Archive for the ‘Otto Marstrand’ Tag

280 East 6th Avenue

This brick building, constructed over a stone base, dates back to 1903. The wall shows the painted name of Fell’s Candy Factory, and B F Fell carried out alterations when he supposedly moved his business here in 1919. He obtained a permit for the work that year, and his name is on the building, but the business was never listed in the street directory. 280 East 6th is missing as an address in 1920, and the building was listed as vacant in 1921 and 1922, although Benjamin Fell, a confectioner, was living on Collingwood Avenue.

The building was developed by Vancouver Breweries, Ltd in 1903, and the permit shows G Marshand as the designer and J Bryhuskin building the $8,000 building. We’re reasonably certain that was Otto Marstrand, who was a partner in the brewery with Charles Doering. Quite who the builder was we’re not sure. Bryhuskin isn’t a name, as far as we can tell. A guess would suggest perhaps F W Brightenstein, who was a contractor, or Charles Brusatore, who worked for Vancouver Breweries. One report says Mr. Gellarchaud was supervising architect – but again, nobody of that name (or anything close) shows up in the city. The building had an ice-making plant (for lager production) and a bottle-washing plant.

Otto Marstrand arrived from Denmark and become a partner in Doering’s Brewer in 1892, (while Charles was German, and had been in BC since 1879, initially in Victoria). Otto’s experience was as managing director of a large Danish brewery, and his partnership in Vancouver Breweries was to brew Alexandria Lager – or perhaps Alexandra – using Okanagan barley. (both these ads appeared in 1901). It was described as “a pure, wholesome beverage, and contains no harmful ingredients. It is highIy recommended as a tonic for weak and debilitated people.” When this building was constructed Otto had just bought a house on the 800 block of West Hastings overlooking Burrard Inlet. He sold the house to The Terminal City Club in 1909, who in turn sold it to the Metropolitan Building Co.

We know very little more about him; while there were several Otto Marstrands in Copenhagen he seems to have evaded any census while he lived in Canada. Because we can find his son, Jens, we think we found the family in Copenghagen in 1890. Otto was 41, his wife Dorthea (Lund) was 30, and they had six children aged between 6 and 12, with Jens aged 9.

In 1906 Otto was made Danish consul, and the news report noted that he was from ‘one of the oldest families in Denmark’, and that his cousin was mayor of Copenhagen. That year we know his business interests included the building where the Atlantic Saloon was located. We know her had at least two children; Karen, who trained as a nurse in 1901, and a son, Jens, who moved to Tacoma, where he was a farmer where he died in 1933, aged 52. Otto returned to Denmark in 1906, following an auction sale of the particulars of his house, including “valuable furniture, pony and trap, buggy, dog cart, horse, pool table, etc, etc.’ He died there ‘of heart trouble’ in 1911. His son Jens married in Los Angeles in 1907, and died in Pierce County, Washington in 1933.

The building was briefly home to the Purity Dairy, run by Frank Musgrave, but it was empty again in 1930. In 1934 Canadian Aviation used the building, and in 1935 the Canada Grease Works, with Theo Clarke managing, moved in, staying for at least a decade. Stucco Supply also occupied the premises through the 1940s, which was split into two. By 1955 Utility Containers occupied one unit, and James T Leigh’s Leigh Holdings the other. He was a manufacturer’s agent, although we don’t know what items he sold – but we do know his wife was Flossy. Their daughter, Verdun Perl lived in London in the 1950s, and had previously been a violinist in the VSO. She was born during the First World War while her father was fighting in Europe, and had grown up in Cowley in southern Alberta. Maso Import China took over around 1966, and from the 1970s the building was mostly unused. Our image dates from the 1980s, not too long before Kasian Kennedy designed the residential conversion of the building into 14 strata artist live-work studios, with a third storey added, completed in 1993.

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Posted 4 March 2021 by ChangingCity in Mount Pleasant, Still Standing

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