Archive for the ‘George Simons’ Tag

612 East Hastings Street

This modest apartment building was replaced in 1988 with Shon Yee Place, a Chinese senior’s residence with 72 1-bed apartments. Designed by Davidson, Yuen and Simpson, it was designed for The Shon Yee Housing Association. The external insulated sealing system used, in common with many condo projects of the period, failed in a relatively short timeframe, requiring a make-over in 2009 to remediate and provide a more effective rain screen.

The apartment building that it replaced had been designed by E E Blackmore for George Simons in 1910, and D G Grey built it for $13,000. In 1916 George was shown living here, and in 1918 the building was named in the street directory as Alliston Apartments. In 1913 one of the suites was offered for rent, ‘Furnished 4-room suite, with bath’.

We assume the George Simons who developed this is the same one who was living further east on East Hastings, in 1921. He was aged 56, living with his wife Sarah, who was 7 years younger, and three sons, Alexander, Juilius and Isadore. The family were Jewish, and George was from Austria, as was Sarah. Alexander, who was 19 in 1921 had been born in England, but the two younger sons were born in BC. Records for the family are elusive, but Alexander was married in 1924, and the record shows his mother had been Sarah Simpson, and he had been born in Manchester in 1902. His parents place of birth was also shown as Manchester, not Austria. Alexander was shown as Presbyterian rather than Jewish.

Before this building was constructed, the family lived here, so presumably in the house that sat on the site. George had a business on West Cordova, repairing umbrellas – clearly a lucrative business in Vancouver. He was the only umbrella repairer listed in 1909. In 1911 he had moved (logically so that this apartment building could be constructed). The local press that year reported his offer to build a tram line from the terminus at the time to Port Moody. Mr. Simon was described as ‘a capitalist of Hastings Townsite’. One report mentioned he had ‘large holdings’ on East Hastings. His offer was to construct the line, and then sell it on at cost, plus seven percent interest, once the dispute between BCER (the rail company) and the City of Burnaby was resolved. “Mr. Simons was well backed by the property owners and residents of North Burnaby, as most all were willing to assist him in the construction of this line, as this district is rapidly developing and the need of a car line is so imperative that the people do not feel that they can longer do without it.

We believe George Simons died in 1939; he’s shown living on East Hastings that year, and Sarah was still there a year later, listed as a widow. That year shows this building as The Howard Apartments, with 11 units. The name change came after 1923, although the directory listed it briefly (and we suspect inaccurately) as The Harrod Apartments in 1924. This remained an apartment building, with 11 tenants to the point when it was demolished in the 1980s to make way for the Shon Yee development.

1071

Posted 22 April 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

Tagged with ,