Archive for the ‘Still Standing’ Category

Seymour Street – 1000 block, west side (1)

This image is, according to the City of Vancouver Archives, from around 1926. We place it a few years later, towards the end of 1929 or early in 1930. That’s because there’s a building seen in the picture that’s still standing today. Up to 1928 there were houses pretty much the entire block face, but in 1929 1035 Seymour was vacant, and in 1930 it was home to Bearing Supply House Ltd – seen on the left of the picture. The company’s Vancouver operation had previously been located in the heart of the business district on the 600 block of Howe Street.

Next door, to the north, are two houses, both dating back to the early 1900s. They’re both standing today, although incorporated into the complex that today is the Penthouse Club. The building to the north of that dates from 1912, although it too had a house as a basis. That year H W Forsyth & Co spent $700 to build “Dwelling/house; one-storey frame warehouse”.  The odd thing is that no such business shows up in the street directory around that period, (or any other records) and the occupant in 1913 was a contractor, Harold Burdett.

Aaron Chapman has chronicled the changing fortunes of the property for the past 77 years. “The Filippone family bought the land the Penthouse sits on in 1941, and began building the building that still exists there today. What originally housed the operations for their trucking and taxi business also found space for their Eagle Time Athletic Club, turning the building into somewhat of a community centre for over 500 local kids, with the Filippones sponsoring boxing, soccer teams, and baseball. The club already had its own boxing star with Jimmy Filippone a two time B.C. Golden Gloves champion. After the Second World War, in 1947 the Filippones began to expand the building and the business into what would eventually become the nightclub.”

So far this block has seen little development, but there are two underutilized sites (including the 1929 building) likely to see development soon. Here’s one of them – the parking lot beyond the club that has remained a vacant surface lot since before 1981. Whether the venerable Penthouse Club itself will ever disappear is less predictable. The Filippone family have apparently rejected countless lucrative offers for the site, and seem content to continue to operate one of the last outposts of a bygone era.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-2251 and CVA 779-E03.07A

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Posted June 18, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone, Still Standing

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Burrard Motor Hotel

The city has seen the loss in recent years of many older and less expensive hotels. Some have been redeveloped, and some have become used as non-market housing. The Burrard is an exception; a few years ago it was renovated, rebranded, and became a stylish boutique hotel retaining it’s mid-century modern style. It’s no longer inexpensive – you can stay in the Hotel Vancouver for less. It was built in 1956, and designed by Asbjorn Gathe, the recently added partner in Gardiner, Thornton, Gathe and Associates.

One prominent feature of the design is the way the flank wall was designed to incorporate a neon identification sign. That was true in this 1958 postcard when it was the Burrard Motel and in our before shot from 2007, when it was called the Burrard Inn (although the star element of the design was lost at that time), as well as today as the Burrard Hotel. (Note that Burrard Street still had houses along it, even in the late 1950s).

In the decade since the ‘before’ shot was taken a new neighbor has appeared; a 16 storey non-market housing building designed by DYS, copmpleted in 2014 and run by the Kettle Friendship Society with over 140 units targeted at youth who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The goal is to provide tenants with a stable and safe home environment in which they can thrive.

Florence Court – West Georgia and Bute

 

Today it’s called the Banff, one of the very few remaining hundred year old apartment buildings in Coal Harbour. Built in 1909 at a cost of $58,000 by Dissette & Dean it was designed by H B Watson for J D Byrne. At the end of the year an extra $17,000 addition was permitted – it’s not clear what that would have consisted of – it could have been an additional floor as construction could have continued uninterrupted. In 1920 J W Byrne carried out $500 of repairs to the building.

In 1909 James D Byrne was living in a suite on Granville Street, working as a real estate broker with an office in the Dominion Trust Building. In 1911 he was shown as Irish, aged 53, living with his English wife Florence, (hence the name of the building) and a nurse, Helena Davis, who was Welsh. James had arrived in Canada in 1889, and shows up a lot in 1890s newspapers as he was an Assessor and Collector in the Court House, where he was often the Official Administrator of a deceased resident, a post he resigned in 1899.

He came from a distinguished family; born in County Wicklow. His father represented Count Wexford in the ‘Imperial Parliament’. He attended school in England, and on arrival in Vancouver was partner with C D Rand in his real estate business for five years. He was also  described as being ‘connected with’ the real estate department of Mahon, McFarland & Proctor for many years. His wife was the daughter of the owner of a Yorkshire woolen mill, and the couple moved to Mr. Byrne’s investment when it was completed. He was an active member of the Catholic church, and a Knight of St Columbus. He was the first President of the city’s Children’s Aid Society, a Catholic foundation, although it appears that the couple had no children.

In 1915 he was elected as an alderman – although the City’s website inaccurately records him as James D Byne. One odd item of knowledge we have about Mr. Byrne is that he seems to have enjoyed reading mystery stories – a copy of an 1888 book by John Charles Dent, ‘The Gerrard Street Mystery and Other Weird Tales’, is currently for sale for $500, bearing his signature.

The nurse in the household in 1911 suggested that perhaps Florence was ill; however, when she died in 1919 the newspaper suggested she had moved to Los Angeles for the health of her husband, only two months earlier. Florence was returned to Vancouver for her funeral, and in the 1921 census (when he was apparently recorded as James D Burne) James was listed as a widower. He was shown as having been born in Scotland, which is quite at odds with his biographic notes published a few years earlier. His last appearance in the street directory was in 1929, still listed at apartment 3 of his building. He may have maintained a Los Angeles residence; a James D Byrne died on 27 December 1929 in Los Angeles.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA M-11-58

Posted June 7, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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West Pender Street east from Cambie

Sometimes we notice that the most obvious buildings have been overlooked on this blog. Here’s one of the most glaring examples; the World Building, today known as The Sun Tower. These days, from this angle, the lower part of the building is hidden by the street trees, but in 1920, when this Vancouver Public Library image was shot, it was clearly visible. The triangular piece of land fronted by Beatty and West Pender was part of the old City Hospital grounds, but the buildings were set further south, with land reserved to allow Pender to continue to Beatty, although the road was never actually built.

Newspaper mogul L B Taylor hired W T Whiteway to design his new office building in 1910, and it was completed in 1912. The Vancouver Daily World was the city’s biggest paper of the day, and the World Building the most prestigious offices, with a claim when completed (published on postcards of the time) of being the tallest building in the British Empire – although the Contract Record only acknowledged it as the tallest in Vancouver. Whiteway was an experienced and busy architect, and he had also received the commission for the warehouse (originally described as a business building) also clearly visible in 1920, next door on Beatty Street for Storey and Campbell, completed in 1911 and built by Snider & Bros for $60,000. G L Sharp, in an interview recorded in the 1970s, claimed that the design of the World Building was actually his, and that he was paid $300 and Whiteway given the design to complete. Another source suggest E S Mitton also collaborated.

L D Taylor had arrived in Vancouver from Ann Arbour in Michigan in 1896, escaping his failed bank and abandoning his wife. He reinvented himself in Vancouver without mentioning many details of his past life – especially the fact that he was wanted by Michigan authorities in connection with the bank failure. Failing to find work in a depressed economy, he tried gold mining in California, then the Yukon, and ended up back in Vancouver in 1898 with 25c in his pocket. He worked at the Province newspaper running their distribution and circulation, and ran successfully for election as a Licence Commissioner in 1902, although he lost in 1903.

In 1905, having persuaded various financial backers to help, he took over the World newspaper, the Province’s rival, and set about boosting its sales. He ran for mayor (coming second) in 1909, and winning in 1910 aged 53, and again a year later. By the start of the Great War there was a new rival paper, the Sun, rising newsprint costs and falling advertising revenue. These caused the World to face a financial crisis. In 1915, Taylor ran and won as mayor again, on the same day a judge ruled that the paper had to be sold to pay its creditors. Taylor lost his paper fortune with the buy-out, and the new owners of the paper abandoned it’s building overnight, although Louis Taylor was no longer associated with the building’s owners, the World Building Company. In 1916 he married the newspaper’s former business manager, Alice Berry, (and a year later got round to divorcing his first wife in California).

Louis Taylor hadn’t personally develop the tower; the World Building Company was initially organized by Taylor, and they planned to spend $375,000 to develop it. On the permit they claimed to be building it themselves, but actually it was Smith and Sherborne, and the final cost was $560,000. It had a “class A steel frame; reinforced concrete floors; materials, stone, brick and terra cotta.” An added detail not shown on the original design were nine barely clad maidens, designed by Charles Marega, who graced the top of the 8th storey pediment. Financing proved difficult, and L D was accused of bending the rules by negotiating with J J Hill’s Great Northern Railway (as Mayor) for their new terminus station while at the same time persuading Hill to loan funds to the World Building Company.

Once the World was out of the building in 1915, it became the Tower Building. A variety of office tenants continued to occupy the building, including architect E E Blackmore. After the war the Pride of The West Knitting Mills were located on the second floor where the newspaper had once been produced. After coming second for three elections in a row, L D Taylor was elected mayor again in 1924, and was re-elected two more times. He lost in 1928, after 2-year terms had been introduced, but won again in 1930, when the Tower Building had become the Bekins Building, owned by Bekins Moving and Storage. Taylor was re-elected mayor again for the last time in 1932, at the age of 74.

The Vancouver Sun was published in the building between 1937 and 1964 and left its name with the tower, so that today it’s still known as ‘The Sun Tower’. It’s still an office building, despite most of the rest of the Beatty Street commercial buildings converting to residential uses.

 

888 Burrard Street

This rather unimpressive structure on Burrard Street will surely be redeveloped one day – although the residential strata from 1983 to the north may add some complexity, unless that’s also redeveloped at the same time. Today there’s a yoga studio upstairs and a Thai restaurant, a diamond store and a pub underneath. In our 1974 picture Denny’s were alongside a realty company, a furniture renatl store, and Hertz car rental, who had a huge rooftop signboard that would never be permitted today.

Before the retail uses this building was an automobile showroom, with Sherwood Motors selling imported Hillman cars. They were here in the early 1950s having replaced McLachlan Motors, who sold cars (Kaiser Fraser cars – an obscure brand that operated from 1946 to 1951), but also farm equipment and Rototiller machinery as well as Firestone tires. By 1950 McLachlan were selling DeSoto cars, as this advert shows – another brand heading for closure in 1960, but part of the Chrysler empire selling mid-line vehicles.

The company had been here since 1938, when Frank Leonard took this picture of the new building, now in the Vancouver Public Library collection. The corner was originally cut away, with the gas pumps underneath the second floor – something else that wouldn’t be permitted today, although it might be the only way that Downtown will have a gas station if it were possible for this arrangement to return in future.

The architects for the garage were E Evans and Son, but the design would have probably been by George Evans, who was running the company. Enoch Evans, the founder died in 1939, and hadn’t been active in the company for several years.

Before the garage was constructed there were four houses here, built in the early 1900s – similar to those visible to the north in the 1938 image.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-29

Posted April 30, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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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.

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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