Archive for the ‘J G Price’ Tag

612 Main Street

612 Main

Here’s a small commercial building on Main Street near Keefer. In our 1978 image it was a different small commercial building. Derek Neale and Associates were the designers of the 3-storey replacement, completed in 1982. The earlier building dated back to 1901, built by Baynes and Horie for owner (and supposedly, architect) H J Franklin at a cost of $2,200. It may have started life as a single storey structure because in 1911 owners Armstrong & Edwards hired an architect called ‘Price’ to make $7,400 of alterations to the building. Watson and Hitch were the builders, and ‘Price’ was most likely to be J G Price, an architect who worked on a number of Chinatown buildings including Wing Sang’s tenement building, and West Hotel. Three years later different owners Lowen, Harvey & Preston made some more (less drastic) changes.

There was a house here through the 1890s: in 1897 John Abrams, an engineer lived here, and in 1899 it was his widow. In what was presumably the new building someone identified as J Franklin sold pianos in a short-lived venture in 1902, and in 1903 Harry Franklin was running a stationery business here for three years (presumably the same H J Franklin who designed it, and probably the piano salesman as well). William Murphy set up a rival stationers right next door in 1904, and both businesses had gone by 1906 when our building was home to Empire Commission, Auction & Brokerage. In 1908 J Donald & Co were running a grocers, and in 1909 a long-term occupant arrived (and bought the building) – Armstrong & Edwards, funeral directors. The firm became T Edwards & Co in 1912, and statyed until after 1930. In 1940 B S Herbert & Son elec contrs were here, and were still in the building a decade later.


Posted February 16, 2015 by ChangingCity in Chinatown, East End, Gone

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Pender Street and Shanghai Alley

Pender & Shanghai

This 1917 Vancouver Public Library image shows a five year old building. It faces West Pender Street, with the narrow face of the building on Shanghai Alley (shown as Shanghai Street on the 1912 insurance map). It was designed by J G Price for Lun Yick Co, a Chinese-owned company controlled by Yip Chun Tien (more often called Yip Sang, who also ran the Wing Sang Company). Price also designed the West Hotel for the same client in the same year, and the two buildings looked very similar.

As it was built in 1912 it wasn’t, as you might expect, the first building on the site. Wing Sang had built a 2-storey building here earlier – we think it was in 1903, designed by ‘Mr. O’Keefe’. Michael O’Keefe wasn’t really an architect, he was mostly a builder, but he was willing to design buildings for Chinese owners to build themselves. He didn’t even live in Vancouver; the only likely M O’Keefe we’ve found was a carpenter, and later a builder, living in Victoria. We know he took the steamer to cross to Vancouver in the early 1900s. The tunnel in the centre of the building (the only real Chinatown tunnel!) led to an alley – Canton Alley – although the 1912 insurance map called it Canton Street. A series of buildings were built here by Wing Sang over nearly 10 years, costing over $150,000 with this $55,000 investment.

The seven storey apartment building didn’t last all that long. It was demolished in 1948, and the site stayed undeveloped for many years. In 1998 the CBA Manor and an adjacent building were built. As far as we can tell they were designed by Joe Wai and Davidson Yuen Simpson. There is a 4-storey social services centre run by SUCCESS, and a commercial and residential building on seven floors.


Posted September 8, 2014 by ChangingCity in Chinatown, East End, Gone

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West Hotel – Carrall Street

The West Hotel has been around for nearly a century, and is looking pretty good, considering. As this VPL 1951 picture shows, it did pretty well in the first half of its existence. The huge cornice was still intact and the BC Electric Depot nearby kept it busy (and is the said to be why it was so much bigger than most other hotels).

It was designed by J G Price, and completed in 1913 for Lun Yick Co, a Chinese owned company controlled by Yip Chun Tien (more often called Yip Sang, who also ran the Wing Sang Company).  The size of the hotel shows the resources available to the Chinese merchants in the city in the early part of the 20th Century. The Wing Sang company ran a trading empire, supplied labour and operating fish packing businesses as well as an opium factory (perfectly legally at the time). Today the beer parlour is still downstairs and the upper floors are now a privately owned SRO hotel.


Posted February 22, 2012 by ChangingCity in Chinatown, Still Standing

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