A ‘Tent’ for French

image

The building under construction in the photo above is what would be the setting of evangelistic meetings from May – July, 1917. The structure was known as the Evangelistic Tabernacle and was located on what was formerly the site of Vancouver’s courthouse and what would become soon after Victory Square.

The ‘ring leader’ of the evangelistic meetings at the tabernacle was American Presbyterian minister, French E. Oliver. Oliver was invited to lead the 9 weeks of ‘tent’ meetings by an interdenominational group of theologically conservative businessmen, professionals, and clergymen who together were known as the Vancouver Evangelistic Movement (VEM). The general ministerial was not supportive of Oliver.

I would be willing to bet that among the VEM reps (and contruction workers) shown below were more than a couple of members of First Baptist Church. J. L. Campbell, senior minister at FBC at the time, was one of Oliver’s prominent defenders and a speaker at the meetings.

image

Source: Robert K. Burkinshaw. “Conservative Protestantism and the Modernist Challenge in Vancouver, 1917-1927.” BC Studies, 85 (Spring 1990).

Hambro Building

CVA Bu N510 "Hamber  (sic) Bldg Corner of Dunsmuir and Howe Streets", WJ Moore photo, 193-
CVA Bu N510 “Hamber (sic) Bldg Corner of Dunsmuir and Howe Streets”. In fact, it was the Hambro  Building – see name in photo on building on the Dunsmuir Street side – WJ Moore photo, 193-

The structure shown above from the 1930s was the Hambro block (at the time this post was published, the building was mistakenly identified by the City of Vancouver Archives as the “Hamber” building).

“Hambro” almost certainly is a reference to the private London (UK)-based bank. Kind of a boring building, you say? I tend to agree. The exterior was quite dull – and the exterior of the current occupant of this property, unimaginatively named after its address, 777 Dunsmuir, is likewise so (although there are a great many more floors of architectural dullness in the case of the current occupant).

The two interior images shown below are of a business within the Hambro building, a stock/bond brokerage called E. J. Gibson Company. The shots were taken by Vancouver professional photographer Stuart Thomson a few years after the exterior image was made. The interior, like the exterior, doesn’t appear to have been long on charm, but I think there are interesting elements in both photographs.

CVA 99-4719 E J Gibson Company Ltd office interior at 791 Dunsmuir St. Stuart Thomson photo, 1935.
CVA 99-4719 E J Gibson Company Ltd office interior at 791 Dunsmuir St. Stuart Thomson photo, 1935. The two young men appear to be updating stock prices at local exchanges.
CVA 99-4717 E J Gibson Co., Ltd. Office interior at 791 Dunsmuir St. Stuart Thomson, 1935.
CVA 99-4717 E J Gibson Co., Ltd. Office interior at 791 Dunsmuir St. Stuart Thomson, 1935. The more private back room at Gibson’s (where most of the day to day work was accomplished, presumably).

‘Crazy’ For a Reason

CVA 99-4309 Crazy Crystals office 779 Granville St, 1933. Stuart Thomson photo.
CVA 99-4309 Crazy Crystals office 779 Granville St, 1933. Stuart Thomson photo.

‘Crazy Crystals’, apparently, were simply the crystals left behind when mineral water was distilled. But judging from the advertising claims made by the company, the crystals had health-enhancing qualities beyond the skin softening and laxative properties that had long been attributed to mineral water precipitate. Crazy Crystals was a product of Texas. And, not surprisingly, it still is. As far as I know, however, there is no longer a Vancouver office.

Noxall Moucide Adds Spice to Death

 

Cropped image from 2009-005.280 - [Interior of Heather's Handy Store]
Cropped image from CVA 2009-005.280 – [Interior of Heather’s Handy Store], 193-  For closer view, click on image.
This is part of an image of Heather’s Handy Store, a Dunbar-based convenience shop. I enjoy scanning the products on shelves of old photographs like this one, seeing what items our grandparents and their neighbours were tempted to purchase.

There are several familiar products shown above: various items produced by Kraft (including the ‘processed cheese food’ known as Cheez Whiz); Vick’s Vaporub, Aspirin, and Ex-Lax. There are also some brands/products that are unknown to me, such as Good Luck Margarine.

And then there is Noxall Moucide which, boasts the packaging, ‘Kills Mice’ (it is on the second shelf from the top, almost ‘dead’ centre).

I recently viewed a fascinating (though disturbing) documentary program on BC’s Knowledge Network called Hidden Killers. The program points out how household products in Victorian and Edwardian England led to a great many serious injuries and deaths and how, due to a lack of political will and regulation, many of the products continued to be readily available for several decades afterwards.

It turns out that the rodent-killing agent in Moucide was strychnine. And strychnine will polish off a man every bit as efficiently as a mouse. Dying from strychnine is an especially nasty way to go. And there is no antidote.

The thing that most creeps me out about the image above is not so much that Noxall produced Moucide nor that convenience stores carried it. It is the positioning of the poisonous product just inches away from the Nabob spices. And is that a stack of chocolate bars I see adjacent to the Moucide?

The more sweeping and even more disturbing question is: What ‘hidden killers’ are lurking in our pantries and elsewhere in our homes today?

An Insincere Star? Never!

CVA 1184-3414 - Victor Mature posing with a woman for the Milk-for-Britain Drive. Jack Lindsay photo, 1940.
CVA 1184-3414 – Victor Mature posing with a woman for the Milk-for-Britain Drive. Jack Lindsay photo, 1940.

The image above seems to have been taken as part of a fund-raising effort by the Kinsmen and Kinettes clubs of Canada to raise cash for the purchase of powdered milk in wartime Britain. The female model is unknown to me. The male model is American film star, Victor Mature.

The photographer, Jack Lindsay, offers us some insight into this photo shoot – to say nothing of the inaptly named Mature – with this note on the envelope containing the negative: “[Mature] didn’t really put the money in the can, he hung onto the coin and after the photo put the coin back in his pocket.”

The fund-raising campaign raised close to $3 million and sent 50 million quarts of milk to Britain.

A Few of my Favourite Junk Yards

I confess to a longstanding fondness for junk yards; well, actually it is more accurate to say that I harbour a fondness for the idea of junk yards. This is a holdover, I think, from my pre-teen enchantment with The Three Investigators novels. In these mysteries, Jupiter Jones was a rotund and brilliant Jr. Sherlock Holmes character who lived with his aunt and uncle at their junk yard business and where he and his Watson-like sidekicks had their investigatory HQ.

So, when I began looking at Vancouver images of early junk yards, I was transported back some 40 years to those innocent days when, within the pages of those novels, Jupe, Pete, and Bob would occupy the hours they weren’t in school, busting crimes and criminals.

VPL 20677 - 195 Alexander Street, 1919.
VPL 20677 – Alexander Street, 1919.

The Canadian Pacific Junk Co., shown above, was in 1919 located at 195 Alexander Street. Just a few short blocks east of this address, on Alexander, could be found Vancouver’s red light district (near Jackson). I don’t think this building continues to stand today. But, l believe that just a couple of buildings from this one is the structure which today houses The Alibi Room – a local pub.

CVA City N6 - Canadian Northwest Junk Co., 1931.
CVA City N6 – Canadian Northwest Junk Co., 1931.

Canadian North West Junk Co. (145 Powell) had the distinction of being on the site of Vancouver’s 1899 City Hall. Plainly, the Powell Street district had fallen on hard times during the intervening years. It was by the 1930s an immigrant enclave (principally for Japanese-Canadians). Ironically, the ‘junk’ products of this business were treated better than would be its co-residents of Asian ancestry; with the onset of WWII, all Japanese Canadians here and elsewhere in the City would be forcibly removed to interior locations and have their property confiscated by the state.

CVA 99-4607 Canadian Junk Company Ltd. Office and Main Warehouse at 250 Prior St., Stuart Thomson photo, 1934.
CVA 99-4607 Canadian Junk Company Ltd. Office and Main Warehouse at 250 Prior St., Stuart Thomson photo, 1934.

Across the street from the Prior Street location of the Canadian Junk Co. were the ‘front’ of the properties of Hogan’s Alley (the predominantly black neighbourhood that was wiped out following the demolition of most of the homes there in preparation for construction of the Georgia Viaduct in the late 1960s and early 1970s).

CVA 1184-189 - Exterior View of Walsh's Auto Wrecking on Main St. Showing Facade of Former Imperial Theatre. Jack Lindsay photo, 1943.
CVA 1184-189 – Exterior View of Walsh’s Auto Wrecking on Main St. Showing Facade of Former Imperial Theatre. Jack Lindsay photo, 1943.

The final image (above) makes me quite sad, whenever I encounter it.   It shows Walsh’s Auto Wrecking and, still visible beneath, the ‘bones’ of the Imperial – an early Vaudeville theatre in Vancouver.

The romantic ideas which I associate with the junk yard where Jupiter Jones lived and worked were doubtless distant from the gritty realities of the early junk yards featured in this post. They typically were located in less desirable parts of town since they needed a relative abundance of land to accommodate their product. No doubt crime was an issue for many of these businesses and their employees. (So, perhaps there is a connection at some level to Jupiter and the boys, after all. . . wouldn’t crime-fighters want to be near the centre of ‘the action’?!)

Former Strathcona Park, Future City Hall

1934 City N29.2 - [10th Avenue and Cambie Street, site of City Hall] WJ Moore
CVA City N29.2 10th Avenue and Cambie Street, site of (current) City Hall. W J Moore, 1934.
The photo above is a view of what would become within a couple of years the home of Vancouver’s City Hall. The site was known then as “Strathcona Park” (a name now given to a park that is actually within the neighbourhood of Stratchcona (Malkin and Hawks Avenues).

IMG_20141105_0001
Author’s collection.

Before Rogers

CVA Bu P526.1 Corner of Granville Street at Pender. Photograph shows The Canadian Bank of Commerce, the Canada Life building under construction, G.D. Scott and Co. Real Estate, Purdy's Chocolates, O.B. Allan Jewellers, F.A. Tandoo, C.D. Rand Real Estate, Crown Building and the Delmonico Hotel, ca 1911.
CVA Bu P526.1 Corner of Granville Street at Pender, ca 1911.

This image was made just prior to (and very likely in anticipation of) the construction on the corner of Granville and Dunsmuir of the Rogers Building.

C. D. Rand, whose office is visibly prominent in the single-storey structure at the corner, was a successful  real estate broker and an early president of the now-defunct Vancouver Stock Exchange.

The businesses I can identify in this photo are (beginning with the rightmost one): Delmonico Hotel (at Pender and Seymour); 5-storey Crown Building; Anderson  & Warnock hardware; Goodyear Shoe Repairing; Cleland & Welsh printers; C. D Rand real estate; Frank Tandoo confectionary; O. B. Allan optician and jeweller; Purdy’s Chocolates; George D. Scott & Co. real estate; Railways Tea; Canadian Bank of Commerce; and Canada Life Building under construction.

Today a giant parking garage sits at Seymour and Pender (where the Delmonico, the Crown building and other businesses once were located).

‘Big Yellow Taxi’ Syndrome

CVA Str N24.1: 600 Block of Seymour Prior to Being Demolished for a Parking Lot, 1932.
CVA Str N24.1: 600 Block of Seymour Prior to Being Demolished for a Parking Lot, 1932.

Okay, this block of admittedly quite humdrum-looking commercial properties here on Seymour St. (between Dunsmuir and Georgia and across Seymour from the Hudson’s Bay Company) doesn’t really count as a ‘paradise’, at least in my books.  But it serves as an example of what became (to some Vancouver residents) a troubling theme in downtown until very recently: catering to the feeding, watering, and most vital of all, it would seem, parking of the automobile.

This block ultimately would come to be dominated by the HBC parking garage shown below. In addition there was a section of this block (to the left of the image frame above) that would also become  (and has remained) a parking lot. And the tallish office building across Richards Street from St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (visible in the background of the image above) would also give way to a (still standing) multi-story parking garage.

CVA 778-417: 600 Seymour Street East Side (HBC Parkade), 1974.
CVA 778-417: 600 Seymour Street East Side (HBC Parkade), 1974.

St. Andrew’s would also be demolished by 1937; the immediate motive for its destruction, however, was so that a ‘union church’ structure combining the congregations of the presbyterian and methodist churches (the methodist was at Burrard and Georgia) could be built at the corner of  Burrard and Nelson streets (St Andrew’s-Wesley United Church). In 1976, an office structure was built where St. Andrew’s once was (475 West Georgia), but for decades prior, I believe, that lot, too, served as an auto storage facility.

The former St. Andrew’s Presbyterian case perhaps was a little closer to one of paving ‘paradise’ to put up a parking lot.

CVA Str P208: St Andrew's Presbyterian Church on northeast corner Georgia and Richards, 1899.
CVA Str P208: St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on northeast corner Georgia and Richards, 1899.

100!

CVA 447-59: Rotary (TB) Clinic at 100 West Pender Street. Walter E Frost photo.
CVA 447-59: Rotary (TB) Clinic at 100 West Pender Street. Walter E Frost photo., 1949.

To celebrate my 100th post, published yesterday, I wanted to choose an image which was, to me, truly new. One I don’t remember ever seeing before, nor knowing anything about.

This building was in the 100 (no coincidence) block of West Pender Street (at Abbott) and the image was made in 1949. It was the Rotary Clinic.

The Rotary Club led the campaign to raise funds for the founding of the clinic which was intended to diagnose and treat tuberculosis. It was established in 1919 and continued to operate until 1933.

The clinic should not be confused with the Vancouver Preventorium (as of the date this post was published, the CVA mistakenly identified one of its images of the clinic as the Preventorium). The Preventorium (shown below) was opened in 1931 (just a couple of years before the clinic closed) and operated until the 1950s. It initially was intended to treat children who had TB, but as TB became less prevalent, the Preventorium became a paediatric long-term facility (for kids with polio and other crippling diseases). It was located in the Grandview area.

If you’d like to read more about the clinic and the Preventorium and the staff who treated people at these sites, see this link.

CVA 586-4861: Vancouver Prevontorium, Steffans-Coltman, 1944.
CVA 586-4861: Vancouver Prevontorium, Steffans-Coltman, 1944.

YMCA Vancouver: Later Incarnations

CVA BuN151: YMCA Building at northeast corner of Cambie and Dunsmuir, 1941.
CVA BuN151: YMCA Building at northeast corner of Cambie and Dunsmuir, 1941.

The image above shows the 3rd incarnation (I think) of the YMCA in the City of Vancouver. (The first and second buildings were on Hastings, just east of Cambie Street).

Author's image, Dunsmuir and Cambie (northeast corner), 2013.
Author’s image, Dunsmuir and Cambie (northeast corner), 2013.

The 1941 photo of the Y was probably one of the final images taken at this location. By late 1940, the next building (on Burrard at Barclay, just behind First Baptist Church) was nearly finished.

VPL 15848: YMCA at Burrard and Barclay, Frank Leonard Photo, 1940.
VPL 15848: YMCA at Burrard and Barclay, Frank Leonard Photo, 1940.

Today, the YMCA remains at Burrard and Barclay, but it has changed. As of 2010, it became known as the Robert Lee YMCA (after the Vancouver philanthropist and major benefactor of the Y). While the  City of Vancouver required that the facade of the 1940 building be retained, the interior was gutted and utterly transformed and enlarged, and an enormous condo tower was attached to help finance the changes.

Author's image, 2013.
Author’s image, 2013

It is very difficult to remember that events now in the past were once in the future – Maitland's Dictum

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 37 other followers