Archive for the ‘Parr and Fee’ Tag

Balmoral Hotel – East Hastings Street

Today the Balmoral Hotel is closed, slowly being restored after the City of Vancouver finally tired of trying to get its owners to meet basic standards for the SRO housing rooms in the 1912 former hotel. When it opened it was a smart addition to the booming new city, although completed just before a serious bump in Vancouver’s economic road. An economic boom that had lasted from the mid 1900s to 1912 suddenly went into reverse, made no better for several years as the First World War saw thousands of men leave the city.

In a September 1912 announcement of the official opening of the Balmoral Hotel, the journal Architect, Builder, and Engineer noted that construction of this first-class hotel “will relieve some of the former congestion in hotel circles of the day“. It appears that this was a bigger building than originally planned, and with a different use. In mid 1911 the Contract Journal reported “Plans being prepared for office building (Hastings street). Owner, J. K Sutherland, 1901 Barclay street, Vancouver; architect, Parr & Fee, 570 Granville street, Vancouver; 6 storeys, store and offices. Tenders for excavation have been called. Supplementary report later.” A few weeks later it was reported that Hawley and McMillan had won the excavation tender for $5,000 of work, but the other details remained unchanged. There’s no further mention of the building in that publication. In September the building was described in the Daily World as ‘six-storey, apartments over stores‘. On completion the Province newspaper, referred to it as the Sutherland Block. It was built by J J Dissette and the building permit was for apartments, with the whole construction estimated at $140,000. It was built next to George Munro’s rather more modest two storey building that had appeared in 1903. Two doors to the east was a building that became the Crystal Theatre, designed in 1904 by A Pare for Thomas Storey. In the early 1950s it became the 24 hour Common Gold Café.

Mr Sutherland took a hand-on role in the construction of his project – which faced an initial problem with drainage; The Daily World in November 1911 reported “The dissatisfied – with – the – sewers brigade was well represented at yesterday’s session of the board. One delegation, headed by Mr. Cross, made an emphatic protest against the condition of things in the sewerage facilities of that portion of Lansdowne street between Quebec and Ontario streets. There was a four – foot sewer being put in along there, but it was neither big enough nor deep enough to drain the bottoms of their basements, for which excavations had already been made in connection with several new buildings that were being erected there. They wanted a seven – foot sewer at least, as under present conditions with a four – foot sewer at the present level they would have to install a pump to keep their basements from filling up. The board recognized the urgency of their case and will try to make conditions satisfactory there. Mr. J. K. Sutherland had an almost similar complaint to make in connection with the lack of a suitable basement drain for Hastings street, between Columbia and Main streets. He, too, was promised relief if within the power of the board.”

From the building’s completion it was never occupied as either an office or apartment building: ‘The Balmoral Hotel; Fiddes & Thomson, proprietors’ was the first entry in the 1913 street directory. However, it immediately had many permanent residents who listed the hotel as their home address. Robert Fiddes and James Thomson continued to run the establishment for several years, which is generally not true of hotels in this era, when proprietors changed frequently. In the early 1920s the hotel had a manager, E R Hunter. In the 1940s the neon sign was hung on the front of the building, designed by Neon Products, a local company, which by the 1950s was one of the biggest neon sign producers in the world. Our image shows the block in 1985.

J K Sutherland was a pharmacist, born in Ontario in 1870. He arrived in Vancouver in 1892, living with his parents; his father was a tax collector. He initially worked for a druggist on Cordova Street, and established his own store on Westminster Avenue by 1895. Several rival druggists merged their interests to form the Nelson, Macpherson, Sutherland Drug Co in 1901, with seven stores. By 1903 the partnership had been dissolved, and John Sutherland continued on his own, although by 1910 he was described as ‘retired’, and his 1911 census entry confirms this, with John aged 41, his wife Lily five years younger, their children aged six and four, and two domestic servants, both from England. A year later he built the East Hastings building, and in 1913 he also owned the Clarence Hotel, where he had repairs completed.

The Sutherlands lived in the West End for many years. John’s death notice in 1937 read “John Knox Sutherland, in his sixty-eighth year. Mr. Sutherland, retired druggist, leaves his wife at home, one son, John Burton Sutherland, city; one daughter, Mrs. Robert L. Cold, London, England; one sister, Miss Jessie B. Sutherland, city, to mourn his passing.” His wife had married John in 1904 in Montreal and died in Vancouver in 1960.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-1912

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Posted November 2, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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163 East Hastings Street

This modest commercial building was built in 1903 for George Munro. Today it’s numbered as 163 E Hastings, but was 149 when it was built. We’re reasonably certain George was an absentee landlord, as we think he was in Victoria when this was developed, although he moved here a few years later. We looked as his history in connection to a tenement dwelling he developed in Strathcona also built by a George Munro. There were at least two other people called George Munro living in Vancouver when this building was developed; one was a miner, and the other a gardener, but George E Munro seems the more likely. He continues to be associated with the property over many years, carrying our repairs in 1917, and hiring the same architects who designed this to design a house some years later.

When it was first built in 1903 the building cost $7,000 and the architects were Parr and Fee. When it was first occupied, A J Periard, a merchant tailor occupied the premises. A few years later, Vancouver Millinery were located here; Adolphus Periard had moved a couple of doors to the west. In 1911 George E Munro was living in Graveley Street, and had a $10,000 house designed by Parr and Fee for 14th Avenue. In 1912 there was a permit to add a two-storey brick addition at a cost of $8,000, also designed by Parr and Fee, but there was an economic crisis in the city around that time, and clearly two more floors were never actually built. In 1913 George applied to make some alterations to a dwelling house at this address for the Greek Canadian Club, an organization incorporated in 1912, but who either never moved here, or never came to the attention of the city’s Directory compilers.

After the war, this was numbered as 161 E Hastings, and Roderick Macleod sold cigars and Owen Griffiths ‘notions’. Over the decades businesses have come and gone regularly; among them in the 1920s the BC Jewelry & Loan Co., in the late 1930s the Business Mens Club, which after the war was upstairs and renamed as the East End Business Men’s Club. Our 1979 image suggests there was still a club upstairs, or at least access to one, with a retail store on the main floor. In recent years there were artists studios on the upper floor, and various fast food take-out cafes have occupied the retail space at different times. Today the whole building is boarded up, in a block that is seeing some restoration of older buildings, while others deteriorate badly.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 810-164

Posted October 30, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End

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Silver and Avalon Hotels – West Pender Street

These two hotels are now joined together, but started life as rivals. The Silver, on the left gets its name from the developer, W S Silver. Designed by Grant & Henderson, it was completed in 1914, and was built by J J Disette for $30,000. The Avalon is five years older, and was designed by Parr and Fee for McLennan and Campbell. You can still see the Parr and Fee central pivot windows, in the $35,000 building constructed by Purdy & Lonergan. (Contract Record published the price as $45,000). When it started life it was known as the Savoy Rooms, run by Mrs Lillie Schadt, with a number of commercial tenants: the Mail Publishing Co, the Vancouver & Provincial Brokerage Co, Modern Office Supply Co, Upton & Heighton, real estate agents and Newmarch Cooper & Co, manufacturers agents.

William F Silver was from England, born in 1861, listed as a broker in the 1911 census. He had arrived in Canada in 1903 with wife Isabelle, who was shown as a year younger than her husband and born in Ontario. The Silvers had spent some time in the US, as the 1911 census shows sons William, a 24-year-old plumber, Kenneth, 23, a farmer, Neil, 21, and Hugh, aged only 8, had all been born there. Edith Brand, their 13-year-old niece also lived with them in Burnaby, on the corner of Kingsway and Silver Avenue. In 1900 they had been living in King County, Washington, where William was a life insurance agent.

The US Census for 1900 tells us that Isabelle’s mother was from New York and her father from Scotland. The three oldest sons had been born in Wisconsin, but there was a 1-year old son called Hugh born in Washington. (Either he died, and the family had a subsequent son also called Hugh, or the 1911 Canadian census recorded his age inaccurately). The birth certificate of one of the older sons tells us the family were living in West Superior, Douglas, Wisconsin, and that Isabelle’s maiden name was Isabelle McKinnen. Their marriage certificate from their wedding in 1863 shows that Isabelle was Jane Isabella McKinnon, born in 1860, her father was Laughlin McKinnon, and that she was a year older than her husband. Isabel Silver’s death was recorded in 1937, when her birth was shown as 1858 and her father’s name as Lachlan.  William F Silver died in December 1943, also in Burnaby.

McLennan and Campbell appear to be a development partnership of convenience, rather than an established business. Although there were many McLennans in the city, our guess would be that it was R P McLennan, the hardware mogul originally from Nova Scotia. In partnership with Edward McFeely of Ontario he built a huge warehouse on Cordova Street, and another on Water Street. Another company building was also designed by Parr and Fee and built by Purdy and Lonergan a few years earlier. There were hundred of Campbells in the city, so establishing which one developed the building is impossible without a clearer indication of a connection to an individual.

Over the years the upper floors have retained their residential use as the Silver Rooms and Avalon Apartments, (the Savoy name having been dropped by 1920). Retail uses have come and gone on the main floor; in the 1950s Haskins and Elliott sold bicycles and A E Marwell sold artist’s supplies. The cycle shop had been there over a decade.

Today the two buildings operate as a single privately owned SRO Hotel. The Avalon Hotel was purchased by Mario & Mina Angelicola in the late 1970’s. Our image dates from 1981. It was turned into an SRO (single room occupancy) in the late 1990’s and houses approximately 85 low-income tenants today.  Jenny & Josh Konkin, grandchildren of Mario and Mina have managed the hotel since 2010, also establishing Whole Way House in 2013 to provide support to the residents.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E16.13

Carrall Street – 400 block

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 $62,000. 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

1014 Granville Street

w-t-mcarthur-hardware-granville-st

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”.

mcarthurs-window-1910sOur 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

Posted October 6, 2016 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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The Manhattan – Robson and Thurlow

Manhattan

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.

manhattan-postcardWilliam 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

Posted July 28, 2016 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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156 West Hastings Street

Trocadero Grill 156 W Hastings

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“.

trocThere 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