Archive for the ‘Max Downing’ Tag

Seymour Street – 600 block

600 Seymour

We’ve featured both of the buildings in this picture already. On the left is Max Downing’s retail building for the Hudson’s Bay Company from 1933, and on the right is the St Regis Hotel. Leon Melekov, a successful businessman, hired W T Whiteway to design the hotel which opened in 1913. This 1974 image shows that neither building looked as good 40 years ago as they do today. The Archives identify the two businesses on the left as Salon George and Rae-Son Shoe Rack. The Salon was offering $2.95 haircuts.

The hotel was given an extensive $12m makeover, reopening in 2008 after an expensive new underground connection was built to allow disabled access for the SkyTrain station nearby. This was the community amenity contribution that allowed the residential tower that now fills in the sky behind the two buildings: The Hudson (on Granville Street). The Gotham steakhouse was renovated earlier by the same owner.

When it first opened the St Regis initially operated as a business hotel. Later it was where visiting sportsmen often chose to stay, and by the time this picture was taken it had moved further down market with a strip show – one of around thirty in the city at that time –  and in the final years before renovation it featured Jester’s Grill and Tap Room.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-420


Posted August 11, 2014 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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619 Seymour Street

619 Seymour

Today this is half of the Gotham Steakhouse (now numbered as 615 Seymour), a single storey protected heritage building next to the St Regis Hotel. In 1943 in this Vancouver Public Library image it was home to Brooks Corning, an office furniture company who have been in business in the city for over a century. This was their store when the building was just 10 years old. We’ve seen a series of buildings in the Art Deco style by Townley and Matheson – but this is by a different architect, Max Downing. He worked in the city from 1910, and in 1933 he was hired by the Hudson’s Bay Company to design this project – (the Bay’s main building is just up the street on the same block).

The building used cast in place concrete with either terra-cotta or cast concrete patterned detailing below a crenellated concrete useful artscornice. From 1936, the same year that Brooks Corning moved in, the other half of the building was occupied by the Deutschland Café. For obvious reasons that business did not continue in the 1940s, and when this picture was taken the occupant of the other half of the building was ‘The Academy of Useful Arts’. Those are almost certainly dress forms for tailoring in the window.

The Deutschland Café had been on Robson Street in 1934, and the earliest tenants of this building appear to have been B A Rhodes selling sporting goods and Lewis and Sills selling hardware in the right hand store, while Dale’s Doggie Headquarters shared premises with the Empire Garden Nurseries in this half of the building – although the doggies only lasted a year, and the plants only another year after that.


Posted August 7, 2014 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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