Archive for the ‘J S D Taylor’ Tag

West Pender Street – 300 block, south side

There has been one building replaced since this 1975 image was shot by W E Graham. On the right is the Victoria Block, (today part of the Victorian Hotel). designed by W F Gardiner in 1909 for the National Finance Co. Next door, the miniature temple is the British Columbia Permanent Loan & Savings Co’s premises. It was designed by Hooper and Watkins in 1907, and was one of the first reinforced concrete structures in the city, costing $40,000 and built by A E Carter. On the outside it has a sandstone skin, while inside there’s marble, elaborate plaster ceilings designed by Charles Marega, and a gorgeous Tiffany-style stained-glass skylight, featuring leaves and fruit. The decorative castings were the work of Fraser and Garrow, who advertised themselves as being “perfectly at home in any manner of work that makes for the embellishment of interiors or exteriors.”

The developer was a local finance house whose founder was Thomas Talton Langlois, originally from Gaspe in Quebec. He arrived in in BC in 1898 when he was 31, and already a successful businessman. Here he organized the British Columbia Permanent Loan Co.; was president, of the National Finance Co. Ltd., the Prudential Investment Co. Ltd. and the Pacific Coast Fire Insurance Co. He also developed an Arbutus subdivision which had pre-fabricated craftsman style houses built in a factory on West 2nd Avenue, and then re-erected on site.

The building was completed at the point where the developer was facing a minor problem. The Times Colonist advertised “A REWARD OF ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS. A reward of $100.00 will be paid to any person furnishing evidence which will lead to the conviction of the person who has started or any other person or persons who are spreading a report to the effect that the British Columbia Permanent Loan & Savings Company is losing or liable to lose money through its connection with any subsidiary, company. The B. C. Permanent has absolutely no connection with any other company, either in the way of investments or loans, except a balance of one hundred and twenty-five shares, being one-twelfth of the Issued capital stock of the. Pacific Coast Fire Insurance Company, This investment was authorized by unanimous vote of the shareholders some six years ago and has proven an exceptionally profitable Investment. For confirmation of these facts we would refer any person to the company’s auditor, Mr. W. T. Stein, C. A., Vancouver.”

Thomas Langlois, like many successful Vancouver business people, retired to California. He moved in 1916, and died there in 1937 and was buried in Inglewood Park Cemetery. From 1935 the building became home to the Bank Of Canada. In 1979 it was altered to office space and renamed Park House, and in the past few years has been repurposed as an event space called The Permanent.

To the east is a former printing company building, which has been redeveloped with the adjacent site for Covenant House, a not-for-profit organization that supports street youth. The 1929 building was designed by J S D Taylor for McBeth & Campbell. The facade was renovated in 1948 by architect W H Birmingham. It was given Neo-classical treatments including a decorative cornice installed below the original corbelled brick parapet. In 1998 it was redeveloped and the facade tied into the new 50 bed hostel, designed by Nigel Baldwin.

The small brick building to the east (that looks like small houses) was redeveloped for the 1998 scheme, and had originally extended to the 1929 building site as well. It was developed by ‘National’ (Presumably the National Finance Co), designed by W F Gardiner and cost $7,000 to build in 1909.

At the end of the block Hooper and Watkins (again) designed the $25,000 I.O.O.F Hall, and Lyric Theatre in 1906. The main floor space these days is a furniture store.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1135-17



Beaconsfield Apartments – Bute Street


The Beaconsfield is one of the earlier apartment buildings built in the West End. Completed in 1910, the building permit tells us it was designed by J S D Taylor and built by McLean & Fulton at a cost of $85,000. The developer was A J Woodward.  The building’s features include the bays filled with wooden balconies and some art nouveau details, with a slightly incongruous Palladian style window in the recessed entrance court.

We’re reasonably confident that Mr. Woodward was unrelated to the Woodward family who were rapidly expanding their Downtown departmental stores. We don’t believe he was (at the time of the building’s construction) a Vancouver resident; we think that it’s Arthur Joseph Woodward, the owner of the Vancouver Floral Company, living in Victoria. (There was another Arthur J Woodward in Vancouver, but as a bartender living in rooms, he seems an unlikely developer)

The Victoria based Arthur was born in England, as was Adelaide, his wife, and according to the 1911 census had arrived in 1905 with at least eleven children, all still living at home in 1911, aged from six to twenty-seven. In fact Mr. Woodward had arrived in 1888, and established a large seed and floral business with significant glasshouses and nurseries in both Ross Bay in Victoria and in Kerrisdale.

In 1914 The Woodward family built a new British Arts & Craft style home in Saanich. Five years earlier A J Woodward had paid for the construction of a new Gospel Hall in the 1100 block of Seymour Street. We’re pretty confident that it’s the same developer as the apartment building because the architect and builder were the same, (apparently Mr. Taylor’s first Canadian design). For many years this building was ‘women only’, offering apartments to nurses at St Paul’s Hospital.

Today the building still offers rental apartments, although the street is closed and the tree canopy almost hides the entire structure in summer, and the cornice has been lost.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives M-11-57


Posted 16 January 2017 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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500 block Richards Street – west side (2)


These two buildings are immediately to the north of the previous post looking at the west side of Richards Street’s 500 block. The building on the left is 569 Richards, and unusually, it started life as a residential building, but today is office space. With a 1912 completion, the Oakland Rooms appear first in the 1913 directory, when S R O’Neal was the proprietor, followed in 1914 by William Jureit. In 1915 there was another proprietor listed, Mrs. H Chappell (and confusingly, another Oakland Rooms on Main Street).

Haley & Sutton were the owners of the building; Braunton and Leibert were the architects and Davis & Saunders built the $28,000 investment. In an earlier post we had understood that Haley & Sutton had sold out their business to Gordon Drysdale in 1893; that’s what early biographies state. However, it seems that a company with that lived on, although not in Vancouver for several years. The earliest mention of Haley & Sutton we can find is for Walter Haley aged 23 and William Sutton aged 21, both merchants in the same household in Dufferin, Marquette, Manitoba. Walter H Haley of Haley & Sutton was running a general store in 1884, in Nelson. However, this wasn’t Nelson, British Columbia, but rather Nelson, Manitoba. William Sutton ran a store in Milton, Manitoba that year.

Both partners relocated to Vancouver in the 1890s. They first appeared in the 1892 directory, with premises on Cordova Street and in New Westminster, with William Sutton living in rooms at 1031 Robson Street and Walter Sutton at 1033 Robson Street. However they were here a little earlier; Walter Haley was living in Vancouver in time for the 1891 census, aged 32, a dry goods merchant born in Ontario, as was his 19-year-old wife Cora Belle. (Strangely, there’s no mention of their son, born in 1890). William Sutton was also recorded living in the city, aged 30, born in Ontario and described as a dry goods merchant. His wife, Harriet wasn’t shown to be with him, but that might be because their first daughter had been born earlier that year in Ontario.

Having sold their business to Gordon Drysdale, the partners’ movements become a little confusing. There was a William Sutton in the city directory until 1895, but we’re pretty certain he was a different person with the same name as he was a commercial traveler. William and Harriet’s second child, William, was born in Brandon Manitoba in 1894. The Manitoba Directory of that year showed Walter N Haley and W J Sutton running the Haley and Sutton dry goods store in Rosser, Manitoba. In 1897 Haley and Sutton were recorded in Morden, Manitoba as bankers, where they were still based in 1905 described as ‘private bankers and real estate’. Walter and Cora Haley were recorded in the 1901 census living in Lisgar, Manitoba with their three sons aged 9, 7 and 5. William and Hattie Sutton were living at the same location with their two children aged 10 and 6, and a domestic to help the household. (A third child, Ruth, was born in 1911 when Harriet was aged 45.)

In 1906 Haley and Sutton reappeared in Vancouver as real estate brokers, with offices in Davis Chambers and Walter Milan Haley living initially on Haro, then in 1907 on Barclay, and a year later on W3rd. William J Sutton was first living on Beach Avenue, then Nelson Street, and then in 1908 on Comox. The 1911 census showed Walter Haley aged 51, his wife aged 39, both from Ontario, and their three children; Herbert aged 19, born in 1890, Reginald, 17 and Walter, 15. Herbert was born in BC, but Reginald and Walter were born in Manitoba. Walter Haley had Gamble & Knapp design a $5,500 house on West 1st Avenue in 1911 (redeveloped in the 1980s). William Sutton and his family remained for many years on West 5th Avenue, where they had moved by 1914. He died in 1931, and his wife, Harriet, in 1952. Although both Haley and Sutton were listed in 1914, with W Haley still in real estate, the company doesn’t seem to have survived the 1913 crash. Walter Haley died in 1943, aged 84, in Chilliwack. The main floor tenants of the building they developed changed several times over the years, but the Oakland Rooms continued to operate upstairs until at least the 1950s, but probably changed to office use before 1970.

Next door, 555 Richards is a more recent building, completed in 1928. Harvey & Gorrie, auctioneers, appraisers and furniture dealers were the first occupants of the new building. They had been in business on West Pender before moving here. Thanks to Patrick Gunn’s efforts we now know that according to the building permit D J McPhail & J M Livingstone commissioned Scottish-born J S D Taylor to design the $21,000 investment, built by veteran builder Bedford Davidson. We suspect that the clerk recorded the name McPhail incorrectly, and that it’s more likely that he was Daniel J MacPhail. There was obviously a lot of confusion generally about the spelling of his name. In the 1891 census there isn’t a single MacPhail in the country, but 8,300 McPhails. In 1901 it gets mixed between the two spellings. The 1910 street directory listed both John McPhail and John MacPhail as a tinsmith, living in the same house, but as there was only one tinsmith with that name in every other year they were presumably confused as well.

We’re not sure whether this D J McPhail is the Dan McPhail who acquired a building on Water Street with Jacob Kane. We know that in 1912 a D J McPhail built an expensive house for himself in Shaughnessy, and there was a Daniel MacPhail who was a real estate broker living at 633 Broughton Street with his sister Christina, a nurse, in the 1911 census. They were both born in Ontario; Daniel was aged 30, his sister was 27. The first time Mr. McPhail appeared in the street directory was in 1909 when D J MacPhail, real estate was living at 1242 Burrard. In 1910 he opened  an office in the Dominion Building. D J McPhail apparently hired Twizzell & Twizzell, architects to design a house in Shaughnessy (according to a report in the Province newspaper). He also hired MacKenzie & Ker to design an $11,000 house at the same address – we’re not sure which version he built, although to us it looks more like a Twizzell design than MacKenzie & Ker, and there’s a permit to build a garage that was designed by the Twizzells.

mcphail-1910We’re not sure where Mr. Macphail got the capital to become a property broker and develop such a grand house. There was a silver miner from Ontario working in Kaslo, but he appears to have been older. It may be that he was a successful broker in the right place at the right time – in 1911 for example he identified a large site to sell to the City of Vancouver for their isolation hospital (built in Grandview).

In 1916 Daniel McPhail was still listed at the Shaughnessy address, but in 1917 Fred Begg had moved into the house. In 1919, although Daniel still wasn’t in the city, Christina McPhail, a nurse, was living at 1297 W Broadway and a year later a block away at 1351. In 1921 she was still at the same address, but called MacPhail. In 1925 Don J McPhail was at 1149 W 27th Avenue – in 1926 he was identified as Daniel J McPail, ‘retired’. In 1927 he was still Daniel J and in 1928 he was back to Don, but associated with real estate in both 1927 and 1928. So we’re reasonably sure that Daniel J McPhail (or MacPhail) was back in the real estate business in the 1920s, and it seems probable that it’s the same Daniel who had left the city during the war.

We have a clue about why he may have left town. In 1917 he fought – and lost – a court case where the YMCA accused him of offering to give them $5,000 towards their new Georgia Street property, and then not fulfilling that promise. The Daily World, in reporting the court case described him as ‘a prominent resident of Vancouver’. We don’t know whether he paid up.

His partner in the development might have been John M Livingstone, manager of the City Dairy Co and then the Vancouver Creamery Co until 1927. We haven’t managed to trace him after that; he may have retired and moved away from the city.

Today both buildings are office space; with the investment cost of the properties recouped many years ago this block is a candidate for assembly and redevelopment, Whether the old, but not heritage buildings would survive as anything other than facades (if at all) is doubtful.



400 block Richards Street – east side


These two images, although thirty five years apart, appear almost identical. On the corner is a building on a site acquired by one of Chinatown’s merchants, the Sam Kee Company, run by Chang Toy. Sam Kee acquired two 25 foot lots at the corner of Pender and Richards in 1904, and the Empress Rooms were completed in 1906. In 1905 it was put up for sale for $20,000 and acquired by William Walsh, a lawyer who owned quite a bit of property in this part of the city. He spent $25,000 to build the Grant and Henderson designed building, and apparently cashed in nicely in 1909 selling for $200,000 to an Oakland investor. These days it’s the home of MacLeods Books. In 1981 the second store in the building, down the hill, was the All Nations Stamp and Coin Co; today it’s an Antiques and Collectables store, with

The other half of the block is Century House, built in 1911 for the Canada Permanent Mortgage Corporation. The building was designed by J S D Taylor, an architect trained in Scotland. Canada Permanent operated at Century House until 1951. Since then, it has been home to an insurance company, a trade school, an antique store, a book store and a restaurant. Today it appears on the internet as a recording studio. The exterior is made of cut granite stone, except for two beavers and a lighthouse cast in concrete, which crown the buildings. It’s the emblem of the building’s developer.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E10.34


Westminster Avenue – 1000 block

1000 block Main

We’re not completely sure when the Bridge Hotel was built, or who designed it. It was at 796 Westminster Avenue just before the bridge that headed south over False Creek, and John Austin was running it in 1888 and in 1889 he was running it as well as the Stewart House on Water Street. In 1907 the Bridge Hotel was listed at 1080 Westminster Avenue (following a comprehensive renumbering of the street) and was run by Cunningham & Chapman; Samuel G Cunningham and Alvin Chapman. The 1903 Insurance Map shows it having only 2 storeys, and was a woodframe structure. In 1908 it was renamed as the Globe Hotel, although Cunningham and Chapman still operated it. It was a new stone faced building, developed by Kelly and Murray at a cost of $35,000, although we don’t know the architect involved.

In 1910 when our photograph was taken the five storey the VanDecar Hotel had appeared in the directory for the first time a little further to the north at 1038 Westminster Avenue. The plans for the building were probably drawn up in 1908, and the architect might have been John S Taylor. He was a Scot who arrived in Canada in 1905, aged 20, and worked in the CPR Offices until 1907, when he set up his architect’s office. If it is by him, the hotel is the earliest design we know to be associated with his work in Vancouver – he would have been only 23 when it was designed. Thomas Hooper designed a new iron canopy for the hotel entrance in 1909.

We recently came across this 1909 article that identifies the developer. “The Scott building Is one of six structures now in course of erection on Westminster avenue within a radius of four blocks. It is being built by the Vancouver Construction Co. for J. G. Scott at a cost of $55,000. The material is “bondosteel” concrete blocks and brick. It will be four stories high and have a spaclous basement. Three stores will occupy the lower floor. On the other floors there will be a total of 125 offices and rooms with modern conveniences. The location Is the corner of Westminster avenue and Park lane.” J G Scott had been mayor of New Westminster, and managed one of the biggest sawmills in the city, in Coal Harbour.

The directory shows that in 1910 there were a number of residents living full time in the hotel. There was a lunch counter run by John Tomkins and a cigar stand by Thomas J Tomkins. The barber’s shop was run by Lee Vandermark, and there was a Pool Room run by Kimber and Entursette. Herbert VanDecar was the manager, with L Bates VanDecar  of ‘VanDecar and sons’ living at the hotel (probably one of Herbert’s three sons). We assume this is the same L B VanDecar who ran the Royal Hotel in Cranbrook in 1905, with the slogan ‘Van always on hand to welcome guests’ and in 1907 moved to the Driard Hotel in Victoria. The other two brothers, Frank, and A B VanDecur weren’t listed in the Directory as living in the city. In that same year the Westminster Avenue bridge was rebuilt as a bascule bridge.

From 1910 to 1912 Samuel Cunningham, from the Globe, was no longer in the city, (or at least not in the City Directory) but in 1913 he was back, owning the Hotel Cunningham which was the new name for the VanDecar. There’s no sign of any of the VanDecar family in the city that year, and L B seems to have moved on to Port Alberni.

In 1920 the Globe was still in business; H Parkin was running it, and the street was now called Main Street. That year the Cunningham became the Ivanhoe with J G Scott running it, and Mrs Groves the housekeeper. There were a number of long-term residents including a carpenter, millwrights, a cook, a policeman, a diamond driller, the elevator operator at the Birks store, a miner and a welder.

Globe Hotel 1918In 1923 the Globe disappeared, acquired by the City of Vancouver for the expansion of the False Creek Flats that had been filled in to the east. This 1918 picture shows it hanging on while the new station is built behind, but a few years later the new park was created in front of the station buildings. Today the Ivanhoe continues to welcome world travelers as a Backpacker’s hotel as well as offering long-term accommodation for permanent guests, just as it did when it was first built.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Str P429 and CVA Bu N540.084