Archive for the ‘S W Randall’ Tag

West Georgia Street – 500 block, north side

This 1929 image shows the demolition of a number of buildings that had been here less than 30 years.

The Cycle shop had to vacate by 31st January – ‘Everything must go – at cost’ – they had also cut keys. Next door the Vancouver Dress Maker had also offered tailoring, cleaning, pressing and alterations. The next office offered Calgary Oils and B C Mines Real Estate, then The Bay Cleaners and Dyers, and the Georgia Shoe Repair store, with a barber’s shop at the end of the row.

The buildings seem to have been developed by A K Stuart, who also built others on this block to the east, possibly still standing (much altered) today. Mrs A K Stuart obtained a permit for a house on Richards Street in 1902, and A K Stuart obtained another for a house on Georgia Street in 1906. A K Stuart had two other permits for alterations to these lots, in 1907. There may have been other permits, as some from this period have been lost. The 1903 insurance map shows the left hand of these two stores had been built, and there’s a house in the centre of the block, (relocated from where it stood on Richards in 1901) and another house at the Richards Street side of the lots. By 1912 both these matching stores had been completed, along with the rest of the block.

Mrs A K Stuart would have been Margaret, who Allan Stuart had married in 1892. She was from Ontario, but Allan Stuart was born in India in 1861, was in London in 1881 and arrived in Canada in 1883, becoming a CPR draftsman who helped bring the railway through the Rockies, and then settling in Vancouver in 1885. He worked for architect Thomas Sorby, helping design the first CPR buildings including the first Hotel Vancouver. From 1893 to 1901 he worked as Assistant City Engineer, before joining an engineering company supervising mines in Canada and Mexico. In 1907 A K Stuart, recorded as being a civil engineer, was shown living in the house at the centre of the block, and he is no longer in the street directory in 1908. By 1910 Allan and Margaret were living in Hope, (technically part of the Cariboo at the time) with their daughter Marjorie.

An early 1929 edition of the Vancouver Sun saw the announcement for a major redevelopment. “10-FLOOR OFFICE BUILDING TO COST $275,000. S. W. Randall Co. Plan Building on Richards at Georgia. Construction of a ten-storey office building costing approximately $275,000 will bo started on the north-west lane corner of Richards and Georgia streets within the next month, it was announced today. The building will be constructed by 8. W. Randall A Co.. Ltd., Vancouver stock brokers, 375 Richards street. S. W. Randall, head of tho firm, said today that demolition of existing buildings on the site will be started on Friday. Tho building will occupy a ground area of approximately 4500 square feet, with a frontage of 60 feet on Georgia and 73 on the lane. It will be of reinforced concrete construction. Stores will occupy tho ground floor of the structure. Plans for the building have been prepared by R. T. Perry, architect, West Hastings street. Property for the office structure was acquired by Mr. Randall several months ago.”

By March it became apparent that the project was much less ambitious. The permit was for a $50,000 building, and as built it’s possible to see that the building, known as ‘The Randall Building‘, only had 7 floors. In the early 1990s jeweller Toni Cavelti restored the building.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-289


Posted 22 June 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Randall Building – 535 West Georgia Street

535 W Georgia

In 1929 the brokerage firm of S W Randall Co saw their new office building completed on West Georgia. The designer was R T Perry; the building has elements of gothic and some art deco, and a somewhat unusual arrangement of two double bays of windows to the west and a single, slightly offset bay to the east. It bears some resemblance to Townley and Matheson’s Stock Exchange Building, completed a year later, and there are several other buildings by other architects, all taking the same gothic theme, and built around this time. Originally intended as a 10-storey building, as built it’s more modest.

Sam Randall was born in Ontario in either 1878, 1881 or 1882, (depending which record you believe) and probably arrived in Vancouver in 1914. (One version of his biography says it was 1908, but the 1911 census shows him still in Ontario). He was initially the sales manager of a hardware company, Fittings Ltd, and lived at the St Regis Hotel when he first arrived, but soon found a house on Main Street. By 1920 he had become president of the Canada Pride Range Co, and had a house on W 49th Avenue, and he was still in that same house and holding the same job in 1928. That same year he established his own brokerage company, having been a member of the Vancouver Stock Exchange before 1927.

Randall’s main passion was horse racing, initially entering the business in 1919. He became the dominant figure during the 35 years he directed the Ascot Jockey Club of Vancouver and the Vancouver Thoroughbred Association. The long-time operator of Exhibition Park, formerly Hastings Park in Vancouver from 1920, he also operated Lansdowne Park on Lulu Island from 1924, and managed the Willows track in Victoria until 1947 and also operated Brighouse Park in Richmond and Colwood on Vancouver Island. Randall was the first Canadian track owner to adopt the photo finish and the first western manager to install an electric starting gate 1939.

This wasn’t his first property development; in 1926 Townley & Matheson had designed a smaller building on Richards Street for him. He sold Lansdowne Park and the Randall Building in 1945, reportedly for a million dollars, to the BC Turf and Country Club, concentrating his efforts on the Hastings course. He retired due to ill health in 1955, and died in 1961.

In 1991 jeweller Toni Cavelti gave the building a comprehensive but completely sensitive upgrade, adding a penthouse floor (set back from the parapet) in the process. The project, designed by Blewett Dodd Ching Lee, gave the building an almost identical appearance to our 1929 image. Only the recently restored mural of medieval goldsmiths on the east side of the building in 1993 (often credited to Kitty Mykka, but actually by created by Stephen Hinton and Nicola Kozakiewicz, of Streetworks Design, with Kitty helping paint the mural), made the building look any different. In 1999 Cavelti sold his company to Henry Birks who still sell Cavelti designed jewelry, and now Time and Gold operate in the store location.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3763.