Archive for the ‘East End’ Category

249 East Pender Street

This Chinatown building was rebuilt in 1970. It started life in 1919, when Olaf Olson hired W T Whiteway to design a single storey and basement store that G Kilgren built for $8,000. (There was a house on the site in the early 1900s, towards the back of the lot; Edward Stowe was living there in 1911).

We’re not sure who Olaf Olson was. Most likely he was Swedish, but there’s no way to be certain as there were several Ole and Olaf Olsens and Olsons, and we don’t trust the clerk to have spelled the name correctly.

The tax authority says it was originally built in 1928, but we’re not sure why, as there don’t appear to be any permits to rebuild it. Despite the developer’s origins it was always in the heart of Chinatown, with Toy Kit making alterations later in 1919. Siu Lee Co occupied the building in the 1920s and Wah Shuen, a confectioner in 1930.

While downstairs Wah Chong Co had a poultry business, in 1947 The Province reported a raid on a gambling game on the upper floor here: “The 17 accused, all Chinese, were assesed $10 or ten days for being inmates of a gaming house at 249 East Pender. Detective A. R. Stewart said officers broke up ” a pretty good game” of Um Gow and seized a table and a basket of Chinese dominoes, markers and matches.”

A month later a Chinese lottery book was confiscated after a raid on the premises, and another game was broken up a year later, when 13 players were arrested, along with Jan Ping who was running the game.

In 1952 Shing Chong Poultry were in business here, and remained here for at least the next 14 years – This Vancouver Public Library image shows Olaf Olson’s single-storey investment in 1966.

After the premises were rebuilt in 1970 the businesses in the image, Oriental Florists and a restaurant (located upstairs) were trading. In 1974 (the year our main picture was taken) “A hungry thief broke into the Kwangchow Restaurant, 251 East Pender, early Wednesday and stole $50 in change and two chicken legs. Manager Howard Yan told police that the thief cut up a chicken and cooked two drumsticks”. The restaurant was still here in 1986, noting that Expo 86 had reduced business rather than boosting it. A year later the Garden Bakery replaced the restaurant. The current tenants are Kam Wai Dim Sum, run by William Lui. His family have run the business for over 30 years, but William had a career as an opera-singing in New York. When his father fell ill and decided to close the business, William returned to Vancouver and carried on in renovated premises. With an ageing local population, the majority of the business is now wholesale, selling dumplings and steamed buns to supermarkets. One of the Chinese family associations, The Kong Chow Benevolent Association now occupy the upper floor of the building.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1095 02642



Posted 1 June 2023 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

F W Hart – Cordova Street

We saw Frank Hart’s home on Cambie Street in an earlier post, when we looked at his history. Born in Illinois, he walked from his brother’s home in Semiahmoo to New Westminster in 1885, and then came to the township of Granville. A former bronco buster, he had learned to make furniture (and the undertaking business) in Walla Walla, in Washington, and that was the business he established here, on a piece of land he squatted on the water side of Alexander Street. He built a shack, which he extended twice to a 100 foot wide 2-storey building before he sold out for $800 to the CPR to allow them to lay their track into the new terminus. Within a short time he had new premises, but they burned down in the 1886 fire, and he started over again.

This was Frank’s furniture store at 29 Cordova Street in one of the earliest pictures of the city – taken some time in 1886. Five weeks after the fire in June this building, and many like it, had sprung up.

Mr. Hart was one of the city’s most active early entrepreneurs. As well as the furniture business he was the city’s undertaker, and the owner of the first ‘theatre’. It was known as Hart’s Opera House, (which was a bit of a stretch for a converted rollerskating rink with a canvas roof relocated from Port Moody). Initially run by Jack Levy, Frank bought the structure in 1887 (the year this portrait was taken), and it got its new name in 1888. The audience of up to 500 sat on wooden chairs (provided by Frank’s Pioneer Furniture company) in the front rows, or on wooden benches behind in the cheap seats, initially with coal oil lamps for lighting. Despite charging $1 for a chair, or 50c for the benches, this business probably didn’t generate much profit, as he had to pay the visiting troupes of actors that he hired to perform melodramas and musical comedies. Once the Imperial Opera House opened on Pender in 1889, the theatre business closed.

The undertaking business made some sense – nobody else was doing the job in the new city, and loggers lived a precarious existance, so even with a young population, there were funerals, and Frank could build the coffins in his Pioneer Furniture Factory. He bought the $1,500 horse-drawn hearse from an exhibition in Toronto, and stabled the horses at the Stanley Park Stables on Georgia Street.

Frank wasn’t alone here, although he never mentioned his sister, Anna, who came with him in 1885 and helped run the furniture business. She married H H Spicer in 1893. He ran a shingle mill on False Creek, and they then moved to Chilliwack and ran a farm, before moving again, to Alberta, where Anna died in 1925. 

Frank estimated that up to 1889 seventy-five percent of the furniture sold in the city was through his business, the Pioneer Furniture Store. He told the City Archivist “We used to have a car load of furniture a week arrive, and, including stablemen, drivers and others, had as many as one hundred men on my staff at one time or another.” He estimated he was making $1,000 a week, but times turned harder in the 1890s, and in 1895 Frank and his wife, Josephine, (who he married in 1889), left for Rossland, (where he built another Opera House) Phoenix and then Greenwood. After that he built the goldrush boomtown of Dyea in 1898, where he once again ran a furniture store and undertaking business. He made a fortune of $250,000, and promptly lost it, relocating again to Dawson. Eventually he settled in Prince Rupert, (from 1908) selling furniture, running an undertakers business and later buying, selling and developing property. His wife died in 1913

He returned to Vancouver every so often through to the 1930s, including in 1917 when aged 60 he married Amelia Ferguson, a widow eight years younger, and his late wife’s cousin. Frank died in Prince Rupert in 1935.

The early wooden buildings were mostly replaced soon after with more substantial, brick faced and more fireproof structures. This was developed as The Iroquois Hotel in 1907, although later it became known as The Stanley Hotel. It was developed by Evans, Coleman and Evans and designed by G W Grant, and in the past two years the facade has been retained and a new 10-storey rental building developed by Westbank built behind and above it.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu P325 and CVA Port P99.1


Posted 29 May 2023 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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132 Cordova Street

This tobacconist and shoeshine was on Cordova Street in 1895. It was identified as the business of Fred Ackers, and his partner on the shoeshine stand wasn’t named. He lived in Dougall House, less than a block from his store.

There aren’t too many records for Fred, who died in 1929. The notice in the Province said “Fred Ackers, Former C.P.R. Stationmaster, Is Dead. A well known figure to Vancouver residents, Fred Ackers, 1084 Howe street, C.P.R. stationmaster, died this morning at St. Paul’s Hospital. Mr. Ackers, was born In Ontario In July, 1861, came to Vancouver about 1880. In 1903 he became night C.P.R. stationmaster and held that position until May, 1927, when he was pensioned. He was a single man.”

It looks like Fred knocked a few years off his age, as the only Frederick Ackers born in Ontario was born in Stirling, Stirling-Rawdon, Hastings, Ontario, in 1855. He was aged 6 in the 1861 census, and 16 a decade later, when he was living with his widowed mother, Mary, and working as a clerk. If his obituary got Fred’s age wrong, they may have mistaken other details. It looks as if he may have arrived not long before this image was taken. In 1894 he isn’t in the street directory in BC, (or for any earlier years), and W A Clark and Co occupied these premises.

He disappears again a year later, when a tailor was working here, but in 1897 Frederick Ackers was in Van Winkle, a mining post 14 miles from Barkerville, and in 1898 Fred Hugh Ackers was listed as a miner on the voting register in Lardeau, another mining community in the Cariboo. As was true for so many men hoping to make their fortune, it doesn’t appear Fred was particularly lucky as he reappeared in Vancouver in 1901 as a cook at the Atlantic Restaurant on Cordova, a job he held for three years. In 1904 he was listed as a policeman, and two years later the directory clarified that he was a policeman for the CPR, a listing that was still true in 1913. A year later he had the designation of Assistant Depot Master, and as assistant Station Master in the year that he died.

The building the business occupied didn’t last long as it was replaced by Woodward’s expansion that saw this spot as the hardware department. In turn, Woodwards was redeveloped in 2009 and this is now a Dental Wellness Centre at the base of a 41 storey residential tower.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu P264


Posted 25 May 2023 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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Main Rooms – 117 Main Street

To our surprise, there aren’t good older Archives images of this three story building called the Main Rooms, originally developed in 1908 by Frank G Lewis at a cost of $18,000. It was off in the distance on our earlier post, and there’s another picture from 1931 that shows it once had a stone face, (possibly still there behind the stucco – shown on the right).

So this is how it was when we photographed it 18 years ago, looking much the same as today. In 1912 it was the Foreign Sailor’s Home, but in 1916 the contents of 30 rooms was auctioned off, and by 1920 it had come into the ownership of Stephen’s Estate, who had a permit to add a machine shop. The insurance map says it was the Strathcona Institute, with a restaurant in front, and rooms over. The Logger’s Institute was shown on the upper floor. In the early 1920s E. B. Morgan & Co. carried out repairs, but so did B. C. Land & Investment Co. who were probably owners by then.

Today it’s a privately owned SRO Hotel, with a typical chequered (and long) history. In 1921 “C. Kelly, 117 Main street, woke to find a strange man in his room, he at once expostulated, with the result that he was taken to the General Hospital, suffering from a cut on the nose and wounds on the head. His assailant, who is alleged to have used a beer bottle for the purpose of assaulting Kelly, was arrested and landed in jail, his name being given as Fred Houston, of Squamlsh.

In 1927 “Police Officer’s Fishing on Main Street Handsomely Rewarded. Constable J. Horton indulged in some profitable fishing Saturday afternoon. Instead of the regulation anglers’ tackle the officer used a pike pole and his catch consisted of eleven watches and seven rings. The catch was made at 117 Main street, the Jewelry being discovered by the officer reposing between the wall of that place and an adjoining building. The space was so narrow that the articles could only be reached with the pole. Ths Jewelry is alleged to have part of the $250 loot taken from the Jewelry store of C. W. Chamberlain. 614 Columbia avenue, New Westminster, Friday night. Following the finding of the stolen goods Constable Horton and Detective G Sunstrom arrested a man for investigation in connection with the robbery.

By the 1930s it had become part of Japantown. In 1932 N Fujoshita, who lived here, reported $40 of clothes stolen. In 1938 Teruko Inouye, aged 6, who lived here, had head injuries and a broken collar bone after he and a friend hit a car while riding a tricycle down the ramp from the CN docks at Main and Powell. His friend, Yutaka Motumichi was killed in the same incident. The Japanese connection was severed when the community was forcibly removed from the coast in 1942.

In 1947 a 37-year old woman was beaten in a room here, taken to hospital, and died 11 days later, but of unrelated natural causes. In 1949 Billy Williamson, 36, identified as coming from the Katz Reserve, and a resident here, died in St Pauls of a heart condition, a year after another resident, logger William Holman, was sentenced to a $300 fine or 3 months in jail for selling liquor to an Indian, (an offence at the time, and his third conviction). In the 1950s and 60s residents regularly showed up in the press, both as vicitims, and perpetrators of armed robberies. In 1962 a young woman identified only as ‘Rita’ fell to her death from a third storey window.

In 1966 an arsonist set fire to the back of the building, a month after the landlord of the Stanley Hotel, George Cruikshank, was acquitted of killing one of the residents here, Arnold Hazell, having walked him out through the doors of the hotel bar without opening them, causing a head injury that would prove fatal.

Two years later Fred Hertzog photographed the side of the building from the ramp to the docks.

In 1977 it had a hole punched in the side when a construction crane building the new Policemen’s Union building on the site in the 1968 image, (at Main and Alexander), collapsed.

In 1985 a report to City Council noted the owners had failed to carry out required repairs and meet fire safety requirements, but the Rooms remained open. In 1987 Allan Whitebird, who lived at the Main Rooms, died in the city’s detoxification centre on East 2nd Avenue, having been taken there by the police. None of the staff on duty carried out CPR when they found him passed out, and the centre had no equipment to measure his level of blood alcohol when he was admitted.

In September 2007 Marily WhiskeyJack was killed by Terry Herman during an argument. It was the city’s 15th homicide, and Herman’s 68th conviction.

Image source (part of) City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-207


Posted 15 May 2023 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Main Street – 100 block, west side

We had this shot lined up about six years ago, but knew there was a new building planned, so waited for a while to reshoot it. This is the 100 block of Main Street looking north from Powell, photographed some time between 1980 and 1997. We know it’s the early 1980s rather than the 1990s. That’s because off in the distance, in line with the eastern sidewalk is the Pier built by the Canadian National Railway in 1931 for their steamships. It was demolished in 1984, having been abandoned as a pier in the 1950s. The building lived on for a while as the Oompapa Restaurant and Happy Bavarian Inn in the 1970s, then The Dock, and finally O’Hara’s, which failed as a music venue, but not before Trooper had Raised a Little Hell there. Today the land it stood on is part of the road loop that heads down to the waterfront and CRAB Park.

Closest to us on the left is Firehall #2, built in 1974. There had been a single storey store built here by P Walsh in 1912. The three modest buildings to the north have been replaced with a new rental building. Of the three 2-storey buildings that it replaced, the building closest to us (147 Main) wasn’t especially old, having been built in 1946, and rebuilt in 1977. The middle building (123 Main) was developed by the Marks Brothers in 1928, and cost only $4,500 to build. They both appear to be the first structures erected on their sites. The Marks Brothers were Heuston and Percy Marks, electrical installers, and their business was still at 123 Main up the the 1970s, although for 50 years it was run by Ray and Bernard Gallie.

The third, 121 Main, was the oldest of the three, and had the most interesting history. Some distance outside what we now consider Chinatown, it was developed by Kwong, Sang & Co. in 1911, hiring F H Strain as architect, and R A McCulloch to build the $7,000 building. Yuen Chang carried out repairs in 1915, and Shue Yuen & Co (who were tenants, and produce dealers) two years later. The 1920 insurance map shows a second hand store in the building, but the street directory didn’t pick that up.

Kwong, Sang & Co were Japanese and Chinese importers, and this location made some sense as it’s almost in Japantown, but they never operated their business here. Their company address was always on Hastings Street. (There was a tailor in Victoria called Kwong Sang, but we doubt that there’s a connection to this building, and also a grocer in Barkerville). They imported silk and Chinese goods, tea, including Ceylon, matting and cane chairs. They advertised in English in the main newspapers. A 1911 Province advertisment shows they also dealt in property, offering three lots for sale, on Seymour, Pender and Powell. In 1911 they moved to a new address on East Pender. In 1913 they advertised a site on Powell Street where they were willing to erect a building, warehouse or store. By the end of 1914 they had added another store, at 50 E Hastings. In time this became the Style Cafe and then the Stadacona Cafe.

In 2019 FDG Property Management developed a new 9-storey rental building with 56 units, nine of them built for non-market rental.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 772-1085


Posted 11 May 2023 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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906 Main Street

This modest bank building was designed in 1929 by Honeyman & Curtis for the Bank of Montreal who hired Moncrieff & Vistaunet Ltd to build their $34,000 branch in a Beaux Arts Classical style.

It seems to have had a quiet existence until July 1966 when the Sun reported “Get-Rich Scheme Backfired

A get-rich scheme that backfired has put John Francis Silver behind bars for five years. Silver, 48, of North Bay, Ont. received the five-year term Wednesday for a $2,673 armed holdup at the Bank of Montreal, 906 Main. Magistrate Les Bewley also sentenced Silver to a concurrent two-year term for possessing an offensive weapon, a 22-calibre pistol which was used in the June 6 robbery. Silver pleaded guilty to both charges the day after the holdup. He told detectives that he had $80 in his pocket when he jumped off a box-car in Vancouver about June 1, and planned to commit a robbery. Silver then went to Portland, Ore., where he bought a pistol at a pawnshop. Returning to Vancouver, he registered at a Main Street Hotel and wrote his holdup note. Two alert policemen shattered his plan by arresting him minutes after the bank robbery. The money taken in the holdup was recovered from a shopping bag carried by Silver. In passing sentence, magistrate Bewley told Silver that persons who commit armed robbery can expect to be dealt with severely by the courts. Silver admitted six convictions between 1940 and 1948 for breaking and entering, car theft and possessing housebreaking instruments.”

This image was taken around 1985, and the bank had closed by then. From 1982 it was the Triage Crisis Shelter, with Brother David running the social services centre for ‘multi problem individuals with mental health and substance abuse issues’. In 1990 the building itself faced a crisis: “A dilapidated emergency shelter that houses many of Vancouver’s mentally ill must undergo radical renovations or move out, city officials say. In a memo by North Health Unit director Norman Barr, the Triage Centre a 28-bed facility run by the St. James Social Services Society and located in a converted bank at 906 Main St. is described as crowded, depressing, poorly ventilated, poorly lit, lacking in privacy and generally physically inadequate.”

The operators of the shelter completely agreed: “People who come here get comradeship, understanding, sympathy and help. But it’s not a great place to live. Nobody should have to live with this kind of crap but there just isn’t any money. “We’ve been screaming, begging and banging on doors for a new building for years.” Nothing changed in the next few years. Triage were turning people away here when the temperatures dropped below freezing in 1993, but a year later had moved to a new centre on Powell Street.

After some years as a vacant building, it was restored as part of a residential condo scheme called ‘Left Bank’, designed by H R Hatch, with 59 units in a 9-storey building to the south. In 2003 when the project was approved it was described as being in ‘a seedier area of town’, citing the biker bar at the American Hotel to the south, and “advisory panel member Ed Mah, a developer himself, said, “Even in this market, it takes someone very brave to take on this project.” Today, with the new St Paul’s Hospital under construction to the east, and the American a popular burger retaurant, the area is quite different – and likely to change even more as the adjacent viaducts get removed.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-0670


Posted 13 April 2023 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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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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