Archive for the ‘Still Standing’ Category

553 Hamilton Street

The Del Mar Inn started life as the Cadillac Hotel. Built in 1912 for A E Hansen, according to the permit, it was designed by W P White and built at a cost of $33,000 by Frantz Construction. We haven’t successfully identified the developer’s identity; The only potential developer with a name that matched the permit living in the city at the time was Alfred E Hanson, who was listed as a contractor, and it seemed unlikely that he could fund a $33,000 development. (There was an A E Hansen in Seattle, and as the architect also came from that city, it was possible he was an absentee investor).

The Daily Building Record said Mr. Hanson lived at 1236 East 12th Avenue; Albert E Hanson lived on East 12th, but at 1033. The address of 1236 wasn’t recorded in the street directory. Adding to the confusion, the 1911 census recorded Mr. Hanson as Albert A Hanson, aged 50, retired and born in the USA. He was shown as arriving in Canada in 1909, although that seems inaccurate as his three children living at home, aged 19, 18 and 14, were all born in BC. His wife, Mary was from Ontario. The 1901 census said Albert Hanson was in Vancouver in 1901 as a hotel keeper, with wife Mary and five children at home. He was American, aged 44, and had arrived in Canada in the 1880s. Albert Hansen was shown in the 1901 street directory running a boarding house at 852 Powell Street. In 1891 they were living in Yale, with the CPR employees, where he was aged 34 and described as a retired foreman, presumably of a railway construction crew. Mary was shown born in Quebec in that census.

In 1913, when the hotel opened, it was run by William Jureit. He had been lodging on West Hastings in 1911 with his wife and three children, and was a builder who had just arrived in Canada from Germany in that same year. In 1915 Mrs Helen Mulholland had taken over running the building, which was partly a rooming house rather than a hotel, with a bookkeeper and a warehouseman among the tenants, and a real estate company occupying the main floor space.

In 1920 there were different proprietors, Mrs E Montgomery and Mrs J Carmichael, who also both lived in the property. By 1925 the name had changed to the Cadillac Rooms, run by Mrs E Fletcher, but by 1930 it had reverted to the Cadillac Hotel run by Mrs Jennie Cook. In 1935 Mrs K Sobotka was in charge, and in 1940 Joseph Fay. By 1945 it had become known as the Coast Hotel, run by S B Farmer, and by 1955 the name was changed again to the Del Mar Hotel, run by Joseph Lasky.

In 1975 the Hotel was bought by George Riste, born in Alberta during the 1930s, but who moved to Vancouver in 1960 after working in the pulp mill in Port Alberni. He leased a number of hotels over the years, the Bon Accord, the Hornby, the Senator, and then the Del Mar. Then he bought the Del Mar, and ran it as both rooming house and hotel. It was popular with passengers from the nearby bus depot, often recommended by Greyhound drivers. In the early 1980s BC Hydro started acquiring property on the block, assembling most of the land – except the Del Mar. Mr Riste, who by the mid 1970s managed the building as a 30 room SRO hotel, wasn’t interested in selling, at any price. After years of offers, BC Hyrdo gave up and built around him. A small, hand-painted sign was placed over the entrance. It reads: “This property is not for sale and it has not been sold. Thank you. The Owner.”

In 1990, Mr. Riste collaborated with the artist Kathryn Walter with whom he wrote the slogan: “Unlimited growth increases the divide”. A typographic artwork, with seven inch-tall copper letters, was installed as a frieze on the building’s façade. Art galleries have occupied the main floor for many years, including by the mid-1960s, the Bau-Xi gallery, and today the Or Gallery; our image shows it in 1977. George continued to actively manage the property until 2007, and died three years later just short of his 90th birthday. His family continue to own and manage the property as exemplary privately owned low-income housing.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 810-44

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Posted January 11, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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150 West Pender Street

For 48 years this has been a parkade (seen here in 1974). Built by the Downtown Parking Corporation in 1970, a public/private partnership at the time, today it’s still the same structure (with patches) and now run by the Parking Corporation’s successor, EasyPark. One day this could well be one of the larger ‘land reserve’ sites in City ownership that will see a significant development project replace it.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-256

Posted December 30, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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646 Seymour Street

Since 1959 this has been a parkade. Developed by the Hudson’s Bay Company to provide parking for the store across Seymour Street, there’s a high-level pedestrian bridge link over the street. In 1974 the Bay’s name was still visible; since then it has become the Parkwell Plaza, now owned by a developer; the Holborn Group.

The 1950s canopies have been replaced, and neither Duthie Books or Purdy’s Chocolates trade here any more, but the stores along the street are still operating, and cars still park above. No doubt in the near future the parkade will be replaced, developing almost all of this block including the Dunsmuir Hotel. When it does, there will have to be a substantial parade underground, as the developers have to provide several hundred spaces for The Bay as well as those required by their own project.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-417

Posted December 29, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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Chinese Nationalist League of Canada

In 1920 the Kuomintang, also known as the Chinese Nationalist League, built themselves a new headquarters on the edge of Chinatown. Dr. Sun Yat-sen had lived in Vancouver for protracted periods and had raised substantial sums in support of the Chinese Revolution that ended the Qing Dynasty in 1911. Sun Yat-sen was appointed to serve as Provisional President of the Republic of China when it was founded in 1912. A year later the Kuomintang party was formed in China with him at its head, but the party was removed from power in a coup. In 1917 they established a rival government in Guangzhou, and the Kuomintang became a powerful political force in all the overseas Chinese communities. The Vancouver branch was built in 1920 to house the Western Canadian headquarters. Edwardes Sproat, a Glaswegian, designed the $60,000 building. He was an odd choice in some ways as he mostly designed classy houses in Shaughnessy Heights and Point Grey.

Our 1920s image shows that some of the top floor featured an open balcony on the Gore Street façade, and a corner pagoda on the roof, now lost. In 1927, after a civil war, (and two years after Sun Yat-sen’s death) the Kuomintang gained control of all of China. At the time, the Kuomintang was probably the most prestigious Chinese organization in Vancouver. In 1949, they lost control of China to The Communist Party of China and retreated to the island of Taiwan.

The building for a while was also the location of the “Chinese Public School”, one of several Chinese schools operating in Chinatown. Today the Chinese Nationalist League still operate from the building along with retail tenants including a  herbal medicine store and a Filipino restaurant.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99 – 3202

 

Posted December 4, 2017 by ChangingCity in Chinatown, Still Standing

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May Wah Hotel – East Pender Street

The May Wah was developed in 1913 at a cost of $75,000 by Barrett & Dean as ‘apartments/rooms’, designed by W F Gardiner. The building opened in 1915 as the Loyal Hotel, a name it retained until at least 1930. Mr. ‘Dean’ was really Evans Deane, born in Australia. He built a block in New Westminster as well, and in 1910 newspapers was described as ‘Evans B Dean, capitalist’. Mr. Barrett was George A Barrett, another broker. Both were involved in 1910 in a rail car company, drydock and ship building. Barrett and Deane also built the Empress Theatre on East Hastings. The street directory showed three partners in G A Barrett & Co; George Barrett, Evans Deane and Harry Musclow.

Evans Deane had first been in Vancouver around 1880, when he was working on tunneling contracts through the Rockies for the CPR. He moved to San Francisco from 1882 and 1887, and lived in Oakland, where he was a printer. He had first arrived in San Francisco in 1876 when he worked for a stockbroker for a number of years. He met his wife, Sophie who was from San Francisco, and they married in 1885, and apparently moved to Vancouver a year or two later. By 1891 Mr. Deane was a real estate broker and insurance agent in Vancouver. From 1903 to 1920 the Deane family, including their four children, lived in the West End.

In 1917 the Daily World reported a complex case involving the hotel: “TENANT MUST VACATE Lease of Hotel Property Held Not to be Good One. Evans B. Dean, a former owner of the Loyal Hotel, after conveying his title to other parties, made lease of the property for five years at $75 per month to a Chinaman; when as a matter of fact it is stated that the place can easily be rented for $200 per month. This morning the mortgagees, the Sun Life Insurance Company, who are now in possession of the title, made an application in supreme court chambers to have the lease broken and the tenant evicted. It was stated by Mr. H. A. Bourne that the lessor at the time he rented the property had no power to do so. and that the present tenant really stood in the position of a trespasser. The present titleholders had an opportunity to lease the place for $200 per month for the first six months, and at $250 per month after that period. Mr. Alex. Henderson, K. C, for the tenant, claimed that his client had acted in good faith, and it was not certain the lessor at the time the lease was made did not have power to make it. His lordship, however, ruled that it had been shown with sufficient clearness that the lease was not a good one, and ordered the tenant to vacate by the end of March.”

In 1918 Mr. Deane retired from real estate, and concentrated on his main interest, yachting. He was a life member of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. As well as owning yachts, including at different times Tillicum, Wide Awake and Alexandra, Mr. Deane owned a powerboat called Davey Jones. The family appear to have moved to Washington in the 1930s, but when Sophie Deane died in 1940 it was in Vancouver, and Evans was still here a decade later when he died, aged 91.

George Barrett was a builder in 1901, living in the West End in a house he built in 1901. The census shows him with his wife Mary, their four children, and sister in law, Laura Blackwell. He appears to have been born in England, but his wife came from Ontario, where they married in 1887 and where their 11 year old son, Henry, was born. The seven-year old, Meryl, was born in BC, so they presumably arrived in BC in the early 1890s. By 1903 he had moved into real estate, and in 1911 the family moved to a new house on E 19th, developed (according to the building permit) by Mary Barrett.

The Loyal was renamed the New Orient in 1947, the Le-Kiu in 1950, the Garden in 1956, the Sydney in 1969 and finally the May Wah in 1980. Le-Kiu are a Chinese grocery wholesalers who from 1967 to 1995 had a store at 262 East Pender that was the first Western-style supermarket in Chinatown, where instead of telling a clerk what you wanted to buy, it was self-serve. The company were formed by H Y Louie’s grandsons, although they are a different branch of the family from the Louie family who own London Drugs.

The hotel was bought by the Shon Yee Association in 1926, and has been used as a Single Room Occupancy hotel for almost a century. Our 1985 image shows that it has hardly changed over the past 30 or so years. Most recently it has been acquired in early 2017 by the Chinatown Foundation. More than 100 low-income seniors, mostly women, as well as a few businesses call the single-room occupancy (SRO) hotel home. The intention is that over the next few years the building will be renovated including seismic upgrades as well as cleared fire exits, and repaired roofs and walls.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2386

Posted November 16, 2017 by ChangingCity in Chinatown, Still Standing

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Regent Hotel – East Hastings Street

The Regent, like the Balmoral across the street, is another large commercial hotel developed at the end of the early 1900s development boom. The Regent’s developer, Art Clemes, obtained the building permit for the $150,000 building in December 1912, and it was completed the following year. It was designed by Emil Guenther.

Art Clemes is mentioned in some records as Archie or Archibald, although the earliest record aged 10 in 1860 called him Arthur, living in Victoria, Ontario, where he seems to have been listed as Clemis, rather than Clemes (although the handwriting in the record isn’t clear). Subsequently almost all official records call him Art. He was in BC by 1881, listed as a hosteler, with Esther, his wife (who was shown two years older than Art). In 1882 he was running the B C Express House in Nacomin. (Sometimes it was written as Necomin), which is in Spences Bridge.

By 1901 he was the leading businessman in the town, a small community on the Thompson River, seventy miles west of Kamloops on the main line of the C.P.R. He ran the general store and the hotel, and acted as postmaster. Around the turn of the century he took a holiday in Europe. He probably attended The 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle, where it’s said that he was so taken by a Wolesley car exhibited there that in the early 1900s he ordered one from England. It was shipped via the Horn, as if it had come on the more convenient route across the Atlantic it would have had to be stripped down and crated, and there was nobody in Spences Bridge or Kamloops at that time who knew how to assemble an automobile. It was the first gasoline-driven automobile to run in the interior of British Columbia; here’s an oddly chopped picture of Art from the Archives, in his car.

In the 1901 census Art is listed as hotel keeper and rancher, with his wife Esther and their two domestic servants, Helen and Rachel Oppenheim. Art and Esther were both from England; (Art is shown specifically as being born in Cornwall, and stated his ethnicity as Cornish), and both were shown (inaccurately) to be aged 49. Art was only three when he came to Canada, while Esther had been 19. Their servants were both local, born in Yale. We know where Art’s family first moved in Canada, as his brother Henry, a stationary engineer, was living with the family. He was aged 40, and had been born in Ontario.

Art owned quite a bit of property in Vancouver. He built six brick dwellings at Hamilton Street & Georgia Street in 1903. In 1906 Art leased his ranch to Chinese growers. The Nicola Herald reported that he had leased it to three chinamen. “The enterprising Celestials intend supplying the various railroad camps with fresh vegetables. Rumour has it that $1,000 rental was paid in advance” Art remained in Spences Bridge; and retained his role as justice of the peace there, while developing in Vancouver. In 1908 he partnered with Alexander Pantage to build a theatre on East Hastings, which he continued to own for many years.

In 1911 Art and Esther were still shown in the census living in Spences Bridge, with many employees and lodgers living in the same accommodation (their hotel). They seem to have travelled more, as they visited the US in 1915. Esther died in 1918; her death record confirming she was two years older than Art. Art continued to travel after her death, and crossed from Mexico to the US in 1921. He died a year later, aged 70. The Hotel Regent (as it was called in 1923 when our image was taken), like many Downtown Eastside hotels has seen a steady decline. Today it has a mix of troubled tenants paying welfare rent and an owner unwilling or unable to invest in maintainance. Recently the exterior has been cleaned up, although the interior is still not somewhere anybody would chose to inhabit.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Hot N37.1 and Trans P151

Posted November 13, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Powell Street – 400 Block

This image shows that some false front western ‘boomtown’ buildings may not be as old as they appear. While two of these structures were standing when this 1979 image was shot, two were added more recently in a style that replicates some characteristics of the older buildings. The slightly shorter of the older buildings in the centre of the ‘before’ picture was home to Double Happiness Foods – today that company occupies all four buildings (and a few years ago added the vibrant colour scheme).

There were also four buildings standing here a century ago. 417 and 423 Powell, (the newer structure, now one building behind two facades) were originally developed before 1890 as two houses, numbered at the time as 409 and 411 Powell Street. By 1912 they had been added to and altered to bring the front of the building to the back of the sidewalk and were listed as 419 and 423. There was a watchmaker, K Kenno in 419 and a general store operated by M Egawa in 423 in 1911. As early as 1905 several of the houses on this block were occupied by Japanese residents, including 423 and 427. The street directory didn’t record their names – just labeling them ‘Japanese’. Arthur Guilmett, a teamster was living at 419. However, from the building permit we know 423 was owned in 1904 by J Kihara, who added to the house here (perhaps to create the storefront).

427 Powell, the original Double Happiness structure, was apparently first built here as early as 1901, when J Hori was recorded at 425 Powell. ‘Hori’ was recorded in the census; born in Japan in 1876, and immigrating to Canada in 1893. He may have been at this address longer, as before 1901 427 was only recorded in the street directory as ‘Japs’. In 1903 J Hori had moved to 441 Powell and Mrs Louisa Gonzales living at 427 Powell, surrounded by Japanese neighbours. In 1908 K Kenno was here, before moving two doors to the west a year or two later. By 1911 G Hori had moved in, and in 1917 had repairs carried out by its owner, probably inaccurately recorded as H Yori; (actually, it was Y Hori, a confectionery business, correctly recorded in the list of building permits in the British Columbia Record). Hori’s coffee shop and bathhouse operated here for over 30 years until the early 1940s. Chitose-Yu was one of five Japanese style of uro bathhouses existing in the neighbourhood. Bathers would thoroughly scrub themselves before entering the large communal hot tub. Bathhouses charged 5 to 10 cents a bath, and provided towels, soaps, and washcloths.

433, on the right, appears to have been built slightly more recently – in 1908 S Aoki ran a grocery here, at the rear of the premises, and the streetfront building seems to have been built around that time, with the boot and shoe business of T Saegusa occupying the store. At one time there was an attic third floor, now there’s a flat roof and a false top floor façade with an empty window space.

The Japanese connections to the neighbourhood ended  tragically and suddenly with the Second World War, and the premises were taken over by other interests. In 1946 a construction company and Kosher Poultry Killing operated here. By the mid 1950s almost all the businesses were Chinese, although Paramount Salvage were at 423 Powell. In our 1979 image, as well as Double Happiness Foods, there was a thrift store encouraging passers by to Get Right With God.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-319

Posted November 9, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing