Archive for the ‘Thomas Boyd’ Tag

Columbia Hotel annex

We looked at the history of the Columbia Hotel (on the right in our pictures) in an earlier post. It was designed by Honeyman and Curtis for Boyd & McWhinnie in 1911, and cost $60,000. The adjacent building on the other half of the double lot as actually an earlier structure. It was, (according to a press report), a “Three-storey brick business block w/ stores & dwellings; cover south half of the two lots at the SW corner of Columbia & Cordova;” for the same owners, built by Mr T Mackinnon, and costing $10,000. No architect was identified, and given the simplicity of the design, it’s possible none was involved.

The 1905 building was an annex to the original Columbia Hotel, which was smaller, and replaced with the 1911 6-storey structure. Thomas McWhinnie probably developed the building with Thomas Boyd as there’s an 1891 Council minute that recorded “That permission be not granted to Messrs Boyd and McWhinnie to erect a frame building on the corner of Oppenheimer Street and Columbia Avenue same being contrary to the By-Law” We can be certain that Thomas Boyd, a contractor, was Mr. McWhinnie’s partner as the two men owned this lot as early as 1886.

Thomas Boyd first appears in the street directory in 1888, as a contractor, and he became a wealthy developer and property owner. In 1889 his construction interest expanded as he teamed up as Boyd and Clandenning, and he also carried out work on his own, and developed with Thomas McWhinnie. He was from an Irish family settled in Nova Scotia. He arrived in 1883 in New Westminster, which was why he was able to buy Vancouver property without living in the city at that point. He carried out local road building, like the Stanley Park Road, but also railway construction on the Crowsnest Railway, and the Pacific Great Eastern to Cheakamus. He married in Montreal in 1893, and had two daughters. He ended up as executor to both James Clandenning and Thomas McWhinnie, and died in 1938.

The 1889 insurance map only shows the Australasian Saloon one lot down on Columbia Street, later incorporated into the Columbia Hotel site, but nothing was built here at that time. Thomas ‘McWhiney’ doesn’t appear in the city until 1890. Before that he was listed in New Westminster. The Columbia House Hotel run by Joseph Dixon first shows in the directory in 1894, at the corner of Oppenheimer and Columbia. In 1895 it’s the Columbia Hotel, and Thomas McWhinnie lived there. He was running the hotel in 1896, with a partner called J A Murray, and in 1898 with Charles Orre.

By 1899 Thomas McWhinnie was sole proprietor of the hotel, with A A McWhinnie shown as the clerk in 1901. In 1891 Thomas was living in Vancouver, a house carpenter living with his wife, shown as Jennie, who was from England. She was actually Hannah Jane Solloway – they had married in 1890, and she died in 1893. The Daily World reported that their infant son Thomas also died later that year, in Mission City. Thomas’s brother Arthur was also in the city, a painter living with his American wife Annie and their infant daughter, Lillie. In 1901 the census said Arthur was a saloon keeper. It showed Thomas living at the hotel with 16 borders. He was aged 42, and had arrived in Canada when he was 7 from Scotland. (There were two Thomas McWhinnie’s born in Scotland in 1858, but only one was born on the 28th of May). Thomas was born in Girvan in Ayrshire. His father was Henry, and his mother Sarah Dunlop. In 1881 the family were living in Simcoe, in Ontario, and the census that year showed one of Thomas’s younger brothers was Arthur A McWhinnie, who was born in Ontario. A meeting of the Pioneers Club said Thomas arrived in the Lower mainland in 1884.

Both brothers were working at the hotel in 1902, but Arthur was no longer listed in 1903. He held the licence for a liquor store on Hastings Street which was transferred to Urquhart Brothers in 1902, so he was apparently contemplating moving then. Thomas McWhinnie transferred his licence in 1903 to James Guthrie, who was running the hotel a year later. Thomas’s absence was explained in The Province: “Mr. Hugh Uquhart has returned from a trip to Edmonton. He and Mr. Thomas McWhinnie of this city, have purchased a wholesale and retail liquor business there, and Mr. McWhinnie has remained behind to carry it on.” Although he was absent, his involvement continued in Vancouver. Another Boyd and McWhinnie building worth $10,000 was approved on Water Street in 1905.

In 1906 Thomas McWhinnie married Etta Rye in Whatcom, Washington. They went on to have six children; Sarah, Frederick, Janet, (born in Penticton in 1913), Alexander, James in 1917, and finally another son, Douglas in 1919. Etta was only 38 when she died in 1920, the same year as her infant son. After a brief absence the family reappeared in Vancouver in 1907, living on West 4th Avenue, with William now listed as ‘farmer’. Apparently he retained the hotel but also acquired a Penticton fruit ranch, and property in Osoyoos. Thomas was still living at the W4th Avenue address, and was aged 64 when he died in 1922. He was buried in Penticton.

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Posted 10 February 2022 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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