Archive for the ‘Union Bank’ Tag

93-95 West Cordova Street

The Union Bank of Canada commissioned this single storey masonry-fronted brick building built in 1910. They hired A J Bird to design it, and Adkinson & Dill to build it for $12,500. In 1910 The Union Bank of Canada had one branch in Vancouver; their modest office building at 550 West Hastings that they had moved into in 1907. In 1911 there were four new branches in the city, including this one, but most were in existing buildings.

There had been an 1887 wooden 2-storey building on this corner, built very soon after the fire that destroyed the city, where Quebec-born Z G Goldberg had his clothing store. Not long after it was built he was allowed to rebuild the verandah after a stray team of horses destroyed it. In 1891 he was known as Z Gordon Goldberg, and in 1881 he was still at home where his older brother David was head of family, a pawn broker, with parents Hyman and Leah who were from Poland. He was recorded as Zabelon, and also had an older sister, Sarah.

His Cheapside Clothing Co remained in operation for many years. In 1896 it was noted that “For the last three months a dog belonging to Z. G. Goldberg has been in the habit of following the streetcars along the double track portion of the line. Nothing seems to break it of the habit, and if locked up it starts out again as soon as let loose. It never makes itself a nuisance by barking.” By 1909 Joseph Izen was selling second-hand clothing in the store, and a year later the site had been cleared.

Referred to as the ‘pioneer bank’ of western Canada, the Union Bank followed the railway across the prairies to the West Coast. It was the first to provide an extensive branch system throughout the prairies, but suffered during post-war depression and was absorbed by the Royal Bank in 1925, who closed this branch.

Fred W Thompson took the premises, and converted it to a shooting gallery. By the early 1930s it was home to Service Confectionery. In 1932 a thief grabbed $30 in cash, but only after a strenuous tussle with the Japanese owner, ‘K Inoueze’, who gave chase to the ‘armed bandit’. “The Japanese overtook him and made a grab for the money. He later discovered he had retrieved only a bunch of old letters.” It was burgled in 1936, but the would-be thieves were disturbed and police found a tablecloth bundled up around cigarettes ready to be removed. The company was still owned by K Inouye in 1941, but with the forced removal of the Japanese from the coast, S Quon took over. In the 1950s the business was being run by C B H, H and D Loo.

In 1965 there was a barber’s shop here run by Bill Allen, and in 1980 this was home to fast food restaurant ‘Chicken On The Run’, but the business was liquidated in 1983. There was an optometrist here in the early 1990s, and today it’s a kitchen showroom, part of the Inform furniture business.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2128

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Posted 12 September 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Union Bank – West Hastings and Seymour – se corner

The Union Bank of Canada was built at the corner of West Hastings and Seymour, next to the Innes Thompson Building, in 1920. The Union Bank was started in Quebec, but moved to Winnipeg and became the prairie bank, following the railway westwards as towns sprang up. Crossing into British Columbia took a little longer, and the first appearance of the bank here wasn’t until 1907 when they occupied the premises of a wine and spirits store at the corner of Seymour and Hastings.

The bank made some alterations in 1910, and commissioned a new building at 97 Cordova Street in the same year, but it wasn’t until 1919 that they made their grand move, commissioning Somervell and Putnam to design their last commission in the city, a seriously retro temple bank (in an era when far simpler buildings were starting to come into fashion). (We featured an earlier Somervell and Putnam temple bank at Pender and Granville).

Not long after their new branch was built the Union Bank, finding itself over-extended, was forced to merge with the Royal Bank (in 1925). The Royal Bank already had a significant Vancouver presence, so they passed the Seymour building on to the Bank of Toronto, who in turn merged in 1955 with the Dominion Bank, but maintained a presence in the building until 1984. Our VPL image dates to 1939, when the Bank of Toronto was operating here.

Plans for the demolition of the building had actually been approved until protest from the Community Arts Council (before there was a Heritage Vancouver) saved it, and a revised redevelopment project (that saw the Innes-Thompson block demolished) preserve the building. The architects claimed it was impossible to save the Innes-Thompson facade as well. The Union Bank sat empty for several years, and it wasn’t until 2000 that the new use for the building was completed, with Architectura designing the award-winning Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue for Simon Fraser University. The building next door, the Delta Suites hotel by Aitken Wreglesworth, carefully picks up the scale and rhythm of the bank facade in the lower floors.

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