The image above was the site in 1934 of BC Equipment Company, a heavy equipment/machinery dealer from as early as the 19-teens (although they came into their own, it seems, in the 1930s) until 1985, when its remaining assets were sold. The basement (pictured above) appears to have been the parts department. I’m assuming that the head offices for the white collar types were upstairs. By the 1950s, the head office remained at this site, but the warehouse, shops and tractor division had been moved to a new property on Industrial Avenue on Granville Island. BC Equipment, by the 1960s, had become one of the major dealers in industrial equipment in the province, and it seems that by the mid-1960s, their workers had become organized. The company offered a wide range of products: from pneumatic picks to bulldozers, from cranes to lathes. The 551 Howe property, today, is occupied by a restaurant at street level and the basement appears to have been leased out for storage.
The troupe appearing above was one of the touring groups of the Australian theatre company called Pollard’s Lilliputian Opera Company. The company was made up of actors under 14 years of age, and most of them were female. They specialized in offering comic/light operas (what are often called, today, operettas). I could find no documented indication of what production they offered in Vancouver in 1905. But a theatre listing in Nebraska at roughly the same time showed the group staging Romeo and Juliet. The man in about the third row, right appears to be Tom Pollard, the well-respected leader of the group.
The troupe was posed in front of the Badminton Hotel (southwest corner Howe and Dunsmuir). The image below shows what the interior of the Vancouver Opera House (adjacent to Hotel Vancouver #2 on Granville Street) might have looked like around the time that Pollard’s Lilliputians were in town.
The very small grade change associated with the bridge once known widely as the First Avenue Viaduct contributes to its near-invisibility to the modern eye. The principal function of the pre-WWII viaduct was to allow motor traffic to travel over the rail yards in the false creek flats basin, thereby gaining swifter access to the Grandview/Commercial Drive communities. Unlike its nearby cousin, the current Georgia/Dunsmuir Viaduct, this bridge has not had to struggle with negative public relations associated with motives behind its birth. Instead, it has been apparently completely accepted by the general Vancouver public as a near-‘natural’ part of our urban landscape. High praise, indeed, for any bridge.
For a pretty good summation of Berton’s life and accomplishments, see this CBC television news broadcast on the occasion of his death.
J. H. Carlisle (1857-1941) accomplished several “firsts”. He was the first Sunday School Superintendent of First Baptist Church (FBC), before it was formally organized; his name was the first listed among the charter members of FBC when the church was organized; he was the first clerk of FBC; he was the first person honoured with the Good Citizen medal (in 1922), see photo above; and he was the first BC resident to be honoured with the King’s Police Medal (in 1923), see photo below.
Ironically, the “first” attributed to JHC most often – ‘first Vancouver Fire Chief’ – actually wasn’t. That honour went to Samuel Pedgrift (1886); he was followed by J. Blair (briefly); JHC became chief after Blair in the autumn of 1886 until 1888 (Carlisle’s term as chief began after the Great Fire of June 1886). Wilson McKinnon followed JHC’s initial 2-year term. But then Carlisle became chief again — this time for a period unmatched by any chief since: 39 years (1899-1928).
Chuck Davis’ website notes that in 1911 the VFD was ranked by a committee of international experts as among “the world’s best in efficiency and equipment”; and in 1917, it became Canada’s first completely motorized department.
Appropriately, the city’s first fireboat was named in honour of the man: the J. H. Carlisle.
For a photograph of JHC as a relatively young man, see the image and post shown here.
There are no longer any single family dwellings along West Pender Street (according to the BC Directory for 1920, 1325 W. Pender Street was home to Charles V. Ayton), but there is still a substantial elevation change evident below Pender. For comparison, see the next image, made looking up toward Pender from near Hastings Street, one block north of the 1300 block of Pender.
I think that the bandleader pictured above (violinist, centre) is Francesco Maracci, ‘the Venetian virtuoso’ as he was touted in The Oregonian in the early years of the 20th century. Maracci’s Bluebirds was heavily weighted towards woodwinds (saxophones figure prominently in the image).
I don’t know what source led CVA to conclude that the band was called the “Ambassador Orchestra”. I cannot find any Vancouver hotel (or any other institution) in 1924 called “Ambassador” and the band’s name appears (as per normal) on the bass drum. The dominant decorative motif of the room seems to be the humble pine cone (see central light fixture)! So, I think I have identified the band, but as to the location where the image was taken . . . no idea!
According to the Vancouver dailies of the time, there were 10,000 people watching as Harry Gardiner, the “human fly”, climbed the exterior of the World Tower (later, the Sun Tower) without any special climbing equipment, wearing street clothes and his bifocal spectacles. My grandmother would simply have used her multi-purpose word and said that there were, ‘scads’ of people.
Ajello Piano (ca 1910-28) is shown above in its final home (147 W Hastings) in the Astoria Hotel block (which formerly was adjacent to the Ormidale Block). The Vancouver-based firm should not be confused with Giuliano Ajello & Sons, a piano manufacturing business based in London (UK). The Vancouver business wasn’t a manufacturer; it was a retailer of brands such as Heintzman & Co. pianos. It was the creation of the grandsons of Giuliano: Arthur Giovanni Ajello (1873-1960) and Louis Robert Ajello (1875-1946), who emigrated to Canada in 1910.
The business had various homes over its two decades: 862 Granville (ca1910-13); 957 Granville (ca1914-19): 412 W Hastings (ca1920-22); and 147 W Hastings (ca1923-28).
This is a crop of a larger image to clearly show the rooftop sign advertising the subdivision being promoted as “Overlook” by Trites Real Estate. Where, I asked myself, was this ca1913 subdivision located?
Trites Real Estate was owned and operated by Frank Noble Trites (1872-1918). He was from New Brunswick originally and had been in the Vancouver area beginning in 1905. He established a real estate firm operating under his own name until 1909, then as Trites & Leslie, and a few months later as F. N. Trites & Co., Ltd. and finally as Trites, Ltd. (as the firm was known at the time the photo was taken).
An example of one of Trites’ successes is summed up in British Columbia From the Earliest Times to the Present (for which ‘the present’ is 1914): “One such was the sale, in 1909, of the Point Grey lands, owned by the government, a record sale, in which the firm disposed of six hundred and sixty acres for the sum of two million, six hundred and fourteen thousand dollars. At the time the tract was absolutely wild land and the prices obtained were unheard of for such land. Mr. Trites has always advertised extensively in Canada, the United States and abroad, and during the sale of the Point Grey lands he himself bought property to the value of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars [$250,000]. This land is now subdivided and constitutes one of Vancouver’s most beautiful suburbs, the lots bringing a high figure.” (This expensive-for-its-time property was not, it seems, to have ended up being the Trites’ residence. He moved into what seems to have been his final home in 1912 after apparently unloading his previous one at 779 W 9th/Broadway. Mrs. Trites was still living at their ca1912-purchased home (2385 W 2nd Ave) two years after Mr. Trites died in 1918.
So where was Overlook? I simply don’t know. Trites built a home in the municipality of Point Grey (West 19th at an unknown cross-street), in 1914; he built two other homes on W. 14th Avenue in Vancouver (between Carnarvon and Balaclava) in 1913. I can find no subdivisions named (even provisionally) Overlook at anytime in Vancouver. So, for now, this remains an open question. I’m very open to input from readers of VAIW who have clues as to Outlook’s location.
F. N. Trites died a relatively young man, just a few years after the Overlook image was taken, at age 46. The year of his death (and the fact that there is nothing I can find today showing his involvement in Vancouver real estate from 1915 on) raises flags. But I couldn’t find any evidence that he was a serviceman in WWI. Whether he served, however, in a civilian capacity during the war (he died in Agassiz, oddly ) and subsequently died as a result of that, I’ve not explored.