Archive for the ‘Gone’ Category

Crown Building – West Pender Street

We have looked at the north-west corner of Seymour and Pender twice, seven years ago, and again in 2013. The building on the corner was the Delmonico Hotel, built in 1889 as the Windsor Hotel. It opened in September, described in the news as ‘a new and costly undertaking’. “On Monday next the Windsor Hotel will open for business under the management of Messrs. Brocklesby and Allen, both late of Hotel Vancouver. These gentlemen are thoroughly familiar with the business, and propose to run a first – class house. The table will be second to none in the city and the rooms, well furnished and comfortable, will he kept in the best style. The bar will be well stocked with wines, liquors and cigars, the finest that can be supplied, and no pains will be spared to make the Windsor the favorite resort of the permanent and transient public. Its close proximity to the railway station and the steamers is a great point in its favor, and one tired travellers will highly appreciate.” The partnership lasted all of two months; by November Mr. Brocklesby was in sole charge.

The building had been announced in 1888, and the Daily World identified the developer, the enterprising Dr. Whetham. He commissioned N S Hoffar to design another investment property in 1888, but we haven’t found an architect listed for the Windsor. He was a qualified doctor, but had abandoned medicine for real estate development before he arrived in Vancouver in 1887.

Next door to the west was the Crown building. It was six storeys of white glazed brick, with centre-pivoted windows, which was the signature design of Parr and Fee, who designed a series of almost identical buildings on Granville Street; most are still standing today. The Crown was built in 1907, and the Daily World reported the architects, and the cost of the building ($75,000), as well as the developers, Martin & Robertson. They were importers and suppliers of dried foodstuffs, and we looked at their history in connection with their Water Street warehouse, built a few years earlier than the Crown.

Robert Martin was born in 1851 in Ontario and in 1901 lived in Vancouver with his wife Lydia, who was English, with their four children, and their ‘lady’s help’, Caroline Watson, and Jin, the domestic. Arthur Robertson was a Scotsman who was seven years younger than his business partner, and looking after the company’s other warehouse, in Victoria. They had been in business from the city’s earliest days: in 1894 they were advertising in the Daily World as agents for JOHNSTON’S FLUID BEEF – which was claimed ‘Eclipses All Meat Extracts and Home-made Beef Tea’.

Their investment building was occupied in multiple small suites, with a wide range of professional services. Architect J H Bowman had his practice here in 1911. A year later the Canada Lumberman and Woodworker magazine was published from here, and contractor Walter Hepburn had his offices here in the same year. Robert Martin had a number of other commercial investments in the city, including one a block east of here.

When Ernie Reksten took this picture in 1968 the buildings were about to be demolished, to be replaced with a parkade (with retail units on the main floor). It was completed in 1969, and looks like it should pass it’s 50th birthday, although Downtown parkades are becoming valuable redevelopment opportunities, and it seems unlikely that it will last for many more years.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 2010-006.010.

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Posted December 13, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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1500 Main Street

The City has hundreds of locations that were once gas stations, although today the remaining service stations are becoming increasingly rare. Here’s one on the corner of Main Street and Terminal Avenue, seen in 1940s. It’s Al Deeming’s Union Oil gas and service station. The leasee was Albert W Deeming, and we wondered if he might be the son of Albert Deeming of North Vancouver, who ran a fruit ranch, but according to his marriage certificate Albert W was the son of Caleb James Deeming. However, the 1891 Census shows both Albert and James Deeming were brothers, and had arrived from England, living in Mountain District (Nanaimo) and working as miners for the New Vancouver Coal Co. In 1911 Albert W was aged six, and his father had become a farmer in Delta.

This gas station first appears in the street directory in 1924, as do the industrial buildings in the background which once housed Neon Products’, the BC Valve Company and Massey Harris’s agricultural implement showroom beyond the gas bar. The building further east dates from 1929. The buildings are still there today, although now they are wholesale and retail warehouse buildings for furniture and floors tiles.

In the 1950s the Terminal Service and gas station was run by L E and Mrs M S Love. There’s a 1980s image in the Archives showing that the gas station was still here when the Skytrain was under construction across the street. By then it was a Gulf gasoline station, with a new canopy. Today it’s the site of the city’s first Temporary Modular Housing, intended to help meet the current homelessness situation. Built in a matter of days, it has 40 modular apartment units that can be demounted and reassembled on another site when redevelopment plans come forward for this part of False Creek Flats, currently owned by the City of Vancouver.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1184-1734

Posted December 10, 2018 by ChangingCity in False Creek, Gone

Dunsmuir and Howe – ne corner (2)

We looked at the Hambro Building that was built here in 1920s. Like much of Downtown, today’s commercial district started life as a residential neighbourhood, and in this 1899 picture the Japanese Consulate was on the corner. Previously the consulate had been at 730 Burrard Street, With Tsugoro Nosse as Consul. (He moved on to run the Consulate in Chicago). From 1898 it was Hon. S Shimizu, and this new location had been the Consulate for a little before the change of consul, probably starting in 1897 A year earlier the Consulate had placed a wanted ad in the Daily world “WANTED – NEW LARGE HOUSE, suitable for office and residence, near Hotel Vancouver or Vancouver Club.” We think the Consul when the image was taken was called Seizaburō Shimizu, who had been Consul in Hawaii, and moved on to be Japanese Consul in Ottawa in the 1920s.

At the time the image was taken, the consul was kept busy writing to the Federal Government, objecting to the discrimination against the Japanese in British Columbia shown in Provincial legislation like the Alien Labour Bill to which assent has been given in 1898. In turn he was consulted by the government over a number of years about the Japanese voluntarily restricting migrants from moving to British Columbia, where hostility to Asiatic employees was building as the economy faltered. He had moved on by 1902, some years before the Japanese response to the anti-Asiatic riot that broke out in 1907, causing significant damage in Japantown (centred on Powell Street). At the time about 8% of the population of the city were Chinese, and several thousand Japanese from a population of around 100,000. The riots served their purpose: Japan agreed to restrict the number of passports issued to make labourers and domestic servants to an annual maximum of 400 under a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ enacted in Canada in early 1908, the year the consulate moved to the newly constructed ‘Imperial Block’ on West Pender.

Once the Japanese had moved, the new occupant of the former consulate was D’Auria Francesco D’Auria ‘vocal teacher’. He was, as his name suggests, an Italian, born in Naples, and a successful composer and orchestral conductor. He had founded the first, shortlived, Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1890, moving on to Winnipeg in 1895, and then Minneapolis before arriving in Vancouver in 1904.

Today the final 1990 phase of the Pacific Centre Mall is here, with an office building designed by the Zeidler Roberts Partnership.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu N429

Posted November 29, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

33 East Hastings Street

We looked at the history of the Dodson Hotel (the five storey building) in an earlier post. It was built in 1909 for Joseph Dodson (from Barrow in Furness in Lancashire) and designed by Sharp & Thompson. Joseph arrived twenty years before it was built, starting out in Vancouver as a labourer, then becoming a butcher before he turned to baking, operating Dodson’s Bakery here with his sons, and retiring in 1910 at the age of 68.

Next door to the east was a more modest two-storey structure that was only very recently demolished. It was developed by C E Robertson, and built by the Vancouver Construction Co., Ltd at a cost of $12,000 in 1909. There were dozens of Robertsons in Vancouver in 1909, but only one C E Robertson; Charles E Robertson associated with G E French’s tugboat company in 1909, and lived on Beach Avenue near Stanley Park. He was still there in 1911, so we can find him in the census, identified as a lodger in George French’s Parr and Fee designed West End mansion, aged 46. Despite being younger than his landlord, who was aged 58 and listed as a master mariner, Charles was shown as retired, living off income (presumably in part from this investment property) and having been born in Ontario.

Charles Robertson and George French jointly owned some of the French towing business, but there was a greater connection. The Sea Lion was built at Charles Robertson’s shipyard on Burrard Inlet (at the foot of Cordova Street) in 1904, and she was launched in 1905. We wrote about the 120′ tugboat in greater detail when we looked at the home occupied by her captain.

Previously Charles had been employed at the electrical power house in the city, presumably as an engineer, although the census recorded him as a cabinet maker in 1901, already lodging with the French family at their home on Alexander Street. They all moved to the West End in 1908; the location of their previous home had become a little less attractive (although perhaps more valuable) after the ladies of Dupont Street moved en masse to Alexander Street in the early 1900s.

In 1921 Charles was still living with the French household, but he was no longer retired; he was working as a shipwright with B C Marine. Two decades later he was still at 2001 Beach Avenue, having retired again before 1931. George French had died in 1930, but his widow, Cynthia, still lived in the family home until her death in June 1941, aged 82, with Charles there too. Charles Robertson then moved to an apartment on West 10th Avenue, where he was living when he died in December 1943.

The building was replaced in the spring of 2018 by Olivia Skye, a 13-storey housing building designed by IBI Group for Atira. It has 198 units of rental housing, with a mix of market, subsidized and welfare rate apartments.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3886

Posted November 26, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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City Market – Westminster Avenue

The City Market was an ambitious investment, that proved to be a bit too out of the way to succeed. Built on Westminster Avenue (today’s Main Street) it was located on the far side of the bridge that crossed the False Creek Flats, so was effectively ‘out of town’. It was fabulously ornate and state-of-the-art , with a cast iron façade and a lot of glazing; seen here in 1910.

Opened in 1908, the market operations replaced an earlier city building that was re-purposed as City Hall. This building was an unusually decorative design by W T Whiteway, who supervised the site preparations in 1907, reporting to the Council Market and Industries Committee that “the market wharf had been completed by the B. C. Contract Co. in a very satisfactory manner. He had seen no traces of toredoes when examining it. He had examined other wharves near there and found that toredoes did not seem to in that part of False creek. It was decided to charge the cost of the roadway approaching the market to the board of works.” Bayfield and Williams successfully bid to build the market at a cost of $25,233. (Toredoes – shipworms – are the marine creatures – actually a type of saltwater clam- that live on wood, and tunnel into underwater piers and pilings causing damage and destruction to submarine timber structures).

The market opened in August 1908, and the Daily World reported the first day of operations. In passing it referenced what must have been the city’s first green roof, and a rather innovative way of attracting customers. “When the door of the new building with the imitation moss – covered roof, at the southern end of Westminster avenue bridge, were thrown open this morning there were many women present, for it had gone forth that the woman wan made the first purchase at the opening of the market would have, the honor of declaring the market open and also receive, as a premium, a leg of mutton. Besides the women who wished the honor and the mutton there were several hundred spectators, mostly of the male persuasion, who cheered the fair contestants. “All ready,” shouted the clerk. “All ready,” repeated the caretaker, and the echoes had not been caught up from the back walls before the rush was on“. The newspaper carried several columns of details of the competition for the mutton, won by Mrs. Allen of Columbia Avenue “A pyramid of boxes of plums foil over to the stairway and the crushed fruit mude the ascent more perilous. One lady fell and the othes rushed unchecked over her prostrate body, knowing that the plum would make a cushion to save her from injury, even if they did stain her frock“.

Despite attracting 3,000 customers on the first day, the market was soon a failure, with few residents having any other reason to travel so far out of the city in that direction. It closed in the early 1920s, and was leased to a variety of industries, including a wire works, poultry dealer and a fish ball manufacturer. In 1925 it burned to the ground; all the firefighters could do was save the lives of some of the chickens.

The site was reused by a variety of industrial companies, including Excelsior Paper Stock and Spicer’s Asbestos Ltd in the 1930s. Today it’s a surface parking lot owned by the City of Vancouver, awaiting a future development as part of South East False Creek.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-89

Posted November 19, 2018 by ChangingCity in False Creek, Gone

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898 Seymour Street

Here’s Fred Cheeseman’s shiny new gas and service station on the north east corner of Seymour and Smithe, seen in this 1936 Vancouver Public Library image. Fred had built a new car dealership and service centre on Howe Street a a few years earlier, and the business was actually run by Francis G Cheeseman, Fred’s son. If the dates on these Frank Leonard pictures are correct, they didn’t hang around in the 1930s where construction was concerned. The image above dates from July 1936, and the one on the right from June of the same year. The new premises were known as Cheseman’s Safety Service Garage.

The service station lasted barely 20 years, and the Cheeseman family were no longer associated with it. In the mid 1950s Green and Weston ran the tire and parking part of the business, while D G Dunn operated the gas station.

In 1957 a parking garage replaced this building, joined a year later by another identical structure on Richards Street, linked at the upper level across the lane. In 2009 Vita, a 29 storey residential tower was completed here, joined a year later by its Symphony Tower cousin, at 32 storeys. They both sit above two parkades; one underground for the strata residents, and one above grade forming most of the building’s podium, offering public parking for Downtown visitors and in particular those attending the Orpheum Theatre across Seymour Street (with an entrance also on Granville Street).

Posted November 15, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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1147 Howe Street

This 1933 image by Stuart Thomson shows Fred Cheeseman’s car dealership on Howe Street. Fred had garages in other locations; in the 1920s F G Cheeseman was owner of the Strathcona Garage on West 37th Avenue. In 1936 he built a new reinforced concrete garage in an art deco style on Seymour Street. Fred’s dealership was first here on Howe Street in 1931, as Cheesrman-Franklin, with Francis G Cheeseman shown as manager; Fred Cheeseman had already retired, and either died or moved away after 1930. We haven’t been able to find anything to tell us where Fred came from. Although he was working for Begg Motors from 1917, he seems to have been missed in the 1921 census.

Franklin was the make of cars they initially sold; before this they had been sold at Pacific and Granville. There were 253 North American automobile manufacturers in 1908. That had fallen to 44 by 1929, principally through mergers. Eighty per cent of output by 1929 was by the ‘big three’; General Motors, Chrysler and Ford. Auburn cars, sold here in 1933, hung on a bit longer – production ceased in 1937, along with Cord and Duisenberg Motors, controlled by the same company. Based in Auburn, Indiana, the art deco manufacturing plant is now a museum of the company’s production.

We know what the garage looked like inside; that was photographed as well. The ramp on the right has rollers and a gearbox under the rear wheels showing that it is a Bendix-Cowdrey brake testing machine.

By the late 1930s Oxford Motors had taken over these premises, agents for Morris, M.G, and Flying Standard cars, all built in England. Today the Pacific Cinemathique is here, an art cinema built in 1985 as part of a 13 storey office building designed by Eng & Wright.

CVA 99-4337 and  CVA 99-4336

Posted November 12, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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