Archive for the ‘East End’ Category

425 – 447 Heatley Avenue

When these six houses were first built they were on Heatley Avenue, between the lane behind East Hastings, and Princess Street. They were numbered as 503 to 523 Heatley. By 1903 the insurance map showed the numbers crossed out, and replaced by 425 to 447. By 1911 Princess Street was renamed to Pender, but the new numbers had stayed the same.

The 1901 street directory shows the houses all completed, (and confusingly, seven addresses listed) but most were still vacant. John F Armstrong (a driver) was living in 507, and Alex Prefontain had a bakery in 523. By 1902 the addresses had been sorted out, and the houses filled up. Henry Dowden, a fireman was at 503, Thomas Wyatt, an engineer at 507, George Dumphy, agent in 511, John McGarligle, a moulder at 515, Joseph Cole, a carpenter at 519 and the same baker on the corner of Princess.

We don’t know who developed the houses, but we know they were still all owned by one person, because in 1912 Mrs L A Angill submitted a building permit to raise the 6 houses and put in basements. As far as we know that didn’t happen (the economy tanked soon after this, and then there was the war). We know that neither Mrs. Angell (as her name was really) or he husband had developed the houses, because they were in the US when they were built.

Lora Agnes Humes of Seattle had married Albert Sidney Angell in Seattle on 18 September 1899 at her parent’s home. She was born in Ontario, (and was Hume, not Humes), and he was from Arkansas. In 1900 they were in Portland; Lora was 20 and Albert 26 and a photo engraver. Their son, also Albert Sidney, was born in Tacoma in April 1901, and a daughter, Eloise was born in Portland, Oregon in September 1902.

The family moved north in 1904, but Albert died aged 31 in November 1905. The tragic death was reported in the press; “Mr. A. S. Angell, engraver, died of poison at the general hospital on Thursday night, A few moments after having been removed there from his workshop, on Hastings Street, near the Board of Trade hotel. There is a doubt as to how Angell came to take the poison. He complained of being unwell in the afternoon and was advised to take port wine and benedictine. He was not used to drinking and became considerably under the influence of alcohol in the combination. It is the theory of his friends that he took the poison by accident.”

The Angell Engraving Company continued in business, and Mrs. Angell continued to have an active involvement. In 1920, when she had moved to Bute Street, she was listed as the manager of the company, and was ‘chairman of the entertainment committee’ of the Engraver’s Convention that was held in Vancouver that year.

Mrs. Angell continued to live in Vancouver, and was often listed in the press as a supporter or attendee at events. One press notice perhaps gives a hint at her character. Under the title “Comment on Court Action Costs Five Spot Per Shot” the Province reported in 1932 “Mrs. Laura Angell, 618 West Hastings, motorist, convicted before Magistrate Paul McD. Kerr of falling to observe a stop sign, was fined $5 In Police Court. “There certainly isn’t any Justice In this court,” Mrs. Angell remarked, “That’ll be ten dollars,” replied the magistrate. “I don’t care what you make It,” Mrs. Angell remarked. ‘ “That’ll be 15.” Mrs. Angell paid the $15.”

Mrs. Angell was still in charge of the engraving business in 1940, and in 1941 was shown as Mrs L A Oliver, widow of C N Oliver, still proprietor of Angell Engraving, with Albert Angell working as an engraver. She had married Charles Mason Oliver, who had died in 1935 in New Westminster, but for some reason the directory initially didn’t change her name from Angell. Charles Oliver was initially a CP telegrapher, then set up as a mining stockbroker and bond dealer in 1905. His wife Mina had died in March 1933, so his marriage to Lora was short (and he appears not to have been the grieving widower for long, as they apparently married in April). He had married Mina, who was from Ohio, in 1908 in Butte, Montana. Lora inherited $27,000 from Charles’s estate. Lora’s son, Albert, died in 1955, and her daughter, Eloise in 1978 in Illinois. Mrs Lora Agnes Oliver continued to run Angell Engraving, and living on Beach Avenue close to Stanley Park until 1955. She died in 1956, in Vancouver, aged 75.

The houses – and the store – saw a revolving door of tenants over the years. The shop was used as a grocery run by William Koshevoy in 1915, a year later Fred Humphrey, and in 1918 Mrs. H A Gillis. The Sons of Israel Church was listed as using the premises in 1916. At some point the buildings were sold off individually and are now assessed at over a million dollars. Each. The third in the row, 435 Heatley, has a small additional window in the facade, added when the house was rebuilt in 1993. The other five are pretty much as they were in 1901.



Posted 24 January 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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1012 Main Street

The four storey rooming house is called the Station Hotel today, although it’s been a rooming house under a variety of names for many years. It was owned by investment company Living Balance for some years, and has 32 rooms. It was recently acquired by BC Housing, the Provincial agency, to help house Vancouver’s homeless population.

It was given a permit in 1911, when Hugh Braunton designed the $25,000 investment for Albert Pausche. He ran the Horseshoe Hotel, and lived in the East End on Keefer Street. However, there seems to have been a problem with the title, as a year later lawyers published the following public notice: “NOTICE is hereby given that I shall at the expiration of one month from the date of the first publication hereof Issue an Indefeasible Title to the above mentioned lot in the name of Albert Paushe and Joseph Tapello unless In the meantime valid objection be made to me In writing by some party or parties having an Interest In the said property. The Holder of the following Documents relating to the said Lands, viz.: 1. Conveyance In Fee from Sir Donald A. Smith and Richard B. Angus to George M. Bennett. Dated 29th January, 1889. 2. A Conveyance from the said George M. Bennett to Colin Smith, Dated Ist. February, 1889.  3. A Conveyance from the said Colin Smith (by his Attorney, Geo. G McKay) to Edward White, Dated 8th November, 1889.” The initial ownership by CPR Executives isn’t surprising, but the re-trading of the same lot in the same year shows the degree of speculation in the city’s early years.

Albert was from Austria, and was 42 when he built the hotel. His wife, Louisa, was 15 years younger, and from Italy. They had a 2-year-old son, Joseph. They were both shown arriving in Canada in 1906, and they married here in 1907. Their marriage certificate shows his wife as Luigia Bari from Runnianca, Province Novara Italy. Albert had a brother, John, who also ran hotels in Vancouver, and who ran a licenced hotel in Ladysmith in 1908. Albert was 74 when he died in 1943. Louisa died in Vancouver aged 85 in 1969.

The hotel was initially rather oddly numbered because it was developed on a lot between 1020 and 1022 Main Street – and there wasn’t an even number available. Presumably with an eye to reallocating numbers on the block in future, it was numbered as 1012. That was the address of The Bonanza Rooms, initially run from 1913 by John A Gray. In 1918 Mrs S Bunnell took over. In 1920 times were hard; nobody was shown running the rooms, and Albert Pausche was working as a labourer, and his brother John as a carpenter. In 1925 George Clark was running the rooms, and Albert had become a shipwright. In 1930 H Matsumura was running the rooms, and Albert Pausche was a carpenter while his brother had become a labourer with the City. Hatsujiro Matsumura continued to run the rooms, and appeared in the Vancouver Sun in 1936, in a bizarre case where first his wife, and then he was called to give evidence in a divorce case. The Court couldn’t decide how to treat a Buddhist in terms of swearing them in; in the end it was determined that affirmation was the route to follow, and the divorce was duly granted.

In 1942 the Matsumuras would have been forced to leave Vancouver, and the rooms were renamed as the Park Hotel. In 1945 Toy Quon was manager, and a decade later Alphonse Wileyto and Harry Sherban, By the mid 1960s the building had become the Station Hotel, and became one of the many older hotels with shared bathrooms offering low-cost long-term basic accommodation.  The only mention in the press was when a 72-year old suffered smoke inhalation in 1968 when he set fire to his mattress, and was rescued by other tenants. Our image shows it in 1985.

Frequently the store on the main floor was either listed as vacant, or not even mentioned in the street directory. Today it’s home to Bodega on Main, which offers a tapas menu and with restrictions on indoor dining due to the COVID pandemic, added a patio on Main Street during the warmer months.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-0666


Posted 17 January 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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733 Keefer Street

The building built to the sidewalk on Keefer Street in residential Strathcona dates back to 1908, when it cost $3,000 to build. (Alongside it to the west, and almost hidden from this angle, is a tenement building from the same year that only cost $2,000 to build). Rogers & McKay were the developers of the building, and William H Rogers signed the permit.

William was born in Bristol in March 1862, christened in May in St Philip and Jacob church there, and was married in August 1881 in St Bede’s Bristol to Lilly Skuce. (It looks like she really was Lilly (with two Ls), and her family name was probably Skuse). She was also born in 1862, and before her marriage was a staymaker (a corset maker). She had been born in Gloucestershire, but her family had moved to Wales and then to Bristol.

The marriage was timely; William Henry Rogers (junior) was born in Bristol in January 1882. Their second child, Lilly Florence Gertrude Rogers, was born in Lucknow, Bruce, Ontario in June 1885. Understandably, she was known as Florence. By 1891 the family had moved to Seattle. Their third child, Edward E Rogers (‘Eddie’ in the 1911 census), was born there in February 1895. William was working as a contractor, but in the 1900 US Census he was a superintendent on the Street Railroad. William jr. was already working, as a machinist.

The family moved north, back to Canada, in 1903. William Rogers, a machinist had rooms on Powell Street that year. In 1904 he had moved to Gore, and was identified as W H Rogers jr, because there was also W H Rogers, a carpenter living at 432 Princess. (Lilly) Florence Rogers was 19 when she married James Blackmore Jolly, a 24 year old engineer, from Moonta Mines, South Australia in 1904 in Vancouver. The wedding took place at the family home on Princess Street. The couple went on to have two children, Harold in January 1906, and Gwendoline in 1918. Their family of three were living with William, Lilly and Eddie, as well as Albert Rogers, a nephew (and also a carpenter) in the 1911 census. By then they had moved to 1201 Harris, (East Georgia today), and in 1912 they moved to 1169 Pendrell in the West End.

William had at least 22 house-building projects as a builder working on his own, and several other larger buildings in partnership as Rogers and McKay. The partners owned property in Chinatown that they sometimes hired other builders to repair. We’ve still not confirmed for certain who Mr. McKay was. There were several carpenters, and at least one finance and real estate broker, and one who owned a sash and door business, but the most likely seems to be Thomas Masson McKay who was a timber broker. In 1911 he lived with his brother, William who was a lawyer, on Alberni Street and they originally came from Ottawa.

William Rogers returned south in 1916. In 1919 he completed a Naturalization Form to allow him to stay in the US. As requested, he confirmed he was not an Anarchist, or a Polygamist, he was 57, (born in 1862) from Bristol, and he had grey hair, was 160lbs and stood 5′ 10″ tall. He was a building contractor, living in Tacoma. In 1926 he completed another form (they were good for 7 years). The details were the same, and William’s children were listed. William Henry was born in 1882 in Bristol; Florence in 1885 in Canada and Edward in 1895 in Seattle.

William Henry jr was an inch taller and 20 pounds heavier than his father when he submitted his Naturalization papers in 1917. He was already living with his wife, Catherine, in Seattle, whom he had married in 1902, and he first entered the US in 1888 He was aged 52 and working as a wood preserver when he died in Seattle in 1932. His brother Edward was married to Margaret and aged 57 when he died in Vancouver in 1952.

As an investment property, the tenants here changed regularly. Wilson and Sugden, a bakery was first here, with Harry Wilson living ‘over the shop’. Quite quickly the building was divided, with a grocery store run by Peter Torrance and a bakery run by William Reynolds and Peter Callow. In 1915 the grocery was shown run by Quan Tsang, but not for long, and the property remained empty until 1920. From 1921 to 1928 the building was used by Russian-born merchant immigrant Louis Halperin who ran a fish-canning business called BC Distributors Company Ltd. That business moved to Alexander Street (and expanded to Saskatoon) in 1929, and briefly a Broom and Brush manufacturer was located here.

Through the remaining years of the 1930s it was either vacant, or occupied by unidentified ‘orientals’, until 1938 when it became home to a Japanese Bhuddist temple. That was also short-lived, as they were forced to leave the coastal area in 1942, and a Pullman Porter called Robert Harris moved in. In 1945 it re-opened as a store, with Charles Creer running a grocery, taken over in 1946 by brothers Joseph and H. Comtois, and then a year later by Quong Wing. In 1949 it was ‘Betty’s Light Lunch, run by Chee Kew Wong until 1954. After that it became a home, initially occupied by Chinese residents, several of them farmers. Our 1978 image shows the storefront no longer in use. More recently it has been home to a photographer, who used the storefront as a studio.


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

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346 Powell Street

According to the Assessment Authority this two storey block dates from 1926. Our picture is from 1978, when this was the Centennial Rooms, and we think the building was constructed in 1910 by Pearson, Williamson & Crick. That’s when a permit for a $7,700 development designed by Jones & Aspell for Oscar Brown was issued, and there’s no sign of a permit for any mid 1920s redevelopment or alterations.

Oscar proved hard to track down. He arrived in the city around 1899 when he was listed as ‘of Brown & McGregor, wholesale fruit merchants’. His home address changed from 737 Hamilton to 846 Hornby in 1901, both houses owned by somebody else, where he presumably rented a room. He was in the Georgia Rooms in 1902 and from 1908 to 1911 had rooms in the Hotel Vancouver. He seems to have successfully evaded the 1901 and 1911 census collectors. In 1909 he bought 160 acres on the Bulkley River.

Oscar soon had one of the busiest fruit and vegetable wholesale businesses in the city, located in premises on Water Street, initially at 147 Water, and after around 1911 at 165 Water. Oscar’s involvement in the business that continued to bear his name was limited however. In May 1911 The Daily World published a short news story: “Much Regret Expressed on Wholesale Row Over Departure of Mr. Oscar Brown. But His Successor Is Made Welcome. Along wholesaIe row this morning considerable regret was expressed at the news that Mr. Oscar Brown was retiring from business. The news of his retirement, as told exclusively in The World on Tuesday, came as a surprise. All along the row this morning could be heard remarks that Indicated that Mr. Brown, though a competitor was looked upon as a square man and an honest though energetic, opponent. Everyone who knew him expressed the hope that the time would yet come when with renewed vigor he would return to the commercial fray. Mingled with the regrets at the departure of Mr. Brown were expressions of welcome to his successor, Mr. Marpole, to the strenuous life of wholesale row.” Mr. Marpole was Richard F Marpole, son of the CPR Superintendent, (also called Richard).

There were hundreds of newspaper entries for Oscar Brown, because he made sure that every rail car arriving in the city carrying California oranges or Okanagan pears was reported. However, we could find nothing about Mr. Brown until we came across a notice of his death, in California, in 1928. “Victim of Motor Car Accident in California in 53rd Year. Mr. Oscar Brown, founder of Oscar Brown & Co. Ltd, one of Vancouver’s older wholesale fruit houses, and one of the city’s most prominent business men from 1899 to 1914, died at noon Tuesday in Santa Barbara as a result of Injuries received In an automobile accident in the California city. Although he had not resided here since 1914, until almost a year ago Mr. Brown was a frequent visitor to his old home city, where he had a host of friends. His death Is especially regretted among the older executives In the Water street wholesale district. who watched him build his business to one of the most successful In the city.

This allowed us to dig out the 1920 US census in Santa Barbara which showed Oscar Brown, wholesaler, from Arkansas, aged 44, with 7 roomers sharing his address. He appeared as secretary of the Montecito Country Club (a golf club) in Santa Barbara when it was established in 1921. He was buried in Santa Barbara with no apparent record of his upbringing, apparently a life-long bachelor. He was 23 when he arrived in Vancouver, and 35 when he sold off his business, moving to California at 39. We have no idea how he ended up in Vancouver from Arkansas.

Oscar presumably sold this investment property before leaving the city. In 1920 H A Jones was the owner, hiring William Horie to carry out $1,400 of repairs. When the building first opened there was a newspaper office, a branch of the Prince Rupert Meat Co, the Horseshoe Restaurant and a Japanese grocer. The rooms upstairs were just listed as ‘Japanese’. In 1920 they were the Oro Rooms, and the English Restaurant had taken over the Horseshoe, although the name was perhaps misleading as it was run by Gin Fay Main, almost certainly Chinese.

In 1940 the White Rooms were upstairs, run by K Kobayashi, with the Powell Bakery run by S Nunoda, and the English Cafe by J F Ming, (who was probably Gin Fay Main). Although the Japanese community were forced to leave the area in 1942, a few returned. In 1950 Nitta Mitsuyoshi was running a grocers and fish store here, next to the Club Utopia restaurant run by H Woo and S H Fong. It was run as a cabaret, and in 1959 had its licence reviewed “The Club Utopia, police said, is known to police “as the base of activity on the part of thieves and robbers who prey on drunken patrons” This 1954 advert shows an eclectic cuisine, as well as dancing on offer, although it would appear not to have had a liquor licence. The White Rooms were still upstairs, run by T Wing, and the Lun Yick Cafe was in 350 Powell.

Our 1978 image shows the Marl Cafe, ‘Chinese and Canadian Food’, a Bean Cake store next door, and Noguchi Electronics at the end of the block. Today the block is an SRO rooming house with 13 residential units (SRA) above, 7 of which are above average in size, with a separate bedroom area, and one with two separate bedroom areas, plus 2 common washrooms. The retail units are vacant, but have in recent years included a sandwich shop and the fully licenced Aristocrat Restaurant, which closed in 2014 and was offered for sale with a “stage area with disco lighting, dance floor, buffet area and fully equipped bar with keg dispenser”. The Downtown Pharmacy was closed in 2015 by the College of Pharmacists; “in the interest of public safety following an inspection of the pharmacy by College inspectors, which raised serious concerns with respect to unhygienic conditions of the pharmacy, and the suitability of the premises to continue operating as a pharmacy.” The pharmacy was operating as a methadone supplier when it was closed.


Posted 20 December 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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East Georgia Street and Jackson, nw

This Archives image from 1966 shows the block north of MacLean Park, when it was adjacent to Jackson Avenue. An entire city block of homes was cleared to create a new park, and in turn the old park, and this block were incorporated into a new non-market housing project, also called MacLean Park. Designed in the late 1950s, construction didn’t take place until later in 1966. Here the development consisted of family rowhouses.

The last building awaiting clearance was the only apartment building originally built on the block. Developed in 1911 for H Williamson, it cost $11,000 to build. There were four H Williamsons, but we can probably rule out the meat cutter, clerk, and fireman with the CPR, which leaves Horace Williamson, owner of a brokerage firm in 1910. He lived in Mount Pleasant, and a year later when this was built he owned the People’s Drug Store, on Main and Fraser. Horace was born in Oshawa, Ontario, in 1877, and headed west like so many others. He was a carpenter, building several houses, the first in 1901 for his family. Here here hired architects, Campbell & Bennett, and a builder, C Baumeister.

He married Flora Maclean (known as Hattie and born in Nova Scotia) in 1900 and they went on to have eight children. In 1901 they were in rooms in Keefer Street, living with David MacLean (another carpenter) – Hattie’s father. Horace had lodged with the family from his arrival in 1899, which is presumably how he met his wife.

By 1904 he had become an insurance agent, and then set up his brokerage. Up to 1914 he ran the Vancouver Mortgage Co, and was living on East 15th Avenue. Then the family went missing – there’s no record of them in British Columbia, although they were back in the same house by the 1921 census. Flora is shown born in PEI rather than Nova Scotia, and they had six children at home aged from one to 18, all born in BC. Horace was still an insurance broker, and his oldest son, ‘Melbourne’, (actually he was christened Horace as well), was an apprentice.

It’s possible the family moved away during the war years to Pender Harbour (and not Pender Island – thanks Kathy!) Horace had land there, and in 1908 built a log cabin. The family spent a great deal of time there, and the Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society have many photographs of the family and the homes that Horace built there. His log cabin is seen on the left, and on the right Horace and Hattie with a deer they had shot.

They appear to have returned to live on the Sunshine Coast until the early 1950s. While Horace M was in Vancouver (later working as a mechanic), there’s no sign of his father living in the city. Horace was 80 when he died in Victoria in 1958. He had been living there for six months with one of his daughters following the death of Hattie, also aged 80, in 1957. Her PEI origins were confirmed on her death certificate.

We assume Horace sold his rooming house on Keefer at some point. In the 1920s these were the OK Rooms, run by J Olson in 1925, then from the late 1920s and through the 1930s they were the Asahi Rooms, (run by Mrs. Matsuda in 1938), and in 1953 back to the OK Rooms run by J Krywetzki and Mrs V Prisner.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-374


Posted 16 December 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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King Rooms – 330 Powell Street

We’ve looked at the history of the building on the right in an earlier post. The King Rooms are the third four storey rooming house in the row. All three adjacent buildings were developed in 1912, and all three had the same architect, but for different owners. Norman Symonds designed the rooms, and R G Wilson built them for $22,500. L A Lewis was the developer here, while Sam Mah Yuen developed the two buildings to the west.

Mr. Lewis was initially a mystery. There were lots of people called Lewis, but none in the city with the initial ‘L’. Fortunately, in 1912 The Province announced “a 4 storey block for L.A. Lewis and Mr. Mathers of New Westminster” on Powell Street near Gore, so we can tell that Mr. Lewis was Manager of Brunette Saw Mills. He was a legend in his home city, having been a member of the Salmonberries hockey team. In an 1893 game, “in the fourth game of a match against Victoria at Queen’s Park, L.A. Lewis was struck twice on the head by twenty-nine-year-old Harry Morton’s stick. His second whack at Lewis knocked Lewis unconscious, ‘blood spurting from a ghastly looking wound in his head.’ As angry New Westminster supporters flooded the field, a dazed Lewis got to his feet and ran to Morton. The men grappled and Lewis again fell to the ground insensible. Lewis was carried off the field and the club’s physician, Dr. Fagan, dressed an inch-long cut in the side of his head, discovering that a small artery had been severed.”

W.J. Mathers and L.A. Lewis were both shareholders in The Westminster Trust and Safe Deposit Co. Ltd, incorporated in New Westminster in 1904, the province’s first trust company. Lewis Allen Lewis was from Ontario and no doubt to avoid confusion, he was known either by his initials or as L Allen Lewis. He was aged 37 in the 1901 census, living with his wife, Annette, who was two years younger, and also from Ontario, and their two children aged 5 and 1, Lewis and Evan. They had a domestic servant; a retired teacher who came from Gibraltar. In 1912 he owned a car, inaccurately registered to 26 Granville Street, Vancouver (actually his New Westminster address).

William J. Mathers was the New Westminster manager for the Brackman-Ker Milling Company. He purchased the first two lots of the Deer Lake Crescent subdivision and in 1912 built a magnificent Romanesque revival-styled home designed by architect F.W. Macey for a reported cost of $13,000. The 1911 census described him as a 48 year old merchant, from Ontario. His wife Mary was nine years younger, from Quebec, and they had two children aged 3 and 8 months; M Kathleen and William M.

The building was initially listed as ‘Japanese Rooms’, then in 1916 listed as the Stanley Rooms, run by R Tao. There was a Japanese tea room on street level, and the Kane Shooting Gallery in the basement. By the 1930s the name had changed to the King Rooms, run in 1932 by K Matsuoka and in 1940 by R Yamamoto. The tea room evolved into a dry-goods store run by various Japanese owners: Yamauchi, Morimoto and Higashiyama. Although U. Morimoto & Co. leased the store for only 2 years (1919-1921), the Morimoto name is still visible on the tiled entrance today. This building was also the address for the Canadian Japanese Social Athletic Club in the 1920s.

Once the Japanese had been forced from the area in the early years of the war, new owners operated the rooms; at the end of the war Foon Wong was the proprietor, and was still running the rooms in 1955. The building attracted little attention from the local press, with the exception of one story in the Province in 1952. “Blind Indian Found Hungry. A blind Indian who waited, foodless, four days in a rooming house for his wife to return, was fed by another tenant and then turned over to the Indian agent’ Heber Harris, 59, living at King’s Rooms, 326 Powell, told police his wife left him Saturday to visit a cousin and did not return. Police contacted Indian agent J. B. Clemmitt and detectives of the missing person detail are attempting to locate the woman.”

Today the original storefront is still in place, just as it was in our 1978 image, and the privately run rental rooms upstairs still share toilets and bathrooms on each landing.


Posted 13 December 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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853 East Pender Street

The three storey building to the right of the image is earlier than the other elements, and was designed by Franklin Cross for ‘Mac Juliana’ in 1923 (according to its permit). We were totally unable to find anyone with a name close to that in Vancouver, or indeed, anywhere in Canada in either census on either side of 1923. Mosimo Julien was recoded living at 853 E Pender in 1925 an expressman, and Michael Julien was shown running the grocery store here in 1926, but whether the clerk at City Hall or the directory recorder were accurate was impossible to say.

Then we realised that Mosimo could be Massimo, and discovered Massimo Giuliani, whose surname was finally recorded accurately in 1927, when he was living on Powell Street. The directory thought he was either Massimo or Mathimo – he had two entries – and he was working as desk clerk in the Hotel Heatley that year. He was born in Abruzzo, Italy in 1889, and was aged 67 and had last been a Boarding House Proprietor when he died in 1957 in West Vancouver. His death notice in the Vancouver Sun noted that he was known as Mike Giuliani. In 1928 he moved from Vancouver to the north shore, and in 1929 he was shown as ‘Giuliani Massinino retired h 151 E 6 N Van’. His wife, Madellena was 69 when she died in North Vancouver in 1962. They had a daughter, Mary, who was born in Vancouver in 1915, although we can’t find the family in the 1921 census, but that might be because the family apparently moved to the US for a while in 1916.

The ‘3-storey brick & concrete store & apt. bldg’ was initially addressed as 853 E Pender, and had 7 suites. In 1930 there were only five shown, and all but one was vacant. In 1931 the entire building was empty, and a year later the St. Vincent’s Home and Shelter had opened, to ‘offer charitable hospitality to transients’ for 15 men, run by the Grey Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, who also established St Francis Xavier School in Chinatown. In 1942 the building was enlarged (with the two-storey wing to the west, and an extra 51 beds) and added long-term care for the elderly. In 1969 the 152-bed Youville Residence replaced the St Vincent’s Shelter on the corner of 33rd Avenue and Heather Street.

Our 1978 image shows the buildings not long before they were redeveloped. Today the Rose Garden Co-op is located here; technically covered by the single room accommodation by-law. The 54 unit building was completed in 1981.


Posted 6 December 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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800-818 Hawks Avenue

These modest rental townhomes, seen here in 1985, show how Strathcona has been a home to dense but ground-oriented housing for over a century. Built in 1907, there are nine homes on a 50 foot by 120 foot lot. There are nine more in an identical building to the north, across the lane, but these days those are a privately owned strata.

Both buildings were developed by Charles Hendrix, apparently an absentee developer. He obtained three permits in 1907; these buildings were a $5,000 frame tenement, 818 Hawks to the south was a $7,000 tenement, and there was a $4,000 house on Prior as well. On the water permit the clerk threw consonants at his name, and put ‘Henydrekx’. Nobody with the name Charles Hendrix (or Hendricks, or Heyndricks) was resident in the city. The only Charles Hendrix listed in Canada in the 1901 census was aged 21 and a miner in the Cariboo, born in Sweden in 1880, and arriving in Canada in 1900. It seems likely that he’s our developer, and that when he built these apartments he was 27.

We couldn’t find any cross-reference for him living anywhere in the Province in subsequent years (and being a miner, that wasn’t too surprising). Then we came across a news story that seemed to suggest that in 1908 he had a different intention for having 18 front doors to small homes on the same short stretch of street. Charles Hendricks appeared before Magistrate Williams, and was given a six month sentence.

In the early years of the 20th century the city authorities had been struggling with the location of the city’s red light district. Having closed down the madams on Dupont Street (East Pender) in the early 1900s, the women dispersed throughout the city. As we noted in an earlier post, in 1906 the Daily World reported that some of the women were moving to rooms in Shanghai Alley and Canton Alley in Chinatown. By the end of the year police were raiding and arresting the ladies. In 1907 another raid was referenced in the Daily World, and the article suggested that 25 women were living in the alley. Belle Walker was fined $50 three days later, with a note adding “the police seem determined to put a stop to other than Chinese women living in the Chinese quarter”. According to Detective Jackson, by 1908 ‘Charles Heyndricks’ was the owner of 21 ‘houses of ill-fame’ there. Evidence was produced in court that his Chinatown units produced rents of $400 a week to him, and his companion Alice deBelda, ‘who was known as Mrs. Heyndricks’, (although Charles confirmed they weren’t married, but did live together).

As owner of the Chinatown units, Charles Hendricks was willing to help move his tenants out of the area. While he apparently initially leased some units of his newly developed property on Hawks to the predictable tenants; loggers, port workers, a very short time later, as the Times Colonist in Victoria reported “Hendricks tried to start a new restricted section in the centre of the east end residential district, and told women, formerly of Shanghai and Canton streets, that he had squared everything with the Mayor and chief of police for opening a new immoral quarter. He turned out regular tenants and trebled the rents to fast women.” The court case said that the initial rents were $16 to $18 a month, but the women were paying $45 a month.

He was described in the press as owning $100,000 worth of property In Vancouver, and was sentenced to six months’ hard labor, without the option of a fine, for ‘renting buildings to women of ill fame’. The Daily World news coverage confirmed that these were the properties in question.

The two women arrested in the raids were given suspended sentences provided they agreed to leave the city. We don’t know what happened to ‘Violet White’, from 802 Hawks, but Gussie Roberts from 804 apparently headed north. She was picked up in a raid on a house of ill repute in Prince Rupert in 1916, and skipped bail there.

Hendricks was initially locked up, and The province newspaper reported that “he did not take kindly to working on the chaingang when he was ordered out this afternoon. He was ordered to remove his heavy coat and start breaking rock, but absolutely declined to make any move in that direction. Consequently he was ordered into the station again and this afternoon is confined in a dark cell“.

He was allowed to appeal, and was released with appropriate financial guarantees, but a month later he failed to appear for trial, having sold his property. He forfeited a $500 cash surety, but having new owners, the additional liens on the properties were no longer applicable. Alice deBelda was allowed to leave the court as the case against her of keeping a house of ill repute wasn’t strong enough to convict. She may have advised him that it was a sensible move to skip bail; the US Treasury Records for 1904 showed a positive cash flow of $2,000, ‘From cash bail exacted of Alice Debelda’ – and the sum remained on the books until at least 1910.

It’s possible that it was the same Charles Hendricks who was made superintendent of the Bunker Hill Mining and Smelting Co plant in Reiter (Snohomish), Washington, three years later (in 1911).

In 1913 the Lincoln Steamship Co’s coastal steamer ‘Ophir’ caught fire, and was burned to destruction. She had sailed from Vancouver with a cargo of tinplate for a cannery and some passengers, and tied up at the Brunswick Cannery, Canoe Pass, near Ladner, In the Fraser River. It was too late to unload, so the 11-man crew went to bed. Around 3.30am fire broke out (caused, it was suggested, by a crewman’s discarded cigarette or cigar butt). Five of the crew, including Capt.  Johannsen, the chief engineer, the mate, the cook and one deckhand, slept in the forepart of the boat. They escaped because the mate was woken by the smoke, but the other six died – the ship was cut adrift to burn, to save the cannery wharf from catching fire. Four were immediately identified, but two had signed on in Vancouver, and weren’t named. One was later identified as ‘Charles Hendricks’. Whether he was our developer is unclear, although there’s no sign of him from this point on.

The new owners of the houses leased them to a typical Vancouver mix; in 1909 a lineman, a quarryman, a carpenter, a mill hand,. a labourer, a teamster and an engineer. Twenty years later three of the houses were rented by women; Mrs. Dominca Bianci, a widow, with her two children Elio, a labourer and Joseph, a labourer with the CPR, Mrs. Mary Burke, a widow (with Henry Burke, a scissors grinder; probably her son) and Mrs. Mabel Powell.

In 1949 the tenants here were Nichola Novis and his wife, Alice, Mrs Caroline Charlebois, a widow, Robert Brunelle, a truck driver, and his wife Lena, James Pereneseff, driver with Richmond Transfer, and his wife, Annie, Edmund Pfister, a labourer and his wife, Bertha, John Shukin, a carpenter and his wife, Mabel, Mrs. Mary Smart, a cleaner, James Sobbotin, a labourer with BC Forest Products and his wife, Nadie, and closest to us Joan Chemlyk, a telephone operator with John (an insurance agent) and his wife Anna, and Roger Chemlyk, a clerk.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-0680



Posted 29 November 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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446 Union Street

This house is unusual, both in Strathcona, where it’s located, and in the whole of Vancouver. That’s because it was built of brick, in 1930, and seen here in 1985. The developer was a local longshoreman called Adamo Piovesan. He was Italian, according to his death certificate, born in 1890, and he arrived in Vancouver in 1919, having first travelled to New York in 1913, aged 23, (in Third Class), heading for Guelph. (Elizabetta and Antonio Piovesan were on the same voyage, bound for Vancouver).

In 1919 Adamo was on a French owned ship that departed from New York, and berthed in Seattle. He was listed as heading to join his brother, Antonio, who lived at 433 Prior Street in Vancouver. In the 1921 Census, Adam and Mary Piovesan were shown living at 467 Prior St. Mary (who was Maria Biasetto from Treviso) was six years younger than her husband, and had only arrived from Italy in 1920.

There was an earlier house on this lot, but it was built on the lane, rather than the street, probably in 1905 Victor Tiverton had lived in it in the 1910s, but by 1921 the street address had disappeared, only to reappear after this house was built in 1930. The move in was pretty easy – the Piovesan’s had lived on the 400 block of Prior Street for a decade, so they just had to cross the lane to get to their new house.

Eve Lazarus has told the story of the house in two books. She notes that “like dozens of Italian families in the area, the Piovesans bootlegged their way through the Depression. The family made beer and wine in the European tradition and bought rum from the government-run liquor store which they then resold in shots. Drinks sold for a dime, while a glass of bucaro, a wine usually made from raisins and the mash of a better wine, sold for a nickel. Once the Piovesan’s were raided and Maria had to pay a $300 fine—a massive amount of money that forced the family to bootleg more liquor to pay it.

There’s no reason to think the story is inaccurate – although there’s no record of the charge being reported in the press – but compared to larger bootlegging operations the family’s activities were normal practice for the neighbourhood. As a longtime resident in the area’s Italian community noted “everybody did it, it was no big deal. Guys came in from the camps and rented rooms. My grandmother cooked dinner for the roomies and guest and charged for the shots. It was a way of making a bit of extra cash. And of course, the wine was traded, and sold…”.

Times would have been hard for a longshoreman with a family of four daughters at home. In 1935 the dock workers were locked out by the owners, and ‘scab’ labour brought in to replace them. On June 18, several weeks after the original lockout, around 1,000 dockers and their supporters marched through Vancouver towards Ballantyne Pier. “The strikers were met at the pier by several hundred armed policeman. Attempting to force their way through, the dockers soon found themselves under attack from the police lines. Many marchers were clubbed as they tried to run to safety, while many others tried hopelessly to fight back, using whatever weapons they could find. Aided by Mounties who had been posted nearby, the police continued to viciously attack the strikers.” The union hall was attacked and tear gas was used against members of the women’s auxiliary who had set up a first aid station inside. The battle continued for three hours. The strike dragged on until December, when the dockers returned to work, and it took another two years before an independent union was recognized by the dock owners.

Early in 1944 the family advertised “For Sale by owner; Immediate Possession” and moved to a larger home on Franklin Street. Their daughters were still at home; Evelina (‘Bebe’) worked for Boeing in 1944, and was then an elevator operator at Vancouver General Hospital, Gilda was a representative for Mend-U Shop and Leonora (‘Nora’) was a saleswoman at Spencer’s Department Store. Two years later she had left home, marrying Emilio Girone, but her sister Roma was then working as a mender for Woodwards Hosiery Mending. Adamo Piovesan was 79 when he died in 1970.

The new owners of the house in 1944 were William Wallace and his wife, Nellie. William ran a transfer business – a moving company – and the couple had lived in the area for several years. Although there were at least twenty William Wallaces in the city, we were able to find our man from his 1965 death certificate. That said he was born in Kansas, in 1913, and was married to Nellie Maida (who was four years younger). In 1938 he lived at 522 Union and a year later at 563 Union, joined in 1939 by his wife. (Before that it’s most likely that he was the William Wallace delivering coal and wood from an East Hastings address).

Nellie (christened Neldina in 1917) and her older brother, Cecil, (born in 1915) had lived in the area for many years. In 1929 their mother, Clorenda, was killed when the cab she was travelling in overturned in Ladner. She was with two men who lived at the Cobalt Hotel, where one was the night clerk. The taxi driver was initially charged in relation to her death. Her address was published in the news reports as 643 Union, but the family actually had lived at 343 Union from 1925. Her husband, Joe, (Guiseppe) was a labourer.

In 1939 The Vancouver Sun reported “The marriage of Nellie Maida and William Wallace was solemnized Jan. 9 at Sacred Heart Church, by Rev. Father Bordignon. Mr. J. Maida gave his daughter in marriage. Miss Tosca Spatari was the maid of honor and Mr. Cecil Maida, the best man. The bride was gowned in white satin with sweetheart neckline and sleeves puffed at the shoulders and pointing over the hands. A train swept from the waistline in the back and a long veil gathered atop the head, fell from a coronet of orange blossoms and pearls. The bride carried a bouquet of pink roses and narcissi. Miss Spatari was frocked in yellow georgette and wore a matching bouquet. She carried yellow and mauve carnations. A reception was held at the bride’s home where she cut a decorated wedding cake and received the felicitations of large numbers of friends. The bride changed to a three-piece rust suit and coat with accessories en tone when leaving on a wedding trip. Mr. and Mrs. Wallace will live in Vancouver.

Eve Lazarus says that William was known (as many people called Wallace appear to have been), as ‘Wally’, and that like the Piovesan’s, he supplied alcohol without worrying about details like a licence. “Wally was a neighbourhood hero, dodging the cops in his bootlegging operation by night and teaching the kids to box in the basement of his house during the day. He operated a thriving distribution centre from the garage just off a lane at the back of the house, and ran Wallace Transfer out of an old Union Street garage.” The Union Garage was on Union at the corner of Princess. She also interviewed local policeman Bernie ‘Whistling’ Smith, who recalled arresting ‘Blondie’ Wallace for posession of liquor and confiscating his brand new Chrysler car, which was then driven by the warden of Oakalla jail where Wallace was sentenced to three months detention. (There’s some confusion here, as ‘Blondie Wallace’ was usually a reference to ‘Pete’ Wallace who was a professional gambler during the same period, implicated in the bribing of senior police officers in the 1950s.)

There are bits and pieces of supporting evidence, although not of William heading to jail in the 1950s. A William Wallace was given a six month sentence in Oakalla for liquor offences in 1935, and although we can’t be certain it’s the same William Wallace, it seems likely, as his sentence was reduced when an offer of employment for ‘the boy’ was made. In the 1940s, when the Wallace family were living at 563 Union, liquor was seized at their address twice in 1940, on at least 12 occasions in 1941 and in five separate raids in 1943.

Nellie was step-sister to Chuck Schillman, a confectioner who lived at 522 Union before her marriage. Charles Frank Schillman was born in Islington in 1914, moved to Vancouver when he was seven, and died in VGH in 1943. His death notice in the newspaper said he was a sawdust truck driver living at 563 Union. In 1937 he had been manager of the Loggers Cigar Stand, living on Abbott Street.

When he was 20 he was sent to Oakalla jail for liquor offences, (a short time before William Wallace faced a similar sentence), and in 1940 he pleaded guilty in police court to a charge of dangerous driving and was fined $25 or ten days by Magistrate Mackenzie Matheson, who also ordered his driving license suspended for ten days. The family must have been close, as Nellie and Wally placed a memorial notice in the newspaper every year on the anniversary of his death for many years.

In 1950 Provincial records show liquor was found here, at 446 Union – but as in the 1940s when the Wallaces were at 563 Union, relatively small amounts (the most was 13 bottles on one occasion). (Luigi Genovese, who lived across the lane on Prior Street was raided far more often). John Tonick, who apparently lived at the Wallace’s address, had been caught visiting the block in 1948: “Officers, in a two and a half hour vigil on premises in the 400 block Prior early Sunday. After their lengthy watch, they raided the premises and seized 54 bottles of liquor and four dozen beer. Later, John Tonick, 446 Union, was charged with keeping liquor for sale. Police said he had visited the premises several times during their vigil.” (Six years later, Tonick, who was a longshoreman born in Nelson, was sitting watching television in his home on Parker Street when he was shot in the head and killed. His step-daughter’s boyfriend, 21-year old Robert Hoodley was sentenced to hang for the crime. The step-daughter was called Patricia Wallace, so it would seem that the Tonicks and the Wallaces may have been related.)

Wallace Transfer was registered with a capitalization of $35,000 in 1949. That year the company operated from the 700 block of East Georgia, with William Wallace as president.

In 1951 Nellie Wallace was charged jointly with keeping liquor for sale with cab driver Frank Devlin. ‘Officers seized 12 bottles of liquor‘. In 1957 Nellie was again one of 13 people charged with selling liquor, and in 1959 the Vancouver Sun reported “Charges Dropped; Two charges of illegally selling liquor against William Wallace, 46, of 446 Union, were dismissed by Magistrate Gordon Scott today.” (We know Nellie’s father, Guiseppe Maida was living with the family at 446 Union in 1956, because he had his hat stolen. The thief, with 14 previous conviction, got a sentence of 6 months.)

Giuseppe Maida died in 1962, aged 79, and his son-in-law, William Wallace was 52 when he died in 1965. Nellie and William had three children, William (Bill), Danny and Gina. Nellie remarried to Melvin Spotswood, who had been born in Saskatchewan in 1922, but he was also only 52 when he died in 1974. Cecil Maida was 84 when he died in 1999 and his sister Nellie was 89 when she died in 2006.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-0698


Posted 22 November 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Powell Rooms – 556 Powell Street

This modest rooming house was designed in 1912 by H H Schlomer. E R and W S Smith developed and built the $17,000 investment. Herman Schlomer was listed as an architect for only a year, and this was the only building of any size that he designed. He briefly advertised as an architect in partnership with Schmidt in 1911, and they seem to have received just one commission for a house. His partner may have been Carl Schmidt, who was a draughtsman. His directory entry in 1911 says he was an architect living on Heatley Avenue, but a year later it said he was ‘of Georgia Realty’, and he had moved to Vernon Drive. He wasn’t in the city a year later, and he doesn’t appear in the 1911 census, so he was probably in Vancouver for only two years, just as the economy shifted for boom to bust.

The owners were probably Edward and William Smith, of Smith & Smith, who had their real estate office on East Pender, and lived on Comox Street. They had plans for a substantial apartment building on Burrard in 1914, but the Daily Building Record said it was ‘delayed’ – and probably never built, so this may be their only commercial development. William Smith built a house at 1250 Comox in 1906, and was living there in both the 1911 and 1921 censuses. Initially he was listed as a ‘millman’. He was from Ontario, and his age was inaccurately shown as 50 in 1911, and correctly as 64 in 1921. His wife, Hannah was also from Ontario, and they had two daughters still living at home, Edna and Estella, who were teachers, and a son, Erwin. Hannah’s sister, May Purcell was also living with them in 1911.

Hannah Purcell was 24 when she married William Smythe Smith, 28, in Clifford, Wellington, Ontario in 1885, where he was a miller. Their daughter, Mary, was born in the same year. (She died in Vancouver, having never married, in 1960). Another daughter, Jeanette was also single when she died in 1943, aged 55, and Erwin Smith died in 1976. Hannah Smith died in 1943, and was a widow for 19 years – William died in 1924.

Edward Smith had a house on West 1st in 1913, and Alma Road in Kitsilano in 1915. He first shows up in Vancouver in 1910, living at his brother’s address, listed as a partner in Smith & Smith real estate. William Smith switched from ‘millman’ a year earlier (It’s possible that having been a miller in Ontario, William ran a flour mill rather than a sawmill, as was more common in Vancouver). Edward married Elizabeth Hillhouse in 1884 in Wellington, Ontario, and he was also shown as a miller. Their daughter, Florence, born in 1887, was married in Chatham in Ontario in 1910, and Isabel, their first daughter born in 1885, married in Vancouver in 1913, and moved to Moosejaw where her new husband was an accountant with the Bank of Montreal. It looks as if Edward had moved away from Vancouver by 1917.

When it opened, this had a pool room, an import company run by K Usui, and (like the smaller building next door), a Japanese Rooming House upstairs. He had been the manager of Kobeya & Co, who had a store next door, and was an import broker for Japanese goods and food. In 1935 S Iwasahi was running the rooms, but a few years later the Japanese had been forced to leave the coast and into camps, and in 1943 C Alstrom and C W Vilman were running the Powell Rooms. Many of the Japanese who were forced from the neighbourhood chose not to return, but this is a rare example where it wasn’t true. In 1955 Mrs M Nakatsu was running the rooms. In the store Marine Supply Co Ltd, ship chandlers and fishing supplies, operated here, with A C Vick the manager.

During the early 1990s the Powell Rooms were managed by a Chinese couple. We know this because one of their tenants attempted to kill them, while they were cleaning his room. A subsequent judgement in 2006 outlined the context: “On November 7, 1991 the defendant is alleged to have tried to murder his landlord (Wai Ping Chan) by stabbing him with a knife in the neck and chest area. The defendant is also charged with aggravated assault in regard his landlady (Yet Wah Chan) by stabbing her in the upper arm with the knife. Both the complainants were cleaning the defendant’s apartment in the Powell Rooms, located at 556 Powell Street in Vancouver, when they were allegedly attacked by the defendant who wielded a large cleaver. Wai Ping Chan spent about three weeks in hospital as a result of his injuries and Yet Wah Chan was in the hospital for four or five days.“. The defendant had a history as a paranoid schizophrenic, and was eventually able to be released to live in the community, but due to his mental health he was never considered sufficiently able to understand the arrest process and nature and severity of his outstanding alleged offences.

The Powell Rooms had 21 rooms when they sold in 2006. The building is now owned by the City of Vancouver and offers 23 rooms with shared bathrooms and a communal kitchen. It’s managed by Community Builders. Their Whole Life Housing services are provided to all tenants in need of support including nutrition assistance and opportunities for training and employment.


Posted 15 November 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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