Archive for the ‘Braunton and Leibert’ Tag
Off in the distance, behind the tram in this 1948 image, is the Vogue Theatre. To the south is Parr and Fee’s design for T McWhinnie’s Harvard Rooms which we looked at in an earlier post. (That’s the Siesta Rooms and The Roxy today). Hidden by the tram is 944 Granville Street, probably designed by Thomas Fee as in investment around 1905, with four apartments upstairs numbered as 946 Granville. There were three nondescript single storey retail stores to the south, then another two storey building at 972 Granville, almost identical in design to 944 up the street, and therefore very likely also designed by Thomas Fee. Like that building it had four apartments upstairs, and retail below; in 1948 the Kiddies Arcade and Lynn’s Ladies Apparel. In 1916 it was owned by G D Scott, a real estate broker, who may have been the developer.
There’s a narrow two storey shopfront hidden by the tram, but visible in this c1915 image of the same block. It was yet another Parr and Fee design developed by builder Peter Tardiff, whose history we looked at in connection to the Broughton Apartments he developed in 1912. He was probably born in Quebec as Pierre Tardif. The building at 968 Granville started life as The Family Theatre in 1910, and continued to be listed as such through to 1915. There’s an odd situation in that Irwin Carver & Co made $1,500 alterations to the building 2 months after the initial $25,000 construction permit. Peter Tardiff is still listed as the owner, but Irwin, Carver were the designers and builders – even though Tardiff was a builder himself, and had built the structure. It’s possible that they were hired by the operators of the theatre to carry out fit-out alterations.
The Family Theatre itself is an oddity; there seem to be few records of its existence or operation. It opened in June 1910, and lasted less than 7 years. (The building is behind the octagonal sign advertising Cambie Ice Cream, which is attached to the store to the south). In the year it opened Mrs. Clara B Colby, an American who had lectured in Seattle a week earlier, spoke on “The Spiritual Significance of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in England”. As with a few other theatres on Granville Street, it was also used on a few Sundays to attract larger crowds to religious services, adding an orchestra to the hymn singing. In 1911 it was announced that “The feature for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday Is Pathe’s Animated Gazette. These weekly pictures of the world’s doings, is proving a great attraction at the popular theatre, and deservedly so, for this theatre is the only one in the city that imports the Gazette direct from London, Eng., thus ensuring their patrons the news of the world first hand.” In 1914 we know the theatre was showing movies, because the Manager, Peter Carter, was fined “$10 and costs with the option of ten days in gaol for allowing young boys in moving picture theatres after the curfew hour.”
In January 1917 an advertisement appeared: “BICYCLES AND SUPPLIES GET A MOVE ON. YES. THAT’S WHAT we are doing. We remove Into the old Family Theatre, Granville Street, on Jan. 15. After that date Fred Deeley, The Cycle Man, will occupy the largest and best equipped cycle store In Western Canada.” Fred was born in 1881 in Bromsgrove, England. After 10 years in business in England, he first visited B.C. in 1913, representing Birmingham Small Arms, manufacturer of BSA motorcycles. He moved and in 1914 opened Fred Deeley Ltd. in a 12-foot-wide store at 1075 Granville. In 1916 he acquired a Harley-Davidson franchise, moving to 1126 Granville. He moved to the theatre location a year later, but by 1923 had moved again to Hastings Street, selling BSA, Paragon and Red Bird bicycles as well as Harley Davidson motorcycles. By 1925 he owned a motorcycle shop, bicycle shop, and one of Canada’s larger car dealerships.
The last building on the block dates from 1914, designed by Braunton & Leibert for G B Harris costing $17,000 and built by J Nelson Copp. When it opened Pill Box Drugs were on the corner here; later it was home to Kripps Drugs, who expanded and remodeled the property before moving to Kerrisdale a few years ago. At 990 Jack Stearman had his lock & keys business in the location that in 1915 was a Pool and Cigars store. Two clothing stores took the remainder of the space: Darlings’s Style Shop and Vogue Menswear. G B Harris owned property in the city over many years; he carried out repairs to the Boulder Hotel on Cordova Street in 1901, and had N S Hoffar design a block of stores on Carrall Steet ‘adjoining the old Burrard House’, in 1889. George Berteaux Harris was from Annapolis County, Nova Scotia, although after leaving home he worked in Boston in the US and then on the railway in Panama. He collected and classified birds in Trinidad for three years, working for a Boston ornithologist. He was back in Annopolis in 1881, shipping apples to England and first visited Granville in 1884, returning to his family in Nova Scotia every two years, eventually bringing his wife and children to live in 1895. When he built these stores he was Chairman of the Vancouver Rowing Club. He died in 1936.
Today there are a series of recently developed single storey but double height retail buildings.
Image sources: City of Vancouver Archines CVA 229-15 and SGN 1602 (extract)
These two buildings are immediately to the north of the previous post looking at the west side of Richards Street’s 500 block. The building on the left is 569 Richards, and unusually, it started life as a residential building, but today is office space. With a 1912 completion, the Oakland Rooms appear first in the 1913 directory, when S R O’Neal was the proprietor, followed in 1914 by William Jureit. In 1915 there was another proprietor listed, Mrs. H Chappell (and confusingly, another Oakland Rooms on Main Street).
Haley & Sutton were the owners of the building; Braunton and Leibert were the architects and Davis & Saunders built the $28,000 investment. In an earlier post we had understood that Haley & Sutton had sold out their business to Gordon Drysdale in 1893; that’s what early biographies state. However, it seems that a company with that lived on, although not in Vancouver for several years. The earliest mention of Haley & Sutton we can find is for Walter Haley aged 23 and William Sutton aged 21, both merchants in the same household in Dufferin, Marquette, Manitoba. Walter H Haley of Haley & Sutton was running a general store in 1884, in Nelson. However, this wasn’t Nelson, British Columbia, but rather Nelson, Manitoba. William Sutton ran a store in Milton, Manitoba that year.
Both partners relocated to Vancouver in the 1890s. They first appeared in the 1892 directory, with premises on Cordova Street and in New Westminster, with William Sutton living in rooms at 1031 Robson Street and Walter Sutton at 1033 Robson Street. However they were here a little earlier; Walter Haley was living in Vancouver in time for the 1891 census, aged 32, a dry goods merchant born in Ontario, as was his 19-year-old wife Cora Belle. (Strangely, there’s no mention of their son, born in 1890). William Sutton was also recorded living in the city, aged 30, born in Ontario and described as a dry goods merchant. His wife, Harriet wasn’t shown to be with him, but that might be because their first daughter had been born earlier that year in Ontario.
Having sold their business to Gordon Drysdale, the partners’ movements become a little confusing. There was a William Sutton in the city directory until 1895, but we’re pretty certain he was a different person with the same name as he was a commercial traveler. William and Harriet’s second child, William, was born in Brandon Manitoba in 1894. The Manitoba Directory of that year showed Walter N Haley and W J Sutton running the Haley and Sutton dry goods store in Rosser, Manitoba. In 1897 Haley and Sutton were recorded in Morden, Manitoba as bankers, where they were still based in 1905 described as ‘private bankers and real estate’. Walter and Cora Haley were recorded in the 1901 census living in Lisgar, Manitoba with their three sons aged 9, 7 and 5. William and Hattie Sutton were living at the same location with their two children aged 10 and 6, and a domestic to help the household. (A third child, Ruth, was born in 1911 when Harriet was aged 45.)
In 1906 Haley and Sutton reappeared in Vancouver as real estate brokers, with offices in Davis Chambers and Walter Milan Haley living initially on Haro, then in 1907 on Barclay, and a year later on W3rd. William J Sutton was first living on Beach Avenue, then Nelson Street, and then in 1908 on Comox. The 1911 census showed Walter Haley aged 51, his wife aged 39, both from Ontario, and their three children; Herbert aged 19, born in 1890, Reginald, 17 and Walter, 15. Herbert was born in BC, but Reginald and Walter were born in Manitoba. Walter Haley had Gamble & Knapp design a $5,500 house on West 1st Avenue in 1911 (redeveloped in the 1980s). William Sutton and his family remained for many years on West 5th Avenue, where they had moved by 1914. He died in 1931, and his wife, Harriet, in 1952. Although both Haley and Sutton were listed in 1914, with W Haley still in real estate, the company doesn’t seem to have survived the 1913 crash. Walter Haley died in 1943, aged 84, in Chilliwack. The main floor tenants of the building they developed changed several times over the years, but the Oakland Rooms continued to operate upstairs until at least the 1950s, but probably changed to office use before 1970.
Next door, 555 Richards is a more recent building, completed in 1928. Harvey & Gorrie, auctioneers, appraisers and furniture dealers were the first occupants of the new building. They had been in business on West Pender before moving here. Thanks to Patrick Gunn’s efforts we now know that according to the building permit D J McPhail & J M Livingstone commissioned Scottish-born J S D Taylor to design the $21,000 investment, built by veteran builder Bedford Davidson. We suspect that the clerk recorded the name McPhail incorrectly, and that it’s more likely that he was Daniel J MacPhail. There was obviously a lot of confusion generally about the spelling of his name. In the 1891 census there isn’t a single MacPhail in the country, but 8,300 McPhails. In 1901 it gets mixed between the two spellings. The 1910 street directory listed both John McPhail and John MacPhail as a tinsmith, living in the same house, but as there was only one tinsmith with that name in every other year they were presumably confused as well.
We’re not sure whether this D J McPhail is the Dan McPhail who acquired a building on Water Street with Jacob Kane. We know that in 1912 a D J McPhail built an expensive house for himself in Shaughnessy, and there was a Daniel MacPhail who was a real estate broker living at 633 Broughton Street with his sister Christina, a nurse, in the 1911 census. They were both born in Ontario; Daniel was aged 30, his sister was 27. The first time Mr. McPhail appeared in the street directory was in 1909 when D J MacPhail, real estate was living at 1242 Burrard. In 1910 he opened an office in the Dominion Building. D J McPhail apparently hired Twizzell & Twizzell, architects to design a house in Shaughnessy (according to a report in the Province newspaper). He also hired MacKenzie & Ker to design an $11,000 house at the same address – we’re not sure which version he built, although to us it looks more like a Twizzell design than MacKenzie & Ker, and there’s a permit to build a garage that was designed by the Twizzells.
We’re not sure where Mr. Macphail got the capital to become a property broker and develop such a grand house. There was a silver miner from Ontario working in Kaslo, but he appears to have been older. It may be that he was a successful broker in the right place at the right time – in 1911 for example he identified a large site to sell to the City of Vancouver for their isolation hospital (built in Grandview).
In 1916 Daniel McPhail was still listed at the Shaughnessy address, but in 1917 Fred Begg had moved into the house. In 1919, although Daniel still wasn’t in the city, Christina McPhail, a nurse, was living at 1297 W Broadway and a year later a block away at 1351. In 1921 she was still at the same address, but called MacPhail. In 1925 Don J McPhail was at 1149 W 27th Avenue – in 1926 he was identified as Daniel J McPail, ‘retired’. In 1927 he was still Daniel J and in 1928 he was back to Don, but associated with real estate in both 1927 and 1928. So we’re reasonably sure that Daniel J McPhail (or MacPhail) was back in the real estate business in the 1920s, and it seems probable that it’s the same Daniel who had left the city during the war.
We have a clue about why he may have left town. In 1917 he fought – and lost – a court case where the YMCA accused him of offering to give them $5,000 towards their new Georgia Street property, and then not fulfilling that promise. The Daily World, in reporting the court case described him as ‘a prominent resident of Vancouver’. We don’t know whether he paid up.
His partner in the development might have been John M Livingstone, manager of the City Dairy Co and then the Vancouver Creamery Co until 1927. We haven’t managed to trace him after that; he may have retired and moved away from the city.
Today both buildings are office space; with the investment cost of the properties recouped many years ago this block is a candidate for assembly and redevelopment, Whether the old, but not heritage buildings would survive as anything other than facades (if at all) is doubtful.
When this building was constructed Main Street had just changed its name from Westminster Avenue. Located close to one of the city’s breweries, while today we think of it as a pub when it was built it was a retail building. Braunton and Leibert designed it, completed in 1913 for Dr. Israel Powell, one of the province’s important pioneers. He was born in 1837 in Port Colborne in Simcoe, Ontario, and drawn by the Cariboo Gold Rush reached Victoria in 1862 via the Panama Canal and San Francisco. He never went to look for gold, but like his father, Dr. Powell became involved in politics. He was elected to the House of Assembly of Vancouver Island in 1863, but failed to be re-elected in 1866 and 1868. He supported the merger of Vancouver Island and British Columbia, and later Confederation. Sir John A Macdonald was a family friend, and offered him the position of lieutenant governor of B C, or as a Senator. He declined both, but agreed to become Superintendent of Indian Affairs for British Columbia, a position he held for 18 years from 1872. He was surgeon for the Victoria fire department and also served in the militia, while building his medical practice. He was also instrumental in establishing the first Scottish Rite Masonic Lodge in British Columbia. From 1871 to 1875 he was the first grand master of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia, which brought together the lodges under English and Scottish jurisdictions, although later, in 1877, he severed his connections with the masons.
Although he lived in Victoria, he owned property in Vancouver from its inception, and was on the initial voter’s list. He was part of an early consortium with David Oppenheimer and others who bought land in 1886, and was also a shareholder in the Vancouver Improvement Company (a larger group with many of the same owners) who eventually owned 330 acres of Downtown land and helped ensure their increased value with the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway into the city. At his death in 1915 he had investments in farms in the Fraser Valley, on Vancouver Island including the Hotel Wilson of Victoria, as well as in buildings and lots in Vancouver and North Vancouver. The names of several places in British Columbia, commemorate Dr. Powell, including Powell Street in Vancouver and Powell River.
This building was completed only two years before his death when he was in his mid seventies, and cost $47,000 to build. As far as we can tell it represents Dr. Powell’s only investment in bricks and mortar in the area, but according to the Heritage Statement for the local plan, he had acquired and named the streets of most of the area we associate as Mount Pleasant (with Henry Edmonds). It states that it was Dr. Powell’s idea to name the streets after the Canadian Provinces, although Mount Pleasant was a name chosen by Edmonds.
Our 1940s image show the retail unit occupied by a Fur company, while in 1976 it was Royal City Antiques. Over the years the retail uses have changed many times – today it’s a bike store and a dounut shop.
Image sources CVA 1184-2758 and CVA 780-234
Unlike the Patricia along the street which was built as a hotel, and stayed in that use, the Astoria started life as an apartment building – initially named for its developer, R A Wallace, and simultaneously as the Toronto House Apartments. The Astoria name was attached to a building on Hastings Street from the 1920s until 1949. The building permit was issued in June 1912 to cost $53,000. It was designed by Braunton & Leibert, and the contractors were Allen & Jones. Robert A Wallace was the original owner; he was aged 37 when he developed the building, a real estate agent from Ontario who lived in the household of Peter and Bella Duffey. In 1911 They lived on Charles Street, and Peter was identified as a builder. He was listed in the census as ‘brother in law’, and as he wasn’t married, Bella must have been his sister. We think he was born into a Presbyterian family in Mount Forest, Ontario and was living in Egremont, South Grey County in 1881 when he was aged seven, one of nine children born to Irish-born Mary. His father, William was born in Ontario, and we think we have identified the correct family because he had an older sister, Isabella. He was married in 1913 when he was 39 to Lillian Carscallen, who was aged 33, from Belleville Ontario.
He moved into his new investment, which he also managed, in the year he was married. Mrs Etta Chatwin was the building’s housekeeper and the first tenants included Malcolm Morrison, a policeman, P H Thompson, another policeman, C A Blubaugh, I Cumcumm, G W Daligher, a printer, D R Fraser who taught at the Central High School, C Edward who was a grocer and C W Erickson who was involved with ‘timber’.
In 1923, when Stuart Thomson took this picture (in the Vancouver Public Library collection) Robert had moved back to Charles Street (to a different house than his earlier address) and was still involved in real estate from an office on Seymour Street. Chris Owens was the proprietor of the Toronto Apartments, and there were many more residents including two engineers, several loggers, two longshoremen, three salesmen, a meter man with the City, Mrs. Lilly Rollings who was a telephone operator with B C Phones, and Mrs. Agnes Fraser.
Robert Aubrey Wallace died in 1950 (the year the apartments became the Astoria Hotel) aged 75. He and Lillian were by that point living on West 10th Avenue. In 1949 the Toronto Apartments were being run by C and B Y Chan. On the same block, at 717 E Hastings Wallace Neon’s manufacturing plant was operating, run by William and James Wallace. As far as we can tell there’s no connection between the two businesses.
This building took the Astoria name in 1950 when it was first run as a hotel by Alex Bayer and William Sawchuk. Mr. Sawchuk was president of Astoria Hotels at both addresses, so transferred it when he moved his operation from West Hastings to East Hastings. Five years later the owners were still Mr. Bayer, now with Ludwig Radymski. Today the hotel is a single-room occupancy rental with 85 rooms, and a newly rejuvinated bar. The balconies have been removed, but the 1950s neon signs, that had gradually lost their lustre over the decades have been restored and now offer a pretty dramatic splash on what is otherwise a quiet part of the street.
We saw a view of some of these buildings in our last post, in 1922. Here they are in 1937: Western Music operated the main floor of the tall building on the right (developed by Leon Melekov) and upstairs the Rexmere Rooms were still open. We can find the names of the tenants, but not what all of them did for work. One was a chauffeur; there was a carpenter, a shoe shiner, a porter for the CPR, a longshoreman and a baker’s helper. James Minns, the owner of Olsen’s signs lived here with his wife, Louise. Elmer Steiner ran the Rooms, lived there with his wife Alice, and there was another Alice Steiner also living in the building (presumably a relative). The BC Music Festival shared the main floor for their offices.
We have drawn a blank on the developer or designed of the two-storey building next door. The 1922 image showed an old house on the site, so it’s more recent than that. There was a fire in 1959 that gutted much of the property, and it was subsequently rebuilt at the same scale as the building seen here. For years it was home to a&b sound, with Sam the Record Man in the Western Music Building. In 1937 it was Gehrke’s Ltd, who were printers and stationers, and operated The Pen Shop.
Down the hill, there was a permit for a 4-storey building costing $115,000 designed by Parr and Fee for Thomas Fee in 1910. That was never built; instead, a year later, a more modest single storey building was permitted for a restaurant, designed by Parr and Fee for E Farr, costing $20,000, which we think was opened as The Sussex Cafe. In 1937 McLennan, McFeely & Prior occupied the building with their hardware store. Mr Farr seems to have been a CPR employee; the only E Farr listed in the street directory was Edward Farr who lived on Burrard Street and was a masonry inspector for the railway company. He was also the only E Farr in the census in 1911: or rather, there was another but he was also called Edward and he was Mr. Farr’s son (still living at home, a stenographer with the White Pass and Yukon Route). His daughter, Alice Isabell was at home as well, aged 18. Edward senior was born in Ontario, but his children had been born in BC. Ten years earlier Mr Farr’s wife, Christina was recorded (12 years younger than her husband), and the children were recorded as Eddie, aged 12 and Alice aged 7. Christina was born in Scotland and had arrived in Canada in 1885, and died in 1907.
The three storey building (still standing almost unaltered today) was designed by Sharp and Thompson for Robert Kerr, and completed in 1910. In 1937 it was occupied by Clarke and Stuart as a printers: we’ve seen that company before in other premises, on West Cordova and their earlier store further east.
Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives Str N138
We saw a view of these buildings almost three years ago when we first started this blog. The taller building in this 1922 image is the 1913 building designed by Braunton & Leibert for the Standard Trust & Industrial Co at a cost of $50,000. That company had developed another building down the street a year earlier, and in the frantic development scramble of the times, planned another on West Hastings Street near Howe Street in 1913. This wasn’t the first building here – there were houses and industrial buildings from before the turn of the century. The building to the south (The Arts and Crafts Building) had three floors in 1922, and three more today.
Leon Melekov was Managing Director of the company. As well as property development, Melekov’s other investment interest was oil – he was President of a two million dollar company in 1914 called Saxon Oil, looking to develop oil fields in the vicinity of Calgary. He appears to have moved on to the US once the Vancouver economy faltered: we know he was naturalized as American in California (and from that we also know he was born in Russia). In 1927 we find “An Ordinance granting a gas, light, heat and power franchise to Leon Melekov, his successors and assigns, for the purpose of furnishing the citizens of Flagstaff with gas, light, heat and power in the City of Flagstaff, County of Coconino, State of Arizona”. Eventually he apparently became disenchanted with the oil business – or so one might surmise from the title of his 1953 publication on the topic: “The Greatest Fraud Ever Perpetrated in America“.
In the main floor in 1922 were Love & Co, who were furniture auctioneers. Upstairs were the Rexmere Rooms, run by John Melville. Several tenants are listed: a telegraph operator with the Great Northern Railway, a timber inspector and a carpenter, a female clerk with a photography company and three waitresses (two at the St Regis Café), a longshoremen and a swamper.
The house next door pre-dated 1901: in 1922 it was home to Frederick Helliar who ran Helliar Transfer from the same address. (There were two other Helliars in the city who worked for the company, Job and Garnet, but they had homes elsewhere in the city). Today the Braunton and Leibert building is still standing, these days the upper floors are offices. The house was replaced some time in the next few years.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3424
In many of the images we publish the contemporary view is of street trees, added over recent years, that makes seeing the buildings behind more difficult. That’s not the case on Burrard Street – back in 1923 the street foliage was every bit as lush as it is today (if not more so). Burrard was really a wide boulevard residential street then – it didn’t really go anywhere to the south; (the Burrard Bridge wasn’t built until 1930). We’re standing in the middle of Burrard at Nelson Street, so that’s the First Baptist church on the left, built in 1911, and houses in the 900 block of Burrard Street on the right.
Unlike the houses on the 700 block, (a couple of blocks down the hill, on the right) we do know who designed and built the houses on this block – or at least, several of them (even if you can’t really see them for the trees!) Thomas Fee, architect partner to John Parr, designed and built four of the houses – presumably as investments. During his career as well as designing dozens of buildings for clients throughout the city T A Fee would build projects for himself costing tens of thousands of dollars. These houses were early investments, and more modest. They were among an impressive list of houses built by Fee in the West End – he seems to have bought several blocks of land and then built houses from at least 1901 to 1904. We don’t have records currently available before 1901, but it seems likely that there were earlier dwellings also built by Fee on the eastern (right) side here.
This 1914 detail from an aerial view from the second Hotel Vancouver shows the back of the houses. In 1904 J H Field had the double lot on the corner of Nelson Street, (on the far right of the main picture, towards the left of the aerial shot) and added a second house at a cost of $950. The large house, four blocks up at 970 Burrard was a Fee investment, built in 1901 at a cost of $2,500. Further up the street at 940 and 946 Fee built two houses in 1901, one of them costing $3,000, while next door at 932 he built an even larger home – the foundation stonework cost $2,000 in 1902. Most of the houses closer to Nelson were built a few years before 1901; it was likely to be a popular location as the Dawson Public School was just a block to the south, across from St Paul’s Hospital.
The building down the hill on the left is Irwinton Court – still standing today and built by C N Davidson in 1912 to Braunton and Leibert’s design at a cost of $132,000. The two apparently vacant areas of land on the left before the apartments are the gardens of Hillside Hall (a private hospital in 1906, although by 1923 a rooming house) on the south side of Barclay Street, and the playing area of the Aberdeen School (built in 1912 for $135,000) on the north side. Behind the trees on the 800 block, beyond that, were more houses, all built before 1900, on both sides of Burrard Street.
Today, on the left is the newly restored YMCA facade with the Patina condo tower behind, the Sutton Place Hotel, and off in the distance the towers of the Royal Centre. To the east is the Dal Grauer electrical Substation with the Scotiabank cinema and Electric Avenue condos above and beyond that 800 and 850 Burrard, a 1980s condo and office development designed by Eng and Wright with two distinctly different elements on a single lot.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Str N181; extract from William Moore panoramic photo, CVA PAN N218