Archive for the ‘G W Grant’ Tag

110 East Cordova Street

After a recent makeover, this 119 year old building now has office space over retail. It started life as a warehouse for the Public Transfer Company, designed by G W Grant and built by E Cook at a cost of $12,000. Despite the Heritage Statement claim, Pacific Transfer weren’t the developers; they were Atkins and Johnson, who were also in the cartage and storage business when it was developed. Robert O. Atkins was from Nova Scotia, and was born in 1868. He had two brothers, Thomas and John who were druggists, who had come to Vancouver in 1889 and 1891. They went on to be partners in the largest drug business in Vancouver, McDowell, Atkins & Watson. A contemporary biography said “Thomas Atkins also had interests in the lumber business and with sawmilling and salmon-packing industries, as well as extensive real-estate operations”.

Robert Atkins joined them in Vancouver around 1890, and by 1892 was running a truck and drayman business with Andrew Johnson. who also appears in the street directory for the first time that year, although he was in the city for the 1891 census. He had arrived from Norway (according to the 1901 census, although the 1891 census said Sweden) in 1884, and he became a Canadian citizen in 1895.

Atkins and Johnson’s first office was on Water Street, but we assume they developed this building with the intention of moving their business here. However, in 1902, the year it was built, it was announced that they had sold their entire operation to a new company, Mainland Transfer, a business with close connections to the Canadian Pacific Railway company. It was reported (somewhat inaccurately when it came to the businesses formation) “Atkins and Johnson have carried on business in Vancouver since the fire in 1886, and have had a large share of the heavy teaming work of the city. Their new stables Just east of Carrall street, and south of Dupont, are amongst the finest in British Columbia. They also have a waterfrontage on False Creek. All this property goes In the sale.”

This building was vacant in 1903, and finally occupied a year later when the Public Transfer Company moved in. The firm was a rival to Mainland Transfer and was run by George Davidson, Hugh McDonald and Howard Campbell.

In the meantime Atkins and Johnson found new interests. They invested in, and ran, a number of the city’s hotels. In 1904 they were shown as proprietors of the Hotel Metropole, on Abbott Street. In 1905 it was announced “Messrs. Atkins and Johnson, who have been running the Hotel Melropole for the last two years, have sold the hotel to Mr. G. L. Howe, of Seattle, who will take possession on Saturday next.” In 1906 they were running the Maple Leaf Livery Stables on Seymour Street.  In December 1905, Atkins, Johnson and Stewart had taken over the Commercial Hotel on Cambie Street, but Thomas Stewart retired from the partnership in 1908 leaving Atkins and Johnson to run the hotel.

In 1909 “A real estate deal was put through this morning by Mandervillle & Milne whereby the Wellington block, located on the north side of Hastings streets between Carrall street and Columbia avenue, changed hands at the figure of $100,000. The property has a frontage of 50 feet on Hastings street and is improved to the extent of a two-story store and rooming-house block. The sale was made for Messrs. Atkins and Johnson, the purchaser being Mr. A. E. Tulk.” In 1910 they owned the Burrard Hotel, and in both 1912 and 1913 ‘Andy Johnson’ obtained a permit to alter it – possibly adding an additional floor. They sold up in 1914, and Robert moved to Chilliwack. Andrew Johnson and his wife Margaret had moved to Burnaby to a new Arts and Crafts style house they had commissioned in 1911.

Robert Oliphant Atkins had married Eliza McAlister from New Mills, New Brunswick in 1892, quite soon after he arrived in British Columbia, but she tragically died in 1894, and their only child died a year earlier. Robert married again in 1904, to Jessie Clemitson, and they had four children. His sister, Sarah married Thomas Clemitson, Jessie’s brother. Robert died in 1929 at the age of 61.

Andrew M. Johnson was also a major landowner in Burnaby, at one time owning each of the four corners of Royal Oak and Kingsway and many of the adjacent properties. In 1910 he bought Burnaby’s Royal Oak Hotel and soon acquired the property on the opposite corner to build a family home named ‘Glenedward,’ after his son. He owned and operated the Royal Oak Hotel until his death in 1934. He was married to Margaret Sloane, (listed in 1901 as Maggie) who was Irish, and they had two sons, Edward, who died in 1901, the year of his birth, and Andrew Sloane Johnson, born in 1906.

We’re used to tracing constant changes to the businesses associated with buildings – but this is an exception. Pacific Transfer Co continued to use these premises into the early 1930s. They were replaced by Burke and Wood, another goods transfer business. By the end of the war this had become the Police Garage, replaced in the early 1950s by Sam Rothstein’s sack dealership. By the time our picture was taken, Spilsbury and Tindall had taken over the building. The Archives think the image is from the mid 1980s, but we place it earlier. Spilsbury and Tindall manufactured radio equipment, but the name was not used after 1972, although Jim Spilsbury continued in business until 1984. Our guess is this is the early 1970s around the time the business ceased operating.

The building was completely renovated in 2009, designed by Gair Williamson, and renamed The Stables. The restoration presented some challenges. “A rare design feature of heavy timber trusses and steel cables at the third level, which supported the second floor below. The function of this original suspended system was to allow for easy passage of horses and carriages on the main floor, without the hindrance of columns. To preserve the open space, the project team decided to retain this unusual element.”

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2447

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Posted 25 March 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Granville Street – 500 block, east side (2)

 

We saw the building in the middle of this 1899 picture in its original incarnation as a building almost certainly designed by W T Dalton for Hope and Fader Co., Granville Street, ‘next to the Imperial Bank’, in 1898. The intricate design was replaced, or covered, with a windowless box to house British departmental store Marks and Spencer, and more recently has been given an even more featureless façade with the store offering (until its recent closure) Loblaw’s clothing brand ‘Joe Fresh’. That’s the Marks and Spencer incarnation below, seen in 1981.

The Imperial Bank was the building to the north – still standing today, and designed in 1898 for W H Leckie, the Vancouver arm of John Leckie’s dealership in salmon nets, rubber boots and oilskin clothing. We looked at the history of that building in an earlier post. It was designed by G W Grant in a rather more restrained style than his later designs. The Imperial bank was replaced by the Quebec Bank, and by the early 1910s the building was known as the Mackechnie Building. In 1913 the upper floors held a variety of office tenants, among them real estate offices, a judge, two doctors, a dentist, a barrister and a broker. Persistent rumours suggest an office tower will be proposed above the restored heritage building.

To the south (in the top picture) is a fifty feet wide building. Today it has a 1909 façade, designed by Parr and Fee for owner Harry Abbott. The building dates back to 1889, when it was designed for Abbott (the Canadian Pacific Railway official in charge of the west coast) by the Fripp Brothers. In it’s earlier incarnation it had a brick facade with smaller sliding sash windows.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu N422 and CVA 779-E02.01

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Posted 21 September 2020 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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123 East Hastings Street

From its design, we wondered if this modest building, with its quirky oval windows, might be designed by G W Grant, and we were correct. This 1903 building cost $6,000 and was developed by John Lewerke. This 1986 image shows it when it was still in use, with the Tiem Vang Skyluck Jewellers, and Ho Wah Hair Stylist. The street directory says that John Lewerke was a logger, living at 625 Hornby. We don’t find him in the 1901 census, and he seems to have left the city by 1911, but the two John Lewerkes living in Santa Monica in 1930 most likely tell us a little. John the son was born in Vancouver, and the father in 1860 (or 1864 in a different census) in Holland. They had emigrated to the US in 1920, along with Jane, born in Canada in 1871, and a younger brother, Arthur. An earlier Ellis Island record shows them entering the US in 1910, which would explain them missing the Canadian census. The 1920 immigration record shows John, Jane and Arthur entering through the land crossing from Vancouver, headed to Los Angeles. John was aged 59, and retired. John Jnr. was shown staying in Vancouver at the ‘Babbington Hotel’. We think he preferred to be known as Alfred, and he stayed in Vancouver where his death was recorded in 1969. He had been the manager of the Badminton Apartments on Howe Street.

John died in 1942, aged 82, living at 4, Sea View Terrace Santa Monica, and Jane in 1957 aged 91, at the Santa Monica Convalescent rest Home, although she still owned the Sea View property. John was described as the retired owner-manager of a wholesale lumber mill. He had J E Parr design a home on Pendrill at Broughton in 1906, and a year later Jane was advertising for a Japanese house boy to cook and do general housework.

Today the building is boarded up, and there’s a vacant lot next door, but gradually new development is happening along East Hastings, and it’s likely that a new building would incorporate the façade of this survivor.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives  CVA 791-0801

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Posted 15 June 2020 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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5 and 11 West Hastings Street

We looked at the history of both these buildings in earlier posts, but we’re revisiting as both have seen more recent restoration, and we’ve researched the buildings a little more. On the right, the Canadian North Star (as it was last known) at 5 West Hastings is slightly younger than the Beacon Hotel to the west. We know that from an image we saw in an earlier post about the Palace Hotel, that pre-dated the Merchant’s Bank built in 1912, and recently restored. This Vancouver Public Library dates from 1920.

The image on that post (on the right) dates from 1899 and shows a two storey wooden building where the North Star was constructed. The Beacon, on the other hand had already been built, as a 3-storey building. That supported our earlier conclusion that when the 1899 news reported that “G W Grant would supervise the construction of a four storey block for B.B. Johnston & Co”, this was the building in question. In 1913, it was called “Drexel Rooms”, a name it kept until the 1980s, then later renamed the North Star Hotel or North Star Rooms, a single room occupancy hotel. In 1978 the Province newspaper investigated conditions in the Downtown Eastside SROs. “The owners of the Drexel are very energy conscious. The lights in the halls are left off. Manager Lau Mack King turned them on the other day because he thought the visitor from The Province represented the provincial government.”

In 1999 the Carnegie Newsletter reported the building had been closed for maintenance and health violations. “Although there are at least 29 units in this hotel, few were rented out monthly and many were just plain unrentable. There were so many orders for repairs that it was impossible to count them all.” It was briefly squatted in 2006 in a protest about the lack of affordable housing, but was already in a dangerous condition. Soon after the back of the building collapsed, leaving the structure open to the elements.

In 2014 the Solterra Group applied for permission to renovate the building to provide 31 self-contained units, each with a bathroom and cooking facilities. Half the rooms are reserved for low-income residents (5 for tenants paying welfare rate) and another 13 rooms at the provincial rent supplement rate, locked in for 30 years

Harry Jones was almost certainly the developer of the Beacon Hotel, probably around 1898. His name is in the 1900 Street Directory as occupying the West Hastings Street building, and he was still paying for repairs as owner in 1922. Harry was from Liverpool, and was an early successful real estate developer. We don’t know when the fourth floor was added; he carried out $1,500 of work to a building on Hastings Street in 1905, but he owned several properties, so we can’t be sure which was involved, and the work probably cost more than that. The style adopted for the addition didn’t attempt to follow the Italianate curved windows of the third floor, but added larger areas of glazing. Initially the rooms upstairs were the Ramona Rooms, then the Pacific Rooms, and more recently (and notoriously), Backpackers Inn, “BC’s worst drug hotel”

The Beacon was one of a number of run down SRO hotels bought by BC Housing in the early 2000s, and has had two periods of restoration. Now run by PHS, it initially reopened in 2009 as a social housing building for individuals living with concurrent disorders. An array of programs are available to residents including regular community kitchen events, pancake breakfasts, and movie nights. The Beacon closed for renovations in August of 2014, and reopened again in September 2016.

Image sources: VPL and City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-27

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Posted 6 April 2020 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Ormidale Block – West Hastings Street

For decades this building has been wrongly attributed. The architect has never been in doubt; it was G W Grant, a designer with an eccentric architectural style. While many architects attempted to achieve perfect symmetry, Grant was quite happy to throw in a variety of design elements, in this case stacked up on top of each other on one side of the façade. There’s an oriel window on the top floor, over two floors with projecting bay windows, over the elaborate terra cotta entrance, with an arched doorway.

The Heritage Designation of the buildings says: “Built in 1900 by architect George W. Grant for R. W. Ormidale, the building housed the offices of several wholesale importers.” With a carved terracotta plaque saying “Ormidale RW 1900” above the oriel window, it seems an appropriate attribution, although quite who R W Ormidale might be was never made clear. There are no records of anybody in the city with that name, (or indeed, in Canada).

An entry in the Contract Record, and an illustration in the 1900 publication ‘Vancouver Architecturally’ solve the mystery. The brochure, which was a promotional booklet put together by several of the city’s architects, shows a sketch of the building, but identifies it as the ‘Walker Block’. In 1899 the Contract Record announced “G. W. Grant, architect, is preparing plans for a four-storey block, 48×120 feet, to be built on Hastings street by R. Walker.”

This confirms that the developer was a Mr. R Walker – hence the ‘R W’ and a 1900 court case clarifies that the developer was Robert Walker. Mr. Walker signed off on a payment owed to a builder in G W Grant’s office, for the ‘Robert Walker Block’. So we can be certain our developer was Robert Walker – although we still have no idea which one that might have been.

There was only one Robert Walker resident in the city in 1899. He had arrived around 1890, with his wife Susan. He was from the Isle of Man, and a carpenter, and she was born in Quebec. They were still in the city in 1901, living at 1921 Westminster Avenue, and he was still a carpenter, and the family had grown to four, with two children at home. He designed and built a house at the same address in 1904 for $650. In 1911 Robert had become Clerk of Works for the City of Vancouver. Home was now renamed as 1921 Main Street, and the house must have been pretty full as the Census registered 22 lodgers, fifteen of them from the Isle of Man. It seems unlikely that he had the funds to develop this building in 1900 on his carpenter’s wages, although he is the only person with the right name in the street directory.

However, an 1898 list of eligible voters identifies another Vancouver resident – Robert Walker, miner. He was living in the Pullman Hotel. (The list shows there were seven Robert Walkers in BC, including a blacksmith and a missionary living on Lasqueti Island). The adjacent building, the Flack Block, was developed in 1899 by another successful miner, so it’s quite possible that the Ormidale Block was developed with the proceeds of the Klondike gold rush, perhaps by someone with Scottish roots (if the Ormidale name is significant).

There was a 25-year-old American gold miner called Robert Walker in Rossland in 1901, who had Scottish ancestry. There was also a 61 year old Scottish sawmill engineer with the same name. A Robert H Walker (born in England) died in 1912 aged 55, and was buried in the Masonic Section of Mountain View Cemetery, but we haven’t found anything to confirm he was the developer here. There was a Robert H Walker in Victoria. He was Robert Hampton Walker, from Ontario with Scottish roots, but as a policeman with a family, he makes an unlikely developer.

There’s also Robert Gile Walker. While he’s unlikely to be our developer, he was successful in the Klondike. Between 1897 and 1901 he made five trips in search of gold. After his fifth and final exploration in Nome, Alaska, Walker returned to Tacoma, where he married in 1901 and continued to run a successful real estate business.

Our developer has been identified as Robert Henry Walker, from Ormidale in Scotland, but we can’t find any records of his birth – or anybody else with the name Walker – in that part of Scotland. A Robert Henry Walker (of Tacoma) was married to Edith Davidson of Detroit in 1908 at the First Presbyterian church manse. He was 39, had been born in Clinton, Ontario, and was widowed, and his new wife was the same age, and unmarried. In 1907 he had become a United States citizen.

(It’s probably a coincidence that in 1885 Robert J Walker, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, lived in a house called ‘Ormidale’, in Leicester, England.)

The façade of the Ormidale block has recently been repaired and returned to its asymmetrical splendour, with a brand new office construction behind. It uses an unusual construction system; a hybrid structure consisting of an innovative wood-concrete composite floor system supported on steel beams and columns. This floor system allows for exposed wood ceilings throughout the office floors, a nod to the heritage aspect of this project, while achieving increased load-carrying capacity and stiffness by compositely connecting the concrete slab to the wood panels. At the back there’s an entirely contemporary skin consisting of rusted corten steel, and there’s also a green rooftop patio. Our top ‘before’ picture was taken in 2004, and the lower only five years ago, when the building was probably in its worst state. The bay windows had been removed many decades ago, although we’re not exactly sure when as the last image we have that shows them is from 1941.

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Posted 2 December 2019 by ChangingCity in Altered, East End

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Granville Street south from West Pender

We’ve seen some of the buildings here, on the eastern side of the 500 block of Granville Street in a post from a few years ago, but looking northwards and in the 1930s. This ‘before’ picture is undated, but we’re pretty certain it was shot in the late 1960s or early 1970s before any street trees had been planted. That’s one of the 1954 Brill buses in BC Hydro livery – so between 1962 and 1973. When the new vertical white lights were added to Granville Street a few years ago, and the surface redesigned and replaced, this short section of street was the only one where the existing street trees were considered worthy of retention, and so a taller, more mature canopy exists here.

On the left is Somervell and Putnam’s 1916 design for the Merchant’s Bank, expanded in 1924 by the Bank of Montreal to Kenneth Guscotte Rea’s designs. More recently, in 2005, Paul Merrick designed its conversion to the Segal School of Business for Simon Fraser University.

Next door, across the lane, is an 1898 building, still standing today. Designed by GW Grant, it was built for W H Leckie and Co and occupied in part by the Imperial Bank, (although that use ended decades ago). William Henry Leckie was born in Toronto in 1874, and moved west in 1896. Although he managed the family business with his brother, Robert, only he was noted in the city’s early biography, although by the early 1900s, R J Leckie and Company also had a successful boot and shoe manufacturing business in Vancouver. Robert had arrived in 1894 to run the Vancouver branch of the business established by their father, John Leckie, who had immigrated to Canada from Scotland. He established a dry goods store in Toronto in 1857 which evolved into fishermen’s supply store, selling oilskin clothing, imported netting, sails, tents, and marine hardware. The firm began to manufacture its own goods, and the brothers continued that expansion by not only establishing this retail and warehouse building, but also owning a tannery on the Fraser River. Later they built a much bigger factory and warehouse on Water Street.

William Leckie didn’t constrain his activities to footware; by 1913 he was a Director of the Burrard Land and Improvement Co, the Capital Hill Land Co and of the Children’s Hospital.

Next door was a two storey building, completely obscured in the 1970s, and today refaced with a contemporary frontage. Originally it was developed by Hope, Fader and Co in 1898, and designed by W T Dalton.

To the south is a third fifty feet wide building. Today it has a 1909 façade, designed by Parr and Fee for owner Harry Abbott. The building dates back to 1889, when it was designed for Abbott (the Canadian Pacific Railway official in charge of the west coast) by the Fripp Brothers.

While the collection of buildings has retained the same scale for over a century, rumours suggest a development may see a new office tower that would retain two original heritage buildings facades.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 800-455

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Dawson School, Burrard Street

This is the enlarged Dawson School on Burrard Street, seen in 1902, with its new name, five years after it was doubled in size. The right hand half of the building was the first part to be built, opening as the West End School in 1893 (the third in the city, after the East End School and Central School). On the left is a picture of construction wrapping up in 1892. The lack of symmetry of the earlier building, and the blank windows in the design suggests it was built with the expectation that it would be made larger.

Thomas Tracy designed this first building which fronted Burrard, which in 1892 was pretty much still a dirt track. Tracy was appointed City Engineer in 1891, and was also responsible for the construction of sewer and water supply systems throughout the city.  When the school needed to be enlarged a few years after initial construction, G W Grant was hired, but he used Tracy’s design as a template and added a new northern wing in an exact match of Tracy’s.

Tracy – who was always referred to by his military title as Colonel Tracy in the newspapers – was reported to have been dismissed from his job in early 1905, although he was still working for the city in August, and his dismissal was only reported in the London, Ontario press, (where he originated from), not in Vancouver. His interests extended beyond his professional duties; he owned and developed property on Hastings Street, and by the spring of 1905 he was already designing water and sewer systems for other municipalities including Fernie and Ladysmith while holding down his Vancouver job. He stood for election to the Board of Parks at the end of 1905 when he was described as Ex-City Engineer Tracy.

When a new Dawson School was added to the south of this building, facing Helmcken Street, the original building became the King George High School. At some point it lost the pointed roof on the central tower on the northern end, as seen in this undated VSB image. The school was replaced in 1963 with a new building in the heart of the West End.

Today the site is the landscaped gardens (over the underground parking) of the Wall Centre hotel and condos, with two towers completed in 1994 and the taller tower to the north in 2001.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Sch P29 and CVA SGN 48

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Posted 9 April 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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West Hastings Street – 100 block, south side (1)

This row of early buildings were almost totally abandoned by the turn of the 21st century, but today they’ve all been restored to architectural splendour, and active use. In 1981, when the ‘before’ shot was taken, the area was already in decline, but Woodwards was still open across the street, so there was still a draw to the neighbourhood. The White Lunch cafeteria on the left occupied the main floor of half of one building, and the whole of its neighbor to the west. The building on the extreme left is the Henderson Block, designed by G W Grant for Henderson Brothers in 1899. (We noted their history in connection to another building they developed in 1911),

The next building is the Ralph Block, designed by Parr and Fee for William Ralph, and also completed in 1899. Several historians point out that when it was opened here in 1913 by Neil and Thos Sorenson the White Lunch name reflected a policy of serving and hiring only white people. That changed later, but the name lived on. Elements of the restaurant’s past were still visible in mosaic floors when the buildings were restored in 2009. Initially the White Lunch was only in the Ralph Block. The Henderson Block restaurant in the 1920s was the Honey Dew restaurant.

Parr and Fee’s design for Ralph’s block used cast iron to allow for larger windows. The use of brick piers enclosing cast iron mullions was pretty remarkable in a city only thirteen years old. Ralph was a wholesaler and retailer who sold McClary stoves, ranges and furnaces, as well as Cleveland and Rambler bicycles. The Statement of significance for the Ralph Block will tell you that he started out as a bridge builder who specialized in iron structures for the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Dominion Bridge Company. That’s actually an entirely different William Ralph, who came from Quebec.

The William Ralph who developed the Ralph Block was said in the 1901 census to be aged 36, living with his 27-year-old wife May, their infant son, John, and his brother and sister, Ross and Eva. He was from Ontario, as was May. In 1891 he was a boarder, aged 30 and listed as a store merchant, (with his store on Carrall Street) lodging with Peter Larsen at the Union Hotel on Abbott Street. He first appeared in Vancouver in 1888 as a tinsmith, working for R E Dodds. By 1911 William had aged to 51, and there were two younger children at home (Robert and Kathleen), but no John. There was also a servant; Hettie McLeod. In 1921 Robert and Kathleen are still at home with William and May, and William’s sister, Isabel also lived with them.

The next building, 130 West Hastings was probably built around 1906, and was first occupied by F J Hart & Co, real estate agents. By 1981 the original appearance had been disfigured; an exemplary restoration has recreated something much closer to the original appearance of the building. The company was involved in insurance, real estate, mortgage loans and investments, and incorporated by Frederick J. Hart in 1891 when he was only 21. It had its head office in New Westminster, with this branch office in Vancouver as well as Victoria, Chilliwack, and Aldergrove. Frederick was from Newfoundland, and his wife Alice was English. In 1901 they had two children, a servant and Alice’s sister living with them in New Westminster.

Over the years this block of buildings gradually deteriorated and had no legal active uses (although some were sporadically used, often in unauthorized ways, despite their condition). The redevelopment of Woodwards and the attraction of older spaces for tech and startup companies has seen the whole block restored and returned to active use over the past 10 years.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E16.20

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500 block Granville Street – west side (4)

Here’s another image of Granville Street; the west side of the 500 block looking north from Dunsmuir in 1910 in a Vancouver Public Library image. On the corner is the Tunstall Block, built in 1902 by D Saul for Dr Simon Tunstall at a cost of $22,000, designed by G W Grant. In 1909 he added two more floors at an additional cost of $20,000. That suggests that our Vancouver Public Library image isn’t as dated from 1910, but probably from a year earlier. The next three-storey building to the south was another designed by G W Grant for Bedford Davidson in 1903, at a cost of $10,000.

The biggest building on this end of the block was the four-storey Gordon Drysdale block, built for his dry goods business in 1907 and designed by Hooper and Watkins with an addition in 1912 by S B Birds. Next door the smaller building to the north was known as the Anderson block, dating from before 1888 when there’s an Archives image of the building standing alone on the street, with the fire brigade filling their fire engine with water outside. At the time C D Rand and Co, the real estate company, operated from the building.

The fifth building down is the Inglis Reid Building, another G W Grant design for builder and Investor Bedford Davidson, who also owned and built the building beside it in 1902. It was effectively rebuilt by J Reid when he moved in, with McCarter Nairne designing the $22,000 work. The steel frame is where in 1909 Miss Spencer decided to replace her eight year old 3-storey building with an 8-storey steel framed office, designed by E W Houghton of Seattle.

None of the buildings on this side of the street are still standing: today this is part of the northern block of the Pacific Centre Mall, designed by Zeidler Roberts Partnership and completed in 1990. In 2007 the corner of the block had a radical redesign by Janson Goldstein of New York for the new Holt Renfrew store, incorporating panels of slumped glass in the design.

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Posted 16 October 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Granville Street 600 block – east side (1)

600 block Granville east 1

We’ve seen a 1906 image of this block in a much earlier post. Right at the northern end of the picture (on the left) is G W Grant’s eccentric Twigg Block. Next door is a building that we’re pretty certain was one of the first wave of office developments created by CPR linked sponsors. This was the Crewe Block, designed by Bruce Price in New York, and built in 1888. (At some point the second floor windows were altered, probably with Parr and Fee designing the work). This was where the Hudson’s Bay Company established a branch store in 1890, only two years after they built their Cordova store, and three years before their new building on this same block (on the corner of West Georgia – towards the right of the lower picture). The newspaper of the day described the carpenters fitting up the store: “The ground stores will be devoted to provisions and groceries, and the upstairs to dry goods”

Next door was a building, designed by A E Henderson for William Dick jnr. in 1919. This replaced an earlier structure that dated back to the 1890s. The new building cost $35,000 for a 2-storey structure, and was for many years the home of F W Woolworth on Granville Street, from the day it was built, through 1937 when this Vancouver Public Library image was shot, into the 1980s. We’ve drawn a complete blank on the other 25 feet wide store at 642 Granville; it’s another 1890s building, with relatively small windows in the upper two office floors.

600 block Granville east 2

This second image was taken a little earlier, in 1921, and the New York Block (like the Crewe Block, designed by Bruce Price of New York in 1888) was still standing down the hill from the Hudson’s Bay store designed by C O Wickenden in 1892. Next door, to the left was the 1892 Hunter Block, built by Samuel and Thomas Hunter and still standing today (it’s just visible in the top image on the extreme right hand edge). In 1925 the Hudson’s Bay and New York buildings were demolished and replaced by the terra-cotta covered Hudson’s Bay Company store still there today, designed by Burke, Horwood and White of Toronto. The first phase of the current building had been built in 1912 on the Seymour and Georgia corner, and this new phase dramatically increased the size of the store. The rest of the block today contains The Hudson, a massive condo building with over 400 suites and some retail space below, designed by Stantec Architecture. It incorporates the facade of the Hunter Brothers block.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-5008 and Str P426

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Posted 7 January 2016 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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