Archive for the ‘Burke Horwood & White’ Tag

First Baptist Church – Burrard Street (2)

We saw a very poor ‘before’ image of the First Baptist Church on Burrard a few years ago. Here is a better image, that captures the church before the dramatic change that’s coming to this location (off to the left of the picture). The church has partnered with Westbank to create an expanded church hall, non-market housing, and a luxury condo tower at the back of the church that will pay for a full seismic upgrade of the building, estimated to cost over $25m.

The church was completed in 1911, designed by Burke, Horwood and White in a Gothic Revival style. It replaced an earlier church in Downtown., that in turn replaced one further east. In the image, from 1920, there were no street trees in this stretch of Burrard Street.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-1437


Posted 1 November 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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Hudson’s Bay – Granville and Georgia

The Bay, Georgia & Granville

Surprisingly, we haven’t published an image of the second Bay store that sat on a prime piece of CPR land at the corner of Granville and West Georgia. The first Bay store was closer to the early city, built on Cordova Street around 1887, a location they only retained for eight years. Presumably, once it became apparent that CP’s efforts to move the centre of the city’s action westward to Granville Street were paying off, the Bay decided to join in. In 1892 C O Wickenden was hired to build a new store on Granville Street, near the CP’s Hotel Vancouver, their opera house, and many other office buildings developed by CP Directors. Some were involved in the Hudson’s Bay Company – so that probably helped the decision, and the new store was much bigger, so a larger site was needed as well (although initially only two floors were going to be occupied).

The Daily World described the plans in April 1892 “As mentioned in The World a few days ago C. P. Shindler has been awarded the contract for the new building to be put up by the Hudson’s Bay company on the corner of Granville and Georgia streets. The designs prepared by C. Osborne Wickenden show what will be a very handsome structure, four storeys high. The building will be of brick with stone dressings and after what may be called the Romanesque style of architecture. The basement will be divided and half used as a store room with a small section taken off to accommodate the furnaces, and the other half as a liquor store. On the ground floor will be the grocery and dry goods departments, and in the second storey will be put the millinery and carpet departments. The third and fourth storeys will for the present remain unfinished. The dimensions of the building are 50 x 100 feet, which affords ample accommodation in every department. The contract price will total up to about $25,000, but it will take more than that if the third and fourth storeys are to be finished.”

This 1908 Vancouver Public Library shot shows the store had an array of large picture windows on both Granville and Georgia. Very quickly the growth of the city ensured that all four floors were Bay 1898needed – and then more. We’re unclear when the building became 100′ wide on Granville – it must have been after 1898 (when the image on the right was taken), but before 1901 when the insurance map of the day shows the building above, and it seems likely that Mr. Wickenden was still the architect. In 1913 a new addition, quite a bit bigger in scale and grander in design was added to the east, running down Seymour Street. Even that proved inadequate for the stores’ needs, and in 1926 the brick store was demolished and a further enlargement of the 1913 store was built, designed by Burke, Horwood and White (who had also designed the 1913 store).

The creamy white terra cotta design referenced the Selfridge department store in London, and similar buildings went up in Victoria, Calgary and Winnipeg, all designed by the Toronto based architects. The 1926 Vancouver store expansion took just six months to build after demolition of the 1893 structure; the five reinforced concrete floors were erected in just two and a half weeks.

Image source Vancouver Public Library and City of Vancouver Archives Bu N417




Posted 31 December 2015 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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First Baptist Church – Burrard Street (1)

Burrard Baptist

We caught a glimpse of this church in the previous post. Like Christ Church to the north, the church is the original on the site, on the north-west corner with Nelson Street. It was even a vacant site before the church was built – there were no previous structures here before the building permit was taken out in 1909. That’s not true to the south, where there were houses before St Andrews Wesley was built, as we saw in an earlier post. The cost of the church was $75,000, and the builders were Matheson & Heard. The architect was listed as ‘Burk’ – although really that was Burke, Horwood and White, based in Toronto and also responsible for the Hudson’s Bay store design. It was completed in 1911 in a Gothic Revival style, although the interior is newer. A 1931 fire destroyed the original interior and roof, and the replacement was more Arts and Crafts in style.

The rebuilding was led by Charles Bentall, a member of the church, who he was present in 1911 when the cornerstone was laid in 1910 by John Morton, one of the three original purchasers of the West End land holdings. Bentall was president of the Baptist Union of Western Canada from 1929 for four years, as well as head of Dominion Construction, He had been superintendent of the Sunday School on Burrard for many years although by 1928 he attended the Grandview Baptist Church – a more modest frame building. Bentall personally supervised the reconstruction – he even took a trip to the eastern US to source acoustic tile for the ceiling to sound proof the structure. This 1914 image shows the church three years after it was completed.

While there have been few changes to the church since the 1930s reconstruction, that may not stay true for much longer. The rezoning of the adjacent YMCA building, with a residential tower to fund the reconstruction and heritage restoration of that building also included a future tower behind the Baptist church.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives LGN 1239


Posted 31 January 2014 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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New York Block – Granville Street

New York Block

In 1888 well-connected American architect Bruce Price designed the New York Block on Granville Street. It was one of a series of fancy new office buildings the Canadian Pacific Railway commissioned for their land holdings, particularly along Granville Street. The New York Block was in the 600 block of Granville, just down the hill from the Donald Smith Block, also designed by Price, and the CPR’s Hotel Vancouver. In 1889 it was valued at $25,000, and was faced and trimmed with granite, described by the Daily World as “certainly the grandest building of its kind yet erected here, or for that matter in the Dominion”. You can see that in 1889 even grand buildings still had plank sidewalks and uneven streets in front. The ‘Canadian Builder and Architect’ identified the developer: Sir George Stephen, a founding member of the CP Rail backers, and a prominent Canadian businessman. Originally from Scotland, he made his fame in Montreal and was the first Canadian to be elevated to the Peerage of the United Kingdom.

The building housed the CPR’s ticket, telegraph, and land offices until the turn of the century. It appears that a number of people, many of them CPR employees, lived in apartments in the building as well, an early example of ‘mixed use development’ in the city. A P Horne recalled attending parties in the building. “Father Fay was a fine fellow; he was popular; he could sing; had a good voice. Williams, of Williams Bros. and Dawson, surveyors, had a flat in the top of the New York Block; the Canadian Pacific Railway offices were below, and Sir George McLaren Brown was in them. Williams used to give parties in his flat, and Father Fay used to come and sing. Mr. Buntzen could play the piano in those days, and so could Mrs. Buntzen; play it well; and we used to have parties up in Williams’ flat.”

Bruce Price’s residential designs were important enough to influence Frank Lloyd Wright, particularly his designs in a New York planned suburb, Tuxedo Park. His early designs for hotels and stations for the CPR established the château style they continued to reference for decades. Among others, Price designed the Château Frontenac in Quebec and the Banff Springs Hotel. In New York, as in Vancouver, he favoured the Richardson Romanesque style, although in New York (where his office was based) he soon moved on to skyscrapers in a classical style.

The building lasted about 25 years, replaced in the early 1920s with the current Hudson’s Bay store. We’ve already shown in another post how the first Hudson’s Bay store was added to in 1914, and then the first store was replaced with this second phase of construction. The contemporary image shows the new glazed canopies that replace the heavier steel design that was in place until 2012.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu P79


Lacey Johnson house – Seymour Street

Lacey R Johnson

This is one of the earliest houses built in the city, in the newly cleared CPR land one block off Granville Street where they were developing their hotel and office buildings to create their new city centre away from Gastown. We know a fair bit about it because the owner’s daughter gave a detailed interview to Major Matthews, who recorded it in the early City Archives.

The owner of the house was Lacey R. Johnson, V.D., first Master Mechanic, Pacific Division, Canadian Pacific Railway. Mrs Evans, the daughter in question recalled “As Mother and my brother, now Col. R.E. Johnson of Montréal, and two sisters, Grace and Julia, were travelling westwards on the train, a telegram reached us from Father which read in part, ‘Vancouver in ashes’ (13 June 1886), “so we got off at Yale. We had closed up our home at Carlton Place, Ontario, so our furniture en route went to Vancouver. Whilst at Yale, we lived, first, in a furnished cottage belonging to Dan McDougall” 

“We remained at Yale, and then came on to Vancouver in Father’s railway car, September 3rd , 1887, and lived in it for about ten days on a siding at the foot of Granville Street until our house, 455 Seymour Street, west side, close to Georgia Street, and now part of the site of the Hudson’s Bay store, was completed. Father had started to build before the Fire; the lumber was on the ground, but the fire destroyed the lumber; it had to be replaced.

“I recall that when we first went there, there were no buildings near; the view down the slope towards Water Street was unobstructed; then, later, the nearest building was the No. 2 Fire Hall, on the east side of Seymour, south of Georgie Street.”

“This photo of our first house, 455 Seymour Street; Father is on the steps with my brother Ernest, and I am looking out of the window. I remember it so well. Here is the Durham Block, on Granville Street, where Christ Church held the first service—in the evening—in one of the stores on the ground floor. You know that after Christ Church was built, the sheriff was going to seize the church for debt, and Mr. H.J. Ceperley, W.J. Salsbury, H.J. Cambie, and Father, four of them, contributed one thousand dollars each to ‘save it.’ I know that Father mortgaged our house to get his one thousand dollars. No, it was never returned to him.”

Georgia St 1917 The Bay #2 and #3 CVA 260-1043The family stayed in the house for three years, then moved to a new house on Beach Avenue. (Note that 455 later became 677 Seymour Street). The House stood until 1912, and must have been bought by the Hudson’s Bay Company as it is where they built the first phase of the existing building in 1913. (The first Hudson’s Bay store was in Gastown, and the second at Georgia and Granville. The expansion in 1913 was on Seymour, and then the second building was demolished and replaced to match the Seymour building in 1925. For a while both the 1893 building and the 1913 building stood side by side as the 1917 image on the right shows).

The architects were Burke, Horwood & White and the contractors Rourke, MacDonald & Moncreiff, and the first Seymour and Georgia phase of the construction cost $900,000. The architects were from Toronto, and specialised in designing large commercial 10 storey Baybuildings using historic styles but contemporary materials (favouring glazed terra-cotta, steel frames and fireproof construction methods). Although it was considered a new technique, the building had a reinforced concrete frame rather than steel (which had to be shipped from the east at considerable cost). Although a substantial building, at six storeys, the design included the possibility of an additional four storeys at a later date.

The design in part referenced Chicago architect Daniel Burnham’s store in London for American retailer Gordon Selfridge. This has been called a ‘decorated warehouse’ – which is in a sense what all the big departmental stores have been from that point on. The Vancouver design was deemed so successful other Hudson’s Bay stores were designed in the same style, starting with Calgary (which actually completed ahead of Vancouver) and Victoria.

Recent restoration of the terra-cotta, and the removal of a solid metal canopy with lightweight glazed weather protection have given the newly revitalised Bay building a new lease of life.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu P119 and CVA 260-1043


West Georgia from Howe eastwards

That’s the 1925 part of the Hudson’s Bay building in the centre of this 1953 image, but everything else has changed. The Bay has recently received a comprehensive restoration of the terra cotta facade of the building designed by Burke, Horwood & White of Toronto. They used almost identical designs in Victoria and Winnipeg at around the same time. The Bay had been at this location since 1893, although they started off in the city further north and east on Cordova Street in around 1887. At some point we’ll post a before and after of the building this part of the store replaced, a brick building from 1893.

The facade of the new (and current) Hudson’s Bay store was supplied by the American Terra Cotta & Ceramic Co of Chicago, and the bit you can see here is the second phase from 1925 replacing the 1893 building, which joined to the 1914 building (which was further east on the corner of Seymour and Georgia).

The next stage of the restoration of the Bay building will be new glazed canopies, signs and lighting, more in keeping with the heritage building and creating a better sidewalk than the current solid canopies. The huge change in the recent picture is the arrival of the Pacific Centre Mall, completed in 1974. This part of the complex was designed by McCarter Nairne with Cesar Pelli working at Victor Gruen and Associates of Los Angeles. The dark tower was the Stock Exchange Tower when it was built. The rotunda entrance is likely to be replaced at some point with a retail use and a revised mall entrance.

Image source: BC Archives