia.

From around 1910 Emma Tuthill moved into Glencoe Lodge, although her presence was only sometimes recorded in the street directory. She developed this building in 1912. The architects were actually Horton & Phipps, but the clerk could be permitted the error as they were a Victoria partnership. Emma died in 1927, and like her daughter was buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

The apartment building was completed in 1913, and became The Maple Rooms in 1914. Located in the heart of the Japanese community, their management was listed as ‘Japanese’. The stores downstairs were operated by K Imahori, a confectioner. and I Enata who ran a dry goods store. In 1917 the rooms were bought by Kurita Shojiro, who for a while was a contractor in the fishing industry.

In 1920 the Canadian Japanese Club was here, alongside the confectionery store. In 1925 the rooms had became the Nankai Hotel, and by 1930 the Victory Rooms run by K Nakashimada, with Ashai Paper Box on the main floor, alongside a restaurant run by T Kato. In 1940 the rooms and the box factory were still operating with the same owners, but the restaurant was the Sumiyoshi Cafe. After the war, when the Japanese had been cleared from the area, H Eng Soo was running the Victory Rooms. Harry Soo Eng was still running the rooms in 1955, with Choi Har Moon Pon. In 1972 the interior of one of the rooms was recorded by Niriko Hirota, who photographed its resident, Kiyoji Iizuka, one of the few Japanese who returned to the area. He had fought in WW1 as a volunteer soldier.

Residential use apparently ended in 1975. The facility was taken over by the St. James Society with the building renamed Victory House, offering a program for those with psychological disabilities. That was probably operating here when our 1978 image was taken. The building was deemed unfit, and was replaced by a new Victory House on East Cordova in 1997. Five years later St James built a new non-market housing building here; Somerville Place, with The Bloom Group (the new name for St James) having offices on the main floor.

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Posted 7 June 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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132 Powell Street

We’re taking a bet that this is a 1912 project developed by Harry Hemlow, and designed by W F Gardiner. The Province newspaper identified a “three-storey apartment house; mill construction; 50′ x 100′; buff coloured pressed brick facing; sandstone used for window ledges; two stores on ground floor; 48 modern rooms up“. There’s a permit for Harry in 1912 that identifies a different block and inaccurate street numbers (that wouldn’t even be on that block), but otherwise it’s a match. The newspaper reported that Harry’s investment was close to Columbia Street – which this is, and it was the lot that Harry owned in 1886 that allowed him to be on the Voter’s List. E J Ryan built the $40,000 investment, which appeared in the 1913 street directory as ‘new building’. A year later the stores were occupied with The Cascade Cafe, and T Ikeda’s dry goods store, with the Cascade Rooms (also run by T Ikeda) upstairs.

Harry Hemlow was a true Vancouver pioneer – he was in the area when it was the town of Granville. He was from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and was running the Sunnyside Hotel on the waterfront, that burned down in the 1886 fire. Harry was elected an Alderman on the first Council in 1886. He was interviewed by Major Matthews just before his death in 1932, and asked why he became an Alderman. “For a bit of a lark”. He disappears from the street directories for a couple of years, having apparently gone bankrupt in 1887, but by 1891 had returned and was City Clerk, and from 1893 he ran the BC Electric Railway’s interurban train system. This wasn’t Harry’s only development – he also built a garage in 1912, designed by W T Whiteway. A 1916 biography describes Harry, at 55, as retired: “Is a large property owner; gives special attention to breeding fine stock, particularly Jersey cows. Married Olive May Caples, daughter of W. M. Caples, M. D., Portland, Ore., 1886. Society: A. P. & A. M. Recreations: motoring, hunting, fishing. Conservative; Presbyterian.” In later years his health failed, and Harry died in 1932. “The interment was in the Masonic cemetery. Mr. Hemlow died Monday night at the General Hospital. He resided for the past two years at the Hotel Martinique”. Olive and Harry had divorced, and at his death Harry had apparently no known descendants, and no money to leave them anyway.

Taira Ikeda had been in Vancouver since at least 1904, and had run a store in an earlier wooden building on the same block. A 1907 Daily World article described him as a ‘well known Japanese storekeeper’ when reporting the death of his 19-year old son Setusge, after a four month illness. The Province described him as ‘a well-to-do storekeeper of the East End’. In the inquiry into the anti-Asian riots, the Inquiry listed Tonakichi Ikeda as the store owner’s full name, and awarded him a significant award of $461.50 for the damage to his store and stock, having been forced to close his business for 20 days. Using the longer version of his name finds Tonakichi Ikeda entering Canada from the US in 1910, where his birth was shown in Hiroshima in 1865.

In 1917 the pool hall was run by H Watanaka, (and there was also a barber and a cigar stand) and the Cascade Cafe was run by J P Lum. By 1920 the pool hall morphed into a billiard hall run by John Popelpo. The Cascade Rooms were still upstairs, but by 1916 Taira Ikeda had become a timber exporter (presumably to Japan) with his brothers Yoshio and ‘Fred’. They also advertised to supply labour to lumber companies. By 1925 the operators of the building were irrelevant to the directory compliers; The Cascade Cafe was listed as ‘Chinese’, and the Cascade Rooms ‘Japanese’. The Westerners names were listed – Joel Wepsala ran the pool room and T Jinde was the barber.

During the war, the Japanese names (and the Japanese) disappeared from the area. The stores were vacant, and the Cascade Rooms were run by Louie Quong Yon. In 1955 G Ho was running the rooms. In our 1978 image the sign says ‘Mimi Hotel, Housekeeping Rooms – vacancy’. The store was vacant. The name changed again in the early 2000s to Lucky Lodge – although not so lucky for many of the tenants as the business licence was nearly cancelled when the owners were accused of welfare fraud and extorting money from their tenants. They were also forced to carry out repairs to make the building safe and meet the by-laws a couple of years later. It’s still an SRO rooming house, with a relatively new East Indian restaurant occupying one of the two retail spaces.

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Posted 3 June 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Swedish Lutheran Church – Dunlevy Avenue

This was the first Swedish Lutheran Church built in Vancouver, seen here in 1904, the year it was built, photographed by Philip Timms. It was built on the north-east corner of Princess (today that’s East Pender) and Dunlevy and was known as The First Swedish Church. There had been a house on the lot in 1903, and it looks like it was relocated next to the church, on the north side, and then altered and moved again in 1909, closer to the lane.

This building was founded by a visiting Augustana Lutheran, Pastor G A Anderson, whose congregation was in LaConner, in Washington. The newly established church had 34 members in 1903, and a year later the Rev. C Rupert Swanson organized the construction of the building that seated 100. It was 25 feet by 38, and cost $595 to erect. The census tells us that there were a number of Swedish carpenters in the city, and it’s likely that the cost was mostly the materials rather than the labour. The congregation grew, and in 1910 there was a new church that could seat up to 1,000, built a block away to the east.

This building was listed for several years into the early 1920s as ‘Miner Hall’, but there are no records of it being used, or any events associated with it. By the mid 1920s it was once again being used as a church – a Chinese Presbyterian congregation moving in, but by 1930 the address was no longer listed. However, the United Church Chinese Mission were based at a Dunlevy address from 1929. We think the new church was the ‘United Church Chapal and Seminary designed by H S Griffith in 1930. (The Chinese Presbyterians also built a new church on Keefer near Gore in 1930).

This new, larger building extending slightly further east. There was also a Christian Education Centre, and for nearly 70 years the mission relied on the Board of Home Missions and the Woman’s Missionary Society for financial support and leadership, and was known as the Chinese Mission, United Church of Canada. It achieved full self-support in 1955, and became known as the Chinese United Church.

Today the Chinese United Church Lodge provides 29 units of non-market housing, almost hidden by the landscaping. It was completed in 1993 and designed by Joe Wai Architects. The Chinese United Church joined congregations with the Chown Memorial United Church, and they jointly retain ownership of the land, which is leased to the Housing Society.

Image sources: VPL and City of Vancouver Archives CVA 786-50.01

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Posted 20 May 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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