Archive for the ‘Gone’ Category

Robson and Jervis Streets

This fine craftsman house at 1300 Robson Street was built in 1904 by Bedford Davidson, and cost a significant sum for the day – $6,000. It was designed by Honeyman and Curtis for Dr Boyle. He was a medical doctor, but also a property developer. In 1909 he built the Travelers Hotel, which is now called the Metropole Hotel, on Abbot Street. He also developed the Royal Hotel on Granville Street in 1911, and he had Bedford Davidson build four houses in 1903 on Thurlow, and another set of four on Broughton.

Dr Robert Clarke Boyle first moved to Vancouver in 1899 or in 1900 and appears in the 1901 census with his wife, Margaret, and daughter Mildred, who was six. They had an English nurse, and Robert’s sister, also called Margaret was living with them. A decade later, when they were in this house, the family had grown with 10 year old Bidwell, and Edward, who was three. They had both a nurse and a servant. Dr. Boyle and his wife were both shown as born in Ontario, but Mildred was born in Manitoba. If the 1935 obituary noting his sudden death is correct, his wife was in Winnipeg when they met, where Dr. Boyle studied. He initially practiced medicine in Morden, Manitoba before moving to Vancouver.

Unlike some of the city’s property developing physicians, Dr. Boyle had a widely regarded medical practice, based in his home, and became president of the Vancouver Medical Association. The family’s wealth meant that they could afford to educate their children in England. A 1914 newspaper report noted “Mrs. Robert C. Boyle returned to town on Monday from a lengthy stay in England. Her daughter. Miss Mildred Boyle, and her elder son, who have been attending school there, will follow later, arriving here in August. By 1920 Dr. Boyle moved to Richmond, to Sea Island, then back to Vancouver (on Beach Avenue) in the 1930s. His practice was based on Granville Street. In 1931 the newspaper reported “Dr. R. C. Boyle one of the best-known surgeons of Vancouver, was operated on at St. Paul’ Hospital yesterday for , appendicitis, following a hurried trip from Campbell River, where he was holidaying.” Bidwell Boyle married Zaida Dill in 1929, and later moved to the US. He and Zaida were living in Oregon when he died in 1966.

Over the years the house was occupied by several residents – we don’t know if Dr. Boyle sold it, or leased it out. It’s seen here in a 1930 Vancouver Public Library image when Frank J Lyons, a barrister, was living here. A few years later the BC Teacher’s Federation and publishers J C Dent had their offices located here. We’re assuming that the building was retained, rather than redeveloped for offices. A 1969 aerial appears to show little redevelopment of the houses in this location at that period. The Listel Hotel was developed here in 1986, designed by the Buttjes Group, and opening as O’Doul’s Best Western Motor Hotel.


Posted March 12, 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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1043 West Pender Street

Here’s H J Tucker’s garage on West Pender in 1940 in this Vancouver Public Library image. To the east (on the right) were the Essex Rooms, (described in the permit as a warehouse), and a garage and rooms developed by the A S French Auto Co in 1910, while to the west there was an office building developed in 1909 (the first development on the block).

There was a building on this site in the early 1900s, but it was where the single storey structure is located. In 1899 it had 3 storeys, and was home to Smith Bros who ran the BC Mattress and Upholstering Co here. The street directory identifies the names of the 10 employees as well as the owners, David and James Smith. In 1905 the company became B C Bedding & Upholstery Co Ltd, with James Smith as president; His brother, David was no longer associated with the company by 1908, when he was running a furniture store on Granville Street. Arthur was born in Michigan, raised in Ontario and Winnipeg, where he became an upholsterer and carper repairer. He arrived in Vancouver in 1889; Smith Brothers was a retail furniture store that made its own upholstery and also operated a carpet-cleaning business.

The newer 2-storey building had been developed before 1911 when John A Crowe had taken over as president of the business; Arthur Smith having branched out (like half the city, it sometimes seems), into real estate. With the collapse of real estate he landed the interesting new job as a member of the provincial government’s film censor board. In 1931 James became the chief censor. There was a 3-storey building at the back of the lot, seen in this 1940 VPL picture (right).

The upholstery business had gone by 1912, when Walker Automobile Co moved in for a year, to be replaced in 1913 by the Terminal Sheet Metal Works Ltd. They carried out alterations in 1914, when the building was owned by Heland Furman & Fulton – although there’s no business of that name, and nobody called Heland in the City. (The only person called Furman was Annie, a waitress who lived two doors to the east of here). The sheet metal works was run by James Oliver and J T McDonald, and the company were here into the 1920s. By 1933 Hemphill’s Engineering School had moved in, run  by C D Mackinnon. The building was vacant in 1935, and a year later Tucker’s Garage moved here. The company had been in business for many tears. In the 1910s they were based two blocks away, and were the B C Distributor for Federal Trucks. In 1901 Heber J Tucker was listed in the census as aged 24, from Newfoundland, living with his wife Mary and working as a bicycle repairer.

The garage didn’t last here too much longer. By 1941 it had become Service Auto Metal Works, run by S Fairley, and in 1944 it was storage for the Empress Dairy. By 1948 it was being used by O’Neil Builder’s Supply business, and they stayed here into the 1950s. Today the Oceanic Plaza office is here, designed by Charles Payne (who also designed the earlier Guinness Tower nearby) and completed in 1975. The developers were British Pacific Building Ltd, the Guinness family company, the purchasers of the adjacent Marine Building.


Posted March 5, 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Nelson Street east from Seymour

We’re on the lane before Seymour Street in 1961, with Seymour Billiards on our left (at 999 Seymour), and 1002 Seymour across the junction on the right. The billiards hall started life as a repair garage in 1926, designed by Swinburne Annandale Kayll for William and Herbert Boultbee. Just beyond is the edge of a sign for a U-Drive parking lot – seen better in 1981 in an earlier post.

We haven’t found the permit for the two storey stucco building on the right, so we don’t know who built it, probably in 1909. It’s first tenant was Edward MacLeod, a shoemaker who lived on Water Street, who was here in 1910, and joined a year later by James Fraser, a grocer, who lived a block away. The last date that’s easy to trace the occupants of buildings is 1955; in that year the California grocery store was here, as it had been since at least the early 1930s, although in the 30’s it was Harry Chapelas running the store, and in 1955 Ramon Chapelas, who had added a coffee bar.

Down the hill on the junction of Homer, on the CPR Reserve lands released for development in 1909, is the warehouse built by Richard Bowman and occupied initially by the Bogardus Wickens & Begg Glass Company. It’s still standing today, part of the true ‘Yaletown’, although these days it’s an office building over Shopper’s Drug Mart. Leading up to it Polygon Homes built three similarly designed residential towers in the 2000s, and there are also residential towers on the north side of the street, but with a retail base.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 772-19


Posted March 2, 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Nelson’s Laundry – 2300 Cambie Street

Although this 1936 image shows Nelsons Laundry (started by Nels Nelson in 1931), the building was constructed in 1928 as the Metropolitan Laundry and Dry Cleaners Ltd. It was a new company, with a significant building designed by Gardiner and Mercer, with references to the Mission Style popular at the time. It was a hybrid construction, with a reinforced concrete frame and a wooden roof, built by Adkinson and Dill, filled with the most up-to-date laundry equipment of the day. Nelson’s took over three years later, and the name continued for many years, although the company was purchased by A.B. Christopher in 1939. Lawrey Nelson was president, living on West Georgia, and Nels Nelson was the vice-president of the company, living in New Westminster. The Nelson family was Danish, but Lawrey had been born in BC. Nels was Lawrey’s father, a prominent New Westminster brewer. He was one of the first in Canada to use glass bottles sometimes instead of beer kegs or barrels. During the great fire of 1898, Nels quickly brought out fire hoses and used brewery water to protect modern new machinery while the building burned around it. He had Gardner and Mercer design his ‘prarie style’ home in 1913. During Canadian prohibition between 1916 and 1921 the Westminster Brewery was allowed to continue operating, supposedly sending the production for export – although much of it never left New Westminster. Nels sold the brewery business in 1928, and eventually it became part of the Labatt’s empire, before closing in 2005

In 1935 The Vancouver Sun ran what was undoubtedly a promotional article which said “Beauty and utility are cleverly combined in the Nelson Laundries, Ltd., plant on Cambie Street at Seventh Avenue. Most especially is this true in the dry cleaning unit, housed in a building that is a dream of modern architecture come true. This building, 20 years in advance of its time, is marked by the simplicity of its design, Great windows across the front of it add to its attractive appearance and assure a bright and cheery atmosphere within, so different from the dry cleaning plants of a generation ago, LATEST EQUIPMENT Not only is it bright and airy within, but it is the last word in dry cleaning establishments as far as machinery is concerned. There is a double Zonic garment cleaning unit. A weighing machine nearby assures that standard loads will go in each of the huge torpedo tubes. The machine is so arranged that everything in it is kept sterile. Silk, satin and velvet garments come out with their lustre restored and absolutely free of any oily filament. Another feature which sets this up as a 1935 cleaning plant is one noticeable by its absence. That is odor. In the old days garments returned from the cleaners reeked with the odor of gasoline. There’s none about those which come home from Nelson’s. They’re as fresh and sweet as if they’d just been taken from a wash line. CARE IN IRONING The pressing section of Nelson’s has not only the up-to-date electric pressors, but the good old-fashioned ironing board and steam irons. Some of the finest of the ironing has to be done by hand and skilled workers use care that could not be surpassed by the most careful housewife. Here all rayon and celanese garments are done by hand to prevent scorching. “Nelson’s clothes stay pressed.” That’s the slogan of the pressing department. A crease that is put in a pant leg stays there. Old trousers that come in baggy at the knee and very disreputable looking, have a way of going out almost new in appearance. 0ld coats, too, are reshaped to look like new. Turning from the pressing department, the visitor to Nelson’s comes to the rug cleaning department. Thousands of dollars are represented in the massive machinery.” The article continues in similar form over several more paragraphs. Our favourite line is “And at Nelson’s especially every care is taken with every article no matter how small and cheap.”

By 1954, the company was the largest laundry and dry cleaning enterprise on the Lower Mainland. It expanded by purchasing the Imperial Laundry in Nanaimo, the New Method Laundry in Victoria, the Pioneer Laundry in Vancouver and the Royal City Laundry in New Westminster. In 1964 the company moved its headquarters and production plant to the ex-Pioneer building on West 4th Avenue. Christopher sold the company to the Steiner American Corporation in 1968, although he stayed on in an executive capacity for several more years. This site was developed with a car dealership – before it closed in the early 2000s it was home to Dueck Downtown, who had replaced Paul Fong’s GM dealership, which in turn replaced a Ford dealership (seen here in 1989).

Dueck moved to Terminal Avenue, and in 2008 Grosvenor Estates developed The Rise, a multi floor retail building designed by Nigel Baldwin, with Winners above a Home Depot, over Save On Foods, smaller retail units round the edge, and three storey rental townhouses around a courtyard on top.

Image source, City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4978 and CVA 772-370


Posted February 27, 2020 by ChangingCity in Gone, Mount Pleasant

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1176 Hornby Street

This 1911 building was reported to be designed by the owners, the Richmond Dairy & Produce Co., Ltd. and built by J T Herritt & Co at a cost of $25,000. The foreman of the business was John Glasgow. He left in 1918, and the Vancouver Sun reported “A pleasant ceremony took place last night, when John Glasgow was presented with a handsome set of pipes by the boys of the Richmond Dairy & Produce Co., Ltd., on the occasion of his resignation from the staff. Mr. Glasgow had been the foreman of the concern for the past seven years, and was held in highest esteem. His resignation will be regretted.

That suggests he had been in this location from when it opened, although he had arrived in 1909 and in 1911 was a carpenter, from Scotland. In that year’s census he was in lodgings, but a year later he was listed as a checker at the dairy, with rooms in the Tourist Hotel. The manager of the new premises was Earnest Sherwood. Before moving to this location Richmond Dairy & Produce were managed by Alfred Mason, and were in premises on West Pender and Abbott Street. In 1918 there were changes in the dairy, which might explain Mr Glasgow’s decision to move on.

While early dairy farms supplied Vancouver from Richmond, the opening of the electric railway interurban to Chilliwack allowed competition from the dairy farms located in the Fraser Valley. Fierce competition for markets, unreliable customers and high freight rates ensured that farmers were making little profit. In 1913 new legislation allowed the creation of a dairy marketing co-operative, which by 1916 covered 97% of milk production. As markets stabilized, the question arose of what to do with surplus milk. Three properties were leased to deal with the milk, in Sardis, Chilliwack, and the Richmond Dairy Company on Hornby Street. In 1926 the Port O’Van Ice Cream Company was formed, which in 1938 became the Arctic Ice Cream and Dairy Co. By 1936 when this picture was taken the business was operating in the converted house to the north as well, and the Arctic name was already in use. Operation continued into the 1950s as Dairyland, a business that continues today as part of Saputo Foods.

The Ice Cream plant (and Diamond Ice) continued to operate here through the 1960s, but production had moved to Burnaby in the early 1970s. The Swan Wooster Building, designed by Romses Kwan and Associates was completed in 1984, incorporating the site of the Elcho Apartments on the corner of Davie as well.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4857


Posted February 20, 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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800 block Gore Avenue – east side

Although the houses seen on the right look (kind of) old, these are all recent buildings, replacing some seriously old ones on the left. This part of Gore Avenue was initially developed early enough that we don’t know who built the buildings, only how some were altered over the years. To the north of the lane (on the left) were 802 to 808 Gore – that’s 808 in front of the car; 806 set back and peeking over the top, and 804 on the left. To the south were 830, 834 and 836 (two addresses sharing a sub-lot), 840 was the house on the right and beyond it, off the picture to the right, was 848 Gore.

The earliest permit we have for the block was for William Main spending $200 in 1902 on an “addition to frame dwelling”. In the street directory he had already moved, but in 1901 he lived at 840 Gore, the house on the right. William was a laborer, so he’d done well to own a house and have $200 to add to it, presumably before selling it and moving on. We’re reasonably confident that several of the buildings on this half block were here in the 1890s, but were initially numbered as 810, 812 and 814. They were occupied in 1895 by Alex Main, John McPherson, and David Main. Even earlier, in 1891, William Main was listed – but no numbers had been assigned to the street at that point. He was a seaman, aged 30, living with his wife Margaret (30) and two other relatives, James Main (a cousin, who was a carpenter, aged 21) and Alexander Main, also a seaman, 24, all born in Scotland.

They had arrived in 1889; in 1890 William was living on Prior Street, so the house looks to date from around then, and was the first on the block. In 1901 William was 42, a sailor, Margaret was 35, and they had two nephews living with them, Robert and James, aged 8 and 6 (both born in BC), and a lodging couple, Archibald (a tinsmith) and Jennie Bell, from Ontario. By 1911 the family had moved to Manitoba Street: William and Margaret added (or admitted to) a few more years – he was 57; Margaret was 51 and his brother, David was with them, as well as three nephews, and their daughter, Elizabeth, who was 15 and shown born in Scotland.

The next building to the north, 830 Gore, appeared as a house in 1895, with John McPherson, a carpenter, living there. In 1900 it was Edward Downing, a gas-fitter and in 1902 Harley Wylie. That suggested it might have been a rented property, but Harley owned it in 1911 when he added a $50 addition to the frame house that was here. Harley was from the US, and lived with his mother and sisters in 1901, when he was a 21 year old bottler, which was what he was still doing in 1911, working for the Pacific Bottling Works, run by William Quann, not too far from here, on Railway Street. In 1922 Ben Gerdo was here, but in 1923 R Leonard carried out $1,200 of alterations to the property – although there doesn’t seem to be anyone with that name in the city. By then there were Chinese residents on the block, and the directory tended to put either ‘Occupied’ or ‘Chinese’ – on properties, including this one, which after then had two addresses, so presumably two units.

802 Gore, which was a store, disappeared from the directories some time in the 1910s, (probably readdressed to Union Street) but the other three houses were here for decades. All the houses first appeared around 1901, and were probably approved just before the records we can easily access.

The houses gradually disappeared after this 1958 image. By 1962 the ends of the block had been demolished, and by the 1970s 806 had also gone. By 2003 only the two houses on either side of the lane were still standing, and in 2008 the three new houses to the south were developed, designed by Intarsia. In 2012 a second strata with five houses were built to the north of the lane, designed by Weidmann Architectural Design.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu P508.52


Posted February 13, 2020 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

700 Bute Street

This 1974 image shows two houses on the 700 block of Bute Street. The more obvious house dated back to 1898, while the one on the edge of the picture (on the corner of Alberni) was a year older. The numbering was initially thouroughly confusing; the house on the left was numbered as 744, and on the right (which should have a higher number) as 740. That would change around 1902, when it became 748.

Both houses were probably built by their initial occupants, who stayed in them for many years. The 1897 house on the left was home to Colonel Thomas H Tracey, the city engineer, while the slightly younger was home to W R Angus, described as a ‘traveller’.

In 1891 Tracy resigned his position as City Engineer of London (the smaller, Ontario version), in order to accept a similar post as City Engineer of Vancouver. As well as overseeing the construction of sewer and water supply systems throughout the city he designed public buildings like the West End School. In 1901 he was shown as aged 52, with his wife Sarah, who was 10 years younger. He was born in Ontario, but she was American. A daughter, S Louise, and a son, Thomas L, were at home with them, as well as Lilian Graves, who was 25, born in India, and unusually, listed by the census taker as ‘friend’.

Colonel Tracy was reported to have been dismissed from his City post in February 1905, possibly because he was already moonlighting, designing sewer systems for several other municipalities. He continued to work privately as a consulting engineer, advising on the design and installation of waterworks systems in Revelstoke, Kamloops, Vernon, Nanaimo, Ladner and other B.C. towns. He later served as an alderman on Vancouver City Council in 1921, and held the post of Chairman of the Civic Water Committee. This portrait was taken while he was a council member. He died on 31 October 1925 and was buried at Mountain View Cemetery.

William Angus was a little younger than his neighbour; he was 41 in 1901, and his wife Lizzie was 32. He was from Nova Scotia, and she was from New Brunswick. Their 3-year-old daughter was born in Ontario, and William’s brother-in-law, William Matthews lived with the family, as well as a domestic servant, Alice Major, who was from England and only 14 years old. Mr. Angus was variously described as a travelling salesman, and commission agent (which was effectively the same thing). In 1905 he had an office at 336 West Hastings, (which was the De Beck Block), and sold clothing. His employers were the Campbell Manufacturing Co of Montreal, who had a multi storey factory making men’s clothing “in sanitary conditions”.

The 1911 census shows William, Elizabeth and 13-year-old Muriel, Gordon and Stanley (who were eight, and presumably twins), Margaret Adams, their domestic, Irene Matta, his niece and Mary J Howard, a lodger. In 1913 the Daily World announced “Mr. W. R. Angus, 748 Bute street, one of Vancouver’s pioneers, died at the Bute street hospital this morning, after an illness extending over six weeks. The body has been removed to Center & Hanna’s undertaking rooms, and the funeral will be held Thursday afternoon from the family residence. Mr. Angus came to Vancouver thirty years ago, when it was hardly more than a clearing. He continued to live here until his death. He was a man of fifty – four years.” There’s no sign of him in the city before 1897, when he was living on Hornby Street, but he may have been a travelling salesman with only occasional visits to Vancouver. In 1871 he was aged 11, the fourth of Jeremiah and Catherine Angus’s ten children, in Pugwash, Cumberland Nova Scotia, but we haven’t found him in the 1881 or 1891 census records.

The Angus family occupied the same house for 40 years, but in 1938 the newspaper reported the death of “Elizabeth Ann, widow of the late William R. Angus in her 70th year”. During the war, Valerio Bissonnette lived in the Angus home, running it as a rooming house with his wife, Marguerite. In 1950 Cesidio Angelucci, who lived on East 7th, was running 744 as a rooming house, and Mrs. Helga May was running 748 as a rooming house. Miss Ella Stern, who was in charge of the fountain display at Purdy’s Café also lived here. In 1955 Leo and Dorothy Pierron, who also lived elsewhere, ran the rooming house at 744, while Mrs Helgo Gross, a widow ran apartments and rooms at 748, with Mrs. Paluline H Anderson (also a widow) in number 1, and Miss Joyce Carter, a clerk, in number 2.

Today there’s a 1980 office building that had additional retail space added in 2011, home to a large B C Liquor store.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-36


Posted February 10, 2020 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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