Archive for the ‘Thomas Hooper’ Tag

East Hastings Street – 300 block, south side

 

There has been one building replaced since our 1978 image was taken. On the far left is an SRO Hotel, the Hazelwood Hotel. It was built in 1911, and designed by Thomas Hooper for Sanford Snider and Mr. Hooper himself. It was bought by B C Housing and comprehensively restored six years ago.

Next door was a house, built before 1900, (and so too early to trace the builder easily) that was replaced by the Dragon Cove rental apartments (with just six apartments) in 1982. The two storey building to the west was rebuilt in 1978, and has just two apartments – originally there had been a house here built by W J Beam in 1901. The three-storey Jordan Rooms to the west were built in 1909. S Goranson owned the store and paid for alterations in 1911, but George A Dobson apparently owned it, and paid for a brick addition costing $1,200 that year, and more in 1922. There is a George A Dobson who was a carpenter in 1911 and a millhand in 1921. G A Dobson had a $3,700 development approved on East Hastings in 1908, during a period when the details of projects have been lost, but that’s likely to be when he built this.

In 1911 George was living with his parents, Francis and Esther, who were both from Scotland. They had two other sons, and a daughter living with them, as well as a granddaughter, Jean, who was 4. Frank was retired, and George wasn’t just a millhand – he was the mill supervisor, and he had obtained permits to alter their home on East Pender. He was living with his parents and siblings ten years earlier when Frank was an engineer, and George was working at BC Sugar as a carpenter. George Allan Dobson married Maud Keane in Huron, Ontario in 1904, but she died in September 1908, aged 30 and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery with a substantial granite marker inscribed ‘Maud Annie Keane, beloved wife of George A Dobson’. The family lived nearby on East Pender, and the Daily World reported in October “We are favored with Instructions from Mr. G. A. Dobson to sell the contents of his home, including 2-piece parlor suite, covered In silk, center tables, reception chairs, oak extension table, set of dining chairs in oak, leather seats; sideboard, Singer sewing machine, etc. ; four bedrooms, all completely furnished; kitchen utensils, garden tools, eta Goods on view morning of sale.”

George’s brother Alvin was 34 when he died in 1918 in Vancouver, and his sister Maggie died in 1955. George was 73 when he died in 1941. He was buried with his late wife, and the inscription “DADDY” Margaret Jean Keane, born in 1907, was single, and aged 76 when she died in Vancouver in 1984.

In 1911 the newly completed Lincoln Rooms were on the upper floors, run by Mrs. F Ryall, while Swan Goranson’s grocery was on the main floor. He was still there in 1919, but upstairs was now the Burnaby Rooms. By 1922 they had become the Dundee Rooms. Swan Goranson, who had arrived in Vancouver in 1888, and opened his first grocery store on East Hastings ten years later. He married, and had twin sons and then a daughter, born in 1913, There were many Scandinavians in the area; Swan’s children spoke only Swedish until they started at Seymour School. Later the family moved to Kerrisdale, and in 1924 Swan gave up the store and ran one in Ioco in Port Moody, with a tobacconist opening here. Upstairs by 1930 the name had changed again to the Jordan Rooms, and that name has stuck. There are just four rental units, two on each floor.

To the west is the First United Church, completed in 1964 and designed by James Earl Dudley, and soon to be redeveloped, but originally the location of the the East End Presbyterian Church.

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Posted 19 April 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, East End

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Chinese Public School – East Pender and Jackson

The Chinese Public School, seen here in 1977, was only the latest use of this early building. From the appearance it’s reasonably obvious that it started life as a church. Looking on the 1912 insurance map, it’s listed as the Baptist Church. However, when it was completed in 1892 it was the Zion Presbyterian Church, with denominations playing musical chairs (or more accurately pews) in a few early years. In 1899 it had become the Zion Baptist Church, with Reverend J G Matthews in charge.

The history of the Presbyterian Church in Vancouver doesn’t mention this building, and it was odd that a congregation should exist so close to the First Presbyterian church which was only three blocks away, and built around 1893. The mystery was solved in a reference to the history of the Presbytery of Seattle. That says that there were 32 churches in the Presbytery of Puget Sound, including Zion Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, British Columbia. So it appears that this was an American arm of the church, founded in the early years of the city. We can find them meeting at first in a commercial building on Main Street, and later in the City Market. The Contract Record said in 1890 “The Zion Presbyterian Church will erect a $10,000 church – Mr. Thos. Hooper, architect for the new Y.M.C.A. building, has been instructed to prepare plans and specifications and call for tenders for the foundations at once.”

The Zion Baptist congregation also got off to a bumpy start. In 1898 the compilers of the street directory seem unsure of which brand of protestant faith to list, and played it safe with ‘church’. That might have been because the minister of the new endeavour was the Rev George Armour Fair. He was from Ontario, and his time in the East End was limited. By July of 1898, Fair “left the church . . . [and] with a portion of his former flock, organized a “non-denomination” group, which apparently held to a “Pentecostal” variety of doctrine.” He moved to a church in the West End, on the corner of Denman and Nelson.

The Baptists had formed a congregation in the area in 1894, and briefly their church was listed on the opposite side of Princess on the southern side of the street, (but also on Jackson). The Presbyterian congregation on Jackson merged in 1898 with the larger Hastings and Gore church, so in 1899 there were two Baptist churches shown on opposite sides of the street. One was the Jackson Avenue Baptist Church, and the other the Zion Baptist Church and Reformed Episcopal, addressed to Princess (which is East Pender today). By 1901 the short-lived Jackson Avenue church was no longer listed. A few years later the church in the picture was known once again as The Jackson Avenue Baptist Church, (although addressed to East Pender). In 1911 the church was altered and an addition was built, costing $6,000. The permit says J Carver was the architect and J G Price the builder. It’s likely that this was accidentally reversed; Mr. Carver was a contractor, and Mr. Price a consulting engineer, although that didn’t prevent him from designing many buildings including several significant ones in Chinatown. The photo on the right is undated, so we don’t know whether it shows the church before or after the 1911 changes.

In 1953 the Chinese Public School purchased and renovated the church. We don’t know how much the building was altered, but the ‘Chinese’ flared eaves in the image were added to the entry porch and tower.

The building was replaced in 1983 with the building designed by Hin Fong Yip that’s there today. It’s the Chinese Social Development Society, who operate a community centre, daycare, and on the second floor the Chinese Public School where Chinese language classes still operate.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-294 and First Baptist Church (Vancouver) Archival Collection.

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Posted 1 April 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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Strathcona School – East Pender Street

Strathcona School has seen several stages of development, and redevelopment for over a century. Initially called the East End School, the first building, designed by Thomas Hooper, was completed in 1891 – seen here on the left hand side of this Library and Archives Canada picture from the 1910s. A new larger wing was added in 1897, facing Keefer Street, to the south of the original building. That was designed by William Blackmore, and it was completed in 1898. It’s still standing today, and has recently been seismically upgraded in a $25m project, but it’s hidden today by the gymnasium (auditorium), completed in 1930. That too received seismic upgrading in the form of poured concrete buttresses on the corners of the building, and additional concrete shear walls internally.

The upgraded 1897 building on Keefer is load-bearing unreinforced brick and stone. It was upgraded using seismic (base) isolation technology. Completed in December 2016, this was the first base isolated building in Canada. It now sits on lead core rubber bearings with teflon-stainless steel sliders, designed to absorb the energy of an earthquake without the building shaking to pieces.

In the early 1900s classes were moved from the first building, which gradually fell out of use. It was eventually demolished in 1920, but the bricks were saved and recycled into the construction of a new building. The Primary building is beside the gymnasium, just off the picture to the left. Completed in 1921, it was designed by F A A Barrs. The Senior Building can be seen today on the right. It too has been seismically strengthened, and was built in two phases, starting in 1914 (designed by Charles Morgan) and completed in 1927. H W Postle designed the second phase, and the gymnasium.

Image source: Images Canada

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Granville Street 600 block – west side

This side of Granville Street was demolished to make room for the extension of Pacific Centre Mall northwards. At the far end of the block in this 1953 image was the Colonial Theatre, a cinema converted in 1912 from an 1888 office building. We looked at its history in one of our early posts over 8 years ago. It was originally designed by New York architect Bruce Price for Sir William Van Horne. President of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Since then, the 1974 office tower that replaced the cinema has been reclad to a lighter colour, with double glazed widows.

Closer to us, just showing on the left of the picture was 679 Granville, a 1910 3-storey building designed by Dalton & Eveleigh for Henry Bell-Irving. In 1953 Purdy’s chocolate store was here, with the Devon Cafe. Next door, at 665 Granville, D’Allaird’s lady’s clothing store had obscured the facade of their building. It appears to have been built in 1904, with the St Louis rooms above retail, initially occupied by R J Buchanan’s crockery store, and Cicero Davidson’s jewelers. We think the site was owned and developed by Jonathan Rogers, who applied to build a $24,000 building on the three lots here in 1904 – described (somewhat inaccurately) as a ‘frame dwelling’. The whole building included both the D’Aillards lot and the building with mis-matched windows to the north. (It’s hard to see in the image, but one has a curved cornice, and the other a shallow pyramid). Mr. Rogers was a builder and identified himself as the architect too. D’Aillards Blouses Ltd carried out work to 651 Granville (just to the north) in 1925, so had been in this area for many years.

The next building appears to have two identical facades, but was developed as a single structure, also in 1904. It was designed by Parr and Fee for Mrs. Northgroves, and cost $15,000. We’re not really sure who Mrs. Northgraves was. She doesn’t appear in any street directory, or census, although she was listed as attending a function with many other women in 1913. There was a Miss Northgrave, who lived on ‘income’, with her sister (and he sister’s husband, William Walsh, who was listed as a ‘capitalist’ under occupation in the 1911 census). In 1905 and in 1908 Mrs. Walsh and Miss Northgrave left the city to spend the winter in Southern California. Mr. Walsh developed a number of properties in the city, including some designed by Parr and Fee.

The building with the four Roman arches beyond also dates from the early 1900s, and we’ve failed to identify the architect or developer. In the early 1920s it was owned by B. Holt Fur Company, who spent over $5,000 on repairs and alterations. In the 1910s P W Charleson carried out repairs to 641 and 657 Granville on several occasions, and ‘Charlson & Abbott’ to 665 Granville. (Percy Charleson also owned 800 Granville, two blocks to the south). Fraser Hardware also paid for alterations to 641 Granville in the mid 1910s, and were tenants here. Brown Bros appear to have owned the properties in the mid 1920s.

Down the street, the narrower four storey building was approved to be developed as an apartment building in 1912. Charles Williams of Acroyd & Gall claimed to be developer, architect and builder of the $29,000 project. This was one of very few building lots that had originally been developed before 1901 (when the only other building that had been developed was the 1888 office on the corner). Richards, Ackroyd and Gall were an Insurance, Finance and Real Estate agency and there was a civil engineer called Charles Williams who might have managed the development. It’s not clear if the project was for the company, or whether they were representing a client when they submitted the plans.

Next door, there’s a modest 2-storey building. It was developed in 1910 by W F Huntting, who hired Thomas Hooper to design the $13,000 investment. William Foster Huntting was the wealthy president of the Huntting-Merritt Lumber Company, and he had a Shaughnessy mansion built in 1912. He was born in Iowa in 1879, and was successful in business at a young age, founding his lumber company in 1902, the year he arrived in BC. He died in 1930.

There’s another small building to the north, designed by W T Dalton for Edward Bros, who spent $7,000, hiring E Cook to build it in 1902. Beyond that, (just before the cinema), is a building on two lots. It has a shallow bay window on the second floor, and was apparently called The Bower Block in 1907, when it was developed by G Bower, who hired Hooper and Watkins to design the $15,000 investment. George Bower built other Granville projects including a much larger investment on the next block to the north two years later, using the same architects.

Image source: Leonard Frank, Jewish Museum LF.00308

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2345 Main Street

This building on the corner of Main and East 8th Avenue has been around for over a century. Today it’s home to the Goh Ballet, but when it was built in 1912 at a cost of $42,000 it was a branch of the Royal Bank, designed by Thomas Hooper. The bank operation here lasted for decades, but closed by the 1970s. It’s seen here in 1976. The Goh Ballet moved into the building in 1985.

The Neoclassical design was constructed in glazed terra cotta which was manufactured and numbered offsite and then assembled onsite. Hooper designed another similar branch for the Royal Bank in the same year. That almost identical design was built on Granville Street in Fairview, although the bank operations moved to a different building in the 1950s.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-233

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Posted 2 July 2020 by ChangingCity in Mount Pleasant, Still Standing

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1100 Granville Street – west side (1)

The building on the corner is one of the newer buildings on this block of Granville, only dating back to 1919. It started life as a car showroom, designed by A E Henderson for agents Griffith & Lee, built by J B Arthur at a cost of $15,000. In 1921 the Oldsmobile dealership of Bowell McDonald was here, and later a Chevrolet dealership. By the 1930s it became retail stores – and in 1981 when this picture was taken, Lo Cost Rent A Car.

Although it’s now incorporated into the same lot today, the single storey building to the south was designed and built by builders Tinney & Humphries for Mr. C J De Vos Van Steenwyck. There’s no sign of anyone with that name in the city at that time, but Clara Jacoba De Vos van Steenwyck (who was a Baroness), arrived in New York in 1914, and gave Vancouver as her residence. She was resident in Vancouver in the 1920s, featured in a Vancouver Sun profile in 1945, and died here in 1960. She applied to both lease and own large areas of land in BC in the 1930s, and we rather suspect that the ‘Mr’ in the building permit was inaccurate, as she apparently never married. A 1924 permit for a house on W47th Avenue identified her as ‘Van Steenwyk, Miss’. She carried out repairs to this building in 1920, when it was identified as ‘George’s Place’ in the permit. (The accurate spelling of the baroness’s name was Steenwijk, but that seems to have been too difficult for Canadian records). George’s Place was run by George Mottishaw and George Truesdell, but the street directory doesn’t tell us what the Georges did.

The next, two-storey building is unusual because it was built in 1909, and of concrete construction (just in its infancy as a construction technique). It was built by Chaffer & Kimber at a cost of $3,700 for E Lovick, and designed by Thomas Hooper. Actually it was probably either F or H Lovick – Frank and Harold Lovick ran a piano store here (Hicks and Lovick), although Herbert soon worked as the accountant for the News Advertiser. Hicks and Lovick continued here through to the early 1920s, (Gideon Hicks was in Victoria). The Frank Lovick Piano Co continued later in the 1920s on the 1000 block of Granville.

The four storey building to the south is the Clifton Hotel, the Clifton Rooms when it opened in 1910. It was developed by C F Gustafson, a Swedish contractor, who started out building houses in the early 1900s, and later an apartment building in the West End in the 1920s. This building’s design was a cookie cutter of at least five others, all still standing today, all designed by Parr and Fee, with centre pivoted windows and a front façade of glazed white brick. Today it’s still a rooming house.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W03.14

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Beatty Street – 700 block

Two of the warehouse buildings seen in this 1981 image are still standing, and one has disappeared. At the far end is a 1914 building, designed by Dalton and Eveleigh for F T Cope. George Snider & Brethour built it at a cost of $75,000. In the middle is a building costing $140,000 for the National Drug Co, and also built by George Snider & Brethour a year earlier, designed by H S Griffith. Thomas Hooper was hired to make $1,500 of alterations in 1914. With replacement windows it looks much more recent, and since our 1981 image was taken it’s had a blue tile makeover.

The third warehouse was the most expensive. In 1912 a permit was issued for a building to cost $150,000. Designed by Parr, McKenzie & Day for John W Gibb it was to be occupied by The Canadian Fairbanks Company.

Cope & Sons were electrical suppliers. Frederick T Cope was company president, an Englishman (from Oxford) who emigrated to Manitoba at 19, and arrived in Vancouver in 1895 when he was 35, and established the business two years later. In 1914, when they built the new warehouse, Frank R Cope was company treasurer and Bert F Cope company secretary. In 1911 both were still at home with Fred and Marjory, their mother, who was born in Ontario, but had their own homes three years later.

The National Drug and Chemical Company of Canada started in business in 1905, initially in Montreal, then rapidly across the country through expansion and buying out other businesses. David Bole was already a successful drugstore operator from Manitoba, and established the national wholesaling and manufacturing business with six million dollars of capital. State-of-the-art factories were established for both pharmaceuticals (in Montreal) and by 1908 125 items, including cough syrup, skin cream, shampoo, and toothpaste were manufactured in Toronto. The Vancouver distribution centre was opened soon after Calgary and Regina. In 1920 National Drug reorganized its administrative structure, as business had increased by 250 per cent in the previous 10 years. The business still operated here in the 1950s, and is still in business today as Canada’s leading drug wholesaler (now part of US business McKesson).

The Canadian Fairbanks Company was created in 1905 by Henry Fuller, who bought out the Canadian interests of the US parent company, at the time the largest machinery and mill supply company in Canada. They immediately occupied a new warehouse on Water Street developed by McLennan & McFeely. They had a warehouse and machine shop in the building. Within ten years they were looking for larger premises, and moved into the Beatty Street warehouse.

The developer, John Gibb, was a broker with an office in the Rogers Building and a home in the West End. His father, David Gibb, was a retired contractor with an excellent reputation. A 1915 court case shows his son’s business scruples weren’t quite as pure. It referred back to the 1912 deal with Canadian Fairbanks to occupy the building, with lease payments of $242,000 over 10 years, (starting at $22,000 for each of the first 3 years).  The building had to be ready for 1 August 1913, and if delayed no rent was due. Walter Meuller was hired to build the warehouse for $106,000. It became clear in May 1913 that Mr. Gibb was suffering “financial embarrassment” (to quote the judge), and it also transpired that he did not own the land outright, as he had claimed, but rather held an equity stake. That meant banks wouldn’t advance him a loan to complete the building. Mr. Gibb actually needed over $200,000 to complete the building and obtain tiitle – he had a deal with Harvey Haddon to advance $106,000 on completion, but that wasn’t going to solve his problem. He was willing to sit back and seemed to think that, as the agreed rent was a bargain, he might get out of his predicament. Fairbanks weren’t willing to wait, and paid the contractors to finish the job, in October.

This was highly unusual, and as the judge noted “Failure of Gibb to satisfactorily carry on construction or to complete within the time specified did not entitle the plaintiff to enter on the premises and proceed with the work.” Trustees were appointed immediately after the 1 August date was passed, and the interest in the property was transferred to David Gibb, John’s father. A Fairbanks manager was initially a trustee, but his head office forced him to withdraw, and launched the case to try to obtain a significant sum that they had paid to complete the building. The judge didn’t agree, but imposed the $20 per day pre-agreed fine for missing the August 1st deadline, and another $800 because the building didn’t use equipment sold by Fairbanks in its construction, as the lease agreement stipulated. Fairbanks also received their costs.

Despite this rocky start, Canadian Fairbanks were still occupying the building in the 1950s. It was cleared to become the plaza in front of the BC Place stadium, constructed in the early 1980s, allowing new windows in the side of the National Drug Co building. The Terry Fox memorial, designed by Douglas Coupland, is located here. The other warehouses have been converted to office use; one is home to a private school.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E18.04

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800 block Beatty Street – north side

We’re looking up Beatty Street from Smithe Street. These warehouse buildings date back over a century, and this 1926 image shows them already looking well used. On the corner is the $25,000 1910 warehouse designed by Thomas Hooper for J McMillan – although the insurance map and the street directory identify the company as W J McMillan and Co Ltd. Next door, in the same year, Thomas Hooper also designed the warehouse for E G Prior and Co, costing $21,000. The third warehouse in the row was another Hooper design, also in 1910 costing $22,000 for J B Campbell. That was shown (inaccurately) as being used by the McCampbell Storage Co on the insurance map. Baynes and Horie had the contracts to build all three buildings.

The McMillan warehouse was associated with the Saskatchewan Flour Mills Co. but was developed by a firm of wholesale grocers. W J McMillan was born in Restigouche, in New Brunswick, in 1858 and came west, initially to Sacramento, then Oregon before Victoria in 1883. He arrived in Vancouver in 1888 as a produce merchant, although he had already acquired land in the city. As he moved from selling produce to wholesaling his brother, Robert McMillan became a partner, and the business incorporated in 1907 adding E J Deacon as Vice-President. The business prospered, and they shipped as far as Yukon and Alaska. Before they moved to this new building they occupied one on Alexander Street.

We have also seen the earlier building occupied by E G Prior’s hardware company. Prior was a Yorkshireman who originally trained as a mining engineer, and worked in the Nanaimo coal mines from 1873. He was appointed Inspector of Mines in 1877, living in Victoria, representing that city in parliament from 1886 (and establishing his company a few years earlier on Yates Street). Prior was elected an MP in 1886 but lost his seat in 1901 because of violations of the Electoral Act. In 1902 he became Premier of BC, only to be dismissed in 1903 following a charge of conflict of interest by ensuring his hardware company received Government business. He remained an MLA until his defeat in 1904, the same year he failed to be elected to a federal seat. He was appointed lieutenant-governor of BC in 1919, only to die in office in 1920.

John Bell Campbell was born in Woodville, Ontario, and his father moved from there to Vancouver in 1891, having sold his carriage building business and retiring, eventually joined by all five sons. J B was the eldest, initially training as a blacksmith and then working for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. He later moved to Atchison and worked for the Missouri Pacific Railway. In 1898 he moved to Vancouver, with the initial intention of heading to the Klondike. Instead he opened a storage business, growing to the point of building his own warehouse. In 1910 he organized The Campbell Storage Company, Limited, which was incorporated with him as the president; his brother, Gregor L Campbell, as the vice president and his son, Charles E Campbell, as the secretary and manager; while his son, John G, and brother Charles were directors. In 1921 they sold out to Mainland Terminals, part of C P Railways operations. The Campbell family were very active in the city’s life. J B Campbell was elected alderman for four years between 1907 and 1911. He stood for a provincial seat in 1909, but wasn’t elected. In 1910 he was made shipping master for the port of Vancouver. His extraordinarily comprehensive 1913 biography revealed that “Mr. Campbell is five feet eleven inches in height and weighs one hundred and eighty-five pounds.”

His son, Charles went on to own the Vancouver Daily World for three years having worked for the family business from 1910 until it was sold. Previously he had been part-owner of the Sun, and after selling the World in 1924 he founded another paper, the Star, only to sell that after 6 weeks to Victor Odlum. He moved to Alberta, bought the Edmonton Bulletin in 1925 and stayed for many years.

The McMillan warehouse today is home to a college offering courses in gaming, graphics, fashion and interior design. The Prior building was added to and converted to 21 artist live/work strata apartments in 1999, while the Campbell building was one of the earliest residential conversions of an industrial building, with 37 rental apartments built in 1989.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu N258

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Homer Street Methodist Church

methodist-church-545-homer-st

Here’s the second Methodist Church built in the city, constructed only three years after the first one was built on Water Street. The dramatic growth in population after the railway arrived saw that building to be entirely inadequate, and this imposing new structure was put up in a recently cleared area not too far from the CPR’s new Granville St hub, but not so far from the population concentrated in the original Old Granville Townsite to the east and north of here. This picture showing the new church at the corner of Homer and Dunsmuir dates from 1890, a year after it was completed. Thomas Hooper was the architect, and this was probably his first major work in the city, although he had arrived in 1886 and been busy as a supervising architect for the Province of BC.

methodist-church-545-homer-st-demo-1910What’s remarkable is how short a period elapsed before the building was abandoned as the congregation moved further west to Georgia and Burrard to a new church designed by William Blackmore in 1901.

In 1910, this 1889 church was demolished. The congregation had sold the site to the city’s Trades and Labour Council in 1899, who later built the ‘Labour Temple’ on the site, also designed by the now very successful Thomas Hooper. The church negotiated a ‘sale and leaseback’ agreement while they built their new building, and the Labour organization paid $7,000 for the church property here.

Initially they had considered re-using the church, but eventually concluded that it wasn’t possible to repurpose it for their needs, and instead redeveloped with the building still there today. It took five years to pay off the mortgage to buy the site; then fundraising started for the replacement. The building on the site today has recently been given a thorough makeover, including some complicated seismic bracing, and is occupied in part by a law office.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Ch N6, CVA 466-24 and CVA 677-724

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Posted 23 February 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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High School – Dunsmuir Street (1)

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1892-high-schoolHere’s the Vancouver High School on Dunsmuir Street, with the ‘Public School’ (as it’s referred to on the 1901 Insurance Map) in the background, on the same block, further north on West Pender Street. That was also called the Central School, and was designed by Thomas Hooper in 1889 (with Balston Kenway, the supervising architect for the Provincial government). This image dates from 1893, which explains why the new board sidewalks are level, but the streets aren’t – the High School was very newly built.

Charles Russell Oldershaw was apparently the architect – although quite how is a bit of a mystery. This cutting from 1892 clearly identifies the name of the architect as Oldershaw, but there’s no one with his name in any of the local street directories (or in Victoria). The only Oldershaw who is an architect is in Chatham, Ontario, and although he moved to Vancouver, that apparently wasn’t until 1898. He didn’t even advertise as an architect in Ontario before 1895, so how he might design an important building like this is unclear. (There is another newspaper reference to him being in the city in 1894, but no other apparent architectural work. There was a 52 year old bricklayer called Alfred Oldershaw in Victoria, but he seems an unlikely designer as well – and his was the only Oldershaw family in the province in 1891. He was originally from Nottinghamshire in England, but had met his wife in Chatham, Ontario so was probably a relative of the architect).

The term ‘High School’ is a bit misleading – it doesn’t really refer to a secondary school, but rather a post-secondary institution. Of the forty-two students enrolled during the 1890–91 school year, eight were successful in gaining teaching certificates.  ‘The First Fifty Years: Vancouver High Schools’ explains that “In 1894, the passing of an Act which permitted the affiliation of high schools in the province with recognized Canadian Universities, made possible the beginning of the work normally done in a university. In the academic year 1898-99, Vancouver High School made its first systematic attempt to matriculate students; eight candidates were successful.

The next school year the high school was actively affiliated with McGill University in First Year Arts, taking the name of “Vancouver College”. The school was also officially known as “Vancouver High School and College”. In 1899 – 1900, a class of six students took the full First Year University Course in Arts and four passed the McGill University examinations.”

Today it’s still a Vancouver College – Vancouver Community College is located here.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives SGN 49

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Posted 9 February 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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