In 1925, Mrs. A. J. Davidson would start a little bookstore business across the street from the home shown below (later she would move the business next door to the home, later down the block a few doors; it would never be far away). She called the bookshop, perhaps with a vain hope of exclusivity, The Library.
But by about 1928, Mrs Davidson had a competitor on the block. The owner of the home at 2818 Granville was Mrs. Maud Leslie, a widow. Mrs. Leslie’s daughter*, Miss Lorna-June Leslie had an entrepreneurial drive and wanted to run her own little book and china shop. Start-up capital was doubtless an issue for June Leslie; if she was going truly to be an entrepreneur she wanted to own the property rather than be forever beholden to a landlord. So the Leslies decided they would capitalize on the front yard of their residence** and have June’s Stanley Library built on their home property. This was not by any means the first such residence/business mash-up in Vancouver. Indeed, in the downtown area (Denman Street, e.g.) this early variant on densification was fairly common. I don’t know whether a rezoning permit from the City was required in 1928.
Mrs. Leslie and June lived in the home at 2818 Granville for a couple of years, and then moved, presumably preferring to collect rent on the property.
One of the most remarkable things about this tale is that the home remains on the site today, its exterior at least, apparently substantially unchanged.
What became of the apparent rivalry between The Library and Stanley Library? Who outlasted whom? Stanley Library seems to have remained in business for 17 years (1928-1945); a Mrs. Raymer took over the business in 1943. The Library, on the other hand) endured for more than a quarter century (1925-51); a Mrs. Kirby had assumed the reigns by the mid-1940s.
Even more interesting, perhaps, is that one block in the South Granville/Fairview area was able to sustain two independent bookstores for the better part of 20 years. How things have changed.
*I haven’t been able to establish beyond a doubt that Maud was June’s mother, but it seems to me to be all but certain.
**The home was built ca1909 for Fred Deeley by a J. Curtis for about $1,200.