Archive for the ‘East End’ Category

Hampton Hotel – 124 Powell Street

The Hampton Hotel started life in 1912 as the Hampton Rooms. It was operated by John Brown & Co, who also operated the Hampton Pool Room on the main floor. The building was designed, built, and owned by prominent contractor and businessman Edgar Baynes. He came from Essex in England, in 1889, initially working with his uncle, J A Franklin for a couple of years before trying his hand at ranching near Squamish. He soon returned to Vancouver, partnered with William Horie and became one of the most active construction partnerships in the city. They built numerous schools, office buildings and apartment blocks, and Baynes also developed a few in his own right, including the Grosvenor Hotel on Howe Street, and this rooming house built in the same year.

The bricks for the building came from the Port Haney Brickworks at Maple Ridge, organized by Baynes in 1907. He was also president of the British Pacific Trust Company, a loan and trust business established in 1909. The operators of the rooms changed over the years. The expanding Japanese community saw H Ohi running the premises after the Great war, with a shoe repairer on the main floor. By the mid 1920s the operator wasn’t listed – the listing said ‘Hampton Rooms (Japanese)’, but Mr. Ohi was listed again in 1930. Shimishi Ohi was listed in the 1921 Census living with his wife, two children, niece, nephew and 40 lodgers.

The building’s Heritage Statement says “the creation of the Hampton Rooms illustrates the time during Vancouver’s pre-First World War boom period when large numbers of single Japanese males immigrated into Canada, and in particular to Powell Street, to find work. It also reflects the need for accommodation for single males generally, following the City’s shanty clearance program in the early-twentieth century.” The census shows that the Japanese connection here wasn’t obvious. Apart from Mr. Ohi and his family nobody was from Japan. Seven of the lodgers were born in Canada, three were from the USA, and the remainder were European including eight from Sweden and eight from Norway and three Austrians as well as men from Russia, Italy and Denmark.

In 1950 the Hampton Rooms had the Union Gospel Mission on the main floor. In 1951 the property was known as the Hampton Hotels Ltd, and in 1955 L Edwards was managing the building. In 2008 a number of rooms were out of use after a fire, and today the rooms are run by the Vancouver Mental Patients Association – as safe affordable housing for adults living with a mental illness.


Posted August 16, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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120 Powell Street

Today, this former warehouse is an architect’s office with six generously sized (and expensive) strata residential units upstairs. First developed in 1910, it was converted to residential in 1991. Dalton and Eveleigh were hired by Pilkington Brothers, a British based glass company to design the $80,000 warehouse constructed by Smith & Sherborne.

The design is an early example of a concrete frame, allowing the creation of large spaces without internal walls. Pilkington’s were already on this block, as from the early 1900s they also occupied the warehouse buildings to the west, including the corner building that had been developed in the late 1880s by the Oppenheimer family for their grocery business.

The sale of 120 Powell Street in the late 1950s followed the completion of Pilkington’s new glass factory on Vancouver’s Southeast Marine Drive. In this 1985 picture it was being used as a warehouse by Army & Navy Stores, but was being offered for lease.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2417


Posted August 13, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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East Hastings Street – 100 block, south side (2)

Here’s the eastern end of the 100 block of East Hastings in a picture from 2002. (We looked at the western end in an earlier post). On the left in Molson’s Bank building, while the tallest building is the Regent Hotel, and on the far right of the picture is the Empire Hotel. The pale brick Molson’s Bank was designed by H L Stevens, who was based in New York but had a branch office in Vancouver for a few years from 1911 and was responsible for several landmark buildings in Vancouver and the United States. Molson’s had an earlier 1898 branch on West Hastings, while this building, the East End Branch, costing $80,500, was approved for construction with a concrete frame in 1912. The bank continued to use the building until the 1930s, and the upper storeys were initially used for offices for doctors, dentists, lawyers, and other professionals, (including court interpreter and notary public W A Cumyow), but by 1922 had become the Graycourt Hotel (rooms).

Later the whole building became the Roosevelt Hotel, over the years becoming more run down and in the late 1990s home to some of the women who were victims of the Pickton murder case. It was acquired by BC Housing, and is now run by the Portland Hotel Society, with 42 units of non-profit housing for Downtown Eastside residents. The community members are largely individuals dealing with physical and mental health issues, social stigma, emotional trauma, substance dependence, and other issues.The building underwent a major renovation in 2015 as part of BC Housing’s SRO Renewal Initiative, and reopened, beautifully renovated, in August 2016.

162 E Hastings, to the west, was probably completed in 1913 (as 148 E Hastings), although it received its building permit in 1911. Designed by Parr and Fee for Adolphus Williams, it was purpose-built as a Billiard hall & cigar stand built by Hemphill Brothers and cost $10,000 to build. Mr. Williams was a lawyer, magistrate and former politician; (he represented Vancouver City in the BC Legislative Assembly from 1894 to 1898). Mr. Williams apparently quickly sold the building to real estate agents Hope and Farmer, who carried out a number of repairs and alterations including a 1919 permit to use it as the Veteran’s Canteen.

Next door to the east is the Regent Hotel, which the City of Vancouver are seeking to expropriate because of the condition that the owner has allowed it to fall to, and east of that was the Pantages Theatre, designed by E E Blackmore in 1907, and tragically demolished and redeveloped as a controversial condo building in 2011.

566 Powell Street

This modest 2-storey building has been around since 1911, when it was built as stores and a rooming house by William McNeil. In 1911 there was a William McNeil listed as a contractor, with premises on West Hastings and a home on East 36th Avenue. In 1913 he’s shows as being in real estate, unlike the other two William McNeils, who were both painters.

This property was immediately part of Japantown, with Kobeya & Co, a grocers on the main floor, and a Japanese rooming house upstairs. The occupants changed over time, but the uses stayed the same. In both 1930 and 1940 J Nishimura ran the grocers store, and in 1940 T Yamashita was upstairs, although in 1930 it was recorded as ‘Orientals’.

Everything changed with the war, forcing all the Japanese out of the city and into internment camps. By 1945 C C Carter had his electrical contracting business on the main floor, and upstairs was just described as ‘rooms’. This was still true a decade later. Carter’s were still in business here in the early 1970s, but by 1975 when Greg Girard photographed the picture on the right at 6am, the A-2 Café had moved in (but were still closed at that hour), offering Chinese and western Food. The café was still there in our 1985 image, although the reference to Chinese food was no longer on the window. Today there’s still a restaurant, but now with revived Japanese connection. “Dosanko serves a selection of home-style, seasonally inspired yōshoku and classic Hokkaido plates with an emphasis on fresh housemade ingredients and a mottainai or “no waste” philosophy“.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-0878

Posted August 6, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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122 Powell Street

This solidly built store and rooming house, seen here in 1985, dates back to 1912 when it was designed and built by Edgar Baynes as an investment for himself. That same year he also built the Hotel Grosvenor at Robson and Howe.

He was born in September 1870 in Bocking in Essex, England. His family were farmers – and pretty successful ones if his parents subsequent move to Broxted Hall in Dunmow is any indication. He was the oldest of at least six children (from the 1881 UK census) and left school ‘early’ to join his uncle’s building and contracting firm. How early isn’t clear – but he arrived in BC in 1889 with his uncle, J A Franklin, having learned his trade as a builder. A 1914 biography of Edgar says they worked together for a couple of years, then he moved to the Squamish valley as a rancher (which probably explains his absence from the 1891 Census). Family records say it was actually a homestead on the Cheakamus River, upstream from Squamish, and that he rowed there from Coal Harbour to establish his claim.

He returned to Vancouver around 1893, where he teamed up with William Horie to found one of the most prolific building companies in the city. The rooms here were built with a concrete frame, and when they opened were called the Hampton Rooms. The facade used bricks from the Port Haney Brickworks, owned by Baynes, Horie with Harold Burnet, and opened in 1907.

When the building opened there was a Pool Room on the main floor, and John Brown and Co managed both facilities. Within a few years the main floor retail units were occupied by Japanese businesses; in 1920 there were two rival barbers. Over the years the operators changed many times, but the building’s name stuck. Today, the MPA Society operate The Hampton Hotel, with 46 single room occupancy units, a communal meal program and onsite kitchen facilities. Mental Health workers are on site 24 hours daily to provide support to the Hampton residents.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2418

Posted August 2, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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28 Powell Street

In this 1931 image these were the premises of Henry Darling & Son Ltd. Henry had been in Vancouver from 1891, and his business was founded in 1902. He was born in New Zealand in 1863 (although the 1911 census seems to have inaccurately recorded him as much older). He trained in London, England as a marine engineer, and worked subsequently for a steamship company based in British India. He settled down quickly in Vancouver – a year after his arrival the local newspaper recorded the theft of some valuable ornamental trees from his newly-established garden.

During his early years in Vancouver Henry was appointed Superintendent and Manager of the Union Steamship Company, and also General Manager of the British Yukon Navigation Co. The Union Steamship Co had been founded in 1889 by New Zealander John Darling – Henry’s father – with Captain William Webster. John Darling was a former Director and General Superintendent of the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand. Both the name of the Canadian company and the colours of the funnels were borrowed from that company, founded by taking over the three tugs already operated by the Burrard Inlet Towing Company.

Henry’s role was to expand the fleet of the Union Steamship Co by adding three new vessels, the Comox, Capilano and Coquitlam. They were built in Glasgow, shipped in pieces to Vancouver, and then assembled and finished at Coal Harbour. The S.S. Comox was built by J. McArthur & Co. at Glasgow, Scotland, and assembled in 1891. She was 101 feet long and 18 feet wide, equipped with a compound steam engine, and was the first steel ship launched in British Columbia. >In 1919, she was owned by the ‘Vancouver Machinery Depot’ for breakup, but a year later she headed south; she was rebuilt and renamed the ‘Alejandro’ for the Mexican coast trade. In 1927, she was owned by the ‘Cal–Mex Line’.

The S. S. Capilano was built in the same year as the Comox, and was slightly larger at 157 registered tons. In the mid-1890s, the Capilano transported stone from quarries on Nelson Island and elsewhere to Victoria, to be used in the construction of the new provincial Legislature buildings. On July 22, 1897, the S.S. Capilano, with a full load of passengers, cattle and horses aboard, became the first steamer from Vancouver to take part in the Klondike gold rush, shipping men and supplies to Dyea and Skagway, Alaska. The ship foundered in the northern Strait of Georgia on October 1, 1915, and today forms the Capilano Shipwreck provincial heritage site. The S.S. Coquitlam, launched in 1892, lasted the longest afloat in BC waters; she was retired in 1923.

In 1892 Henry Darling married Mary, in Glasgow, and she moved with him to Vancouver. They had six children, and lived in the West End. Henry’s business on Powell Street was as a wholesale dealer in paints, oils and varnishes, but when he started out in business on his own he was listed as being at 18 Powell street, and he was a Marine Surveyor and Shipping Broker. By 1906 he had added manufacturer’s agent to his role and was at this address, advertising his paint and varnish business from early 1906, so the building was probably built around 1905. We haven’t been able to identify the architect or builder of the premises.

In 1993 a six storey 25 unit strata building called Powell Lane was completed, designed by Rositch Hemphill & Associates.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives City N5.

Posted July 30, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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50 West Cordova Street

This is the Hildon Hotel in 1985, and today – almost unchanged over 30 plus years. We’re not sure if the 1955 street directory entry was a typo, or whether the hotel really changed it’s name from the Manitoba Hotel (which it was from when it opened until 1954) to the Hilton Hotel, but it’s been the Hildon for many decades. The pub was, and is, a typical eastside bar, but briefly in the mid 1980s it added ‘exotic dancing’ and entertainment to the 50 Bourbon Street pub just at the point that strippers were starting to be replaced in other bars in the city. Today it’s still ‘The Bourbon’, which claims to be unlike any bar in the city. “Its rich history can be felt as soon as you walk through the doors. Established in 1937, The Bourbon has been many things…a strip club, a biker bar, a live venue, and until recently Vancouver’s first country bar.”

The ‘official’ heritage statement says the building was designed in 1909 by W T Whiteway. We can’t find any reference to substantiate that attribution, and the building’s design, using white glazed bricks is much more reminiscent of Parr and Fee’s work. They used bricks like this extensively on other hotel buildings in the early 1910s, especially on Granville Street. They obtained two building permits for this address, both in 1909. The first was in April, for Evans, Coleman & Evans, Ltd who commissioned $25,000 of alterations to the William Block. Two months later another $7,000 permit for the same address, with the same architects, was approved for further alterations. Both projects were built by Baynes & Horie. The expenditure suggests something substantial in the way of alteration, so there may be part of the structure underneath that pre-dates the 1909 construction, but the street directory identifies a ‘new building’ here in 1909.

Evans Coleman and Evans also owned the hotels across the street, as well as many other business interests in the city. When the hotel opened (as the Hotel Manitoba) in 1910 it was run by J H Quann. John Henry (Jack) Quann had lived on the site before, as his father, Thomas Quann (from New Brunswick) had run the Central Hotel here in the 1890s, and in 1896 Jack and his brother Billy had taken over before moving on to other hotels, including the Balmoral, then the Ranier which they built in 1905, as well as the Rose and Maple Leaf theatres. Once the earlier hotel had closed this location was briefly home in 1902 to the Electric Theatre – Canada’s first permanent cinema (before this movies were shown as travelling shows run by people like the Electric’s founder, John Schuberg). Schuberg sold the Electric and moved to Winnipeg in 1903. Jack Quann died in 1911, and the hotel was then run by Jay D Pierce, and as with other hotels of the day there were a number of long-term tenants as well as visitors staying in the premises.

One strange story recently came to light involving the hotel bar. In 1963 Henry Gourley claimed to be drinking there with two friends, when he told Bellingham police that they overheard a conversation from a nearby table. Three men, he said, declared that if Kennedy were to ever go to Dallas “he would never leave there alive.” The men said they were headed to Cuba afterwards and one, who he suggested was named Lee and wearing a grey suit and brown shirt, said his uncle owned “a foreign rifle.” Gourley told the police that he recognized one of the men from a photo shown on a TV program that was “talking about the rifle.” The FBI investigated the claim, as the conversation supposedly took place about three weeks before the death of JFK. Gourley was found to be an unreliable witness, and his friends didn’t back the story up.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2138