Archive for the ‘E B Deane’ Tag

May Wah Hotel – East Pender Street

The May Wah was developed in 1913 at a cost of $75,000 by Barrett & Dean as ‘apartments/rooms’, designed by W F Gardiner. The building opened in 1915 as the Loyal Hotel, a name it retained until at least 1930. Mr. ‘Dean’ was really Evans Deane, born in Australia. He built a block in New Westminster as well, and in 1910 newspapers was described as ‘Evans B Dean, capitalist’. Mr. Barrett was George A Barrett, another broker. Both were involved in 1910 in a rail car company, drydock and ship building. Barrett and Deane also built the Empress Theatre on East Hastings. The street directory showed three partners in G A Barrett & Co; George Barrett, Evans Deane and Harry Musclow.

Evans Deane had first been in Vancouver around 1880, when he was working on tunneling contracts through the Rockies for the CPR. He moved to San Francisco from 1882 and 1887, and lived in Oakland, where he was a printer. He had first arrived in San Francisco in 1876 when he worked for a stockbroker for a number of years. He met his wife, Sophie who was from San Francisco, and they married in 1885, and apparently moved to Vancouver a year or two later. By 1891 Mr. Deane was a real estate broker and insurance agent in Vancouver. From 1903 to 1920 the Deane family, including their four children, lived in the West End.

In 1917 the Daily World reported a complex case involving the hotel: “TENANT MUST VACATE Lease of Hotel Property Held Not to be Good One. Evans B. Dean, a former owner of the Loyal Hotel, after conveying his title to other parties, made lease of the property for five years at $75 per month to a Chinaman; when as a matter of fact it is stated that the place can easily be rented for $200 per month. This morning the mortgagees, the Sun Life Insurance Company, who are now in possession of the title, made an application in supreme court chambers to have the lease broken and the tenant evicted. It was stated by Mr. H. A. Bourne that the lessor at the time he rented the property had no power to do so. and that the present tenant really stood in the position of a trespasser. The present titleholders had an opportunity to lease the place for $200 per month for the first six months, and at $250 per month after that period. Mr. Alex. Henderson, K. C, for the tenant, claimed that his client had acted in good faith, and it was not certain the lessor at the time the lease was made did not have power to make it. His lordship, however, ruled that it had been shown with sufficient clearness that the lease was not a good one, and ordered the tenant to vacate by the end of March.”

In 1918 Mr. Deane retired from real estate, and concentrated on his main interest, yachting. He was a life member of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. As well as owning yachts, including at different times Tillicum, Wide Awake and Alexandra, Mr. Deane owned a powerboat called Davey Jones. The family appear to have moved to Washington in the 1930s, but when Sophie Deane died in 1940 it was in Vancouver, and Evans was still here a decade later when he died, aged 91.

George Barrett was a builder in 1901, living in the West End in a house he built in 1901. The census shows him with his wife Mary, their four children, and sister in law, Laura Blackwell. He appears to have been born in England, but his wife came from Ontario, where they married in 1887 and where their 11 year old son, Henry, was born. The seven-year old, Meryl, was born in BC, so they presumably arrived in BC in the early 1890s. By 1903 he had moved into real estate, and in 1911 the family moved to a new house on E 19th, developed (according to the building permit) by Mary Barrett.

The Loyal was renamed the New Orient in 1947, the Le-Kiu in 1950, the Garden in 1956, the Sydney in 1969 and finally the May Wah in 1980. Le-Kiu are a Chinese grocery wholesalers who from 1967 to 1995 had a store at 262 East Pender that was the first Western-style supermarket in Chinatown, where instead of telling a clerk what you wanted to buy, it was self-serve. The company were formed by H Y Louie’s grandsons, although they are a different branch of the family from the Louie family who own London Drugs.

The hotel was bought by the Shon Yee Association in 1926, and has been used as a Single Room Occupancy hotel for almost a century. Our 1985 image shows that it has hardly changed over the past 30 or so years. Most recently it has been acquired in early 2017 by the Chinatown Foundation. More than 100 low-income seniors, mostly women, as well as a few businesses call the single-room occupancy (SRO) hotel home. The intention is that over the next few years the building will be renovated including seismic upgrades as well as cleared fire exits, and repaired roofs and walls.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2386


Posted November 16, 2017 by ChangingCity in Chinatown, Still Standing

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Empress Theatre – East Hastings Street

Empress Theatre

The Empress Theatre was built on the corner of Gore Street in 1908. The permit was applied for by Evans B Deane and Co in 1906, and initially was supposed to cost around $40,000. Deane was a partner in a real estate and financial partnership known as Deane and Barrett with G A Barrett (who sold Burnaby real estate as well as Vancouver lots). The first operator of the theatre was the Del S. Lawrence Stock Company, who at various times also played the Avenue Theatre and the Opera House in the city. His company worked the west coast, from his native California to Vancouver, with stops in Seattle, Portland and Victoria. The house was managed by Walter Sandford,  another American actor (whose wife was busy running the Hotel Stratford up the road). The architect was a Scot called Charles K Shand who established an office in the city from his Seattle practice.

We know a great deal about the construction of the theatre from a 1908 profile in Contract Record that identified the final cost as closer to $80,000. “A unique feature of the building is that it was built entirely of concrete blocks, manufactured and erected by the Concrete Engineering & Construction Company, of Vancouver. The illustration shows the fine appearance of the building, which is claimed to be the largest concrete block structure in Canada. While the rock faced blocks are all of the same pattern, it does not show a monotonous appearance, as the pattern possesses no sharp or distinct feature.

The structure is 119 feet long, 92 feet 9 inches wide, and 71 feet high from the street level. The walls are 21 inches, 18 inches and 12 inches thick, while the fire wall between the auditorium and the stage is 12 inches thick. The side walls of this are of blocks and the arches solid concrete masonry. The 21-inch walls were constructed of 12-inch and 9-inch blocks, and the 18 inch walls of two 9-inch blocks side by side, with a header every third course and every six feet. The building consumed 31,630 blocks 24 inches long and 8 inches high. These blocks were made on the Perfection power machine, one of which is a feature of the plant of the Concrete Engineering & Construction Co.

The aggregate used in the blocks was, one of cement, two of sand, and three of crushed rock, which has been found to give very satisfactory results. The cement used is the local product known as the Vancouver Brand, being purchased at $2.60 per barrel. The sand is sea sand, pumped from the beach on English Bay, and is clean and without any impurity. The crushed rock is purchased of a size from two to four inches and crushed in the company’s crusher from 1/2-inch down, which is the size used in the blocks. These blocks sell in Vancouver, 9-inch for 33 cents, and 12-inch for 43 cents, being the price in the yard. Contract price of the concrete work on this building was $21,200.

The architect was particularly pleased with the work done, as well as the owners; both of whom are satisfied that concrete block construction, such as has been supplied in the Empress Theatre, is to play a very important part in future building construction in Vancouver.

The Concrete Engineering & Construction Company were organized a little over two and one-half years ago, under the name of the Perfection Cement Block Company, to manufacture concrete blocks. With the spirit of the times the company has grown and enlarged, and is now doing every class of plain and reinforced concrete construction, pavements, waterproof floors, walls and foundations, as well as being manufacturers of power-made hollow concrete blocks, concrete stone and ornamental concrete.”


Empress 1940The theatre only lasted until 1940. Between the wars it saw a number of stock theatre companies tour through the city, and it was popular for the size of its stage – one of the largest in the west. It was demolished in 1940 (the year our photos were taken) and from other pictures that exist it appears to have remained a cleared site used for parking for over 40 years until the unremarkable 1987 retail building that stands today was built. The only slightly unusual thing about it is that it appears to have a second storey – a pretence that’s somewhat blown by the ‘window’ openings where the infill panels have gone, revealing a view through to the sky.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu N134

Posted May 1, 2013 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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