The Helliwells


CVA 371-744 – [Interior of residence at 916 Cardero Street]. ca1908. Hindmarsh & Rowlston  photo.

This image shows an interior room of the home at 916 Cardero Street in Vancouver in about 1908. The BC directory for that year indicates that this was the home of John F(rederic) Helliwell. (An exterior photo of the home appears at the end of this post. It was taken a few years later, sometime probably in the early 19-teens).

John F. Helliwell (1871-1958) received training in accountancy at Liverpool Institute. He left Britain for Toronto in 1890, where he married his second cousin, Rowena Helliwell. They came to Vancouver in 1897 where he became a partner in the firm of Clarkson, Cross & Helliwell and later founded Helliwell, Moore & MacLachlan (later simply called Helliwell MacLachlan). The firm was located at first in the Molson’s Bank Building (northeast corner Seymour at Hastings; no longer standing). It moved in 1914 to the still-standing, gothic-revival Yorkshire (aka Seymour) Building at 525 Seymour, and made a final move to the Marine Building in 1939.

John Frederic and Rowena Helliwell lived in their Cardero Street home with their two daughters and one son, John Leedom, until the outbreak of the Great War. When war was declared, the Helliwells moved to the U.K. where JFH served in the army as a senior administrative officer, running camps in the U.K. and Egypt.

After the war, the Helliwells returned to Vancouver and resided in a home at 4750 Belmont Ave. (in which, apparently, Lawren Harris later resided) which they rented from former Vancouver Mayor, William Malkin. They moved to 1799 Cedar Crescent in the 1920s and to JFH’s final residence at 7936 Angus Drive in the 1940s. With the exception of the Cardero Street house, all of the homes occupied by J. F. Helliwell stand today.

John Leedom Helliwell (1904-80), John Frederic’s son, ultimately trained in accountancy and joined his father’s firm. John Leedom, and his eldest son, David Helliwell (1935-93) each, in turn, became FCAs (John Leedom’s younger son, John Forbes Helliwell pursued an academic career as professor of Economics at UBC).

John Leedom Helliwell and his family spent their first vacation following WWII at Acton Farm at St. John Point on Hornby Island. JLH and his family were so enchanted with the beauty of the place that he was moved to purchase the property later the same year (1945).

In 1966, John Leedom Helliwell donated 3,000 hectares of this waterfront land to the people of B.C. It is known as Helliwell Provincial Park.

CVA 371-741 - [Exterior of residence at 916 Cardero Street]

CVA 371-741 – [Exterior of residence at 916 Cardero Street], 191-. [I suspect that the children in this image are the three Helliwell kids: John Leedom Helliwell and his younger and older sisters].

I am indebted to generous assistance with many details in this post from John Forbes Helliwell, Professor Emeritus (Economics), University of British Columbia. For an interview of JFH conducted for the UBC Legacy Project, see here.

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