Archive for the ‘McPherson & Ross’ Tag

East Hastings Street – 1100 block, south side

There are three early buildings here, and we can pin down the development permit of both the apartment buildings. 1168 East Hastings is the apartment building on the right of the group next to the parking lot. It was built in 1911, cost $10,000, and was owned and designed by McPherson & Ross. Unfortunately, there seem to be no other references to ‘McPherson & Ross’ to help pin down who they might be. There were several McPhersons involves in real estate, and even more Rosses, but none listed in partnership.

The rooms, when they opened in 1912, were The Caledonia Rooms, and there were classified ads throughout 1912 mentioning hot and cold water in each of the furnished room, as well as steam heat, from $2.50. (That’s probably a weekly rate). In 1913 Mrs M. Logie was running the rooms. Success for the rooms was elusive; in 1915 Mrs. Gibson instructed an auction of “the residue of the contents of this well – known establishment, comprising I5 neat dressers, in good condition, iron bedsteads complete, wool blankets, sheets, bedspreads, feather plllows, comforters, pillow slips, centre tables, carpets, chairs, gas ranges. Mission oak sideboard, oak extension table, 20 yards heavy cork linoleum, miscellaneous effects, to be sold entirely without reserve.” Magdalene S Gibson was shown as proprietor of the rooms that year. She was Scottish, married to William Gibson, a machinist, and in 1911 they lived on Pender and had three sons at home as well as four lodgers.

On the end of the block today’s address is 1190 East Hastings. The first building on the block had been a 2-storey building built on the corner as early as 1903, numbered as 1888 E Hastings. It wasn’t occupied until 1905, when Douglas Gold, a grocer opened his store. The 1903 permit for the $1,000  store and dwelling was to John J Harrison. By 1908 Charles Levers was running the grocery, while at 1172 E Hastings there was the home of an engineer. In 1911 at 1182, the store on the corner was listed to John Stothart and Mrs M J Harrison lived upstairs, 1188 (to the west) was Richard Gosse living over a branch of Pat Burns East End Meat Market chain. The street directory identifies her as Mary Harrison, widow of John. John died in 1909, aged 54. The census lists her as M J Harrison, aged 54, from Ontario. There were ten roomers listed; five with two residents, and her son who was 17 and recorded as Glover J Gurrias.

As Mrs Harrison had carried out $1,500 of alterations to the frame of her building in 1911, (and fortunately we know from the recorded legal lot that it was the corner building) we assume that’s when she created the rooming house we see today. Why her son would have a different name, we’re unsure, (it looks like it was an error), but we can find Glover Harrison with his parents, John J and Mary Harrison, in the 1901 census, when he was aged 7. He had two sisters, Jennie, who was 13 and Apple, who was 12, both born in Manitoba. John was 45 and from Ireland, and was a teamster. Glover’s christening shows he was John Glover Harrison, born in July 1893, and his parents were John Joseph Harrison and Mary Jane Davidson.

The numbering was totally confusing for many years, with the 1912 Insurance map showing the corner building as 1882 and 1892 E Hastings, the two storey building to the west as 1888, and another house set back next to that as 1172. (The newly completed Caledonia Rooms hadn’t been given a number at that point). We are assuming that Mrs. Harrison’s building stayed where it was built, and she lived in the same building, but the irregular numbering created some confusion. She carried out more work on the building in 1922 and in 1925, and the building was described as office/ store and numbered as 1182. The street directory didn’t reflect the fact that the numbering was messed up, so ran the entries sequentially. Mrs. Harrison lived over the shop on the corner in 1915, when it was occupied by Thomas Brewis’s grocery store. Next door at 1888 the meat market and Richard Gosse were still here. In 1911 he was living here with his wife and two daughters. Mrs M A Brown ran a grocery underneath the Caledonia Rooms.

Mary Jane Harrison died, aged 82, in 1935. She was buried in Mountain View Cemetery, and her death notice said she was born in Stratford, Ontario in 1853. When he died in Mission, Glover Harrison was aged 81, and divorced. He had been born in Victoria, and was recorded as Glover Noble John Harrison. His sister Jennie was Jennie Little when she died in 1966, and Apple Beckett, who had been born in Winnipeg, and married in 1910, died in 1968.

Mary Harrison was still living on the corner in 1930, and the building was now called the Harrison Block, with 10 rented rooms (5 of them vacant that year). Vernon Bakery and Vernon Fish and Chips occupied 1192, the retail units below. Next door at 1188 E Hastings Burns & Co still ran a meat shop, with C C Taylor living upstairs. In 1940, following Mary’s death, Mrs. J B Little – her daughter, Jennie, was running the rooms, which had been changed back to six apartments, one of which she occupied. The corner had become Shoprite Stores, a grocers, and at 1188 Mr. Taylor was still living over a meat market – now Sterling Food markets. The Caledonia Rooms were now (confusingly, in terms of geographical accuracy) known as the Vernon Rooms, with a sub Post Office and N D Campbell’s grocery store on the main floor. In 1950 both the Vernon Apartment and the Harrison Apartments were listed. Sperling Food and Rex Grocery were operating in the stores.

Our 1978 image shows the Vernon Apartments were still in business, and with no retail use. The meat shop had a printing business operating, and on the corner was the Rex Groceteria – self-serve grocery. Today there are still marginal retail uses in the corner store and its neighbour operates as artists studios. Upstairs there are now 32 rooms, known for a while as Nortel Lodging House. The Vernon Apartments are still operating, and was recently sold as a ‘character rooming house’ with 30 units. The details failed to mention its reputation for illegal activities including drug dealing and residents with a record of firearms offences.


Posted 29 April 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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