Archive for the ‘Parr and Fee’ Tag
None of the three buildings shown in this image (probably dating to early 1906) are still standing today. Indeed, we don’t think any of them lasted more than 10 years. We think the original brick building closest to us only stayed up for eight years, and was built in 1903. We’re pretty certain it was designed by W T Whiteway for Sam Kee, the company run by Chang Toy, described as ‘Brick & stone building’ and according to the permit, costing $12,000. The Sam Kee name can be seen on the building, and this is where the company was based for a while. Kwong Fat Yuen Co also had their name on the building; for a short while they operated as labour suppliers, and may have been related to a company of the same name in Shanghai.
The Daily World of June 19, 1903, confirms the building’s planning – with either a typo or price inflation: “Chinatown’s progress; A permit was taken out this morning for a building adjoining the tramway company’s property of Carrall Street for a Chinese firm. Mr. W. T. Whiteway is the architect. The building is to be two stories high and to be built of brick and stone. The cost is to be $13,000”. The building had a third storey added around 1907, but was demolished around 1910 and replaced by the BC Electric Railway Co’s building designed by W M Somervell, completed in 1911. That structure, still standing today as offices and a retail showroom, cost $350,000 and was built by McDonald and Wilson. No doubt Chang Toy made sure he was appropriately compensated for selling his property.
Beyond it to the south was the Chinese Methodist Mission fronting Pender Street. It was designed by Parr and Fee in 1899, and replaced only seven years later (soon after this picture) by the Chinese Freemasons Building constructed in 1906, for the Chee Kung Tong – a ‘secret society’ founded in the middle of the 19th Century by Chinese working in the BC gold fields. The permit, in summer 1906 was to Sing Sam, for a $20,000 3-storey brick and stone structure for stores & warehouse. Dr. Sun Yat Sen is reported to have stayed in the building, probably in 1911, while raising funds for his revolutionary Kuomintang party during his period of exile from China. It appears that the building may also have been mortgaged by the Tong in 1911 to support the revolution. In 1920 the organization changed their name to the Chinese Freemasons, although they are not associated with traditional freemasonry.
The original architect has not been identified; it could have been W T Whiteway who had several commissions in Chinatown. Alterations to the restaurant in the building costing $1,000 were designed by architect S B Birds in 1913; the owner was still Sing Sam. There was also a branch of the Bank of Vancouver on the ground floor. We don’t know a lot about Sam Sing, but we know he was wealthy enough to guarantee the $500 head tax for Fung Ying Quoy, and that he is buried in Mountain View Cemetery. He ran a store in the East Hotel (also designed by Samuel Birds), and in 1907 his business was based at 1 Canton Street, the address for which he received $335 in compensation for damage after that year’s anti-Asian riot.
The building was home to the Pekin Chop Suey House, whose slogan can still be seen today. The facades are all that remain of the original building; they were retained when the rest of the building was demolished in 1975, after a fire, and it was remodeled again in 2006 with architect Joe Wai restoring some of the lost heritage elements, and converting the upper floors to residential use.
Across Pender street was another Sam Kee property. We don’t know when he built this one, or who designed it, but it was 2 storeys, and already shows up on the 1901 insurance map – which was probably when it was built as before that the street directory suggests it was Cleeve Canning & Cold Storage Co and Bradbury & Brown’s stone cutting yard. This building lasted about 10 years, but in 1910 the city expropriated most of the land for road widening, leaving the company with a ‘useless’ (or so the City thought) six foot sliver. Chang Toy wasn’t too hard done by; the Sam Kee firm instructed its lawyer (W A Macdonald K C) to start negotiations for compensation of $70,000 to reach the desired value of $62,ooo. Then Bryan and Gillam were hired to design the $8,000 steel framed building that still stands there today on the shallow lot, completed in 1913, which added additional space under the sidewalk to squeeze in a barber’s store and bath house – but no secret tunnels.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-522
Arthur Griffith and his son Malcolm were carpenters. Arthur arrived in the city before 1894, and lived on Richards Street. His son Malcolm shows up in the street directory at the same address in 1898. Arthur was still shown as a carpenter in the 1901 census, aged 64, and Malcolm was a contractor. There were two lodgers living in the household as well in 1901, Annie Montgomery and Mary Neil. The family also had a live-in servant.
In 1902 Malcolm Griffith married Annie Jeannie McKenzie Montgomery, who was born in Peebles, Scotland. Malcolm was born in South Durham, Quebec. His father, Arthur, was also from Quebec and still head of the household in 1911, aged 74, and living on his investments. Malcolm was shown as a contractor, aged 40, married to Annie, and living with his two-year-old son, John and his sister, also called Annie, who was born in Prince Edward Island.
The year before Malcolm had built this hotel; the Glenaird Hotel for himself at a cost of $55,000. An experienced contractor, he also built one of the other hotels on the same block, but this one was for himself, as were twenty houses, most in the West End. Altogether we’ve tracked over $350,000 of work he was responsible for building, including several Shaughnessy mansions, including one for his family in 1911. He hired Parr and Fee who gave him a version of their standard white glazed brick product with centre-pivoting windows – one of three on this block.
In 1906 the family were involved in the tragic wreck of the Valencia; a liner involved in the Seattle to San Francisco route that struck a reef off Vancouver Island with the loss of over 100 passengers and crew. “M.C. Griffith of Vancouver enquired as to his brother-in-law, John Montgomery. Mr. Griffith described him as 5 feet 10 inches in height and 175 lbs. in weight, smooth-shaven, with heavy shoulders, and having tattooed arms and scars on his chest and temple.
Victoria’s Daily Colonist for February 6, 1906, reported that the tug Lorne had returned from the search the previous day with the bodies of 9 men and 3 women. Four bodies had been definitely identified and two tentatively. One of the latter was likely that of quartermaster John Montgomery. The description was similar to that given by Mr. Griffith: ‘Male – 5 feet 8 inches, long hair, features unrecognizable: no clothing. On left arm a British and Danish shield tattooed in blue and red, also a star with blue border tattooed on same arm. On right arm, three cross fishes tattooed in blue.’ Montgomery’s naval record showed his actual height to be 5 feet 7 inches which is very close to the description of the recovered body. The most distinguishing feature, however, is that of the tattoo showing three crossed fish. This unusual feature is actually the coat of arms for the Town of Peebles, Scotland where John was born and raised. This evidence strongly implies that the body was indeed that of John Montgomery”.
Our 1926 image by Stuart Thomson shows the main floor occupied by William Thomas McArthur’s hardware store. He was born in New Brunswick, and sold an eclectic mix of ranges, furnaces and children’s cycles and tricycles (seen in the upper windows of this more detailed image). The company occupied this space in 1920, replacing Cunningham’s hardware store, who had occupied the space since the building had been completed. W T McArthur came to Vancouver in 1907 as the representative for Fisher Bros. Foundry (makers of Enterprise stoves and furnaces) in Sackville, New Brunswick. He had a warehouse on Homer street as well as this retail store. In addition to business interests in Vancouver, He purchased land in Pitt Meadows and established a large herd of Ayrshire dairy cattle which became the basis of a commercial dairy business in Vancouver, Meadowvale Creameries Ltd. He was the chairman of the Dairy Products Marketing Board, and a prominent member of the Liberal Party.
In 1921 he was identified as part of a group of Liberal Party members controlling liquor licences, and the public accounts committee heard from a failed licence seeker “I went to see McArthur, and he asked, ‘What pull do you think you have to get a licence over me?’ I replied that I had the promises of four Cabinet Ministers. McArthur replied, ‘I don’t give a _____ for all the Cabinet Ministers in Victoria. I’m running Vancouver and will see who gets licences.’ McArthur denied everything and the Conservatives couldn’t prove anything, but a few years later Henry Reifel gave evidence to a commission into smuggling. In December 1926 he stated that over the previous eighteen months he had made nearly $100,000 in political contributions, including $40,000 to Liberal bagman William McArthur in Vancouver; some of the payments were “in the nature of loans and donations to fight prohibition.” The Liberals lost the 1928 election, in part because of the scandals over liquor. McArthur died of pneumonia in 1940 after crashing into a water-filled ditch in Pitt Meadows.
Today the Glenaird Rooms have become the Samesun Backpacker’s Hostel, converted in 1999. In the conversion rooms were converted to bathrooms, which were necessary because there are an advertised 220 beds available in the property.
Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-1434 and CVA 99-5415
The Manhattan is a much-loved West End building that has survived for over 100 years. We took the contemporary image a couple of years ago, but fortunately nothing much has changed in the recent past. Lumber baron W L Tait hired Parr and Fee to design this building, as he did with his other significant investment, The Orillia, further east on Robson Street. His other major investment, also designed by Parr and Fee, was his home, Glen Brae, an enormous house in Shaughnessy completed in 1910 at a cost of $100,000. (Today it’s the Canuck place children’s hospice). Completed in 1908, when it opened there were 47 apartments and three stores on Robson street, a bakery, a drugstore and a skirt company.
William Lamont Tait was a Scot, born in Dumfrieshire in 1847. His 1913 biography says “In shingle and sawmill business, Gravenhurst and Orillia, Ont, 1870. Came to British Columbia, 1891; operated lumber mills in own name, Vancouver, 1891-1903; sold out to Rat Portage Lumber Co., 1903. Married Jane Gray Donaldson, Orillia, Ont., 1871; has six sons and two daughters.” The Manhattan was started in 1907 and completed in early 1908, with a wooden frame construction, and clad in Clayburn bricks.
Our image above dates from 1912. In 1908 the Daily World newspaper listed a $30,000 investment for an addition to the Manhattan which had been completed that year, but as far as we can tell nothing was built at that time. The postcard on the left dates from a little after the completion of the building, which clearly consisted of the structure still standing today. Four years late, in 1912 Tait hired the Jewett Design Co to add what was described on the permit as ‘a four storey building’ next door to the east of the Manhattan costing $20,000. What was built actually had five storeys, so either Mr. Tait went back to the design of his more expensive earlier addition, or Mr Jewitt adapted his design which borrowed the details from Parr and Fee’s original building both in terms of brickwork and bay windows. The 1912 Archives image shows the fifth floor of the additional building under construction, with the frame complete. Today it’s pretty much hidden from this angle by the street tree.
Since 1982 the building has been a housing co-op, converted from market rental, with Thompson Berwick & Pratt and Norman Hotson Architects working on the design of the renovated building.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu P722
We looked at a 1940 image of this building in an earlier post. We also featured the building next door, 152 West Hastings to contrast the state it had got into by the early 2000s to how it is today, following restoration. Our earlier post noted the information contained in the Heritage Statement “In 1939, E. Chrystal & Co. changed the east half of the facade to match that on the west; the cornice on the west half was removed as well and replaced with a single continuous cornice”. As this 1914 image shows, that’s not accurate. It was the western façade (closest to us) built in 1901 for Jonathan Rogers at a cost of $10,000, designed by Parr and Fee, that was altered. The second floor windows were originally a shallow wooden bay window; today both facades match 152 West Hastings built in 1904 and designed by William Blackmore and Son. It cost $8,000 and the developer was listed as E Rogers – Elizabeth, Jonathan Rogers’ wife (who he married in 1902). E. Chrystal & Co were a sash and door manufacturer. Jonathan Rogers went on to develop the Rogers Building at Pender and Granville
There aren’t too many passing references to the Trocadero, which was here for many decades from at least as early as 1911. Delbert Guerin recalled that his mother Gertie, of Squamish and English lineage, was hustled into a corner table to be hidden from other customers, and as a result the family never ate there again. In 1936 the restaurant was the scene of a sit-down strike by waitresses who were fighting for unionization, better pay and working conditions. The Women’s Labour History Collection at SFU interviewed one of the strikers, Marion Sarich, who noted that “I was a bus girl, I was working seven days a week at, I don’t know I think it was 25 cents an hour … they weren’t allowed to work us over eight hours but they did … So we started organizing and had a strike. The CP’s Housewives’ League, the Women’s Labor League, and the CP Women’s Auxiliaries supported the stnke, as did much of the general public.” Anita Anderson, another striker and bus girl at the Trocadero remarked that “the police were sympathetic to the strikers because they ate there and got to know the bus girls and the waitresses. The customers became just like a family because they were eating there everyday and you saw them everyday“.
There were 138 covers at the Trocadero Grill, which although known in the 1930s as a Greek restaurant with its own bakery, didn’t start out that way. It was initially owned by Donald D McKinnon, who advertised in ‘The Kilt’ in 1916 as ‘A Café for Highlanders, run by a Highlander’. Donald McKinnon was living on Melville Street in 1911, aged 34, with his 24 year-old Ontario-born wife, Kay and their five year old daughter, Kate. He had arrived in Canada in 1901 and the family had four lodgers, Juliet Cooper, Cassandra Walker, Mabel Hutchinson and Ethel Eggar. Before he ran the Trocadero Mr McKinnon appears to have managed the Winton Motor Car Co showroom. In 1914 he acquired the mineral rights of a property in the Peace Valley. By 1919 the Trocadero was run by J Makris, A Ziongas and H Mavris, an had presumably changed to its Greek manifestation. Donald McKinnon had become a manager of the Kincaid, Water Wheel and Power Company. (We know it’s the same Donald McKinnon, because his home address stayed the same). The McKinnon Water Wheel and Power Company as it then became offered a small, powerful wheel attached to a generator for mining operations that was said to be far lighter and easier to utilize than gasoline generators of the day. This was not the only application: the BC Government powered the electricity for the town of Squamish using a McKinnon wheel, and the 1919 report of the BC Department of Railways commented “This may be said to be the first special wheel of this or any type to be manufactured in the Province, and it has proved most satisfactory during the trials, – only a few minor alterations and adjustments requiring to be made.” The company survived well into the 1920s.
Today there’s a restaurant again where the Trocadero once operated – part of the Warehouse chain.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives LGN 1271
We have previously reviewed the development of Edward Lipsett’s properties to the left of this picture in an earlier post, and a subsequent follow-up. (We also looked at The Gold House, the hotel that was here earlier). We were fairly sure that the property was developed in phases, with the first being a warehouse and factory for Edward Lipsett, sail maker, costing $10,000 and designed by Dalton and Eveleigh in 1906. This image is undated, but comes from the early 1900s – which would match our understanding of the property phasing. It’s clear that the Lipsett building has two floors at this point, and had a vacant lot to the west, so that matches our understanding that a $20,000 permit in 1912 for a 2-storey brick addition saw the building extended vertically. The subsequent infill to the west came later, initially with just one storey, then completed to almost match the 1906/1912 building.
Beyond is Sven Sherdahl’s Dominion Hotel, developed in 1900 and designed by Emil Guenther. Across Abbott Street is the Winters Hotel from 1907, and on the other side of Water Street is Parr and Fee’s Leeson, Dickie, Gross and Co’s warehouse, built in 1909 (so pushing the date of the picture into a narrower band). Across Abbott is McLennan & McFeely’s warehouse that they leased to the Canadian Fairbanks Company, built in 1905. In 1914 (and not 1912 as the Heritage Statement suggest) the Prince Rupert Meat Company built the seven storey warehouse on the extreme right of the picture next to Leeson’s, which they claimed to design and build themselves. That logically puts the date of the image between 1910 and 1913.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA M-11-53
This is the Malkin Warehouse on Water Street, and if you had any doubt about what W H Malkin traded in, they added a huge sign to make sure you knew they were wholesale grocers (very obvious in this 1929 Vancouver Public Library image).
William Malkin arrived in Canada from Burslem in Staffordshire in 1884, joining his brother James in Grenfell, Saskatchewan. Not doing well as wheat farmers, William went to work with a hardware importer, and after selling their homestead, James went off to work in Lethbridge, Alberta. A few years later they both ended up in Vancouver, James moving independently first, then William with the wholesaler he was working for, listed in the street directory as ‘O Percy Skrine’ who acquired premises on Water Street. In 1891, Osmund Percie Skrine was a farmer and general store owner in Grenfell; (the Archives have a photograph of his sheep farm), who had previously managed a tea estate in Ceylon. A third brother, John, joined them, also working for Mr. Skrine.
In 1897 W H Malkin bought out the Skrine business, (the owner was no longer living in Vancouver in 1898, and doesn’t appear in the 1901 Census. He settled in Bradford upon Avon in England in 1905, and died there in 1924.) The name of the company was changed to W H Malkin & Co, with both his older and younger brother joining the company. The Malkins built a 5-storey warehouse at 137 Water Street in 1897 (where the Skrine warehouse had been located), and in 1903 moved to a new bigger warehouse at 353 Water Street, built by J McLuckie. Finally, growing even more to meet demand from the mining boom in the Kootenays and the Klondike Gold Rush, they built this building in 1907 and extended it eastwards in 1912. The first building was designed by Parr and Fee; its twin’s design was claimed by the owners and built by J M McLuckie at a cost of $55,000. It’s unclear what Parr & Fee thought about their design being replicated without receiving payment, (if that was the case), but it wasn’t exactly a complicated project in the first place – certainly far less advanced than the warehouse on the same block that they designed, completed in 1909. It’s a huge structure constructed on the tried and true ‘brick and stick’ basis, with huge structural timbers making the frame (decreasing in size, and weight, the further up the building you go) and a brick skin, often barely attached to the frame.
Like many of the successful merchants the family were involved in civic and professional organisations. W H was a Director of both the British Columbia Permanent Loan Co and the Pacific Coast Fire Insurance Co. He was President of the Board of Trade in 1902 and 1903 and was a member of the royal commission on provincial assessment and taxation in 1910 and 1911. He was very involved in the Methodist Church, and also a Freemason.
The company grew significantly, and specialised in importing grocery from England. They were the importers for Peek Freans biscuits, Chivers of Cambridge and Cadburys of York. Their 1897 premises were 5,000 square feet in size – with the addition to their 1907 warehouse in 1912 they had 116,000 square feet of space. The company sold a comprehensive line of spices, jams and tinned goods, some as ‘Malkin’s Best’ and some under the ‘Malko’ brand.
In 1929 W H Malkin became mayor, partly on a platform of reform to clear up what was seen as a corrupt police force (a perennial Vancouver issue, but on this occasion with some justification) and partly on a return to prohibition, backed by the Christian Vigilance League. Curiously, although as a staunch Methodist, W H Malkin was in favour of prohibition, (and donated $1,000 to the cause), his company were accused of selling ‘Malkins Best’ extract as an alcohol substitute during prohibition in the early 1920s.
He ran a city that had added 50% to its population overnight, as South Vancouver and Point Grey merged that year into Vancouver. It was a difficult time for the city, as the economy faced a huge downturn after the Stock Exchange crash and unemployment rose sharply. While he laid the foundation stone for the Marine Building, started construction of important infrastructure for the city like sewers and the CPR tunnel from Coal Harbour to False Creek, Mayor Malkin also faced the occupation of the relief office by the unemployed and by year’s end 7,000 were receiving assistance, with no help from Victoria. W H Malkin lost the 1931 election to the east side supported L D Taylor (who had been mayor before 1929 as well) – although his regime was no better able to respond to a collapsed economy than Mayor Malkin had been.
James (Fred) Malkin died in 1950, in his 90s. He had been the first family member to propose moving to Canada, had ridden the Hope-Princeton trail on horseback, driven a model T Ford to New York from Vancouver, and enjoyed blowing up stumps on his Bowen Island property. He had married the much younger Julia, ‘the prettiest girl in Vancouver’
John (Philip) Malkin died in 1952, the youngest and most gregarious of the brothers who travelled widely in the service of the company. He was president of Neon Products of Western Canada (so indirectly associated with the highpoint of Vancouver’s illuminated past). He was a member of the Terminal City Club, a keen, (but self proclaimed ‘rotten’) golfer and listed his hobby in earlier years as yachting. He had come out of retirement during the war to work as director of purchases in the Department of Munitions and Supply in Ottawa. He had four children.
W H died in 1959 – a successful businessman who had been elected mayor, helped create the Burrard Bridge, taken on the role of ‘Colonel Malkin’ as the head of the BC Regiment and become a generous philanthropist who had funded the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, was the first Chair of the BC Cancer Foundation and funded the outdoor pavilion that would be called the Malkin Bowl in memory of his wife, Marion. He listed his hobbies as riding, driving and motoring (an interesting distinction).
The warehouse was successfully converted to live-work rental units in 2002, designed by Paul Merrick. The Old Spaghetti Factory, which has operated here since 1970, was not affected. Next door was a remarkable site – fifty feet of prime development potential on the city’s first street, that stood undeveloped until 2005. Reliance Holdings, who also carried out the conversion of the Malkin Building (as it is now known), got Bruce Carscadden Architects to design a contemporary but sympathetically designed new rental residential building, with 58 units over retail in a 10 storey structure.
There are two buildings in this 1934 Vancouver Public Library picture that date back well over a century; although one has been partly rebuilt in recent times. Today it looks like three buildings because half of the 1902 building on the corner with Columbia has retained (for the most part) its original appearance, (without the cornice) while the other half was extensively altered in the early 1930s, and was rebuilt again a year or so ago, with an additional small set-back third storey. The three storey building on the left (west) side of the image also dates back to 1902, and shares an architect with the other building. This 1934 Vancouver Public Library shot shows the renovation completed for long-time occupant of the building, BC Collateral.
T A Fee designed the three storey building to the west (on the edge of the picture) for Thomas McWhinnie. We’ve looked at a Granville Street property designed for the same client by Parr and Fee, and the hotel further north on Columbia Street that he co-developed in 1911. We’re not sure if there was a delay, or poor recording by the street directory company, but it doesn’t seem that the rooming house on the upper floors was in operation here before 1905. Borland and Brown developed the wider 2-storey building, and they hired Parr and Fee as architects. We’ve seen other Borland investments in earlier posts, including a four storey building on Granville Street (where we looked at his history) and the Maple Hotel a little up the street from here. This is another reminder that Parr and Fee designs are by no means obviously identifiable; this building has traditional sliding sash windows, and no shiny white bricks.
The subdivided building took on a significantly different appearance after the 1930s renovation. The windows were smaller, and squarer, and a distinctive canopy was added. In the 1960s BC Collateral expanded into the three storey building, with a huge revolving sign being added a few years later to the three storey building. The two buildings were painted to match, creating even less coherence from the original disposition of the lots. BC Collateral first started operations in 1918.
In the 16 years before they moved in, the buildings shown here went through several iterations. The 2-storey building started life as the Horseshoe Saloon on the corner, and the Horseshoe Restaurant next door. In 1905 there was a rooming house above the Horseshoe Restaurant (the saloon having apparently closed). The restaurant was run by Peter Bancroft, and Mrs. F McElroy was running the rooming house. The Fidelity Real Estate Co. was next door to the saloon. By 1912 Mrs. John C Gillespie’s Horseshoe Rooms were above the unnamed saloon run by Phil Hacquoil and John Trachy, with a cigar shop and candy store also having store front space. The Horse Shoe Hotel was shown on the corner, run by A Pauche, J H Pates and W Murdoch.
The heritage statement for the building needs to be revisited. It says “The BC Collateral and Loan Buildings are of heritage value to the downtown east side for the business’ continuous local entrepreneurship for nearly 90 years. They are also valued as examples of commercial buildings that have been adapted to continuously suit the needs of one business.” That was once true, but BC Collateral no longer operate here. Instead there are newly rebuilt rental rooms above two retail stores. The 1970 revolving sign has been restored, although it no longer references BC Collateral (as they’re no longer here).