Archive for the ‘E E Blackmore’ Tag

1000 block West Pender Street

There are two buildings here that were replaced in the 1960s, seen here in a 1931 Vancouver Public Library image. On the left is the Essex Rooms at 1033, while next door were the Duchess Rooms, at 1025. These were apparently developed by the A S French Auto Co in 1910, as a $55,000 ‘garage and rooms’, designed by ‘Blackmore’. The Essex Rooms were described as a warehouse when their building permit was issued in 1909 to Crickmay Bros. who hired Honeyman and Curtis to design the $14,000 investment. The main floor was occupied by the BC Anchor Fence Co when the building was completed. Baynes and Horie were the contractors, while Hemphill Brothers built Austin French’s building.

In 1911 the Daily World announced “The A. S. French Auto Co. are now occupying their new commodious quarters at 1027 Pender Street West, and have the largest fireproof and most up to date garage and sales rooms in British Columbia. They have a storage capacity for 600 cars, and carry besides a full line of accessories. The building is of reinforced concrete, absolutely fireproof, and with two floors, 66×132 feet In size. Each floor has a level driveway entrance, the lower being on Seaton street, and the upper on Pender. When the outside decorations are completed, the building will present an extremely attractive appearance. “Any one wanting a Napier car this season will have to hustle.” said Mr. A. S. French, “as the allotment for this year Is almost sold out. Nearly all the cars allotted us are in now, only five or six carloads remaining to be delivered. I have no idea how many Napiers have been sold in Vancouver without looking up the records, but as an instance of the way they are going I might mention that last week I sold over $42,000 worth, including the sales of Saturday night after dinner, which amounted to $19,500. We are open for business day and night. Besides the Napier we also handle the Stoddard – Dayton cars, which I consider the best car on the market for the money. The Napier is a British built car.”

Fred and Alf Crickmay were customs brokers, The had offices in the Pacific Securities Building, across from the customs building and overlooking the harbour. Fred had arrived from England in 1886, and by 1901 were already successful in the brokering business. Fred shared a house that year with his two older sisters. By 1912 he was also managing director of the BC Anchor Fence Co, and had moved to Shaughnessy Heights. Alfred had arrived in 1888, and was married with two children in 1901, with a 19 year old Japanese servant called Verna. By 1912 he had moved to North Vancouver.

A few years after construction in 1915 the Duchess Rooms had become the Driard Hotel, managed by J K Ramsay, while the Essex Rooms had Mrs E T Armstrong as proprietor. A S French continued in business, switching to selling the Overland cars in 1916 (at only $850), and in 1922 the Chandler, Cleveland and Liberty Six lines of vehicles. His father, Captain George French (whose warehouse we saw in an earlier post), Austin, and Austin’s son, (also George) were all associated with the company.

In 1978 the 26 storey Oceanic Plaza office building was completed here. A later cousin to the Guinness Tower across the street, it was developed by British Pacific Building Ltd and designed by Charles Paine and Associates.


Posted August 24, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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YMCA – Cambie and Dunsmuir

YMCA Cambie & Dunsmuir ne

We’ve seen the earlier building occupied by the YMCA on Hastings Street in a post from a few years ago, and their new 1940 premises more recently. Here’s where they moved to in the interim; a wooden building built in 1905 on the north-east corner of Cambie and Dunsmuir Streets. By the time this picture was taken in 1941 the organisation had moved on to their new Burrard Street building. Initially this building was designed by E E Blackmore, and it replaced two houses that had been built very early in the life of the new city.

Even when it was built it had neighbours. The High School had been built a few years earlier to the west, and the recreation ground was across the street with the Drill Hall on the other side of Beatty Street. The First Baptist Church was across Dunsmuir, and within seven years would be described on the insurance map as ‘Old & Vacant’. The lot to the east, across the lane became the home to another new building for the Vancouver Athletic Club.

In 1941 the newly vacated building was quickly adopted for the war effort, the Canadian Government Department of National Defence Support Column moved in, later replaced by the Armouries. After the war the Glad Tidings Pentacostal Assembly took over the premises and stayed until at least 1960, by which time the recreation ground had become the bus station. In 1994 the site was redeveloped as the Seimens Building – now known as the Amec Building, designed by Aitken Wreglesworth Associates.

The corner of the new building was cantilevered out to allow the building’s base footprint to miss the tunnel for the SkyTrain which angles across the site from the station on Beatty Street, and picks up the abandoned Canadian Pacific rail tunnel further west. The tunnel was originally cut in 1931, and allowed the trains from Waterfront Station to be moved to the Drake Street railyards to be cleaned, supplied and made ready for the trip back to the east. Before it was built, full scale steam trains could block the Downtown streets they crossed for up to 20 minutes. Eventually CP’s use ceased in 1979.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu N151

Posted September 3, 2015 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Mandarin Gardens – East Pender Street

Mandarin Gardens

Not only are the buildings that housed the Mandarin Gardens no longer standing, the site they once occupied is now Columbia Street. The building seems to have been constructed in 1918, designed by E E Blackmore and built for Mrs Chance Wong Co for $20,000. It wasn’t the first building here because the permit notes “old bldg. on premises is being dismantled.”

The Daily World confirmed the identity of the developer “The Mrs. Chance Wong Co. has taken out a permit for the erection of a line of brick stores buildings, two storeys high” but there’s nothing else that we’ve found that tells us who, or what Mrs Wong was. In 1920 Man Sing Lung’s confectionary store, a general store (On Hung Lung) and a grocers were here. In 1928 there was a Chop Suey House – the Amer, and a restaurant, the Kwong Tong Café. The upper floors were residential – listed as ‘Chinese rooms”. The Kwong Tong was still there in 1935, but a year later the Mandarin Gardens had opened, charging 50 cents to get in on weekdays and a dollar on holidays and Saturdays. It was a cabaret, managed by W Alex Lee, but with an extensive menu (as a copy in the UBC digital collection shows). Although it opened at 6pm, the orchestra didn’t start playing until 10pm, and liquor was (at least officially)prohibited. Some of the food offered was ‘western’ (Chicken A La King cost $1.25, although you could get a Kraft Cheese Sandwich for a mere 45 cents), but the Chinese menu was longer, with Chow Mein or the Mandarin Special each costing $1. In 1943 Charlie Nelson, a Vancouver nightclub operator, took over the club and added more cabaret acts to the operation. In ‘Vancouver Confidential’ Tom Carter writes about local singer Mimi Hines who recalled playacting cowboy shootouts on a deserted Pender Street with Sammy Davies Junior after the club had closed for the night.

Next door was an older building, designed and built by S K Champion at a cost of $12,400 in 1902. Samuel K Champion was a builder and developer in partnership as a building materials supplier as Champion & White. The company had their own wharf, and Mr Champion was the first to attempt to bring aggregate off one of the city’s beaches – although the first time he tried to use the home-made barge to carry the gravel, it sank. Champion and White worked on the World Building (today’s Sun Tower) – we know that because they tried to get payment for some work – eventually going all the way to the Supreme Court (where the company lost the legal argument). There was a rival to the Mandarin Gardens here: while the Gardens had a full scale cabaret with burlesque and dancing girls (the Mandarinettes) in the 1950s, the Marco Polo Club was also operating next door. A poster in the Museum of Vancouver has a description that says it “opened in the 1960s, closed in early 1980s, the first Chinese-style smorsgasbord and nightclub in Vancouver’s Chinatown.” The venue featured acts like Sly and the Family Stone, but it had evolved from a late 1950s version run by Alex Louie where the venue offered a chorus line of “four pretty Chinese girls in strapless bras, short skirts and fishnet stockings”.

The Mandarin’s premises were demolished in 1952 soon after this picture was shot; for a while a small single storey building made up the difference on the remainder of the lot. The replacement building, built in 1984 by Marco Polo Holdings, was once a TV studio, but is now part of the Vancouver Film School.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-64

Posted October 30, 2014 by ChangingCity in Chinatown, Gone

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Water Street – 100 block (2)

Water 100 block 1

This is the eastern end of the north side of the 100 block of Water Street – so we’re looking from the corner of Abbott Street, and the picture is dated to 1906. The building closest to us is the Canadian Fairbanks Building at 101 Water Street, designed by E E Blackmore and W T Whiteway for McLennan & McFeely, and completed a year earlier. They only had half the building – the other half was for rent. Next door was the former Methodist chapel which was being used as a flour and feed store by Frederick Allen. The building was replaced in 1923 with the modest 2-storey building still there today, commissioned by Rainsford & Co and designed and built by Dominion Construction.

Next door is a two-storey building known as the Lovell Block. The Heritage Statement of Significance for the buildings says it was built in lovell 18881888-89, and that it was built “for pioneer Vancouver businessman John Badcock Lovell”. In that respect it’s incorrect: J B Lovell was a Victoria businessman, although he did have a number of Vancouver investments including another Lovell Block in 1900 and the Bodega Hotel. Mr Lovell also bought the site of the Methodist church in September 1888. The construction of his new block, like so many at the time, was fast and not very well done. In December it had to be started again, as the Victoria Colonist piece shows, and it wasn’t completed until 1889. Perhaps the more careful reconstruction is why the building is still standing.

Mr Lovell was born in England in 1831 and had been in BC since 1858. He was a miner, ran the Express at Richfield, a number of trading stores and was Coroner in the Stickeen region in 1874. He managed the Victoria Co-operative Company store, although in 1881 he was listed as a miller, and in 1891 and 1901 as a merchant in Victoria. He married Margaret, 28 years younger, in 1873 and they had three children. He died in 1915, aged 84.

Next door was a 3-storey (and basement) building where J Y Griffin & Co wholesaled produce and provisions, managed by Robert Robertson. In 1908 their specialty was packing pork and beef. The building next door was occupied in this picture by F R Stewart, another wholesale produce firm, and Baker, Leeson & Co; wholesale grocers. Two years later Mr Leeson was running his business on his own and moved down the street a bit, and a year after that he had teamed up with two new partners from New Brunswick and built a much bigger warehouse on the next block for Leeson, Dickie Gross & Co. F R Stewart also built new premises after this image was taken at 129 Water St, seen on the edge of our earlier post; designed by Parr and Fee in 1910.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-270

101 Water Street

101 Water St 2

This Water Street warehouse was commissioned by hardware merchants the McLennan and McFeely Company. It was completed in 1905, although they never occupied it as by then they had already started building larger premises on Cordova Street. The architect of both warehouses was E E Blackmore, who worked with the more experienced W T Whiteway on this building. This was an unusual arrangement as up to this point Blackmore usually worked with his father, William, who had designed many of the city’s early buildings, but William had died in 1904.

McLennan & McFeely leased the Water Street building to the Canadian Fairbanks Company; at the time the largest machinery and mill supply company in Canada. They didn’t only use the building as a warehouse, they had a wonderful machine shop – there’s a beautiful picture of it in the City Archives, dating from 1905 like the picture above.

101 Water St 1

By 1930 the building was occupied by Thompson Elliott Limited, wholesale grocers, as this VPL image shows. They moved into the building in the early 1920s, replacing David Spencer Ltd who used the warehouse in conjunction with their rapidly expanding retail emporium.

Like many of the buildings on the north side of Water Street, (the water side), the Canadian Fairbanks building was built on piles driven into infilled water lots. By the 1980s the foundations had decayed to the point where collapse seemed imminent.  Fortunately, extensive renovations in 1987 reclaimed the building for office and retail use.

Image Sources: City of Vancouver Archives Bu P504.4 and Vancouver Public Library

The Lux – East Hastings Street

The Lux

The Lux was a locally designed theatre (although really a movie house) that lasted for over 50 years on East Hastings Street. We looked for a ‘before’ image for a long time before coming across this image from 1994 on Christian Dahlberg’s website devoted to Vancouver’s neon. The Lux was built in 1939 and finally closed in the 1990s after a last-ditch attempt to keep it going by advertising its presence with the dramatic paint job and the offer of a $2.50 double bill. It had briefly taken on a new role in the late 1980s and early 90s as a real theatre – mostly as home to local punk music events. It was a local visual landmark, photographed by both Fred Herzog and Greg Girard.

Princess TheatreThe Lux was originally built by the Odeon chain, designed by Thomas L Kerr who also designed the Odeon on Granville Street (still standing today, much altered and now closed), and had around 900 seats.

It wasn’t the first theatre on the site – that was the Princess. The Princess appears around 1910 (the first reference to it in the Street Directory). Although it has been attributed to E E Blackmore with Charles Shand (who designed the Empress Theatre across the street) we haven’t been able to confirm that, and have some doubts that they were involved. In 1910 there was a $1,000 alteration permit for the theatre carried out by Irwin, Carver & Co for owner and architect (supposedly) Angelo Calori; the Italian hotelier who had recently built the Hotel Europe. There is a court case in December 1905 with Calori contesting a Mr Andrews’ attempt to renege on a deal to sell him a property on Hastings Street. From what we can tell it is the theatre lots. He was successful in gaining ownership by 1907. There is a clipping from March 1910 with him taking out a permit to build a one storey building at a cost of $8,000 pretty much on the site of the theatre, and then the conversion to the theatre (actually a purpose-built movie theatre) that year. (We’d guess Norman Leech was a more likely architect; he designed something similar on Granville Street around this time).

Although this picture is thought to date to around 1920, it’s almost certainly earlier. Both movies that are showing ‘One Month To Live’ and ‘Cowboy for a Day’ were silent films released in 1911. The theatre however was far from silent – it had a pipe organ installed in 1911, hence the notice ‘The Home of the PIPE ORGAN – step in and hear it’

Today there’s a new Lux; one of the more recent non-market housing schemes funded by the Provincial government on land provided by the City of Vancouver. Designed by Gomberoff Bell Lyon and managed by Raincity housing, the Lux provides 92 apartments and was completed in 2009. The site is slightly larger than the cinema, incorporating another building site, but the Lux name lives on in the same location.

Image Sources: Christian Dahlberg,, City of Vancouver Archives CVA 371-867

Posted December 18, 2013 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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McLennan and McFeely – East Cordova Street

McLennan & McFeely

McLennan, McFeely and Company Limited were the city’s most successful importer of hardware and building supplies at the turn of the 20th century. In 1906 they built themselves a massive new warehouse on the corner of Columbia and East Cordova,  hiring E E  Blackmore to design it; (the son of William Blackmore who designed the adjacent Commercial Block).

Both McLennan and McFeely were in the city before the 1886 fire: Robert Purves McLennan was from Pictou, Nova Scotia and had run a hardware store in River John before moving to Winnipeg in 1882 aged 21. Edward John McFeely was from Lindsay, Ontario, was two years younger than McLennan and also sought his fortune in Winnipeg in 1882. The future partners met there and worked together, but the boom ended quickly (his biography calls it ‘the real estate reaction’) and he headed to Minneapolis. McLennan had gone to Victoria in 1884, establishing an ornamental ironwork and tin cornice company that expanded rapidly. He invited McFeely to join him in business and they bought a lot on Powell Street in Vancouver to build a warehouse. The frame was up when the fire destroyed the town, but apparently the lumber it was built from was still wet, having been floated in a raft, so it didn’t burn and they were able to complete it quickly (covering it with corrugated iron) and cash in on the building frenzy that followed. During the 1890s the firm’s focus shifter from roofing and tinsmithing to wholesaling. In 1891 McLennan had 13 people working with him in Victoria and McFeely 17 in Vancouver.

McLennan & McFeely 1905Further buildings followed; in 1889 their business ‘stoves, tinsmiths and plumbers’ was in a 3 storey building designed for them in 1887 by Elmer Fisher, on the 100 block of Cordova, the main business street of the day. It was apparently extensively covered with the company’s own decorative metal trim,and the city’s library was for a while in a rented room upstairs. In 1900 GW Grant designed a new warehouse on Pender, and in 1905 E E Blackmore and W T Whiteway designed a new warehouse on Water Street that was completed, but never occupied by the company. Hardware and Merchandising magazine explained “McLennan, McFeely Company, Vancouver, have leased the block that Contractor J. McLuckie is erecting on the corner of Water and Abbott streets to the Fairbanks Company. The block will be three stories high, and the estimated cost is $30,000. It will have a private siding from the C. P. R. and, being right on the waterfront, is well located.” Instead they commissioned this massive (150,000 square feet) warehouse on Cordova at Columbia in 1906. In fact, they commissioned two buildings for this site – Parr and Fee designed the building on the left for Cordova and Columbia at some time before 1900 – as far as we know it was never built.

Our top image shows the building in 1910; the one below shows it in 1920. Both McLennan and McFeely became important members of the city’s business establishment. Both were associated with the Board of Trade, and Robert McLennan was also on the School Board, a member of the Board of Governors of UBC and President of the Bank of Vancouver. Edward McFeely owned a motor yacht, the ‘Jolly Mac’ in which he cruised the BC Coast. Robert McLellan owed a 330 acre farm on Gambier Island with extensive orchards and a prize dairy herd. McFeely was mostly responsible for running the Vancouver operation; McLellan supervised the Yukon operations for five years from 1898, his family joining him every summer. He even became mayor of Dawson for a year in 1903 (having sold the retail side of the business in 1902), but in 1904 the remaining operations were sold and McLennan returned to Vancouver. A third partner, E G Prior, was added in the late 1920s to create  McLennan, McFeely and Prior Limited as the company continued to expand after Robert McLennan’s death.

Edward McFeely was married in Victoria in 1889 and there were six children. Robert McLennan married in Nova Scotia in 1887 and had ten children, including one born in Dawson City in the Yukon. McLennan died in 1927, and McFeely in 1928, one month after retiring.

McLennan McFeely 2

In the 1970s the Koret clothing company from San Francisco occupied the building, and the residential conversion completed in 2006 still bears their name. The Koret Lofts has 118 live-work units with an extra floor added to the building with the conversion and restoration designed by Simon Bonnettemaker at Gower Yeung and Associates.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Str P419 and CVA 99 – 3275