Archive for the ‘C B McLean’ Tag

205 Main Street

In 1904, according to the building permit, M McRae hire C B McLean to design an $8,500 hotel on the corner of Powell Street and Westminster Avenue. Dowse and Carter built the hotel, which opened as The Melbourne Hotel in the fall. Mr. McLean wasn’t active in the city for very long, but also designed the Invermay Hotel on West Hastings. Here he added a couple of bay windows on the second floor, above a main floor bar.

Later that year 1904 the press carried the following advert: MELBOURNE HOTEL New and up-to-date; steam-heated and electric light; excellent table (white cook); guests receive every attention; cars to all parts of the city pass the door. Rates $1.25 and $1.60 per day. Special rates to steady boarders. D. McRAE. E. McCANNEL Cor. Westminster Avenue and Powell Street. The street directory confirmed Donald McRae, proprietor, although failed to mention Mr. McRae in any other entry. (The only Donald McRae living in the city throughout this period had a job as a customs locker). The Government Gazette published a legal notice at the end of 1904: WE, Donald McRae and Elizabeth McCannel, members of the firm of McRae & McCannel, carrying on business as hotel-keepers at the City of Vancouver aforesaid, in the Melbourne Hotel, under the style of McRae & McCannel, do hereby certify that the said partnership is this day dissolved, the said Elizabeth McCannel retiring from the said partnership. The said McRae is to carry on the said business and pay all liabilities thereof, and is entitled to the stock in trade, moneys, credits and effects of the said partnership, and to indemnify and save harmless the said Elizabeth McCannel against the payment of any partnership liabilities. Witness our hands at Vancouver, B. C., this 29th day of December, A.D. 1904.

We’ve had more luck tracing Elizabeth than Donald. She was living in the city in the 1901 census, and she, rather than her husband, was listed in the street directory. Mrs. Elizabeth McCannell ran the Windsor on East Hastings, although the census only listed her husband Donald’s occupation, as blacksmith. We’re pretty certain it’s the correct household as there are 16 boarders as well as the couple’s 4 daughters and a son-in-law (and grandaughter), so a house seems an unlikely option. Elizabeth’s husband, Donald McCannel, died in 1903. It’s likely that Donald McRae was a relative, possibly her brother, as before she married she was Elizabeth McRae, from Glengarry County, Ontario. She had four children, and didn’t stay in the city after handing over the Melbourne. She died in San Francisco in 1919. Our best guess is that Donald and Elizabeth planned the hotel to help out when Elizabeth found herself a widow, but the arrangement didn’t work out, leaving Donald to take over, and then dispose of the hotel.

Whoever he was, Donald McRae wasn’t running the hotel for much longer. In 1906 John Gaugler was running The Melbourne. In 1908 Earle and Rice were running the hotel, which had been successful at attracting long term residents. There were several engineers, a couple of carpenters and a lumberman and a prospector among the residents. In 1910 Rice and Richter were listed as proprietors, although John Rice appeared to run things, and lived in the hotel. The tenants were a cut above the average East End rooming house; they included Ben Roe, the master of the steamer ‘Farquhar’ and Isaac Forsythe, a master mariner, a fireman on the Great Northern Railway, John Gray, an engineer, the Co-owner of The Dominion Emploment Agency, William Kelman as well as a clerk and a barman who worked at the hotel.

In 1921 M Amano was listed as proprietor of the Melbourne Rooms. The census shows Daiichi Amano, a 27 year old Japanese rooming house proprietor, and his 23 year old wife, Katuyo. Their lodgers were now more typical of the area’s population; a carpenter, a fisherman, two loggers and a pile driver. They were from Japan, Ireland, Quebec, Italy – and one from British Columbia. In 1931 it was once again a hotel, with Dan Mackenzie running the hotel. There was a waiter in the dining room, and a clerk at the front desk. He was still running the hotel a decade later, which had a beer parlour, two waiters, a steward and a porter. The Museum of Vancouver have one of the fancy, art deco styled chaise lounge sofas from the period Dan owned the hotel. After the war the Melbourne Hotel and rooms were being run by John Costock and Goliardo (‘Gillie’) Brandolini. Mr. Brandolini was still running the hotel in 1955. Elma Brandolini was the hotel clerk, and other Brandolinis were running the New Empire Hotel, and BC Hotels, so theirs was a family of hoteliers.

At some point in the early 1970s the bar of the Melbourne joined over thirty other bars and lounges, and transformed into a stripper bar, the No.5 Orange. It was still run by the Brandolinis, Harry and Leon, and was rated as one of the classier venues. Bon Jovi apparently spent time here when they were recording their new album nearby in the mid 1980s, and the shower installed on stage helped them come up with the title of their new album, ‘Slippery When Wet’. Courtney Love performed here for a month in 1989 (before she became a singer). Out of several dozen bars, almost all the other similar venues have closed; there are just four remaining, and (temporary Covid closure excepted) the No.5 continues to be be one of them, although the hotel rooms have long gone.

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Posted 28 June 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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West Hastings Street west from Howe Street

This 1930s postcard shows several buildings that have been redeveloped, and three that are still standing. The extraordinary Marine Building dominates the older picture – one of Vancouver’s rare ‘street end blockers’ – and fortunately, a worthy example, designed by Vancouver’s McCartner Nairne and Partners, designing their first skyscraper. While it’s Vancouver’s finest art deco building, it was far from a positive example of development budgeting. Costing $2.3 million, it was $1.1 million over budget, and guaranteed the bankruptcy of its developers, Toronto-based G A Stimson and Co.

Stimsons were also owners of the Merchant’s Exchange, the building closest to the camera on the north (right) side of the street. That was designed by Townley & Matheson, and the building permit says it cost $100,000 and was developed in 1923 for “A. Melville Dollar Co”. Alexander Melville Dollar was from Bracebridge, Ontario, but moved to Vancouver as the Canadian Director of the Robert Dollar Company. Robert Dollar was a Scotsman who managed a world-wide shipping line from his home in San Francisco. His son Harold was based in Shanghai, overseeing the Chinese end of the Oriental trade, another son, Stanley managed the Admiral Oriental Line, and the third son, A Melville Dollar looked after the Canadian interests, including property development. (The Melville Dollar was a steamship, owned by the Dollar Steamship Company, which ran between Vancouver and Vladivostok in the early 1920s). Vancouver entrepreneur and rum-runner J W Hobbs who managed Stimson’s West Coast activities paid $400,000 for the building in 1927. Stimson’s bought the site with the intention of tearing down the recently completed building to construct the Marine Building, then discovered it was a profitable enterprise and instead bought the site at the end of the street.

The larger building on the right is the Metropolitan Building, designed by John S Helyer and Son, who previously designed the Dominion Building. Beyond it is the Vancouver Club, built in 1914 and designed by Sharp and Thompson.

On the south side of the street in the distance is the Credit Foncier building, designed in Montreal by Barrot, Blackadder and Webster, and in Vancouver by the local office of the US-based H L Stevens and Co. Almost next door was the Ceperley Rounfell building, whose façade is still standing today, built in 1921 at a cost of $50,000, designed by Sharp & Thompson.

Next door was the Fairmont Hotel, that started life as the Hamilton House, developed by Frank Hamilton, and designed by C B McLean, which around the time of the postcard became the Invermay Hotel. The two storey building on the corner of Howe was built in 1927 for Macaulay, Nicolls & Maitland, designed by Sharp and Thompson. Before the building in the picture it was a single storey structure developed by Col. T H Tracey in the early 1900s. There were a variety of motoring businesses based here, including a tire store on the corner and Vancouver Motor & Cycle Co a couple of doors down (next to Ladner Auto Service, run by H N Clement). The building was owned at the time by the Sun Life Insurance Co. Today there are two red brick modest office buildings, one from 1975 and the other developed in 1981.

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Invermay Hotel – 828 West Hastings Street

800 W Hastings south

We saw this 1906 hotel in the previous post. It started life in 1906 as the Hamilton House, built by Frank Hamilton (of Calgary) and designed by C B McLean. After a series of name changes over the years, including the Fairmont Hotel, it became the Invermay Hotel. It was still the Invermay Hotel in 1930, at that point run by Merritt G Gordon who was also President of the Gordon Hotel Co, and lived on W15th Avenue. He was one of seven brothers born in Quebec but raised in Minnesota, three of who bought the Commercial Hotel in Harris, Saskatchewan in 1910. The brothers had previous experience mining in Butte, Montana, and a prospector brought some ‘rubies’ into their bar which they promised to look after, and then quickly filed a mining claim. Like many of the sharpest profiteers they made a fortune, once word was out, running the hotel, and building a camp at the instant mine townsite. It was populated almost instantly by over a thousand ruby-seekers; they operated a saloon, a restaurant and other entertainment in three large tents. It took quite a while before it become known that the rubies were almost worthless garnets. Once the hotel burned down in 1923 the family split up, with Merritt heading to Vancouver where he ran a series of hotels over the years. In 1940, 514 Richards was the Merritt Gordon Beer Parlour and 518 was the Merritt Gordon Hotel; that’s the former Marble Arch Hotel that has recently been renovated and has now reverted to it’s original ‘Canada Hotel’ name.

The Invermay Hotel name continued until 1971, when it became the Invermay Inn, as it was in this 1974 image. The final name change came when it was renamed the Jolly Taxpayer, and was painted a deep cherry red. Although it has been demolished for over 5 years, you can still find a website that say the hotel “has twenty-seven rooms with all modern facilities. Each room has ensuite bathroom facilities and private shower. The hotel also provides large screen sports, satellite televisions, pool, darts, golf games and more. It also serves fish, chips, juicy burgers, sizzling steaks, chunky chicken wings and a daily drink special.”

On the sites to the west are two other older buildings. While the hotel has gone, they survive – one as a façade, one completely intact. The façade that was retained belongs to a building known as the BC and Yukon Chamber of Mines. Actually, they were a later tenant, the building was erected to J C Day’s design for the Royal Financial Trust Co in 1926, but they went bankrupt in the depression. After a number of other brokerage and insurance tenants the building became home to the Chamber of Mines, an information and publicity organization for the BC and Yukon mining industries. In 2007 the façade was retained while a deep hole was dug for a new office and condo project. Out of shot to the right is the Ceperley Rounsfell Building that was also incorporated into the project underneath the dramatic overhang of the new building. It was retained in its entirety, chocked up laterally and suspended over the excavation before being given a new foundation and a heritage restoration.

In 2011 the new building that was completed here showed some unusual international design flair: Jameson House is an office and condo tower squeezed onto a 100′ site in the middle of the block. Designed by Foster and Associates in London (lead architect Nigel Dancey) with Walter Francl of Vancouver, the development ran into some financial and sales problems and Bosa Properties stepped in to complete the project.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-178

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Posted 9 February 2015 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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828 West Hastings Street

828 W Hastings

Here’s the Hamilton House in 1906, with the Hamilton House Bar downstairs (well, up the stairs, technically) and the rooming house above. There seems to have been a slight change of detail, as in 1905 the Daily World referred to ‘Temperance house’, ‘F. J. Hamilton, Prop’. The new level wood plank sidewalk was in front, although the street wasn’t quite as level. The hotel itself was also new – there’s nothing showing on the 1903 insurance map, and the first appearance in the Street Directory was in 1906 – The Hamilton: Francis J Hamilton, prop. We’ve met Francis – or Frank through his ownership of an East Side building. The 1905 building permit describes him as ‘of Calgary’, and identifies the architect as ‘Mr. McLean, of Vancouver’. That would be C B McLean, an architect who practiced for only a few years in the city.

Francis didn’t keep the hotel very long – in 1907 it had become the Orpheum Hotel, run by George Fortin. That same year George was making sure he could get a licence, but in a totally different location, in North Vancouver. “A letter was read from Messrs. Cowan & Parkes, Barristers, Vancouver, stating out that their client, Mr. George Fortin, had purchased Lots 54, 55, and 56 in Block 166 for the purpose of erecting a Hotel thereon. Mr. Fortin, who was present, submitted plans of the Hotel proposed to be erected by him. After discussion and expression of opinion, the Board assured Mr. Fortin that, if the Hotel was constructed according to the plans submitted, the would have no hesitation in granting a Licence for same.”

Unlike Mr Hamilton, we can trace Mr Fortin back to at least 1896 in the city, and in 1904 he owned the Leland Hotel on West Hastings where he carried out some alterations. He only kept our building for a year – by 1908 it has been renamed again as the Fairmont Hotel, run by James Pope. Mr. Fortin in 1909 was running the Café Fortin in the Fortin Block on West Cordova where Frederick Fortin was the manager of the Pool Room at the Fortin Hotel.

This hotel retained the Fairmont name after that for several years, although the proprietors changed as we’ve seen with many of the city’s hotels and rooming houses. In 1910 it was run by Flanagan and Smedley, and they kept it all the way to 1916. In 1910, presumably when they bought it, they carried out $5,000 of alterations, designed by G M Baly and built by T E Young. In 1918 it was Mr Flanagan on his own running the hotel, and in 1919 it had become the Invermay Lodge run by Mrs A Blackburn. It was still the Invermay in 1924, but the Invermay Hotel run by E W Arnott with J LaChance.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives  CVA Hot P87

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Posted 5 February 2015 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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