Archive for the ‘Higman & Doctor’ Tag

Granville Street – 1100 block east side 2

We looked at the southern end of this block in an earlier post, and at some of the buildings here in a view from Davie Street photographed in the early 1970s (like this picture). We didn’t examine the history of the three buildings seen here on the south side of Helmcken. Across the street is 1090 Granville, a 4-storey brick building developed by James Borland designed by Braunton and Leibert in 1912. Borland was a successful contractor turned property developer from Ontario, whose history we looked at in connection to his Maple Hotel on Hastings Street. There’s a modest single storey building beyond the Borland investment. It was developed in 1919 by Mary McQueen, who was the niece of Dr. James Whetham, a doctor who developed several important early Vancouver buildings, He husband James was also a developer, but several permits identify Mary as the developer of projects in the city.

The McQueen’s, who had been born in Ontario, also owned the site on the south corner of Helmcken, where the two storey green painted building was developed. In 1903 Mary Jane McQueen developed 2 frame dwellings, costing $2,000 on the lot, (which may have been on the Helmcken frontage at the back of the site). This was also where James McQueen obtained a permit for a $4,200 frame store in 1905, and we think he also had builder James Layfield carry out some alterations in 1910. This building may be the 1905 commission, or it may have been built a little later in a period of missing permits.

The two single storey retail buildings to the south were developed by R B Reilly in 1911, hiring Higman and Doctor as architects of his $2,300 investment. This appears to be R Buchanan Reilly, secretary to the Commission Agency, with a home on Davie Street. He was born in 1889 in Toronto (and he returned there in 1920 to marry his wife, Mary O’Connor). He seems to have moved to Michigan before the end of the first World War, as he seems to have been drafted into the US army there in 1918., and was still living there in the 1930s.

D Donaghy obtained the permit for the property next door in 1909, built at a cost of only $1,000. He had alterations carried out in 1919 and again in 1922. Dugald Donaghy was a barrister and solicitor with an office in the Flack Block and a home in the West End. Born in East Garafraxa in Ontario, he moved to the north shore, and was Mayor of North Vancouver from 1923 to 1925. He was elected as a Liberal MP for Vancouver North in 1925, and in the election the following year ran in Vancouver Centre and was defeated. Mr. Donaghy had an indirect connection to James Borland’s Maple Hotel, as he led the prosecution in 1928 against local brothel-keeper ‘Joe Celona’ (whose mother knew him as Giuseppe Fiorenza). Donaghy was particularly offended by the fact that Celona’s brothel at the Maple Hotel was frequented by Chinese men. He told the court, “There are no words in the English language to describe the abhorrence of white prostitutes being procured exclusively for the yellow men from China,” and was aghast “That these girls should be submitted to crawling yellow beasts of the type frequenting such dives”. Joe was sentenced to 22 years, reduced to 11 on appeal. He was out in five, but a public outcry saw him returned to prison, and he was eventually released after serving nine years. He immediately turned to bootlegging, managing to avoid further prison time, and died at the age of 57.

The buildings managed to survive to the early 1970s, when the unusually angled mass of the Chateau Granville hotel was developed.

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Granville Street – 800 block, west side (1)

The corner of Smithe and Granville has a single-storey building dating back to 1910, designed and owned by Leonard Wett, and built by Lewis Yarco at a cost of $5,000. This 1913 Vancouver Public Library image shows it when Turner’s store sold Crockery, Stoves and Graniteware – and Furniture. Mr. Wett continued to own the building for several years, with repairs in 1915, 1916 and in 1920.

Leonard Wett appears in several newspapers from as early as 1896, in connection with his mining interests in the Highland Laddie, Duke and Duchess Mineral Claims north of Campbell River, although the deposits were only developed in the 1930s, producing silver and gold (and are still offering promising assay results). Although his appearance in both the census and street directories is spotty, we know he was born in Germany around 1858, arrived in Canada in 1882 and became a citizen ten years later. He apparently arrived in Vancouver two months before the 1886 fire, and initially worked in the Hastings Mill. A year after he developed the building he was shown as a baker, lodging on Richards Street. Leon Wett, a baker, was recorded in the 1891 census, but so was Leonard Wett (although there’s only one Leonard Wett in the 1891 directory). We thought it could be a duplication error – except one was shown as Lutheran, and the other as Roman Catholic, so it’s less likely they were close relatives. His death was recorded in 1955 when he was 97, survived by nieces and nephews living in Germany and the US.

The two storey building next door was originally built in 1911, designed by Higman & Doctor for William Catto, costing $9,800 to build. It was apparently rebuilt again in 1928, and has seen further regular redesigns of the fa├žade, most recently when a McDonalds restaurant moved in. No William Catto lived in Vancouver, or even British Columbia, but there was one who visited. Dr. William Catto was a physician in Dawson, in the Yukon, but was also part owner of the Lone Star mine, one of only a handful of bedrock gold mines in the Yukon, albeit a small-scale operation. The mine produced a small amount of gold between 1911 and 1914. He was recorded as staying in Vancouver in 1912 (at the Hotel Vancouver).

Next door was the Maple Leaf Theatre. We already looked at the history of the theatre, which later became the Plaza, and more recently the Venue (a nightclub).

 

By 1951 this VPL image shows the corner unit was a ‘Silk Hat famous fruit salads’ cafe, operated by Hank Oliver who also owned the Aristocratic Restaurant chain, including one located immediately across Smithe Street. (The Plaza was showing ‘Night Without Stars’ a 1951 British black-and-white dramatic thriller film, starring David Farrar, Nadia Gray and Maurice Teynac.)

By the early 2000s the corner had the McDonalds restaurant, (seen here in 2004), but they moved next door to the adjacent building, and today there’s a sports goods store on the corner.

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