Archive for the ‘Gone’ Category

Gore Avenue – 600 block, west side

These three small houses, seen here in 1969, stayed for around century until the site was redeveloped in 2006. The developer had intended the building to be seniors rental, but went into receivership, and the City of Vancouver allowed  it to become a condo building called Strathcona Edge, after the units had sat vacant for three years.

The houses had been built early in the life of the new city – they were already developed on the 1889 insurance map. Early street directories identified who lived here, but no numbers had been allocated to the cottages. In 1891 Chas Macaulay, a fitter, Joseph Black, a clerk and Robert Brechin, a bookkeeper lived here. None of those names appeared in the 1889 directory, so all were probably newly arrived in the city. Remarkably, in a city where almost everybody moved around regularly, Robert Brechin was still here in 1901, listed as a teacher. He was aged 48, and had been born in India, arriving in Canada in 1888. His wife Maggie was 34, and from Nova Scotia, and they had three children aged 17 (already an engineer), 15 and 12, and a lodger, Arthur Critchlow, from England. The two older children had been born in Nova Scotia, but their daughter Katie had been born in Murrayville in BC. Robert taught at the Strathcona School, and in 1901 was paid 55 dollars a month. He died in 1905 (after the family had moved round the corner to Keefer Street) and the Mount Pleasant Advocate newspaper noted his death, identifying him as the Provincial Organizer of the Orange Order. He was also a Past Noble Grand of the International Order of Odd Fellows.

George Bingham, a 35 year old painter from London, England, who had arrived in Canada in 1886 lived next door with his wife Frances, and Ernest Wood, a 25-year-old hack driver from Ontario was in the third cottage with his wife, Mabel.

The building to the south was designed by Bird and Blackmore for Leon Way & Co in 1911, and Adkison & Dill built the $30,000 rooming house that year. To the north is the Stratford Hotel, developed by Mrs Walter Sanford at a cost of $100,000 in 1912.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-333

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Posted March 7, 2019 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

Granville Street – 600 block, east side (2)

This 1889 picture shows the sporadic development of the newly established Granville Street – the Canadian Pacific Railway flagship street, designed to pull the centre of the new City of Vancouver onto their land and away from the earlier Granville Township near the waterfront to the east. Development here was either initiated by the railway company itself (like the Opera House and Hotel Vancouver, close to here), or by individual directors commissioning office buildings. The largest building here is the New York Block, designed by Bruce Price of New York. We assume the railway negotiated a collective deal for the directors, as he designed six buildings here, all in 1888, four of them for CPR Directors. The wooden Banff Springs Hotel, which was commissioned by the CPR had opened in 1888; the first of Price’s Canadian buildings to be completed. Price went on to design New York skyscrapers that were much bigger – for a while the American Surety Company building built in 1894 was the tallest in the city. His work for CPR continued with the iconic Château Frontenac in Quebec City.

His client here was Sir George Stephen, a founding member of the CP Rail backers, and a prominent Canadian businessman. He made his fortune in Montreal and was the first Canadian to be elevated to the Peerage of the United Kingdom. The ‘Canadian Builder and Architect’ identified him as the developer of the building. Born in Scotland, the son of a carpenter, he left school at the age of fourteen to work variously as a stable boy, shepherd and in a local hotel. He apprenticed as a draper, then moved to London. In 1850 he moved to Canada, joining his cousin’s wholesale dry goods business business in Montreal. He took over after his cousin’s death in 1862, and sold out in 1867 having started a successful wool-importing company and also investing in other textile businesses. In 1866 he partnered with Donald Smith, his first cousin, in a number of new business ventures. By 1873, he had become a director of the Bank of Montreal, and three years later he was elected president. In 1877, Donald Smith introduced him to Canadian railway promoter James Hill, which led to the creation of George Stephen & Associates, one of the most profitable partnerships in the history of North American railways. Having successfully reorganized and expanded the St Paul Railway, the company were selected to develop the coast-to-coast rail link for Canada: Stephen became the first president of Canadian Pacific Railway in 1881, and despite cost overruns from numerous unanticipated engineering, business and political problems, successfully completed the track laying in 1885, with the first train arriving in Vancouver in 1887.

This was not the first foray into Vancouver real estate; in 1887 the Lady Stephen Block had been completed on West Hastings Street, designed by T C Sorby. For many years it was hidden under a sheet steel facade, but it has been restored to its original appearance. The New York Block was described in somewhat over-the-top style by the Daily World as “certainly the grandest building of its kind yet erected here, or for that matter in the Dominion”. You can see that in 1889 even grand buildings still had plank sidewalks and uneven unpaved streets in front. The building lasted until the early 1910s; the 1912 Insurance map noting “to be torn down and new bldg. erected”. The economic downturn and war got in the way, and it was eventually replaced with the current Hudson’s Bay store in the early 1920s.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Str N96

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Posted February 28, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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West Hastings Street – 500 block, north side

Across Seymour Street in this 1907 image, the Empire Building was completed in 1889, designed by C O Wickenden and developed by Canadian Pacific Railway surgeon J M Lefevre, a member of the first City Council in 1886. It was replaced in the 1970s by a rather curious public space with a glazed dome. Our ‘after’ shot is already out of date, as a new office tower is now under construction. It will feature an open area underneath to continue to offer a covered open space (and a café).

On the east side of the junction is the Molson’s Bank, built in 1898 and designed by Montreal architects Taylor and Gordon.

Closest to us is a small office building, first occupied by realtors Mahon, McFarland and Mahon in 1899. We’re not sure whether he was the developer, but by 1903 the owner was Judge Irving. Paulus Aemilius Irving was born in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1857, was called to the bar in 1880 in Newmarket, Ontario and came west in 1882 to Victoria where he became a noted judge. He married in Victoria in 1883, the same year he was appointed Deputy Attorney General for British Columbia. His wife had six children in eleven years (three dying as infants). In 1889 he became a judge for the B C Supreme Court. He hired Dalton & Eveleigh in 1903 to make $500 of alterations to the property, and it seems likely that W T Dalton designed the building. He had had also designed Edward Mahon’s house which was on Seaton Street (West Hastings today) where the Marine Building was later built, and the Mahon Block on West Hastings for them in 1902. So whether the Mahon’s or Judge Irving commissioned this building, we think it likely that Mr. Dalton was its architect.

David Spencer’s department store took over this block, although he never totally redeveloped the older buildings at this end. The Harbour Centre project replaced both the bank and Judge Irving’s building in 1976, with Simpson-Sears as the retail anchor. Their store occupied the lower floors of the new building adjacent to the Spencer’s department store that had been incorporated into the project. (Spencers became Eatons in 1948, but then moved out in 1972 to their new Pacific Centre Mall location).

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-566

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Posted February 21, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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567 Hornby Street

This is the Cave Building on Hornby Street in 1935. Not to be confused with the Cave Supper Club which was located a block away, this building got its name from its developer. Edward Cave-Browne-Cave, who was the manager of BC Assay and Chemical Supply Co. (a mining outfitter).

The Building permit was issued in 1912, and the architects were H L Stevens & Co. Edward was part of the British aristocracy; the first Baronet was Thomas Cave, a Royalist who fought in the English Civil War and appointed in 1641. Edward was born in Malvern, in 1879, the son of the Reverend Ambrose Cave-Browne-Cave. He moved to Canada in 1886, and arrived in Vancouver in 1901, moving to a house on the corner of Davie and Cardero where he lived with his wife Rachel for nearly thirty years. His business interests included President of the Glacier Creek Mining Co, and he was also President of the Vancouver Lawn Tennis Club.

(Another Edward Cave-Browne-Cave moved with his musical family to New Westminster in 1911, but while undoubtedly related, they are a different branch of the family).

BC Assay continued in business in the building through the 1920s, with Clement Cave-Browne-Cave becoming sales manager. (He was undoubtedly a relative, possibly born in Winnipeg, but not, we think, Edward’s son). In the 1930s he became manager, simplified his name to Cave (at least in the street directory) and the company became Cave & Company.

Today, the spot where the building stood is the lane between the 1995 YWCA Downtown building, and the 1999 Le Soleil Hotel.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 371-1340

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Posted February 18, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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219 and 221 Union Street

These two houses were built on Barnard Street, and demolished many years later on Union Street – (The street name was switched in 1911). The pink house on the left may be the older – there’s a house shown in the same position on an 1889 insurance map, and initially not numbered, although James Brooking was shown living here in 1890. A year later the compilers of the directory got thoroughly confused, listing the street as Bernard Street, and putting even numbered properties on the north side (which wasn’t generally the case). By 1894 they had that sorted out, and the numbering showed 213 Barnard on the left, vacant. and 215 Barnard on the right occupied by Sid and Levie Henry. A year later W T Farrall was in 213 and Amos Schorf in 215.

In 1896 John Rowell was at 213, and John Allen at 215. The regular occupancy changers suggests these were initially rented rather than owner occupied properties. For a number of years 213 disappeared completely, and the original house may have been demolished, or abandoned, but by 1901 that address was shown occupied by James Hogg, a teamster, then Robert Hogg, a laundryman a year later. The Hogg family are shown in the census; Robert was shown as a laundryman. The street directory said he worked for the Dominion Steam Laundry (which was on Powell Street). Before he moved to Barnard he was living on East Cordova. In 1901 he was shown aged 23 living with his wife Sarah, who was three years older. They were both from Ireland, and had arrived in Canada in 1899.

John Allen, now identified as a teamster, was still at 215. He was from Ontario, and was aged 50 in 1901. He had two daughters living at home with him, Bessie, who was 16, and Mary, 14. In 1903 number 213 became 219 with Robert Hogg still in residence, and John Allen still living next door, now numbered as 221. The Allens would stay at 215 for several more years, but the Hogg family moved out, replaced by Thomas Parry. The Parry family were from Wales, and all arrived in 1907, and this seems to have been their first home in Vancouver. Thomas was aged 45, and worked as a checker. His wife Alice was the same age, and their were four children at home aged between 15 and 21. Son Richard was a salesman, his sister, Mary, a bookkeeper, and the other two daughters, Dorothy and Gladys were all listed as ‘saleslady’. Gladys worked at David Spencer’s store – and it’s possible the other family members may have worked there too, as Spencer was also from Wales.

In 1911 John Allen was recorded by the census aged 55, and he now had a French born wife, Mary, 10 years younger. His daughters were no longer at home, but there were a lot of people sharing the house. Alex, James and Barney Paul, were roomers, and so too were Thomas Newland, James Watson and Alex Lambert. Lambert was the odd man out – he was English, and a prospector. The other lodgers were all Scottish, and all but one teamsters, like their host.

That year Barnard Street became Union Street, supposedly to avoid the potential confusion with Burrard Street. It nearly changed again seven years later when an Alderman proposed it should become Victory Street – but that change wasn’t supported. Why it got the name Union Street is unknown.

Over the years many other families occupied the houses, and the area changed character. Across the lane to the west a house that had been built in the early 1900s became a café – Vie’s Cafe, run by Vie Moore who was part of the city’s small black community, concentrated nearby including across the street to the south along Hogan’s Alley. The houses in our picture were however occupied in the mid 1950s by Chinese families; Lee Woo at 219 and Wong Hee Mun at 221. In fact, apart from a few commercial operations, this stretch of Union Street was predominantly Chinese.

Our before image dates from the 1970s, although it is wrongly identified as being Main Street in the Archives description. The site was cleared in the early 2000s, and in 2010 V6A was completed, a nine storey condo with retail along the street, including the Union Café that occupies the site of these houses.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-355

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Posted February 11, 2019 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

Burrard Street – 1200 block, north side (2)

We saw a different angle of this block in a much earlier post, as it appeared in 1914. Then the road was barely paved, and there were houses running down the hill beyond the three storey Burrard Court, built in 1911 by R Y Blackhall and designed for him by R V Pushaw, (who was also really a builder rather than an architect). Although Mr. Blackhall was identified in the 1911 census as a builder, he doesn’t appear to have obtained any permits to build anything except for himself. In 1910 Robert Blackhall was already shown as involved in real estate, rather than construction. He was aged 40, born in Caraquet, New Brunswick, like his wife Annie (born in Dalhousie Parish in Restigouche County). He hadn’t been in Vancouver for many years, as his daughters, aged 9 and 11 had also been born there.

While many abandoned the real estate business during and after World War I, Robert continued, partnering with Alexander Muir during the early 1920s, with offices on West Pender. By 1930 he was living in an apartment building on E 10th Avenue, and appears to have retired. Robert was nearly 80 when he died in 1949; Annie had died in 1923 aged 60. Burrard Court was replaced by Milano, a Paul Merrick designed condo building, completed in 1999.

On the corner of Davie Street today is the last operational gas station in the entire Downtown peninsula – and reported to have been sold for future redevelopment. Once upon a time there were at least 99 gas bars Downtown – including another immediately across Davie Street. Our 1981 image shows an earlier version of the Esso station here; the current version was built in 1995. Before the gas station was built there were stores with apartments above. In 1958 Cunningham Drugs occupied the corner store, as we saw in an earlier post.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W18.04

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Posted February 4, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Powell Street – 800 block, north side (2)

We saw both these buildings in earlier posts. The smaller three storey building that’s still standing today (to the west of the larger building) was developed by former CPR stores manager Richard Bowman in 1906. The adjacent larger building came five years later, again developed by Mr. Bowman. He occupied the upper floors as a storage warehouse, and leased the main and basement stores to a variety of tenants over the years. His son, Oscar took over the business, and commissioned another warehouse on East Hastings in the early 1920s, (although we’re fairly certain it was never built). From 1950 Bowman Storage also occupied premises across the street from this building.

In 1952 there was a significant fire that was captured in this Archives image. We’re guessing that the extensive rebuild needed after the fire was when the windows were bricked up. It’s surprising that there was anything remaining to rebuild; the Vancouver Sun reported that “Vancouver’s most expensive fire in two years raged out of control for six hours and 31 minutes in the heart of a waterfront industrial area Sunday causing $500,000 damage to a four-storey warehouse and surrounding buildings“.  The paper reported that at its height 375 firemen were fighting the fire, aided by the fireboat poring water onto the building from the harbour. “At one point firemen were forced to chop holes in the brick walls of the storage building to release water which had risen to window-sill depth on the second floor“. The newspaper reported the fire in great detail; “A dense pall of smoke hung over the entire downtown area Sunday. , Loss was mostly household furniture stored in the building. It was covered by insurance. Several hundred people had goods stored in the building.” “Efforts to raise ladders on five aerial trucks were hampered by trolley and electric wires at the scene.”

Although reported as a total loss, the building seen in the 1985 image appears to be the exact same as the original. It was eventually demolished some years after this picture was taken. After the site stood vacant for many years it was redeveloped in 2018 with a new storage warehouse, this one designed by Christopher Boyzic.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-0877 and CVA 447-171

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Posted January 17, 2019 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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