Archive for the ‘A A Cox’ Tag

Robson and Hornby Street – south east

This image, from May 1965 shows, according to the Archives record, “the Clement Block, Danceland, Crystall Lunch, C.K.N.W. and Black Top Cabs office”. There’s also a bakery, and Triangle Books on the main floor of the two storey and mansard building dating from 1922. It was developed by Herbert S Clements, and designed by A A Cox in two stages; Cameron Construction built the initial $12,000 structure, and then a year later E Cook & Sons carried out another $6,000 of ‘Miscellaneous; Repairs/Alterations; Banquet hall’. Those were by no means the total costs.

A complex legal case from 1927 told the story of the new building. In 1920 W H Sproule, President of the National Mortgage Company, and H S Clements, a director, bought a building on this corner. W G Harvey had owned the building in 1909, and sold it that year to Maxwell, Le Feuvre, Passage and Tomlin for $85,000. There were various mortgages and payments that are far too complex to list here, and Maxwell and Le Feuvre sold their interests, but eventually Passage and Tomlin agreed to sell the site to Mr. Sproule. He had difficulty paying for the building, and Mr. Clements helped him out, and they ended up owning the building with a small mortgage. Mr. Sproule at around the same time moved to Winnipeg leaving Mr. Clements in charge of the decrepit building, which was ordered demolished by the City in 1922. The replacement cost at least $88,000 in total to build, and the land was assessed at $50,000, and in June 1924 he sold the building seen here for $125,000. Mr. Sproule sued to try to get more than his half of the sale proceeds, and a judge awarded him an extra $3,085. Mr Sproule wanted more, and Mr. Clements didn’t think he was entitled even to that amount, so they ended up in the Court of Appeal. The judges sided with Mr. Clements: one of the judges noting “Real estate at the time in question in the City of Vancouver was of very uncertain value and holders thereof were looked upon as speculators. The defendant by the exercise of great skill and judgment was able to, in the end, make a profit by the sale of the land after the erection thereon of a suitable building, and he must be allowed all outgoings in respect thereof; the plaintiff cannot obtain the profits and leave all the losses with the defendant.”

Herbert S Clements had been a Conservative MP, initially in Chatham, Ontario, where he was born, representing West Kent from 1904 until 1908 when he moved to British Columbia. He set up a real estate company with George S Heywood which continued to operate through to the early 1920s. His partner was also from Chatham, where he was still living in 1901. When they were in partnership, they both occupied apartments in the same building, 859 Thurlow. At the same time, from 1911 until 1921 Herbert represented the British Columbia ridings of Comox-Atlin and then Comox-Alberni. His obituary, in 1939, said he retired both from his real estate business and politics more than 15 years before. That would coincide with a court case where Mr. Clements sued John J Coughlin for $5,000 to be paid for helping Mr. Coughlin sell his interest in a government funded drydock in Burrard Inlet. Mr. Clements was involved because of his ‘influence’ in Ottawa, but unlike two other lobbyists, he was never paid.

Herbert Clements was an old-school conservative. While representing Chatham it was noted that he “Strongly advocates more protection for agricultural interests of Canada and believes in equal tariff with U.S. on all national products affecting Canada.” When he stood as a conservative for Comox Atlin in 1911, the local Prince Rupert newspaper, the Daily News described him as a ‘carpet bagger’, and backed the liberal candidate (a local). The Omineca Miner newspaper seemed happier with him, and carpetbagger or not, Mr. Clements was elected. Today his attitude to former eastern Europeans are still remembered, especially Ukrainians, interned during the first war. In March 1919 he said “I say unhesitatingly that every enemy alien who was interned during the war is today just as much an enemy as he was during the war, and I demand of this Government that each and every alien in this dominion should be deported at the earliest opportunity. Cattle ships are good enough for them.”

The new building on the corner was leased out, with the entire second floor going to a dance academy called the Alexandra Ballroom, with the entry on Hornby Street. It had draped windows, a stage, a small lounge and a kitchen. The wooden, sprung dance floor had bags of horsehair laid under the floor, and later, overhead fanning boards were added. All this made for a very classy venue, a rival to The Commodore.

In 1929 a radio station was established on the third floor by Sprott Shaw College. In 1954 radio station CKNW moved into the space, but owner Bill Rea, sold CKNW and took over The Alex, downstairs. He changed the name to Danceland and created a new upbeat venue. Adorned with oversized neon signs, Danceland began to attract some of the big names of the day. Red Robinson recalls the venue playing host to Ike & Tina Turner, The Coasters, Bobby Darin, Roy Orbison and many other R&B and early rock and roll bands. A new owner took over Danceland and continued to promote the venue as a Rock and Roll dance hall. It could accommodate up to 600 people, and coaches sometimes could be seen parked outside having brought dancers up from the USA. It was noted that bouncers did routine patrols looking for booze under the chairs.

The city bought the building for a civic centre that never materialized, and the Province took over and initially cleared the site for a parking lot in 1965. The new Courthouse, designed by Arthur Erickson was built here many years later, although this corner is really part of the site’s extensive landscaping, designed by Cornelia Hahn Oberlander.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-351

0929

Posted December 12, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with ,

752 Thurlow Street (2)

Our previous post looked at this building in the 1970s when it was Oil Can Harry’s club. Long before the club use the building started life in 1926 as the Vancouver Women’s Building, designed by A A Cox. Here it is in 1927, soon after it was completed. There was a house here before this building was completed in 1927; it was bought in 1911 by delegates from twelve Women’s organisations who had raised funds by subscription. Judge Helen MacGill, an outspoken advocate for women and children’s legal rights was one of the founders, and remained active in welfare reform and women’s rights issues throughout her life. The house became a resource centre for women’s groups, with office space and meeting rooms, and a 10c a day childcare centre for working mothers, Canada’s first such public institution.

By 1913 21 organisations with 5,000 members were shareholders, and membership continued to grow. The crèche had moved in 1917 to Cambie Street, and by 1924 funds had been raised to allow the design of a new building, although the original house wasn’t demolished, but moved to the back of the lot. The new building had shareholders from 80 organizations and 500 individuals; it was smaller than had originally been hoped, but the war and economic downturn reduced the scale of the building. As with many businesses and groups, the recession of the early 1930s hit funds hard, and by 1933 the shareholders were finding it difficult to repay the remaining debt associated with the building. By 1940 it was impossible to retain the premises, and in 1941 it was taken over by the Salvation Army. By 1950 it was vacant, and in 1955 Pedersen’s Catering operated from the building. In 1966 Oil Can Harry’s club opened, lasting in various versions until 1977. The Carlyle, a residential and retail tower replaced the 1926 premises in 1988.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu N292

0678

Posted July 31, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with ,

752 Thurlow Street (1)

This Downtown location has seen a dramatic transformation in the past few years as it has become an extension of the luxury shopping area that has expanded from Alberni Street. Today’s retail stores include Saint Laurent of Paris and Moncler, a clothing brand founded in France but now based in Milan. The stores are newly redesigned and refitted for their brands, but the building they’re in has been around for nearly 30 years: The Carlyle was designed by Aitken Smith Carter and completed in 1988. There are nearly 150 residential units here: they were initially rented, but were sold as strata units from 1989 onwards. Until the recent transformation there was a 7-11 on the corner of the building, and these units were part of The Keg steakhouse and bar.

The building here before the Carlyle was more modest; a three storey building that in this 1974 image was home to Oil Can Harry’s club. The club opened in 1966, and towards the mid 1970s there were effectively three clubs in one. On the main floor was a lounge usually featuring a singer with a rhythm section. Beyond that was the largest room of the club which usually had R&B bands and the occasional jazz group and upstairs was a jazz club.

The club was owned by Danny Baceda, who later also owned Issy’s and The Cave (before his company ended up in receivership in 1972), but his cousin, Frank Hook effectively ran the club. Despite seeing bookings for legendary performers including Ike and Tina Turner and Charles Mingus, disco eventually killed that version of the club. New management ran the club into the early 1980s as a disco club, complete with a pool and bridge in the middle of the room (where the dance floor might have made more sense).

The origins of the building are quite different from a nightclub. On 12 April 1911, women’s organizations banded together and formed Vancouver Women’s Building Ltd. The following year they purchased a lot at 752 Thurlow Street and spent years fundraising to erect their own building for meeting, office, and daycare space. The Vancouver Women’s Building, designed by A A Cox, opened in 1926. We’ll look at the history of that period in another post.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-433

0677

600 block – West Hastings Street (2)

Here’s another view, taken a bit later than our last post (probably in 1911) of the south side of Hastings from Granville, looking east. Now you can see the facade of the Bank of Ottawa Building. The Bank of Nova Scotia absorbed the Bank of Ottawa in 1919 and continued to occupy the building. The Ottawa Citizen in 1909 reported the acquisition of the 52 foot wide corner property, and that the six storey building would cost the bank $250,000. In they end they seem to have got a bargain – although the initial design was attributed to W Marbury Somervell, the building permit was to Somervell and Putnam for $225,000 – and the building was eight storeys.

The new bank building replaced earlier structures that included a billiards hall and the Pill Box Drug Store. The Strand Hotel was also known as the Delbruck Block, and where the recently completed Canada Life Assurance Company building stood had been the site of the Leland House Hotel. The Canada Life Building had a branch of the Imperial Bank of Canada as well as lawyers, brokers and government offices. The Bank of Commerce on the corner also had tenants upstairs in ‘rooms’ including a number of land brokers and William M Dodd, architect. Mr Dodd, although not widely recognised, obtained some sizeable contracts including a $200,000 apartment building at Granville and 12th that is still standing today.

W J Cairns took the City of Vancouver Archives original CVA Str P411

0117

600 block – West Hastings Street (1)

Here’s the 600 block of West Hastings early in 1910. At the eastern end of the block, on the corner of Seymour Street the Bank of Ottawa is under construction to the design of W Marbury Somervell, one of only two buildings he designed before he teamed up with fellow American John Putnam (although a 1911 building permit has both names attached).

Their design was quite similar to – but somewhat taller than – the Darling and Pearson designed bank on the other end of the block. This Bank of Commerce commission was completed by the Toronto-based architects in 1908. Today it is home to Birks jewelers, with a more recently recreated ‘heritage’ interior designed by Oberto Oberti in 1994. Next door was the Canada Life Building, completed in 1910, and next door to the east was the Strand Hotel, in this picture as it looked after it was remodeled in 1907 to J S Pearce’s design. There’s a permit issued to ‘Darling and Pearsen’ for a Canada Life office in 1910, but all the contemporary records of construction progress reference A A Cox as the architect – it’s probable that Cox was the local supervising architect of Darling and Pearson’s design (although Cox also designed buildings of a similar scale on his own – like the Carter Cotton Building).

Today both the Bank of Ottawa (which soon after became the Bank of Nova Scotia) and the Canada Life building are still standing. Or at least, the building frames are still standing; both buildings were increased in width and given a contemporary skin. The Canada Life Building was rebuilt in 1952 and the Bank of Ottawa earlier, in 1950.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 371-2426

0116

News Advertiser – 420 Cambie Street

Another of the newspaper buildings clustered around Victory Square, this is the News Advertiser seen in 1900, ten years after it had been constructed on the corner of Pender and Cambie. It cost $20,000 and the business included a bindery run by G A Roedde (you can still visit Mr Roedde’s former home in the West End). The News Advertiser claimed a number of firsts for the city, and possibly the country, including electric powered presses and, in 1893, typesetting machines. In 1910 the paper was sold by its long-time owner Francis Carter Cotton and seven years later the paper was again sold, this time to rival newspaper the Sun.

In 1907 the paper move to a new location on West Pender, and three years later a building permit was issued to replace the wooden former offices. Although the new building is often identified with fruit and vegetable dealer H A Edgett, the developer was Francis Carter Cotton, who presumably retained ownership when he moved his paper to its new home beyond the Courthouse. Carter Cotton had built an office building to the north of the site in 1908, and he used the same architect for his latest property investment, A A Cox. The style of the two buildings is complementary, and H A Edgett who occupied it had a storefront on the corner for his greengrocers and furniture store – a somewhat unlikely combination. That’s the store on this 1912 postcard, and the wagons from around the same time suggest the furniture part of the business was equally as important as the grocery.

Harry Edgett was born in New Brunswick and arrived in British Columbia in 1890. He was obviously a successful merchant as he was also a director of the Sterling Trust and by 1914 was living in Shaughnessy Heights.

The building was adapted in 1924 as the printing works for the Province Newspaper who also occupied the offices to the north and created an arched bridge between the two buildings.

These days the Architectural Institute of British Columbia occupy the building after a renovation designed by Peter Busby.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives, News Advertiser Building c1900, CVA SGN 1457

0108