Archive for the ‘G G McGeer’ Tag

Burrard Street north from Melville

This 1929 Vancouver Public Library image, photographed by Philip Timms,  shows the nearly new Loyal Order of Moose Lodge No. 888 on the east side of the street at 636 Burrard. The builder for the $70,000 development was the Dominion Construction Co. It’s possible the company designed the project in-house; Charles Bentall was not averse to sketching how projects could be built, even though he wasn’t a qualified architect.

Down the street is Southard Motors Ltd. at 600 Burrard. Designed by R A McKenzie, it cost $15,000, was built by Bedford Davidson, and developed by G G McGeer – former Liberal politician Gerry McGeer. He had represented Richmond in the Provincial government in the 1920s, and would be re-elected in the early 1930s both as MLA and mayor of Vancouver, and then as an MP.

Southard had been on West Georgia in 1925, selling Essex cars – a part of Hudson Motors of Detroit. In 1930 they had this branch, and one in a different West Georgia location. As well as the Essex Super-Six they were selling the Hudson Super-Eight.

Archelaus Southard was president of the company, with a house in Shaughnessy. He was from a Methodist family, was born in Ontario, and was more often called Archie. In 1895 he was in Alberta, working as a tailor. That year he married Flora McDonald, and in 1911 they were living in Medicine Hat, where he was a merchant. He must have been successful; they had an 11-year-old daughter at home, Kathleen, an American governess and a Swedish maid. They appear to have had a son, also christened Archelaus, in 1918. The Southard name traces back to a family living in New York in the 1700s, and had a tradition of sons being christened Archelaus stretching back several generations; (-some in the the 1800s were Quakers). The owner of Southard’s Motors was 77 when he died in 1950, and his wife Flora was 85 on her death in 1959.

In 1930 the company relocated to Granville Street – in 1938 they were selling Chrysler cars. Knight Motors moved in here, selling Chevrolet motors in the early 1930, although by 1936 De Wolfe Motors had replaced them. Like Southard’s operation here, they apparently sold pre-owned vehicles, but De Wolfe seem to have specialized in trucks, and were Reo Distributors for B C. Named after Ransom Eli Olds, and based in Lancing, Michigan, as well as cars, Reo (or REO, the company favoured either option) were best known for their Speedwagon trucks.

At the start of the war the premises were vacant, and by 1941 Empire Motors had moved in. They sold Ford and Mercury cars, and Ford trucks. They stayed here until the early 1950s, when the site was redeveloped as a Home Gas Station, with the Midtown Motors garage, run by Philip and David Kobayashi, specializing in body repairs and like Empire, offering u-drive cars.

On the north side of Dunsmuir, the half-timbered English styled building was the YWCA, developed in 1905 to W T Dalton’s design, with a 1909 addition.

Today Park Place, addressed as 666 Burrard and completed in 1984, occupies the sites of the lodge and the garage. The YWCA was replaced with a much larger building in 1969, that was closed in 1995 and demolished in 1997. It was replaced several years later by the Cactus Club Cafe a low-rise building associated with Bentall 5, an office tower built in two stages to eventually reach 33 floors in 2007, (but initially only 22 in 2002).

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Posted 9 December 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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