Archive for the ‘Mercer & Mercer’ Tag

1100 Granville Street – west side (3)

Here’s the remaining southern end of Granville Street’s 1100 block. In this 1928 image there’s a Royal Bank branch on the corner of the street. It was there three years later, when we looked at its history in an earlier post. The corner building was designed and built by Bedford Davidson for P Burns & Co at a cost of $5,000 in 1916. The West End Meat Market was part of the meat empire controlled by Pat Burns, and there had been an earlier store here for several years. Four years later builders Coffin & McClennan carried out $500 of repairs for the Royal Bank of Canada – who were the tenants on the corner from when the building was constructed in 1916. In 1952 the building was replaced with a bigger bank building, possibly designed by Mercer and Mercer (the bank’s preferred local architects of the day). The building is still standing, but not as a bank. For many years it was a Chinese restaurant, painted pink, although it’s been repainted green very recently.

There are two very similar two-storey buildings to the north. Both were constructed in the early 1900s when the permits have been lost. They appear around 1909, when Madame Jane De Gendron, a dressmaker was at 1183 Granville, Gordon Baird sold hardware next door at 1181, and the upper floor was at 1179 was vacant. The Depot for Christian Literature was at 1175. 1169 (upstairs) was shown as vacant

The single storey building was designed by Sharp and Thompson for F Cockshult in 1923, built by Baynes and Horie for $4,000. With a name like that, you’d think it would be easy to trace the developer. He certainly didn’t live in Vancouver, but someone with that name; Frank Cockshult, was recorded crossing into the US from Canada in 1909. Ho crossed again several times after that, but always as Frank Cochshutt, which is how he was recorded in the census as well. He lived in Brantford, Ontario, where he was involved in the family business; a very successful agricultural equipment company. The family certainly visited Vancouver – in 1930 The Vancouver Sun recorded “Mr. and Mrs. Frank Cockshutt of Brantford, who have been holidaying In California, are at the Hotel Vancouver en route home.” Why he would build a single storey retail store here is a mystery. It certainly wasn’t to open a showroom for the company wares – it was first occupied by the West End Floral Co, then the Roselawn Floral Co. Here’s another view of the same buildings, looking south rather than north, taken in 1981. It shows that the single storey building was still a florists. Today it’s split between a donair café and a Vape store (replacing the tattoo store in the ‘after’ shot we took a couple of years ago).

The next two storey building also appears (as a single storey building) around 1908, when and Halpins Grocery was at 1167. A $500 permit was taken out by L D Mitchell to build “Offices/Stores; one-storey brick building” in 1915. As there was already a store here, we assume that the modest value suggests an addition or alteration. The second floor must have been added later, although BC Assessment seem to think the building dates back to 1905. Today it’s vacant, having been a an unauthorized cannabis retail store before regulation limited their numbers.

There’s an approved development permit to replace all the building from the corner to the Clifton Hotel with a seven storey residential building, but the developer seems to be in no hurry to build it, and is offering several currently vacant units for rent.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4505 and CVA 779-W03.21



Posted 23 January 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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Salvation Army – Gore and East Hastings

Salvation Army Gore & Hastings 1

Today’s Salvation Army Citadel at Gore and East Hastings was called “as modern as tomorrow” when it opened in February, 1950. Today it could be more accurately described as “as tired as the day before yesterday”. It’s days may be numbered as the owner since 2001, Vancouver Coastal Heath, have no use for it, and recently BC Housing issued an Request For Proposals for a non-market housing design for the site. Mercer and Mercer designed the monumental building in a somewhat retro art deco style (twenty years after the height of that style, in 1950). When it was built there was an auditorium, a gym in the basement and a kitchen and offices. It wasn’t the first Salvation Army building on the site – that was the building shown here in this 1950 Walter Frost image.

It opened in 1907, and it too boasted offices and a 600 seat auditorium. The hotel (the Hotel Welcome) behind on Gore was also run by the Salvation Army as a hostel for 100 men, with a library and other facilities. The press coverage of the day initially didn’t identify an architect, but the way that it had been designed with the experience of the Army in it’s work in other cities suggested it may have been the work of a talented officer within the Army. This is confirmed in a Daily World article that identified Brigadier Gideon Miller, the staff architect based in Toronto. There was also a basement ‘clean-up’ facility, where loggers could get a shower and a shave, and burn any rubbish (or verminous clothes) so that they could rejoin ‘civilized’ society and find a room in one of the many hotels in the area that catered to their needs through the winter season when logging and mining stopped. The auditorium had an arrangement that the Army’s Commissioner, from his Toronto office, thought worthy of replicating across the country. The chairs were arranged with their back legs in a trough that ran across the room, allowing them to remain in place to ensure the order the Army preferred, while allowing them to me manoeuvred singly when necessary.

It was still operating in 1923 when the Daily World reported “A man may be down but he Is never out.” This well known slogan of the Salvation Army is the first thing one thinks of on entering the Hotel Welcome, which is the big brick building with the geraniums in the windows, on Gore Avenue and Hastings Street. Here the Salvation Army has established a self – supporting home a small hotel which is a veritable refuge to the man who may be temporarily short of funds. “We never turn a man away, whether he has money or not, as long as we have enough beds to go around,”  said Captain J. Birchall, the other rainy afternoon, as he concluded an informal tour of inspection. ‘The charge for the night is 30 cents. We don’t supply meals here, but we give the men meal tickets if they are short of cash and they are welcome to stay here until we can find them jobs. Often odd jobs, such as gardening and window cleaning, help to put a man on his feet when he is down on his luck. We try to help a man climb back, if he wants to.”

There is accommodation for fifty men in the Hotel Welcome, and a few emergency cots can be set up if the place is crowded. It usually is full. Instead of a dormitory system there are private bedrooms and single beds. Downstairs In the reception hall, where in pleasantly chintz – hung windows red geraniums bloom, there are many books on a big table, lots of comfortable chairs, pictures on the walls and a general air of homeliness that one can imagine must be very grateful to men who are at loose ends with life. A black cat purred comfortably in the lap of a man over in the window reading a well – thumbed copy of a History of the War. Captain Birchall and the janitor run the hotel, and when men stay there, waiting for jobs, as they often do, they too, “pitch in,” Captain Birchall says, and help keep house. “It’s more like a home than a hotel, I can tell you,” said a man with the Cockney accent. And three or four men sitting around listening to the rain splashing against the windows nodded approval. Across the street is the Salvation Army industrial store, where Captain Birchall spends part of his time when he is not finding work for men who need it, and doing other odd Jobs such, as writing out meal tickets and visiting the sick. 

This wasn’t even the first building here – that would be the Windsor House; Miss Helen Ostrom prop. The Salvation Army moved out of their premises in 1982, and in 1984 it was sold to the Gold Buddha Monastery for $900,000. The Monastery sold it in 2001, when it moved to a new building in Mount Pleasant

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-302


Posted 22 February 2016 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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Granville & Davie – nw corner

Granville & Davie 4

The corner building on Granville and Davie was a bank for many years. The first buildings here were two storeys high, built around 1901, and we haven’t found an image of them. The corner was initially the Braden Meat Market, and from 1908 to 1916 the corner store was the West End Meat Market. In 1916 the building in the image above was designed and built by Bedford Davidson for P Burns & Co at a cost of $5,000. The West End Meat Market was part of the meat empire controlled by Pat Burns. Four years later builders Coffin & McClennan carried out $500 of repairs for the Royal Bank of Canada – who were the tenants from when the building was constructed.

The building didn’t really change its appearance from when it was built until 1931, when our Vancouver Public Library image was taken. We have an image that shows the left hand side of the building in 1916, and the only significant difference was the lack of any awnings.

We assume that at some point the Bank acquired the building; in 1952 they replaced it with a two-storey structure (that’s still standing today). We haven’t identified the architect, but the most likely candidates are Mercer and Mercer, the father and son partnership who had a contract with the bank to design new branches throughout the province. Our 1970s image shows the bank still in operation; in more recent years it has been a Chinese restaurant, but that’s also likely to change soon as there’s an approved replacement residential and retail building that will be seven storeys.

Granville & Davie 1


Posted 14 December 2015 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone, Still Standing

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