Archive for the ‘Townley and Matheson’ Tag

Lost Gas Stations in Downtown Vancouver

We’ve seen a lot of Downtown and west End locations where there used to be gas stations – we think there were at least 99 of them in the past where they’ve now disappeared. Today there’s just one left – for now. On the corner of Davie and Burrard, the last remaining Esso station has been bought by a property developer. A block away there was a Shell station, developed in 1951, and seen in this image from the same year in the Vancouver Public Library photo collection. The garage structure is still there, with additional elements added as restaurants. The gas station had closed by the early 1980s, and became a Mr. Submarine store for a while.

Further south, at Seymour and Pacific, Imperial Oil had a gas station, seen here when it first opened in 1925. Townley and Matheson designed the structure, which was built by Purdy & Rodger at a cost of $6,900. The gas bar was replaced with part of the Seymour off-ramp of the Granville Bridge, completed in 1954. If the number of service stations seems low today, that wasn’t the case in the 1920s. This was 601 Pacific, and Imperial Oil had another Townley and Matheson designed gas bar at 740 Pacific, and Union Oil had another on the same block. By 1930 this gas station no longer existed.

In the background is the Bayview Hotel, later renamed The Continental, and in its later years operated by the City of Vancouver as an SRO hotel until it was demolished in 2015. In its early years the hotel was an expensive investment for Kilroy and Morgan, who spent $100,000 to build the hotel designed by Parr and Fee in 1911.

Finally (for the time being), there was a larger gas station on Robson Street, operated here in 1974 by Texaco. In 1985 it was redeveloped with a 2-storey retail building that includes a London Drugs store, and smaller retail units on Bute Street. Initially there were houses built here, but the motoring use of the site was over decades – in the 1930s Webber-MacDonald Garage was here, repairing and selling pre-owned automobiles, which became the Robson Garage a few years later. The corner however had a different building; the Bute Street Private hospital was here for decades. It became a rooming house, but was still here when Hemrich Brothers (who ran a garage on Howe, and then Dunsmuir Street for many years) were running the Robson Street garage in the later 1950s. The building had originally been built in 1928 for J McRae, who hired Townley and Metheson to design his $16,000 garage. The big new Texaco canopy, facilities  and forecourt replaced the buildings on the street until the 1980s redevelopment put buildings back along Robson.

Image sources: VPL, City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1399-530 and CVA 778-333

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Posted 8 February 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown, Gone, West End

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622 Granville Street

We’re seeing a 1925 store in an 1888 building on Granville Street. The Crewe Block (later recorded as the Crews Block) was one of a number of building developed along Granville Street by CPR Executives. Rather than trying to find local architects, most of the designs were drawn up in New York, in the offices of Bruce Price, who also worked on CPR commissions like the Opera House. The intent was to drag the city’s business district away from where it was founded, in Gastown, and closer to the CPRs new landholdings that ran southwards from their station on the waterfront at the foot of their new street, recently carved out of the forest.

Originally the building had sash windows, but some time later the second floor windows were slightly widened, and altered to centre-pivoted units. This is often a sign of the work of Parr and Fee, who favoured glazed white brick and pivoting windows in the many buildings they designed elsewhere on Granville. In 1925 Saba Brothers hired Townley & Matheson to design a $25,000 makeover of their premises. (The second floor windows had been installed before that renovation, as they can be seen in this earlier post which has an image from 1921, when Con Jones had one of his ‘Don’t Argue’ tobacco stores here).

Alex and Michael Saba who ran the store here were Christian Lebanese immigrants who were living on Vancouver Island before they moved to Vancouver. Michael arrived from Beirut first, and Alex joined him nearly a decade later in 1900 when he was only 17. He learned English by selling door-to-door, with a suitcase full of underwear, handkerchiefs and notions. By 1911 Alex was aged 28, had a 20 year old wife, Adma, a baby son, Edgar, and a home on Barclay Street that the family shared with Adma’s mother, Katherine Hashim. In 1921 Michael and his wife Freda were living on Pendrell Street, and the record shows Michael had arrived in 1891, and Freda (who was also Syrian, and 9 years younger than her husband) in 1893. Alex (recorded bizarrely as Axel) and Adma now had three sons, with Clarence and Arnold joining Edgar, and Catherine Hashim was still living with them on Balsam Street in a home that Alex had built in 1914 at a cost of $6,500. Alex was now managing director of the business, and various other Saba family members worked there.

The Saba Brothers sold ladies clothing and fabrics, especially silk, although they started out by selling a broader range of ‘Oriental Goods’. The History of Metropolitan Vancouver noted the importance of the business. “Saba Brothers opened on West Hastings  in November 1903. Two years later, the store moved to the 500 block Granville. By 1940, Saba’s was the largest retail house in Western Canada specializing in silks. Although hit by shortages in WWII, the business survived. In 1942, there was a riot when 500 women stampeded the store to buy 300 pairs of nylon stockings (no one was hurt)“. By the 1930s the store here was twice as big, as they expanded north into 628; in 1925 that was Hunter Henderson’s Paint store. In 1947, the company built a new five-storey $250,000 store here, designed by Sharp, Thompson, Berwick & Pratt. In 1954 they opened a Victoria outlet. Alex’s three sons, Edgar, Clarence and Arnold, later managed the business.

Today the loaction is part of the Hudson, a 400 plus unit condo tower developed in 2006 with retail and office space in the podium. Stores have generally been successful here, but the effects of the COVID pandemic has seen the closure of Swimco, the Calgary-based swimwear chain, and the unit was for lease in 2020.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1399-527

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Posted 14 December 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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1150 Raymur Avenue

This image is another rare example of a Vancouver building published in the Journal of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, this time in 1953. The reason for selecting this particular building is unclear, but it was one of three industrial buildings featured in the June edition of the Journal, none likely to set the architectural world on fire.

The Vancouver warehouse for the Grinnell Company of Canada Ltd was designed by Townley and Matheson, and was filled with ‘Wrought, Cast Iron and Brass Pipe. Fittings, Valves, Pipe Hangers and Supports, Piping Supplies, Etc,’ and the company traced its history back to 1850, founded as the Providence Steam and Gas Pipe Co in Providence, Rhode Island. Among the piping they supplied and installed were early fire fighting systems. In 1869, Frederick Grinnell, a Massachusetts-born engineer, purchased a controlling interest in Providence Steam and Gas and became its president. Fire-extinguishing apparatus in factories was mainly perforated pipes connected to a water-supply system and installed along the ceilings. The water had to be turned on by hand – often too late to prevent the loss of wooden buildings. In 1874 a Connecticut inventor patented a sprinkler design and Grinnell installed it, paying a royalty to the inventor. Grinnell soon designed his own more sensitive system in 1881, and from there became one of the largest suppliers of fire systems and fire extinguishers in North America. In the year the building was photographed the company had just absorbed ADT (American District Telegraph Co), an alarm company. In 1966 they were forced to sell it, having been accused of price fixing.

The Canadian arm of the business was established in 1914, and in the 1970s became part of Tyco Industries, which in turn has been swallowed up by Johnson Controls. The company’s Lower Mainland operation is now based in Delta. This warehouse is currently vacant, and available to lease, but was most recently home to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, who moved to a new location in Burnaby in mid 2019.

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Posted 30 November 2020 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Granville Street – 800 block, west side (3)

We’ve looked at the west side of this block of Granville looking north is previous posts, but not looking south, from Robson Street. The picture dates from 1951, when there were still plenty of competing cinemas with vertical blade signs. On the east side wire the Capitol and the Orpheum; the bigger theatres on the block, but the Paradise and Plaza had equally large signs, even if their capacity was less. The Paradise opened in 1938, showing Paul Robeson in “The Big Fella”. The 1938 art deco facade was designed by Thomas Kerr, and the cinema had 790 seats. This wasn’t the first cinema here, in 1912 The Globe opened, designed by an engineer, C P Gregory, for the Pacific Amusement Company. It cost $40,000, and three years later was altered by new owners the Hope Investment Company. There were further alterations a year later, when W P Nichols was shown as the owner, and in 1922 a pipe organ was installed. The theatre was taken over by Odeon in 1941 who later refurbished and reopened it as the Coronet Theatre in 1964 showing Peter Sellers in “The Pink Panther”. In 1976 the cinema was twinned – two smaller screens allowed less popular movies to be shown. The Coronet cinema closed in 1986, although that wasn’t the end of its movie-house story.

Odeon also acquired the Plaza Theatre just up Granville Street in the early 1960s. Their theatre was three doors to the south of the Paradise, as we saw in an earlier post photographed in 1974. That was another Thomas Kerr design, from 1936, which was a rebuild of the 1908 Maple Leaf Theatre. Today it’s Venue, a nightclub that (until recent restrictions) had live music as well as DJs. As other cinemas closed on Granville, Odeon decided to close the Plaza, and acquired the Vermilyea Block (next to the Plaza), designed by William Blackmore in 1893 and operated for years as The Palms Hotel. They also demolished 855 Granville, a 1920 office building developed by J F Mahon. They combined the Paradise and the two adjacent buildings and in 1987 the Cineplex Granville 7 opened, with a total of over 2,400 seats in seven cinemas in a building that incorporated the facade of both the Vermilyea and the Coronet, with a new building between. The cinema closed in 2012 as the Empire Granville, and is now being redeveloped as The Rec Room, another Cineplex entertainment complex, but with no movie element.

On the corner today is the Mason Robson Centre which a few years ago replaced the Farmer Building, and incorporated the facade of the Power Block, a 1929 Townley and Matheson art deco building. The demolished back of the building dated back to 1888, when it was developed by Captain William Power, of North Vancouver, who hired N S Hoffar to design it. The tall building to the south is the Medical Arts Building, a $100,000 investment developed by J J Coughlin and designed by Maurice Helyer in 1922 (and still used as office space today). John J Coughlin ran a Vancouver construction company – the biggest in the city. His company built the $200,000 Second Hotel Vancouver, a block from here to the north. The small building to the south is now missing the design elements initially included by architect James Keagey for his clients recorded in the building permit as ‘Powers and Boughton’ in 1913. Actually they were John E Powis and G E Broughton, real estate agents and developers.

Image source: City of Vancouver archives CVA 772-8

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118 Robson Street

This gas station, on the corner of Robson and Beatty, was developed in 1922 by Imperial Oil Ltd. It cost them $8,000 for Dominion Construction to build it, and Townley and Matheson designed it. We suspect that underneath the changes that have seen the building converted to a bar, the bones of the structure are nearly 100 years old. It almost certainly won’t make it to a century, as the site has been approved for redevelopment (along with the Catholic Charities building to the west, which started life as Northern Electric’s factory). The gas station part of the site will become a new boutique hotel, along with the heritage building, and there’s a condo tower as well.

This Vancouver Public Library picture shows the site in 1941, when it was addressed as 110 Robson and known as the Connaught Service Station – initially it was Imperial Oil station No.7. In 1941 it was run by T McMurdo and M Beaton, who had adopted the name when they took over from Imperial around 1935. They were still running the business in 1947 when “Thieves smashed a window to gain entry into the Connaught Service Station, 110 Robson some time during the night but fled empty-handed. Cupboards and drawers were rifled, but the safe was untouched”. The building was rebuilt as a bar – presumably when the service station use was abandoned – in 1979.

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Posted 28 November 2019 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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West Hastings Street – 100 block, south side (2)

We saw the buildings to the east of this part of the 100 block of West Hastings in an earlier post. We’ve also looked at most of these buildings in greater detail over the years. The tallest building in the group is the Stock Exchange Building, an 8 storey steel-framed building on a 25 foot wide lot, costing $75,000 to build and designed by J S Helyer and Son in 1909. The two storey building to the east (on the left) is The Province Building, which we revisted in a second post. It started life in 1898 as the offices of the Province Newspaper, Walter Nichol’s Victoria newspaper that moved into Vancouver. It was given a new lease of life in the 1920s as a retail store known as ‘The Arcade’, and today’s façade is Townley and Matheson redesign for that purpose. Both the Stock Exchange, which today is non-market housing, and the Province building have been given a recent make-over, with furniture store Structube moving into the retail space. Our 1981 image below shows that it was a furniture store in a previous incarnation. In 1940 (above) there was Singer sewing machine dealer, and the office building had become The Ray Building.

The black and white almost matching three storey buildings to the west are 152 and 156 W Hastings. The westernmost is older, built in 1901 for Jonathan Rogers, and costing $10,000. It was designed by Parr and Fee. 152 West Hastings, next door, was built in 1904 and designed by William Blackmore and Son. It cost $8,000 and the developer was E Rogers – Elizabeth, Jonathan Rogers’ wife, who had married Jonathan in 1902. Long the home of the Trocadero Grill, today it has office space over retail.

The one building we haven’t researched is 150 West Hastings, and we don’t know who designed or developed the building. It’s the 3 storey building between the Stock Exchange and Rogers buildings. It’s been cleaned up – in 1979 the brickwork had been painted over and the store was ‘Save-On Surplus’. It was repaired in 1920 by Cope and Sons, who hired Gardiner and Mercer and spent $2,000 on fixing it up, and the same owners carried out more repairs in 1916. In 1911 the Vancouver Electric Company added an electric frame sign, but we don’t know who that was for. In 1903, when it was supposedly built, T Grey, a tailor had a store here, as well as Ernest Easthope (senior), who repaired bicycles. (His son, also called Ernest, was a teamster). Today there’s a yoga studio, with offices upstairs.

Image sources City of Vancouver Archives CVA 586-2574 and CVA 779-E16.21

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De Beck Block – 366 West Hastings

 

This prominent corner of Hastings and Homer has a surprisingly modest building today, but earlier there were two more flamboyant buildings. On the right was the O’Brien Hall, where Professor William O’Brien taught dance (as we saw in the previous post). The one on the left was designed by W T Dalton for George Ward DeBeck. It was completed in 1898, when Mr. DeBeck was a partner in Mackinnon, Beck & Co, (real estate agents) and lived on Hornby Street.

He was born at Woodstock, New Brunswick in 1849, and after leaving school travelled to California, where he worked in sawmills. He later joined his family, who had moved to British Columbia. His father had moved to New Westminster in 1868, working as a logger, but died in a logging accident two years later. There were three other DeBeck brothers, and they collectively built the Brunette Saw Mills in Sapperton in 1874. In 1877 George was in New Westminster, working at the Brunette Sawmill Co where H L DeBeck was manager and Clarence DeBeck foreman. By 1881 the mill was cutting 50,000 feet of lumber a day, and employing 30 workers. Their lumber at the time came from a camp on Pitt Lake. George DeBeck had already tired of the lumber business – in 1880 he was running a hotel in Yale. In the census a year later his wife and two children also lived in Yale, but not at the hotel.

While a 1914 biography suggested Mr. DeBeck married in 1887, a later newspaper article clarified that it was in 1877, when his wife-to-be was only aged 16, and still attending a convent in New Westminster. Some references suggest she was the first white child born in New Westminster. Having hired a cab, and a tugboat, Mr. DeBeck spirited his wife-to-be away from her school Sunday morning walk, and hurried to Port Townsend in Washington where they married. To ensure there was no chase, it was reported that Mr. DeBeck arranged for the telegraph lines to be cut.

After the hotel in Yale the family moved south, with George working in the timber trade, initially in Washington. In 1883 the family were in The Dalles, Oregon, where Edward (“Ned”) Keary DeBeck was born. Two years later Leonora Alsea Debeck was born in Yaquinna, Oregon. The family moved on to Idaho, then in 1886 returned to Canada, and to Vancouver in 1891, where G W DeBeck was listed as a timber speculator. In 1895, a son, Ward was born. and two years later Viola, who would become one of the earliest women law students in British Columbia. At this point George had moved on again, and instead of lumber now held interests in mining. At this point he was listed as ‘broker’ – as he was involved in real estate as well as mining. He developed the West Hastings building which soon included tenants as varied as Vogel’s Commercial College, the French Consulate, and the local office of Imperial Oil.

George’s next adventure was a government appointment, as Indian Agent in Alert Bay on Cormorant Island, off Vancouver Island. He held the job for four years, then returned to Vancouver, and the timber cruising and logging business. At the end of 1939 George and Emma moved to Victoria, British Columbia to live with their son, Ned, but Emma died that year, on December 31. George returned to Vancouver, where he died in 1943. You can read far more about George, and his family, on WestEnd Vancouver.

When he died, his building (seen here in 1940 with the Pall Mall Café) had been demolished, replaced with the less ornate building seen today. There was a Bank of Montreal branch on the corner from 1928 and the replacement was built in two phases, with the bank occupying the eastern half (where the DeBeck Building had been) before moving into the western corner once the entire building was completed. We weren’t certain who designed the 1940 building, but the style is reminiscent of the buildings designed by Townley and Matheson for the Vancouver General Hospital around this time and in 1940 they designed a business block for Dr. Worthington at Homer and Hastings. Patrick Gunn from Heritage Vancouver dug out the 1940 permit, and it was indeed those architects for Doctor Worthington, who owned the Vancouver Drug Company. Today it’s part of the campus of the Vancouver Film School, suffering somewhat by the addition of an extremely brutal tubular canopy.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu N135

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Posted 13 June 2019 by ChangingCity in Gone, Victory Square

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O’Brien Hall – West Hastings and Homer

The tenants of this building, William and Gertrude O’Brien, were so identified with it that it was named for them in the photo captions in the Library and Archives collections. Actually it pre-dated their involvement, and started life called the ‘British Columbia Land and Investment Agency Building’. Built in 1892, it was designed by Fripp and Wills. In the early years it was home to the Moodyville Land and Sawmill Co. Up to 1898 the building was also called the “Metropolitan Club Block” and sometimes the “Metropolitan Block”.

This early image was shot in 1898 (when the sidewalk was still wooden). The developer, The B.C. Land and Investment Agency were a London-based Real Estate and Insurance Agency which at one time were said to own or control half the real estate in Victoria.

The O’Brien’s were from Ontario; William from Nobleton and Gertrude from Barrie. They married in 1892, and moved west two years later. When he married, William was a musician, but on arrival in Vancouver he styled himself a “Professor of Dancing,” opening a dancing academy on an upper floor of this building. In 1894 the Daily World reported an ‘At Home’, where 40 couples danced until midnight, when luncheon was served, and then danced on again ’till morn’. Gertrude also taught dancing. In 1894 it was reported “Mrs. W.E. O’Brien, teacher of society dancing, is about to commence her children’s class, during which all the popular society dances will be taught, as well as some very artistic dances suitable for children’s exhibitions. For terms apply at academy, corner of Homer and Hastings streets.”

The O’Brien’s had four daughters – two sets of twins. In the 1920s they lived on Denman Street, and the 1921 census showed Gertrude no longer taught dance, and William was listed as proprietor of the hall for his occupation, although he was still listed in the street directory as ‘dancing master’. There’s more detail about the family on WestEnd Vancouver.

The hall was used for a variety of purposes: the first suffrage convention in the city was held here in 1911. The Pacific Lodge of the Oddfellows first met here in 1894, before moving to another hall nearby on Hamilton Street. In 1907 the first meeting of the Vancouver Automobile Club was held. The first official club rally was held on Labour Day, 1907 with a run around Stanley Park, where eleven cars started but only five cars made it all the way around. That same year the Canada Lumberman and Woodworker reported, rather mysteriously a “HOO-HOO IN BRITISH COLUMBIA. A Rousing Concatenation Held at Vancouver Last Month. On Friday, August the ninth, the mystic Black Cat again held court on the roof, in Vancouver, when the timorous purring of thirty-two unregenerated kittens was mingled with the yowls and caterwauls of nearly a hundred old cats. The session took place in O’Brien’s Hall, Hastings street. Snark J. D. Moody was again in evidence as leader

From 1928 the corner tenant of the main floor of the building was the Bank of Montreal. By 1930 the O’Brien’s were no longer shown in the street directory, and Wrigley’s Directory were the lessees of the O’Brien Hall. William and Gertrude were living in Vancouver again in 1939, in retirement, and Gertrude died in Vancouver in, 1951, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery. William died in 1957, and was buried with her.

In 1940 a new branch of the Bank of Montreal had been built here, with the Bank occupying the eastern half of the partly-completed new building on a temporary basis, while the western (corner) unit was completed, and they were able to occupy their long term location. We didn’t know for certain who designed the 1940 building, but the style is similar to the buildings designed by Townley and Matheson for the Vancouver General Hospital around this time. In 1940 Townley and Matheson designed a business block for Dr. Worthington at Homer and Hastings, and as the other three corner buildings are all earlier than 1940, and still standing today, it seemed pretty clear that this is their work, and the building Permit from 1940 confirms that the $60,000 building was their work. Dr George Worthington was president of the Vancouver Drug Co, and in 1937 chaired the annual of the Vancouver Tourist Association dinner. Today the building is part of the Vancouver Film School.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 371-2041

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Beatty Street – 500 block (2)

We looked at most of the older buildings in this image (but on the Beatty Street side) in one of our earliest posts. The front of the buildings are quite a bit shorter than they are on this side – the back of the warehouses are mostly three storeys taller. Today most of them are taller still, as residential conversion has also seen a couple of lightweight penthouse floors added on top.

This 1918 image by Frank Gowen shows that the rail tracks ran right up to the back of the buildings, and covered the area developed in the 1990s as International Village. Today’s SkyTrain tracks run at right angles to those original freight tracks: that’s the vault of Stadium station in the left foreground.

At the end of the block is the Sun Tower (as it’s still known today, although the Vancouver Sun has moved offices at least three times in the decades since they occupied this building). It was built for the Daily World newspaper, with offices above a printing works, and was briefly claimed as the tallest building in the British Empire (although tallest in Canada is more likely). W T Whiteway designed it in 1910, and it opened in 1912, just as the city hit a serious recession, leaving most of the additional office space intended to make the project pay, empty.

Alongside are the Storey and Campbell warehouse, also by W T Whiteway and built in 1911, and next door Richard Bowman’s warehouse that today has a Townley and Matheson designed façade after a 1944 fire. We looked at the histories of both of the buildings a couple of years ago. Next door, the Crane building had Somervell & Putnam as architects and cost over $120,000 in 1911. In 2008, like the Bowman and Storey warehouses it was converted to residential use, with two tall penthouse floors added (as this 1972 image comparison shows).

The shortest building in the 1918 image is now taller, after a comprehensive reconstruction in 1983 designed by Bruno Freschi of the 1906 Mainland Warehouse at 550 Beatty to create residential lofts. Originally designed (we think) by Honeyman and Curtis, a rebuilt back façade saw the face of the building moved back to create balconies in a grid of brick piers. The top two floors of the original building were added in 1928, but extra height was added again in the conversion. The 1928 permit to Vancouver Warehouses Ltd was for $45,000 of work, described as ‘Workshop/Factory/Warehouse; New’, so it’s possible the entire building was rebuilt by the George Snider Construction Co. Ltd.

Today, 560 Beatty is the least changed, and shortest building. It dates back to 1909, when it was built by J M McLuckie for Fred Buscombe, at a cost of $35,000. In 1899 he bought out James A Skinner and Co, china and glass importers, originally founded in Hamilton, and changed the name to Buscombe & Co. He was at different times President of the city’s Board of Trade, and Mayor of Vancouver in 1905. He was also president of the Pacific Coast Lumber & Sawmills Company, and director of the Pacific Marine Insurance Company.

Next door, 564 Beatty now has an extra four office floors, but it started life much shorter (with just a single floor on Beatty Street) developed by Jonathan Rogers – with an unknown architect. In 1912 J P Matheson designed an additional two storeys for Robert A Welsh, and the office floors (designed by IBI) were added in 2014. In 1918 there was a warehouse next door, but today it’s a set of stairs running down to International Village and the T&T Supermarket, and the SkyTrain station. It was first occupied by Robertson Godson Co who had hired Parr and Fee to design the $35,000 building in 1909.

Image source CVA 1135-4

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Granville Street – 800 block, east side

This is a view that will probably change a lot in the near future. The owners are reported to be contemplating redevelopment of the first three or four buildings from the corner of Robson Street. The building on the corner is from 1922, designed by Townley & Matheson for the Service Investment Co, costing $31,000. For now it’s the Lennox pub, with the closing Payless shoes alongside and upstairs.

Next door is a small building recently occupied on a temporary basis by Indigo Books. It was designed by Parr and McKenzie for Mrs. Sophia Cameron in 1912, built by E J Ryan and cost $12,000 to build. We don’t really know much about Mrs. Cameron. She’s not obvious in the 1911 census record, but there was a Mrs. Sophia Cameron living near here in 1901. She didn’t appear in the street directory, but her son, Maxwell did. He was listed as a clerk at Woodward’s departmental store, although he seems to have managed the clothing department. A few years later he established his own clothing store on Cordova Street, and moved from 404 Robson to the West End, first to further west on Robson in 1909, then to Thurlow by 1911. He is also unidentifiable in the 1911 Census. Both Sophia, who was 50 in 1901, and Max, who was 25, were shown born in Ontario, and Sophia was listed in 1901 as being on the Women’s Voting List.

Maxwell still had his clothing store, and still lived on Thurlow in 1921, so we can find him in the census of that year, and Sophia, his mother is still living with him, although twenty years after the 1901 census she’s only fifteen years older. In 1891 they had been living in Brantford, Ontario, where Sophia was already a widow, aged 40, and 16-year old Maxwell was working as a clerk.

Next is a four storey building, designed by Braunton & Leibert in 1913 for R A Allen. The 4-storey apartment and retail building, now known as the Clancy Building, cost $35,000. When it opened, the second establishment of Allen’s Café was here, and Robert A Allen was associated with the business, although the owner was listed as Osro M Allen. The Province newspaper clarified their relationship: R A Allen died in 1929, and he bequeathed $110,000 to his brother, Osro. “The assets include a lot at 814 Granville Street, worth $100 000. which is subject to a mortgage, so that the estate’s equity amounts to $79,720“. Osro’s father, and his wife, were both American, but Osro himself was born in Canada. In 1921 they were living in Point Grey (on Granville Street) and his American born children, George (29) and Jeanette were at home. Jeanette was divorced, with a two year old daughter, Elizabeth. Osro and his family had arrived in Canada, (presumably from the USA) in 1913. Robert was single, living on Hastings Street, and ten years older than his brother. He was born in Quebec, and was already running Allen’s Café and Rooms on West Hastings when his brother moved to Vancouver. He had originally run Allen’s Café at an earlier address on West Hastings from 1906.

Next to the Clancy Building was the Capitol Theatre. In its 1922 design it had a simple arched window. That was altered to a more contemporary (for the time) design in the 1940s, and it was redesigned again before the theatre finally closed in 2006. A simple glazed retail box replaced it, and another was built next door two years later.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E02.28

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