Archive for the ‘Gone’ Category

West Pender Street – 900 block, south side

We’ve seen the two buildings on the left in a fairly recent post. On the corner was a building developed by Yorkshire Trust in 1952, designed by McCarter and Nairne. Next door were the Benge Furnished Rooms, later renamed the Midtown Hotel, originally built in 1909 by Fred Fuller using Parr and Fee as architects.

Beuond those buildings in our 1981 before shot is a single storey building, and beyond it the National Trust Building on the corner of Burrard. It dated back to around 1958, and was also designed by McCarter, Nairne & Partners. It replaced the Glenwood Rooms, built for Mrs. Charleson and designed by Honeyman and Curtis, completed in 1907, and seen on an earlier post.

The single storey building seems to have been built around 1924. It’s a little difficult to trace the history. There are two houses shown on the 1912 insurance map, and they first appear as logical numbered addresses in the 1913 street directory. John T Foster lived in one, and Christiana Mcpherson in the other, running furnished rooms at the same location a year earlier. The houses were built before 1900, but had totally different numbers on the block when they were first built. As a result the numbers ended up out of sequence, so one of the older houses, 910 Pender, was between 918 Pender and 934 Pender in 1912. A year later it appears to have been renumbered in sequence as 920. John Foster was still living at 920 in 1921, and Charles Mitchell at 934, an address that eventually disappears in 1924.

A year later the Owl Garage was located here, “R B Brunton , A J Parnin, Props. 100 Car Steam Heated Storage. 24 Hour Service (Day and Night) – Gas, Oils, Accessories.” The Vancouver Archives hold the records for the work of Townley & Matheson, whose “Job no. 193: owner J H Todd, garage, Pender Street” is this building. By the mid 1930s it was still a garage, but by then the Jewel Garage, run by A Cameron and J Parnin. In 1940 it was the Jubilee Garage, (H Turner, J A Whitelegg). By 1950 there seems to have been a substantial change. The garage use had ceased, and it appears to have become an office for Bell Irving & Co, O’Brien Advertising, and the Gas-Ice Corporation who manufactured dry ice. In 1952 the advertising company hired architects McCarter and Nairne to design a building, or conversion here, but it appears that the original 1922 structure was retained. By 1981 these were clearly retail uses, but the original image is quite blurred so no business names are identifiable.

Today this is part of the office occupied by Manulife, completed in 1985, designed by Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden Partnership. Initially  it seems to have been developed by the Montreal Trust Company.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W04.25

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Posted March 12, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Robson and Seymour streets – se corner

This shows yet another Downtown gas station – another of the Home Gas bars scattered throughout the city, seen here in 1931. The Vancouver Public Library caption says this was the south west corner of Robson and Seymour, but actually (allowing for the fact that the Downtown grid is shifted 45 degrees) it should be the south east corner – 822 Seymour. In 1931 it was operated by Motordrome Ltd, who advertised that they paid cash for used cars, and on their billboard claimed to be The Safest Place to Buy a Used Car. As well as the gas bar, car sales and service they also had an Auto Laundry. In 1932 C D Dayton was manager. Motordrome had moved from West Broadway a year or two earlier, and taken over the Super Service Garage of S L Blackburn, who had offered a similar range of services here from 1924. Before that there were houses here, built in the 1890s.

Here’s a picture of Blackburn’s operation in 1928 taken from an elevated position across Seymour Street. The garage, which at that time sold Imperial Ethyl gasoline, had opened just four years earlier. Sherman Blackburn had previously operated the Vancouver Auto Exchange with A A Johnston three blocks north of here on Seymour. He was aged 33 in 1921 (when he first showed up in the city), and was from Quebec, where his one-year-old-son had also been born. His wife Ivy was 10 years younger, and from England

Motordrome didn’t do well; the early 1930s were not a period where people were buying cars – even pre-owned cars. In 1933 Flack Investments was run by Cyril Flack, born in Manitoba in 1905 and son of Samuel who was from Ontario. We aren’t aware of any connection to the developer of the Flack Block on West Hastings. The company hired Charles Van Norman to design the Blackburn Public Market for the site. S L Blackburn having given up the motoring business managed the new enterprise which had over 40 stalls which vendors could rent to sell poultry, produce etc. The market lasted past 1950, only to be replaced with another gas bar and garage; in 1954 the Robson Motordrome parking and service station, and a year later Sangster’s U-Drive gas station and parking.

We shot our ‘after’ shot several years ago, but nothing has really changed. In 2004 L’Aria was built here, with three commercial floors including a Korean supermarket, and 81 strata apartments above.

Image sources: Vancouver Public Library and City of Vancouver Archives CVA 2011-010.1883

Posted March 8, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Howe and Davie Street – sw corner (2)

On our previous post we saw this corner as a Home gas station in 1929 with Georg Mutch’s tire store. By 1940 this had become Coleman’s Service station, selling gas and oil, run by T B Coleman and B J Brennan. In 1981 it was selling Texaco products, after that company had acquired the Canadian McColl-Frontenac Oil Company in 1941. The gas station finally closed in 1990, and the site needed extensive remediation, and sat vacant for several years.

While it was vacant the Landis Hotel was built to the north west, across the lane on Hornby Street. Completed in 1993, it was intended as a hotel and strata residential building, but has never been used as anything but a hotel. Behind it on Burrard a 10-storey office building had been built in 1978, looking absolutely unchanged today.

On the gas station corner Anthem Properties built Alto, a condo building with 110 units on 14 floors over retail, completed in 2010.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W09.02

Posted March 1, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Howe and Davie Street – sw corner (1)

For many years this site remained vacant, as site remediation from the earlier use as a gas station was needed. Eventually the site was cleared, excavated, and redeveloped, but the gas station use went back many decades. Here’s the Home gas station seen in a 1929 Vancouver Public Library image. The street directory doesn’t mention the gas bar, but that year Mutch Tires are listed, and a year later they had been replaced by Wallace and Co’s radiator repair business. A year earlier there appears to have been a house here, so the date for the picture looks to be correct. W F Gardiner designed a series of gas stations for Home Oil between 1927 and 1937, so he may have designed this one.

A few years earlier George Mutch’s tire store had been on Granville Street, and it was still there a year later, but for just one year, 1929, they tried branching out with a second location, although the timing was probably unfortunate, given the state of the economy. Home Gasoline were based in Alberta, and in February of 1929 they hit a bonanza. Pierre Berton told their story; “In January you could buy a hundred shares of Home Oil for $350 (or $3.50 per share) with a down payment of less than $50 and sell them in March for $1,585 (or $15.85 per share), But hardly anybody sold, because everybody believed stock prices would continue to rise. And for another six months they did.” Will McMartin in the Tyee explained that Home Oil’s stock-market valuation made William C. Shelly, B.C.’s finance minister and the company’s president, who had bought his seed shares for just a dollar each, an extremely wealthy man. By March 5, Home Oil hit an all-time high of $18, and Shelly’s personal stake in the firm was estimated at close to $2 million. Six months later as the stock market weakened, investors began to sell their Home Oil stock. On Oct. 25, the day after Black Thursday, the company’s shares were down to $12.65. Home Oil Co. Ltd was nearly wiped out in the years following the stock market crash. From a high of $18 the company’s stock two years later was trading at just fifteen cents. William Shelly lost his personal fortune, and his job as Finance Minister.

Today the building here is called Alto, a condo building completed in 2010 whose name references the ten foot ceilings.

Posted February 26, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Seymour Street – 900 block east side

Back in 1981 this was yet another Downtown gas station, this one run in conjunction with Dominion U-Drive, and a B F Goodrich Tire dealership. (Gas was 34 cents a litre, and you could collect the free tumblers as well!) Ford dealer Dominion Motors occupied much of the rest of the block, with the Dufferin Hotel (now the Moda Hotel) at the end. Dominion Motors had previously been located further up the same block of Seymour, on the west side, in the former Vancouver Motors building, which they had taken over in 1940, and before that had moved several times since their first West End premises in 1910.

Originally there were houses on this block, all the way to the hotel. By the mid 1940s there were a couple of car sales lots next to the hotel, but the houses on the rest of the block were still occupied through to the 1940s. By 1950 the Vogue Garage and auto sales had been built mid block, but from the corner with Nelson there were still 7 houses; two rooming houses and one occupied as offices by the BC Govt Registrar of Voters. In 1952 just two houses remained, and Vancouver Motors were using the corner as a parking lot. By 1955 the U-Drive operation had been established here, and the company had taken over all but one of the houses – the one housing the Registrar of Voters.

Dominion Motors closed down in 1986, and we think the site was used for parking for several years. In 2002 two new rental towers with 430 units were built here, with retail on the main floor.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E06.23

Posted February 22, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Robson and Hornby – nw corner (2)

We looked at a different view of the Richmond Apartments in a post a few years ago. The building was developed by Edward Hunt in 1910, and designed by W T Whiteway. C P Shindler built the $70,000 building, seen here in 1945. There were three Edward Hunts living in Vancouver in 1911, one a fireman for the CPR, one a building contactor, and one a retired 57 year old, living in an apartment on Robson – in this building. He first arrived in the city in 1910, when he stayed in the newly built Homer Apartments on Smithe Street. He was English, (born in Gloucestershire in 1855) and married to Florence, who was American, and thirty years younger than her husband. Edward had arrived in Canada in 1876 (seven years before his wife was born), and to British Columbia in 1888, while Florence had arrived in 1903.

In 1901 Edward Hunt was living in Richmond, shown as aged 47, and a merchant, living with his English wife Louisa, who was also 47, and their son, Edward S Hunt. The street directory tells us he was the Postmaster, and a General Merchant in Steveston. Edward Hunt was living in Vancouver in 1891, with his wife, son and mother, and they each had a store. Edward’s was a grocer’s store at the corner of Nelson and Hornby, while his mother, Emily (who was then aged 69) ran a grocers on the Westminster Road (Main Street today).

He moved to Richmond in the early 1890s. He was elected to Steveston Council in 1893, was working for the Steveston Cannery Co in 1894 and set up a general store there in 1895. He split with his former business partner, J A Fraser in the same year, expanded it in 1896 and was one of three owners of the Steveston Cannery, capitalised at $50,000 in that same year. His store later became the Walker Emporium and was on the corner of Moncton Street and 2nd Avenue. He was a magistrate in Richmond in 1900, and the first to sign a requisition to call out the militia to prevent violence during a strike by Fraser River fishermen. He was on the Council again in 1898 and from 1900 to 1902. In 1907 he became Reeve of Steveston, when this picture was published.

The census shows he was still living in his Robson apartment in 1921, but on his own, and the street directory shows him in the same apartment in 1941. He died in 1943, aged 88, recorded as a widower.

Today there’s an office building addressed as 777 Hornby, completed in 1969, and designed by Harry Roy. The architectural practice who supervised construction of the building was Thompson, Berwick, Pratt and Partners.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 586-4162

Posted February 19, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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15 and 25 West 8th Avenue

This image shows a few of the past changes in the Mount Pleasant Industrial area. It started life as a residential neighbourhood, and there are a few vestiges of that residential past still to be found today; some still lived in, and others adapted to a commercial role. The gradual loss of the original houses has taken many years; the house on the right dated back to 1910, and was only replaced in 1967 with a single storey building. We can date the image quite closely, as the building on the left was only completed in 1963, so the picture must have been shot within a year on either side of 1965.

When the house was first occupied in 1910, Joseph H Brooks, a horse dealer lived here, and a year later he added a new stables to the property, although his sales stables were located at 1025 Main Street. In 1901 he was in the Yukon, living in the Atlin District with his wife, Anna, and their three children. At that time he was listed as a ‘freighter’. He had only been there a couple of years; his two year old son, Egbert, was born in the Yukon, but his older sons, one only a year older than his younger brother, had been born in the US. A daughter, Hazel was also born in the Yukon. Joseph and Annie (as she was shown in 1911) were both originally from Ontario. Joseph stayed in the house for several years, switching his occupation to coal dealer. The last year we can trace Joseph in Vancouver is in 1920, but his son Egbert, a boilermaker was still living in a different house on the same block of West 8th Avenue in 1921 with his wife and baby son.

There’s some information about Joseph, and how he died, on a Yukon website. “Mr. Brooks came to Skagway in 1897 from Vancouver. He was a merchant and wrangler. His company “J.H. Brooks, Packer and Freight” was headquartered in the St. James Hotel. He is famous for taking 15 mules over the Chilkoot Pass and later took 335 mules over. He claimed that he and a Mr. Turner had first blazed the trail. He returned to Skagway in 1934 to collect information for his book and died on this day, July 13, 1934 on the Chilkoot Trail. He was born about 1867 and was about 67 years old when he died and was buried in the Pioneer Cemetery.” We can’t find Mr. Brooks in Vancouver before he went to Yukon, so suspect that may not be accurate, or that he was here only very briefly.

It’s easy to see how street trees in the industrial area have altered the character of the street – there were very few, despite the residential origins of the neighbourhood, in the 1960s. Today the 1967 building is home to 33 Acres Brewing, but many of the existing structures are now getting replaced as new zoning has allowed office space to be added, as long as an industrial component is retained.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-242

Posted February 5, 2018 by ChangingCity in Gone, Mount Pleasant

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