Off in the distance, behind the tram in this 1948 image, is the Vogue Theatre. To the south is Parr and Fee’s design for T McWhinnie’s Harvard Rooms which we looked at in an earlier post. (That’s the Siesta Rooms and The Roxy today). Hidden by the tram is 944 Granville Street, probably designed by Thomas Fee as in investment around 1905, with four apartments upstairs numbered as 946 Granville. There were three nondescript single storey retail stores to the south, then another two storey building at 972 Granville, almost identical in design to 944 up the street, and therefore very likely also designed by Thomas Fee. Like that building it had four apartments upstairs, and retail below; in 1948 the Kiddies Arcade and Lynn’s Ladies Apparel. In 1916 it was owned by G D Scott, a real estate broker, who may have been the developer.
There’s a narrow two storey shopfront hidden by the tram, but visible in this c1915 image of the same block. It was yet another Parr and Fee design developed by builder Peter Tardiff, whose history we looked at in connection to the Broughton Apartments he developed in 1912. He was probably born in Quebec as Pierre Tardif. The building at 968 Granville started life as The Family Theatre in 1910, and continued to be listed as such through to 1915. There’s an odd situation in that Irwin Carver & Co made $1,500 alterations to the building 2 months after the initial $25,000 construction permit. Peter Tardiff is still listed as the owner, but Irwin, Carver were the designers and builders – even though Tardiff was a builder himself, and had built the structure. It’s possible that they were hired by the operators of the theatre to carry out fit-out alterations.
The Family Theatre itself is an oddity; there seem to be few records of its existence or operation. It opened in June 1910, and lasted less than 7 years. (The building is behind the octagonal sign advertising Cambie Ice Cream, which is attached to the store to the south). In the year it opened Mrs. Clara B Colby, an American who had lectured in Seattle a week earlier, spoke on “The Spiritual Significance of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in England”. As with a few other theatres on Granville Street, it was also used on a few Sundays to attract larger crowds to religious services, adding an orchestra to the hymn singing. In 1911 it was announced that “The feature for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday Is Pathe’s Animated Gazette. These weekly pictures of the world’s doings, is proving a great attraction at the popular theatre, and deservedly so, for this theatre is the only one in the city that imports the Gazette direct from London, Eng., thus ensuring their patrons the news of the world first hand.” In 1914 we know the theatre was showing movies, because the Manager, Peter Carter, was fined “$10 and costs with the option of ten days in gaol for allowing young boys in moving picture theatres after the curfew hour.”
In January 1917 an advertisement appeared: “BICYCLES AND SUPPLIES GET A MOVE ON. YES. THAT’S WHAT we are doing. We remove Into the old Family Theatre, Granville Street, on Jan. 15. After that date Fred Deeley, The Cycle Man, will occupy the largest and best equipped cycle store In Western Canada.” Fred was born in 1881 in Bromsgrove, England. After 10 years in business in England, he first visited B.C. in 1913, representing Birmingham Small Arms, manufacturer of BSA motorcycles. He moved and in 1914 opened Fred Deeley Ltd. in a 12-foot-wide store at 1075 Granville. In 1916 he acquired a Harley-Davidson franchise, moving to 1126 Granville. He moved to the theatre location a year later, but by 1923 had moved again to Hastings Street, selling BSA, Paragon and Red Bird bicycles as well as Harley Davidson motorcycles. By 1925 he owned a motorcycle shop, bicycle shop, and one of Canada’s larger car dealerships.
The last building on the block dates from 1914, designed by Braunton & Leibert for G B Harris costing $17,000 and built by J Nelson Copp. When it opened Pill Box Drugs were on the corner here; later it was home to Kripps Drugs, who expanded and remodeled the property before moving to Kerrisdale a few years ago. At 990 Jack Stearman had his lock & keys business in the location that in 1915 was a Pool and Cigars store. Two clothing stores took the remainder of the space: Darlings’s Style Shop and Vogue Menswear. G B Harris owned property in the city over many years; he carried out repairs to the Boulder Hotel on Cordova Street in 1901, and had N S Hoffar design a block of stores on Carrall Steet ‘adjoining the old Burrard House’, in 1889. George Berteaux Harris was from Annapolis County, Nova Scotia, although after leaving home he worked in Boston in the US and then on the railway in Panama. He collected and classified birds in Trinidad for three years, working for a Boston ornithologist. He was back in Annopolis in 1881, shipping apples to England and first visited Granville in 1884, returning to his family in Nova Scotia every two years, eventually bringing his wife and children to live in 1895. When he built these stores he was Chairman of the Vancouver Rowing Club. He died in 1936.
Today there are a series of recently developed single storey but double height retail buildings.
Image sources: City of Vancouver Archines CVA 229-15 and SGN 1602 (extract)