Where Was the ‘Overlook’ Subdivision?

Detail of CVA 371-726.2 - [Looking southwest along Cordova Street from Carrall Street] ca 1913.

Detail of CVA 371-726.2 – [Looking southwest along Cordova Street from Carrall Street] ca 1913.

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.

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2 Responses to Where Was the ‘Overlook’ Subdivision?

  1. Pauline Kubiny says:

    With respect to Trites “Overlook” – I did a Google search… [659 granville street, vancouver, trites overlook]
    The first result was a Vancouver Daily World newspaper (Page 28) reference, but I don’t have access to newspapers.com as I don’t pay for that service.
    Another result was the following ad from a U.S.A. newspaper…
    Morning Oregonian. (Portland, Or.) 1861-1937, October 25, 1909, Image 9 [OCR version]
    “Sale of Government Land at Point Grey, Vancouver, B. C. On Monday. November 15, we will place on sale for the Provincial Government by public auction at the Horse Show building in this city a certain parcel of land situated at Point Grey, containing- seven hundred acres, more or less. Point Grey is to be Vancouver’s most fashionable and beautiful residential district. This property is uniquely situated, with a splendid elevation facing the Gulf of Georgia and Howe Sound, and, in a few years, will be the most beautiful residential district in any city in North America. The land will be put on in parcels of from one -half acre up to four acre blocks at the usual Government terms. This sale will undoubtedly be one of the most important sales of land that has ever taken place in this city and any person interested in Vancouver real estate should not overlook an opportunity to be present. TRITES & LESLIE REAL ESTATE AND FINANCIAL, BROKERS 659 Granville Street, Vancouver, B.C.”
    Here is a link to the actual ad: http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83025138/1909-10-25/ed-1/seq-9/
    In my opinion, the subdivision was not called Overlook – Mr. Trites was using the word as a catch phrase and to grab attention to the billboard. You can see the use of the word in the above ad: “…should not overlook an opportunity to be present.” The billboard is actually saying, “Overlook the new subdivision – you will like it” (instead of look over the new subdivision). So, the Point Grey properties you refer to in the article that were sold for the government are the actual “Overlook subdivision”.

    • mdm says:

      Thanks very much for this insightful research, Pauline. I think you are ‘dead right’ about this! I didn’t have access to newspapers.com when I did the original research on this subject, but I do have access now, so I’ll follow up in the next couple of days with a look into the VDW connection you mention. Thanks again for this.

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