Archive for the ‘George B Baker’ Tag

1200 block Homer Street (4)

1200 block Homer 3

The main building in this picture is identified by the City Archives as Milne and Middleton’s. Actually that was different building – one that’s still standing today. This building is a late addition to Yaletown; it was built in 1948, and was first occupied in 1950 by R E Johnson and Co who dealt in plumbing and heating supplies. In this 1981 image there’s a public stenographer and a Mailing Services company advertising their presence. The building that replaced it in 2002 was technically a conversion, although clearly the Homer Street façade is almost completely rebuilt. It’s part of Rafii Architecture’s ‘Alda’ project that includes the new-build part to the south as well.

To the north was another site that went undeveloped until 1998 when ‘The Grafton’ was completed (although at least one realtor would have you believe it’s a conversion). Designed by Linda Baker, it contains 27 strata residential units over office and retail.

Next door is genuine conversion of a warehouse to residential uses, known as ‘The Ellison’. It was originally built for George Baker in 1929 and designed by Sharp and Thompson. We assume it’s the same George Baker who was a builder and who had been involved in building much of the area including both the Gray Block up the street and 1028 Hamilton Street. Howard Bingham Hill designed the 27 unit conversion and addition, completed in 2007 by the Holborn Group. For many years it was the home of the Ellison Mill and Elevator Co, although by 1950 it was multi-tenanted including National Carbon Batteries, Memba Pectin Co, Independent Biscuits, A J Sinclair’s upholstery supplies and J E Stark food distributors.

We featured the two buildings at the end of the block (including the Gray Block) in a post we wrote last year.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E13.18


Posted July 24, 2014 by ChangingCity in Altered, Still Standing, Yaletown

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1028 Hamilton Street

1028 Hamilton

We now know a bit more about this Yaletown warehouse than has been recorded anywhere else. We know who designed it – it was Raphael A Nicolais, an architect about whom we can find very little information. Sometimes he partnered with Richard Perry, and his name was as often as not recorded as Nicolas, or as Nicholais, although we think it was most accurately (and mostly) written as Nicolais. Unlike some blog subjects, he can be found with his wife and family in the 1911 Census, living in Point Grey on the corner of 3rd Avenue and Trimble. There he was recorded as Ralph A Nikolias, he was only aged 28 and he was born in Italy, arriving in Canada in 1910.

The builder was George Baker, and the owners were Buckley and Baker. They don’t seem to have ever built anything else, so are hard to track down. It seems most likely that Baker is the same George B Baker who built the Gray Block, and the most likely Buckley is Frank L Buckley who had a new house built on Osler Avenue in 1913. He was recorded in the street directory as Managing Director of the British Canadian Labour Corporation, a position he continued to hold over a number of years. We think he must have been the Frank Buckley who in 1911 was the American manager of B C Lumber Mills, and lived with his American wife Rosa and two children, James and Helen, and their Norwegian domestic, Bertha Ostrom.

The building was built in 1911, and is recorded on the 1912 Insurance map as the King Warehouse when it was apparently numbered as 1050 Hamilton. In 1924, as our picture shows, it was used by the Consolidated Exporters Co. During the 1940s and 50s it was home to Crawford Storage, where Mrs M M Crawford was company president. More recently it continued to be a warehouse for clothing, but now operates predominantly as office space.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3487


Posted February 15, 2013 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, Yaletown

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The Hamilton – Hamilton and Davie

The Hamilton

Here’s another of the warehouses built on the land released by the CPR which came to be called Yaletown. This is on the corner of Davie and Hamilton – here we’re seeing the side that doesn’t have the raised platform that was built at the height of the railcars that lined up down the street. From the Building Permits made available by Heritage Vancouver, we think we’ve worked out the history of the building. There’s a permit for a three storey brick pier warehouse in January 1913, designed and built by builder George Baker for the Gray Brothers. Then later that same year there’s another permit for George Baker to build a two storey brick addition to a warehouse, designed by Thomas Hooper, once again for the Gray Brothers. The address is gives as 1198 Helmcken – which is distinctly odd as Helmcken Street ends at the 900 block. If the clerk had meant to record 1198 Hamilton, then that fits this building, and explains how a three storey building is today a five storey structure. It also suggests Thomas Hooper may well have been responsible for the design of the whole thing. One reason we think this is more likely is because even when George Baker was building a warehouse for his personal ownership elsewhere in Yaletown, he hired an architect to design it. Baker has arrived in Canada from England in 1889 and in 1911 was living at his home at 835 10th Avenue with his New Brunswick-born wife, three daughters and two nieces.

There were two Gray Brothers. J Russell Gray (he was christened John, but apparently known as Russell) emigrated to Canada in 1906. That was the year he married his Canadian wife, Ada. His brother Donald probably arrived a few years later, although we don’t know for sure as Donald somehow avoided filling in the census. Both were from Scotland, born in Rutherglen in Lanarkshire. Their father was also John Russell Gray (which may be why Russell was known by his middle name). Their first appearance in the City Directories is in 1907, when J Russell Gray is living at 1339 Barclay (a house he stayed in for several years) and John R Gray, retired, is at 850 Broughton Street. A year later Mr Gray senior is no longer retired, but an advisory Director with the Dominion Trust Company, while Mr Gray junior is working for Coast Quarries. In 1909 Donald has arrived and is living with his father, and both Donald and Russell are associated with their new company, Gray Brothers.

In 1996 the building was converted to residential use on the upper floors, designed by Howard, Yano Partners. Renamed The Hamilton, it’s one of the more sensitive conversions, retaining the original glazing and avoiding adding balconies or residential details.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E13.25