Archive for the ‘Victory Square’ Category

300 West Hastings Street

We saw the Inns of Court building that once stood here in an earlier post. From the 1890s offices for lawyers were here because the Courthouse was next door – where today the park of Victory Square is located. When we posted the Inns of Court comparison, the ‘after’ shot showed the 1950 Bank of Commerce designed by McCarter Nairne – one of the earliest modernist structures in the city. At the time it was one of a number of buildings occupied by the Vancouver Film School, and it’s seen here at the end of 2014, not long before it was demolished, and below in 1981.

It was replaced earlier this year with a rental residential building developed by Simon Fraser University, with a floor of educational space and a café on the main floor. Designed by Raymond Letkeman Architects, it used a hybrid construction method of concrete frame for the lower floors and woodframe for the upper residential floors, all clad in brick.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives  CVA 779-E11.20.

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Posted November 20, 2017 by ChangingCity in Gone, Victory Square

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160 West Cordova Street

We have seen this 1888 building on Cordova Street in an earlier post, but we haven’t been able to identify the architect or developer. In the earlier 1902 image Rae’s wholesale and retail could be seen. This 1936 shows the building occupied by sheet metal workers Kydd Brothers.

In 1906 Norman Kydd was shown living in the city for the first time, working as a clerk, but by 1908 Kydd Bros – Harry F and Norman were established selling hardware and kitchen furnishings at 128 E Hastings. Norman was living in The Manhattan, and Harry at 1160 Robson, although they each had suites in the Manhattan a year later.

By 1912 the firm moved from East Hastings to West Pender: both brothers had moved home; Harry to West 3rd Avenue, (to a building still standing today) and Norman to Comox Street in the West End. The move to West Pender prompted an advertisement in the Daily World which gives a good idea of their line of business “A Big Tool Demonstration Tomorrow Night at Kydd Brothers, Limited HARDWARE SALE Tradesmen in all lines are cordially invited to be present. Prominent men in all trades will be here and a pleasant evening may be spent in looking over the tremendous stock of tools now in display that are being closed out before this firm moves to its new store. The purpose of the gathering is to bring men together working in the same trades to inspect tools that are now down from the shelves laid side by side for quick disposal. It Shall Not Be Obligatory on Anyone to Buy – but men expert in their trades will be here to give views on the merits of the particular tools they use and discussion will follow which will go to show why certain makes of tools are preferred over others and why they are used. Old Heads Will Reason With Young Ones and the gathering of tradesmen in all lines in this store on Saturday night will be of splendid educational benefit to those who are interested on the work they do and the best tools to use to do it. Fine lines of hardware and mechanics’ tools are being sold at factory cost; everything outside of association goods. Its a big chance to replenish the tool chest at easy prices because the stock here is to be completely closed out.” Later Norman Kydd would have a retail store on Granville Street.

Norman and Harry Kydd were born in Ozark, Kansas, of Scottish parents, but moved to Ontario as children. Harry’s business career began as auditor for the Armor Packing Co. in Richmond, Virginia. Later he was moved to other company branches, including Philadelphia. He joined Norman in 1907, with Harry’s role as an entrepreneurial salesman. The firm took on the sale of stoves which were installed upon purchase. The sheet metal shop, shown here, was opened in the 1920s. and in 1936, when this image was shot, it was still home to Kydd Brothers, although by that time Harry was the only brother involved in the business. In 1919 Norman had established his own business on Granville Street, and by the early 1920s had moved south, later living in Seattle.

At one time Kydd Brothers employed 20 plumbers, but following a strike in the late 1920’s (where the new wage was raised to $1 an hour), Kydd Bros left the installation market and stuck largely to plumbing sales to both retail and wholesale trade.

A third brother, Malcolm also moved to Vancouver, and became an employee of the Royal Bank. By the 1930s he was manager of the Port Coquitlam branch of the bank, and in the 1940s manager of the Huntington Rubber Mills of Canada Ltd., factory in the same municipality. He died in 1945.

Harry had died a few years earlier, in 1941. He had run for Alderman in the city at least twice in the late 1920s and early 1930s on a platform of honest administration and fiscal conservatism. After the Second World War, Harry’s son Charles was running the company when the commercial division was relocated to the south side of False Creek where they became BC Plumbing Supplies. This building was rebuilt in 1953 as a single storey structure and today is associated with the Cambie Hostel next door.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4875

Posted October 19, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone, Victory Square

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31 West Pender Street

Here’s the Pender Hotel in 1977, although at that time it was called the Wingate Hotel. Today it has a new name, Skwachays Lodge, and it’s effectively a new building. It was first a new building in 1913 when it was called the Palmer Rooms and it was an investment property designed by W T Whiteway for Storey and Campbell. They were owners of a manufacturing company making saddles, harnesses and trunks, with a new warehouse and manufacturing building just up the street on Beatty Street. We looked at the owners of the company when we described the history of that building.

This was a $40,000 investment, which was only a fraction of the budget that the same architect had three years earlier for the World Building, (today known as the Sun Tower), just across the street. Whiteway still managed to add some fancy architectural details in terra cotta with some elaborate pressed metal work on the cornice. Structurally the building wasn’t sophisticated – steel columns supporting millwork floors. In 1946 it was acquired by Lai Hing, who lived in the building and operated his hotel business under the Wingate Hotel name for over 30 years.

More recently it was acquired by B C Housing, one of over 20 SRO buildings that were bought to stabilize the stock of older, cheaper rental space, and to improve the state of the buildings, both structurally and in terms of facilities. After years of neglect (and with some harrowing stories of former activities in the building), the Pender Hotel was the only one found to be beyond repair. Instead a completely new building was constructed in 2012 behind the original (and now seismically stable) façade. Joe Wai, who designed the adjacent native housing building to the east, was the architect.

Today the building is run by the Vancouver Native Housing Society, and provides 24 housing units for artists and 18 hotel rooms, each one designed by first nations artists on a specific theme with names like the Hummingbird, the Moon and the Northern Lights suite. They’re available for first nations medical stay guests as well as tourists. As a social enterprise, the hotel needed at least 50% occupancy, but initially that wasn’t being achieved. The idea of adding the themes made all the difference, and now the hotel is recognized around the world and in high demand. As well as the first nations designed rooms there’s a sweat lodge on the roof, as well as a totem pole called ‘Dreamweaver’, carved by Francis Horne Sr, and a Haida designed screen by Eric Parnell as well as a Fair Trade Gallery at street level.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1135-19

Posted August 17, 2017 by ChangingCity in Altered, East End, Victory Square

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317 West Pender Street

In this 1974 image the Victory Block (as it’s now named) had space to rent, and a fire escape on the façade. To the west was the Pender Ballroom, and to the east the Roberts Block. When it was built in 1908 (the same year as the Roberts Block) it was called the Riggs Selman Building, named for its investor developers, Samuel Spencer Selman and Dr. Herbert Wilkinson Riggs. If he read it, Mr. Selman was no doubt unimpressed by the news report that “Dr. H. W. Riggs and Mr. S. Salmon have taken out a permit for a four-storey brick block to be erected on Pender street, between Homer and Hamilton street, at cost of $40,000. The building will have a frontage of 50 feet.”

Oddly, for such a strikingly designed building, there’s no reference to an architect. There is another building completed that year which has some architectural details somewhat similar to this block, albeit rather less exuberant; the Shaldon Hotel on East Hastings was designed by H B Watson.

Dr Riggs was a physician and surgeon, born in Wicklow in Ontario in 1872. He trained in Winnipeg and Edinburgh, and arrived in BC in 1899. In 1901 he was still single, but he soon married and had two daughters, lived on West Georgia and was a member of the Terminal City  and University Clubs. As with many of the city’s successful professionals Dr Riggs also took a keen interest in property development. As well as this building, he had interests in the Dominion Trust Company (in 1907) and the Federal Trust Company, and was a director in both companies. He was a Freemason, and also governor of the Pacific-Northwest District of the Kiwanis from 1918 to 1920. He was president of the Vancouver Medical Association and in 1930 was appointed by the Provincial Secretary to the Board of Vancouver General Hospital.

Samuel Selman was a realtor in 1908 (representing the Manitoba Land Co), and born in Ontario in 1862. He married Clara Barr in Ontario in 1883, and by 1901 they had moved to Victoria, and had several children, Ella, (or Elba as she was shown in Victoria), May, Hubert, Gordon, Mary, (Marie on her wedding certificate), and Roy. Clara’s mother, Mary Barr also lived with them. Tragically, Ella accidentally died of drowning in English Bay in 1908; at the time she was crippled, on crutches, and slipped in the water. Samuel switched employment a number of times. In 1901 he was shown in the census as a lumberman, although he doesn’t appear in the street directory in Victoria until 1903 when he was listed as a grocer. In 1911 he was President of the Canadian Pipe Co, a position he first held in 1909. He died in 1947,

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-265

Hastings Street Court House (2)

We looked at an image of this Courthouse building a couple of years ago, but from Pender Street, looking down the hill of Cambie. Here’s a postcard from around 1908 of the north face of the building, facing West Hastings. This shows N S Hoffar’s 1893 Provincial Courthouse addition – although it was actually twice as big as the original (and more modest) building designed by T C Sorby in 1889 and completed in 1890, which was located closer to Pender Street. From this angle, that building sitting behind the addition, almost hidden by trees but just showing on the left. On the right is a picture of the building in 1890. The maple trees on the Pender Street frontage are among the oldest in the city, planted in 1897.

Once the new courthouse was completed a few years later, on West Georgia, there was some debate about what to do with the old building. Despite its impressive appearance in the postcard, as a May 1909 Daily World letter suggests, not everybody was in love with the building. “With regard to the court house itself, they all knew it was one of the most disgraceful buildings that existed in the province. It was more or less in a foul and filthy condition all the time, but no blame could be attached to the officials. It was simply an incommodious and inconvenient building. Certainly it had been a standing menace to the health of the judges, juries and officials generally.”

Mayor Douglas suggested it might make a good City Hall, but the general view seems to have been that it wasn’t big enough (and presumably letters like the one above also had some influence). Instead it was decided to clear the structure and create an open space, which was named Government Square. During the first World War the site was used as a recruiting office, with a number of tents and temporary buildings. An Evangelical Tabernacle was also created as a temporary structure in 1917. The park was given the name Victory Square in 1922 and two years later the Cenotaph, designed by G L Sharp, was built through public subscription.

Image source (1890 image) City of Vancouver Archives Bu P390

Posted April 3, 2017 by ChangingCity in Gone, Victory Square

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339 West Pender Street

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Here’s a building that was lost to a fire in 2003. It was most recently known as the Pender Auditorium, but it started life in 1906 as the Myers Hall, and was quickly renamed as the Dominion Hall. The designer and developer were initially hard to pin down, but from the name it looked like it was associated with a short-lived real estate company called Myers and Lamey, who had offices in the building in 1907. However, they didn’t appear in the street directory at all, but they did run a few advertisements in the Daily World, and John M Lamey was in real estate in the city that year. Because Mr. Lamey stayed in the city in the real estate business we know he was young; born in 1884 in Ontario, as was his wife, Florence. He appears to have headed south in 1916, living in Huntington Park, Los Angeles in the 1930 census with Florence and their children; Leo, a nut seller, daughter Margaret, ‘Professional Dancer, Vaudeville’, and two other younger children.

The ‘Myers’ looks as if it was ‘Professor’ Myers of the Myers Dance Academy. He started a dancing class ‘in his new hall’ in 1906. The name switch to the Dominion Hall a year or so later may relate to the Dominion Music Company who performed in the hall. Professor Myers was Marion C Myers, and in 1905 he was the Lessee of the Imperial Hall. The true developer of the building can be seen in a 1906 Daily World article which mentions that Professor Myers was to be the lessee of Mr. Acland Hood’s new hall on Pender Street. There was already a hall on Pender Street designed by W T Whiteway, developed by William Acland-Hood, and this second hall was designed by Dalton & Eveleigh in 1906, costing $35,000 and boasting ‘two upper floors to be devoted to the largest dancing hall in the city’. Professor Myers missed the Canadian census, but it looks as if he was from Indiana, and moved out of Vancouver before 1908. In 1910 he was living in Portland, a real estate broker with his Canadian wife Ada (who worked as a bookkeeper in real estate) and daughters Juanita (8) and Virl, (5).

In 1920 (and in 1930) Marion C Myers was living in Thurston, Washington. In 1920 he was aged 53, working as a planerman in a sawmill and living with his Canadian wife Sadie, aged 27, and 15 year old Virl who worked as a waitress. In 1930 Virl had moved out, but Marion and Sadie had four children at home. Marion was working as an auto repair mechanic, and Sadie immigration date to the US was noted as 1918.

The basement held the city’s first purpose-built bowling alley, with 12 alleys, four of them reserved for ladies. On the ground floor was another slice of motordom, with the CCM (Canadian Cycle and Motor Co) selling Russell cars (including the top-of-the-range 7 cylinder model) and a range of bicycle brands, including Perfect, Rambler and Blue Flyer.

The hall became used by the Canadian Legion in the mid 1930s, and by 1940 it was the Boilermaker’s Hall, then in 1947 the Marine workers took it over and it became known as the Pender Auditorium. Fraser Wilson painted a fabulous mural “a view of a worker’s waterfront”– on the walls, and after the building was sold and plans were made to paint over it, the mural was moved, restored, and rededicated at the opening of the new Maritime Labour Auditorium in 1988.

g-deadDuring the 1960s the Auditorium was booked regularly by contemporary music concert promoters, with a wide range of bands playing there, including an early Grateful Dead concert on Friday August 5 1966. The People’s Co-op book store was where the bicycles had once been sold. The organizer of ‘The Afterthought’ concerts wasn’t even 18 when he obtained his business licence and started promoting concerts that year. The hall could legally hold 1,000 (although apparently that was sometimes exceeded) so his entire enterprise was very ambitious, including the first psychedelic light show in the city. As the hall was only available on some weekends, after only a few months Afterthought moved to Kitsilano’s Russian Hall, but other promoters continued to use the venue for live music.

The ‘before’ image is said to date from somewhere between 1966 and 1980. The Brill T48 trolley buses were withdrawn from service in the early 1980s, so that’s no help, and the VW is a mid 1960s model, so equally unhelpful. The Pender Auditorium closed in the late 1960s, and this picture shows the ‘Dance’ sign still on the building, and ‘For Lease’ signs in the upper windows where the hall was located, so this is probably late 1969 or early 1970.

The building was home to Vancouver’s earliest drag bar, BJ’s, open from 1970 to 1983. There’s a youtube video showing images from the days when it was operating. After a while the Vancouver Club Baths opened in the same basement area of the building. Once the owners of the club, Brian and Jim, sold the club it took on a western theme as Saddle Tramps before converting to a lesbian bar, Ms. T’s.

In July 2003 the building burned down, and to prevent the fire spreading to adjacent buildings it was demolished immediately. The site was acquired by the City of Vancouver, and after eight years the Pacific Coast Apartments were built here, a non-market housing project funded by BC Housing and designed by Davidson Yuen Simpson Architects

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-263

Posted February 6, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone, Victory Square

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307 West Pender Street

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We’ve looked at the building on the right of this 1975 image in two previous posts; when it was a newspaper office and printing works, and a little earlier in 1922 when it was also a knitting factory. The building next door is slightly oldier; the corner building dates from 1911 but Thomas Roberts built the Roberts Block in 1908. We’ve looked at Mr. Roberts in an earlier post. He was responsible for a later Roberts Block on Water Street, designed by Hugh Braunton in 1911. Although the 1908 Contract Record itemized the cost of the Pender Street building – $24,0000 – it didn’t mention the architect, and the Building permit has been lost. The Vancouver Daily World reported in January 1908 that the new building being proposed would a 5-storey building, and that Mr. Roberts himself was supervising the construction of the tender to construct the basement but doesn’t reference a designer.

Mr. Roberts hired R H Bracken in 1903 to build a $25,000 addition to his hotel, and again in 1910 to design a stable for his West End home and Hugh Braunton to design the Grand Hotel in 1905 and the Roberts Block on Water Street in 1911. However, as far as we can tell, he designed this commercial building himself. He obtained a Permit to dig the footings in January 1908, and the main building permit in March. By August the Province were reporting “The finishing touches are being added to a modern business block just completed on the north side of Pender street between Homer and Hamilton street. It is a two-story brick fire-proof structure, with basement, extending the full length of lot, 120 feet. It is owned by Mr. T. J. Roberts, proprietor of the Grand Hotel. Mr. Roberts designed the plans and personally supervised every detail of construction.

The upper floor has been magnificently equipped for the purposes of a lodging house. The specious rooms can be used single or en suite. Every apartment has a steam heat radiator besides behind supplied with hot and cold water, gas heating pipes, fire alarm, city and house telephones.

The first floor has been divided into offices which are so designed that they can be converted into bedrooms if the entrée building should be subsequently used as a lodging house exclusively. The ground floor is occupied my Messrs. Greene & Simpson, undertakers. This large floor space contains a beautiful chapel, reception hall, inquest, embalming and stock rooms.”

tommy-cyrs-centre-and-tommy-roberts-with-dog-vancouver-1887-8ishBy October the building was complete, and occupied. Very soon after this there was a fire, reported that same month: “Prompt Work of Firemen Saved Costly Blaze at Cabello Cigar Factory on Pender Street. Fire broke out late last evening in the bonded warehouse of the Cabello Cigar Manufacturing Co., in the Roberts block, on Pender street. Passers by who saw the smoke turned in an alarm and awoke the night – watchman, who sleeps at Greene & Simpson’ undertaking parlors, in the same building. By the time – halls 2, 1 and 6 arrived, however, the fire had got a good start and was blazing away merrily. The firemen worked with their usual skill and energy, and by midnight the flames were extinguished. It is not yet known how the blaze originated, but it is thought that damages will be about $1,000, as a large quantity of cigars and tobacco were destroyed. A number of caskets, belonging to Messrs. Greene & Simpson, were somewhat injured by the smoke, though fortunately not seriously.”

We covered the story of Tommy Roberts and his Water Street development in a post a year ago. Thanks to Andrea Butler, Tommy’s great granddaughter, we have this fabulous family image of Tommy Roberts (on the right, with his dog) and his uncle, Tommy Cyrs, in the middle, who probably developed the Grand Hotel on Water Street.

Tommy Roberts owned a fair amount of property around Vancouver, and even some in New Westminster and Coquitlam. He died after an intruder burst into a high stakes card game in the West End, and robbed the players. Reports said that Tommy Roberts wasn’t willing to give up the ring he was wearing, and was shot. There are suggestions that there was some cheating going on, and the robbery was rigged, but the thief got away and never identified. The huge diamond ring was not taken by the intruder, but it had disappeared by the time Tommy’s body got to the morgue.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-265

Posted February 2, 2017 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, Victory Square

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