Archive for the ‘Mount Pleasant’ Category

2224 Alberta Street

This 1913 apartment building is today surrounded by industrial and commercial building. Sitting in what is now the Mount Pleasant Industrial Area, it’s only a block from the headquarters and laboratories of a major bio-tech company, and a block and a half from the offices of Best Buy Canada.

The architect was J Y McCarter, Dominion Construction were the builders for the $22,000 investment, and W G Elliott was the developer. In 1913 he was living at 226 W6th Avenue, which was the house that was on this lot before the apartments were built. The first resident here was in 1905, listed as W G Elliott, agent, and the 1903 permit for the house was issued to E M Elliott.

He had been in Vancouver since 1890, when he had rooms at the Leland Hotel, and worked for J. M. Holland & Co., a real estate company. In 1891 he was shown in the census as born in the US in 1862, although his death record shows he was William Gallogly Elliott, born in 1861. He married in 1893 to Eunice Madella Peet, who was 25 and from Braut Co, Ontario, while her husband was from Ohio. In 1893 W G Elliott threatened he would hold the City liable unless the snow was cleared off Cambie and Hastings Street near his property. No doubt Eunice was the E M Elliott who obtained the building permit for their 1903 house.

By 1894 W G was a newsagent and tobacconist on Cambie, living on Homer Street, and his first daughter, Carrie, was born almost exactly a year after his wedding. Alma followed in 1896, and the 1901 census showed a son – so new he was listed as ‘Baby Elliott’. He didn’t survive, but Hiller did, born in 1907. In 1910 William G Elliott was still listed as a newsagent, but in 1911 he was in real estate,

The building featured in The Vancouver Sun in January 1913, with expectations of completion by June. “In designing the building Mr. J. Y. McCarter, a Vancouver architect, has closely followed the colonial style of architecture, producing a most admirable as well as artistic effect. In all there will be twelve suites of three rooms each in the structure, four of which will be considered suites de luxe and will be elegantly equipped with disappearing beds. All, however, will contain individual telephones, tiled bath-rooms fitted with the latest inventions and will be hot-water heated by a most modern system. The usual decoration of British Columbia fir will be used for the panneling and other interior wood work. Elaborate decorations and flooring of marble and tile will be used in finishing the entrance. In the basement of the structure will be placed a laundry, locker rooms for each tenant and a janitor’s comomdious and comfortable living quarters

In 1914 Alma Court was listed for the first time in the street directory, showing 10 apartments on 2 floors, and initially a basement unit as well. That reappeared later, with 12 apartments on two floors. William continued to be shown living at 226 W 6th, even though it had been demolished to develop the apartments, but in 1917 the directory clerk corrected that to 222 W 6th, (so he was living next door). In a change of occupation, he was shown as working as a farmer in 1916 and again in 1921. We’re not certain what happened to the family after this. One daughter, Alma Elliott married Leopold Miller in 1921 in Los Angeles. Earlier that year Carrie Elliott had married Lorne McIntosh, in Vancouver.

W G Elliott is shown farming in Richmond in 1925, and Mrs. W G Elliott won a prize for her eggs and was shown resident in Eburne (which was where Richmond residents were listed in the early 1920s). Whether it’s the same W G Elliott we can’t be sure, but it seems likely as Mr. Elliott advertised both livestock and real estate from his ‘Bridge No. 1’ Eburne address during the 1920s and early 1930s. The family were still in Vancouver in 1933 when Eunice Elliott’s father passed away, aged 88, and the couple had moved to E 29th Avenue, where William was shown as retired. In 1934 Mrs. W G Elliott was noted as having returned from Glendale, California, where she spent the winter with her daughter. In 1939 she took another trip to California with her other daughter and son-in-law.

In 1936 William wrote a letter to the press from his home, back at 222 W 6th Avenue. He advocated construction of a highway to gainfully employ the thousands of unemployed, and (in a thoroughly modern suggestion) answered the question ‘how do we pay for this?’ answered simply ‘print the money as required’. William died in 1943, and in 1945 Eunice took a trip ‘by aeroplane’ with her daughter for two months, visiting her other daughter, and to Palm Springs. She was living there when she died in 1947, as was her son Hillier.

Over the years the apartment building had a few tenants who made the papers. There were three different tenants with DUI charges, and in 1946 a tenant was driving a car that struck and killed a pedestrian – but he was not charged in that case. In 1961 another tenant received a 2 year prison term for passing $152 of forged cheques. In 1976 Gregory Baumeister stood trial for possessing a pipe bomb that police found when they raided his apartment here. An electrical technician aged 19, he was found guilty and sentenced to 9 months in prison.

In 1966, and into 1967 the building was offered for sale at $75,900, with a rent roll of $10,500. In 1973 it was offered for sale as 13 suites, with the adjacent lot, for $150,000 ($17,000 down payment). Our picture was taken in 1978. It was offered again in 1982 for $299,000 – said to be land value. The gross rent was $32,000, and expenses estimated at $11,000. ‘Level – easy to build on’. Either it didn’t sell, or was flipped – a year later in July 1983 it was $379,000, although rent was only $1,000 more. It had dropped to $319,000 in November ‘best deal in town’ – (although the building ‘needs some work’) and the rent roll now brought in $37,000.  It was offered for sale as a development site again more recently at $4,500,000, and today has an assessed value of just over $7,500,000 (although the building is only valued at $20,000) – a number that would have shocked William Elliott.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 786-41.01



Posted 19 September 2022 by ChangingCity in Mount Pleasant, Still Standing

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2196 Columbia Street

This modest wooden Mount Pleasant church is seen here in a 1970s image. Unusually, we admit to processing the ‘before’ picture slightly, as the image was very dark and slightly discoloured on the Archives website, and hard to make out. The church dated from 1928 when it was erected by the United Church as a mission. While the Japanese community based on Powell Street was well known, and has been mentioned on this blog many times, there was another Mount Pleasant community that’s less well known.

The Japanese community here mostly worked in the sawmills and the other industries along the south shore of False Creek. In 1921, the Powell Street Church board agreed to set up a second mission in Fairview, and rented part of a grocery store at Yukon and West 4th Avenue. The Japanese United Church record that “In 1928, the United Church purchased property at the corner of West 6th Avenue and Columbia Street for the mission. A new building was constructed through a grant of $5,000 from the WMS, $4,000 from the Board of Home Missions, and $2,000 from the Japanese community. The new church was known as the Fairview Japanese Mission, and was always considered an off-shoot of the “Mother Mission” on the corner of Powell and Jackson.”

The Building Permit in 1928 reflects the budget; submitted by the United Church of Canada, G E Copeland was the builder of the $9,000 new church. George was a carpenter who previously had been a chemist in a chemical company. He and his wife Edna were from Ontario, and they had two of Edna’s young relatives, Esther and Evelyn McGill, born in Manitoba, living with them in 1921. We know their father had died in 1912, and their mother may have died in 1916. There’s no reference to any architect associated with the construction.

The new church flourished: “in 1933, in addition to Sunday worship, English night school and midweek prayer meetings, children and youth activities flourished: there were 214 in the Sunday school, 70 in the Saturday school and 55 mothers in the Kindergarten PTA“. Once the Japanese were forced to leave the Lower Mainland in the early 1940s, the Woman’s Missionary Society had a kindergarten here. St Giles church at W10th and Quebec held their Sunday School here until 1949, the year the Board of Home Missions renovated the building and reopened it as the Columbia Street Mission – no longer a Japanese congregation. In 1955, the English-speaking congregation of the Vancouver Japanese United Church began sharing the building with the Columbia Street congregation, worshiping here in the evenings. By 1958, both English- and Japanese-speaking congregations were worshiping here, before moving to Renfrew United Church in 1962. The Columbia Street congregation disbanded in 1969, and the building was sold and demolished in 1977.

The single-storey industrial building that replaced it was completed in 1984. Today the area is seeing huge change as high-tech and bio-tech businesses are moving in, with many new hybrid multi-storey industrial/office projects being developed. It seems likely that a modest low density building like this will be redeveloped.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1135-32


Posted 14 October 2021 by ChangingCity in Gone, Mount Pleasant

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Arcadian Hall – Main Street

The Arcadian Hall on Main Street burned down in 1993, the victim of arson. It started its life in 1904 as the new hall for the local branch of The Oddfellows, in the rapidly-growing suburb of Mount Pleasant, some way from Downtown, over a bridge, but served with a tramcar that ran up Westminster Avenue. The 1904 permit identified the architect of the $6,000 frame hall as L H McKay, and the builder as ‘day labour’. This is the only building he designed, and we suspect Mr. McKay was almost certainly a member of the Oddfellows, rather than anybody with an architectural background. Nobody with those initials was listed as living in Vancouver. The VPL Image on the right shows the building in 1908.

The IOOF lodge #19 owned the building until  December 1955 when they moved to the Knights of Pythias Hall on East 8th. It was renamed the Arcadian Hall in 1946,and became a venue for music – starting with ‘old time dancing’ three days a week in the late 1940s. The Museum of Vancouver has an early Neon Products script sign for the hall which had a sprung dance floor, making it a popular venue. Downstairs was the Arcadian Coffee Shop. By the 1980s the hall was home to hundreds of all ages gigs by visiting acts as well as local bands like Pointed Sticks and DoA. Our image shows it in 1985. When it burned down it was owned by the Finlandia Club of Vancouver, who used as a social and cultural gathering centre for people of Finnish descent. It was also home to the Main Dance Place, a dance academy for professional and advanced dancers. The venue was also used by the Fringe Festival in the early 1990s.

The site has been vacant since the fire, used for a time as a car dealership. Now there are plans to redevelop the site, and the adjacent building, with a retail and condo building called Main St. Arts.


Posted 11 March 2021 by ChangingCity in Gone, Mount Pleasant

280 East 6th Avenue

This brick building, constructed over a stone base, dates back to 1903. The wall shows the painted name of Fell’s Candy Factory, and B F Fell carried out alterations when he supposedly moved his business here in 1919. He obtained a permit for the work that year, and his name is on the building, but the business was never listed in the street directory. 280 East 6th is missing as an address in 1920, and the building was listed as vacant in 1921 and 1922, although Benjamin Fell, a confectioner, was living on Collingwood Avenue.

The building was developed by Vancouver Breweries, Ltd in 1903, and the permit shows G Marshand as the designer and J Bryhuskin building the $8,000 building. We’re reasonably certain that was Otto Marstrand, who was a partner in the brewery with Charles Doering. Quite who the builder was we’re not sure. Bryhuskin isn’t a name, as far as we can tell. A guess would suggest perhaps F W Brightenstein, who was a contractor, or Charles Brusatore, who worked for Vancouver Breweries. One report says Mr. Gellarchaud was supervising architect – but again, nobody of that name (or anything close) shows up in the city. The building had an ice-making plant (for lager production) and a bottle-washing plant.

Otto Marstrand arrived from Denmark and become a partner in Doering’s Brewer in 1892, (while Charles was German, and had been in BC since 1879, initially in Victoria). Otto’s experience was as managing director of a large Danish brewery, and his partnership in Vancouver Breweries was to brew Alexandria Lager – or perhaps Alexandra – using Okanagan barley. (both these ads appeared in 1901). It was described as “a pure, wholesome beverage, and contains no harmful ingredients. It is highIy recommended as a tonic for weak and debilitated people.” When this building was constructed Otto had just bought a house on the 800 block of West Hastings overlooking Burrard Inlet. He sold the house to The Terminal City Club in 1909, who in turn sold it to the Metropolitan Building Co.

We know very little more about him; while there were several Otto Marstrands in Copenhagen he seems to have evaded any census while he lived in Canada. Because we can find his son, Jens, we think we found the family in Copenghagen in 1890. Otto was 41, his wife Dorthea (Lund) was 30, and they had six children aged between 6 and 12, with Jens aged 9.

In 1906 Otto was made Danish consul, and the news report noted that he was from ‘one of the oldest families in Denmark’, and that his cousin was mayor of Copenhagen. That year we know his business interests included the building where the Atlantic Saloon was located. We know her had at least two children; Karen, who trained as a nurse in 1901, and a son, Jens, who moved to Tacoma, where he was a farmer where he died in 1933, aged 52. Otto returned to Denmark in 1906, following an auction sale of the particulars of his house, including “valuable furniture, pony and trap, buggy, dog cart, horse, pool table, etc, etc.’ He died there ‘of heart trouble’ in 1911. His son Jens married in Los Angeles in 1907, and died in Pierce County, Washington in 1933.

The building was briefly home to the Purity Dairy, run by Frank Musgrave, but it was empty again in 1930. In 1934 Canadian Aviation used the building, and in 1935 the Canada Grease Works, with Theo Clarke managing, moved in, staying for at least a decade. Stucco Supply also occupied the premises through the 1940s, which was split into two. By 1955 Utility Containers occupied one unit, and James T Leigh’s Leigh Holdings the other. He was a manufacturer’s agent, although we don’t know what items he sold – but we do know his wife was Flossy. Their daughter, Verdun Perl lived in London in the 1950s, and had previously been a violinist in the VSO. She was born during the First World War while her father was fighting in Europe, and had grown up in Cowley in southern Alberta. Maso Import China took over around 1966, and from the 1970s the building was mostly unused. Our image dates from the 1980s, not too long before Kasian Kennedy designed the residential conversion of the building into 14 strata artist live-work studios, with a third storey added, completed in 1993.


Posted 4 March 2021 by ChangingCity in Mount Pleasant, Still Standing

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200 East 7th Avenue

An industrial building was erected here in 1910 for the Vancouver Breweries Ltd. It was designed by Dalton and Eveleigh, and Smith and Sherborne built it for $10,000. In 1912 a ‘reinforced concrete engine room’ was added at the cost of a further $10,000. In 1915 the operation here was identified as ‘BC Breweries’. This was a holding company established by Henry Reifel, covering Vancouver Breweries, Union Brewing (in Nanaimo), Canadian Brewing and Malting and Pilsner Brewing of Cumberland. Reifel had acquired Doering and Marstrand’s Vancouver Breweries, (the company that brewed here), and moved brewing operations to his new Yew Street brewery that he developed in 1912. That same year British interests acquired the company, but it was technically bankrupt by 1915. It continued operating, and Henry Reifel returned in 1918 to run the reorganized British Columbia Breweries (1918) Ltd. (It’s operations were somewhat limited as from 1917 to 1921 BC was theoretically ‘dry’). In 1923 it was renamed as Brewers & Distillers of Vancouver. Henry Reifel remained president until 1933.

The building that was here weren’t part of brewery operations once prohibition was introduced in 1917. It was vacant in 1918, and in 1919 Auto Maintenance Co were tenants. In 1920 it was rebuilt to its current design as a garage. The permit says it by Canadian Breweries Ltd, who hired James Kelly to carry out the $20,000 of construction, although no architect was identified. The street directories don’t list any business called Canadian Breweries in Vancouver, and once completed this building was listed as ‘Ye Olde Brewery Garage’, a business run by Harry Stone. Our best guess is that this was never associated with the brewery business, but was a redevelopment and reuse of the old brewery premises by Henry Reifel’s Canadian Brewing and Malting (who also had James Kelly as designer and contractor of their $70,000 Yew St brewery addition in 1913). Joseph Weetman took over running Ye Olde Brewery Garage in 1922.

In 1925 The Crescent Motor Co were based here, run by W H & A S Johnston, with Reliance Auto Painting at the back. Crescent were a dealership promising ‘Special Values in Used Cars’. They stayed here until the early 1930s, but by 1935 had been replaced with Caleb  Deeming’s gas and oil station, and the Sawdust Fuel Co, (which sounds like a dangerous mix of businesses). (Caleb’s son Al also ran a gas station on Main Street a few years later). Campbell Motors had their garage operations here in 1940 (and a showroom on Kingsway), and Reliance shared the rear of the premises with Golightly Machine Works. The businesses at the rear were still there at the end of the war, but Canadian Mixermobile, manufacturers had taken over the garage.

This was a wartime business – in 1945 they had an order worth over $5 million to supply 250 cranemobiles and 750 lodormobiles for the British Army. “The company has already shipped 440 cranemobiles and 50 lodormobiles, worth $2,000,000. Cranemobiles and lodormobiles are both rubber-tired gasoline vehicles. The former is equipped with a crane and the latter with a hydraulic lift.”. In 1947 they were replaced by Johnston Motor Truck and Repair, who were still here in the 1950s. In our early 1980s picture B&D Autobody were operating here, and they were still here in the early 2000s when the building was included in a condo project called District.

After restoration new tenants moved in; the Main Street Brewing Co. Although the building had been developed by a brewing company, as far as we can tell this was the first time the building was actually associated with brewing.


Posted 1 March 2021 by ChangingCity in Mount Pleasant, Still Standing

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Main Street and West Broadway – south-west corner

Here’s a 1985 view that hasn’t really changed a lot in the nearly 36 years since our picture was taken. The building on the south-west corner of Main and West Broadway was still a branch of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Completed in 1953, we’re reasonably certain that McCarter and Nairne were the architects. They designed a very similar building for the bank in 1950, on West Hastings, and also designed a larger Downtown branch in 1957, on Granville Street. The first bank here had been built for the Bank of Commerce in 1921, designed by W F Gardiner. Most recently there’s been a Tim Horton’s here, but the building was also a loonie store and a showroom for condo developments in recent years.

To the south along Main Street was a single storey retail building that had been built in 1929 by C Anderson for $5,000. A fire destroyed it in 2011, and it was replaced with another single storey (and mezzanine) building, completed in 2013. They had originally been developed in 1911 by A F McKinnon. Further south the flanking wall of Belvedere Court can be seen, an apartment building built in 1912 to Arthur J Bird’s design for D E Harris. Along West Broadway there are a series of single storey retail buildings, the oldest from 1926, and the most recent (today), next to the bank, completed in 1994. The two storey building with a bay window that was replaced had also been developed by A F McKinnon, in 1906. He owned and developed several other properties in this part of Mount Pleasant, including the Broadway Rooms two blocks to the north.

We know he was a local resident as the Mount Pleasant Advocate, in 1904, reported that “Little Alice, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. J. McKinnon, while playing yesterday fell from a pile of lumber and broke her right arm. Dr. Brydon-Jack was summoned and put the injured member in plaster-paris.” Mr. McKinnon ran a confection manufacturing business, and lived on W 10th Avenue with Alexander McKinnon, who was in real estate. We suspect they were father and son, and both called Alexander. The 1901 census shows A F McKinnon, born in Ontario, aged 62, who was involved in lumber and his son A J McKinnon, aged 24, born in the US, and a book keeper. His son’s wife, from Ontario, was also listed as A J McKinnon, and they had two daughters, Alice and Francis. A F McKinnon’s other daughter, Fannie aged 28 and also born in the US, also lived in the household. The street directory shows A F McKinnon in real estate.

By 1921 Alice was a nurse, still living with her parents and five siblings. Her father, Alexander was aged 43; he was born in the USA, but his father was Canadian. His wife, Mary, was born in Ontario, and her father was English as were both their mothers. Alice was the oldest still at home, at 22, and had been born in BC, so the family had been in the Province from the 1890s. Alexander was shown arriving in Canada in 1897, and was listed in the street directory as ‘real estate’, but intriguingly in the census as ‘chauffeur, automobile’. 

All the buildings from Belvedere Court northwards will soon be demolished, including the ones along Broadway. In 2025 the new extension of Skytrain will have a station at the corner, and in the meantime the site will be a large construction site to allow the station construction. The tunneling will be carried out by two passes of a boring machine, so disruption should be less than when the Canada Line was built. 


Posted 14 January 2021 by ChangingCity in Broadway, Mount Pleasant

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2345 Main Street

This building on the corner of Main and East 8th Avenue has been around for over a century. Today it’s home to the Goh Ballet, but when it was built in 1912 at a cost of $42,000 it was a branch of the Royal Bank, designed by Thomas Hooper. The bank operation here lasted for decades, but closed by the 1970s. It’s seen here in 1976. The Goh Ballet moved into the building in 1985.

The Neoclassical design was constructed in glazed terra cotta which was manufactured and numbered offsite and then assembled onsite. Hooper designed another similar branch for the Royal Bank in the same year. That almost identical design was built on Granville Street in Fairview, although the bank operations moved to a different building in the 1950s.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-233


Posted 2 July 2020 by ChangingCity in Mount Pleasant, Still Standing

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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 27 February 2020 by ChangingCity in Gone, Mount Pleasant

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Looking north from Cambie Street

The City’s viewcones, that protect views of the mountains from selected spots, get a negative review from some of the city’s architects and developers. Buildings have to be shorter, or their shape altered to avoid blocking parts of the view. The most extreme example was the Trump Tower, that was designed to twist out of the way of the viewcone. Here’s the view north from Cambie at West Broadway. The picture is from further down Cambie than from where the view is protected, but the same mountains are involved.

The before picture is dated somewhere between 1960 and 1980. Off in the distance is the tower of Granville Square, completed in 1972, and on the left is the concrete bunker of the CBC Building, completed two years later. Although the Harbour Centre is now a very obvious element of the city skyline from this spot, it’s not showing in the image. It was completed in 1976, so we can pin the picture down to around 1974 or early 1975. That’s the older Cambie Bridge, on a slightly different alignment, replaced in 1985 with the new box girder structure.

This bonus 1976 image shows that the view of Downtown from the east sidewalk (nearly at 12th Avenue) has almost completely disappeared when the trees are in leaf – here in in the fall. That’s the VanCity office building, (now owned by the City of Vancouver), under construction, with a steel frame. Although that type of construction might suggest greater seismic performance, the building has recently had a comprehensive retrofit with angled steel bracing on the outside to improve its seismic rating.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-275


Posted 18 March 2019 by ChangingCity in Altered, Mount Pleasant

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 5 February 2018 by ChangingCity in Gone, Mount Pleasant

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