Archive for the ‘Gone’ Category

Granville Street – 700 block east side (4)

This undated image shows the other buildings that were replaced when the Best Buy / Winners retail building was built here in 2003. We looked at the buildings to the south (just out of the picture, to the far right) in our previous post. In the ‘before’ image the two-storey building on the right of the picture has been split up, and part of W T Whiteway’s 1904 façade is obscured with sheet steel on Murray Goldman’s store. We know from another Archives picture from the early 1970s that to the south of the Goldman store, Le Chateau had a store here, so this image probably dates to the mid to late 1960s. We also know it dates to before 1974 because that’s when the Birks Building (past the Vancouver Block) was demolished in 1974.

The Goldman stores were a Vancouver institution; Mr. Goldman’s advertising (and humour) were well known, and popular. His 2011 obituary noted “The downtown outlet moved to Granville Street, where it thrived until the city banned street parking in favour of a bus-and-pedestrian mall. The move drove away shoppers. “Business would start slow in the morning,” Mr. Goldman complained, “then taper off through the rest of the day.” He moved the outlet indoors and underground at the nearby Pacific Centre Mall, where it would later become Goldman and Son. He had introduced a son, David, to the business when he was 14. The family business is now best known for its Boys’ Co. stores.”

To the north, behind the Brill trolley bus, was a two storey building with bay windows on the upper floor. In 1906 it was home to The Opera Café (run by J A Byers), Larson Bros, tailors and Direct Importing Tea & Coffee Co, managed by Herbert Cragg, with four apartments upstairs. That’s the first time it appears, so it was built around 1905, a period when the building permits have been lost. Our earlier image of this block suggests the central part of the building had an ornate pediment, lost by the 1970s. The Opera Café soon became the Granville Café, the Opera Pool room was in the middle, behind a shoe store, and Sam Scott sold clothing in the third retail unit. The apartments were occupied by Rhoda Backett, a masseuse, Thomas J Ogle, who was proprietor of the Windsor Hotel, (next door), John Glenn of Glenn & Co, an agency that dealt in timber and coal lands, and Mrs. I M Paterson. Rhoda was unusually independent: she was born in Lambeth in England in 1876, arrived in Canada in 1905 (having sailed to Boston), and had Emily Short, who was 10 years younger, lodging with her in 1911. In 1909 she owned the Turkish Baths on West Pender, and in 1911, she applied to buy 640 acres of land in the Coast District ‘near the Red Stone Indian Reserve’ in the Chilcotin. A year earlier she applied to buy 640 acres in Omineca, near Fort Fraser. It doesn’t appear she was successful in acquiring the land: she stayed in the city and became a nurse. She was still single when she died in Vancouver in 1949. In 1913 Thomas Fee said he owned the building when he carried out $400 of repairs, but there’s also another owner, Mr Doud (who owned the Boston Lunch, on West Hastings) who had Walter Hepburn carry out repairs to the Imperial Lunch here that year. He probably ran the café, rather than owning the building. In 1919 The Orpheum Café (another name change that occurred a few years earlier) paid for more alterations.

Beyond it was the former Windsor Hotel, although by the mid 1910s it was the Castle Hotel. It started life just 50 feet wide, as this 1909 image shows. There was an initial $10,000 building here in 1904, developed by A Williams, built by Baynes & Horie, and designed by Grant & Henderson. It looks like it was only a small building, with retail space – described as ‘brick and stone store’. The hotel appears in 1908, so was probably built above or alongside the retail building, but it too is in the ‘lost permit’ period. It also added a new four storey element to the south, and then was increased in height in 1911, with Grant & Henderson designing a $55,000 three storey addition built by C F Perry (again for A Williams). The resulting building is shown on this 1920s brochure, published by Glen Mofford in his history of the Castle. Subsequently two storeys were removed, so our 1970s image shows only five floors.

There were several A Williams in the city; the most likely to have the funds was Adolphus Williams, a lawyer and politician, born in Ontario but practicing in Vancouver since 1889. He developed another building on East Hastings, and possibly other properties as well. On his death in 1921 half of his property was bequeathed to his wife. On her death three years later it passed on to other relatives. A legal case in 1945 finally settled a complex taxation question related to the estate, which was described as being principally made up of real estate interests in Vancouver. In 1913 he also held successful gold mining interests near Lillooet.

Walter Hepburn (who repaired the building next door) was shown as the owner of the building in 1915 when he submitted a permit listing William Blackmore as designing $10,000 of work to alter the interior of the Castle Hotel, enlarging the lobby, bar & grill. As Blackmore had died in 1904, it was probably his son, E E Blackmore who designed the work. There was a main floor bar and lounge, with tapestries on the wall, transformed into men and women’s beer parlours a year after the end of prohibition in 1922 and a full three years before they were legally allowed to exist in Vancouver. (They used a “private club” legal loophole that many other Vancouver establishments adopted). In the 1950s the bar became known as a gay drinking establishment, although management threw out anyone who touched a same sex partner, leading to a “kiss in” protest by the Gay Liberation Front in the 1970s. Like all the buildings here it was demolished, in this case in 1990.

Between the Vancouver Block & the Birks Building was another small 3-storey building, dating back to 1912. It was another Grant & Henderson design, for John West, who spent $15,000 building the three storey structure, dwarfed by the $400,000 Vancouver Block completed two years earlier, and the $550,000 Birks building completed in 1912. It created another example of the ‘saw tooth’ pattern of development seldom seen outside Vancouver, and slowly disappearing as more consistent height buildings maximize permitted density across the city.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 800-437 and CVA 64-4.jpg

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Posted January 6, 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Granville Street – 700 block east side (3)

We looked at some of the buildings here 7 years ago. A little more recently we took this ‘after’ photograph of a similar view, and we’re posting it now to look at a couple of buildings overlooked in the earlier post. The ‘after’ shot is a bit out of date, as that’s the bottom of the ‘Future Shop’ blade sign, which now reads ‘Best Buy’. Today’s building is a comparatively low density fairly recently completed retail building, with the electronics store on the second floor, and a Winners store on the top. If it was being redeveloped today it would almost certainly have office space above that in a much larger building, but it was developed at a point (in 2003) when office vacancy rates were higher and demand much less than it is today.

In 1910, when George Alfred Barrowlclough took the picture, Joseph McTaggart’s store was on the corner, and Le Patourel & McRae’s Drugstore was to the north. We looked at the building a few years ago – it was built in 1904 by J Rogers – almost certainly Jonathan Rogers, the developer and builder of the Rogers Building down the street a few years later. He hired T E Julian to design the building which had the Sunset View apartments upstairs. We think that Mr McTaggart may have owned the building because in 1912 he got a permit worth $400 for repairs designed by Thomas Hooper. That same year the Royal Bank of Canada also hired Thomas Hooper to convert it to a bank branch at a cost of $10,000. The Bank finally closed in 1961, still looking quite similar then to 50 years earlier. It was replaced by a more modern bank building, which in turn was torn down for the retail building.

The next buildings seem to be designed ‘as a piece’, but built separately as one is three storeys, and the other only two. We’re fairly certain that the 3 storey building was built for a developer who lived in the West End, but made his money as a successful mineral miner near Nelson. The Ymir Herald in 1904 reported “Philip White, one of the pioneer mining men of Ymir, was in town again this week. Mr. White is one of the fortunate ones who has reaped a harvest from his mining operation! in this rich section, and he is now located at Vancouver, where he is enjoying u well deserved rest. He has acquired several building lots in the coast metropolis, and is erecting large brick buildings. He has also a ranch of 1200 acres and 150 head of cattle in the Chilicotin district in northern British Columbia. During his stay here he visited the Wilcox mine, which owes its present day success to his indefatigable and untiring persistence, by which it was successfully steered through many troubled financial crises.

This was still a cleared site in 1903, but developed by 1911. That year we know Philip White extended 782 and 784 Granville (the second building to the north) at a cost of either $1,800 or $2,000 (or, less likely, both, as he had two different permits for the same lot, with different builders). He paid for more repair in 1922, and in 1916 he paid for $1,400 of repairs to the next building, 788 Granville. While we don’t have a permit, we do have a Contract Record note that Philip White had hired W T Whiteway to design a Granville Street block in 1905, so this seems the likely candidate. It was a 3-storey building, of pressed brick, so that would accurately describe the building.

The next door to the north was also designed by W T Whiteway a year earlier, for J C Woodrow. It was built by David Jane, and cost $14,000. C S Gustafson (‘of 1436 Thurlow’) had a permit in 1916 to add an extra floor, but it doesn’t appear that he followed through – instead in 1921 he added a light well and had permits for other alterations. Mr. Woodrow’s death notice in a Keremeos newspaper in 1909 mentions his property interests “Mr. Woodrow was a native of England, but entered the butcher business in Vancouver about twenty years ago, and prospered so that he was able to retire four or five years ago with a large estate, the administration of which has taken up much of his time since then. Being an intimate friend of W. H. Armstrong, he became associated with the latter in the organization of the Keremeos Land Co., in which he was a large stockholder and an active director.”

Carl Gustafson, who later owned, and altered, the building was a builder from Sweden who started by building houses in the West End as early as 1903, and developed the Clifton Hotel on Granville Street in 1910. In 1911 he was shown as aged 37 (having arrived in 1890), living with his wife Hannah and their three sons and their domestic servant, and a lodger. In 1928 he built a West End apartment building, The Biltmore.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 229-09

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Cambie Bridge looking north

This image isn’t lined up correctly with the 1904 picture. That’s because, when they replaced the Connaught Bridge over False Creek at Cambie Street, they built the new bridge parallel with the old, then demolished the earlier structure. As a result we’re a bridge-width-and-a-bit too far to the west. Here’s another Archives image from the early 1980s that shows the approach area for the new bridge being cleared alongside the old bridge (which the photographer is standing on). The rest of the waterfront here was still industrial, with the land once occupied by a railyard, a sawmill and lumberyard. On the other side of the bridge (the east side) was a cooperage.

We’re also probably at slightly the wrong elevation, as there was less clearance on the old bridge. Instead it had a swing span to allow shipping to navigate to the end of False Creek. That was necessary for many years because there was a concrete batching plant there until the land was used for Expo 86.

The sidewalk of the old bridge lined up almost perfectly with Holy Rosary Cathedral – although it was only the parish church until 1916 (designed by T E Julian). It had a second, lower, spire, long gone. Almost all the tall buildings in the city at the time were churches, and almost all of them are no longer standing. One tall building that wasn’t a church is a tower on the mid-left of the picture. It looks like a square church tower, but there wasn’t a church in that part of town, so it had us confused for a while. Poring over an early panorama, and the insurance maps revealed that it’s the hose tower of Firehall No. 2, designed by W T Whiteway in 1902, on Seymour Street, although the tower was at the back of the building, on the lane.

Even after the boom at the end of the first decade of the 20th century, not too many buildings stood tall on the skyline because the new office buildings like The Sun Tower and the Dominion Building were down the hill on the other side of Downtown, mostly near West Hastings. The Vancouver Block on Granville was at a higher elevation, along with the second Hotel Vancouver. By the early 1980s there were a cluster of taller commercial and office buildings marking the Downtown Business core, with a few others like the BC Electric headquarters, (and later the Nelson Square tower nearby on Hornby). In the years following Expo, and continuing through to today, Concord Pacific have developed thousands of condominiums along the waterfront former Expo lands, and other developers have filled in behind, so today almost all the buildings seen from here are residential, although in behind there are far more office and hotel towers in the Downtown Central Business District as well.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Br P25 and CVA 800-2878

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Posted December 30, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

The West End and Stanley Park from above

Here’s another dramatic aerial view. There’s nearly a century separating the two images – the Archives image was shot in 1927, so there’s no bridge to the North Shore yet – and very little there if you did manage to cross on the ferry. The picture was taken by Pacific Airways, apparently for the Union Steamship Company.

The West End in 1927 was mostly houses, although the smart money had already moved on to the CPR’s relatively recently released Shaughnessy district, so many of the big old houses (twenty to thirty years old houses), were being divided up or used as guest houses and rooming houses. There were apartment buildings sprinkled throughout the area, and many more were being built in this period, replacing some of those earlier houses.

On the waterfront it’s possible to make out both Englesea Lodge that was right on the water’s edge, and nearby the Sylvia Apartments, both designed by Seattle architect W P White. Between them were two piers, the older (and longer) with a pavilion at the end. It was built around 1905 and demolished in 1938. On a holiday like today in 1927 a band would probably be playing here, and there might be another at the bandstand on the roof of the changing pavilion to the southeast.

Today’s West End has a mix of lower density buildings, some already built in 1927, and far more mid and higher towers, built for the most part (in this part of the area) from the 1950s to the 1980s. The relatively recent West End Plan has encouraged development in certain parts of the area, and in Trish Jewison’s image (taken from the Global News helicopter) it’s possible to spot a number of tower cranes on Davie Street near Denman. There are five new rental towers being built there. The picture was taken in the spring, so the Empire Landmark was still standing, although the revolving restaurant had already been removed; now there just a big hole in the ground, awaiting the construction of a pair of condo towers with social housing over a retail and office podium.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 374-181 and Trish Jewison on twitter.

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Posted December 26, 2019 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

Davie Street – 1200 block, north side

As in another 1928 Davie Street picture, the 1200 block was once a street of houses, but by 1928 several had already been altered to add commercial frontages. As some of the houses were set back quite a way, with front gardens, the stores projected forward to the sidewalk. None of the houses on this block survive today – there’s actually just one property here, addressed as 1150 Jervis, with a residential tower over retail, built in 1970.

Behind the Capitol Grocery and Fruit Market, at 1253 Davie were two houses, built in 1902 by M C Griffith (according to the permit) costing $1,650 and $1,600. Malcolm Griffith, a contractor, lived at 1249 when it was built, as did Arthur Griffith, also a contractor. In 1902 only Arthur was listed, living three blocks away, on Davie (and invariably, and apparently inaccurately, the street directory listed them as Griffiths). That year there were four other Grifffiths in the city, every one of them either a carpenter or contractor.

M C Griffith had acquired a series of lots in this area, and he designed and built several other houses on this block. We’ve looked at the family history in connection to an earlier post that looked at the investment hotel he built on Granville Street in 1911 at a cost of $55,000. His 1902 home on Davie coincided with his marriage to Annie Montgomery, from Peebles in Scotland (which may be why he was temporarily missing in the street directory). Malcolm and his father, Arthur, were from Quebec, and had arrived in the city in the 1890s.

In 1911 the houses were addressed as 1243 and 1249 Davie, occupied by Walter Stark and Henry Stone. Calvin Grey was in 1243 a year later. It looked like Dr Seager might have been the owner of the building in 1915 when the retail unit was built – he paid $300 to H Elphick to add a single storey addition, although no retail use was apparent in subsequent street directories. That year 1243 was occupied by Charles Bell and 1249 was St Mark’s Theological College, associated with Dr. Seagar. Although it shares a name with a later Catholic college at UBC, this was an Anglican training facility. The theological college remained here until 1920 when it merged with Latimer Hall, to become The Anglican Theological College of British Columbia and moved to the Latimer Hall building on Haro Street. In 1921 Milton Clay lived at 1249 Davie, and it was vacant in 1925, and the Capitol Grocery opened a year later, run by Tim Lee, with P Ecker living at the back. In 1928 when the picture was taken it was still T Lee, with G Chan.

On the far left of the picture, Peter Tardiff altered the house at 1263 Davie in 1913 for Philip White, who lived here into the 1920s. We were not sure what he did; the directory doesn’t mention his occupation, and the census entry was impossible to read. However, Philip lived here before the alterations, and earlier directories show him to be a miner. He was obviously a successful one, as he built an investment block on Granville Street in 1905, and another in 1911. Philip was from Quebec, as was his wife, Charlotte, but the 1921 census shows his three daughters and son had all been born in BC.  In the 1928 image the house was occupied by the Toc H (Talbot House), an international Christian movement founded in World War One.

Today the ‘Your Independent Grocer’ store occupies the site of the Capitol Grocer, and the West End Community Policing Office is located where Mr. White’s home once stood.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Str N266.2

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Posted December 16, 2019 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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Robson and Hornby Street – south east

This image, from May 1965 shows, according to the Archives record, “the Clement Block, Danceland, Crystall Lunch, C.K.N.W. and Black Top Cabs office”. There’s also a bakery, and Triangle Books on the main floor of the two storey and mansard building dating from 1922. It was developed by Herbert S Clements, and designed by A A Cox in two stages; Cameron Construction built the initial $12,000 structure, and then a year later E Cook & Sons carried out another $6,000 of ‘Miscellaneous; Repairs/Alterations; Banquet hall’. Those were by no means the total costs.

A complex legal case from 1927 told the story of the new building. In 1920 W H Sproule, President of the National Mortgage Company, and H S Clements, a director, bought a building on this corner. W G Harvey had owned the building in 1909, and sold it that year to Maxwell, Le Feuvre, Passage and Tomlin for $85,000. There were various mortgages and payments that are far too complex to list here, and Maxwell and Le Feuvre sold their interests, but eventually Passage and Tomlin agreed to sell the site to Mr. Sproule. He had difficulty paying for the building, and Mr. Clements helped him out, and they ended up owning the building with a small mortgage. Mr. Sproule at around the same time moved to Winnipeg leaving Mr. Clements in charge of the decrepit building, which was ordered demolished by the City in 1922. The replacement cost at least $88,000 in total to build, and the land was assessed at $50,000, and in June 1924 he sold the building seen here for $125,000. Mr. Sproule sued to try to get more than his half of the sale proceeds, and a judge awarded him an extra $3,085. Mr Sproule wanted more, and Mr. Clements didn’t think he was entitled even to that amount, so they ended up in the Court of Appeal. The judges sided with Mr. Clements: one of the judges noting “Real estate at the time in question in the City of Vancouver was of very uncertain value and holders thereof were looked upon as speculators. The defendant by the exercise of great skill and judgment was able to, in the end, make a profit by the sale of the land after the erection thereon of a suitable building, and he must be allowed all outgoings in respect thereof; the plaintiff cannot obtain the profits and leave all the losses with the defendant.”

Herbert S Clements had been a Conservative MP, initially in Chatham, Ontario, where he was born, representing West Kent from 1904 until 1908 when he moved to British Columbia. He set up a real estate company with George S Heywood which continued to operate through to the early 1920s. His partner was also from Chatham, where he was still living in 1901. When they were in partnership, they both occupied apartments in the same building, 859 Thurlow. At the same time, from 1911 until 1921 Herbert represented the British Columbia ridings of Comox-Atlin and then Comox-Alberni. His obituary, in 1939, said he retired both from his real estate business and politics more than 15 years before. That would coincide with a court case where Mr. Clements sued John J Coughlin for $5,000 to be paid for helping Mr. Coughlin sell his interest in a government funded drydock in Burrard Inlet. Mr. Clements was involved because of his ‘influence’ in Ottawa, but unlike two other lobbyists, he was never paid.

Herbert Clements was an old-school conservative. While representing Chatham it was noted that he “Strongly advocates more protection for agricultural interests of Canada and believes in equal tariff with U.S. on all national products affecting Canada.” When he stood as a conservative for Comox Atlin in 1911, the local Prince Rupert newspaper, the Daily News described him as a ‘carpet bagger’, and backed the liberal candidate (a local). The Omineca Miner newspaper seemed happier with him, and carpetbagger or not, Mr. Clements was elected. Today his attitude to former eastern Europeans are still remembered, especially Ukrainians, interned during the first war. In March 1919 he said “I say unhesitatingly that every enemy alien who was interned during the war is today just as much an enemy as he was during the war, and I demand of this Government that each and every alien in this dominion should be deported at the earliest opportunity. Cattle ships are good enough for them.”

The new building on the corner was leased out, with the entire second floor going to a dance academy called the Alexandra Ballroom, with the entry on Hornby Street. It had draped windows, a stage, a small lounge and a kitchen. The wooden, sprung dance floor had bags of horsehair laid under the floor, and later, overhead fanning boards were added. All this made for a very classy venue, a rival to The Commodore.

In 1929 a radio station was established on the third floor by Sprott Shaw College. In 1954 radio station CKNW moved into the space, but owner Bill Rea, sold CKNW and took over The Alex, downstairs. He changed the name to Danceland and created a new upbeat venue. Adorned with oversized neon signs, Danceland began to attract some of the big names of the day. Red Robinson recalls the venue playing host to Ike & Tina Turner, The Coasters, Bobby Darin, Roy Orbison and many other R&B and early rock and roll bands. A new owner took over Danceland and continued to promote the venue as a Rock and Roll dance hall. It could accommodate up to 600 people, and coaches sometimes could be seen parked outside having brought dancers up from the USA. It was noted that bouncers did routine patrols looking for booze under the chairs.

The city bought the building for a civic centre that never materialized, and the Province took over and initially cleared the site for a parking lot in 1965. The new Courthouse, designed by Arthur Erickson was built here many years later, although this corner is really part of the site’s extensive landscaping, designed by Cornelia Hahn Oberlander.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-351

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Posted December 12, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Robson Street west from Hamilton

This undated image was taken, we’re reasonably certain, in the early 1980s. This part of Downtown was in transition: the area had started out in the late 1890s as a residential neighbourhood, complete with churches and corner stores, conveniently located for the original city centre to the north and the new CPR city to the west, emerging around Granville Street. By the 1970s the move to commercial use had been significant, but odd houses still remained, like the one on the left of the picture. It was first shown in a street directory in 1892 when Amelia Vesey moved here, probably with her family. She was recently widowed, born in Nova Scotia and previously married to Joseph Vesey. In 1911 she had moved to live with her son, Charles, an accountant living in the West End.

Just to the right of the billboard is the BC Hydro headquarters, over half a kilometer away and standing tall in a neighbourhood of modest buildings.

The building that helps us date the image is the big, gold, office building in the distance. Designed by Eng and Wright it was completed in 1983. Beyond it, one and a half kilometers away, the Sheraton Landmark hotel occupied a prominent spot on Robson Street. The ‘after’ shot was taken earlier this year (before the street trees were in leaf to hide most of the buildings), but the Landmark was already shorter, on its way to be demolished for a pair of strata and non-market housing towers that will replace the hotel. Between the camera and the Landmark nearly 1,000 residential units have been added – always over a commercial podium of several floors of retail and office. Closest to us is Eight-One-Nine, designed by Rafii Architects for Bosa, and completed in 1998, and next door The Galileo by Hamilton Doyle Associates, completed a year later. There are two more condo towers beyond that, completed in the 2000s.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 800-2945

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Posted December 5, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone