Archive for the ‘Gone’ Category

1915 and 1925 Pendrell Street

These two houses were replaced by Gilmore Court in 1981 – a condo building with a decorative eastern front, and a distinctly plainer western end. When this image was photographed in 1968, an earlier rental building with the same name took up the lot to the east. The houses, and the apartment building were demolished to make way for the larger 44 unit condo.

By 1910 there were three houses on the lot; (the two in the picture and one that was built on the lane). The first to be built was 1923 Pendrell, the house on the left, (numbered as 1925 when this photo was taken). We know it was the first, because it was the only house standing shown on the 1903 version of the insurance map. Development in this part of the West End wasn’t fast – there was only one other house on the entire city block that year. A second home was also given a permit in 1903, but the first was issued to ‘O Mitchell’ – who owned, designed and built it. It cost $1,400, while the second, owned and built by Robert Kerr only cost $200. On that basis we think Mr. Kerr’s home was the second, laneway house, while the Mitchell house was the first. Although nobody called Mitchell had the initial ‘O’ in the city in 1903, the street directory shows carpenter Robert Kerr lived at 619 Hamilton Street, and so did another carpenter, Andrew Mitchell. That’s why we surmise he was a friend of Mr. Kerr, and built the house on the left of the picture, in spring 1903. Robert Kerr built the second house on the back of the lot, later that year. In 1907 a second house appeared on the street, 1915 Pendrell, and as it’s was in the ‘lost permit’ period, we don’t know who built it, although Mr. Mitchell was still in the city, and still building houses (but so was Robert Kerr, although he had moved to Point Grey).

Andrew Mitchell was aged 35 in 1903, and like his wife Mary was from Ontario. They had two children, and Andrew was listed as a builder in the city in the 1911 census. His brother James, a plasterer, and sister-in-law lived with the family on West 10th Avenue, on the corner with Birch. Robert Kerr also came from Ontario, so he may have known Andrew Mitchell before they came to Vancouver.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1348-15

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Posted May 23, 2019 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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Gilford Court – 1125 Gilford Street

These two buildings look quite similar, but one is an early rental building, and the other a more recent condo. Cyril Tweedale was the developer: an investment broker and realtor who hired architects Sharp & Thompson to design the $33,000 investment property. It was completed in 1912, and it was the first structure built on the site as this end of the West End took some years to build out. It was developed by the London and Western Canada Investment Co, where Cyril Tweedale was managing director. We looked at Cyril’s history in connection with the Tweedale Block he built on East Hastings. The Investment Company were involved in both finance and insurance, specializing in handling transactions for English investors. Rents were advertised from $37.50 for a 5-room suite.

The building was demolished in 1981, (in the days when rental properties weren’t protected) and in 1984 a new Gilford Court appeared. This is a 44 unit condo building. In 1984 they cost from $72,900 – although financing that year cost over 10%. Today 2-bed units sell at over $900,000.

Image source: Jan Gates, on flickr.

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Posted May 20, 2019 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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Richards Street – 700 block, east side (2)

We looked at the buildings to the north of here in the previous post. Here are several modest buildings, of which two (for now) are still standing. On the left is a three storey commercial building, 726 Richards, built in 1923 by B C Stevens Co. They were a medical supply company who had operated in the city for many years, and more accurately they were the Stevens (B.C.) Company Limited. Before they developed this building they were based in the main floor of the Passlin block, three doors down the street. The company opened its first office in Western Canada in 1889 in Vancouver under the direction of George Stevens, a son of the founder of the business. The Contract Record of 1 August 1923 referenced that “Work is to start at once on a store and warehouse, to cost $20,000, at 730-748 Richards St.; owners, B. C. Stevens Co Ltd., Vancouver; architect, Franklin Cross, 448 Seymour St., Vancouver”. The address was a bit inaccurate; the building permit identifies 730 Richards. It’s possible that the single storey 738 Richards was part of the same development – the two structures share a single lot. Next door at 742 Richards was another single storey commercial building. In 1920 owner A L Hood hired A E Henderson to carry out alterations to the property there costing $2,500, but we don’t know if the single storey building is the result of that investment, or a later development.

The four storey building on the right of the picture (748 Richards) was developed by Albert J Passage and Oliver Tomlin (hence Passlin). Albert was President of the Western Canada Trust Company, worth over $300,000 before its collapse in 1913. He was an American, born in Clairmont, Minnesota, and he moved to Canada in 1892. In 1901 was in Yale, working as a clerk in the railroad office. In 1909 he was in Vancouver, working as an accountant for the Great Northern Transfer Co. His success in real estate was fast; he only formed the Financial and Real estate brokerage with Oliver Tomlin around 1910. By 1911 he was living with his wife Mary, from New Brunswick, their 3-year-old son, Victor, her father, Goodwin Passage, and her brother, Ray Passage.

With the collapse of the real estate business, and a war hitting the national economy, Albert, Mary and their son emigrated to the USA in 1916. By 1930 they were living in Mount Vernon, Westchester, New York, and had another son, Douglas, aged 8, who had been born in New York.

We’re reasonably certain Oliver Tomlin was from England, although he appears to have been missed in the 1911 Census. He shows up in Vancouver around 1908, when he was a shipper with the Albion Iron Works. A year later Passage and Tomlin were in the real estate business, with a series of permits for houses, and just one in 1910 for a larger building, this four storey apartment building on Richards, costing $35,000 and designed by W M Dodd. They sold their development to a real estate syndicate they had put together, with significant British money involved (shown by this article in the London Daily Standard from 1911). The headline shows that property bubbles are not new in the city.

By 1911 Oliver Tomlin was living in the Atlin Block on West Pender. The building in our image was known as the Passlin Hotel. (Given the conjunction of the names for this building, it seems a reasonable conjecture that Mr. Tomlin might have also developed the Atlin Block with a different partner). In 1917 Oliver Tomlin, and his English wife Louisa also emigrated to The USA, and in 1930 were living in Los Angeles. We’re reasonably confident this is the same Mr. Tomlin who was working as the Manager of a Real Estate Finance Company (and that’s why we think he was originally English)’

The Passlin block was demolished and redeveloped in 2007 as part of the L’Hermitage development which also has a hotel, two-storey retail and a condo tower. The Passlin, which was operating as an SRO hotel, was redeveloped as Doug Story Apartment residences, with 46 units managed by Coast Mental Health, named after an SRO resident who was a member of the Coast Resource Centre from 2001 until his death in 2006. The City of Vancouver made a small grant (of $720,000) to help fund the building, but most of the capital cost was carried by the developers, who received additional residential density for the tower. They then gave the building to the City of Vancouver as an air right parcel.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E09.36

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Richards Street – 700 block, east side (1)

Here’s a view south from West Georgia of the east side of Richards. Today it’s one of the more obvious candidates for a commercial tower, with a temporary surface parking lot on most of the site. In 1981 it still had buildings, and the user of the corner was the same then as up to last year. Budget car rental was operating in a 1948 art deco building originally designed as a car showroom for Colliers Motors.

Collier’s were a Chevrolet-Oldsmobile dealership, and Watson and Baxter were the architects; (Joseph F Watson and James Baxter). The building was one of the most flamboyantly designed streamline moderne buildings the city had seen, as this 1949 VPL image shows.

Collier’s Motors closed down in the late 1950s, and by 1981 when our phote was taken Budget car rental had taken over the lot, and the building became their office. Budget later moved across the lane, and the Colliers building became a Fido cellphone store, before it was demolished in 2007. The demolition permit was issued while the City’s workforce were on strike, and so a potential heritage designation was never considered. Ironically, that ensured that only commercial uses can be considered for the site in future, as heritage or existent non-market housing buildings are the only justifications for allowing residential development in this part of the CBD.

Next door to the 1948 building, down Richards, was the Burrard Hotel, at 712 Richards. It was designed by Dalton and Eveleigh for E E Hewson (who was an absentee owner, working as a lawyer in Nova Scotia) which opened in 1910 as the St Regis Hotel. Beyond that was a smaller hotel at 722 Richards. It was developed in 1923 by John Murchie, a tea merchant who ran his business here, while his family lived upstairs. In 1964 it became home to the William Tell restaurant, run by Swiss-born Erwin Doebeli. The restaurant moved to Beatty Street in 1983, and the site has been cleared for many years, although surrounded by new office towers it probably won’t stay that way for too long.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA Str P23

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Pacific Palisades – Alberni Street

The major redevelopment of this block took place in 1969. Bing Marr Architects designed two residential rental towers (off the picture, to the right), and this office building that had an entrance on Bute Street. (We’re looking along Bute Street from Alberni). The North American Life Assurance Co were the developer, and the two 23 storey residential towers were a significant change in scale from earlier residential buildings – houses in this stretch of Robson and Alberni.

The office building lasted a relatively short time. It was still standing in this 1981 image, with the 1967 Blue Horizon Hotel that’s on the same block showing behind. By 1996 it had been replaced with James Cheng’s circular 32 storey condo buildings. The two original rental residential towers were converted in 1984 to the Pacific Palisades Hotel, only to be converted once again in 2009 back to rental apartments.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W10.10

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Posted April 25, 2019 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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Richards Street – 1300 block, east side

Today there are two newly completed residential towers on this block in Downtown South. There are now very few remaining commercial and warehouse buildings in an area that was once dominated by modest industrial premises. At the far end of the street there was a storage warehouse, which we think dated from the mid 1920s. Johnston Storage were first in the building in 1926, and remained there for decades. Later the building was used as mini-storage before being redeveloped in 2016 as a rental podium and condo tower.

The building closest to us, on the corner of Drake Street, almost certainly dates back to the mid 1910s. A broker, Cecil Merritt, hired H L Stevens and Co to design and build a $35,000 Factory/Warehouse in 1913. It was vacant in 1914, but in 1915 MacLarens Laurentia Milk Co occupied the corner. Their dairy operated in Abbotsford, but they supplied the entire Lower Mainland. By 1918 the building was occupied by the Lake of The Woods Milling Co. They were an eastern brand, selling the Five Roses brand of flour, and they continued to occupy the building for decades. In the 1950s they were swallowed by another milling company, the Ogilvie Flour Mills Co, who sold their Vancouver warehouse in 1972, and the building was re[purposed as office space.

Next door, the single storey building was the location of the J Fyfe Smith Company, dealers in hardwoods and carriage building supplies. They appeared at this location in 1911, with a yard and lumber store, and were still running a wholesale lumber business here in 1955 when the single storey building was constructed. J Fyfe Smith came from Australia where he had learned the timber trade. In 1904 he bought the hardwood lumber business of A P May & Company, established around 1900; before that hardwood for Vancouver and Victoria, had been supplied principally from San Francisco. Last year Wall Financial completed a 43 storey residential tower, initially to be a condo tower but now offered as rental units.

Inage source: City of Vancouver Archivers CVA 779-E07.36

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Posted April 22, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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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

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Posted April 18, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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