Archive for the ‘West End’ Category

Burrard Bridge looking west

The ‘before’ picture here was taken in 1962, when there had been significant change in West End, but the taller towers hadn’t started to get developed. The last residential building visible on Beach Avenue is Kensington Place Apartments, completed in 1913 at the foot of Nicola Street, and still standing, painted cream, today. The tall tower in the centre of the image with the pointed top is Tudor Manor, a 23-storey tower designed by Paul Merrick and completed in 1989. The two taller towers on the right-hand edge of the picture are Pacific Surf, designed by W D Buttjes and completed in 1967, and Ocean Villa, designed by John Hollifield. It’s on the south side of Beach Avenue, and was completed in 1993

Right on the edge of the water on the left hand side of the picture, the Crystal Pool occupied prime real estate. It opened in 1929, intended to be part of the private Connaught Beach Club, designed by McCarter and Nairne, which was to have squash, badminton and tennis courts, Turkish baths for men and women, a beauty parlour, barber shop, a roof garden and a ballroom. The developer’s timing was terrible, and with an economic crisis in North America the contractors finished the pool, and ended up owning it in lieu of payment, and then lost money through the 1930s, despite various stunts and attractions to try to attract crowds.

The City took over the building in 1940, buying it for $30,000, with $27,106 approved in late 1939 in a plebiscite that just squeaked past the required 60% approval. The Park Board ran it when it reopened in 1941 as the city’s only all-year swimming pool, and immediately ran into conflict because a ‘color bar’ was introduced – blacks and Asians were only allowed to swim on Tuesday mornings. That rule took four years to be removed, despite the introduction of a token additional Monday night Chinese swimming proficiency class.

Although it wasn’t reported in the press, Vivian Jung, Vancouver’s first Chinese-Canadian teacher, protested the rule.  She needed a lifesaving certificate to complete her teacher training, but couldn’t obtain it with the rest of her student teacher classmates. Her organised protest ensured that in November 1945 the Park Board lifted all restrictions on the use of the pool. Vivian taught at Tecumseh Elementary School for 35 years. In 2014, the year that she died at 99, Jung Lane, the lane that runs close to Sunset Beach was named for her.

In our contemporary image, which was taken six months ago, the ‘barge on the beach’ was finally being dismantled and removed. She broke free in a storm in November 2021, and stuck fast on the rocks off Sunset Beach, where the pool had once been located. Efforts to drag her off having failed, the barge took from July until November to dismantle, after extensive investigations of toxic materials. Built in Portland, Oregon in 1966, the 5,000 tonne barge had been converted into a bin barge in 1989, and her owners, Sentry Marine Towing, spent an estimated $2.4m on removing her.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 392-1756



Posted 10 April 2023 by ChangingCity in Altered, West End

Stanley Park Manor – 1915 Haro Street

Stanley Park Manor is an imposing structure from 1929. It was designed by H H Simmonds, with 122 apartments. West Coast Builders developed the $200,000 investment, described as the largest single apartment built that year. The design were described in an article in the Sun in 1931, when it was complete, as ‘from plans by Architects Hodgson & Simmons’, as H A Hodgson partnered with Simmonds. It also revealed that the developer was W A Lightheart, whose other developments can also be found throughout the West End, as can others by other Lightheart Brothers. Our image dates from when it was completed, and is from Vancouver Public Library.

When this was developed, William Lightheart had a home in Shaughnessy, but his brother Jacob’s widow, Alice, lived here, and the manager was Cecil Lightheart, almost certainly his son.

In 1950 fire broke out in what was now a 139 suite building, but most of the 200 tenants stayed put. Only two families, with children, ended up at 4.11am sitting in an auto parked on the street. The fire started when the tip of a conveyor carrying wood to the furnace caught fire.

In 1956 Donald Woodruff went missing. “Wife of a Vancouver public accountant missing since Monday night fears he may be a victim of amnesia. Donald M. Woodruff, suite 508, Stanley Park Manor, went for a walk in the park at 9:30 p.m. and has not been seen since. Mrs. Woodruff said her husband, a Second World War navy veteran, may have signed on a ship leaving Vancouver. When last seen the missing man was wearing a black suit, grey hat, brown brogue shoes, a maroon tie, pale grey shirt and an opaque plastic raincoat.”

An intriguing notice in the press in 1958 suggests something odd going on, but confirms the Lightheart development connection.

That same year an advertisment for Burrard Realty Corporation announced “Mr. C. V. Lightheart as President, Vancouver born and educated who brings to the firm a lifetime of experience in Real Estate and Property Management. He is a member of the pioneer Lightheart family with extensive property holdings and who own, among others, Stanley Park Manor and Brookland Court. His many qualifications, his personal buoyancy and boundless energy make him an ideal President.

In 1974 one of the city’s ‘cold cases’ occurred, when the naked body of 32-year-old Margarite Ann Cuff was found when police entered her apartment. The murder weapon, a knife, was still protruding from her body. Police later described her a drug addict and prostitute, and the case was never solved.

More recently the building has been a scene of intrigue in both print, and film. Several movie productions have been shot here, and it was the home of chef Jeremy Papier, author Timothy Taylor’s main character in his novel Stanley Park.


Posted 9 February 2023 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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Barclay and Nicola Streets

A corner grocery has existed here for nearly 120 years. The first house built on this block face was 971 Barclay, out of sight in this image, but in the early 1900s three others were built. 961 is on the edge of the picture to the left, developed in 1909 by M J Donovan.

Ontario born Albert Blain arrived in Vancouver in the early 1900s and bought 941 Nicola Street soon after his arrival. He was a grocer, and he constructed the store and apartments at the corner of Nicola and Barclay Street in 1904, for $2,300, taking advantage of the water line running along Nicola and the proximity of the Robson Street streetcar line, both of which were driving growth in the area. He hired H Wilson as the builder.

(Confusingly, 947 Nicola was built in 1906 by Fred Schooley, manager of the Royal Soap Co, but the lot is on the other side of Barclay, and the out of sequence street numbering lasted for decades).

In 1907 Albert Blain added 955/957 Nicola, the second building, with bay windows, on the left, again with apartments. It originally had a single retail space with a centrally placed entrance, at some point the retail space was divided in two. The architect for the store and apartments was Blain’s son-in-law George Dobbin who also designed the south building and the family’s home on Barclay, built in 1907 for $3,000. Dobbin had a few other buildings to his credit but passed away in 1908 from TB.

In 1912 the gap between the two buildings was filled with a single storey retail structure, 951 Nicola. M McSween was shown as the owner, and D McLellan built it.

Albert Alexander Blain was born in Oneida, Haldimand, Ontario in 1880, so was only 24 when he built his store. He married Pearl McMillan, who was from Nova Scotia, in Vancouver in 1908, and they had five children, Winslow (her father’s name), known as Alex in 1910, Sarah in 1912, Bedford (known as Llyoyd) in 1915, Albert (known as Ivan) in 1917 and Roy two years later. Although there were two Albert Blains in the city, ours was initially a baggage handler for the CPR in 1902, then a bookkeeper for Boyd Burns & Co in 1904.

Albert didn’t make much impression in the local press. He lost a sum of money in 1910 and placed an advert hoping to recover it. In 1911 he was treasurer-secretary of the Grocer’s Association, and again a decade later. In 1924 there was an instore demonstration of baking, using ‘Magic Baking Powder’. Albert operated the store until 1929 when the family moved to California in September 1929 for health reasons, but he died in Long Beach in January 1930. Pearl returned to North Vancouver, and in 1941 married John Mann. She died in 1967, and was buried in Burnaby.

Our Vancouver Public Library image shows the stores in 1978. The building has recently had a comprehensive restoration, and there continues to be a shop on the ground floor and residential space on the second floor.


Posted 2 February 2023 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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The Park Lane – 975 Chilco Street

This 1931 apartment was the second building on the site. It was designed by Ross Lort, and was called the Park Lane Apartments, and it was yet another of Hugh A Warner’s developments, seen here in a VPL image in the year it was completed. In 1905 the site was the home of G W Hobson, and a picture of his house was in the Vancouver Province that year. It was built around 1902 as 2001 Nelson Street, and Christopher Hobson was the first resident. We looked at Mr Warner’s history in a post on one of his other West End investments, the Plaza Apartments.

As with many of the West End apartments, (other than the usual leasing advertisements), the Park Lane was mentioned for a few weddings and new tenants moving in. Other references are few, and far apart – as in 1933 when Miss A M Day found her unit had been broken into and her purse, with $5 in it, stolen. There seem to have been a significant number of deaths of tenants reported, perhaps indicating the age of many of the people who chose to call it home. In 1939 John McGibbon, former assistant commissioner of the RCMP died here. In 1941 it was George Dudley Eaton, a Maine lumberman who had retired aged 37, due to ill health, in 1910 and moved to Vancouver. In 1943 Michael Arhus passed away in hospital, aged 43.

It was reported that D J McLachlan had a lucky escape in 1939 when he hit another automobile while driving in Surrey. The car careened across the road, struck another vehicle, and rolled into the ditch. Mary McLachlan was 68 when her death was reported here in 1941. She must have been the driver of the car, as her husband, a hardware merchant, had died in 1931. She was a retired social worker, and “a worker in both the Local and Provincial Council of Women, of which she was past president. She was active in the John Howard Society, and, at the time of her death, was its first vice president. She was also a former officer and life member of the Women’s Canadian Club, a director of the Alexandra Orphanage, and a charter member of the Point Grey Golf Club.

Dr. McNichol, who lived here, was fortunately only injured when the car he was driving hit another vehicle at Alberni and Gilford in May 1945.

Some of the units here are described as ‘huge’, and in 2007 a 3-bed apartment leased at $2,695 a month; in 1986 it had been $950. Today the apartments, as with all the heritage buildings in the West End, become available very rarely and are leased very quickly.


Posted 30 January 2023 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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1110 West Georgia Street

1100 West Georgia Street is the corner lot on the south side of West Georgia, at Thurlow. In this 1981 image there was a seven storey office building that we noted recently on a 1955 aerial shot of this part of the Downtown peninsula.

The building was completed in 1950, built by Allen and Viner. The architect for the conversion and addition was Ross Lort, identified in a Journal of Commerce story in 1949.

This wasn’t a wholly new structure – the base was a four storey car showroom and dealership developed in 1926 by Chevrolet Cars at a cost of $80,000. They hired Dominion Construction to carry out the work (and design the building), and there was a second $50,000 permit too. Begg Brother’s who had built an earlier 1912 building across the street were running the facility. When it opened in June 1927 The Evening Sun reported “The building and all of its service, sales, storage and handling conveniences were designed by the management, architects’ assistance being required only for the technical structural specifications. The work, of construction was done by the Dominion Construction Co.” On the ground floor there was a showroom, with a parts department alongside on Georgia, and a service department at the back. There was a ‘spacious ladies’ rest room’ on the mezzanine floor, with the company offices. On the second floor the service department continued, accessed by a ramp than ran up the entire building. (There was also a passenger elevator). New cars were stored and prepared on the third floor, and the fourth was a paint department, which could add a GM Duco non-scratch finish to any other vehicle. Begg Brothers were still here at the start of the 1940s, although now they were a Dodge and DeSoto dealership, but by 1945 they had moved their main showroom to a smaller single storey building just to the west, (although the truck division were still on Thurlow Street) and this was briefly used by Neon Products engineering division.

The first reference to government use of the old car showroom was early in 1946, when Veteran’s Affairs were supposed to move their office here from the Second Hotel Vancouver – but the Neon Products lease was still in place until the end of January. In 1947 Allen and Viner were hired by the owners to remodel the building and add two additional floors. The government committed to buying and paying for the addition in mid 1948, budgeting $1,060,000 in total. Meanwhile the Taxation Department were located here, but they moved out at the end of 1948.

Initially budgeted at $850,000, the work to add the floors and clad the entire structure eventually cost the government, who became the developer of the building, $575,000 more. With the purchase of the building, the bill was double the initial estimate. The Vancouver Sun sent their reporter, Jack Webster, to Ottawa, to question the Minister, and he reported “The extra $375,000, the officials, told me, was necessary to add a third storey to the building (bringing it to a total height of seven storeys). “We had to drive columns down to the foundations in order to strengthen the walls sufficiently to take the additional storey,” it was explained. “But the total price (of $1,800,000) is reasonable, It is the largest block of good office accommodation in Vancouver today.” Questions were raised in parliament because the contract was let on a non-competition basis to Allen and Viner, who a local Conservative member argued were given the contract as ‘friends of the government’. The Minister denied knowing the gentlemen, claiming they werer selected because one of them had worked for Dominion Construction when the garage had been built.

It continued to be known as The Begg Building, home to the Taxation Department once more, but didn’t survive very long. In 1980 it was part of a trade with Marathon Realty, with a valuation of $3m, part of a complex land deal that saw Federal and Provincial agencies swapping sites around the city to obtain a Marathon-owned site to build a new stadium (BC Place). Marathon’s general manager, Gordon Campbell, was already planning new office buildings on the sites they acquired, and the office was demolished around 1983. It stayed as a parking lot for twenty years, and while there was an office building proposed in 1994, that wasn’t built and the land was incorporated into a larger site, with the single storey car dealership buildings to the west. In 2008 the Shangri-La hotel and condo tower, the tallest in the city (and the whole of Metro Vancouver, although not for much longer) was completed after three years of construction.

Image Sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W12.02 and CVA 99-3748


Posted 16 January 2023 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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Denman and Robson Street – north

Yet another Downtown corner that was once a gas station, Robson and Denman had a Chevron station into the end of the 1980s. In 1995 Times Square was developed here – a strata building that has never been sold, and that operates as an ‘apartment style hotel’ (allowing daily booking), and licenced as an apartment house. Designed by Katz Architecture it has 42 suites. The Archives say the image was taken between 1980 and 1997 – but clearly it was before the early 1990s.

This corner was undeveloped as late as 1920, and while there were two houses to the west, the first development seems to have been in 1954 when Dulmage’s Service Station was listed for the first time, as 785 Denman, which was a Chevron station when it first opened. In 1963 Ronald Gibson (aged 21, no fixed address) was jailed for nine months after stealing $300 from William Dulmage’s service station. The police didn’t catch him; he surrendered to Calgary police after attending a bible class there, and overwhelmed with guilt gave himself up.

In the early 1970s it became Standard Station #28, but by 1975 was back to Denman Chevron, and in the early 1980s Parkview Chevron. In spring 1989, Bill and Ken were offering ‘a good selection of Service Station goods and equipment for immediate sale’, suggesting this picture must date to the mid-1980s.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 772-543


Posted 5 January 2023 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

Downtown & False Creek from above

This is another older image matched up to Trish Jewison’s twitter pictures from the Global BC traffic helicopter (on May 16, 2021). It’s from the 1940s, and is one we’ve only recently been able to access as part of the collection that Uno Langmann donated to UBC. We’ve featured pictures of Burrard Street, and how suburban it felt, but this image really brings that into focus. The Burrard Bridge was newly completed, and there were industrial operations on both sides of False Creek on either side of the bridge. To the east of the bridge was a collection of run-down shacks where a residential population squatted on the foreshore.

The Vancouver Block can be seen on the left, on Granville Street, and it’s still visible today, one of the taller buildings on the retail strip. The gasometer on the right of the picture was on the end of False Creek, and the resulting pollution from the coal gas production is one reason for the parks among the residential towers developed by Concord Pacific. (The most polluted land is capped and sealed under a park, rather than risking disturbing it). That’s the earlier Georgia Viaduct crossing the industrial activity and railyards now occupied by the two stadia.

On the left St Paul’s Hospital is just visible, and across the street was Dawson School, where today the dark towers of the Wall Centre have been built. Because the shots were taken from different elevations, although they line up almost perfectly, it’s possible to see further up Burrard Inlet in the contemporary shot. In the foreground it’s easy to see the two newest and noteably taller towers. Vancouver House from this angle looks like any other rectangular condo, as the dramatic scooped cutout is hidden from view. The 54 storey Burrard Place is just left of centre, the first of three towers planned for the same block of Hornby. Between them, the contrasting black glazing and white marble balconies of the Pacific by Grosvenor stands out, another recent addition to the skyline. In the 1940s this part of Downtown was still single family homes, although some had been converted to commercial uses, and others to rooming houses.

Image source: Langmann Collection UBC


Posted 26 December 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown, West End

Kensington Place Apartments – Nicola Street


This majestic Italianate styled building has stood in the West End for over 100 years. Completed right at the end of 1913 (when the picture was taken), it was designed by ‘P M Julian’ in 1912 for Robertson & Hackett. It has a Nicola Street entrance but used its Beach Avenue address for the permit. Philip Jullien, the architect, was from Washington DC where he learned the Beaux Arts style while working in several offices there. (He ended the 19th century trying to make his fortune in the Yukon goldfields, which might be how he became acquainted with Vancouver). He arrived here in 1910, and this was his biggest commission here, although he designed much bigger buildings on his return to Washington in 1916.

Ironically Robertson and Hackett made their fortune owning a sawmill at the south foot of Granville Street in False Creek, but they chose to build their $75,000 five/six storey investment apartments in brick & concrete. They had over 40 building permits over the years, but apart from this they were all for relatively minor changes and additions to their sawmills, or a few houses they seem to have owned elsewhere in Downtown.

David Robertson was a Scotsman, who established a construction business in England in the 1870s. He travelled to Toronto, then headed west, meeting James Hackett for the first time on the train when he joined it in Winnipeg. They formed a construction partnership responsible for building many of the city’s prestigeous early buildings. In 1891 they opened a sawmill, which they moved to False Creek in 1895, then added a sash and door factory, which burned down in 1906, (so they bought out a rival to continue operations).

James William Hackett was born in Truro, Nova Scotia, and arrived in Vancouver in 1888 after a decade in the construction business in Winnipeg. James was elected an alderman in 1897, and was an active member of the Board of Trade. After his death in 1918 his widow lived in Kensington Place apartments. His son, George Robertson Hackett became Manager and secretary-treasurer of the business, and David Robertson was president. In 1921 David, who never married, was living with his nephew, Alex, who was manager of the sash factory, Elizabeth, Alex’s wife, their 10-year-old daughter, and Elizabeth’s younger sister, who was a telephone operator with BC Phones. David was still at the same address when he died in 1933, aged 83.

The building started life as apartments – 22 huge ones. There are only four suites per floor, most with two bedrooms and two or three bathrooms. The first mention of the building is at the end of 1913, when F Bruce Begg, ‘of the Begg Motor Company‘ got married in Buffalo, New York, and on his return to Canada would be living here (on the top floor). While the seriously wealthy were building houses in Shaughnessy, those in society who preferred to rent were moving here. George Kidd, financier and comptroller of the BC Electric Railway had a top floor suite. Dr George Worthington, a prominent physician who later owned the Vancouver Drug Company was in suite 20. Norman Ridley-Shield who had been business manager of the Kelowna Opera House had a penthouse suite. A C Brydon-Jack, a well-known and well-connected lawyer lived here in 1916. From New Brunswick, he was the senior prosecutor in most crown criminal trials in the city. He organized the Dominion Trust Company. In 1915 only his wife Vera, was mentioned as resident (and presumably their children, aged 14 and 13). She was daughter of a New Brunswick shipbuilder. Arthur was living in the Main Hotel. Unusually, their divorce made the newspapers, in 1917, the year that Arthur remarried in Seattle. In 1919, Vera Brydon-Jack also remarried, also in Seattle.

Mr. and Mrs. Campbell Sweeny and their family moved from their flat in the Bank of Montreal Building. Mr. Sweeny arrived in 1887 as manager of the first Bank of Montreal branch in the city. Mrs Sweeny died soon after in November 1914, just before her son, Benjamin, was able to leave Europe to visit. He was in the Royal Engineers and had been wounded in battle. Shortly afterwards the remaining family moved to apartments in the Hotel Vancouver.

In 1916 the owners (still Robertson and Hackett), agreed to allow an auction of the valuable and recently acquired contents of Suite 32 ‘as the owner is going to the front’. Everything had been recently purcahsed from the Standard Furniture Co, ‘regardless of cost’ including Persian rugs that had cost $185 each. That same year Mrs. John D McNeill was visited by her mother, Mrs. J T Hightower of San Francisco. Her husband was managing director of a coal company that distributed ‘jingle pot coal’.

In the 1940s and 50s, the building was home to the celebrated Canadian novelist, Ethel Wilson and her husband. In the late 1960s the owners were planning to redevelop the building, but tenants led by Terry Devlin successfully bought the building, and in 1975 it was an early conversion to a strata building, and is also an ‘A’ on the Heritage Register. The new owners gradually updated the building, led by architect, heritage advocate and resident, Charlotte Murray. The exterior was restored; the cornice re-built, and the windows (almost certainly from a Roberrtson & Hackett factory) restored. Suites now sell for up to $3m each.

Image source: Library & Archives Canada 3259566


Posted 28 November 2022 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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Windsor Apartments – 1924 Barclay Street

This relatively modest apartment building was approved for development in 1926. Costing $15,000, it was designed by W F Gardiner for A C Howard, and had six suites. The image in the Vancouver Public Library is undated, but the concrete looks very shiny, so we’re guessing it was taken around 1927.  The builder was listed as ‘day labour’, but Mr. Howard was a contractor, so he presumably supervised the construction. He built several houses for himself, which he also designed, so he probably had a pretty good idea of what he wanted built here.

We think Albert C Howard was born in Birmingham and was living in Yardley (these days a suburb of Birmingham) in 1901, with his wife Hilda who he had married in Solihull in 1900, and their daughter Nellie who was born in October 1900. Albert was a builder, and the family were living with his father, Charles, who was a coal merchant. Winnifred was born in 1905, in Birmingham, and Elsie in 1910, also in England. Albert John Howard was born in BC in 1916, and we believe there was a final daughter, Hilda.

Albert Howard first appears in Vancouver in 1911 as a carpenter, and a year later in the same employment but for J A Lund & Co. In 1916 Albert was on active service, and his military service was noted in the press. In 1923 he was vice president of the Grand Army of United Veterans, and from 1920 had been proprietor of Hotel Gifford on Robson Street. By 1927 he seems to have returned to being a building contractor. In 1929 he submitted the lowest tender for the addition to the University Heights School. In 1928 the family announced the marriage of Nellie to Archie Scotland, in 1933 the engagement of Winnifred to Robert Baldrey, and in 1936 of their third daughter, Elsie, to Frederick Woodward, of Edmonton. In 1943, Albert (who was in the RCAF) married Chesley Black.

Surprisingly, nothing had been built here before the apartments – this was the tennis court in the garden of a big turreted house on the corner of Gilford (to the left on this image), developed by (Henry) Harry McDowell in 1902. He arrived in the city immediately after the 1886 fire and established the first drug store. Partnering with another former resident of Milton, Ontario, he took McDowell and Atkins to one of the largest drug store businesses in the province. He was President of the Board of Trade, and an alderman, and retired at the start of the First World War at the age of 52. He got blood poisoning, which required a leg to be amputated, and he died in 1917. His former home was initially rented by his widow, Dell, and in the 1920s became a rooming house.

This version of the Windsor Apartments was here for only 38 years. The house next door was redeveloped as The Everest Apartments in 1960, (the year after both Albert Charles Howard and Hilda Howard died), and this site was developed in 1965 with a 42-suite building (still called Windsor Apartments) designed by Wilding & Jones.


Posted 10 November 2022 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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The Chatelaine – 905 Chilco Street

This 1930 building, designed by W M Dodd was built towards the end of a wave of West End development, when family houses were replaced with multi-unit rental walk-up apartments. J W Fordham Johnson had built a house here in 1904, which by 1928 had been split into five suites. The contents were sold off in June 1930, and the new apartments were complete by April 1931. This Vancouver Public Library image was probably taken later that year.

While some buildings of the era were fairly simple, this block has a patterned brick facade, an ornate stepped brick parapet and a gothic arched entry. The Journal of Commerce confirms the architect, and said that a ‘local investor’ was developing the $62,500 project. The building permit confirms the identity of the builder, J Galloway, and also identifies him as the developer. John Galloway also developed and built the Kenmore Apartments on Gilford Street, as well another apartment building on West 14th Avenue.

John, and his son John jnr. lived on East 7th Avenue, and James L Galloway on West 27th. Fortunately for us, he had been living on East 7th a decade earlier, so we can find him in the 1921 census. John and Margaret were both shown arriving in Canada in 1888. In 1921 they were both aged 57, and John was listed as a builder, and they were both born in Scotland. John Galloway had married Margaret Logan in Lanarkshire in 1885, and they had eight children, five of them girls. Margaret, the eldest daughter was born in Scotland in 1885, Sabina, Mary and Jean were born in Quebec from 1889 to 1894. The family headed west for a while, with Jean born in Vernon. A Daily World news story shows the family had previously been in Vancouver – and why they might prefer big city life.

John Galloway, late of this city, but now a contractor at Vernon, had a rough experience last month. He left Granite Creek on Tuesday, May 14th, intending to make the west side of Okanagan lake that night. In endeavoring to make a short cut over the mountains he lost his way. On the following day while attempting to cross a canyon his horse fell with him. The animal got so badly used up that he was not able to walk, and In trying to get him to a more open part, he kicked out and broke one of Mr. Calloway’s arms, close to the shoulder. After wandering about he at last made Granite Creek on the Saturday, having to swim very deep rivers. He was without food all this time, and suffered untold pain from his broken arm. Dr. Sutton, of Nicola, happened to be at Granite Creek that day and set the limb, after which the plucky contractor secured a new horse and rode on to Vernon by way of Nicola and Grand Prairie.”

John, the oldest son (who joined his father in the contracting business) was born in Montreal in 1896, and Florence was born in Scotland in 1900. James was born in Vancouver in 1902, and the final son, William, in Scotland in 1905.

In 1932 the building was in receivership, at the request of Halifax Investors Ltd. In 1937 the ownership question got really complicated. The Sun reported “Judge Declares Property Deal “Conspiracy”. Declaring that the transaction was part of a conspiracy to defraud the creditors of Joseph Francis Langer, Justice Murphy, on Friday, dismissed the suit of Langer’s wife, Jennie Louise Langer, 3138 West Fifteenth Avenue, for an interest in the Chatellaine Apartments, 905 Chilco Street. Another action, in which Langer joined his wife, for a declaration that they are owners of the Chatelaine subject to a $39,000 mortgage, also was dismissed for the same reason. 

James Torrance Armstrong, broker, Armstrong & Laing: Halifax Investors Ltd., and Mrs. Armstrong, as defendants, were deprived of their costs because they, too, were parties to the “illegal transaction,” the Judge declared. In a Judgment, Mr. Justice Murphy referred to a $78,000 Judgment obtained against Langer in 1932 by McTavish Bros. He recalled also that Mrs. Langer won a decision from the Court of Appeal restoring to her the furnishings of her home after they had been seized by McTavish Bros, for costs in that case; that Langer placed mortgages totalling $31,000 on their Granville Street home; that he sold the Orpheum and six other Vancouver theatres, admittedly, at great sacrifice, for $110,000 cash; all before he left British Columbia on Dec. 26, 1931, not to return until this year to assist his wife in this litigation.

Langer testified at the trial that he sacrificed a fortune in South Africa to return to Vancouver. The Judge stated that not only did Langer invest $5,000 In a second mortgage on the Chatelaine in the name of Halifax Investors Ltd. in a plan to cover up his assets, but he and Armstrong carried out a scheme to defraud Mrs. Langer of money to which they both knew she was entitled. J. Edward Bird and Ronald Howard conducted the Langers’ case; J. A. Macinnes and Percy White appeared for the defendants other than Kapoor Singh and his wife, who were represented by W. B. Farris and Ernest Bull. The latter obtained a dismissal with costs at the close of the plaintiff’s case on the ground that they were innocent purchasers for $2500 of stock in Halifax Investors.

For decades this was the home of Percy Williams, an insurance agent. Percy was better known as the double gold medal winner at the 1928 Summer Olympics. On his return there was a homecoming parade, ending at Stanley Park where awaiting him was a new car, $500 in gold and a $1600 trust fund. In 1930 he set a world record in the 100 meters, followed shortly with the gold medal victory in the 100 yards at the first-ever British Empire Games. At the Olympics in 1932 he had an injury, and wasn’t as fast. He never liked the spotlight and later claimed he hated running. He never again attended a track meet, even as a spectator, from the day he retired until the day he died In 1982, following a decline in his health, including two strokes. He took his life in his apartment with a shotgun he received as a prize for winning the gold medals.

The Chatelaine, 40 years after his death, still offers classy apartments in what is now a heritage building.


Posted 3 November 2022 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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