Archive for the ‘Bedford Davidson’ Tag
The building on the right of this 1981 image is also on our previous image. It dates from the mid 1950s, although that might have been a refurbishment of a $10,000 building designed and built by Bedford Davidson for the Pioneer Auto & Carriage Company in 1920. They were a firm of auto body builders run my William Alexander, Michael McLean and William Benson, and seem to have developed from the Pioneer Carriage and Shoeing Co, shifting from horses to horseless carriages.
The decorative building to the north was built in 1913, a $30,000 office and store designed by W F Gardiner for the North West Trust Co., Ltd. It too was part of Vancouver’s expansive motordom, occupied initially with the showrooms of the Albion Motor Co, (a Scottish vehicle manufacturer), the Albion Motor Express and the United Auto Agency of BC offices.
Off in the distance on the left is the first building on the block, the Pioneer Steam Laundry, built in 1908 and still standing today. While the steam laundry building remains, the rest of the block here is taken up by The Savoy, a 2000 condo tower designed by Hancock, Bruckner Eng + Wright.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E09.11
The corner building on Granville and Davie was a bank for many years. The first buildings here were two storeys high, built around 1901, and we haven’t found an image of them. The corner was initially the Braden Meat Market, and from 1908 to 1916 the corner store was the West End Meat Market. In 1916 the building in the image above was designed and built by Bedford Davidson for P Burns & Co at a cost of $5,000. The West End Meat Market was part of the meat empire controlled by Pat Burns. Four years later builders Coffin & McClennan carried out $500 of repairs for the Royal Bank of Canada – who were the tenants from when the building was constructed.
The building didn’t really change its appearance from when it was built until 1931, when our Vancouver Public Library image was taken. We have an image that shows the left hand side of the building in 1916, and the only significant difference was the lack of any awnings.
We assume that at some point the Bank acquired the building; in 1952 they replaced it with a two-storey structure (that’s still standing today). We haven’t identified the architect, but the most likely candidates are Mercer and Mercer, the father and son partnership who had a contract with the bank to design new branches throughout the province. Our 1970s image shows the bank still in operation; in more recent years it has been a Chinese restaurant, but that’s also likely to change soon as there’s an approved replacement residential and retail building that will be seven storeys.
Here’s another image showing how little some parts of the city have changed in over 50 years. Our ‘before’ picture was taken in 1961; the ‘after’ on New Years Day 2015. While the buildings haven’t necessarily changed much, the use they’re put to isn’t necessarily the same. The Ford building on the immediate right of the picture became low-cost rental housing in 1985, having been developed as an office building called the Dawson Building, built by Bedford Davidson. On the extreme left of the frame is the Carnegie Library which the sign shows was still the City’s Museum in the early 1960s. Heading west down East Hastings the first tall building is the Maple Hotel – looking really good in both pictures for a building dating from 1912 (designed by Parr McKenzie and Day for James Borland). In between the two pictures the building lost its cornice as our earlier post showed, but now a BC Housing restoration has given the entire building a new lease of life.
The two low buildings to the west are from 1904 and 1912; the second by Parr and Fee, who also designed the Balmoral Hotel next door for J K Sutherland, also in 1912. Beyond that are two small buildings dating from 1919 and 1920. The three-storey building beyond that is identified on the insurance maps as the ‘Crowe and Wilson Building’. We’ve looked at its history (and the buildings beyond) when we saw the same block looking east from Columbia Street. Today it’s home to Insite and Onsite, but it was a rooming house called the West Inn in 1961, having changed from the Western Sporting Club when a police raid closed down an extensive gambling operation. The ‘W’ of Woodwards can be seen in both pictures – today it’s a new sign is a slightly different location.
Image source: City of Vancouver archives CVA 2011-068.09
We have already detailed the story of the city’s new Public Library built in 1954. The basic structure is still there today – although altered by James Cheng’s redesign for HMV records and CTV in the 1990s, and again more recently for Victoria’s Secret. Of course, a 1950s building wasn’t the first structure on the block, and like both the opposite side of the street and the south-west corner there were single-storey stores here. We saw them in an earlier post from 1925 when the roof of the building was a series of hoardings. By 1951, not long before they were demolished, there was only one hoarding left – and that didn’t face onto the Robson and Burrard corner.
It looks as if the building was already running down by the time the photo was taken.The corner unit was already vacant. Gracey’s cafe was next door, and G H Grant sold real estate from 975 Robson – and shared the address with ‘The Dory’ who sold used clothing (from the right hand window). The next unit was also empty, and J Pickford, a tailor operated from the next store. The next to last store in the row was Speer & Lamont ladies’ accessories, and the Coca Cola sign was where three businesses all squeezed into one store; Robson Billiards (presumably at the back of the building), W P Brown’s shoe shine stand and Red’s Barber Shop.
Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA Str N242
Obviously the new Library, built in 1957, wasn’t the first building on this corner. It appears it was probably the third; here’s a picture of the second. It looks (from the Building Permits) as if it might have been designed and built by Bedford Davidson for McIntyre Bros in 1918. There were two earlier permit, for C E Turner, in 1916 and 1917, but they were for lower cost buildings, and this looks more like a $4,500 single storey retail project. It’s possible they partnered (or replaced) Mr Turner, as he operated the business in the corner unit in 1918.
The new stores replaced an earlier structure that almost certainly was a house. It appears in 1899, and was initially occupied by the Reverend L Norman Tucker. A year later Mrs E Wilkinson was running a private hospital here, which continued until 1903. For two years after that the house is vacant. In 1906 Andrew Haslam, described as a millman, has moved in. Mr Haslam who came to Canada from Northern Ireland as a boy, had owned a mill and been mayor of Nanaimo in 1893, and represented Vancouver for the Conservatives in the House of Commons from 1893 to 1896. His Nanaimo mill operations had gone bankrupt in 1905 after a fire destroyed the mill and his home. He moved to Vancouver to be the province’s first log-scale inspector, but he was soon logging on the Sunshine Coast (although that operation failed in 1908 as the narrow gauge railway Haslam brought in wasn’t able to handle the terrain). In 1911 William Thompson lived at this address; in 1914 Mrs Isabella Coulson was living there, and in 1917 Mr Charles E Turner, who would redevelop it.
McIntyre Bros would seem to be Charles and Edward McIntyre, and they ran a pool room on East Hastings Street. Charles McIntyre was in the city, running the pool room at 44 East Hastings from 1911. There were two Charles McIntyres before this – the most likely person to take on the pool room was a carpenter, but there’s no way of confirming it’s the same Charles McIntyre – the home addresses are different. Ed McIntyre appeared in 1912, and the pool facility moved over the next few years up the street to 66 East Hastings. The pool room had gone by 1919, and so had Charles McIntyre. There was still an Edward McIntyre in the city in 1919, but not in 1920. The East Hastings block they operated on was a popular location for cues; there was another pool room run by Con Jones at 26 East Hastings – that became the Brunswick Pool Room. The former McIntyre Bros pool room at 44 became a billiards parlour.
The Robson and Burrard stores, just like Robson Street today, saw tenants come and go over the years. In 1918 they were the Barker Bread Co, Charles E Turner, a grocer, was listed next door, but he was also the owner of the Prince Albert Market on the corner. Just a year later the Bread Company was still there, with a library run by John R Davidson, then a paint store, Ruby Duncan (a milliner, who had moved from the next block), Sophia Perosino (a dressmaker) and the Okanagan Fruit Company on the corner. By 1925, when this picture was shot, the Sincere Grocery store occupied the corner, with a vacant unit next door, then an optical store and W Edmund’s Music Store.
Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 371-1108
The Brunswick was one of the earlier, and initially more isolated, hotels in the city. If it was still standing today it would be in the heart of the Downtown Eastside, but a description in Major Matthews’ City Archives records Mr W F Findlay’s memory of the hotel, owned and operated by Pat Carey and his wife. “It was built in 1888, and although on the fringe of the woods, did a good business. It was on the north side of the street, between Carrall and Abbott, about the middle of the block.” It was designed by Allan McCartney, born in the Bahamas and a civil engineer, architect, and land surveyor in the city before 1881.
“Pat was a rough diamond, an Irishman, and a character; he died in Prince Rupert about 1927. In the winter of 1889, the police were ordered to clean up Dupont Street; some of the women scattered, one landed in the Brunswick House. Pat found out. At first, he would not credit it; it was proven; then followed a scene which everyone talked about but no one mentioned in polite company; some caustic remarks were passed by Pat. Pat saw her off in a hurry, in one of Adam Hick’s cabs.”
Another conversation with Fred Alexander, son of the Hastings Mill manager in the 1870s, suggests that the Brunswick (or a version of it) was built even earlier than 1888. “Pat Carey had to pour water on the ashes so that he could get started rebuilding on Hastings Street, north side, between Carrall and Abbott. Hammers and saws were going all night, and long into the moonlight.”
The hotel didn’t last too long – the image shows it in 1891; the last record in the street directories is 1896. It seems to have become a furniture store, with rooms above. In 1900 the site was recorded as vacant, and in 1902 it was a Japanese boarding house, while the 1903 insurance map shows a Chinese barber. The building to the east was redeveloped around 1899, and added to in 1903. The former Brunswick hung on to 1908 – it’s still just visible in the 1908 picture of the Wood, Vallance & Leggat building. (although we wonder if that isn’t really a 1907 image).
It was replaced by a simple, impressively light fully glazed warehouse and store that may have been built for R A Allen and possibly designed by builder Bedford Davidson. It was initially occupied by Frederick Buscombe’s ‘The Fair’ in 1908, seen in this VPL image. A year later Stark’s Glasgow House moved in, who previously had been on Cordova Street. Today it’s still a department store – part of the Army and Navy store like the site of the Rex Theatre that replaced the Wood, Vallance and Leggat warehouse to the east.
Image sources: VPL and City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-5
One of these two buildings has completely gone; swallowed by the Pacific Centre Mall. The other retains part of its facade, rather oddly hoisted slightly higher into the air and changed from a store front to what looks like a canopied emergency stair outlet to the street.
Back in the 1960s or 70s when this picture was taken, the building to the south was the home of butcher James Inglis Reid, ‘The Larder of the Wise’ who also offered the slogan “we hae meat that ye can eat”
The Vancouver Archives have the full history of the company on their website, (and there’s a display from the store in the Museum of Vancouver as well). “James Inglis Reid (1874-1952) was a Scotsman, born in Waterside, Kirkintilloch Parish, who immigrated to Vancouver in 1906. Reid found employment with Edgett s Grocery; however, he soon established his own business. He sold hams and various types of bacon, including Ayrshire, which he cured himself. Following the commercial trend of Vancouver at the time, Reid moved his place of business to 559 Granville Street in 1915. Reid incorporated the business as James Inglis Reid, Ltd. on December 24, 1930. It was at the Granville Street address that Reid achieved financial success, wide renown, and a permanent place in the history of Vancouver.
After Reid purchased the property situated at 559 Granville Street in 1922, he began an extensive renovation. The building comprised three stories and a basement. The top floor was converted to a baking area and a kitchen for the production of fresh sausages and other products. The second floor included a business office, locker room, lunch room, storage area, and a space for maturing cheese. The basement was home to the smokehouse, curing operations, coolers, and storage for supplies. The ground floor of the building remained the retail area; however, it was enlarged and the counters and floor were transformed by the installation of white and black marble during the renovation. The lane side of the ground floor had a receiving dock for deliveries, a cooler large enough to hold whole sides of beef, and the main area for meat cutting. The two year renovation was completed in 1924. Nine years later, Reid installed a structural awning over the Granville Street sidewalk. The awning featured (in neon signage) the phrase, adapted from Burns Selkirk Grace, we hae meat that ye can eat that was closely identified with the business.
The multitude of on-site operations and a skilled staff allowed James Inglis Reid, Ltd. to offer a wide selection of fresh meat, hams, bacon, and sausages. These operations included the daily cutting of sides of beef, hogs, and lambs; the curing and smoking of hams and bacon in the purpose-built, fire-brick enclosure ( the smokehouse ); and the production of sausages in the third floor kitchen. In particular, the employment of Horatio Nelson Menzies, a fellow Scotsman and experienced butcher who was hired in 1917, helped James Inglis Reid, Ltd. become very well known for its house-made Scottish specialties such as white puddings, black puddings (blood sausage), and most notably, haggis. Production figures indicate that four to six tonnes of haggis was made and sold annually. Reid s haggis was prepared and shipped to townships throughout British Columbia, other Canadian provinces, and to customers in the United States.
Reid was proud of his Scottish heritage and did much to promote its traditions in Vancouver. He was a founding member of the Scottish Society of Vancouver. In addition, the shop served as a gathering point for those interested in Scottish traditions and culture. The celebration of Robert Burns birthday was an annual event. Haggis was supplied to fraternal organizations, churches, businesses, hotels, steamships, and individuals throughout British Columbia for Burns Night Suppers. In addition, the left front display window of 559 Granville Street was decorated with Burns portrait, selected quotations from the poet s work, and memorabilia.
Following the retirement of James Inglis Reid in 1945, Gordon Young Wyness, Reid s son-in-law, became manager of the business. Wyness, an engineer by profession, had gained management experience while working for Burns & Co. Ltd., a meat packing firm, and Canadian Industries Ltd Ammunition Division. He had an understanding of the demands of running a small business since his family had owned and operated a general store in Saskatchewan. James Inglis Reid Ltd., under the guidance of G.Y. Wyness, prospered for another forty years. Throughout his stewardship, the business refined its operations while maintaining its traditions ( Quality First, Value Always ).
By the middle of the nineteen-eighties, commercial patterns had shifted away from the factors that decades ago had attracted Reid to the Granville Street location. The shop was now an anomaly among the financial institutions and large chain stores that dominated downtown. Consequently, the decision was made to close the business when Cadillac Fairview Corporation began the expansion of the Pacific Centre Mall north of Dunsmuir Street. James Inglis Reid, Ltd. ended retail business operations in 1986.”
Both these buildings were built in 1902, separately but by the same builder for the same owner. That builder – and owner – was Bedford Davidson, who sometimes designed his own buildings. Here he employed GW Grant to design both, spending $10,000 on the first building to the north and $8,000 on the one occupied by Mr Reid four years later. The earlier (by 3 months) building was completely altered with the addition of a highly decorated tera cotta art deco facade in 1930 for what was then called the BC Lease Holders Building, soon to be the long-term home of the Hunter-Henderson Paint Company.
In 1990 the Townley Matheson facade was incorporated into the Zeidler Roberts Partnership final phase of the Pacific Centre Mall, with three floors of retail and an 18 storey office tower.
Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-786