Archive for the ‘Still Standing’ Category

316 and 324 Powell Street

This pair of rooming houses were both built in 1912, and are seen here in a Nikkei Museum collection photo, which incorrectly suggests the picture dates from 1925; it’s likely to have been taken over a decade later. The car looks like a late 1930s Buick, and the building on the right of the picture, the Fuji Chop Suey restaurant, was only completed in 1931. The picture is additionally misleading because the third building in the row, the King Rooms, has been cropped out of the photo, although it was developed in 1912 in the same year as the two buildings shown.

This image shows both stores of Furuya Shoten at 318 and 324 Powell Street. The clothing store at 318 Powell Street displays women’s clothing on the right side of the window and men’s on the left. The goods store at 324 Powell Street displays Japanese staples in the large window and barrels of Japanese staples in the other. Beside the store is an entrance way to the Lion Rooms upstairs, and the Furuya Co. clock is hanging on the third floor level.

Today both the rooming houses shown in the earlier image operate under one name, the Lion Rooms, but earlier there were two establishments, the Lion Rooms and the Burrard Rooms (on the left). No proprietors were listed for the Burrard Rooms when they opened – they were just listed as ‘Japanese Rooms’, but the Lions Rooms were shown as being run by S Fukumura. Initially C Hagiwara, a watchmaker worked here, and S Kato, a shoemaker as well. The Powell Pool Room was next door, with the Yuen Lee laundry operating at the back of the property. The Nikkei Museum says that Ichiji Sasaki built one of the biggest bathhouses, the Matsuno-yu at 318 Powell Street in July 1916. It cost $4,600 to build and was ‘elaborate and popular’.

Interestingly, these buildings weren’t developed by Japanese investors; the 1912 permit for 316 was for N Symonds design for Mah, Sam  Yuen. It cost $23,000 and was built by R G Wilson & Co. Next door at 324 the same developer and architect had got their permit for a $25,000 building a few months earlier, and Norman Symonds also designed the King Rooms, and R G Wilson built it for $22,500. L A Lewis was the developer.

We’re not sure if the Sam Yuen who was an active Vancouver developer as early as 1899 is related – he protested to the courts when the health officer of the day wanted to burn one of his Chinatown properties. It’s quite possible as he came here from Guangdong Province in China to help build the Canadian Pacific Railway. When these buildings were developed, Mah Sam Yuen was Manager of King Fong Co, and dealt with their financial transactions. He gave evidence (through a translator) to a 1910 Inquiry “regarding Chinese merchants attempting to enter Canada on Empress of China”. A recent profile of his grandson (who lives and works in Hong Kong, but who studied at UBC,) describes Mah Sam Yuen as ‘an entrepreneur who looked for business opportunities in both the U.S. and Canada’. The attempted move of Chinatown to Franklin Street in 1912 also saw investment there by Mah Sam Yuen & Co, whose offices were then identified as being located on on Carrall Street. A 1929 US Court case saw Mah Sam Yuen givi ng evidence to support a fellow Chinese merchant in Seattle, who was fighting deportation. The evidence reveals that Mah Sam Yuen was also known as Mah Ai Joon (his married name), and that he was still manager of the King Fung Store.

L A Lewis was probably a New Westminster mill owner, Lewis Allen Lewis, from Ontario who was owner of the Brunette Saw Mills. (No doubt to avoid confusion, he was known as L Allen Lewis). Norman Symonds was a relatively unknown architect, but over a brief period designed quite a few buildings constructed in the tail end of the early 1900s boom. He formed a partnership with W S Duncan, who moved to Vancouver from Calgary in 1912. He was from Ontario and lived with his wife, two children and three lodgers on Pender Street in 1911.

In 1919 S Misme sold cigars under the Lion Rooms, while Mrs K Ushijima had a dry goods store next door at 324 Powell, under the Burrard Rooms numbered as 324 1/2. The King Rooms were to the east. The stores remained in Japanese ownership, changing over the years. In 1930, F Takada ran a confectionery store with Powell Taxi run by H Sarayama and I Hashimoto sharing the floor beneath the Lion Rooms. H Higashiyama Co, a dry goods business were under the Burrard Rooms. Next door under the King Rooms U. Morimoto & Co. dry goods rented the storefront at 328 Powell in 1920 and 1921. Nearly a century later the company name is still written in the tiles at the entrance to the store.

Furuya & Co were based on West Hastings during the early 1930s. They moved to Powell Street – but to the 100 block – in 1935, and only in 1940 do we find Furuya & Co main floor (exporting Canadian Goods, and importing Japanese Merchandise and Products) and the Matsunoyu Baths in the basement. These are the companies shown in the image. Bessie Hakkaku had run Tokyo Archery at 324 for a number of years, and only disappeared in 1941 – our best guess for when the picture was taken.

Furuya’s growth was abruptly halted when the Japanese were all moved to camps away from the coast in 1942, and briefly Powell Street was almost deserted. This part of the street gradually reopened with Chinese owned businesses. In 1946 the Lion Rooms were still operating, with L Yet running a pool room downstairs. 324 Powell was still vacant, but the King Rooms had the Newcomer Café on the main floor, run by H Chee. That was still true in 1950, and the pool room was still operated by Yet Lok in 1955. At 324 an unusual situation was recorded – Kingo Matsumoto was operating a grocery here. He had fought in the Canadian forces in the Great War, and was one of very few to return to the former Japantown after internment (in his case in Slocan City). In 1947 he had written to the Federal government requesting the return of his fishing licence on the Fraser River, although at that time wartime limitations on Japanese ownership and location were still in place.

Today the Lion Hotel is still a rooming house; now one of the remaining privately owned SRO hotels in the area. In recent years it has featured as lacking heating and hot water, and breaching fire regulations, despite receiving government grants for improvements.

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Posted April 5, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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314 Powell Street

This is a building now incorporated into the Sunrise Market, but when it was first developed in 1931 (when the picture was taken) it was part of Japantown. It was a restaurant which served an early fusion cruisine: Fuji Chop Suey. The Nikkei Museum says  that from 1936-38, Ichiji Sasaki started the Fuji Chop Suey restaurant with Mr Wakabayashi at 314 Powell Street. As the restaurant opened in 1931, that’s clearly not accurate, and during those years Ichiji Sasaki was caretaker of the Howard Apartments on East Hastings, and later proprietor of the World Hotel on Powell.

The Vancouver Archives have a copy of the architect’s drawings from late 1930. William Dodd designed the building, and thanks to Patrick Gunn’s diligence we know it cost $17,000 and was built for somebody recorded as Sasika Maikawa Kaino by Harvie & Simmonds. It’s most likely that this is one of the Maikawa brothers who had a number of businesses on Powell Street. Sadakichi Maikawa owned a grocery business across the streets, and a few years later Nippon Autos a little further west. The family have written about the restaurant as ‘Maikawa Fuji Chopsuey’.

Before it was built there was, we think, a single storey retail building here. In the early 1920s the street directory shows Samuel E Williams running a shoe shine business here alongside several other retail stores for a number of years. He carried out repairs to the building several times between 1917 and the early 1920s. Samuel added a different ethnic mix to the neighbourhood. He was aged 58 in 1921, married to Effie, and they had both been born in the US. Samuel’s father was born in Cuba, and his mother in the West Indies, and the couple were recorded as racially African, having arrived in Canada in 1912. They lived further west on Powell where they rented a four room apartment for $15 a month.

When it first opened in 1931, the street directory says I Murakami was running the Fuji restaurant, but by 1934 S Maikawa was shown as president of the restaurant company. We think this was Sadakichi Maikawa who we believe developed the building, and at this time also running a grocery, meat and fish store at 333 Powell. His name was listed as the restaurant owner through to the early 1940s when all Japanese were forcibly removed from the coast, and their property confiscated.

Audrey Kobayashi recalled how the restaurant operated. “The second floor was rented as a private dining room for weddings or other large gatherings, and opened onto a balcony overlooking Powell Street. This was one of only a few restaurants where Japanese-Canadian women and children could go. Most of the Japanese restaurants in the area were the domain of men, and restaurants in other parts of Vancouver usually would not serve Asian customers. In 1942 the banquet hall was used by the federal government to administer the uprooting of Japanese Canadians

The building remained vacant through the war years, and only in 1946 were there new businesses; Orloff’s Ltd wholesale drygoods and Hemenway’s Ltd display letters. By 1955 View-Master distributors and A D T Sales, manufacturers agents were here. In the mid 1970s Sunrise Market opened here, expanding from the adjacent building. Arriving in Canada in 1956, Leslie and Susan Joe began making small batches of fresh tofu in the back of their grocery store. As demand for tofu grew throughout the 60’s and 70’s, so did the business and in 1983 factory space was purchased nearby to transition the small operation into a large scale manufacturing plant. Sunrise Market still operates here, and Sunrise Soya Foods is now Canada’a largest manufacturer of tofu.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3873

Posted April 2, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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200 Nelson Street

This two storey warehouse dates to the same year as its neighbor; 1911. This was also designed and built by a builder recorded on the building permit by the City’s clerk as ‘Snider, Geo. & Brethune’. The City Directory listed ‘Snider and Brethour’, run by George Snider and Edgar Brethour, and John S Brethour. Sometimes the Building Permit clerk got the company name right – as there are several other significant buildings listed as being built by Snider and Brethour. George Snider was from BC, born near Sooke and living in Victoria with his wife Amy in 1901. Both Edgar and John Brethour were also born in BC, outside Victoria. They were almost certainly cousins; both their fathers were from Ontario, and both were farmers.

Their client here was the Mainland Transfer Co, confirmed by the 1911 Insurance map who label this building as Mainland Warehouse. Mainland Transfer was incorporated on May 28, 1902, with a capital stock of $50,000, in $100 shares. It seems to have been created by taking over the interests of Atkins & Johnson, who had been in the city from the 1880s. Mainland’s 1902 premises at 120 Water Street were where Atkins and Johnson had been a year earlier. Those gentlemen had gone on to run the Hotel Metropole.

The company became much bigger in 1904 when Gross and McNeill merged with them and Frank Gross (from New Brunswick, arriving in Vancouver in 1887) became manager. John D McNeill, from Ontario and Frank Gross founded their draying and transfer business in the late 1890s. After the merger McNeill briefly became general manager and then 1n 1906 left Mainland and became president of Great Northern Transfer, (handling all the freight related to the Great Northern Railway) and the Vancouver Coal Company.

Mainland Transfer grew significantly in 1906 when it combined operations with the Vancouver Warehouses Ltd. By 1913 Frank Gross was Manager of Mainland Transfer, based on Pender Street, and a director of Vancouver Warehouses (whose warehouse was on Beatty Street) Willie Dalton was both manager of the warehouse company and secretary-treasurer of Mainland Transfer. He arrived in Vancouver (from Huddersfield) in 1904. Robert Houlgate was President of Mainland Transfer in 1913, and he also had a Yorkshire connection, as he had been a bank manager in Morley before joining the Huddersfield based but Vancouver located Yorkshire Guarantee and Securities Corporation, Limited in 1898.

In 1920 this was Mainland Transfer Co Warehouse No. 3, but they shared the premises with Sawmill Machinery Co, Holbrooks Ltd (who were pickle manufacturers) and Crane Co.’s warehouse. In the mid 1930s Gold Band Beverage bottlers were here alongside Gilchrist Machine Co who sold logging equipment, the BC Feed and Egg Co who wholesaled feedstuff, and the Ford Motor Co who assembled vehicles brought in to the rail dock at the back of the building. By the end of the war there were several different businesses here, including Restwell Upholstery, the Green Mill Coffee Shop and the Railway and power Engineering Co. By the late 1950s this part of the 1000 block of Mainland Street was owned by T Eaton and Co. Eaton’s had a showroom in this lower building, and a warehouse in the three storey building next door, which they had occupied from the early 1940s.

These days the building has a variety of tenants including a private 30 student elementary school for children aged 5 to 9.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E18.19

1080 Mainland Street

In 1911, the year before this building was developed, Clarence Tingley was Secretary & Treasurer of the Vancouver Transfer Co Ltd, living on Howe Street. Fred Tingley was Manager of the same company, and in 1911 lived in Kitsilano. Both brothers were born in British Columbia; Clarence Harper Tingley in 1869 and Frederick Chipman Tingley in 1873. Their mother died the year after Fred’s birth.

Their father, Stephen, was born in New Brunswick, and came to BC in 1861 to prospect in the Cariboo Gold Rush. After years of no luck (despite walking from Yale to Williams Creek, a distance of 370 miles, carrying a 100 pound pack), he was hired as a stage driver for the Barnard’s Express in 1864. Known as the “Whip of the Cariboo”, he incorporated as a partner with the British Columbia Express Company in 1871 and drove stagecoaches in the Cariboo region over what was then one of the most hazardous roads in North America. In 1886, Tingley became sole owner of the express company which he ran for before selling out in 1894. He had bought a ranch at 108 Mile House, still standing today, where he built the BX Barn Service, stabling stagecoach horses. He sold out for $11,000 in 1903, and increased his fortune as the “Discoverer of the Nicola Coal & Coke Mine”.

Fred came to Vancouver before Clarence, and managed the Vancouver Transfer Co, originally established by Francis Stillman Barnard of Barnard’s Express, while Clarence was still ranching. By the early 1900s they were both involved in the Transfer Co, and in 1912 Tingley Bros hired ‘Snider, Geo. & Brethune’ (according to the building permit) to design and build a 3-storey warehouse in the CPR Reserve on Helmcken Street – which we’re almost certain has to be this building (as we’ve accounted for all the other Helmcken Street buildings built around this time). In fact, the builders were George Snider and Edgar and John Brethour, who ran their business from offices in the Dominion Building. In 1911 Clarence was living with his wife Blanch, born in Nova Scotia, and their three children, Elizabeth, Stephen and Hall, all aged under seven. Fred was living with his Scottish wife Sarah and their three daughters, Jean, Henrieta and Myrtle, all aged five and under.

The new building served double duty; it was the stables for the Transfer Co, and also home to the Elevator Supply & Equipment Co Ltd, managed by Arthur Gamwell. In 1920 the Transfer Co still had their stables here, but shared the building with the Chevrolet Car Company. By 1930 there were multiple tenants, including the Orange Crush Bottling Co and the Van Loo Cigar Co. In 1940 when this Vancouver Public Library image was taken, Tingley Brothers still operated here, although now they were listed as ‘property owners’. Clarence died in 1942 and Fred in 1947. In 1940 the building was used by T Eaton and Co, and United Milling and Grain. By 1950 the entire warehouse was occupied by T Eaton and Co, and by 1970 Dogwood Wholesale Stationery were in the building.

Over the years the Yaletown warehouse district became under utilized and run down. In 1988 Simon and Associates designed a radical change of use for the vacant building, designing a boutique hotel conversion. The use never took off, although the additional floor, balconies and curious ‘bay’ windows are a legacy from that idea – and instead a 64,000 sq. ft., multi-tenancy design centre (showroom/office) project was created. Yaletown Galleria still operates today, with a mix of retail and office tenants.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E18.21

Empress and Phoenix Hotels – East Hastings Street

Here’s the Empress and the Phoenix Hotel on East Hastings in 1981. The Empress was built in 1913 for L L Mills, while next door the Phoenix (as it was called in 1981) had been built as the Empress Hotel in 1908 by V W Haywood.

Vicker Wallace Haywood, (who understandably preferred to be known as Wallace), was born in PEI in 1864. He worked on the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1883, and Esquimalt Dry Dock in 1885, and arrived in Granville in time for it to burn to the ground. He became a policeman in Vancouver in 1886, featuring in the posed image of the four policeman standing in front of the City Hall tent. (That image was taken several months after the city rebuilding had started). His police post became a little precarious in 1889, when he and Jackson T Abray, another constable, were accused of pocketing fees for rounding up absent sailors and returning them to their ships, as well as using the chain gang to clear their respective yards. As the other two policemen at the time faced more serious charges, (and Chief Stewart was dismissed), they were allowed to return the fees, pay $10 for the use of the prisoners, and keep their jobs. In 1892 he was still in the police but jointly owned the Cosmopolitan Hotel on Cordova Street with Jackson Abray, (who was no longer a policeman), and by 1895 he was a Sergeant, but continued to face accusations of corruption from a vindictive Alderman W H Gallagher, described by the Daily World as a ‘despot’.

There’s more about Mr. Haywood on the WestEndVancouver blog. He took the opportunity to leave Vancouver in 1897 and headed off to the Klondike to find gold. Unlike many of his compatriots, he was very successful, bringing back $55,000 of gold from his stake on Bonanza Creek in his third year, and featuring in the New York Times. (His first year was said to have been worth $60,000). He spent winter 1898 in New York, and met Captain Jack Cates in the Klondike, and on their return they jointly owned a steamship, the Defiance, and in 1900 bought a property on Bowen Island established by Joseph Mannion. They renamed the property the Hotel Monaco, with campgrounds and picnic sites but in 1901 Mr. Haywood sold out to Captain Cates, who continued the enterprise with new partners, Evans, Coleman & Evans.

That year Mr. Haywood returned to PEI and married Minnie Woodside, and in 1907 he formed a real estate agency with his brother, William. In 1908 he developed a hotel, designed by H B Watson, and when it opened in 1909 called the Empress, run by Alex Burr.

L L Mills apparently acquired the hotel in 1910. Lyle Le Roy Mills was born in the US, in Iowa, and in 1911 was aged 42. His wife Elsie was from Sweden, three years younger, and like the Haywood family they lived in the West End. It was an extended family as Lyle’s mother, Margaret who was 85 was living with them, and Elsie’s mother, Carrie Swensen, and her sister, Ellen. Lyle’s brother, Oscar and his wife Cora were also living at 1967 Barclay with their children, Oscar Le Roy, 13, and Earl Van, 11. Oscar worked as a barman at the Hotel. Lyle and Elsie had married in Washington state in 1904, and it may not have been Elsie’s first marriage as she was Elsie Anderson.

In 1912 Mr. Mills obtained a permit to build a new much bigger hotel addition next door. The new Empress, costing $90,000 was described as the ‘world’s narrowest tallest hotel’ when it was built, and was the only Vancouver building designed by F N Bender. Like Mr Mills and his brother Oscar, who also worked at the Empress, the architect was an American, working in Independence, Kansas, and he almost certainly got the job because he was married to Lyle and Oscar’s sister. Elsie Mills was recorded as designing a building a house for herself on East 46th Avenue in the same year.

The last reference to Mr. Mills as proprietor of the Empress was in 1917. He disappears from the street directory that year, and seems to have moved to Seattle. There’s also a more detailed biography on the WestEndVancouver blog. He died in Lakeview, Washington in 1948, fourteen years after his brother, Oscar, who died in Vancouver in 1934.

It appears that he might have sold the hotels back to V W Haywood (or perhaps the financial arrangement for the two hotels was more complex). In 1918 W Haywood carried out repairs to 235 E Hastings. Mr. Haywood stayed in the city for many years, and seems to have a variety of investment interests; (in 1930 for example he was listed as a fox farmer). V W Haywood died in Vancouver in 1950, and was buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Burnaby. His wife Minnie died in 1956 and was buried with her husband.

By the 1930s the two hotel establishments were operated separately; in 1935 the newer building was called the “New Empress Hotel, 235 E Hastings. Edith M. Gilbert, Owner and Manager, 60 Rooms with Private Baths. Fireproof, Strictly Modern. Rates at Moderate Prices”. Next door was the Old Empress Hotel (H Iwasaki) rooms 237 E Hastings. Today the Empress is a privately owned SRO Hotel, while the older hotel is now the Chinese Toi Shan Society family association building.

Image source: Peter B Clibbon

Posted March 5, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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478 Union Street

This store and dwelling was constructed in 1911, the year the street name was changed from Barnard (because of the confusion with Burrard, apparently). The application said it was built by, and for S Rinio at a cost of $5,000. (A house on the same block cost between $1,000 and $1,500, so the building cost quite a bit more, although it’s a small structure only filling half a city lot). The Street Directory said he was Sam Rainas, although by 1921 they had corrected that to Samuel Raino, showing him living on an upper floor, with Luigi Giuriato’s store on the main floor. Luigi was grocer, and lived above the store, so presumably the Raino family had the top floor. Luigi founded Bonus Foods, starting by making ravioli in his kitchen, and expanding to become a successful business employing his sons Lino and David (both UBC Alumni). The company was sold in 1978 to American food producer Curtice Burns.

The 1921 Census gives us a more accurate name for the building’s developer. Saverio Raino was aged 61, born in Italy, moved to Canada in 1886, and became a Canadian Citizen in 1906. His occupation was shown as ‘Labour work for The City’. His wife, Terresa, was also Italian, aged 58, and had arrived in 1901. We can find the family in 1901, listed as Raniuo, with Saverio, ‘Tresa’, and a 13 year-old daughter, Mary. In 1921 their sons, Joseph and Dominic, were both shown at home, both aged 19. Joseph was a barber and Dominic a telegraph operator. Rosina was 17, and also at home; Mary had presumably left home by then.

Dominic’s birth certificate showed him as Rannio, but when he married Georgina Hunter in September 1926 it was as Dominic Benedictus Raino. Joseph Anthony Raino married Grace Vivian Sanders in August 1927 in Wesley Church. Grace was from Blue Earth, Minnesota. Their mother, Teresa Paterna Raino died a month before Joseph’s wedding, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery with Saverio, who had died in March 1926, and their daughter Theresa, who died as a baby. Eldest daughter Mary Raino married Luigi Trasolino, had three children, and died in 1951. The youngest, Rose Raino, married Nicola Biagioni in 1924 and died in 1982 in Penticton.

The store continued as a grocers over many years, with a variety of owners. In 1930 it was Miye Soga; in 1940 the somewhat misleadingly named Scotty’s Grocery, actually run by Mrs A Ferronato and in 1950 F Wong’s Grocers. In 1972, when our before image was taken, it had become the G & T Grocery. Today it has recently been returned to retail use, selling less everyday but more ‘artisinal’ offerings.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-921.

Posted February 15, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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626 Seymour Street

This small retail unit sits on part of the assembled Bay Parkade site, that will one day be redeveloped by the Holborn Group. Seen here in 1974, it was part of the Y Franks appliance chain. Our ‘after’ shot was photographed over two years ago, when the Source electronic chain still operated here. Today the unit is vacant (and under 24 hour video surveillance, according to the developer’s rather ominous website images).

The building was constructed in 1921, built by Baynes and Horie and cost $12,000, designed by Thomas Fee for F G Evans. In the early 1920s Fee spent much of his time in Seattle, but continued to design Vancouver buildings. Frederick Evans was shown in the street directory as the manager of Dominion Canneries B C Ltd, with a house in Shaughnessey Heights that he had built in 1920 at a cost of $15,000. However, the census for 1921 shows his occupation as ‘none’ which implies he had just retired at 52 (although he actually continued to manage the canning company until the early 1930s), and suggests that this was an investment property. He was born in Ontario, as was his wife Sarah, but the two children, 17 year old Muriel and Winifred, 13, had been born in BC. In 1911 the family lived on Haro Street, and Frederick was listed as a produce broker. In both census records they had a servant as well – in 1911 from Scotland, and in 1921 from England. The canning company handled fruits mostly, but also Green Beans, Peas, Tomatoes, Tomato Soup, Pork and Beans, Jams, some late vegetables and citrus fruit for marmalade. In the mid 1920s they opened a new production facility on Drake Street.

When the building was first completed, the first tenant was William Ralph, who had built his own property on West Hastings in 1899. Ralph sold stoves, and other appliances. In 1929 the premises were vacant, and then V A Wardle, a furniture company moved in. In 1932 they were replaced by Y Franks, the stove and appliance company run by Yetta Franks, the widow of Zebulon Franks, and her son David. Over 40 years later the company was still operating here.

Image source; City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-415

Posted February 12, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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