Archive for the ‘Bedford Davidson’ Tag

Robson and Burrard – ne corner (1)

Robson & Burrard 2

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

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Posted January 4, 2014 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with , ,

The Brunswick – West Hastings Street

31 W Hastings

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).

31 W Hastings

It was replaced by a simple, impressively light fully glazed warehouse and store, 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

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559 Granville Street

559 Granville

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 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 in 1902 and $8,000 on the one beside it that would be 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

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The Dawson Building – 375 Main Street (1)

Judging from the building permit record, George Dawson owned a fair amount of property in the East End of Vancouver. The one major structure we know he commissioned was the block named after him at Main and East Hastings. It seems like a huge building in the context of three storey buildings to the east – and that was just as true when it was completed in 1911 at a cost of $180,000. The ‘architect’ of record was its builder, Bedford Davidson. George Dawson was born in New Brunswick, and it looks like an obvious connection could be suggested as ‘Building the West’ says Bedford Davidson was born in Tidnish, New Brunswick. Sadly, the connection breaks down when the 1901 and 1911 Census returns are checked – in both entries Bedford Davidson was born in Nova Scotia (although he does age from 25 to 39 in 10 years).

Davidson built a number of other substantial structures in the city, and eventually got into trouble for calling himself an architect without being a member of the AIBC. A comprehensive review of Vancouver’s early buildings suggested the architects were Gardiner and Mercer, which given the scale of the project might be true as it seems a bit ambitious for a builder to attempt. Since 1985 the building, now called The Ford Building, has offered affordable housing in 76 units. (Oh, and spot the lineman dangling in the 1920 picture).

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 371-809

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