Archive for the ‘Angus Secord’ Tag

Secord Hotel – 401 Powell Street

Angus Secord born 1850 in New Brunswick, and died in 1897; (he’s buried in Mountain View Cemetery). He was shown living in Vancouver in the 1891 census, but he was still living with his parents in New Brunswick in 1881. He was on the city’s 1886 voter’s list, and in the 1887 street directory where he was listed as a builder, in partnership with John Garvin, on Dupont Street. He could trace his family back to Ambrose Sicard, a Frenchman who was born in 1631, moved to England and then, in 1888 (the year he died), New York. We know Angus was a carpenter, because he was responsible for the woodwork on his hotel, which he may have designed as well.

The Vancouver Daily World described the new hotel: “On the ground floor are the dining-room, kitchen, sample-room – for this hotel is intended for a commercial as well as a family house – and smaller necessary rooms, besides a neat little store. The first floor consists of parlors for guests and bed rooms, and the third storey of private parlors, rooms en suite and single rooms. The house is specially arranged for a family boarding hotel. No liquor will be sold, and every provision will be made for a quiet, cheerful, comfortable residence. A balcony for each storey surrounds the building, to which there is a ready exit from the spacious halls within. By this arrangement, whether the guest wishes to sit in the shade or sun, he may do so at all times of the day. From the balconies the most delightful view of the surroundings may be obtained; but better still, there is an exit upon the level roof from which the scenery spreading out to view is grandly picturesque. All the smaller conveniences will be supplied, such as bath-rooms on every floor, and electric bells in each of the thirty-eight rooms for guests. The interior is being finished in cedar, stained and varnished.” Here’s the Lady’s Parlour in the newly completed hotel.

The lack of liquor continued after Mr. Secord’s death; it was listed as ‘Temperance Hotel’ on the 1912 Insurance map of the city. By 1920 it had become the Imperial Hotel, part of the expanding Japanese character of the area as it was run by Hyakutaro Honda. He was still running the hotel a decade later, but downstairs was the Imperial Beer Parlour run by R Willis. (It’s interesting to note that there was a sushi restaurant two doors along the street). By the time the Japanese were rounded up and removed from the city, Robert Willis had already taken over running the hotel, although he lived on Nelson Street with his wife Adelaide. In 1947 the hotel name changed to the Marr, with Arthur Field as the manager, although the Imperial Beer Parlour was still downstairs.

The balconies were removed many years ago, but the Marr name is retained today, and the building has just been given a new seismic and structural lease of life in a renovation by BC Housing as an SRO hotel, managed by Atira.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Hot P23.1 and Hot P85.

Posted May 15, 2017 by ChangingCity in Altered, East End

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