Archive for the ‘Boultbee Ltd.’ Tag

Nelson Street east from Seymour

We’re on the lane before Seymour Street in 1961, with Seymour Billiards on our left (at 999 Seymour), and 1002 Seymour across the junction on the right. The billiards hall started life as a repair garage in 1926, designed by Swinburne Annandale Kayll for William and Herbert Boultbee. Just beyond is the edge of a sign for a U-Drive parking lot – seen better in 1981 in an earlier post.

We haven’t found the permit for the two storey stucco building on the right, so we don’t know who built it, probably in 1909. It’s first tenant was Edward MacLeod, a shoemaker who lived on Water Street, who was here in 1910, and joined a year later by James Fraser, a grocer, who lived a block away. The last date that’s easy to trace the occupants of buildings is 1955; in that year the California grocery store was here, as it had been since at least the early 1930s, although in the 30’s it was Harry Chapelas running the store, and in 1955 Ramon Chapelas, who had added a coffee bar.

Down the hill on the junction of Homer, on the CPR Reserve lands released for development in 1909, is the warehouse built by Richard Bowman and occupied initially by the Bogardus Wickens & Begg Glass Company. It’s still standing today, part of the true ‘Yaletown’, although these days it’s an office building over Shopper’s Drug Mart. Leading up to it Polygon Homes built three similarly designed residential towers in the 2000s, and there are also residential towers on the north side of the street, but with a retail base.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 772-19

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Posted March 2, 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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999 Seymour Street (1)

This corner of Seymour and Nelson was developed as an auto parts and service business in 1926. Up to then there were houses here, one on the corner built before 1900, and two more to the north built in the early 1900s. William W Boultbee was president, and Herbert N Boultbee vice-president of the company who built the new garage, and they hired Swinburne Annandale Kayll to design the $10,000 building, built by Robert McCoubrey. Kayll was from Manitoba, initially working for several local architects before training in Philadelphia and then fighting in the First World War. He returned to the city in 1919, and practiced with Max Downing, designing Leckie’s warehouse on Water Street in the early 1920s. He was working solo again when he designed the garage.

The Boultbee business imported a variety of named auto parts, mostly from Britain, and offered to service your vehicle using those parts. The founders were brothers; two of a family of ten children. Their father, John Boultbee, brought his family west from Ancaster in Ontario in 1882, and was a signatory to the Petition for Incorporation for Vancouver, and the city’s first Police Magistrate. William, like his father, was also born in Ancaster, but Herbert (who was eight years younger than his brother) was born in Vancouver in 1887.

Both brothers worked for C Gardiner Johnson and Co (shipping agents), and in 1913 Herbert became the managing director, and William the president of the Boultbee-Johnson Company. William had a variety of other interests, including, towards the end of his life, a significant share in the Bralorne gold mine that produced four million ounces of gold over a 40 year period.

By 1944 (above) the building had been given a makeover, and some of the glazing had changed. Herbert Boultbee continued to run the business; William died in California in 1936. A few years after this picture, the business moved to 1025 Howe Street and Clarke Auto Supply moved in. They morphed into Clarke Simpkins, run by Ford of Canada vice-president Clarke Simpkins. He opened his dealership in 1946 to take advantage of a four-year wartime production hiatus that created a frantic demand for vehicles. His showroom was on West Georgia Street with several other dealerships, as we have seen in earlier posts. This building (seen below in 1948) was used as the repair department until the 1960s.

Today 999 Seymour is a condo building designed by Acton Ostry, completed in 2014.

Image Sources: VPL and City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1184-1546

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