There isn’t much known about the Fairview Theatre (1912-38), later called the Roxy Theatre (1939-55?). In fact, I have never before seen a photograph of the theatre.
According to the building permit for the Fairview (which appears in the permit database as being at 2222 Granville, but for all its history was listed in Vancouver directories at 2224 Granville), it was built in early 1911, apparently to cater specifically to “moving pictures”. This must have been one of the first such theatres in Vancouver; more typical were theatres that catered to vaudeville acts and, as vaudeville became scarcer, were modified to show movies.
We don’t know the capacity of the Fairview, but from the image, it appears to have been a relatively small theatre (I would guess fewer than 500). This seems to be confirmed by its estimated construction cost: $6,500. In contrast, the Dominion Theatre, which was built the same year on Granville near Nelson, was estimated to cost $50,000.
The owners/architects of the theatre in 1911 were identified on the building permit simply with their surnames: “Stark & Crosby”. The Stark side of the partnership may have been William McIntosh Stark, Vancouver’s aviation pioneer, who had an interest in a variety of cool stuff (e.g., automobiles, airplanes, and bicycles, when they were novel) – but this is only a hunch; I cannot prove it. Who Crosby was, I have no idea. The builder of the structure was William O’Dell.
The theatre stood on Granville Street, just south of the south end of Granville Bridge.
The little theatre was demolished, along with the retail shops along the east side of the 2200 block of Granville around 1964 (shortly after this image was made, I assume), in preparation for construction of the Pacific Press building that would open on this block in 1966.
Today, the lot on which the theatre stood is a green space adjacent to Panache Antiques.
These are two separate images of adjacent shops made at the corner of Granville & Nelson in 1969. Left image: CVA 780-26 – Belmont Grocery, Theatre Row, [at 999 Granville Street] 1969. Right image: CVA 780-24 – [View of a] sign, storefront, Quality gifts, Theatre Row, [at 995 Granville Street] 1969.
There is what appears to be a slogan on the wall of the Blackstone Hotel (originally the Hotel Martinique; today the Howard Johnson Hotel), on Granville Street north of Davie, for Robert Reeds, erstwhile Mayoral candidate in the 1970 civic election. It seems to claim that Reeds will, if successful in his bid for the Mayor’s job, make sure that there is “Country Music, Fulltime“!
It seems doubtful that this was, in fact, a campaign slogan. It looks more likely that the “promise” was associated with The Barn – a country music dance spot adjacent to the hotel (with its pink wall facing the camera). But it makes a good story!
Reeds seems to have bailed out of the 1970 election campaign before voting day. He ran in the previous election, however (in 1968) and captured less than 1% of the vote. The winner in 1968 and in 1970 was Tom (“Terrific”) Campbell– the golden-haired boy of Vancouver developers. I suspect Reeds would have been crooning a classic ‘hurtin’ song if he’d remained in the race.
This is a very nice image made by Jack Lindsay, probably on VE or VJ Day.* The photographer was on ground level for this shot, standing in a vacant parking spot in front of the Bank of Toronto building (later, the TD Bank, and today, SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue). I suspect that the rubber-necker in the foreground, far right, is responding to the sight of the photographer and is turning to see what is so photographable.
This photo shows the 1958 Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) feature celebrating British Columbia’s centennial year.* Project X “was kept secret until the eve of the fair, when it was revealed that the attraction was a display of modern rocketry. The highlight of the show was a large standing rocket, complete with simulated blast off. Other displays included a Space Science club run by the Canadian Legion, a fifty-foot high American army missile, and earth satellites.” (Vancouver’s Fair. David Breen and Kenneth Coates. UBC Press: 1982, p.123).
*If CVA’s date for this image is accurate, it seems likely that the photo shows Project X being dismantled rather than constructed.
These two images of the CPR right of way in Vancouver’s downtown east side have features in common. Both photos were made in the midst of the Great Depression, all of the people in the photo are men, all wearing dark suits. (I get the sense from these images of both an economic and an emotional depression). I’d speculate that the photos were made by the same photographer.
But there are differences in these photos: they were made from locations about 1.5 blocks and – more importantly – five years apart.
In the first photo, the photographer seems to have stood near the intersection of Carrall and East Hastings and faced north. I reached this conclusion because Lind’s Cafe (330 Carrall, a couple of lots north of the corner of Hastings at Carrall) is to the right in foreground and the Gordon & Belyea building (101 Powell, near the northeast corner of Powell and Columbia) is to the right in background.
Both of the photos were taken in a northeasterly direction, but the second one was taken about 1.5 blocks northeast of the first one – from a spot near East Cordova St, between Carrall and Columbia Streets. The Gordon & Belyea building is in the background of this image, too, just visible behind another building near the right frame.
There are rail tracks visible in the first image, but not in the second. Indeed, in the first image, there is even a sign nagging pedestrians “not to walk and trespass on the railway”. (Notwithstanding the caution, a couple of gents are walking along and across the tracks). There isn’t a similar warning visible in the second image; nor are there level crossing signs in the lower one. But, then, neither are there tracks visible in the second image.
Trains henceforth travelling from the main line to English Bay entered the tunnel at a portal drilled in the bluff below Hastings near Thurlow. The track then looped around and travelled directly east along Dunsmuir, veered southeast under the Beatty Street Drill Hall and emerged onto the False Creek flats. For forty years the tracks connected with the railway’s marshalling yards and Roundhouse. (Vancouver The Way it Was. Michael Kluckner, 87).
Part of the Dunsmuir Tunnel was repurposed in 1983 as a component of the Skytrain system. The photo below has not yet been fully catalogued by CVA, but it appears to me to be a scene of the Dunsmuir Tunnel, ca 1983, as it was being modified for the Expo Line of Skytrain; the photo would have been taken somewhere between Waterfront station and Stadium/Chinatown station.
This photo shows a ‘park’ in Vancouver’s West End that seems to have been all but forgotten. It was located on Pendrell Street (D.L. 185, Block 70, Lot 31); an empty lot at the time the image was made. It was two lots west of the extant Gilford Court Apartments. The building in the background at right with the distinctive turret/tower feature was the home of architect Thomas Fee at the corner of Gilford and Comox. (To help you get your bearings, a piece of Goade’s 1912 fire insurance map of Vancouver appears below).
Many if not all of the folks posing in the photo were members of First Baptist Church. The names that were scrawled on the photo’s verso appear to be (in a very rough, left-to-right order): S. Miner, F. McDonald, Baker, Mabel McKeen, C. Ivy, Marie Selman, G. Rafern?, H. Brown, Geo. Hanks, Dr. Sparrow, Mrs. Hanna, L. Selman, K. Stern, J. Allan, Dr. Hanna, Ella McBraid, Harvie S., Morgan L. Hearns, John, Mr. Morgan, S. Harcus?,?, May Selman.
I strongly suspect that the Grounds were not a formal City of Vancouver park, but merely an empty lot that was kitted out with a tennis net. I haven’t ruled out a First Baptist connection to the owner of the property, but it seems unlikely.*
The lot on which the Pender Street Grounds were remained empty of any residence, it appears, for well over a decade after the 1915 photo was taken. There is no evidence of habitation at 1937 Pendrell until 1927; B. Lotzkar was the owner at that time, according to Vancouver’s directory.
Another view from elevation appears below. This shows Pendrell Street Grounds clearly three lots left of Gilford Court Apartments. Today, La Carina apartment block is where the Grounds once were.
*The owner of the adjacent lot (to the west) for the final two years of his life (1911-12) was FBC member and Vancouver pioneer, John Morton (1947 Pendrell – the home to the left of PSG in CVA 371-723. This doesn’t appear to be anything more than coincidence. Charles Abraham Schooley, City of Vancouver paymaster for many years and a lifetime deacon at FBC lived at the end of the block; again, there is no evidence of a connection with PSG.
I am indebted to two gents whose help was invaluable in unravelling the mystery of the location of the Pendrell Street Grounds: RKM, who blogs at westendvancouver, and Patrick Gunn, a board member with Heritage Vancouver and contact person with the Historical Vancouver Building Permits Database that is managed by Heritage Vancouver.
This is Granville Street. The image was made from elevation near the intersection with Georgia; the camera was facing south. The Vancouver block, Castle Hotel, and the Orpheum and Capitol Theatres are visible (among other landmarks).
As of today’s date, CVA identifies this image as follows:
CVA 1184-992. Crowd Gathered on West Georgia to Watch a Parade. 1942? Jack Lindsay photo.
I suppose one might argue that this description isn’t entirely inaccurate, since there are some people on the sidewalk facing Georgia. But, in fact, none of Georgia Street is visible in the photo and the principal street plainly is Granville (and that’s where most of the crowd is located that is visible in this image).
This is Georgia Street. It was made from close to street level roughly from the intersection with Bute Street; the camera was facing east. The Georgia Medical-Dental Building features prominently on the left side of the street; the Hotel Vancouver looms on the right side with the Ritz Hotel and Begg Motors also visible.
CVA identifies this image as:
CVA 1184-1387. Armoured Car Passing Crowds on Burrard Street During a Military Parade. Oct. 1942. Jack Lindsay photo.
The parade travelled down Burrard Street, too, but certainly not exclusively.
This is West Hastings Street at the intersection with Granville Street. The image was made from a standing position in the middle of Hastings, just west of Granville; the camera was facing east. Landmarks in the image include two classic temple banks on opposite corners (NE and SE), the extant RBC and the then-Commerce Bank (today, Birks).
CVA identifies this image as:
CVA 1184-3445. View of the 600 Block West Georgia. 1945? Jack Lindsay photo.
John Morton (1834-1912) was one of the first residents – arguably the first resident, although others have laid claim to the distinction – of modern-day Vancouver. He came to British Columbia in 1862 hoping to strike it rich in the Cariboo Gold Rush. He arrived too late to get in on that but, together with his two English partners, William Hailstone and Sam Brighouse, established a land preemption in an area that included most of today’s West End (his preemption shack was located near where the Guinness Tower is today).
Morton came from a family of Baptists in Yorkshire, and was himself a Baptist, however for his first several years in B.C., he was pretty quiet about his denominational attachment. When he arrived in B.C., there were no Baptist churches in the Lower Mainland. Olivet Baptist in New Westminster was established in 1878; First Baptist Vancouver in 1887. By the time of Morton’s marriage to his second wife, Ruth Mount in 1884 (his first wife, Jane, died a few years earlier following the birth of their second child), he identified himself as a Baptist on the marriage register, although the marriage was performed by a Methodist minister*. Dr. Don Anderson, in his history of Olivet, notes that Rev. Robert Lennie (Olivet’s founding pastor and First Baptist’s ‘midwife’) befriended Morton in 1886, and soon after, Morton began aligning himself publicly with Baptist work and helping to fund it.
At about the same time, the CPR decided to extend its line to downtown Vancouver. Morton joined a syndicate to sell much of his West End property to the railway. That sale was critical: it made Morton a wealthy man; and through his generosity, it helped support B.C. Baptists and their churches, including First Baptist. Shortly after making the land sale, Morton put aside about 10 lots in Vancouver for a Baptist College. However, the tax burden on the land made it too much for B.C. Baptists to bear and, ultimately, it was sold.
In 1899, after several years of farming near Mission and time spent in England, the Mortons moved back to Vancouver**. In 1902, they joined First Baptist Church.*** At the time the Mortons became members, FBC was worshipping at the building on the SE corner of Dunsmuir and Hamilton, and it was bursting at the seams. A building campaign was underway, and Morton was the first major donor. He gave the first $1000 for construction of the building at the NW corner of Burrard and Nelson. In April 1910 – just two years prior to his death – Morton laid the cornerstone of FBC’s new (and present) building.
Morton’s will stipulated that $100,000 be distributed, following Ruth’s death, to B.C. Baptist churches for Baptist work and education. The will was contested (unsuccessfully) by relatives following Ruth’s death in 1939. When the dust settled in 1942, and legal bills were paid, B.C. Convention churches were left with less than $44,000.****
When Charles Bentall (another member of FBC) led a major fund-raising campaign for Carey Hall, which later became Carey Theological College, he was able to remark accurately that using Convention funds for the College was in keeping with John Morton’s bequest.
*Vancouver Methodist pioneer, Ebeneezer Robson.
**For the day, the Mortons’ residence was quite distant from the church. Their Vancouver homes were at 1151 Denman Street (1902-11), near the NW corner of Denman and Pendrell, and later (shortly before his death) just around the corner at 1147 Pendrell(Note: There is some confusion on the part of CVA pertaining to John Morton’s respective homes. The image linked above to ‘1147 Pendrell’ accurately shows Morton’s home, briefly, at that address, although at the time this post was published, it was incorrectly described on CVA’s site as being the Morton’s home on Denman Street). One-block-long Morton Avenue (not Morton Street, as it has often inaccurately been called) was named in honour of the Vancouver pioneer in 1909; it is located on the stretch where Ocean Towers is today, about a block from the locations of his former homes.
***Curiously, Morton’s younger sister, Maria, became a member of First Baptist Church in 1891 – several years before John did.
****The B.C. Baptist situation had also changed substantially since Morton’s death. The B.C. Baptist denomination, in the 1920s, lost about one-third of its churches to a schism. Two Baptist denominations resulted: the B.C. Baptist Convention, which was regionally affiliated with the Baptist Union of Western Canada; and the Regular Baptists (known later as Fellowship Baptists). Broadly speaking, the Convention Baptists were considered somewhat more theologically liberal; the Regular Baptists more conservative. When denominational ‘sides’ were taken by congregations during the schism, FBC identified with the Convention Baptists and Ruth Morton Memorial Baptist Church (named in honour of John Morton’s second wife) was with the Regulars. Ruth Morton Memorial has recently merged with another congregation (19th Avenue Christian Fellowship, formerly known as the Metropolitan Tabernacle) and changed their name to Mountainview Christian Fellowship; the combined congregation meets for worship in the former Ruth Memorial building.
Donald O. Anderson. Committed to Continuing… A History of Olivet Baptist Church. New Westminster, 2003.
Donald O. Anderson. Not by Might Nor By Power… [A history of Carey Hall/College] Vancouver, 2006.
Robert K. Burkinshaw, Pilgrims in Lotus Land (McGill-Queen’s: 1995); in particular, his chapter called “The Separatist Solution: Fundamentalist Baptists, 1917-28.”
Bruce A. Woods’ manuscript, provisionally-titled Vancouver Love Story: The Legacy of John and Ruth Morton.
The text of this post was written originally for First Baptist Church’s 125th Anniversary (2011), as part of my series of brief biographies of former FBC members, titled ‘Who Was Who in the Pews.’ It is reproduced here with some additional information.
I very much enjoy the image above, made by one of my favourite local photographers, Stuart Thomson. I like the gentle blur of the strolling crowd. And I especially like the lady caught in profile looking into Saba Bros. Silk shop window. She appears to have been warming her hand with her breath, or perhaps covering her mouth due to an oncoming or just-finished cough or sneeze. I’m also pleased that the sign for the Lyric Theatre is just visible in the photo, far right in the background. That theatre was originally known as the Orpheum – not the first local theatre of that name, nor the last (today’s Orpheum, for a number of years known as the “New Opheum” would move across to the east side of Granville, and a bit south, in 1927). The older Orheum would have its name changed to the Lyric around the time this photo was made. In the late 1940s, it had another name change, becoming the International Cinema. In 1960, it became part of the chain of Famous Players Theatres, with a final name change to the Vancouver Theatre, until meeting the wrecker’s ball a decade later as part of the City of Vancouver’s apparent determination to demolish anything of any historic value over two or three blocks so that Pacific Centre Mall could develop, unimpeded by the older buildings of our relatively recent past.
The image above, however, despite my love of it, has been cropped by me. The odd thing about Stuart Thomson’s original image, is that he included so much sidewalk in the foreground. The only explanation that makes any sense to me is the fact that this image was commissioned by the Travellers Insurance Co. Perhaps Thomson’s idea was that this image could be used as part of advertising copy, with text overlaying the foreground. But this is speculation.
We are looking at the south side of Robson above, between Thurlow and Bute streets in the mid-1970s. Below, is a very fetching scene, in my judgement (note the effective use of light and shadow), of the same block, but across the street and made about a decade earlier.