Archive for the ‘Dr R C Boyle’ Tag

Robson and Jervis Streets

This fine craftsman house at 1300 Robson Street was built in 1904 by Bedford Davidson, and cost a significant sum for the day – $6,000. It was designed by Honeyman and Curtis for Dr Boyle. He was a medical doctor, but also a property developer. In 1909 he built the Travelers Hotel, which is now called the Metropole Hotel, on Abbot Street. He also developed the Royal Hotel on Granville Street in 1911, and he had Bedford Davidson build four houses in 1903 on Thurlow, and another set of four on Broughton.

Dr Robert Clarke Boyle first moved to Vancouver in 1899 or in 1900 and appears in the 1901 census with his wife, Margaret, and daughter Mildred, who was six. They had an English nurse, and Robert’s sister, also called Margaret was living with them. A decade later, when they were in this house, the family had grown with 10 year old Bidwell, and Edward, who was three. They had both a nurse and a servant. Dr. Boyle and his wife were both shown as born in Ontario, but Mildred was born in Manitoba. If the 1935 obituary noting his sudden death is correct, his wife was in Winnipeg when they met, where Dr. Boyle studied. He initially practiced medicine in Morden, Manitoba before moving to Vancouver.

Unlike some of the city’s property developing physicians, Dr. Boyle had a widely regarded medical practice, based in his home, and became president of the Vancouver Medical Association. The family’s wealth meant that they could afford to educate their children in England. A 1914 newspaper report noted “Mrs. Robert C. Boyle returned to town on Monday from a lengthy stay in England. Her daughter. Miss Mildred Boyle, and her elder son, who have been attending school there, will follow later, arriving here in August. By 1920 Dr. Boyle moved to Richmond, to Sea Island, then back to Vancouver (on Beach Avenue) in the 1930s. His practice was based on Granville Street. In 1931 the newspaper reported “Dr. R. C. Boyle one of the best-known surgeons of Vancouver, was operated on at St. Paul’ Hospital yesterday for , appendicitis, following a hurried trip from Campbell River, where he was holidaying.” Bidwell Boyle married Zaida Dill in 1929, and later moved to the US. He and Zaida were living in Oregon when he died in 1966.

Over the years the house was occupied by several residents – we don’t know if Dr. Boyle sold it, or leased it out. It’s seen here in a 1930 Vancouver Public Library image when Frank J Lyons, a barrister, was living here. A few years later the BC Teacher’s Federation and publishers J C Dent had their offices located here. We’re assuming that the building was retained, rather than redeveloped for offices. A 1969 aerial appears to show little redevelopment of the houses in this location at that period. The Listel Hotel was developed here in 1986, designed by the Buttjes Group, and opening as O’Doul’s Best Western Motor Hotel.



Posted 12 March 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Metropole Hotel – Abbott Street (2)

Metropole Hotel 1978

We have already seen the Metropole Hotel when it was the Traveler’s Hotel, developed by Dr R C Boyle and designed by W T Whiteway.

Here it is back in 1978 when it had a substantial canopy over the entrance. This picture also explains the full height doorways that run down the southern face of the building on the lane. Although it looks as if there was some sort of warehouse use, that isn’t the case. Back in the earlier 1923 image there was a fire escape that ran down the outside of the building, which was still there over 50 years later, but not today.


Posted 25 December 2012 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Metropole Hotel – Abbott Street (1)

This building started life as the Traveler’s Hotel, as it was in this 1923 image. It only acquired the Metropole name when the original Metropole, which was on the other side of the street, was swallowed up by the ever-expanding Woodwards store in 1924. The Travellers was built in 1910 for Dr R C Boyle at a cost of $45,000 and was designed (like so many of the city’s buildings at the time) by W T Whiteway.

Dr Boyle was an active developer, but continued working as an MD as this 1909 cutting shows. He seems to have arrived in Vancouver around 1900, initially living at 811 Thrlow Street and in 1903 at 1076 Robson Street.

He was born in Ontario, but trained in Manitoba at the Medical College, then had a practice in Morden (where his daughter Mildred was born) before the family moved on to BC.

In the 1901 census he was aged 32 and living with his wife, Margaret, (apparently known as May), his five year old daughter, Mildred, a servant, Annie Davis, and his sister, also called Margaret. Dr Boyle’s wife was also born in Ontario, (in Ottawa) but Annie was from England, By 1911 the family had grown with the addition of 10 year old Bidwell – who must have been born within days of the 1901 census, and 3 year old Edward (who had been born in England). Annie has gone, replaced by Mary Smith who had just arrived from Scotland and 17 year old Nellie Stephens acting as nurse. (Nellie had arrived from England aged five).

In 1903 the doctor had Bedford Davidson build four frame dwellings in the 1100 block of Thurlow at a cost of $6,400 and another four on Broughton Street. In 1904 Davidson built a $6,000 home for the doctor on Robson Street designed by Honeyman and Curtis. After the hotel was built, in 1911 Dr Boyle appears to have been the joint developer of 1023-1027 Granville Street, a Parr and Fee designed hotel (The Royal) costing $60,000.

He was First Vice-President of the General Securities Co, capitalised at $300,000 in 1911 and active as brokers and bankers in the Lower Mainland.

The Boyle family was active in the city’s life. The Ladies Musical Club was formed in the Boyle home in 1910, and Mrs Boyle was also a member of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire. In 1906 Dr Boyle was part of a large group of dignitaries from western cities (including Seattle and Tacoma) who toured California by train to identify opportunities for greater development of the north west. Dr Boyle died in 1935, and a rather inaccurate obitiary in the Winnipeg Free Press (wrong age, wife identified as neing from Winnipeg) suggests two of three of his brothers also headed to BC, to Penticton and Revelstoke, with another in San Francisco. At the time of his wife’s death in 1955 aged 86, her daughter was living in Seattle and her sons in Eugene and Portland, although two sisters were living in Vancouver.

Today the Metropole, like many of the remaining early hotels in the Downtown Eastside, is a single room occupancy hotel.

Image Source, City of Vancouver Archives Str N48



Posted 25 November 2012 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Royal Hotel – Granville Street

This is the Royal Hotel on the west side of the 1000 block of Granville Street, seen here in 1929. It was built in 1911 and developed by (the Building Permit says) Dr Boyle and Lewerke. The 1911 street Directory identifies two people called Lewerke involved in real estate, Alfred and Ralph (and only three people with that name in the entire city).

Robert C Boyle is identified as a physician, living on Robson Street and with an office on West Hastings. Parr and Fee were the architects (as they were for most of Granville Street – as the post above shows). The building was built by Hemphill Brothers at a cost of $60,000 and this 1929 Vancouver Public Library image shows it was a substantial building in a block of more modest scale. A 1911 lien on the property initiated by Fred Cunningham identifies the developers as R C Boyle and John Lewerke. Mr. Lewerke was a Dutch-born logger and mill owner who had apparently left Vancouver not long before the property was developed. Alfred was his son, who was christened John, like his father, but used a different name, presumably to avoid confusion.


Posted 26 December 2011 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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