Archive for the ‘C E Robertson’ Tag

33 East Hastings Street

We looked at the history of the Dodson Hotel (the five storey building) in an earlier post. It was built in 1909 for Joseph Dodson (from Barrow in Furness in Lancashire) and designed by Sharp & Thompson. Joseph arrived twenty years before it was built, starting out in Vancouver as a labourer, then becoming a butcher before he turned to baking, operating Dodson’s Bakery here with his sons, and retiring in 1910 at the age of 68.

Next door to the east was a more modest two-storey structure that was only very recently demolished. It was developed by C E Robertson, and built by the Vancouver Construction Co., Ltd at a cost of $12,000 in 1909. There were dozens of Robertsons in Vancouver in 1909, but only one C E Robertson; Charles E Robertson associated with G E French’s tugboat company in 1909, and lived on Beach Avenue near Stanley Park. He was still there in 1911, so we can find him in the census, identified as a lodger in George French’s Parr and Fee designed West End mansion, aged 46. Despite being younger than his landlord, who was aged 58 and listed as a master mariner, Charles was shown as retired, living off income (presumably in part from this investment property) and having been born in Ontario.

Charles Robertson and George French jointly owned some of the French towing business, but there was a greater connection. The Sea Lion was built at Charles Robertson’s shipyard on Burrard Inlet (at the foot of Cordova Street) in 1904, and she was launched in 1905. We wrote about the 120′ tugboat in greater detail when we looked at the home occupied by her captain.

Previously Charles had been employed at the electrical power house in the city, presumably as an engineer, although the census recorded him as a cabinet maker in 1901, already lodging with the French family at their home on Alexander Street. They all moved to the West End in 1908; the location of their previous home had become a little less attractive (although perhaps more valuable) after the ladies of Dupont Street moved en masse to Alexander Street in the early 1900s.

In 1921 Charles was still living with the French household, but he was no longer retired; he was working as a shipwright with B C Marine. Two decades later he was still at 2001 Beach Avenue, having retired again before 1931. George French had died in 1930, but his widow, Cynthia, still lived in the family home until her death in June 1941, aged 82, with Charles there too. Charles Robertson then moved to an apartment on West 10th Avenue, where he was living when he died in December 1943.

The building was replaced in the spring of 2018 by Olivia Skye, a 13-storey housing building designed by IBI Group for Atira. It has 198 units of rental housing, with a mix of market, subsidized and welfare rate apartments.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3886

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Posted November 26, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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