Archive for the ‘James Keagey’ Tag

Granville Street – 800 block, west side (3)

We’ve looked at the west side of this block of Granville looking north is previous posts, but not looking south, from Robson Street. The picture dates from 1951, when there were still plenty of competing cinemas with vertical blade signs. On the east side wire the Capitol and the Orpheum; the bigger theatres on the block, but the Paradise and Plaza had equally large signs, even if their capacity was less. The Paradise opened in 1938, showing Paul Robeson in “The Big Fella”. The 1938 art deco facade was designed by Thomas Kerr, and the cinema had 790 seats. This wasn’t the first cinema here, in 1912 The Globe opened, designed by an engineer, C P Gregory, for the Pacific Amusement Company. It cost $40,000, and three years later was altered by new owners the Hope Investment Company. There were further alterations a year later, when W P Nichols was shown as the owner, and in 1922 a pipe organ was installed. The theatre was taken over by Odeon in 1941 who later refurbished and reopened it as the Coronet Theatre in 1964 showing Peter Sellers in “The Pink Panther”. In 1976 the cinema was twinned – two smaller screens allowed less popular movies to be shown. The Coronet cinema closed in 1986, although that wasn’t the end of its movie-house story.

Odeon also acquired the Plaza Theatre just up Granville Street in the early 1960s. Their theatre was three doors to the south of the Paradise, as we saw in an earlier post photographed in 1974. That was another Thomas Kerr design, from 1936, which was a rebuild of the 1908 Maple Leaf Theatre. Today it’s Venue, a nightclub that (until recent restrictions) had live music as well as DJs. As other cinemas closed on Granville, Odeon decided to close the Plaza, and acquired the Vermilyea Block (next to the Plaza), designed by William Blackmore in 1893 and operated for years as The Palms Hotel. They also demolished 855 Granville, a 1920 office building developed by J F Mahon. They combined the Paradise and the two adjacent buildings and in 1987 the Cineplex Granville 7 opened, with a total of over 2,400 seats in seven cinemas in a building that incorporated the facade of both the Vermilyea and the Coronet, with a new building between. The cinema closed in 2012 as the Empire Granville, and is now being redeveloped as The Rec Room, another Cineplex entertainment complex, but with no movie element.

On the corner today is the Mason Robson Centre which a few years ago replaced the Farmer Building, and incorporated the facade of the Power Block, a 1929 Townley and Matheson art deco building. The demolished back of the building dated back to 1888, when it was developed by Captain William Power, of North Vancouver, who hired N S Hoffar to design it. The tall building to the south is the Medical Arts Building, a $100,000 investment developed by J J Coughlin and designed by Maurice Helyer in 1922 (and still used as office space today). John J Coughlin ran a Vancouver construction company – the biggest in the city. His company built the $200,000 Second Hotel Vancouver, a block from here to the north. The small building to the south is now missing the design elements initially included by architect James Keagey for his clients recorded in the building permit as ‘Powers and Boughton’ in 1913. Actually they were John E Powis and G E Broughton, real estate agents and developers.

Image source: City of Vancouver archives CVA 772-8

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Hamilton Street – 1000 block, east side

This 1981 image shows Yaletown warehouses when the area was still mostly used for industry and storage. The building on the corner of Hamilton Street however had already transitioned to office space – with the sign offering individual offices and basement storage space. The building had been developed in 1910, designed by James W Keagey for the McClary Manufacturing Company, and costing $35,000. McClary’s made stoves in London, Ontario, and had already developed an earlier property on Water Street in 1897. Keagey had moved from Ontario around 1909, and won the competition to design the Rowing Club clubhouse, still standing today in Stanley Park. He was also an artist; two of his paintings made in Egypt in 1917 are in the National Gallery. Today the warehouse is a bank, and upstairs, although it’s not obvious from this angle, is a Keg steakhouse with a relatively recently added rooftop patio.

Next door to the south is a warehouse that we looked at several years ago. It was designed by an Italian born architect, Raphael A Nicolais, for Buckley and Baker. During the 1920s it was home to Consolidated Exporters Corporation, whose history we didn’t look at in the earlier post – but we should, as they have a fascinating history. The company was something of a ‘marriage of convenience’. In 1922, when Prohibition was enacted in the US, Canadian brewers and alcohol suppliers quickly established supply lines to illegally move alcohol into the US. The Canadian Government made very few moves to limit this increasingly profitable trade. (Imports of alcohol into Canada were all legal, and sometimes even paid duty, although it wasn’t required if the goods were for re-export. They took the view that re-export was none of the concern of the government). The one token gesture to placate the Americans was a move to increase the cost of an annual export licence from $3,000 to $10,000. To circumvent this additional cost, fifteen companies (brewers, distillers and agents) formed a liquor export conglomerate, and paid for just one licence for the Consolidated Exporters Corporation. There were several other affiliated businesses that weren’t listed, including United Distillers whose manufacturing plant was located in Marpole.

Over a short time it became apparent that joint operations had other significant advantages. As well as a shared warehouse, the new business quickly established a fleet of ‘mother ships’ that theoretically were heading to ports in Central America, although almost always didn’t quite make it that far. Instead they ‘hung out’ off San Francisco, beyond the US 12-mile limit, (and later off Ensenada, slightly further south). They would carry anything up to a million dollars worth of alcohol –  for example Federalship, crewed by Vancouver residents, flagged in Panama but owned by Consolidated was seized in 1927 (illegally, the US courts would later determine) carrying 12,500 cases of highest quality whisky and wine, imported from Glasgow. Supposedly headed for Buenaventura in Columbia, the boat was arrested (after being hit by the Coastguard cutter’s guns), in international waters 270 miles off San Francisco.

By the mid 1930s Goodyear Rubber were in the lower warehouse, and Consolidated continued to operate from the other building, but sharing with Davis Liquor and Canada Dry Ginger Ale. By 1940, once prohibition was over, Consolidated no longer operated, and a variety of manufacturers agents and storage companies used the warehouse. That was still the case in 1955, with Goodyear continuing to use the warehouse on the corner.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E14.05

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Posted 6 February 2020 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, Yaletown

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