Archive for the ‘Gone’ Category

1145 West Georgia Street

In 1931 this was the city’s shiny new Art Gallery. Designed by Sharp and Thompson in a fashionable art deco style, it was squeezed onto a 66 foot wide lot donated by the City of Vancouver, and cost $40,000 to construct. There were apparently just seven Canadian paintings on show; most of the collection was by British artists.

At the time it was built, this was a quiet residential street, as this VPL image from the same year shows. This site had originally been developed with a pair of semi-detached houses before 1900. Emily Carr was still painting at the time, and there were none of her paintings in the collection. In 1938 the gallery was occupied by unemployed men protesting government policy, but no paintings were damaged. A major expansion and remodeling was built in 1951, and the Art Gallery moved to it’s current home in the converted court house in 1983. The site was redeveloped in 1992 with an office tower designed by Webb, Zerafa, Menkes, Housden and Partners for Manulife (who developed the building as the headquarters of BC Gas, known today as Terasen). More recently it was acquired by the developers of the adjacent Trump Tower, and there are now refurbished retail units along the street.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4062



Posted April 18, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Homer Street – 700 block, east side

We saw the front of the row of houses on the right of the picture in a post we published last year. They were built around 1901, possibly by contractor William Campbell, from Ontario, and from this angle we can see the back of the houses. There’s a vacant lot that served as an access behind the houses, and then a back-to-back tenement building – one of very few built Downtown, although there were more built in other residential neighbourhoods. There was another row, parallel to the one we can see in the picture, immediately abutting it to the north (just off the picture). This row was built between 1907 and 1908, but we don’t know who lived here because the street directory just identified the building as ‘cabins’.

In 1911 Mrs Bertha Allen was shown here; probably running the building as rental cabins, and a year later, Thomas Mott. He was a labourer, aged 36, who had arrived from England in 1903, and his wife Emma, and their two sons a year later. One son, Albert, aged 12, was shown as being a carpenter. This might be an error, as while it’s just possible he was an apprentice, school attendance was compulsory up to age 14.

In 1921 C Mayne carried out repairs here, and was shown as owner, but again the listing was just as ‘cabins’, although Charles Mayne, a contractor was shown living at this address. (He appears to have just arrived in the city, and so wasn’t included in the census that year). A few other residents were shown having the street address; Mrs. Elizabeth Reading, who worked at Paraffine Co, (a waste paper company) and Reginald and Cecil Blunden, whose occupations were not listed. The cabins can be seen here in this 1928 image, and were still in operation in 1955 when they were owned by Mrs. K O Marchanton, and had eight tenants. By 1981 the site had been cleared, and stayed as a parking lot until the construction of  Moshe Safdie’s design for the Central Branch of the public library was completed in 1995.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu N327


Posted April 15, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Robson Street – 400 block, north side

These houses were on the 400 block of Robson to the west of Homer Street. From the picture, it appears that the three closest to the lane were all constructed by one builder, while a small house and the store on the corner of Homer had a different date of development. The houses occupied three lots, so were 75 feet from front to back, as the houses were built at right angles to the legal plots.

Our observation proved accurate, as in 1903 Mrs Hineman (sic) hired C F Mills to build three houses here at a cost of $3,000. A year later Mr Hyndman hired Mills and Williamson to build a dwelling house and store at 401 Robson at a cost of $4,500. We’ve come across Thomas Hyndman, and his wife Alice, in connection with a hotel on Richards Street developed by T B Hyndman a few years after these houses were built. They were still standing in this 1948 image by Otto Landauer, for Leonard Frank Photos.

Thomas seems to have first arrived in Vancouver around 1900, when he was working for R G Buchanan Co who sold crockery on Westminster Avenue. He was recorded in the 1901 census as a merchant, and in 1904, when he was also active in real estate development, he was vice-president of Woodwards Stores. In 1908 Thomas was in real estate, and he and Anna lived at 1075 Burnaby Street (an address Anna was shown living at in 1899 when she acquired 320 acres of CPR land with Henry Hyndman at $3.00 an acre). In the 1911 census Thomas was aged 61 and shown as retired and living at 1220 Barclay Street with Anna, and their 29 year old son, John. A 64 year old English gardener, Richard Buckle, and  a Swedish servant, Hilda Friedstrum completed the household. Both parents were born in Ontario and John was born in Manitoba.

Charles F Mills, who constructed all the buildings, lived on Davie Street. He arrived in Vancouver in 1888, and was married in 1890. He appears to have lived and worked at Hastings Mill for a few years, but by 1894 was living in Fairview and had established his business as builder and contractor. His wife was Sarah Jane, and in the 1901 census he was listed under his middle name, Francis. In that census they had three daughters and a newborn son, also called Charles, and the street directory shows they had moved to the West End, on Pendrell. By 1911 they had moved to West Point Grey, with five daughters and two sons at home aged between 3 and 16, his wife Jane and his sister, Margaret. Charles died in 1919, and Sarah moved back to Pacific and Thurlow. She died in 1947, in St Paul’s Hospital. The Province reported, “She was born in Antigonish, N.S., and came to Vancouver to marry Charles F. Mills. They were married in the little old wooden building of the Holy Rosary where the Cathedral now stands. Mrs. Mills was a charter member of the Vancouver Pioneers Association and served on the executive of the Catholic Childrens’ Aid Society and the Catholic Womens’ League. She was a past-president of the Canadian Social Service Club, and made regular visits to veterans at Shaughnessy Hospital. Surviving are three daughters in Vancouver, one in Toronto and one in Hollywood and two sons.”

As rental houses, there was a constant turnover of tenants in the homes. On the far right is the Homer Cash Grocery; then in the four houses; David M Crawford, a porter with Honey Dew foods, and his wife Jean, Mrs Mary Parker, a widow, Elmer Parker, a logger, and his wife Cecile and Miss Margaret I Beierle, who advertised that she had a room available. By 1981 the site had been cleared for surface parking, as we saw in a recent post. Today there’s a strata Westin hotel, where the rooms are owned by different owners as investments, designed by Lawrence Doyle Architects and completed in 1999.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives Str P263



Posted April 8, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Homer Street – 800 block

We’ve noted in many posts that there were gas stations everywhere in Downtown – and here’s another seen in 1981. This is on the south east corner of Homer and Robson, with a 1971 office building (developed by the Dynamic Development Corporation in 1971) still standing to the south.

The gas station was a relatively short-lived entity but  we’re not really sure exactly how long it lasted: it wasn’t here in the mid 1950s, and was gone in the 1990s.  In 1999 The Galileo, a 16 storey, 97 unit, condo building (with retail and office) was completed here, designed by Lawrence Doyle Architects. Before the gas station was developed there was a row of houses here, built around 1901 and demolished fifty years later (seen in our previous post).

(Jim comments – The southwest corner of Homer and Robson was the headquarters of Yellow Cab until about 1983-84 – I was hired as a driver there in 1981 and changed over to Blacktop when Yellow moved to Vernon Drive. The Chevron station was “The Pumps” and administration offices were above the garage, along with a rooftop parking lot.)

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives  CVA 779-E12.10


Posted April 4, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Robson and Homer Street, southeast corner

This row of houses on the south side of Robson Street looks similar to several others that were built in this area, including a row on the opposite side of the same block of Robson. This picture dates to 1941, when we estimate the homes had been standing for 40 years. When they first appeared they were numbered 332 to 348 Robson, but only four of them appear in the 1901 street directory, so we think the two at the left hand end of the row were still being built. Arthur West of the Dominion Express was in 334, H A Lyttleton, a watchmaker at 340, Captain Waters at 344 and H V Chatterton a traveler at 348. A year later, all six were complete, although one was vacant, and all the previous residents had moved on. Now W P Lockwood of the Great Northern Railway was at 332, Ben Joyce, a mariner at 334, F W Halton of the CPR was next door, D Brooks, a contractor at 340 and J Hewitt at 346.

In 1903 we find three of those residents still in the same homes. Now 332 had H C Benson, a linotype operator, next door to A Henderson, a jeweller, Frederick Halton, a bookkeeper, D K Brooks, still a contractor, and Charles Hewitt, mysteriously identified as ‘manager’ – but with no indication of what he managed. It’s unlikely that Mr. Brooks built the homes; he built a spec house in the West End in 1904, and several large, expensive houses in the city for clients like George Walkem and Mrs J J Burns, but these houses pre-date that activity. In 1902 he was shown for the first time in the city as an employee of R.C.P.M – the Royal City Planing Mills. Because he wasn’t in the city for either of the 1901 or 1911 censuses, we haven’t been able to find anything more about Mr. Brooks. That’s also true for Mr. Hewitt, although we know he was manager of the Dominion Dental Manufacturing Co. Alexander Henderson worked as a jeweler for the Davidson Brothers, whose store was further west on Robson.

By 1911 JJ Brown, Ernest Dean (a brakeman for the CPR), Angus Graham, manager of the City Meat Market (owned by Pat Burns), Charles McNicholl, a clerk in W C Stearman’s hardware store and George W Williams, a carpenter were living in the houses. The tenants continued to change on a very regular basis. In 1921 Sharples & Sharples owned 332 and 334, carrying out repairs. (They owned other property, including the Mackinnon Block on West Hastings at Granville Street). The houses were apparently torn down in 1952; that’s the last year they appear in the street directory. No even numbered properties exist on the 300 block of Robson in subsequent directories, although the site was used in the meantime; initially to sell used cars. In 1999 the Homer Development Corporation built ‘The Galileo’, a 97 unit 16-storey condo building here, with office and retail space in the podium, designed by Lawrence Doyle Architects.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu N518.


Posted April 1, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

West Hastings Street, east from Hornby

This 1910 image shows two recently built buildings, the R V Winch office building, and the adjacent Post Office. The Winch Building was completed in 1911, and the Post Office opened a year earlier. It was designed by David Ewart, the Government’s Ottawa based head architect of the day, while R V Winch hired local architect Thomas Hooper, and then spent a reported $700,000 to complete the project – the most expensive in the city at the time it was built. The Post Office contract was first approved in 1905, and took some years to complete. The building is faced in granite (more precisely, Kelly Island grandiorite) while the Winch Building’s honed grandiorite came from Fox Island at the mouth of Jervis Inlet.

Both buildings are still standing today, part of the federal government’s Sinclair Centre. To the west were houses. On the corner of Howe was 801 West Hastings, initially the home of Harry Abbott, designed in 1887 by T C Sorby, and when the photograph was taken occupied by Richard Marpole, also general superintendent of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Next door was 815 West Hastings, the home of A G Ferguson (later renumbered to 837). The Ferguson house was the first to be demolished, replaced soon after this picture was taken, for the Metropolitan Building. Mr. Ferguson commissioned a new home at Fir and West 17th in 1912. The house on the corner lasted longer; it appears to have been demolished around 1912, not redeveloped until 1923 with the Merchant’s Exchange, developed by A Melville Dollar.

The Metropolitan Building was redeveloped in the mid 1990s, and replaced with the Musson Cattell Mackey designed Terminal City Club which has a club, hotel, offices, condos and retail space. The Merchant’s Exchange was redeveloped in the early 1970s, replaced by an Eng and Wright designed nine storey brick-clad office building.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Str N118.2


Posted March 25, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Ceperley residence, 1116 West Georgia Street

This 1888 picture shows the newly completed home of Henry Ceperley, born on Oneonta, New York, in 1850. (Henry was obviously a popular name in Oneonta that year; future railway baron Henry Huntingdon was born in the same small town, in the same year). He went to school locally, and then became a local school teacher before moving to Minnesota at age 21 and starting work in the produce and commission business. Five years later he moved to New Mexico, where he worked as a cashier and bookkeeper for a company that was building the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. He married in 1881, back in Minnesota, and in 1883 he moved to Livingstone, Montana, where he stayed for about three years. He worked in the cattle ranching business, and also set up an insurance agency. He arrived in 1887 in Vancouver with his young family, and by 1888 was living in the new house in the picture. It was still the only house on this part of the block in 1891. In the picture Henry’s daughter, Ethelwynn, was aged four, and son Arthur was two. His wife, Jennie, was 13 years younger than Henry.

Ceperley partnered with A W Ross to form the real estate business of Ross and Ceperley. Arthur Wellington Ross came from a very similar background to Henry Ceperley. He was born in a farming township in Ontario in 1846, trained as a teacher, and taught in Cornwall in Ontario, impressed the trustees there so much that in 1868 they hired him as headmaster of the high school. He continued to study, to become a lawyer, and moved to Winnipeg in 1877 with his younger brother William, who was already qualified. He was called to the Manitoba bar a year later, and quickly established real estate as a specialty, and as a business. By 1882 his real estate assessment was around $210,000 and he had the eighth highest individual assessment in the city. He speculated in Métis scrip, lands owned by the Hudson’s Bay Company, town lots in Brandon and Edmonton, and various rural properties, apparently using inside information to acquire the best deals. His land speculation – and his fortune – disappeared in 1882 when the land bubble burst. He was trapped between his creditors, most notably the HBC, which relentlessly demanded payment, and his customers, many of whom were also speculators (on a smaller scale) who were prepared to walk away from their investments and obligations. In 1878 he added an interest in politics, and became a Liberal MP. He became associated with the promotion of the Manitoba and North Western Railway and served as its vice-president. He opposed the Canadian Pacific monopoly in 1880, favouring a rival bid. He won election again in a different riding; Selkirk, and in 1884 when the Canadian Pacific were trying to secure additional funds to complete the railway, Ross surprisingly switched to supporting their case. That paid off – by the late summer of 1884 he was in Vancouver acting on the CPR’s behalf to assemble land for its western terminus at Granville. Ross also was ideally placed to speculate himself and he purchased town-site lots from the CPR. In 1886 he opened a real estate business, which was run for a short time by his brother-in-law, the city’s first mayor, Malcolm McLean.

In 1888 the Lady Stephen Block became the Post Office, and also home to Ross and Ceperley who became one of the most active real estate promoters in the city. By now Ross was only a part-time resident in the city; he had rooms in the Hotel Vancouver, but in 1887 he had been reelected, with a little help from the CPR, as a Conservative in a Manitoba riding, so divided his time between Vancouver, Manitoba and Ottawa.

By 1891 Henry Ceperley had moved out of the house, which was now occupied by Isabela McLennan, and J C Keith, the manager of the Bank of British Columbia. He had dropped his partnership with Ross (who moved back to Manitoba in 1891), and was now Managing Director of the Vancouver Loan, Trust, Savings and Guarantee Co, with offices on Hastings, in what was then known as the Thompson-Ogle Block, and he had moved house to Burrard Street. He was absent for much of the year; his wife was ill, and ended up back in Winona, Minnesota, with her parents. She seemed to be recovering, so Henry returned to work, but rushed back when she got worse, and died in 1892. His bookkeeper, Francis (Frank) Rounsefell had worked for Ross and Ceperley. He had moved to join his father, a real estate promoter, from Brandon, Manitoba. Frank kept the business going in Henry’s absence. In 1894 Henry married again, to Grace, another American, who claimed to be 12 years younger than Henry, but was actually only nine years younger.

By 1896, Henry Ceperley had established a new company called Ceperley, Loewen & Campbell, Ltd., which acted as insurance and financial agents. Their offices were in the Inns of Court Building at 300 Hastings Street. In 1898 the company applied to change the company name to Ceperley, Mackenzie and Rounsfell Ltd, and by 1902, the company was called Ceperley Rounsefell and Co, with offices on the second floor of the Molson’s Bank Chambers at 597 West Hastings Street, and Frank Rounsefell as managing director. In 1910, Henry Ceperley retired from active participation in the company, although he stayed on as president. Frank took over the control and management of the business. Henry was also the managing director of the British America Development Company and was one of the provisional directors of the Bank of Vancouver, which started business in 1910.

Henry’s house was apparently replaced with two houses before 1912. They in turn were redeveloped with two car dealerships around 1920. More recently, in 2008, the 62 storey Shangri La Hotel and condominiums was completed here Where the house and car dealerships stood is part of the development: an Urban Fare store to the west and an art instillation location curated by the Vancouver Art Gallery with regularly changed site-specific artworks.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Bu P290


Posted March 21, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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