Archive for the ‘East End’ Category

414 Princess Street

When this image was taken, (supposedly in 1897), the street was called Princess. Today it’s called East Pender, (and there’s a totally different Princess nearby – Princess Avenue, renamed from Carl Avenue). The house was home to the Mitchell family from 1897 when it was newly built.

Alexander Mitchell arrived in the city around 1894 (he was born in Stanley, Huron, Ontario) and married in April 1895. Before she married, Louisa Maria (‘Lou’) Richardson, (who was born in Point Edward, Lambton, Ontario), had been living in New Westminster with her family. They had arrived in 1889, and her father, who was born in Westminster in England, worked for the railways.

Alex was a warehouseman for Thomas Dunn, and in the 1901 Census he was still a warehouseman aged 35. His wife, Louisa, was nine years younger, and they had two daughters, Vera aged 2 and Marion, 1, a lodger, Thomas Leith, who was a teacher, and a 15-year-old domestic, Ellen Lush, from the North West Territories. As Vera was born in 1899, we suspect this picture was taken around 1900, with Louisa holding Vera in the doorway.

In 1900 Alex became associated with the Stanley Park Livery Stables in partnership with an American called Hill Peppard. The business was established by Queen Brothers on Georgia Street and was briefly run by Dixon and McRae. Later in 1901 the Mitchell family moved Downtown, initially to Howe Street, and a few years later to the 900 block of Hornby, which would remain the family home for many years.

By 1903 Alex was running the business on his own; in 1905 he had permits to build and then alter stables on Seymour Street. Alex was second in a family of nine children, and Lou was the sixth of ten, so it’s not surprising that by 1911 Vera and Marion had a sister, Clare, and two brothers, Wilfred and Elmer. The family domestic was now called Lillian Valley, from Finland. Here’s Alex in his buckboard in 1906.

In 1902 Matthew Barr, a plumber had moved into this house, and was here a year later when it was renumbered as 432. In 1904 W H Rogers moved in, a carpenter, who became a contractor, and was still here in 1908 when it became East Pender. We’ve written Mr. Rogers’ story in relation to a building he constructed near here, on Keefer Street. Born in Bristol, in England, he was in Vancouver before moving to Seattle, then here again from around 1904, before he moved to the West End, and later back to Seattle again.

When he moved out, the 1912 residents weren’t recorded – just listed as ‘Chinese’. That listing was unchanged through the 1920s. In 1931 the listing switched to ‘Orientals’, but by 1936 a name was published; Doe Heong. Louisa Mitchell became secretary of the Pioneer’s Association. She died in 1937, and Alex in 1948.

The area was marked for demolition and redevelopment in the 1950s, and the City voluntarily or compulsorily acquired all the property on the block. The plans for this block were for it to be sold to a private developer for market housing, and even though it was sold for a third of the cost to assemble it, the deal fell through, and after lawsuits the City eventually got the land back. Mau Dan Gardens was completed in 1982, developed by the Strathcona Area Housing Society, (a spin-off from the Strathcona Property Owners and Tenants Association – SPOTA – the community group that successfully opposed the comprehensive redevelopment of the area). It was designed by Joe Y Wai and Spaceworks Architects. Some of the units were intended for sale, but only a few sold and remain freehold properties. The remainder are a housing co-op, and the entire development has seen a multi-year renovation with new energy efficient windows and roofs, exterior walls, and new landscaping throughout the project.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 319-19 and Bu P494.



Posted 14 November 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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451 East Pender Street

This is one of the earliest houses still standing in the city, and our 1986 image shows it was in pretty poor condition when the picture was taken. Everything was straightened up and repaired in 1999, when it was rebuilt, extended, and turned into a 3-unit strata, designed by Alan Diamond Architects.

It started life in 1889, and was built for Joseph Cameron. It might even have been built in 1888, as the 1889 insurance map shows the house, although the street directory clerk only caught up in 1891 when Joseph Cameron was shown at 523 Princess (the name for East Pender then). In the census that year 31-year old Joseph, his wife, Jennie (a year younger), and their daughters, listed as Tillie, aged 4, and Olive, 2, were recorded, but Joseph’s profession has been obscured in the record. He was shown being born in New Brunswick, as was his wife, and her brother, James McIntyre a general labourer who was also living with them (and shown as a lumberman in the directory).

Joseph and Jeanette (as she was christened) had arrived very soon after the fire, as Tilly was born in Vancouver in February 1887. This was confirmed in an article when they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary, and in an interview with Major Matthews, the archivist, in 1937. They arrived in November 1886, having been married in 1879. After farming for a while, Joseph had a carriage business in Dakota, then headed west via Winnipeg on the newly completed railway to Port Moody, and then on a paddle steamer into Vancouver. They managed to find an empty store on Alexander Street to rent, but their water came from a well at Main and Alexander. Tilly was born in the store, and they found a house on Carrall Street to rent, over the False Creek tide water. Not long afterwards they built the house in the picture, paying $200 for the plot..

Joseph was listed in 1888, working for the Royal City Mills (that despite its name was on Carrall Street). Olive’s wedding certificate said she was born in New Brunswick in 1889 rather than in the family home. The family had been in their house long enough that they had established a garden by 1890, which attracted the attention of a vandal.

In 1892 the home address was changed to 425 Princess. In the 1901 census the family were still here, and had added Grace, who was five and Gordon, two. Joseph’s obituary said he was associated with the Royal City Mills for 25 years, then was a partner with the W W Stuart Lumber Co. for eight years, before he joined the staff at the Provincial Court House as engineer, where he worked for 25 years. After over 25 years in the same house, the family moved to Bayswater Street in Kitsilano. The Province recorded a tea party at their new home in 1913, when Mrs. F Rolston helped her mother receive guests; that was Tilly. Olive Cameron married Francis Prior in 1907, and her sister Tilly married Fred Rolston in January 1909, and William was born in November that year. Audrey followed in 1912, and Ethel in 1914. Gordon married Zelda Hamilton in 1924.

Jeanette died in 1941, and when Joseph died, in 1944, his death certificate suggested he was 4 years older than all the census records, but may have been recorded inaccurately.

Mrs Fred Rolston, as Tilly was called in the press, moved away to Brandon, Manitoba in 1929, and then briefly in 1930 to Winnipeg. She had studied at UBC in 1909, and at the Normal School, and was a teacher until she married Fred Rolston and started a family. He would become the first president of the BC Motor Dealers’ Association, and was associated with the Mutual Life of Canada before he retired. Once her three children had grown up she looked around for a more active role in the city. She was already a Sunday School teacher and was involved with numerous community associations including the Vancouver Council of Women. She was particularly active in the Candian Society for the Control of Cancer. (Her sister, Olive, had died in 1936). She was also a Director of the PNE and the VSO.

Tilly was elected to the Parks Board in 1938 on the NPA ticket, and was the founding chairman of the Theatre Under the Stars in 1940. She entered Provincial politics as the Conservative member for Vancouver-Point Grey in 1941 at the age of 54. She was re-elected in 1945 (the year her husband Fred died, at the age of 60) and in 1949 as a member of the Coalition party. She had been diagnosed with cancer in 1951, but nevertheless stood, and was elected again in 1952 as a member of W A C Bennett’s first Social Credit government. In that same year, Bennett appointed her to the position of Minister of Education. She was British Columbia’s first woman cabinet minister to hold a cabinet portfolio (and also the first in Canada).

In her first year in cabinet, she had to defend a school curriculum guide entitled Effective Living, that newly published “contained instruction for teachers to discuss teen-age activities, such as “dating,” and “modern expressions and practices” – including blind dates, Dutch treat, going steady, petting, good night kiss, pick-up dates, wearing a boy’s (or girl’s) school or class pin, cost of dates, etc.” Many parents, (and some teachers) objected to the guide, but Tilly defended it, saying “We must be vitally concerned with the kind of person the pupil is becoming“. In March 1951 she made a motion in the BC Legislature that the prices of butter had become prohibitive and the  restrictions that controlled the colour of margarine should be removed. Her motion was defeated but she didn’t give up; she continued to campaign and in 1952 a bill was passed that ended all colour regulations for margarine. She voted for the Equal Pay Act, but was often heard saying ‘the woman’s place is in the home’ (which has a certain irony as it’s hard to imagine she had much time to see her own).

A 1952 Macleans article described her style: Tilly, an ebullient grandmother, stood out like a red sail. She liked a cocktail, smoked (and once set fire to her hat while lighting a cigarette at a civic meeting), administered her Vancouver home according to the tenets of an Esquire Handbook for Hosts, loved bridge, costume jewelry and making annual tours to just about every part of the world except Alberta”. Her death in October 1953 was a shock, although it was apparently obvious that her cancer treatment was taking a lot out of her.

She was the first woman in British Columbia to receive a state funeral, and in 2011 the City of Vancouver named a new Downtown street, Rolston Street, in her honour.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 791-1256



Posted 7 November 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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93-95 West Cordova Street

The Union Bank of Canada commissioned this single storey masonry-fronted brick building built in 1910. They hired A J Bird to design it, and Adkinson & Dill to build it for $12,500. In 1910 The Union Bank of Canada had one branch in Vancouver; their modest office building at 550 West Hastings that they had moved into in 1907. In 1911 there were four new branches in the city, including this one, but most were in existing buildings.

There had been an 1887 wooden 2-storey building on this corner, built very soon after the fire that destroyed the city, where Quebec-born Z G Goldberg had his clothing store. Not long after it was built he was allowed to rebuild the verandah after a stray team of horses destroyed it. In 1891 he was known as Z Gordon Goldberg, and in 1881 he was still at home where his older brother David was head of family, a pawn broker, with parents Hyman and Leah who were from Poland. He was recorded as Zabelon, and also had an older sister, Sarah.

His Cheapside Clothing Co remained in operation for many years. In 1896 it was noted that “For the last three months a dog belonging to Z. G. Goldberg has been in the habit of following the streetcars along the double track portion of the line. Nothing seems to break it of the habit, and if locked up it starts out again as soon as let loose. It never makes itself a nuisance by barking.” By 1909 Joseph Izen was selling second-hand clothing in the store, and a year later the site had been cleared.

Referred to as the ‘pioneer bank’ of western Canada, the Union Bank followed the railway across the prairies to the West Coast. It was the first to provide an extensive branch system throughout the prairies, but suffered during post-war depression and was absorbed by the Royal Bank in 1925, who closed this branch.

Fred W Thompson took the premises, and converted it to a shooting gallery. By the early 1930s it was home to Service Confectionery. In 1932 a thief grabbed $30 in cash, but only after a strenuous tussle with the Japanese owner, ‘K Inoueze’, who gave chase to the ‘armed bandit’. “The Japanese overtook him and made a grab for the money. He later discovered he had retrieved only a bunch of old letters.” It was burgled in 1936, but the would-be thieves were disturbed and police found a tablecloth bundled up around cigarettes ready to be removed. The company was still owned by K Inouye in 1941, but with the forced removal of the Japanese from the coast, S Quon took over. In the 1950s the business was being run by C B H, H and D Loo.

In 1965 there was a barber’s shop here run by Bill Allen, and in 1980 this was home to fast food restaurant ‘Chicken On The Run’, but the business was liquidated in 1983. There was an optometrist here in the early 1990s, and today it’s a kitchen showroom, part of the Inform furniture business.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2128


Posted 12 September 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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169 East Hastings Street

We took a look at this modest 2-storey building’s neighbour to the west (the left) at 163 East Hastings a few years ago, intending to look at 169 when a better ‘before’ image was available. Our 1978 image as as good as it gets, and while the facade today is looking solid, (but boarded up) the building behind was just extensively damaged by fire, so we’ve categorized it as ‘gone’. The Maple Hotel to the east was only slightly damaged in the fire.

The 2-storey building on the left was built in 1903 for George Munro, and designed by Parr and Fee. 169 East Hastings, on the right, was built a year later. The architect, and builder, was listed as A Pare, and the developer was Thomas Storey, who only spent $5,500 on his 2 storey investment. We generally don’t dig into the biography of the architect, but we’ve made an exception of Mr. Pare. That’s partly because he was listed as an architect in the city for several years, but this is the only building associated with his name in the register of building permits. To bring up a family in the city, we assume he must have designed other buildings, but somehow they were not recorded.

The 1901 census showed him as Aime Pare, but other records (possibly with French speaking recorders) show Aimé Paré. His wife was Victorine Langré before she married, and while he was from Quebec, she was French. While later records show him born in 1845, the 1880 US Census shows him 5 years older.

Aimé and Victorine were in Portland, Oregon in 1875, and California from 1875 to 1890, before moving north. In 1880, in San Francisco, his wife was aged 23 and they had three children aged five, three and two. In 1881 Victorine was in Montreal, with her three children, but not Aime. He was in Fresno from 1884 to 1887 (with son Eugene born there in 1885), and he designed the Chula Vista school in 1888. Around 1890 he was in Washington State, and in 1892 he was apparently living in Idaho, where his son Aime Stanislaus Pare was born. That year he submitted a design in the competition for the British Columbia Parliament Building in Victoria.

he was first listed as an architect in Vancouver, living on Barnard street, in 1895. A year later he was listed as a contractor, and in 1897 he had moved to Keefer, and was an architect again. In 1899 only Mrs. Pare was listed, perhaps because Aime’s name consistently appears as an architect in the annual city directories of San Fransisco from 1898 until at least 1914. He was listed in Vancouver again in 1900, and in the 1901 census three of their (we think eight) children were shown living with their parents. Victorine, unusually, was listed as agnostic; Aime was Roman Catholic, and the children were Presbyterian.

The family moved to Pacific street in 1903, and Aime (listed as Airne) was a contractor again in 1904, and a year later when he became Amie. On 23 December 1904 Victorine Pare died in Vancouver. “Mrs. Victorine Langley [sic] Pare, a native of France, aged forty-eight years, died in the General Hospital last night.”

In 1906 Aime had rooms on Granville street, and his son, Eugene ( a fireman) was living in the Pacific Street house with his brother Joseph, a night watchman. There’s no sign of him in Vancouver after that, although his daughters Emma, Leonie and Vina were both still living in the city. Emma married Charles McPhalen, but died in 1909. Leonie married John Weeden, and lived in Chilliwack but later ran the Victorine Langre chocolate shop on Denman Street in the 1930s. She went on to spend many years as a prospector and placer miner and died in Lillooet in 1980.

Aime’s client, Thomas Storey, was also a builder, and also from Quebec. He was listed in the 1911 census aged 46, with his wife Lavina, who was 20 years younger, and their 5-year-old daughter, Mabel. He was doing well enough to have a domestic, who was Scottish. Lavina Campbell had married Thomas Storey in Ottawa in January 1904. He admitted to being 36; she was 20.

In 1913 he developed an apartment building at Heather on the north side of West Broadway. He appears regularly in the press, although not in conjunction with this property. He was regularly awarded construction contracts, and also acquired, and sold property. His other activities apparently avoided news coverage.

In 1922 Lavina Storey’s death was recorded. She was struck and killed by an automobile in Oakland, California, where she was staying for her health. She had been planning on returning to Vancouver, where her parents were still living. It seems likely she was estranged from her husband, who is not mentioned in the death notice, which said “she was well known here, having lived In the city for more than 20 years. She is survived by a daughter, Mabel Storey, who resides with her mother’s family”. In 1926 Mabel’s engagement and forthcoming marriage was noted. She married Charles Whitely, who was divorced and ten years older, in Port Moody.

In 1928 and 1929 Thomas sold properties in the city, also 2-storey buildings, probably originally erected by him. In April 1940 his sudden death was announced at the age of 73. Described as a ‘retired contractor’, he suffered a heart attack while working on a house-painting job, and died before he could reach the hospital. In June his estate of $18,000 was announced, mostly going to his married daughter, who was living in Vancouver again.

The first tenant here was F W Tyrell, who sold ‘gents furnishings’. By 1908 this had been numbered as 151 E Hastings, and was home to The Crystal Theatre, one of the city’s earliest movie theatres, run by Bradford Beers and Edward Trippe. (There had been an earlier Crystal Theatre on E Cordova, run by John Murray Smith). The Province reported “Messrs. Beers & Trippe of Chicago have for a financial consideration of $25,000, purchased a number of Important real estate holdings in Vancouver number of real estate holdings in Vancouver belonging to Mr. J. W. Williams, a well-known business man”. The package included the Exhibit, the Variety and the Crystal. In March, when the Bijou opened down the street, the Crystal responded by offering 10c vaudeville.

At the end of 1908 the property was part of a portfolio owned by ex-alderman W J Cavanagh. He had apparently skipped town ‘across the line’, leaving a heap of debts, including three properties where he held a half share (including The Crystal) valued in total at $20,000, but with $66,000 of mortgages held against them. By March 1909 the mess seemed to have been sorted out. Evans Coleman & Evans had advanced one of the mortgages, and according to the Province, ended up owning the building. The sold it for $40,000 to ‘a local capitalist’. However, in April, court proceeding were still trying to settle Mr. Cavanagh’s affairs. He had apparently transferred property to Miss Lilly Campbell before his flight from the city. She declined to answer questions about the transaction. “She was disposed not to answer questions and declared that she would not be compelled to. When asked where the papers were she reluctantly admitted she could get them if she desired, but she didn’t desire. Mr. Grant asked that the court order her to produce the papers.” We can’t find a further report on Miss Cambell’s dealings with the court, but in August the property was sold again, this time by A E Steels, for $45,000.

None of these transactions affected the theatre, which seems to have specialized for a while in showing wrestling matches and boxing fights. In early 1910 the cinema advertisements announced “The Films at the Crystal Theatre have never been shown in the city before” – although often not what they were. In April it was Tom Thumb ‘bring your children’, and a few days later Sarah Bernhardt ‘strong drama’. In May Cupid In The Motor Boat was showing, followed by Gold Diggers. Tickets were still 10c. The theatre wasn’t mentioned for several years, although there were repairs in 1913, but in 1917 the manager, Mr. Brown, was fined $40 when the Juvenile Detention Home discovered one of their charges was playing truant and watching movies during the day. In 1919, the year the cinema closed, James Connors was remanded for discharging a revolver in the cinema.

By 1920 renumbered as 163, the building became a branch of Vancouver Drug Store, with the Crystal Rooms (still numbered as 151 1/2) over. There was an apparently revolving door of new tenants, and businesses. In 1928 the London & British North America Co. Ltd. were owners and the Gerrard Shoe Co were tenants. In 1935 Bert Henry’s tobacco store was here, and the rooms seem to have closed (although there seem to have been residents in the building again in the 1940s). In the late 1930s there was a confectionery store, and ice cream parlor, but it soon closed and the contents of the business were sold at auction in 1939.

In the 1940s Main Taxi had their office in the front, and there was a billiards hall run by B Tomljenorich at the back. By 1945 they had become Balmoral Cabs, with New Hastings Billiards, but by 1948 were Main Taxi again. Marie Wagenstein was one of the cab drivers, and nearly lost her licence in a sting operation where she was asked to buy liquor for a friend, who was a police operative. She was convicted of selling liquor, but the magistrates granted her a taxi licence despite the legal case. (That wasn’t her only problem – she also had a dangerous driving conviction). In 1947 Veteran’s Amusements and Specialties had a store here – one of their specialties was apparently firearms, as a .22 calibre rifle was stolen from the business, and later recovered. In 1950 a raid on the premises netted 38 charges of being inmates in a disorderly house, and two of keeping a betting house. Jack Green was one of the two two organizers, and he was back in court a year later as part of a huge gambling ring covering dozens of premises in the city, including this one.

In 1965 the International Bookshop was raided by the city morality squad of the Vancouver Police Department, who took away 1,486 magazines and pocket books under the obscenity section of the Criminal Code. The case eventually wound up in court in 1967, only to be dismissed on a legal technicality because the Crown failed to correctly identify the owner of the business. The raids continued in 1968 through to 1971, with both books and films seized and prosecutions brought against the owner (who lived in Surrey). Bail was set in one case at 10c, with the judge saying the arrest was ‘deplorable, unwise and unnecessary’. In another case bail was set at $100, and eventually (18 months later) the business was fined $4,000, and its owner a further $1,250. The owner appealed the case, and sold the business (but not before being arrested again for selling an obscene book to an undercover police officer).

By 1978 the store was still International News, and now offered jokes and an Arcade, as well as gifts and souvenirs. It didn’t serve minors, but did sell ‘herb mixtures’ that claimed to offer a ‘legal high’ (but without any illegal substances). By 1982 the rules seemed to have changed. JNK News ran an advert in the Vancouver Sun for X-Rated video cassettes and adult merchandise. But in 1983 100 tapes were seized by the police from 3 stores, including JNK News. Despite continued raids in the mid 1980s, the store stayed in business. In 1988 it had video peepshow machines showing 70 second clips from porn films for 25c.

When the fire destroyed the back, and interior of the building, it had been used by the Street Church for nearly 30 years. Randy Barnetson founded a church here in 1993, which provided both food and clothing to Downtown Eastside residents, as well as regular worship and bible study. He died in 2020, and lead pastor is now Christina Dawson, who is from the Nuu-chah-nulth Nations. The church is looking for a new location to operate from. The future of the buildings is unknown, but with the Balmoral Hotel to the west intended to be demolished and replaced with a new rental building, it’s possible the site could also include these buildings.


Posted 11 July 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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826 and 832 East Pender Street

There are two Strathcona apartment buildings seen in our 1978 image, but one is a year older than the other. On the left is 832, dating back to 1911, while 826 to the west was developed in 1912. Charles Peterson owned, designed and built the building to the left, at a cost of $4,000. He was a carpenter, and he lived at 832 E Pender in 1911. There was a surprisingly large number of people called Charles Peterson in the city, but not so many that were carpenters or in real estate. The developer was a Swede, who was aged around 39 in 1911. He lived near here ten years earlier, at 912 Keefer, with his wife Ida, who was from BC and ten years younger. They had a new baby, Carl. In 1911 they had two more children, David and a daughter, Royal, and two Swedish lodgers.

Charles August Peterson had arrived in 1899, and married Ida Winegeen Sulley in December that year. On their wedding certificate she was shown born in Fort Alexander, British Columbia, but that fort was in Manitoba, so it was probably Fort Alexandria which was an HBC Trading Post 103 miles north of 100 Mile House on the Fraser River in the Cariboo. Charles’s father was Peter Johannesson, and he had been born in Jacköburg. Ida had been living in New Westminster in 1891 with her two sisters, and her parents; George, a farmer, and Emma, who was born in the United States.

In 1921 O W Bye had builders Peterson & Gough carry out $300 repairs to the building. Oscar Bye lived at 832 that year, and was described in the census as a telegraph operator. When the building first opened in 1913, this was the YMCA Hostel, with the Elite Bakery in a store on the main floor. In 1921 there were eight different units, with Oscar Bye shown having two of them.

The building to the right, 826, is a rooming house today, but it was initially developed with two residential units. Albert Prince obtained the permit in 1909 for a $1,200 frame dwelling, but then in 1912 obtained another permit for $4,000 as an addition to his apartment house. One of our readers, Ryan, explains how this worked. “One interesting fact about 832 East Pender as well as 826 East Pender is that they originally were single family homes. The original houses were moved to the back and the apartment building/rooming houses were attached to the front. The original staircases are still in use.” (Thanks Ryan!). A check of the street directories shows that Albert Prince was living at 828 Princess by 1906 (before it became East Pender), and Charles Peterson had moved into 832 by 1908.

Albert designed and built them himself, as, like his neighbour, he was a carpenter. The 1901 census shows him with his wife Elizabeth; he was 34 and from Newfoundland, and Elizabeth who was 10 years younger was also from there. Her sister, Jane Sparks was living with them in 1901. The Princes had moved into 826 in 1912, with Hugh Steen in 828, and a year later Abraham Sherman. In 1921 Albert, Elizabeth and their daughter Netta were still living here at 826 The street directory only shows one occupant at 828, Alex Flett, but the census shows there were seven families, most of them with children, living here.

In 1930 Albert Prince was still living at 826, and the six apartments at 828 were all occupied. At 832 only Oscar Bye was listed. The 1940 directory suggests why this might be the case: J Miller was then living at 826 E Pender, and managed the rooms at 832 E Pender. There were also still six occupied apartments at 828. Clearly the apartments at 832 were subdivided into smaller units some years earlier. 826 on the right still has, to the best of our knowledge, eight apartments. 832 E Pender is now known as the Ham Apartments, and recently sold, offered for sale at $1.898m, with 21 rooms. “The 17 rooms share two full bathrooms and one half bathroom plus a shared kitchen. On the ground level, there are four suites that are much larger and each with a private entrance. The two front suites each have their own kitchen and share one full bathroom. One of the back suites is equipped with a full bathroom and kitchen. The other back suite has a kitchen and half bathroom.” The new owner has repaired the stucco and the cornice has been restored, and the front has a new coat of paint.


Posted 30 June 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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782 Harris Street

Today this is a recently comprehensively rebuilt family home on East Georgia Street, but when it was built in 1909 the streetcars ran past 782 Harris. The builder and owner was H Hutchings, and the permit for $2,000 for a ‘Frame store & dwelling house’. In 1910 Henry Hutchings, a carpenter, was living here, and he developed quite a number of houses around the city in 1912. In 1911 he was shown in the census as living at 782 Harris with his wife, who was 43 (two years younger than Henry), both coming from Newfoundland.

His wife was christened Leah Badcock, the daughter of sealer and cod fisherman Josiah Badcock and his wife Olivia. Henry and Leah had three children at home in 1901, (when they were living a block away at 831 Harris, in a house Henry probably built in 1900, when they arrived in Vancouver). There were two daughters, Mildred and Jessie, and a son, James (shown as Douglas in subsequent census records). Mildred was born in Newfoundland in 1895, but Jessie was born in Boston, Mass. in 1896. James was born in 1899 in Vancouver.

They had another son, Mundon Josiah Hutchings, in 1903, and then Russell Hutchings in 1905, but the family had disappeared from Vancouver by 1913, and it looks like they moved to King County (Seattle) in 1912. They’re all in Seattle in 1920, with what must have been quite a surprise to the family, another son, Willard, born in 1915, when Leah was 45, and her daughter Mildred (who was still living at home) was 25.

For many years this building remained vacant, through the renaming of the street to East Georgia in 1915, until in 1917 John S McDonald, a stonecutter, moved in. He was here for a couple of years, and then the property was again vacant. In 1924 Abraham Charkow moved in with New Century Produce. Abe had run an egg store in 468 Union a few years earlier, and at 775 E Georgia in 1920. K Jacob Charkow moved in, and stayed into the 1930s. The New Century Grocery was at 784 E Georgia, and K J Charkow lived at 782. Abe Charkow ran the wholesale fruit and vegetable business, which was on West Pender. Jacob Charkow started out with a horse and buggy and then was in the egg business, and was twice president of Schara Tzedeck synagogue. His son, Samuel had been born in Poland in 1903, which is where his father, Kopel Jacob had been born in 1858, the same year as his mother, Greta.

Jacob was still here, in business, aged 75 in 1935, but the building was once more vacant in 1937. The Western Jewish Chronicle announced Kopel’s retirement. He died in 1941, at which time the new residents of this building only rated a directory entry of ‘orientals’.

By 1945 it appears that the store use was abandoned and there were two homes in the building, with S J Chow listed living at 784 and Sam Wright, an orderly at Shaughnessy hospital living at 782 with his wife, Helena. They were still listed here in 1950, now both at 782, with Rose Chow, a clerk at Yee’s Confectionary on E Hastings living at the rear of 782 E Georgia. In 1952 Harry Low, a clerk, and his wife Francis replaced the Wright family.

At some point the building became a rooming house – possibly in the early 1950s as by 1955 both 782 and 784 were shown as ‘occupied’. With only 3 units, it wasn’t large enough to be protected as an SRO, and the structure was in a notably tired state in our 1978 image, and wasn’t much better in 2017 when it was offered for sale. Mr. Hutchings would no doubt be astonished to see the back-to-the-studs renovation, and even more surprised that his $2,000 development was worth 1,000 times his initial investment, 113 years later.


Posted 23 June 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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389 East Hastings Street

There’s not a lot of change to this building in over 40 years, since our 1978 image was taken. The house here was built by builder Robert Maxwell for Dr. Thomas Jeffs, whose home was initially addressed as 341 East Hastings, although his medical practice (in partnership with Dr. W B McKechnie) was on Cambie Street. Dr. Jeffs spent $1,800 on building his home in 1901.

William Jeffs and Margaret Weir brought two of their family to Canada from Ireland: James, born in 1839 and Isaac. Once arrived here, John was born in 1844 in Ontario, George in 1846 (who died in Vancouver), Sarah and Thomas, who was aged 4 in the 1861 census. William was a farmer, and his four eldest sons were shown in 1861 as labourers. The early census suggests Thomas was born around 1857 or 1858, and his death in 1923 aged 65 shows that he was born in Queensboro, Ontario, in 1858, (although other records suggest 1857). By 1871 Isaac had become a clerk, and only George (who was known by his middle name, Armour), was farming with his father. Thomas attended Toronto University to obtain his MD, and initially practiced medicine in Ontario.

Thomas Jeffs married Sarah Waller in 1882, in Hastings Ontario, and three years later, Charles Edward Jeffs was born. Sarah died in November 1887. In 1891 Thomas was in Peterborough, in Ontario with a wife called Minnie, aged 28 (so born around 1863) shown two years older than her husband, (recorded as William), a physician and surgeon. There were no children shown, but Francis, William’s younger brother was in the household, aged 18 and working as a druggist.

Thomas W Jeffs, a physician, and Mary Couen were recorded being married in York, Toronto, Ontario on June 29 1895, with W McKechnie and Annie Couen as witnesses. Thomas was shown born in 1858 and Mary in 1864. Mary’s parents were shown as Charles Couen, and Martha Reid. Mary’s father, Charles Cowan married Martha Reid in 1855, in Simcoe in Ontario. They had a daughter, Annie, in 1868 who married William Boyd McKechnie. (Annie died in Spallumeheen in 1948). They also had a son, Charles in 1865 and a daughter, Martha in 1861 (who also died in Vancouver, in 1934).

Thomas and Minnie (Mary) Jeffs moved to Cumberland in BC in the year they married, then to Revelstoke, and the family were first recorded in Vancouver in the 1899-1900 directory, with the Cambie surgery, and living on Denman. A year later they had moved to 522 Gore, a few blocks from here, and Dr. McKechnie, who had practiced in Revelstoke from 1896 to 1900 had joined the practice. We assume that the doctor’s wives were sisters.

For the 1901 census there were some seriously inaccurate ages recorded; it said Mary was 11 years younger than Thomas (showing him born in 1860, and her in 1871). Thomas’s son, Charles, was now living with them, born in 1888 in Ontario. The couple added William to the family in 1896 and Mary in 1900. In the 1911 census Thomas’s wife was called Minnie, and she was two years older than him, now suggesting 1864, (so knocking six years off his age) with her born in 1866 (so two years less than reality). William was 14 and Mary 10. (When Charles died in Seattle in 1941, in Seattle, his mother was recorded as Minnie Jeffs).

This block of East Hastings was oddly numbered in the early 1900s so this was 341 in 1901 (the year Dr. Jeffs built the house, and was listed that year in the street directory), but by 1911 had been renumbered to 389. By 1903 a second Dr. McKechnie had arrived in Vancouver, Dr. R E McKechnie, who was in partnership with Dr. Tunstall, and as far as we can tell, unrelated.

Dr. Jeffs was a director of the Orange Hall, elected as an alderman in 1906, Police Commissioner in 1907 and was appointed coroner in 1909, a position he held for many years. In 1907 he built a big house on Salisbury Drive that cost $6,000, and the family lived there until 1920. (That house was moved on its site, and restored a few years ago). He built a new home on Charles Street in 1922, but died in 1923.

The Ing Suey Sun Tong Association purchased this house on East Hastings and Dunlevy through donations from members in 1920. It looks as if the store was added in 1921; a permit was approved for $2,000 of alterations that year, designed by H H Simmonds. Wa Young and Co made minor repairs in the 1920s; they ran the grocers in the store. The family association still own the building, although their members are increasingly aged and infirm. In the 1950s new arrivals to Canada could share a dormitory on the upper floor for $3 a month – up to 20 people lived here. Today you’re more likely to find a game of mahjong in progress.


Posted 13 June 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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157 – 165 East Cordova Street

This single storey retail building has been around since 1912 when Purdy & Lonergan designed and built it for $12,000 – which seems a surprisingly high amount of money for the period. This is half the building; the other half is to the right of the picture and slightly higher (because of the grade change on this part of Cordova), and addressed to Main Street. The developer was recorded as E McGuinness. Nobody of that name appears in the street directory, but a Mr. and Mrs. Edward McGuinness had been living on Davie Street in 1906. The Daily World even reported their movements, so they were clearly known around the city: “Mr. and Mrs. E. McGuinness and family of Davie street have returned home from Seattle”.

They were still at 1121 Davie in 1907, but in October there was an auction sale of the contents of the house, and in 1908 Mr. and Mrs. Richard S Ford were receiving visitors at that address (on Tuesdays), according to ‘The Elite Directory of Vancouver’. (Richard was publisher of the ‘Saturday Sunset’ newspaper). The McGuinness family weren’t obviously in the city before 1906, or after 1907, and in both of those years Edward is shown as ‘retired’. We can’t even be sure that he’s the developer of these buildings, but there are no other obvious candidates.

In 1909 E McGuinness obtained a permit for a brick store on the corner of Pender and Howe, according to the Contract Record, designed by C F Perry. Mr McGinnis (sic) also developed eight houses on Davie Street in 1903, including the house where he briefly lived from1906. In 1909 Mr. and Mrs. E McGuinness sailed for New South Wales from Victoria.

There are a couple of possible people who might be the developer. E J McGinnis was listed in the Vancouver directory as the Canadian Pacific Railway’s agent in Seattle in the early 1890s, but isn’t obviously resident at any time in Canada. There is also Edward W McGinnis, who died in Vernecliffe, Bainbridge Island, just south of the border. He was a Real Estate Broker who was born in 1861 in Massachusetts, and he was in Seattle when he died. Whoever the developer was, he probably wasn’t a Canadian resident for any longer than the 2 years in the mid 1900s.

The four stores here were initially occupied by Polyjos, a restaurant run by Colombas and Dascales. Next door was C Y Song Hing, a shoemaker, then the BC Cycle Co and at 165 Albert Burns sold hardware. At the end of the war only Albert was still in business. two of the units were vacant, and the People’s Mission occupied 159.

By the mid 1920s the expanding Japanese community had moved west from their Powell Street hub; Moriyama & Co occupied 157-161 and S Matsumiya was in 163. A decade later Moriyama were still at 157, selling second hand furniture, 163 was the Sunshine Mission and the Pacific Trading Co sold brushes at 165. In 1942 Mrs Moriyama, who was still trading that year, was forced to move to an internment camp, and only one of the four units was occupied a year later, by the Sunshine Apostolic Mission. That year Rev. Barker from Toronto, billed as a former well-known organist and professional musician, lectured at the mission “When the lights go out on the road to hell.” The lights went out in the mission too, as subsequently the street directory couldn’t be bothered to list the occupants of any of the units other than the generic ‘Orientals’.

We’re fairly certain that the units were used as residences, although in 1948 the Scandinavian Baptist Mission occupied one unit. In 1951 Anthony Cappello was living at 159 when he was acquitted on drug possession charges. In 1955 there were five units, as there are today. At 157 Lin Lee lived here, 159 was occupied by J Payne, a tailor, 161 by Ko Yak Sing, 163 by Tai Lai and 165 by Young Chow, who was a typesetter. DERA, the early non-profit housing association had their offices here in the mid 1970s, but don’t appear to have been here when our 1985 image was taken.

Today there’s a sign maker, a Harm Reduction Consultancy, an art gallery and a Vintage Clothing store.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2449


Posted 6 June 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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St Luke’s Court – East Cordova Street

This 1920s Arts and Crafts style building replaced a building that housed the City’s first hospital, St Luke’s. The original seven bed building was intended as a maternity hospital, but with no other general hospital in the city in 1888, it became the general hospital by default. Not too much later the city opened a brick building on Cambie Street which later became Vancouver General Hospital, and the Sisters of Charity of Providence opened a three-storey building on Burrard Street, founding St. Paul’s Hospital. St Luke’s continued to be used as a hospital for a short while, and then became a nursing residence.

The site was redeveloped in 1923 as a women’s hostel or guest home, called St Luke’s Home, designed by Sharp and Thompson. It was funded with a bequest from J.B. Greaves, founder of the Douglas Lake Cattle Company, and was initially a residence for retired nurses, community workers and nuns. Our 1978 image shows it when it was the St Luke’s Home.

Now named St Luke’s Court, in 1986 the building was refurbished and enlarged so that there are now 9 rental apartments. It is in private ownership and was most recently sold in 2015.


Posted 28 April 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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628 Harris Street

These days this is East Georgia Street, but it was still Harris in 1911 when W J Dickinson built an apartment building. Misleadingly, the clerk recorded this as a ‘1-storey frame dwelling house’ but it has always been a 3-storey building, designed by A E Cline and costing $8,000 to build.

Initially we couldn’t find Mr. Dickinson; however, we got lucky when the newspapers reported that Hazel Dickinson, daughter of W J Dickinson, got married in 1911 to Frederick Bescoby. That allowed us to find her parents, William John Dickinson and Isabella C Bundy. The marriage certificate shows that ‘Hazel’ had been christened Ada Marinia Dickinson, but clearly that wasn’t how she was known within the family. Both parents were from England; (Isabella was from London). Hazel had been born in Winnipeg, and she had two younger brothers, ‘Hugh’ (christened Robert) and George, aged 20 and 13, who had been born in BC. Robert Lister Dickinson’s birth record shows his mother had been Isabella Caroline Bundy before she married. She was born in St. George In The East, London, and christened in St. Mary Magdalene’s Church, Bermondsey (south London, although part of Surrey in 1860). Her father was Jabez Robert Bundy, (recorded as Bundey on her christening record) and her mother was called Caroline.

In 1911 W. J was shown as retired, but we can find Hazel, and so the whole family, in the 1901 census. There they were inaccurately recorded as Dickenson, and at that time William was working as a moulder. That sounds correct, as William John Dickinson was shown living at 622 Harris in 1901. In 1895 the Conservative Association held an election where W J Dickinson was elected to the executive committee. At that time he was a moulder at the B C Ironworks.

This building was, as we’ve seen with other buildings, a redevelopment of a reasonably recently built house to create a larger investment property. Often the developer lived in the redeveloped home, but in this case Mr. Dickinson lived two doors away. In 1892 he was shown as a moulder at the South Vancouver Foundry, and living on ‘Harris Street, south side, fourth north of Heatley’. At that point the numbers had not been allocated, but by 1901 that would be 622 Harris. The first mention we can find is in 1891, when Mr. Dickinson was in rooms on Powell Street, and the census shows that was when the family arrived in Vancouver.

The 1913 insurance map shows that 622 Harris had been renumbered to 618, and the directory shows that Fred Bescoby was living there. Presumably it was a favorable rental while the house that the Bescoby’s were building was being completed. In 1914 the Dickinson’s were living on Victoria Drive, the Bescoby’s on West 5th Avenue, and this had become listed as The Dickinson Apartments, with five units, and a grocery store run by Hyman Bloom.

William John Dickinson died, aged 83, in 1942, and Isabella a year later, aged 82. Their son Robert was only 61 when he died in 1952, and son-in-law Frederick Bescoby in 1964 at the age of 82. Their daughter Isabel died in 1969, and an earlier daughter, May, died aged 17 in 1933. Hazel Bescoby died in 1978, aged 89, outlived only by her brother, George Vancouver Dickinson, who died in 1980 aged 82. Her married daughter, Hazel Wilson, died in 1995.

In 1940 these were still the Dickinson Apartments, now divided into seven, with S Oyami’s grocery. It appears that following Mr. Oyami’s removal from the Lower Mainland, the store became another apartment, home to Anton Perry and his wife Jessie in 1945 (although Anton was away on active service). The apartments were numbered oddly, presumably reflecting how they were split over time. In 1945 they were one, two, three, three and a half, four, five and seven. In 1955 there were nine apartments numbered one two, two and a half, three, four, six, seven, nine and ten. 628, the former store, was occupied by Hamilton Products, a janitorial supply business. Our 1978 image shows the building when it was being offered for sale.


Posted 7 April 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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