Archive for the ‘W T Whiteway’ Tag

916 West Broadway

The Leyland Apartments – nine of them at the time – appeared for the first time in the 1930 street directory. R C Singleton built the $28,000 property for his ownership, designed by William Tuff Whiteway. Richard Cline Singleton was born in 1891, in Winfield, Cowley, Kansas. Cline Singleton briefly appears in 1920, working for Joseph H Singleton, a grocer, who had been in the city for a few years. We think that’s his father, born in 1863 in Indiana. Cline Singleton was listed in the 1900 census living with his parents Joseph and Carrie, who died a year later.

We think that by 1921 Cline Singleton was working in California; he referenced knowledge of a school in Ventura in a letter in the Vancouver press, and was listed in 1921 as the Head Farmer at the California School for Girls (a reform school in Ventura), the year the LA Times ran a story ‘Girls Plotted to Burn Whole School, Escape‘.

Cline married Mary Maverette Stockwell, probably while he was in California; Mary was born in 1885 in Indiana, but in 1920 was still single and living with her father, Lucius, in San Diego. Her mother, Phoebe, had died in 1888 leaving Lucius with four children. She had attended Indiana University, studying English, and in 1910 was teaching English and Botany at the High School in Cloverdale, Indiana. (When her father died in 1941 he was back in Indiana).

By 1923 Cline Singleton was a grocer on East 28th Avenue, and Joseph Singleton was at the same address. A year later Joseph ran the grocers store, and Cline was a partner in Fairview Brokerage on West Broadway. By 1927 both men were listed as carpenters, living on Nelson Avenue in the West End. They both obtained building permits over a number of years. Cline advertised that he would build a bungalow, either on the client’s site, or one he owned. Several examples of his work are still standing today; typical 1920s bungalows with a roughed in basement, (not necessarily high enough to stand in), with a bedroom in the roof with a dormer window. They generally cost $4,000 to build. In 1929 Cline built two apartment blocks, including this one.

Joseph Harrison Singleton died in Vancouver in 1934. His obituary said he was a well-known contractor, who had come to the city 19 years earlier. The newpaper report said he was 71 when he collapsed and died, leaving one son, Cline. That year R Cline Singleton and his wife Maverette were living at The Singleton Building on West 10th Avenue. They were still there in 1937, but by 1941 they were back in San Diego, and were still there in 1950 when Cline was working as a real estate broker.

In 1954 Richard C Singleton and Mary M Singleton of El Cajon, San Diego, successfully bid $3,840 for 640 acres of “rolling hill land, located at an elevation of 3,800 feet and crossed by numerous small gullies. The soil is of first quality, supporting greasewood and other heavy desert growth and chaparral. The land contains no springs; however, water from wells is available in the vicinity. The land is fair for grazing, but is not suitable for agriculture” He died on 5 June 1968, in Carlsbad, San Diego, California, United States, at the age of 77, and Mary in 1982 at the age of 96, also in San Diego.

The apartments were advertised in the Leyland from August 1929 as three-room at reasonable rent. In 1962 the rent for a one-bedroom suite was $80. In 1969 a 2-room suite was $87 a month, electric and heat included. In 1976, two years after our image was shot, a one-room suite was $220. The building was one of only a few residential buildings in a sea of commercial development, and was acquired for the construction of a new station on the Arbutus Extension of SkyTrain. Currently it’s been replaced by a deep hole, future home to the closest station to Vancouver General Hospital, and awaiting the arrival of the two boring machines, Elsie and Phyllis, currently heading to the site from the east. In a few years a new development can be built, but zoning in this stretch of Broadway requires commercial rather than residential buildings, and as the hospital ER Department and the helipad is immediately to the south, the building’s height will be limited.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1095-00259



Posted 19 January 2023 by ChangingCity in Broadway, Gone

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Jervis and Barclay Streets

Here’s a West End house that was replaced nearly 50 years ago. ‘The 950’, a 41 unit rental building was completed here in 1974. The house had been built 69 years earlier, and although it had a corner turret that was a signature for the houses designed by Parr and Fee, in this case the architect was W T Whiteway. His client was Thomas Langlois, who paid $7,200 for his new home, which he called Rosemont.

We looked at Thomas’s history when we looked at one of his Downtown office developments. Thomas Talton Langlois was born in Gaspe in Quebec. He arrived in in BC in 1898 when he was 31, and already a successfullang businessman. Here he organized the British Columbia Permanent Loan Co.; was president, of the National Finance Co. Ltd., the Prudential Investment Co. Ltd. and the Pacific Coast Fire Insurance Co. He also developed an Arbutus subdivision which had pre-fabricated craftsman style houses built in a factory on West 2nd Avenue, and then re-erected on site. He owned property on Bowen Island, and in 1912 commissioned a 60 foot steam yacht to sail there. In 1910, through the National Finance Co, he acquired much of the Port Moody waterfront for $600,000 for a consortium of investors.

Initially Thomas and his wife, Diana, lived on Nelson Street, then Robson, before he had this house built. He was active in politics (but indirectly, as President of the Electoral Union, and later the Good Government League) and in Wesley Church. Thomas travelled extensively, presumably in relation to business as well as for pleasure. His trips were often noted in the press, sometimes accompanied by his wife. While he would head to ‘eastern cities’, she would visit friends in Victoria. They married in Orangeville, Dufferin, Ontario in 1892, when Diana Hall was four years older than her husband, and a widow. As Diana Baker she had married Marshall Hall in 1883, but he died in 1890. In 1894 Albert was born, and Muriel followed in 1905 while her mother was in England.

In December 1914 the National Finance Co was liquidated. In earlier months the company had been pursuing its creditors through the courts, but the collapse of the economy and the onset of war left the business with more debts than assets. In January 1916 the Sun reported “The many friends of Mrs. T. T. Langlois will be pleased to learn that she Is making some progress towards recovery after a severe attack of la grippe.” This was the Spanish flu, that infected a third of the population and killed over 50 million around the world.

In March the family moved to California. The Daily Province reported it as a regular trip “Mr. and Mrs. T. T. Langlois and their daughter Gwendolyn left on Monday on a trip to Los Angeles, Cal. Their son, Mr. Albert Langlois, is in the city at present and is to leave for England soon to take a commission on one of the fast scouting boats in the British navy.” The trip stretched: fifteen months later “The wedding is announced in Los Angeles of Mr. Albert W Langlois and Miss Flora Wintzel of Newport Ky. The bridegroom is a well-known Vancouverite, a son of T. T. Langlois. He was a graduate of Lord Roberts and King Edward High schools. Last year he left McGill College to enlist with the motorboat patrol but was unable to go overseas and has now re-enlisted with a forestry regiment from Vancouver“. There was no further mention of any of the family in local newspapers  until they visited friends in 1930.

Thomas died in November 1937, and was buried in Inglewood Park Cemetery, Los Angeles. Diana died at Suncrest, San Diego, California in 1943, and was buried with Thomas. Albert and his wife Flora had two children in Los Angeles, but Flora died in 1925. He remarried in 1928, and seems to have married again at some point before his death in 1979. Gwen Langlois appears to have never married, and died at Spring Valley, San Diego, California in 1992, and was buried with her parents.

The house barely gets mentioned once the family left. John Harper had moved in in 1917, manager of the Bank of Hamilton, and the address is switched to 1275 Barclay. By 1921 it had become a rooming house – ‘Large room, suit 2 gentlemen, hot and cold water, and toilet’. Henry Dobbins, a mail carrier, was shown as the primary resident. In 1933 Mrs. Dewhurst was overcome by gas fumes when she fell asleep while cooking, and the light was extinguished. A year later Mrs. Sutherland found a man entering her suite through a window, but on seeing her he beat a hasty retreat.

The building was obviously still reasonably prestigious: In 1937, when Freda Bates and Elmer Ackley were married, the reception was held at Rosemont in the suite of Mr and Mrs Robbins, Freda’s grandparents. In 1943 John Vernon died in his suite. He was a successful real estate and mining broker. Various break-and-enters were noted through the 1940s; significant items were taken; a diamond ring in one, a fur coat in another. In 1947 Soren Paulsen Elgaard was running the rental business, but he didn’t own the building (or even have a lease on the property). He sued for damages for misrepresentation that the lease had not been transferred when he took over in 1945 – and lost the case. In 1950 Andrew Novak disappeared from his room. His empty fishing boat was found drifting off Spanish Banks. He had previously run a tavern in Tacoma. Following his death $90,000 was found in two bank deposit boxes, but no will was found. Eventually the cash was split between eight relatives.

In 1955 a resident managed to drive his car into a store on Howe Street. He was fined for impairment, and assessed over $1,200 in damages to the store. In 1958 another resident spent four hours injured in a ditch when the car she was a passenger in drove off the Seymour Mountain Highway.

In 1967 an 18-yearold resident was jailed for two years for possession of marijuana. (His defence counsel denied that he was one of the “hippies” who haunt the public library). This picture was taken a year later.

We haven’t found a reference to who built the replacement building, which is leased as a mix of studio and 1-bed units.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1348-42

[unusually, we have processed the image to lighten the shadows so more detail can be seen]


Posted 8 September 2022 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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737 West Pender Street

These modest single storey buildings were built in the 1920s, and seen here in 1931. The left hand building was developed in 1924 by Stamatis & Evans, (Tom, and George), who hired W T Whiteway to design the $20,000 restaurant.

Constantine Stamatis was the oldest member of a family of restauranteurs in the city. He was born in Greece in 1879, and it looks like he was initially in the US; we think he married Helen Dupont in Seattle in 1910 (where he was recorded as Stanatis). He first appeared in the street directory in 1912 as the first family member to arrive in Vancouver, running the People’s Waffle House on Powell Street, and living on Keefer Street. A year later his home got more crowded when Harry and Tom Stamatis moved in. Harry was a waiter and Tom was shown as the proprietor of both the Waffle House and the Fountain Cafe on W Cordova. (There was some shuffling of responsibilities; in 1914 J R Smith owned the Fountain Cafe and C Stamatis was shown as a waiter there. The People’s Waffle House that year was owned by both Thomas and G Stamatis – Constantine was more often known as Gus, or sometimes Gust).

Thomas Stamatis was born in 1885, according to a 1914 border crossing at Blaine. The third brother, (Aristotle) Harry Stamatis was born in 1895 in Thebes, according to his 1923 death certificate. In 1916 Tom Stamatis was the only family member still listed in the city, and he ran the National Oyster House at 727 W Pender, (a few doors to the east of here) which a year later became the National Oyster and Chop House. By 1920 it was renamed the National Cafe, and George Evans had joined him in running the business. Tom had married Victoria Kyrias in 1918, when his birth name of Anastasios Stamatis was recorded. Victoria was 24, and originally from Macedonia.

‘Gust’ Stamatis reappeared in the directory briefly in 1919 (so he may have been fighting in the war). He ran the King’s Cafe on Carrall Street, and when Harry reappeared he was a waiter at the Palace Cafe. As Constantine Stamates he was apparently the only family member in the city in the 1921 census, living alone on Parker Street and running a restaurant. George Evans was shown running the National Cafe at 727 W Pender, and Thomas was running the Trocadero Cafe on West Hastings, but in 1922 Thomas was shown running both the National and the Trocadero.

Their new cafe here was described as “First-class lunch counter and restaurant, for Mr. T. Stamatis of the Trocadero & National Cafes; one-storey & bsmt., lower floor substantial enough to carry another story if owners choose in future; brick & tile construction”. It opened in 1924 with a full page story in the Vancouver Sun. There was a bakery upstairs, and coolers in the basement.  “There is a machine for paring potatoes, a machine for slicing potatoes for preparation as “French fried,” a machine for slicing bread, a machine for mashing potatoes, a machine for peeling and coring apples, a machine for washing dishes in fact one for almost every task where human judgment and skill are not needed to do a better Job than a machine could do.” The whole project was reported to cost $85,000

The only reference to George Evans was in the permit to build this, and the opening news piece. He lived on West Pender, and later on Burrard, but seems to have been missed by the 1921 census. He continued to partner in ownership of the restaurant here, and on West Hastings, with Tom Stamatis until at least 1939. He appears to have been Greek – we assume Evans was an anglicized version of his name. He was active in the Hellenic Society, and he often attended events with his wife and Tom Stamatis and his spouse.

By 1932 there was a Trocadero on Granville, and another on West Hastings. As well as this National Lunch, there was a short-lived National Lunch #2, two blocks from the Trocadero, on Granville. The Granville Trocadero and National Lunch #2 had both closed by 1935. In 1933 there was a fire on the roof of the restaurant, but it doesn’t appear that the damage was sufficient to close the business.

In 1935 Gus Stamatis developed a close relationship with Nobutaro Okazaki who farmed a homestead owned by Gus, four miles south of the New Westminster Bridge in Surrey. The restaurants got their supplies from the farm – one of the earliest examples of ‘farm to table’. All that ended when the Okazaki’s were forced into a camp in the interior in 1942, and in 1947 Trocadero Farm was sold to Surrey Council as the home of the future Surrey Memorial Hospital.

Constantine (Gus) Stamatis died in 1941, aged 62, survived by his brother Thomas, and three sisters, in Greece. Tom took over as manager of the National Lunch, and president of the Trocadero, and that year Mrs. Thomas Stamatis hired C B K Van Norman to design a new home for them. In 1953 Thomas and his wife Victoria applied to change their name to Stamatis Standish. George Stamatis (their son) and his wife Eunice had changed their name to Standish in 1945, and so did their son Christopher. Thomas died in 1957, in Surrey, and Victoria four years later, in Vancouver.

Next door was a building owned by W E O’Brien. He carried out repairs in 1924 but in 1927 rebuilt the premises on a double lot at a cost of $14,492 with Townley & Matheson designing the building. When they were completed there were three storefronts; Campbell Brothers (shoe repairers) at 731, the Soo Barber Shop run by A Cowell at 733 and the Soo Cigar Stand with F Edwards at 735. By 1931, when this photo was taken, 735 was part of the National Lunch, with the shoe repairer, Andy’s Barber Shop and the St Dunstan’s Cigar Stand all operating in the same unit.

The developer, William E O’Brien had for many years been a ‘Dance Master’. The British Columbia Land and Investment Agency Building on West Hastings was known more often as The O’Brien Hall. William and his wife Gertrude were from Ontario. By 1930 the O’Brien’s were no longer shown in the street directory, but they were living in Vancouver again in 1935, in retirement. Gertrude died in Vancouver in 1951, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery, and  William in 1957, when he was buried with her.

The building to the left of these buildings had been built in 1929, designed by Winnipeg srchitects Northwood and Chivers, and named the Hall Building. In 1970 the Montreal Trust Building replaced the National Cafe and was attached to the earlier building, set back from the facade, in a style to match, designed by McCarter, Nairne and Partners. Sprott Shaw College occupy space in the building, with a contemporary furniture store on the main floor.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3985 fire CVA 99-2803




Posted 22 August 2022 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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301 & 307 Main Street

These two modest rooming houses are likely to be redeveloped very soon as a new non-market housing project. The Jay Rooms on the corner date back to around 1894, while The Vet’s Rooms to the south were a 1902 investment by Baynes & Horie, who developed, designed and built the brick-fronted frame building for $2,500. Their corner neighbour saw a remodelling of the earlier building in 1913 when it was owned by Edward McFeely, who hired W T Whiteway to design the $5,000 work built by E Cox. (Coincidentally, Baynes & Horie had carried out alterations to the first building on the corner, by adding a kitchen in 1903).

We don’t know who originally developed the corner, but in 1894 The Mountain View Boarding House appeared in the street directory on Oppenheimer Street, run by Mrs. Thomas. A year later the address switched to East Cordova, and she was named as Mrs William Thomas. In 1901 she was still running the boarding house, identified in the census as Mary E Thomas, with five lodgers, and her daughter, Martha, living with her. She was shown as aged 59, and her daughter 23, and both were from Ontario. In 1891 the family lived in New Westminster. There were four other children at home – Martha was the youngest – and William was a sailor.

In 1911 she had given up running the boarding house and was a widow, living with her son-in-law, Edward Odlum, on Grant Street. He was only 9 years younger than Mary, but his wife, Matilda was 34. (Matilda was Martha’s middle name). Edward’s first wife, Mary, had died in Tokyo in 1888 aged 34, leaving Edward with four young children including newborn twins.

Edgar Baynes and William Horie were partners in a construction business they started in 1893, and were responsible for constructing over a hundred of the city’s buildings, with a number of them investments for their personal portfolio of property. 307 Westminster Avenue was a relatively small building for them, and by 1915 real estate mogul William Holden had bought the building. Ed McFeely, who was a partner in McLennan, McFeely and Company Limited, the city’s most successful importer of hardware and building supplies. He continued to spend money on alterations to the corner building, including $150 in 1926. He was from Ontario, and was in Vancouver before the 1886 fire. He was immensely successful in business, and died in 1928 one month after retiring, a year after his partner in business, Robert McLennan.

The original corner building was home in 1896 to G Claasen’s grocery store and in 1902 to Clarke & Rogerson, grocers, and Ben Christensen, a shoemaker. Upstairs the Mountain View Hotel was on two floors, with a corner turret, and addressed as 170 E Cordova. A year later Ben’s store was vacant, and Walter Merkley, who sold dry goods had moved into the new store next door. In 1906 Jacob Parker had a second-hand store on the corner, J F Munro, a tailor was next door, and T Galloway’s stationery store was in the brick building with Mrs. W. J. Ore running the furnished rooms upstairs.

In 1914 The Atlas Cafe occupied the corner, the Northern Oil Co were next door, and Walter Galloway was running the stationery store, and apparently lived upstairs, with no mention of rooms above 307. However, over the cafe, the Mountain View had become the Stockholm Rooms which were addressed as 172 E Cordova. By 1930 they had become the Phoenix Rooms, over The Main Clothing Store, the Star Barber Shop, and next door the People’s Mission. In 1936 R Reusch ran the rooms, and in 1938 the Yamane Rooms were operated by Kamech and Umeko Yamane until 1942. There was a strong Japanese presence on the block; photographer Motozo Toyama and his Columbia Studio were located on that side of the street until 1942, when the Japanese community were forced to leave the coast. He was the community’s go to photographer. In 1943 the rooms were The Victor Rooms, and by 1950 they were The Jay Rooms. J Zbarsky’s clothing store was on the corner, the barbers had remained for over two decades, and next door Mrs. J Thomson ran a rooming house over the Main Cleaners.

In 1972 there was a fire, leaving the building damaged, (our image above) and the top floor was removed. Our main 1978 image shows York’s Restaurant on the corner, and Eddie’s next door – a lock repairer and saw filer, with the Vet’s Rooms upstairs. Since then Vic’s restaurant, which occupied the corner (and was featured in the DaVinci TV series), reopened as a Blenz coffee shop, then closed again and is now a free clothing store run by Atira Women’s Resource Society. Eddie’s is, for now, a convenience store, and a vacant unit.


Posted 3 February 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Seymour Street – 700 block, east side

These four buildings were swallowed by the BC Tel (now Telus) data centre, which these days is mostly office space. The BC Telephone Company were already here in this 1947 image. They had developed the tall 8-storey building almost on the right of the picture. Although the company claimed, on the building permit, to be architect and builder of the project, we know that J Y McCarter designed the 1913 structure, because his drawings for it are in the Vancouver Archives.

Next door is Firehall #2. It was built in 1903, cost $29,000 and was designed by W T Whiteway. The small building to the north, (738 Seymour), with the unusual pediment, was designed in 1925 by W F Gardiner for Rose, Cowan & Latta Ltd. They were printers and stationers, and also sometimes publishers of information booklets, commemorating events in the city. In 1925 R R Rose was company president, (but may not have lived in Vancouver), John B Cowan was company secretary, living on W37th, and Edward F Latta lived in North Vancouver. The company were still here in 1947, with the Seymour Cigar Store in the retail unit, with Miss I New and G Hicks offering vocal training at the same address, presumably in an office upstairs. The building replaced a house built here in 1901. It cost $1,000, and the developer was Mr. Morton, possibly one of two carpenters called Morton who lived in the city at that time.

The two storey building to the north (with the protruding ‘button’ sign) was Smith’s Button Works, The Button Works first appeared in 1929, and before that in 1928 it looks as if there was a house here. Smith’s actually did much more than supply buttons, as this directory entry shows. London & British North America Co. Ltd were the developers, and the architect was Philip P Brown. Baynes & Horie built the $15,000 investment.

724 Seymour on the edge of the picture was home to the Quadra Club in 1947. The building seems to have been built around 1932. It housed the Vancouver Little Theatre Association that year, and Paul Pini was running a restaurant in 1934. By 1936 that had become the Old Dutch Mill Cafe, with the Bal Tavern Cabaret, run by Mrs. E Yaci. The cabaret to see 1936 in advertised “BAL TAVERN CABARET NEW YEAR’S JAMBOREE dance to the Delightful Music of CLAUDE HILL AND HIS RHYTHM BOYS Gay Entertainment by MARIE MACK JACK GORDON AND A HOST OF OTHERS” The club had gone by 1937, replaced in 1938 by the Musicians Mutual Protective Union, and the Hotel & Restaurant Employees Union in 1940. There were other tenants – Sills and Grace, who sold hardware, and Technocracy Inc. They were an organisation that proposed replacing politicians and businesspeople with scientists and engineers to manage the economy. They were closed down in 1940 as they were perceived as being anti-war, but allowed to reform in 1943 when it became apparent that they favoured total conscription. They were replaced, briefly, by the National Spiritualist Association of Canada, but around 1942 the Quadra Club moved in, and stayed until the early 1970s.

Curiously, the Archives title for the picture also identifies the ‘Stock Exchange Bldg’, but that is clearly not here. Shell Oil apparently commissioned the photograph from Don Notman’s studios, but the reason isn’t obvious. In the late 1950s BC Tel replaced the Firehall and their 1913 building with a new much larger and more conemporary building, extended north in 1975 with a huge new automated telephone exchange designed by McCarter, Nairne and Partners. (They probably designed the first phase in the 1950s as well). In the past two years the building has been overclad with a glazed screen. Space no longer needed for equipment has been repurposed as offices, and the Telus headquarters is now here, and in the new Telus Garden office added a few years ago at the end of the block. A complex energy saving system has been introduced, recirculating the excess heat from the company’s computer servers.

To the south next to the BC Tel building, the 1940s Farrell Building (just being built in 1947) had an extra skin added in 2000 to improve energy efficiency, and more recently has been sold by Telus as a separate building, now the headquarters of Avigilon security systems, part of Motorola since 2018.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 586-7266


East Hastings Street – west from Columbia

We saw a 1905 image down the middle of this stretch of East Hastings in an earlier post. Until the mid 1900s there was very little built on the south side of the street. Here we are looking at a similar view a few years later, showing the south side. The Holden Building is the large office building – a tower in its day – completed in 1911. Next door is the significantly smaller Desrosiers Block, which was one of the few buildings in the earlier post as it was built before 1901. At the end is the Woods Hotel, today known as the Pennsylvania. It was built in 1906 and designed by W T Whiteway who also designed the Holden for William Holden. The Desrosiers Block was developed by Magloire Desrosiers, a tinsmith, who would have designed the elaborate decoration on the building (which recently received a much-needed restoration of its facade), but the architect is unknown.

Closer to us there’s a vacant site next to the Holden. That was developed at the end of 1911 by Con Jones as a billiard hall, with retail below, designed by H A Hodgson. The image therefore must date from the early part of 1911, when the Holden was complete, but before the vacant spot was developed. The lower floor of the building later became famous as The Only Seafoods restaurant.

The 2-storey building to the east was built after 1903, (when the insurance map shows the site as vacant) and before 1911, when it had been developed. There’s a 1904 building permit for the building. It was developed by Yip, Yen C and designed and built by Mr. O’Keefe. Michael O’Keefe was a Victoria based builder, who was more than capable of designing straightforward brick buildings, and Charlie Yip Yen was the nephew of Yip Sang, who ran the Wing Sang Company. The 1920 insurance map still shows a 2-storey building with ‘rooms over’ and a Chinese laundry on the lane.

Next door, the single storey building (with a hoarding on the roof for William Dick’s clothing store) was developed in a similar timeframe, and in 1920 was another billiards hall. It was built in 1910, designed by Sharp & Thompson for Brown Bros & Co, who also constructed the $7,000 investment. They were florists and nurserymen, and they developed this as their city store. Their greenhouses were at Main and 21st Avenue. There were four Browns involved in the business, William, Edward (who was company treasurer), Alfred (who was a florist, and lived near the greenhouses) and Joseph, who lived in Hammond. Today the site once occupied by Yip Yen’s building and the single storey billiard hall were replaced twenty years ago with a non-market housing building called The Oasis, with 30 units designed by Linda Baker for the Provincial Rental Housing Corporation (known today as BC Housing).

Across Carrall Street the original car barn for the Interurban has been demolished, but the new building, still standing today, which included the headquarters for BC Electric on the upper floors had yet to be built. Designed by W M Somervell it was completed in 1911. As the Holden Building was completed in the same year, this confirms the picture should be from early in 1911 when the Holden was complete, and the new BC Electric Headquarters was under construction, but not yet visible.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA M-11-52


Posted 3 December 2020 by ChangingCity in Altered

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West Hastings Street – unit block, north side

Surprisingly, we’ve only examined the history of one of the buildings on this part of the block. That’s the Strathcona Hotel, now renovated and turned into condos as the Paris Block. Long-time home of shoemakers Pierre Paris & Sons, it was designed by Hooper & Watkins and developed around 1908 by John Deeks, who had made money mining for gold in Atlin. He converted it to a hotel around 1910, with R T Perry designing the necessary  alterations.

To the west, the single storey retail units. They were almost certainly developed by real estate broker W A Clark, who had his office in the Deeks office building when it first opened. William Clark was from Ontario, and like many other Vancouver real estate brokers also developed property on parcels that they had acquired. In Mr. Clark’s case, he also built retail buildings on Granville Street, and a 5-storey apartment building there that cost $60,000, and another (still standing today) that cost $50,000. In 1904 he had W P Matheson design a $4,000 house on Broughton Street. It must have been quite full, as in 1911 he lived there with his wife Mary and five daughters, aged 10 to 19, and their Japanese servant. Over the years He paid for a series of alterations and repairs to these buildings as tenants came and went. The two building were erected in 1905, one by Mr. Clark, and the one to the west by McWhinney & Lewerke, although in subsequent years into the 1920s he seems to have owned both buildings. We don’t know who designed the buildings, but in 1905 the ‘Hardware Merchant Magazine’ announced “McWhinney & Lewerke, Vancouver intend erecting a three-storey brick block on Hastings street, adjoining the Rubinowitz departmental stores recently purchased by them.” As far as we know the project never proceeded.

In 1936 when our image was taken Model boots and shoes occupied half of one unit, and Westinghouse sold Electrical goods, lights and radios in the other half. Next door was the Thrifty Dress Shop and the Union Shoe Co who offered ‘Better Values in Novelty Shoes’. Model Express must be one of the longest-lived businesses in the city; they were still located in the same unit until a year ago, and are still in business two doors away today. Today they ‘are proud to be Vancouver’s #1 stripper store’ and specialize in ‘exotic’ footwear (heels can be over 8″) and matching lingerie.

The building dated back to 1903 when W T Whiteway designed the $10,000 build for B C Permanent Co. In the first few years it was occupied by the Rubinowitz Department store. Major Matthews, the City Archivist wrote about Mr Rubinowitz, and collected his portrait, taken in 1939. “Mr. Louis Rubinowitz came to Vancouver in 1892, took some interest in Jewish affairs, but never took an interest in civic or public matters; it is difficult to find what he did take an interest in – in a public way. He had a small general store at Steveston, and also one in Vancouver, both queer places, an assortment of goods scattered aimlessly about after the manner of a secondhand store. He was a very elderly man when he decided to contest the office of Mayor. He wore his hair in a most noticeable manner. A long flowing grey beard, almost to his waist, and the long, almost white hair of his head hung over his shoulders as far as his shoulder blades. Sometimes, on Jewish ceremonial days, he wore a long black morning coat and a “stovepipe” tall silk hat, and had a rather venerable appearance, somewhat akin to a Jewish patriarch. He presented an odd and eccentric appearance as he walked down the street.” Liebermann Louis Rubinowitz ran in both the 1926 and 1918 election, receiving around 200 votes (1% of the total) – in the elections.

In the early 1920s Olympia Confectionery occupied the corner; a few years later it was a drug store, The Cut Rate Drug Co. The 1936 image shows The Grand Union Public Market, which remained operating through to at least the 1950s when it had 16 different stalls, among them a butcher, a baker and an umbrella maker; a fruit stand, a branch of Cunningham Drugs, a magazine exchange, two egg stores and the Healthy Cocktail Bar, selling juices. Stong’s grocery were here too. In the early 1990s it was a Fields department store (no doubt hoping to borrow some of Woodward’s customers from across Abbott Street). Before it was demolished over 10 years ago it was a greengrocers, the SunMart Market. It’s still a parking lot today, but plans have been approved for a 10 storey rental building over new retail units.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4889 and CVA Port P372


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

We looked at this part of West Hastings, where the Woodward’s store once occupied most of the block, in an earlier post. That showed the street in 1904, when Woodward’s store was only 4 storeys high on the corner of Abbott. Here we can see the 1923 street, and there’s an addition to the west (built in 1913), as well as two more upper floors. That wasn’t the end of the company’s expansion here. By 1981 (below) there had been further additions to the west, and further floors added on top. W T Whiteway was the architect of the $60,000 1904 building on the right, a four storey ‘brick and stick’ construction (a heavy wooden frame with a brick facade). A few years later Smith and Goodfellow designed the $35,000 vertical addition (in 1910). Three years later the store got the further addition, a $100,000 westwards extension designed by George Wenyon with a steel and concrete frame.

There was still a Woolworths store next to Woodward’s in 1981. It had been developed by the company in 1926 at a cost of $33,000, built by Dixon and Murray, and Woolworth’s may have had their own architect to design it. Previously we think there was a building that had been owned by Crowe & Wilson, who employed Bedford Davidson to carry out repairs and alterations in the late 1910s and early 1920s. They were significant developers in the area and had developed another building, the Selkirk Block, a bit further to the west, and visible on the top picture.

The Woodward’s redevelopment (designed by Henriquez Partners for Westbank) retained the wood-frame building on the corner of Abbott, but all the other buildings were demolished in 2006, after sitting empty since Woodward’s went bankrupt in 1993. The 1903 building now had added concrete reinforcement on the western facade to give the old frame seismic stability, while the bricks were tied back and the original lettering faithfully restored after being covered in layers of paint for decades. New retail uses including a TD Bank now sit underneath office space. Further west the new part of the project here includes non-market housing and Simon Fraser University’s Arts campus over a London Drugs store.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Str N49.2 and CVA 779-E16.27


Water Street – 100 block south side (2)

We’ve seen the buildings further to the west in an earlier post. We also looked at the history of the two very similar buildings on the left of the picture; 110 and 118 Water Street. On the left, Sharp and Thompson designed a rooming hotel for Dr. Alfred Thompson costing $65,000 to build, which opened in 1913. Next door the same architects were responsible for the 1911 block for Albert DesBrisay, built at a cost of $62,000. Dr. Thompson was the MP for the Yukon, although he moved to Vancouver (and practiced medicine) in the 1920s. Albert was from New Brunswick, and part of a sizeable family who were all in business in Vancouver. He was a commissioners agent, and had been in Winnipeg for some time. His investment rooming house initially called The Colonial Rooms (as seen in this 1914 picture).

The third building in this part of the block was another investment for a local developer, but one that came with substantially lower costs as there were no architect’s fees. W T Whiteway designed the $45,000 warehouse for himself in 1910. By 1916 he had already sold the building; Kirkland & Rose hired R W Watson to carry out $3,500 of repairs and alterations. In 1925 A E Henderson designed another $1,400 of repairs to the warehouse.

John Rose and Henry Sinclair Kirkland were manufacturer’s agents, specializing in confectionery supplies. Before they moved here they were futher west at 312 Water Street. They moved in here around 1918, with the Canadian Chewing Gum Co and Cowan Co who were chocolate manufacturers in Toronto and represented by Kirkland and Rose.

The building beyond the gap was another $60,000 investment, built in 1912 for McLean Bros, (three brothers from the Scottish Islands). It was designed by Thomas Hooper and like the Kirkland & Rose warehouse was a victim to Woodward’s expanding empire, in this case to add a parking garage.

Today the Colonial Hotel, and the adjacent Gastown Hotel are both managed by Atira Women’s Resource Society. The Colonial is still privately owned, while BC Housing bought the Gastown Hotel and has carried out a number of internal improvements to what had become a very run-down building. The rest of the block to the west was demolished to build Woodward’s Water Street parkade, which was re-built by the City of Vancouver a few years ago, and has been altered again this year with the addition of a childcare facility on the roof.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA LGN 987



Firehall #2, Seymour Street

Fire was one of the biggest concerns in the new City of Vancouver. Having seen almost every building burnt to the ground weeks after incorporation in 1886, the new City Council quickly bought fire fighting equipment and required fire-proof construction, (although the need to rebuild quickly meant that initially new buildings were often still wooden). Firehall #1 was on Water Street, the centre of the original settlement which was known as the Town of Granville for nearly 20 years before the city was created. The second firehall was built on Seymour Street in 1888, in the middle of pretty much nothing, except cleared forest, and ambition. It was also wooden, surrounded by the new city quickly developing with wooden houses in new residential neighbourhoods here, including on either side of the firehall. It was soon replaced with something larger, and more solidly built; in 1902 W T Whiteway was hired to design this handsome replacement, and he got the permit in 1903 for the $29,000 development. It had a castle-like hose tower at the back, on the lane that was quite prominent on the skyline. Whiteway also designed an almost identical replacement for the Water Street hall, on a new site on East Cordova a couple of years after this one.

This 1907 Vancouver Public Library image shows that the firehall had three floors, with a hose tower on the lane. The tower looked like a church from a distance. This building remained in use until 1950, when a new Firehall #1 was opened on Hamilton Street, and the East Cordova firehall was renamed as Firehall #2.

This site was swallowed up into BC Telephone’s expanding footprint. In 1975 they added a huge new automated exchange on Seymour to the north in a building designed by McCarter, Nairne and Partners. This new BC Tel building was apparently built in two phases, as the 1961 image on the left shows a new building where an earlier BC Tel building was located, and the site of Firehall #2, (which was still standing in 1957). In the past couple of years the interior of the Telus building has partially been repurposed as office space, and additional equipment and earthquake proofing added. The entire structure had a glazed skin added, over the top of the original structure. A similar new skin was added in 2000 to the 1948 William Farrell Building , on the corner of Seymour and Robson, sold by Telus to Avigilon Security Systems a few years ago.


Posted 10 September 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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