Archive for the ‘West End’ Category

The Berkeley – Bute Street

If we had waited for winter, more of this West End apartment building would be visible, but we chose summer as the building looks pretty much the same as when it was built in 1913, but the context has changed as the area’s street landscaping has matured. The apartments were worth $200,000 when they were built by Oliver Lightheart, the youngest of six Lightheart brothers who all came from Nottawasaga in Ontario, and all went into the construction and development business in Vancouver. Oliver was only 25 when he developed this building, and given the outlay it’s possible he may have had support from other family members. We have written about his family elsewhere, and seen his later investment property (also in the West End, and built in 1928) in an earlier post.

The Vancouver Public Library image dates from 1930, when there were no street trees on Bute, only on Nelson. The building was renovated in 2011, and continues to offer 36 rental units – these days ‘heritage’ apartments.

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Posted January 9, 2020 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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The West End and Stanley Park from above

Here’s another dramatic aerial view. There’s nearly a century separating the two images – the Archives image was shot in 1927, so there’s no bridge to the North Shore yet – and very little there if you did manage to cross on the ferry. The picture was taken by Pacific Airways, apparently for the Union Steamship Company.

The West End in 1927 was mostly houses, although the smart money had already moved on to the CPR’s relatively recently released Shaughnessy district, so many of the big old houses (twenty to thirty years old houses), were being divided up or used as guest houses and rooming houses. There were apartment buildings sprinkled throughout the area, and many more were being built in this period, replacing some of those earlier houses.

On the waterfront it’s possible to make out both Englesea Lodge that was right on the water’s edge, and nearby the Sylvia Apartments, both designed by Seattle architect W P White. Between them were two piers, the older (and longer) with a pavilion at the end. It was built around 1905 and demolished in 1938. On a holiday like today in 1927 a band would probably be playing here, and there might be another at the bandstand on the roof of the changing pavilion to the southeast.

Today’s West End has a mix of lower density buildings, some already built in 1927, and far more mid and higher towers, built for the most part (in this part of the area) from the 1950s to the 1980s. The relatively recent West End Plan has encouraged development in certain parts of the area, and in Trish Jewison’s image (taken from the Global News helicopter) it’s possible to spot a number of tower cranes on Davie Street near Denman. There are five new rental towers being built there. The picture was taken in the spring, so the Empire Landmark was still standing, although the revolving restaurant had already been removed; now there just a big hole in the ground, awaiting the construction of a pair of condo towers with social housing over a retail and office podium.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 374-181 and Trish Jewison on twitter.

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Posted December 26, 2019 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

Davie Street – 1200 block, north side

As in another 1928 Davie Street picture, the 1200 block was once a street of houses, but by 1928 several had already been altered to add commercial frontages. As some of the houses were set back quite a way, with front gardens, the stores projected forward to the sidewalk. None of the houses on this block survive today – there’s actually just one property here, addressed as 1150 Jervis, with a residential tower over retail, built in 1970.

Behind the Capitol Grocery and Fruit Market, at 1253 Davie were two houses, built in 1902 by M C Griffith (according to the permit) costing $1,650 and $1,600. Malcolm Griffith, a contractor, lived at 1249 when it was built, as did Arthur Griffith, also a contractor. In 1902 only Arthur was listed, living three blocks away, on Davie (and invariably, and apparently inaccurately, the street directory listed them as Griffiths). That year there were four other Grifffiths in the city, every one of them either a carpenter or contractor.

M C Griffith had acquired a series of lots in this area, and he designed and built several other houses on this block. We’ve looked at the family history in connection to an earlier post that looked at the investment hotel he built on Granville Street in 1911 at a cost of $55,000. His 1902 home on Davie coincided with his marriage to Annie Montgomery, from Peebles in Scotland (which may be why he was temporarily missing in the street directory). Malcolm and his father, Arthur, were from Quebec, and had arrived in the city in the 1890s.

In 1911 the houses were addressed as 1243 and 1249 Davie, occupied by Walter Stark and Henry Stone. Calvin Grey was in 1243 a year later. It looked like Dr Seager might have been the owner of the building in 1915 when the retail unit was built – he paid $300 to H Elphick to add a single storey addition, although no retail use was apparent in subsequent street directories. That year 1243 was occupied by Charles Bell and 1249 was St Mark’s Theological College, associated with Dr. Seagar. Although it shares a name with a later Catholic college at UBC, this was an Anglican training facility. The theological college remained here until 1920 when it merged with Latimer Hall, to become The Anglican Theological College of British Columbia and moved to the Latimer Hall building on Haro Street. In 1921 Milton Clay lived at 1249 Davie, and it was vacant in 1925, and the Capitol Grocery opened a year later, run by Tim Lee, with P Ecker living at the back. In 1928 when the picture was taken it was still T Lee, with G Chan.

On the far left of the picture, Peter Tardiff altered the house at 1263 Davie in 1913 for Philip White, who lived here into the 1920s. We were not sure what he did; the directory doesn’t mention his occupation, and the census entry was impossible to read. However, Philip lived here before the alterations, and earlier directories show him to be a miner. He was obviously a successful one, as he built an investment block on Granville Street in 1905, and another in 1911. Philip was from Quebec, as was his wife, Charlotte, but the 1921 census shows his three daughters and son had all been born in BC.  In the 1928 image the house was occupied by the Toc H (Talbot House), an international Christian movement founded in World War One.

Today the ‘Your Independent Grocer’ store occupies the site of the Capitol Grocer, and the West End Community Policing Office is located where Mr. White’s home once stood.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Str N266.2

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Posted December 16, 2019 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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Robson Street – 1100 block, south side (2)

Here’s another example of early houses on Robson Street transformed into a retail space. As with our previous post, this is the 1100 block, and here we’re midblock. The two storey replacement that has had CinCin Italian restaurant upstairs since 1990, was supposedly completed in 1974, and the ‘before’ photograph is dated from May 1974. Presumably there was construction soon after the picture was taken, but there were further major changes in 1985, which is when we suspect the restaurant space may have been remodeled.

By the mid 1900s the house that stood here was 1150 Robson (today it’s numbered as 1156). It was built around 1900, but the numbering in the early 1900s was completely confused (as they were not in numerical sequence) We’re pretty certain J T Wilband, a mechanic lived here from its completion, and was still here in 1906 when he was described as a contractor – so it’s possible he built the house himself, or had help in doing so. John Thaddeus Wilband was from New Brunswick, aged 38 in 1901 and married to Florence, four years younger. They had six children at home; their four sons each had unusual names; Burns, Hesson, Bellamy and Seward. (The girls probably had an easier time at school as they were Laura and Jennie). Three other siblings had died before they reached one year old. The youngest three children, starting from 12-year-old Hesson had been born in BC, the older three in New Brunswick. There were several other New Brunswick-born Wilbands in the city, including Simon, a carpenter (who we think was John’s brother) Charles and Ernest (both brothers – Ernest ran a successful sheet metal works on Richards Street) and Valentine (their father). When the 1911 census came round, the Wilband family had moved elsewhere in the city. John was living on Landsdowne Avenue, and Burns had his own home, and was a plumber. John Wilband died in 1937.

In 1910 the street directory showed Albert Lloyd, a teacher, living here, and in 1911 it was Frederick McPhail, a conductor on the BC Electric Railway. The 1911 census shows how quickly tenants moved, as neither of these were listed; instead it was Signor L S Auria, from Naples, and his daughter, Margerita who were living here, although they stayed in the city for such a short period that they were never recorded in a street directory. By 1955 the house was used as a rooming house, run by Mrs. F Hingston, with the Esquire Shop selling tobacco and Progressive Sales smoker’s supplies.

It’s an unusually long block, and it’s interesting to see that underneath the ‘Will Build to Suit’ notice was an access back to the lane. In 1974 there was an aquarium and pet shop, Noah’s Ark. The single storey retail building to the east (on the left) appears to have been constructed in 1921 at a cost of only $1,500 by Taylor Construction for D Murray. In 1974 it was home to Peacock’s Children’s Wear, and Oriental Marble House – ‘imports’.

One significant change in the past 40 years is the switch in emphasis of the stores, from generally local-serving to shops serving a much wider catchment. The small single storey building to the west, the Dory Shop, was selling quality used clothing in 1974, and Sketchers footwear today. It was built in 1957, and the Esquire shop had moved here, selling Gauloises cigarettes, was part of the same building, although today it has a more prominent façade, and is another shoestore. There was another house at the back of that lot too, in 1974. The house numbered initially as 1154 Robson no longer exists, as the building has also had major changes in the past 45 years. It seems to have been built around 1907, with Margaret Hyslop living here in 1908 and Coralina Chapman in 1909, clarified to Cornelia in 1910. She had moved by 1912, but fortunately was included in the 1911 census which tells us she was from Ontario, aged 55, and a widow. It’s hard to tell how big the house was, but it was full. Her sister, and niece, Ida and Ruth Purdy lived with her, as well as seven lodgers. It was still standing in 1955; Andrew Nesmith, a janitor in the Metropolitan Building lived here, as well as Ken Willoughby, (married to Lillian) who was managed of Photo Arts who occupied the retail unit on the street, where they specialized in portraits.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-343

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Posted November 21, 2019 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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Robson Street – 1100 block, south side (1)

Here’s the south side of the 1100 block of Robson in a 1939 Vancouver Public Library image. Today the stores offer clothing to a broad group of shoppers from around the region, and beyond, but in the 1930s they were more likely to be local, looking for a haircut, and food from Safeway. (Both of those can still be found a few blocks down the street). Today, Aritzia, a locally based clothing chain have several stores here, including their Downtown flagship store. The company operates 84 stores, each individually designed, throughout Canada and the US.

In 1939 there were far more small businesses, with a grocery store on the corner of Thurlow, just out of the picture, then the Glaz-O-Nut Doughnut store at 1102-and-a-half Robson, Woodall’s Hand Knitting Shop and on the left of the picture, F B Patterson’s barber salon. The Cookie Crock bakery was to the west, then P B Dean’s delicatessen, the Egg Basket selling butter, cheese and eggs, and then Safeway’s grocery store. The New Coleen Confectionery store was at 1116, with Edmund Daem, a CPR porter and his wife, and daughter Josie, a stenographer lived upstairs. The rival Silver Star confectioners were next door, and then Moore’s cleaning and dyeing business.

The Safeway store and several other buildings revealed their origins as a residential rather than retail street. Safeway’s 1110 Robson had been a house in 1901, 1106 Robson. It was occupied by Henry Vaughan, a clerk, with Frank Filion, a grocer living in a house to the east and Thomas Bradbury, a contractor to the west. Frank designed a new house himself, in 1902, and had P Dermes build the stone foundation. (He had previously been a hotel-keeper in Gastown, before moving to the West End). The future Safeway store was owned by Yorkshire & Canadian Trust Co in 1919. It was apparently still a residential building in 1936, when Mrs. E M Jenkins, a dressmaker lived there, but a year later it was the Safeway store.

Beyond it, the two storey building two doors to the west was designed for Gillingham & Korner for D M Hourigan in 1920, and cost $4,000 to build. In 1921 Daniel Hourigan was 51 and from Ontario, and seems to have owned at least two of the buildings here. He was married to Alice, a 53 year old American, and seemed to be living on the income from his investments. In 1911 they were living in Toronto, where a daughter was still living with them. Daniel died in 1944, and in 1949 The Medicine Hat News reported that Alice, and her daughter, Mrs. Moyer (who lived in Medicine Hat) had driven 2,000 miles for her to visit her native Illinois for the first time in 38 years, at the age of 82. Their daughter, Mary, had been born in Illinois.

The three storey building to the west is still standing today. It was built in 1912 for Esther P Buchanan, who hired W P White to design it. Allan Brothers built the $35,000 ‘Apartment/rooms; three-storey brick store and apartment’. Esther knew the site well, as she lived here, in a house, before it was developed. She was wife of Richard G Buchanan, and in 1911 she was aged 32 and from Quebec. (He was 12 years older, and from Ireland, arriving in Canada as a boy in 1880. He sold china and glassware on Granville Street, and before that on Westminster Avenue). There were three boys, aged 10, 6 and 4. The family moved to Haro Street when the new building was developed, and Richard’s china shop moved to the main floor. In early December 1913 there was a 25% sale in the china store; an unusual time of year for such an event. The advertisements explained that ” In order to close the estate of the late R. G. Buchanan we must have $15,000 in 30 days”. Presumably things worked out for the business: in the next few years Mrs R G Buchanan was running the business, and she lived in one of the apartments above the store. In 1917 Stephen Ira DeBou (a 33 year old unmarried contractor, from New Brunswick) married Esther Permelia Buchanan, a 39 year old widow, daughter of Thomas B Hyndman of Ottawa. In 1921 they were living on Nelson Street; there were three of Stephen’s stepsons still at home; Esther’s fourth son, Richard was born around 1912. Her father, Thomas, was also living with them. We’ve see Mr. Hyndman’s work in the city in an earlier post. He developed some houses on Robson Street, and had worked for R G Buchanan before becoming vice-president of Woodwards Stores, and then running a real estate business. Esther died, aged 61, in 1940, and Stephen in 1964.

There was a Piggly Wiggly store next door in the building in 1928, and upstairs the rooms became the Hotel Biltmore. The grocery store closed very quickly, reopening as the Leong Market. In 1955 Safeway and the Biltmore Hotel were still in operation, but the food store was now Tom’s Market.

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1402 Comox Street

We looked at the history of the building on this site in a post we wrote a few years ago. The Broughton Apartments were developed by builder Peter Tardiff (really Pierre Tardif, from Quebec), and designed by Parr and Fee. Completed in 1912, and costing $100,000, they weren’t the first building here. That was this house, (seen above around 1900), which was addressed to Comox although the front door was on Broughton. It was one of the earliest houses in the West End – seen on the left in 1890, according to this picture (when it was on the left  edge of the picture).

It was owned by George Stevens, who was an agent for J Stevens and Sons of Toronto, surgical instrument manufacturers. He can first be seen in the city directory in 1890, although the company history says he was here in 1889. By 1892 he was one of five George Stevens in the city. He was a son of the company founder, James Stevens, who learned instrument making in England, and the company was developed from 1874 when George’s brother Daniel established the Canadian business. They built a new warehouse and office in the 1920s, on Richards Street, and The Stevens Company continues as a family owned distributor of medical equipment today.

The 1891 census failed to find the family, because while George arrived in Canada in 1888, his wife didn’t make the move until 1892. Fortunately we have this supposedly 1895 image, taken in the yard of 1091 Broughton (the alternate address for the house) and a 1901 census record. George and his wife Georgina, who was six years younger, had all seven of their children still at home that year, six of them (four daughters and two sons), born in England, and eight year old Frank who was born in BC. He was born in February 1893, and as that’s undoubtedly him in the middle of the picture, the picture must date from 1894. Frank died in 1980 in Surrey, and from his death certificate we learn that his mother was Georgina Herbert when she married George. In 1901 they had a servant, Alice Holdich, who was also from England, and George’s younger sister, Eleanor was also living with them at the time, although she returned to England soon after.

In 1911 five of the children were still at home, two daughters and three sons, and there were two lodgers as well. The other daughters had got married, and moved away. Son George was manager of a Royal Bank branch at Robson and Granville Street, and his brother Fred was a ledgerkeeper at the Alberni Street branch of the same bank. By then the family had moved out to West 6th Avenue. D B Stevens (George’s brother Daniel) was president of the company, George was vice-president, and the company offices were on Homer Street. George died that year, aged 66, and his obituary identified the location of the business before they moved to Homer as being in the Arcade building, redeveloped as the Dominion Building.

Soon after George’s death the apartment building was completed, and unlike the house which lasted about 20 years, over a century later it’s still standing.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Dist P60, Dist P59 and Dist P39

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Posted October 31, 2019 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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Thurlow Street – 1000 block, north side

This is the corner of Nelson and Thurlow in 1957. We haven’t been able to identify who developed the three (undoubtedly speculatively built) houses, but we posted the picture because it shows how even long-established parks were once something else. There were in fact four homes, in a row, then a lane. The were numbered as 1025, (off the picture to the right), 1029, 1033 and 1037, and they first appear in 1901, with Sidney M Young living on the left, John Damer, a traveller, in the middle and Joseph Paul, a watchmaker on the right. Only John Damer was still here a year later, supporting our theory that they were rental properties. He wasn’t in the city before moving here, so isn’t in the 1901 census. Mrs Grant Hall moved in on the right, but didn’t stick around, and in 1903 there was another new occupant – and one we do know something about. Bedford Davidson moved in, a builder and sometimes architect, who developed houses, apartments and commercial buildings across the city. He stayed here for a couple of years, and John Damer was still next door, with J M Graham, a secretary in the house on the right.

Mr. Davidson moved here from a variety of eastside addesses, where he was initially inaccurately recorded as Batford Davidson. The census in 1901 got his name right, and had him lodging with Rachel Urquhart, a widow who had a rooming house on East Hastings. We don’t know if Mr Davidson developed the properties – it would have been an ambitious undertaking for a 25 year old from Nova Scotia, but not impossible. (In fact, earlier census records when Bedford was still at home with his parents in Amherst Shore, and then Tidnish, in Nova Scotia, show he was aged 28, and the 1901 census was incorrect). He developed a series of increasingly expensive properties from 1901 to 1903, several on East Hastings and then hiring G W Grant as architect of at least three business blocks on the 500 block of Granville, that he had presumably also bought the sites for. (By 1911 the family had moved to Broughton Street, Bedford, his wife Evangeline, also from Nova Scotia, two daughters and a baby son. Ten years later all the children were still attending school, and there were two more additions to the family. Bedford Davidson died in 1963, aged 91).

In 1911 the house on the left was home to John B Williamson, a merchant, who had lived there for several years. John was from Ontario, and was married to Martha, who was from England (arriving in 1883 as a two year old). They had a baby daughter, Jean, and Gertrude Rothwell, an Ontario-born relative. John was partners in Williamson Jenkins Co, who sold glass and crockery wholesale. In the middle was Frederick F Jones (according to the street directories) and Albert Lloyd, and his wife May, according to the census. Albert had arrived in Canada only three years earlier, and was a cashier, but May was from PEI. On the left the street directory recorded ‘Aurilous J Mangold’. The census had ‘Aurel’, for the 53 year old Frenchman, whose occupation was listed as ‘Book’. He was shown as a steward at the Terminal Club in the street directory, but The Daily World showed him running the Conservative Investment Co. on Pender Street. He offered investors an opportunity to invest in West End rental property. A year later the street directory had Mrs M Mangold as resident (in 1911, 38-year-old Mary Mangold, from England had three children at home, Lillian, 17, Aurel, 12 and Josephine, who was three). In 1913 she had moved to Kerrisdale, and was listed as a widow. Lillian was a stenographer. In 1917 Aurel Mangold (the son) was mentioned in a news story when gave evidence at an inquiry, having  helped lift a car off the body of Mrs Dixon, who was run over and killed by a Ford driven by Mrs. Muriel Johnson, outside the Birks Building. Soon afterwards the family had moved from Vancouver, apparently to New York, where Aurel became an ophthalmologist.

From the early 1950s the City of Vancouver, through the Board of Parks, acquired houses in two blocks to create a new urban park for the West End (which had a growing population, and no inland green space). By the 1970s all the houses on this block had been demolished, and the lane was incorporated into the park. The adjacent block, which was also to be demolished, was spared and became the Mole Hill Housing Co-op. Development funds were used in 2007 to restore and renew the park.

Image source: City of Vancouver archives Bu P508.97

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Posted October 28, 2019 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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