Tweedale or Teasdale?

CVA 371-1109 - CVA claims that this is the
CVA 371-1109 – CVA claims that this is the “Interior of Mr. Teasdale’s office”, 1919 Doiminion Photos. I suspect, however that this, in fact is the office of Cyril Aitken Tweedale, editor of Tower Publishing in the Sun Tower Building, 500 Beatty Street.

This is a lovely office image made in 1919 by an unknown photographer for Dominion Photo. Notes that accompany the photo claim that the office was that of a “Mr. Teasdale” (this may have been originally scrawled by the photographer or a  Dominion Photo clerk on the edge of the negative or on the package containing it; ultimately this info was passed down by the City of Vancouver Archives). But I don’t think it was Teasdale. Here’s why.

I looked up Teasdale in the BC Directory for 1919 and found only one: George W. Teasdale, a “clerk” with Dominion Express (a transfer firm). It seems to me unlikely that a clerk would have had his own office and (evidently) at least two staff working for him. It was fully possible that the City Directory had overlooked a new fellow in town by the name of Teasdale, but since I seemed to have hit a dead end, I set that issue to one side.

I turned instead to contextual clues in the office. It looked to me less like a transfer company and more like a printer’s/publisher’s office, given the ads that were posted liberally around the office (one advertising Reifel’s “Cascade Beer” and another touting a “Motor Route Book No. 1: Vancouver to San Diego” for $1). So I adjusted my online search from Teasdale to: “motor route book” vancouver 1919. That proved productive; it turned up a couple of hits to a fellow called “Aitken Tweedale” who was shown as the author of the motor route book, with the publisher of the 1919 volume being Tower Publishing Co. I decided to tug at the other end of this finding by looking up Tower Publishing in the city directory. That yielded the finding that the business was located in the ‘Sun’ Tower at 500 Beatty with “A Tweedale” as its editor. Hmm.

I had a look at CVA’s site to see if there was a photographic portrait of Aitken Tweedale. Nope. There was, however, a guy called Cyril Tweedale, who’d evidently served in the Corps of Guides (a non-permanent militia unit) just before the outbreak of war in 1913 as Captain, and near the end of it ascending to the rank of Lieutenant. A little more digging revealed that Aitken and Cyril were

CVA 99-153 - Lt. Tweedale C.O.G. [on horseback]. ca1918. Stuart Thomson photo.
CVA 99-153 – Lt. Tweedale C.O.G. [on horseback]. ca1918. Stuart Thomson photo.
one and the same and that (understandably, to me) he’d decided to leave behind his given name in the War and, in his post-war life, adopt his middle name as his given name: Aitken.

The person in the image above who appears to be in charge is the leftmost person (with the only other male in the image not bearing the slightest resemblance to Tweedale, in my opinion). Lt. Tweedale looks enough like the person at left in CVA 371-1109 to persuade me. Are you persuaded?

If you are wanting more detail about Cyril Aitken Tweedale, westendvancouver is an excellent place to begin (note: as of this date, the author of that blog has just begun compiling biographical details pertaining to Tweedale).

Hooray for (un-sung) Eveleigh!

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 6.43.31 AM
From “British Columbians As We See ‘Em. 1910-11″. Caricatures of prominent BC Residents.

Sydney Morgan Eveleigh (1870-1947) was a Vancouver architect. He was born in England, coming to Vancouver in 1888. He worked with early Vancouver architect Noble Hoffar for several years and later struck a partnership with William T. Dalton. After Dalton retired (1922), Eveleigh was elected president of the Architectural Institute of B.C. and later continued to practice until retiring in 1940.

But it wasn’t Eveleigh’s accomplishments as an architect that make him noteworthy, in my judgement. It was his unpaid community contributions. He was a member of the Art Workers Guild (ca 1900) which later became the Vancouver Arts and Crafts Association. According to the City of Vancouver Archives, “[t]he members of the association held annual exhibitions and sales of work [at O’Brien Hall, in 1900] and conducted art classes throughout the year.”

Most importantly, however, according to the Changing Vancouver site, Eveleigh was a local library board member for several years and was instrumental in the establishment of the first permanent site for Vancouver Public Library: “It was he who contacted Andrew Carnegie, and the five $10,000 cheques that helped build the [Carnegie] library were personally made out to Eveleigh.”

If I may be permitted a bit of a rant – why, in light of S. M. Eveleigh’s contributions to this city, have most residents (I’d wager) never heard of him? A street was named in his honour, but it was never very much of a street (one block hidden today as a back alley and entry to two immense parking structures behind Bentall Centre). Granted, Eveleigh wasn’t a CPR big-wig and, therefore, wasn’t well-connected to the likes of Lauchlan Hamilton (who was responsible for early street naming in Vancouver; according to Street Names of Vancouver, when Hamilton was asked in 1936 by Major J. S. Matthews why Eveleigh Street was so named, Hamilton “could not remember”). Nor did he have the good fortune to have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth (e.g., Granville).

Would it not be appropriate to consider naming a VPL library branch after Eveleigh? Or something else a little more prominent than the pokey wee alley that today bears his name?

CVA 357-3 - Eveleigh Street (West of Burrard), 1925.
CVA 357-3 – Eveleigh Street (West of Burrard), 1925.
Eveleigh “Street” today (really a back alley with access to two huge parking garages that service Bentall Centre). 2015. Author’s photo.

933 West Pender

CVA 99-3479 - Chevrolet Sales Co (according to CVA this is
CVA 99-3479 – Chevrolet Sales Co (according to CVA this is “car lot 1105 Granville Street”, but in fact is 933 W Pender Street). ca1924. Stuart Thomson photo.

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 8.22.22 AMThis fine image by Stuart Thomson was made ca1924 at the 900 block of West Pender Street – not the 1100 block of Granville Street. There are at least three clues to the actual location: (1) Abbotsford Hotel (still standing today at 921 W Pender; known today as “Days Inn”) is just behind the Chevy lot; (2) the 1924 BC Directory shows a Chevy lot at 933 W Pender; (3) a magnified look at the image shows the number “933” pretty clearly on the glass door of the pictured dealership.

Old Kits Presbyterian Church (1911-1925)

Former Kitsilano Presbyterian Church (later, St. Stephen’s United Church), ca1965. Bob Stewart Archives – BC Conference, United Church of Canada. P. Willey photo.

A friend noticed this striking older building at 1855 Vine Street (between 3rd and 4th Avenues), which today consists of private condo units. She asked me if I’d encountered it and if I had any idea what the original purpose was of the structure. I replied negatively to both questions. But I certainly was intrigued!

I first checked online to see whether there was any low-hanging fruit there. I found some realty descriptions, such as this one, which noted that the building was of beaux-arts style, and was formerly “a Presbyterian Sabbath School”, built ca1911. Assuming this info was accurate, that was pretty impressive detail for a realty site. I learned elsewhere that in the 1970s, the building had housed the Vancouver Indian Centre (ancestor to the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre), until it occurred to those running the centre that Kitsilano wasn’t densely inhabited by aboriginal people in the 1970s (unlike the 1870s, comparatively speaking) and they moved nearer to where most of their constituency resided.

So, what went on between ca1911 and 1970?

I knew that most Presbyterian churches in Vancouver did not retain ‘Presbyterian’ in their names after 1925, due to the ‘church union’ movement which subsumed most Methodist, Congregationalist, and (roughly two-thirds of) Presbyterian congregations into a new protestant denomination to be known as the United Church of Canada. I had been to the Bob Stewart Archives (BSA) of UCC on a previous occasion, when it was still in the basement of the Iona Building at UBC. But since the Vancouver School of Theology had sold that building to UBC in 2014, I found that BSA had moved to Kerrisdale (across Yew Street from Ryerson United Church at the United Church Memorial Centre).

I set up an appointment with BC Conference Archivist, Blair Galston. At BSA, Blair had set aside a file full of documents pertaining to the former Kitsilano Presbyterian Church. From these papers I learned a great deal:

  • church got its start in 1906 in a small store building on Cornwall near Yew;
  • first pastor, Rev. Dr. Peter Wright, accepted a call to Kits in 1907. He retired from the post in 1913 and died in 1914. Subsequent full-time/permanent pastors of Kitsilano Presbyterian were Rev. A. D. MacKinnon (1914-20) and Rev Gordon Dickie (1922-39); Dickie left Kits to accept an appointment to Union College (the predecessor to Vancouver School of Theology);
  • congregation officially named Kitsilano Presbyterian Church on March 5/07 with 35 charter members;
  • by ca1909, the small store space had become too small for the congregation and lots were purchased “at the corner of 3rd Ave. and Vine St. for a new church”;
  • following the launch of a fundraising campaign, “proposals were received from various architects, and a plan made by Mr. H. B. Watson was selected for the Sunday School Hall, to be erected on the rear of the lots, leaving the 3rd Ave. side for a church building at a later date”. (I suspect, but have been unable to prove, that the Sunday School – or “Sabbath School” – structure was the only part of the church ever constructed. Church services seem to have been held in the Sunday School structure. There never was, as far as I can tell, any separate Presbyterian church building on 3rd Ave). Architect Henry Barton Watson also built St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church (2881 Main St), Queen Alexandra School 1300 E. Broadway), and Empress Hotel (235 E. Hastings Street), all still standing;
  • contract awarded June 1/10 to John Watson Bros. for a sum totalling $23,868.23;
  • building completed and first service held within it in January, 1911;
  • in 1917, despite loss of many young men during WWI, Kits Presbyterian was ‘having its day,’ with membership at 881 and the Sunday School roll having 467 people, including 32 teachers/officers.

Following the 1925 vote by the Kits church to join the union movement, Kitsilano Presbyterian Church was renamed St. Stephen’s United Church. This was not the same St. Stephen’s congregation that stands today at Granville St. near 54th. That (confusingly) is a different church with a different (and much briefer) history.

St. Stephens Kits apparently was unable to recapture its glory years. The number of people who attended the church dropped to such an extent over the years, that by 1952 St. Stephens United amalgamated with Crosby United Church and became Kitsilano United Church at the former Crosby building at 2nd Ave. and Larch Street. There were a couple of other twists and turns in the stories of these congregations which can be tracked here, if you are curious. But the short(er) story is that Kitsilano United ultimately became what today is Trinity United Church in a new-ish structure which the congregation shares with St. Mark’s Anglican Church at 2nd Ave. and Larch.

What happened to the original Kitsilano Presbyterian Church building? It’s unclear (to me, anyway) just what happened in the period 1952-1970. It’s possible that the building sat empty during those years. By 1970, the Vancouver Indian Centre had taken up occupancy (as mentioned earlier in this post). They vacated by 1979, and nothing much appears to have been done with the building in the years 1979-84.

By 1985, the word “heritage” had come into fashion in Vancouver. The Sinclair Centre project was in full swing, and (among other heritage projects), the former Kits Presbyterian Church building was being renovated (relatively sensitively) for private condominium residences (5 suites). And so it remains today, with the slightly snooty, non-Presbyterian name (in my opinion), Devon Court (Donald O’Callaghan, architect).

Shows renovation of former Kits Presbyterian Church/St. Stephen's United Church into private condo dwellings. In 'Real Estate Weekly,' Feb 15, 1985; no photo credit shown. From Bob Stewart Archives - BC Conference, United Church of Canada.
Shows renovation of former Kits Presbyterian Church/St. Stephen’s United Church into private condo dwellings. In ‘Real Estate Weekly,’ Feb 15, 1985; no photo credit shown. From Bob Stewart Archives – BC Conference, United Church of Canada.

’49 Chevy Fleetside Deluxe Fastback

VPL 83858 - Series of Images of 1949 Chevrolet [Fleetside Deluxe Fastback], Pontiac, Oldsmobile automobiles parked in front of Colliers Ltd., 741 Homer Street. 1949. Tom Christopherson photo.
VPL 83858 – Series of Images of 1949 Chevrolet [Fleetside Deluxe Fastback] automobile parked in front of Colliers Ltd., 741 Homer Street. 1949. Tom Christopherson photo.

Once again, I’m indebted to my buddy, Wes, for knowing and sharing the name of this vehicle (it wasn’t specifically identified in the VPL online record). The location was 741 Homer Street, which today is (roughly) the Budget Rent-A-Car lot adjacent to the former Ford Theatre (now occupied by Westside Church), just across Homer from the Central Banch of Vancouver Public Library.

Interestingly (to me, anyway), the year that this image was made, George H. Hewitt Co. (the subject of a post a couple of days ago) was located across Homer (on one of the lots where VPL Central stands today).

The Fleetside Fastback was parked in front of the service department of Collier’s, a GM dealership (shown below).

VPL 27909. Collier's Ltd, SE Corner Georgia & Richards 1949, Dominion Photo.
VPL 27909. Collier’s Ltd, SE Corner Georgia & Richards (a friend has described this building , which was located around the corner from the service dept. on Homer, as being “Jetsons’ Art Moderne”). 1949, Dominion Photo.


CVA: LGN 482 - [Buildings at southeast corner of Georgia and Seymour Streets], 1890?
CVA: LGN 482 – [Buildings at southeast corner of Georgia and Seymour Streets], 1890? Note: The Congregational Church is just barely in the image (on the left) and Boston Bakery and Confectionery is on the right (Seymour Street).
Looking toward the SW corner of Seymour at Georgia, at the TelusGardens condominium and office towers complex.  2015. Author's photo.
Looking toward the SW corner of Seymour at Georgia, at the TelusGardens condominium and office towers complex. 2015. Author’s photo.

Fisherman’s Union


Untitled art. Fisherman’s Union Building (1968), Leonard Epp artist.

This pre-cast concrete relief triptych is on three sides of the former Fisherman’s Union building (1968) at NE corner East Hastings and Hawkes (today, home to AIDS Vancouver).

VPL Clipping File of BC Artists (no date or attribution shown).
VPL Clipping File of BC Artists (no date or attribution shown). Portrait of Leonard Epp

According to Steil’s and Stalker’s excellent resource, Public Art in Vancouver: Angels Among Lions, this was the creation of Leonard (sometimes spelled “Leonhard”) Epp. The three fishing-related forms appear in different orders on each of the three walls of the building (note: above, each of the forms has been cropped separately to maximize the amount of each form that is not covered by vegetation). The buiding was designed by Robert Harrison, whose other work included the W.A.C. Bennett Library at SFU (Burnaby Mountain).

George H. Hewitt Co., Ltd.

Detail of Bu N290.2 - [Arts and Crafts building at 576 Seymour Street] 1927, W. J. Moore photo
Detail of Bu N290.2 – Shows George H. Hewitt Co., Ltd.

When I first saw the George H. Hewitt rubber stamp company in the image above, it occurred to me that this was a business that must surely have disappeared with the dawn of the 21st century – until I started to do a little digging and discovered that George H. Hewitt had been in business in Vancouver for some years before this photograph was made (since 1898) and is still around today! The history of the firm is detailed on their website.

A key to the longevity of this ‘stamp’ business (like most businesses, I imagine) is adapting to a changing market. As you will see from Hewitt’s website, they have widened their business to offer, for example, name badges to conference-goers and identity tags for pets.

CVA 371-66 - [George H. Hewitt], ca 1935.
CVA 371-66 – [George H. Hewitt], ca 1935.

Toronto House Apartments

VPL 11463. Toronto House Apartments, 769 E. Hastings. 1923. Stuart Thomson photo.
VPL 11463. Toronto House Apartments, 769 E. Hastings. 1923. Stuart Thomson photo.

Toronto House apartments had been around for about a decade when photographer Stuart Thomson made the Vancouver Public Library image above. It later became the Astoria Hotel. The apartment block was built in 1912 for owner R. A. Wallace and was designed by architects Hugh Braunton and John Liebert. Toronto House was built at the peak of Vancouver’s boom and, according to Don Luxton, ed.’s Building the West, in addition to Toronto/Astoria they were successful in obtaining the commission for Irwinton Apartments (777 Burrard), still standing. The Standard Trust and Industrial Building (570 Seymour) is another block still standing that was designed by B&L in 1913 (also known as the Rexmere Rooms block with a slightly different address and separate entry at 568 Seymour). Braunton and Liebert both left Vancouver by 1914 (after working here as partners for just a few, but architecturally prolific, years); apparently, they moved to El Paso, Texas and later to California.

Neon signage for Astoria Hotel, 769 East Hastings (formerly Toronto House Apartments), 2015. Author's photo.
Neon signage for Astoria Hotel, 769 East Hastings (formerly Toronto House Apartments), 2015. Author’s photo.

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


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