Archive for the ‘J H Quann’ Tag

West Cordova Street – north side from Carrall

We’ve written about the Rainier Hotel, on the south side of Cordova, and the Boulder Hotel on the north side of this 1969 W E Frost picture. The Boulder was built as a 2-storey building designed by the Fripp Brothers for A G Ferguson in 1890. The Rainier dates back to 1907 and was designed by Emil Guenther for John Quann. Before the Ranier was built this was a two-story wooden building. It started life very soon after the 1886 fire as The Burrard House and then became the Balmoral Hotel in 1890. By 1901 The Quann Brothers had their office in the Balmoral Saloon, and lived on Hornby Street. William (Billy) Quann ran the Balmoral Saloon, and John (who was known as Jack), and Thomas ran the Balmoral Hotel. The Balmoral wasn’t very old when it was demolished – about 20 years old.

Thomas Quann was born in 1845, in New Brunswick, to an Irish father and a mother born in Barbados. He clearly moved to the United States at some point, as his sons, Billy and Jack, and daughter Mamie were shown born in the USA in the 1891 census records. William and Mamie (shown as Mary, the same as her mother, in some records) were both born around 1873, and John in 1875, and Thomas outlived both sons. He arrived with his family in 1886, and was soon running a hotel; (he applied for relief (welfare) for two of his tenants in April 1887). He applied for a license for the Central Hotel on Cordova in 1888. At age 17 Billy was working as a messenger, but soon went into the hotel and bar trade. In 1896 both Billy and Jack were running the Central Hotel, and Jack continued to run it in 1910 when it was redeveloped as the Manitoba Hotel. In 1903 John was running the Merchant’s Exchange Hotel, and the Pacific Bottling Works, distributing Rainier beer. In the early 1900s the brothers branched out into the entertainment business, owning the Majestic, Rose and Maple Leaf theatres.

Both brothers died within a year. Jack’s obituary in the Vancouver Daily World noted his early sporting involvement, and his business interests “Jack Quann, one of the best known business men in the city, as well as a very prominent sportsman, died last night In the General hospital. The late Mr. Quann had been suffering for some time with a weakness of the heart, but it was not thought that the Illness would prove fatal. At the recent race meeting at Minoru Park he was taken ill and was hurried Into the city, where, aftar a few days’ treatment, he recovered sufficiently to allow him to go on a fishing trip to Nanalmo and other points on Vancouver Island. The fishing party were returning to Vancouver last night when the late Mr. Quann was seized with one of the periodical fits, which he had experienced In recent years. When the steamer reached port he was removed to the General hospital, where he died at 9:45. The late Jack Quann was In his thirty-fourth year. A widow and one child, his father, Mr. Thomas Quann, his brother, W. H. Quann, and a sister, are left to mourn his loss. As a lacrosse player he Is still remembered as one of the greatest and most fearless goalkeepers that ever stood between the flags. He has participated in dozens of gruelling battles between Westminster and Vancouver, always acquitting himself with honor. He was conceded to be one of the most enterprising of Vancouver’s business men. He was In partnership with his brother In the proprietorship of the Balmoral hotel when that hostelry was considered to be the rendezvous of all sportsmen, With his brother he was later connected with the ownership of the St. Francis.” Jack’s death was in August 1911, and hundreds of people attended his funeral.

Billy’s death was recorded in June 1912, and the cause of death was noted as cirrhosis of the liver, an ailment often noted in bar owners. Both men had young widows. Billy was married to Lillian, shown as four years younger in 1911, like Billy, born in the US, with sons William and Thomas 16 and 13, born in BC.  Jack was married to Phoebe, although they were missed by the 1911. She was running a tobacco store on Granville Street in 1913, but after 1914 there were no references to any of the family in the street directories. Pheobe Ann Quann (ne Butler) married Robert Mundell in Vancouver in 1914, so that probably explains her apparent disappearance. She was also an American, born in Helena, Montana in 1886 or 1890, and she married John Henry Quann in November of 1909. (When she married Jack she showed her birth as 1886, but her second marriage showed 1890).

Beyond the Boulder are two hotels developed by Evans, Coleman and Evans; the Stanley (designed by Grant and Henderson, and completed in 1907), and the New Fountain, which is an earlier building. All four buildings are still standing today, although the Stanley and New Fountain are being redeveloped behind the retained façades, for a mix of market and non-market rental units.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-356

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Rainier Hotel – Carrall and West Cordova

“Go with the crowd – a warm welcome always awaits you at the Rainier Hotel. Where all the Oldtimers meet and strangers feel at home. Look for the Big Friendly Neon Sign”. The 1936 advertising slogan came true again in 2010 with a new Big Friendly Neon Sign, financially supported by the City of Vancouver, being installed on one of the Single Room Occupancy Hotels (in this case for women) purchased and rehabbed by BC Housing, the provincial housing agency.

The Rainier, at the corner of Carrall and Cordova, dates back to 1907 and was designed by Emil Guenther for John Quann, who also owned the Rose Theatre on Hastings Street, and the Balmoral Hotel that was demolished to make way for the Rainier. In 1920 when this image was taken the Hotel was owned by Jack West and the Rainier ran a taxicab fleet and had a cafe, barbers shop and billiard room.  The recent refurb supervised by architect Barry McGinn saw eight layers of paint removed from the brickwork, repointing of the walls and construction of 170 feet of recreated shopfronts.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-1387

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Posted December 29, 2011 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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