Archive for the ‘H S Griffith’ Tag

Beatty Street from the Georgia Viaduct

We looked at the street view of these Beatty Street warehouse a few years ago. This picture was taken 50 years ago, (in 1972) a decade before the stadium was built on the old rail lands between the buildings and False Creek.

The shorter building with the white finish has gone completely. The warehouse was the most expensive of the three. In 1912 a permit was issued for a building to cost $150,000. Designed by Parr, McKenzie & Day for John W Gibb it was pre-leased to the The Canadian Fairbanks Company, who stepped in and completed the building when Mr. Gibbs ran into cash flow problems. The case was resolved in court, Mr. Gibbs ended up losing his interest in the building (to his father), and Fairbanks, a machinery supplier, stayed here until the 1950s.

In the middle is a building that cost $140,000 for the National Drug Co, built by George Snider & Brethour in 1913, designed by H S Griffith. Today it has had a blue tile makeover, and like its neighbour is used as office space. The four bay warehouse was designed by Dalton and Eveleigh for F T Cope. The same builders as its neighbour completed it at a cost of $75,000.

The Fairbanks warehouse was demolished and became the plaza in front of the BC Place stadium, constructed in the early 1980s, (allowing windows to be installed in the side of the National Drug Co building). The Terry Fox memorial, designed by Douglas Coupland, is located here. The rest of the site was part of the land sold to Concord Pacific, and they in turn sold it to PCI Group to develop an office building, initially known for its lead tenant as The Pivotal Building, designed by Busby & Associates, and completed in 2002. A second phase was leased to the Federal Government. PCI developed the site ‘in partnership with high net worth private investor’.

On the right are trees planted at the time the stadium was built, and which will be cut down soon. The former Pacific Press printing works is located on the corner of Beatty and Georgia, built in 1949. It was converted in 1968 to the boilerhouse of Central Heat Distribution who established a centralized heating network throughout the Downtown. New boilers are about to be installed in conjunction with a large, S-shaped office building and entertainment pavilion that will replace the 1940s building while still retaining the heating system operations.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-5

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1365 Seymour Street

Today’s view leaves a great deal to be desired – and it won’t be changing any time soon. This block of Seymour Street faces the off-ramp from the Granville Bridge, and is narrowed to half the width the road was before the ‘new’ Granville Bridge was built, so the ‘before’ image would have been located across the street just beyond the ramp. (There’s a mysterious room under the ramp at this point, with a solid steel door).

Vancouver Parts Co Ltd. developed the building in 1928, hiring Henry Sandham Griffith to design it, and spending $18,000 having G R Coulson build it. It was built with reinforced concrete, and was inaccurately described as a car showroom in the Engineering and Contract Journal. Before they developed here, the Parts Co were at 1260 Granville Street, sharing with Hayes Anderson Motors. The company first appeared in 1922, when D Hayes was the company secretary. Douglas Hayes was the manager of Hayes-Anderson, so the parts business was initially an adjunct business, but one he knew well, as that was his business before establishing the truck company. By 1928 William E Anderson was shown as company president, while Doug Hayes was listed in association with their truck business (although William Anderson was also president of that business). A year later, when they moved in here it was Doug Hayes who was listed as running the business.

In 1934 the business management switched to Alex Eadie, a year after this picture was taken. He had been working at the parts company when Hayes and Anderson were still involved. In 1921 William Anderson lived on Vancouver Island, but he moved back to Vancouver in a new $20,000 home on Angus Drive that year. He retired around 1930, and was no longer living in Vancouver in 1931. Douglas Hayes was originally from Dublin, Ireland, born there in 1887. He married Ella Beam in New Westminster in 1923, and they had two sons, Donald and George, and a daughter, Eleanor. It was Douglas’s second marriage; his first was in Manhattan in 1914 to Lillian Rosin, from Ontario, who died in 1923 aged 32. When he married Ella he a son, Douglas and a daughter, Lillian from his first marriage. Douglas Hayes was 95 when he died in Duncan on Vancouver Island in 1983.

Vancouver Parts were only at this address until 1951, when Sanford Addison was the managing director. The business moved to West 4th Avenue, and the 24-year-old building was demolished for the construction of the new Granville Bridge Seymour Street off-ramp. There are plans to remove the loops beyond the ramp, and create a new road grid and six new buildings, but the on and off ramps that link to Howe and Seymour steets will remain.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4567

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Posted 19 May 2022 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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1950 Robson Street

Today there’s a six storey strata building, The Chatsworth, with 44 condos designed by Rhone Morton Architects, and completed in 1985. When it was built the cheapest 1-bed units were priced from $107,000, and the project was described as ‘An Austin Hamilton concept’ – a reference to the developer.

In 1978 there was an earlier rental apartment building also called Chatsworth, which we think was designed by H S Griffith, and completed in 1941. It was built by contractor E M Craig Co with 26 suites, on a lot that hadn’t been developed up to that point. The Craig company built a number of modest apartment buildings in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and used H S Griffith as their architect. Usually they were acting as agent for an investor developer, but if that’s the case here we haven’t found who the building was commissioned by.

The land had been used for many years as the extended garden of the adjacent house, owned from 1913 to 1938 by Herbert Drummond. He died in 1938, and his house and the land were offered as separate sales by the Bell-Irving Insurance Agencies. The building is seen here in 1978, on a site already being eyed up at the time for redevelopment, with a potential to increase density and switch from rental to strata units.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 786-3.13

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Posted 13 January 2022 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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1840 Robson Street

The Richborough Apartments were photographed around 1985, located on Robson Street close to Denman, on the all-residential Stanley Park side of Denman. There was a big house just to the west of here built in 1905 on an adjacent lot, which was divided into eight apartments by the 1930s, but these two lots had never been developed. In 1939, E M Craig and Company Ltd. applied for a permit to build an apartment building on the vacant lots. H S Griffith designed the 28 suite, 14 garage 4-storey building. The developers were identified a little later; R E Humphrey and E Akhurst, of Victoria. They also bought two other West End apartment buildings around the same time.

By 1981 the building, and the house next door, had been bought by Campeau Corporation of Calgary. They planned a redevelopment, and there were soon protests about the loss of affordable housing, and a potential heritage building (as the house was identified as a possible Samuel Maclure designed home).

A Vancouver Sun story in March 1981 told how ‘Caroline’ and Hector Fisher had moved into The New Richborough Apartments when the building was first leased, and forty years later were still there, paying $250 a month for their home. This wasn’t completely accurate. Carolyn Fisher had lived in apartment 203 from 1941, but initially it was with her husband Ewan, who was a master mariner (captain of a tugboat for Young and Gore). She was in Vancouver in the 1921 census, aged 18 and working as a waitress. He sister Lydia, who was 16, and a laundress, lived with her, on Richards Street. They were both born in Alberta, and had a Russian family background. The earlier 1911 census shows Lydia with her family in Medicine Hat, aged 6, and suggests Carolyn was christened Olga.

Ewan was born in 1900 in New Westminster, and died in 1958. His brother, Hector Fisher, who was also a master mariner, was living at 660 Jackson, with his wife Kitty. He married Catherine (‘Kitty’) Shaw in 1941. He was born in New Westminster in 1901, (and Catherine in 1893 in Scotland. She died in 1966 in Essondale, the mental health hospital later known as Riverview).

We assume that the widowed Carolyn married her brother-in-law, Hector, some time after his wife’s death. Hector died in 1982, and the redevelopment went ahead. Ewan and Hector Fisher were buried in the same grave in the Fraser Cemetery in New Westminster. Confusingly on his gravestone he’s identified as Casey Ewan Fisher, born 9 July 1900, while his death certificate says Ewan Alexander Fisher. Carolyn O Fisher was buried in the same cemetery in 1997, which identified her birth year as 1902, in Medicine Hat, in Alberta.

By 1987 the house and the apartments had been replaced by Stanley Park Place, with 45 apartments on 16 floors designed by Hamilton Doyle and Associates.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 786-3.12

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Posted 10 January 2022 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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Swedish Lutheran Church – Dunlevy Avenue

This was the first Swedish Lutheran Church built in Vancouver, seen here in 1904, the year it was built, photographed by Philip Timms. It was built on the north-east corner of Princess (today that’s East Pender) and Dunlevy and was known as The First Swedish Church. There had been a house on the lot in 1903, and it looks like it was relocated next to the church, on the north side, and then altered and moved again in 1909, closer to the lane.

This building was founded by a visiting Augustana Lutheran, Pastor G A Anderson, whose congregation was in LaConner, in Washington. The newly established church had 34 members in 1903, and a year later the Rev. C Rupert Swanson organized the construction of the building that seated 100. It was 25 feet by 38, and cost $595 to erect. The census tells us that there were a number of Swedish carpenters in the city, and it’s likely that the cost was mostly the materials rather than the labour. The congregation grew, and in 1910 there was a new church that could seat up to 1,000, built a block away to the east.

This building was listed for several years into the early 1920s as ‘Miner Hall’, but there are no records of it being used, or any events associated with it. By the mid 1920s it was once again being used as a church – a Chinese Presbyterian congregation moving in, but by 1930 the address was no longer listed. However, the United Church Chinese Mission were based at a Dunlevy address from 1929. We think the new church was the ‘United Church Chapal and Seminary designed by H S Griffith in 1930. (The Chinese Presbyterians also built a new church on Keefer near Gore in 1930).

This new, larger building extending slightly further east. There was also a Christian Education Centre, and for nearly 70 years the mission relied on the Board of Home Missions and the Woman’s Missionary Society for financial support and leadership, and was known as the Chinese Mission, United Church of Canada. It achieved full self-support in 1955, and became known as the Chinese United Church.

Today the Chinese United Church Lodge provides 29 units of non-market housing, almost hidden by the landscaping. It was completed in 1993 and designed by Joe Wai Architects. The Chinese United Church joined congregations with the Chown Memorial United Church, and they jointly retain ownership of the land, which is leased to the Housing Society.

Image sources: VPL and City of Vancouver Archives CVA 786-50.01

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Posted 20 May 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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Beatty Street – 700 block

Two of the warehouse buildings seen in this 1981 image are still standing, and one has disappeared. At the far end is a 1914 building, designed by Dalton and Eveleigh for F T Cope. George Snider & Brethour built it at a cost of $75,000. In the middle is a building costing $140,000 for the National Drug Co, and also built by George Snider & Brethour a year earlier, designed by H S Griffith. Thomas Hooper was hired to make $1,500 of alterations in 1914. With replacement windows it looks much more recent, and since our 1981 image was taken it’s had a blue tile makeover.

The third warehouse was the most expensive. In 1912 a permit was issued for a building to cost $150,000. Designed by Parr, McKenzie & Day for John W Gibb it was to be occupied by The Canadian Fairbanks Company.

Cope & Sons were electrical suppliers. Frederick T Cope was company president, an Englishman (from Oxford) who emigrated to Manitoba at 19, and arrived in Vancouver in 1895 when he was 35, and established the business two years later. In 1914, when they built the new warehouse, Frank R Cope was company treasurer and Bert F Cope company secretary. In 1911 both were still at home with Fred and Marjory, their mother, who was born in Ontario, but had their own homes three years later.

The National Drug and Chemical Company of Canada started in business in 1905, initially in Montreal, then rapidly across the country through expansion and buying out other businesses. David Bole was already a successful drugstore operator from Manitoba, and established the national wholesaling and manufacturing business with six million dollars of capital. State-of-the-art factories were established for both pharmaceuticals (in Montreal) and by 1908 125 items, including cough syrup, skin cream, shampoo, and toothpaste were manufactured in Toronto. The Vancouver distribution centre was opened soon after Calgary and Regina. In 1920 National Drug reorganized its administrative structure, as business had increased by 250 per cent in the previous 10 years. The business still operated here in the 1950s, and is still in business today as Canada’s leading drug wholesaler (now part of US business McKesson).

The Canadian Fairbanks Company was created in 1905 by Henry Fuller, who bought out the Canadian interests of the US parent company, at the time the largest machinery and mill supply company in Canada. They immediately occupied a new warehouse on Water Street developed by McLennan & McFeely. They had a warehouse and machine shop in the building. Within ten years they were looking for larger premises, and moved into the Beatty Street warehouse.

The developer, John Gibb, was a broker with an office in the Rogers Building and a home in the West End. His father, David Gibb, was a retired contractor with an excellent reputation. A 1915 court case shows his son’s business scruples weren’t quite as pure. It referred back to the 1912 deal with Canadian Fairbanks to occupy the building, with lease payments of $242,000 over 10 years, (starting at $22,000 for each of the first 3 years).  The building had to be ready for 1 August 1913, and if delayed no rent was due. Walter Meuller was hired to build the warehouse for $106,000. It became clear in May 1913 that Mr. Gibb was suffering “financial embarrassment” (to quote the judge), and it also transpired that he did not own the land outright, as he had claimed, but rather held an equity stake. That meant banks wouldn’t advance him a loan to complete the building. Mr. Gibb actually needed over $200,000 to complete the building and obtain tiitle – he had a deal with Harvey Haddon to advance $106,000 on completion, but that wasn’t going to solve his problem. He was willing to sit back and seemed to think that, as the agreed rent was a bargain, he might get out of his predicament. Fairbanks weren’t willing to wait, and paid the contractors to finish the job, in October.

This was highly unusual, and as the judge noted “Failure of Gibb to satisfactorily carry on construction or to complete within the time specified did not entitle the plaintiff to enter on the premises and proceed with the work.” Trustees were appointed immediately after the 1 August date was passed, and the interest in the property was transferred to David Gibb, John’s father. A Fairbanks manager was initially a trustee, but his head office forced him to withdraw, and launched the case to try to obtain a significant sum that they had paid to complete the building. The judge didn’t agree, but imposed the $20 per day pre-agreed fine for missing the August 1st deadline, and another $800 because the building didn’t use equipment sold by Fairbanks in its construction, as the lease agreement stipulated. Fairbanks also received their costs.

Despite this rocky start, Canadian Fairbanks were still occupying the building in the 1950s. It was cleared to become the plaza in front of the BC Place stadium, constructed in the early 1980s, allowing new windows in the side of the National Drug Co building. The Terry Fox memorial, designed by Douglas Coupland, is located here. The other warehouses have been converted to office use; one is home to a private school.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E18.04

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The Buchan – 1906 Haro Street

This has to be one of the city’s lesser known hotels. We took the picture when there were no leaves on the trees – taken now the building is almost impossible to see. Built in 1935, and designed by H S Griffith, it still has the name it was given when it was opened. For some reason the current hotel website believe it dates back to 1926, but through to the early 1930s there were three families living in a property owned by the Royal Trust Company. Previously the house had been owned by Major Barwis, who added a garage in 1911. Our Vancouver Public Library image dates back to 1943.

William Bailey Barwis was the manager of the Vancouver office of the Manufacturers’ Life Insurance Company, born in Magantic in Quebec and resident in a house here from 1908 to 1918. In 1936 this address appears for the first time in the street directory as the Buchan Hotel, shown as being managed by Mrs L L McCallum, (although Charles B McCallum is listed as the manager elsewhere in the same directory).

It’s claimed that the hotel was named after novelist and politician, John Buchan. As Baron Tweedsmuir he visited Vancouver twice, in 1936 and 1939, having been appointed Governor General of Canada in 1935, the year the hotel was being built. On his second visit Lord and Lady Tweedsmuir visited the City of Vancouver Archives and met Major Matthews – an event appropriately recorded in a photograph in the Archives today. This is one of the later designs of H S Griffith, who designed dozens of Victoria and Vancouver commercial and residential projects over a period of over 30 years.

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Posted 10 August 2017 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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West Georgia Street – 1000 Block

1000 block W Georgia looking east 1

We’re looking east on West Georgia Street: the Archives at this point have an undated image (and unidentified location). The cars, and the changes in the buildings suggest some time in the 1970s. The Royal Centre is complete, so we’re past 1973, Cathedral place hasn’t replace the Medical-Dental Building, so we’re before 1992, and the Burrard Building has it’s original skin, so it’s before 1988. The Ritz Hotel is still standing on the right of the picture, so it’s probably before 1980. By 1985 the Grosvenor Building was completed here. In the distance, behind the TD Tower is the Vancouver Centre – completed in 1976, so that puts us squarely into the mid 1970s.

ritzThe Ritz International may have had the prestigious name, but it wasn’t as classy as the Hotel Georgia or the Hotel Vancouver down the street. The hotel was a conversion of the St Julien Apartments, and that was itself a conversion of the new YMCA which received its building permit in 1913. The permit shows that it was designed by H S Griffith as a 7-storey, reinforced  concrete structure, to be constructed at a cost of an extremely ambitious cost of $375,000. (Chicago architects  Shattuck & Hussey were also involved in the design).

The 1912 insurance map shows the Y began building that year. The start of World War One, and an economic depression meant that by 1919 the structure was still not complete and it was decided that it should be sold. In 1924 the building was completed as the St. Julien Apartments (seen here around 1925) but those didn’t last very long, and in 1929 was turned into the Ritz Hotel. Not all the apartments were turned into hotel rooms – the property offered both hotel rooms and ‘fully serviced apartments’.

The Ritz stayed as a hotel – it didn’t become a low-income rental property as many further east, and was finally demolished in 1983 to be replaced by the Grosvenor Building, a multi-faceted gold coloured tower that allowed tenants to offer the prestigious ‘corner office’ to more of its employees.

St Julien (Ritz) 1040 W Georgia

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 800-312 and Vancouver Public Library

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1200 block Homer Street (3)

1200 block Homer 1

The warehouse on the right of the shot is the H S Griffith designed building built in 1910 for W R Arnold that we featured in the previous post. Inexplicably, there’s a vacant site in this 1981 image that isn’t the result of a demolition. No building was ever constructed between the 1948 warehouse on the left of the picture (1250 Homer) and the 1910 warehouse/factory.

Today Rafii Architecture’s ‘Alda’ building is here; completed in 2002 with a combination of 59 residential strata units, office space and retail along Homer. It also incorporated the warehouse on the left of the picture, with a completely new façade.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E13.17

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Posted 21 July 2014 by ChangingCity in Yaletown

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1200 block Homer Street (2)

1200 block Homer 2

We saw the building on the right of this 1981 picture in the previous post. It was built in 1910 as MacPherson & Teetzel’s hardware warehouse and designed by Parr and Fee.

The more substantial building next door was built in the same year for W R Arnold by Adkinson and Dill for $48,000. It was designed by H S Griffith and described in the permit as a reinforced concrete warehouse. The first tenant was Hamilton Smith’s ‘Smith Biscuit Co’. Mr. Smith lived in the Hotel Europe, on Powell Street, along the street from one of his rivals, the Mooney Biscuit & Candy Co, based in Stratford, Ontario. In 1907 Mooney’s advertisement claimed they were ‘the fastest growing business in the Dominion’, and had added a fleet of their own rail cars to ship their ‘Perfection Cream Soda’ biscuits around the country.

H S Griffith was based in Victoria, having moved from England, and he established his Vancouver office in 1910. This warehouse, and another in Yaletown, were both issued with permits on the same day, and appear to be the first issued to Griffith. William Arnold was, in 1910, the Managing Director of the Dominion Trust Company who had also built a West Pender building through another subsidiary, also designed by H S Griffith, as well as the Dominion Building that they took on when the Imperial Trust ran into financial problems. It isn’t clear whether Mr. Arnold developed this warehouse as a personal project, or on behalf of The Dominion Trust Company. In a later court case (after Mr. Arnold’s death), the judge described him as ‘a man of endless speculations’.

A couple of years after the construction of Dominion Trust’s portfolio of buildings the economy went into a ‘severe financial re-adjustment’ (as it was described at the time). The final straw may have been over-extended company finances on a planned harbour scheme on Lulu Island (that was never built), and the company’s liquidator concluded that Mr. Arnold had advanced a series of unauthorized loans that were very risky. The $5,752,232 of book assets were estimated to actually be worth under a million dollars. W R Arnold shot himself, aged 31, in 1914 in what was initially reported as ‘a bad accident’. An initial court judgement agreed that it was an accidental death, and his insurance company was to pay $100,000 to the Dominion Trust. However, the insurance company won on appeal, and the death officially became a suicide.

In 1912 the Mooney Biscuit & Candy Co acquired the Smith Biscuit Co as part of their Canadian-wide expansion, allowing them to bake their branded biscuits in the west coast market, rather than having to ship them from further east. The First World War may have caused something of a problem for Mooney’s – by 1916 they were in receivership (which may be the reason for the VPL having a photo of their empty ‘melting pots’ from that year). The building was apparently vacant for several years, but in 1919 the Canadian Nut Co were here, and in 1920 they were joined by the Mainland Confectionery Co, managed by Chas. Rimmer.

By 1924 the confectionery company were still here, but the nut company had been replaced by Ogilvie Flour Mills Co. Ltd. The Montreal-based millers retained the location (and soon replaced the confectionery company) for over two decades. (The archives have some great images of their delivery trucks for Royal Household flour at the warehouse). By 1944 they shared the building with a wholesale confectioners, McBride Jackson Ltd, and a commercial artist and printers, R H Storer & Co.

By 1981 when these images were shot, Moore & Middleton occupied the building. The company was a manufacturer of knitting yarns for Cowichan and Icelandic sweaters and North American distributor of knitting yarns, needlepoint, sewing supplies, laces, trims and hobby crafts; it was dissolved in 1985. Today the building has office space on the upper floors and Yaletown’s last billiard hall on the Hamilton Street loading dock side of the building.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E13.16

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