Author Archives: mdm

Earliest Public Rooftop Gardens in Greater Vancouver

Until I began to research this subject, I’d assumed that the first and only public rooftop garden was the one atop the Hotel Vancouver #2 at the SW corner of Georgia and Granville. But I was quite mistaken. Leonard’s Cafe … Continue reading

Posted in cafes/restaurants/eateries, hotels/motels/inns | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Few Photos Showing Changes to Our Urban Landscape Over the Past Decade

Happy New Year! I’m not going to devote much text to this post; it is a slideshow, for the most part. The photos are my own made in Greater Vancouver over the past ten years. The photos have a story … Continue reading

Posted in street scenes | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Shack

There was a time, evidently, in Vancouver’s distant past, when office space wasn’t at a premium in the downtown core. The building shown above was developed by and named in honour of A. G. Ferguson in late 1888. When I … Continue reading

Posted in Charles S. Bailey, homes/apts/condos | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vancouver’s David Spencer Department Store

Merry Christmas, faithful VAIW readers! Today, I’m reaching back in the VanAsItWas archives to 2018. There are links in the notes at the conclusion of this post to the Spencer’s Toyland Parade. I encourage you today to view that motion … Continue reading

Posted in department stores, Dominion Photo, Don Coltman, Harry Bullen, street scenes, stuart thomson, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Yaletown’s Grocery Hall of Fame

In 1979, a Grocery Hall of Fame was established in Yaletown at 1241 Homer Street. The founder was Bill Spaner. He was then (and, evidently, still is) a food broker with a business called Tempo Sales. The Curator of the … Continue reading

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The First VAIW Post (February 2014): 1885 Brockton View

This photograph (CVA Wat P38) was the work of Lauchlan A. Hamilton. In my judgement, it is one of the most attractive early images available from the digital collection of the City of Vancouver Archives (CVA). Mr Hamilton lived in … Continue reading

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What Do CNR Depot and Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden Have in Common?

The Chinese Tennis Club was at both locations! A brief chronology of the Chinese Tennis Club: 1936: Chinese Tennis Club was established. The Club was affiliated with the B.C. Lawn and Tennis Association. The Club played other clubs in that … Continue reading

Posted in chinatown | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Ernest Augustus Muling, French Chef

Update Ernest Augustus Muling (1861-1949) was a Frenchman by birth (in Blumenau), an Englishman by nationality, and a chef by profession. He came to Vancouver from Brisbane, Australia where he seems to have spent his twenties and early thirties and … Continue reading

Posted in cafes/restaurants/eateries, hotels/motels/inns, stuart thomson, timms, yesterday & today | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Kolster’s Radio Musicians

The eight-person musical group shown above is Kolster’s Musicians. They were a group of Vancouver people who were assembled to play music on CKWX Radio (Vancouver) for their principal sponsor, Kolster Radios. Kolster was a U.S. brand radio, distributed in … Continue reading

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Ancient Mariners of Carrall Street

It is an ancient Mariner,And he stoppeth one of three‘By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,Now wherefore stopp’st thou me? The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. First stanza. Text of 1834. As far as I know, … Continue reading

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Flying Saucer Clubs

The 1950s and ’60s were prime time for flying saucer enthusiasts. There were at least two UFO-related Vancouver clubs at that time — one called the Vancouver Area Flying Saucer Club (1956-ca1979) and another at UBC known as the Varsity … Continue reading

Posted in Odd Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Civil Defence Training HQ on Granville Street

The property identified in the image above as Vancouver’s Civil Defence Training HQ was originally occupied by NeoLite — a neon sign company. [1] The space was only a temporary site for the civil defence HQ from 1951-1953 mainly because … Continue reading

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Rev. Arthur J. Hadley: “Let’s Go!”

Update My very good friend, Art Hadley, died on Christmas Day, 2016. He had a special connection with Vancouver, although he and his wife, Edna, spent relatively little time in the Greater Vancouver area, recently. In their retirement, they settled in … Continue reading

Posted in biography, churches, First Baptist Church, Vancouver | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Change and the UBC War Memorial Gym

The War Memorial Gym is one of the few buildings on UBC’s campus that has withstood the plans of developers and administrators to demolish and replace structures that show the least age. As you will see in the photos below, … Continue reading

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Barron/Belmont Hotel

There is a hotel on the SE corner of Granville and Nelson that has stood there for nearly 110 years. It has been known for most of that time as the Hotel Belmont. During its early years, however, it was … Continue reading

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’10 Commandments’ for Church Ushers

I ran across this wee item in the archival collection of First Baptist Church when I was in the Archives a year or two ago researching another subject. I took a quick photo of this page and then forgot about … Continue reading

Posted in churches, First Baptist Church, Vancouver | Tagged , | 8 Comments

70 Years of FBC Organists

Update The early organists at First Baptist Church (1905-1975) are an intriguing collection. One was willful and arguably bad-tempered; another had an unusual name which the press messed up; one was on staff when the Sanctuary and organ burned to … Continue reading

Posted in churches, First Baptist Church, Vancouver, music, Organs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

CONSECRATION Day?!

August 4, 1915 was declared by Vancouver’s civic authorities to be Consecration Day. It would commemorate the one-year anniversary of Canada declaring war against Germany and thereby entering the Great War. In the words of those who were contemporary to … Continue reading

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Murray and His Book Store

I was delighted when my friend, Jason, presented me with the bag shown above, a year or two ago. Murray’s Book Store wasn’t then known to me. It had gone out of business a few years before I’d started to … Continue reading

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Vancouver’s Hippodrome Pipe Dream

The drawing above is of the planned Vancouver Hippodrome. [1] It was to have been located on the SE corner of Granville and Pacific at the north end of the Granville Bridge #2 (see image near the end of this … Continue reading

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Professor Garnett Sedgewick: To the Fourth Power

Update In these times when the dollar is king, the norm in development circles is that he/she/they who donates the largest wad of cash to the construction of a building gets it named after him/her/them. This appears not to have … Continue reading

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J. W. Freeston, Photographer

Update The panorama image shown above was made by B.C. professional photographer, John W. Freeston (1887-1923) in 1919. He married Florence Mary Hall (ca1874-1944) ca1904 in England. He and Florence had two daughters (Elsie May and Kathleen Mary) and one … Continue reading

Posted in First Baptist Church, Vancouver, J. W. Freeston, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Crèches (1912-1932)

Crèche is an old-fashioned term that referred — in the early years of the 20th century — to a day nursery for the kids of working moms. [1] Typical husbands were assumed to be in the workforce and women to … Continue reading

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The Beers

William James Beer and Fannie Philips lived at 623 Richards Street — across Richards from the Holy Rosary (Roman Catholic) Church (as it then was), roughly on the land occupied later by the Dunsmuir Hotel. The neighbourhood was a ‘churchy’ … Continue reading

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The Wild West: Early Shooting Galleries

A shooting gallery in late 19th and early 20th century Vancouver was a quite different place than is conjured by that term 100 years later. A shooting gallery in early Vancouver had nothing to do with illicit drugs. It was … Continue reading

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Gordon Poppy

I regret to report, for those of you who are not already aware of it, that Vancouver’s gentleman-artist-historian, Gordon Poppy, has passed away. Gordon has had several mentions in VanAsItWas over the years, including this one which featured Gordon’s window … Continue reading

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Wilson’s 1907 Cadillac

Dr. Thomas Haddow Wilson was the first owner of the 1907 Cadillac which I was privileged to view, recently. Wilson was born in Kitchener, ON in 1869. He graduated from medical school at the University of Manitoba in 1897 and … Continue reading

Posted in Artray, automobiles, First Baptist Church, Vancouver | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Orpheum Quartet

Orpheum I (55 West Cordova): 1904-05 The first Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver opened on October 3, 1904. [1] It had formerly been the Crystal Theatre (1903-04) at 55 West Cordova (there is a parking garage there, today). The proprietors of … Continue reading

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Mistaken Assumption . . .

There’s a building on West Hastings near Hamilton about which I’ve had a long-standing misconception. It’s sweeping facade reminded me so much of a 1940s-style movie theatre that I’ve always assumed that that was the original occupant. [1] But I … Continue reading

Posted in Don Coltman, interiors | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fowler’s Rose

This carving of a Tudor Rose was taken from the tomb of the Duke of York, Tewkesbury Abbey, England, in the year of 1881 when repairs were being made to the tomb. The same year it was given to Major … Continue reading

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Nabob’s ‘Harmony House’ on CBC

The “Harmony House” radio variety show was the first commercial radio program originating in the West to be put on CBC’s network. It was broadcast live from the Orpheum Theatre, starting in September 1943 [1]. The corporate sponsor of Harmony … Continue reading

Posted in Don Coltman, music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Smoking Prohibited at this Smoker!

This is a very brief post to point out a couple of interesting aspects of this WWII-era “Smoker” (a social gathering that typically included tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking) of the 201st Battery, held in downtown Vancouver. First, I should … Continue reading

Posted in Don Coltman, war | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Mysterious Joseph Langer

Update (June 2020) Information on [J. F.] Langer is . . . difficult to find. There’s nothing on him in the City of Vancouver Archives, nothing in the Special Collections Division of the Vancouver Public Library, precious little elsewhere. — … Continue reading

Posted in biography, businesses, theatre/vaudeville/cinemas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Analog Craig’s List, 1967

Given that Ron Morrier is best remembered today as the host of All-Star Wrestling, it may be a bit surprising to watch him hosting this 15-minute program. He comes across as a calm, well-spoken, and good-humoured gent. Joseph Roland DeLorme … Continue reading

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Bingarra/Sun Doo Rooms

The commercial and residential building (shown immediately above and below) has been absent from the Vancouver landscape for about 50 years. It (and most of Hogan’s Alley to the south and east of this corner) were demolished to make way … Continue reading

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Dr. Ray Starr Goodwin

According to handwritten information on the back of this photo, it is an image of First Baptist Church young people on an outing to Deep Cove ca1904-05. The only person named is “Ray Starr Goodwin”, but he isn’t identified except … Continue reading

Posted in biography, First Baptist Church, Vancouver, politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Granville Street on the Verge

I was trolling through CVA’s online photographic holdings this morning when I came across this image. It wasn’t the first time. Once again, I was struck by how much it appeals to me. The appeal of this northward shot of … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

No ‘Social Distancing’ Going on Here!

Original post published in 2015 These crowds were dispersing up Georgia Street from watching the parade for Vancouver’s 60th Anniversary of civic incorporation (our Diamond Jubilee, 1886-1946). Thanks are due to JMV for the detailed comment and links below. As to … Continue reading

Posted in Jack Lindsay, people, street scenes | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Variant of Vancouver’s SECOND Coat of Arms?

This brief post is just to notify my readers that I have stumbled across what may be a hitherto unknown variant of Vancouver’s second coat of arms (1903-1969). For a history of the city’s three coats, see here and here. … Continue reading

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Ladybug Tours

By Maurice Guibord, Guest Blogger Years ago, I came across this postcard (above) and then a pamphlet (below) touting “Ladybug Tours” offered in Stanley Park. I got the two pieces years apart, so it was nice to put them together. … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

John A. Radford: ‘Artistic Dean’ . . . Who?

When John Radford died, the Vancouver Sun hailed him as “dean of Vancouver artists and famous throughout Canada as an architect, water-colorist and art critic”. Today, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone in Vancouver (even in art or local … Continue reading

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Vancouver’s Monarchs of the Bronze

In 1932 the Vancouver Sun newspaper teamed up with a number of suburban Famous Players theatres, as well as a few ‘country’ theatres across the interior of B.C. to have a “Sun Tan Contest”. [1] The ‘contest’ would actually consist … Continue reading

Posted in Pacific National Exhibition (PNE), stuart thomson | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maison Henri: Vancouver’s Forgotten Parisian House

Henri Gautschi’s Vancouver hairdressing business, Maison Henri, lasted for over 35 years. But today the business and its proprietor are generally unknown. Henri Edward Gautshci (whose surname sounded Italian) was born in 1875 in Paris, France. His father came from Switzerland. … Continue reading

Posted in Frank J. Leonard | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Barry Glass, Star Photographer

Barry William Glass was born in North Vancouver in 1933 to William Glass and Winnifred Marr. He went to Britannia High School, where he was a member of the MacMillan Club of Fine Arts. During his years at Britannia, the … Continue reading

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Fun Facts: The Signal Station Atop Lions Gate Bridge

How did signallers get to work? This isn’t a fact; more of an educated guess. I figure they walked across the bridge deck, using the ped-way the way any other pedestrian would cross the bridge. When they were beneath the … Continue reading

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The Age of the Searchlight

The late 1920s and 1930s was the age of the searchlight in Vancouver. Searchlights were not a new thing. They had been in use in 19th century Europe. Indeed, they were not new to Vancouver, either. Searchlight technology was in … Continue reading

Posted in Art Grice, Art Jones, Jack Lindsay, stuart thomson | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A South Richards Street Survivor

The very solid brick structure shown above was at 1339 Richards Street and seems to have been built circa 1914. To my surprise, given Vancouver’s record of demo-ing most buildings that stand for more than 50 years, this structure endured … Continue reading

Posted in stuart thomson | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ted Lefebure’s ‘Voice’ (in the absence of a photo)

The germ of this post (if one may use such a word these virus-centric days) came from local music/theatre expert, Tom Carter. He found the correspondence that is at the post’s heart in a Gastown antique shop years ago and … Continue reading

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When the King was Here and Swinging

Benny Goodman (1909-1986) was my musical hero during my high school years. No, those years were not for me the 1930s or 1940s. They were the late 1970s! Yes, I was and am, perhaps, a bit odd. I was turned … Continue reading

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1948 Exterior Views of Vancouver’s Grand Old Lady

This is a pictorial post of crops based on some terrific images made of the Old Hotel Vancouver (1916) by Don Coltman in April 1948. Judging from the titles given the original images, I take it that these were commissioned … Continue reading

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William Fowler: Early Orchestra Leader in an Innocent Age

William Fowler (1875-1936) was the leader of Fowler’s Orchestra from ca1902 to ca1915. He was the eldest son of James Fowler and Jane Youngson. His sole sibling was his younger brother, Peter. The Fowlers came to Vancouver from England in … Continue reading

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A Block of Libraries

Update 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 … Continue reading

Posted in books/reading, businesses, street scenes, yesterday & today | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Earle Hill: From ‘Dainty’ to ‘Cave Man’ Music

Earle Hill (1887-1955) was a noteworthy orchestra leader in Vancouver in the late 19-teens and the ’30s and ’40s. Earle Channell Hill was born in 1887 to William and Vella in Vanvert, Ohio. He played the violin. He had his … Continue reading

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Former U.S. President Tours Vancouver…in About 30 Minutes

When former U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt, came to Vancouver on July 18, 1915, he was in town for about half an hour. The Roosevelt party, according to press accounts, consisted of three people: Colonel Teddy Roosevelt, Mrs. Roosevelt (Edith Kermit … Continue reading

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Avon Theatrical Productions: A Checklist

The Avon Theatre was originally known as the Pantages, from its opening with that name as a vaudeville house in 1908 (on south side of East Hastings between Columbia and Main). It was identified less formally as the ‘old Pantages’ … Continue reading

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Stauffer’s and Mitten’s Arctic Club

The Arctic Club was one of several cocktail and supper clubs in Vancouver in the ’30s, 40s, and ’50s (including the Quadra, the World, and Jean Fuller’s). According to recollections of the Arctic Club at the Vancouver Jazz Forum, it was a … Continue reading

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Vending Before Food Trucks

Posted in Al Ingram, people, street scenes, yesterday & today | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Flying Was Still Exotic

Update This image is one of several available online at VPL showing Clancy’s Sky Diner Cafe. This unusual cafe took clever advantage of the long, narrow interior space to create the impression of a DC-3 aircraft fuselage. The Sky Diner … Continue reading

Posted in cafes/restaurants/eateries, Foncie Pulcie, people | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Crowd Welcomes Kilties at Union Depot/Thornton Park

The photos above and below are identified by the City of Vancouver Archives as being a “large crowd gathered around automobile, men in military uniforms” and the date shown for the photos is “ca1915.” I had doubts about the attributed … Continue reading

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Getting Nowhere – Fast – in 1901

This seemed like an apt image to post in this season of broken fitness resolutions. The image was made, according to the City of Vancouver Archives, about 120 years ago. My two questions, regarding the photo: (1) Where was it … Continue reading

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Shoot the Chutes!

The “Shoot the Chutes” ride at the Hastings Park midway from 1925 through 1957 was among the most popular rides. It had wooden boats into which passengers would climb. The boats would then be released, one at a time, from … Continue reading

Posted in James Crookall, Leonard J. Frank, Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Lodge Cafe

The Lodge Cafe was an eatery and dancing establishment from May 1919-1924. The original proprietors were Mr. M. B. Fleming and Fred A. Bush. Not much is known by me about these two, except that they were new to the … Continue reading

Posted in businesses, cafes/restaurants/eateries, stuart thomson | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gutta Percha and Rubber Ltd.

Gutta Percha and Rubber Ltd. was a Toronto-based company with regional offices across Canada, including in Vancouver. During the early 1900s (when the Vancouver office was established) the Pacific Division was at 100 W. Hastings Street, where Prado Coffee is … Continue reading

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Archives Image Corrected by Horizontal Flip

Update It can be disorienting when a historical image’s negative is printed from the wrong side. By viewing the image to the right, you can see the way the image appears on CVA as of mid-February, 2017. (That the image … Continue reading

Posted in businesses, cafes/restaurants/eateries, churches, Ernie Reksten, hotels/motels/inns | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

1972 BC Progressive Conservative TV Ads

Update There are a series of television ads on CVA located here¹ (to find the first of the PC ads, go to the 7.08 minute mark in the clip) that represented another in a long series of attempts by BC Tories … Continue reading

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Remembrance Services Past at First Baptist Church

Update I was browsing through images in the Vancouver Public Library historical photos database this morning; I saw the image above and almost immediately recognized it for what it was (and what had, apparently, been forgotten or mislaid in the … Continue reading

Posted in biography, churches, First Baptist Church, Vancouver, jennifer friesen, people, Ross J. Kenward | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Behind This Wall at Hotel Vancouver…

Update Behind the wall shown above, in the elevator court of the third (1939) Hotel Vancouver, lies, quite possibly, Ascension, a work of bas-relief sculpture created by Beatrice Lennie (1904-1987) a renowned and very able good sculptor. Doris Munroe, in … Continue reading

Posted in art, churches, First Baptist Church, Vancouver, hotels/motels/inns | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Clement Welch: A Passion for Choral Music

James Clement Welch (1871-1962) emigrated from England to Canada in 1886, the year of Vancouver’s incorporation as a city — and the year of Clement’s 15th birthday. By the time he was in his mid-30s, he would lead what would … Continue reading

Posted in churches, music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Shop at Sich’s Corner

Sich’s Corner was the name of an early Vancouver tobacconist’s shop located on the southwest corner of Cambie at Cordova. The person who named it and for whom it was named remained at the corner and, indeed, in Vancouver, for … Continue reading

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One of the Largest Organs West of Winnipeg

Updated I purchased this photo at The History Store. Since then, I’ve been on a quest to know which church it is/was that housed the amazing-looking pipe organ. What I Knew (or Thought I Knew) The clues I had to … Continue reading

Posted in churches, new westminster, Russell Photo Studio, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Forgotten Purcell Hall

Purcell Hall and the B.C. School of Church Music (the two were ‘tied at the hip’ for most of their lives) came into being in 1936 at the SW corner of Georgia at Denman Streets (1808 W Georgia), adjacent to … Continue reading

Posted in churches, music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

First Baptist Church’s Iron Fence/Notice Board Memorials

Judging from what I’ve heard and what appears to be the ‘vision’ of the current First Baptist Church building project, upon its completion, there will no longer be an iron fence surrounding the garden near the tower entry. That is, … Continue reading

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H.M.S. New Zealand at Vancouver, 1913

This post will showcase a few of the photos made by Vancouver photographer, Stuart Thomson, in 1913 on the occasion of a visit to the city of H.M.S. New Zealand. The ship had been funded by New Zealand as a … Continue reading

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Adult Ed in Technical Subjects in 1930s Vancouver

This post focusses on a series of photographs made in about 1937 by the great pro photographer, Stuart Thomson, of what appears to be adult education going on in a variety of technical subjects. The photo above, it may be … Continue reading

Posted in stuart thomson, W J Moore | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

S.S. Islander’s Forgotten Gulf Ferry Service

The Islander is today known by some as a gold-laden ship that was sunk by an iceberg off the Alaskan coast in 1901. But what seems to have been forgotten (1) is that prior to that unhappy event, it served … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sea of Hats

Updated This is a somewhat unusual view of the Cambie Street Recreation Grounds (for ome later years, the site of the long-distance bus station, later still – optimistically – dubbed Larwill Park and serving as a City car park with … Continue reading

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Prof. Ludwig Zimmer, Herbalist . . . and Zimmerton’s Namesake

Ludwig (“Louis”) Zimmer (1838-1895) was born in Grunberg, Hessen Darmstadt, Germany, but left his homeland when a young man. He settled in Guelph, ON in 1861. In 1867, he married Salome (b1829), who was also born in Germany. His business … Continue reading

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Cleve’s Win Impacts at Least a Couple of Vancouver Residents

Who are the principal figures in this image? What is the context? And where is this bunch of early Vancouverites gathered on this occasion? This brief article in the Vancouver Daily World is helpful: Fulfilled the Wager At 2:30 this … Continue reading

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Who IS this Woman?

Who was this attractive woman with such a determined countenance¹? If you were to ask this question at the City of Vancouver Archives — where this photograph has resided, probably, for most of its life — staff there might, quite … Continue reading

Posted in biography, businesses, First Baptist Church, Vancouver, Harry T. Devine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The McIntosh Girls in Tent Town

I’m not sure what it is about this image that I find compelling. It is a well-made photograph, to be sure; the exposure and composition are flawless. But I don’t think the technical competence of the photographer is what draws … Continue reading

Posted in Bailey Bros. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jean Fuller, Night Club Owner/Singer

Substantially Updated First posted February 2016 Jean Fuller was one of very few black nightclub singers, and probably was the only female black nightclub owner, in Vancouver in the 1930s and ‘40s. The first appearance I found of Miss Fuller … Continue reading

Posted in biography, cafes/restaurants/eateries, jazz/blues, music, stuart thomson | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

International Harvester BC/Yukon HQ

The demolition of The Party Bazaar building this week, after 7 years at its Station Street location, made me wonder what other businesses had been in that building over the years. In fact, few. In 1950, the heavy truck manufacturing … Continue reading

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Adam’s Rib Cabaret

Update! I love the scantily-clad, outrageous word play on this card! Adam’s Rib (1047 Granville) was located on the west side of Granville Street, midway between Helmcken and Nelson. Specifically, it was between where “The Mexican” restaurant and the “Vietnamese … Continue reading

Posted in cafes/restaurants/eateries, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Connaught Beach Club

By Neil Whaley, Guest Blogger English Bay’s Crystal Swimming Pool had its beginnings in a 1926 proposal for a private luxury facility called the Connaught Beach Club. That club was to have a pool, tennis courts, separate Turkish baths for … Continue reading

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Crookall as Colville

This CVA image made by local amateur James Crookall strikes me as being an outstanding photograph. It shows four men in a sailboat on relatively calm water. The gent with the cigar appears to be the eldest of the four … Continue reading

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J. C. Rowley: Painter, Decorator and (Gasp!) Debt Absconder

John Capper Rowley (1844-1941) was a real character who was a resident in Vancouver during its pioneering period! Born in Staffordshire, England, he was the son of a coach shop owner. He began a lifetime of wandering when in 1861 … Continue reading

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B.C. Lions SNORED in ’54!

This post is a fun excuse to show off a few of Gordon Poppy’s photos of a window display he helped set up for the Vancouver flagship store of  T. Eaton Company (at the time, from 1949-1973, in the former … Continue reading

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Sleeper Photo Reveals Lost Deco Interior

Update! Thanks to a 2012 publication by Michael Windover, Art Deco: A Mode of Mobility (Québec : Presses de l’Université du Québec), I have learned that the mural on the wall shown below (with a deco-style airplane and ocean liner … Continue reading

Posted in art, Leonard J. Frank | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Phone Exchanges: Tools for Local Historians

By Neil Whaley, Guest Blogger I collect vintage Vancouver items and I like to be able to pin down the date they were created as accurately as possible. Phone numbers on items are helpful; many telephone exchanges in Vancouver existed … Continue reading

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Comfort’s 1954 Portraits at UBC

This is just a line to accompany the images of the portraits shown above. It was learned this week that these six images of UBC faculty and officials (which had been shown in UBC’s Archival Collections as painted by “unknown” … Continue reading

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Tag Days

  — By Neil Whaley, Guest Blogger ‘Tag days’ were one-day fundraisers held in Vancouver before, during and after WW1. Volunteers canvassed on street corners for a particular cause, and donors received a tag on a string they could wear … Continue reading

Posted in Charity, war | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A ‘Whisper Off Granville’: Delmonico Cafe

Like me, you may never have heard of the Delmonico Cafe. It was on the south side of Robson Street ‘just a whisper [west of] Granville’ (to borrow from one of their slogans) for scarcely six years. In its brief … Continue reading

Posted in cafes/restaurants/eateries, stuart thomson | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Where Was This Photo Made?

I’ve intentionally not shown a caption description of the location of the above image. I’d like you to study the photo and take your best guess as to which block is shown here. Okay, ready? It is the east side … Continue reading

Posted in Don Coltman, yesterday & today | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Wilf Wylie

Wilf Wylie (1913-1985) was a local musician, music teacher, and band leader. He was born George Wilfred Wylie to George Primrose Wylie (1881-1949), of Bowness-on-Forth, Scotland and Marion Ida MacKay (1887-1920), of Woodstock, ON. GPW was a plumber in the … Continue reading

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In Love . . . with a Photograph

I think this is a superb post-war image of a Vancouver intersection. What do I love about it? First and foremost, I love that it is not a standard Vancouver view. This is not an intersection that was often photographed and, … Continue reading

Posted in advertising, cafes/restaurants/eateries, food, Otto F. Landauer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Public Drinking Fountains

Early A very early (if not the first) Vancouver water fountain was situated at the corner which, from the 1930s, was known as Pioneer Place but is better known, today, as Pigeon Park. This piece of real estate was useless … Continue reading

Posted in street scenes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Follow the Bouncing Grand Union Hotel

When it occurred to me, recently, to research the history of the still-standing Grand Union Hotel (on unit block West Hastings), it seemed to me that it should be a fairly straightforward task. How mistaken I was. It turned out … Continue reading

Posted in hotels/motels/inns | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

700 Seymour in ’47

The three images featured in this post of the 700 block of Seymour Street are among the finest available of the block from CVA online. Professional photographer, Don Coltman, was commissioned to make the images for Shell Oil, Co. in … Continue reading

Posted in businesses, Don Coltman, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

WHAT-ithumpians?!

What on earth is a “calithumpian” and what is its relevance in a blog about how Vancouver once was? An article in the Woodstock (Ontario) Sentinel-Review, had this to say: According to the Thamesford [Ontario] Calithumpian website, the word Calithumpian … Continue reading

Posted in parades, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Valentin Shabaeff’s Lost Art in the Hotel Vancouver

Update (Originally published December 2018) Mini Bio Valentin Firsov Shabaeff (1891-1978) was born in central Russia. He was admitted to the Moscow Art Academy at the age of 16, where he studied for five years; subsequently, he studied at the … Continue reading

Posted in art, cafes/restaurants/eateries, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Spider and the Fly: Personality Politics at FBC – 1905

Context It was the spring of 1905. First Baptist Church was still worshipping in the modest wooden building on Hamilton and Dunsmuir, but they had purchased the lot on Burrard and Nelson and were beginning to raise funds to build … Continue reading

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Missing?: Monument to First City Survey Stake

This monument was created in 1952 to honour the driving of the first survey stake by CPR Land Commissioner, L. A. Hamilton (sometimes referred to as the “Godfather of Vancouver”), at the site (300 Hastings Street; SW corner of Hamilton and … Continue reading

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‘Bailey Bridge’ in Downtown Vancouver, 1944

Updated (First Published August 2015) This photograph shows a 240-foot Bailey Bridge (1 of 2 by Don Coltman; the other image appears below) spanning Georgia Street at Howe Street in 1944. Zooming on the image reveals a sign on the structure … Continue reading

Posted in architects, bridges/viaducts, Don Coltman, street scenes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

First Foot!

The ‘first foot’ tradition is one that I first became aware of as a pre-teen when a family friend, who was a Canadian of Scots ancestry, would arrive at our front door on New Year’s Day – shortly after midnight … Continue reading

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First Baptist’s “Living Room” to be Demolished

Update (first posted October, 2018) “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing … Continue reading

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Details of an Artistic Life (Rolph Blakstad: Part II)

Introduction This is a sequel to the previous post, MIA: The Loss of a 20-foot Painting. In this post, we will sketch a few of the biographical details about artist, Rolph Blakstad, and his wife, Mary Isobel Blakstad (nee Leiterman), during … Continue reading

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MIA: The Loss of a 20-foot Painting (Rolph Blakstad: Part I)

This is a tale of discovery. Of learning what a painting was called, who created it, and, perhaps, what became of it. The story began with the photo shown below. I have a peculiar passion for Fred Sunday’s panoramic images. … Continue reading

Posted in art, UBC | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Pierre Elliot Trudeau in Vancouver: 1976

Update (First Published July 2014): I’ve been remembering, recently, the dominant national political personality during my formative years, Pierre Elliot Trudeau. I found this rather good photo in UBC Library’s Digital Collection of his June 1976 visit to UBC. Here, he is visiting UBC shortly … Continue reading

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The Musical Occupations of Horace W. Harpur

Horace William Harpur was a prominent Vancouver organist, pianist, and band leader in the 1890s and beyond. Family H. W. Harpur was born in England in 1869 to Rev. George Harpur and and Miriam Browne. Rev. Harpur was initially a Congregational minister … Continue reading

Posted in churches, music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Park Lane

Park Lane was one of the early residential districts in Vancouver; it later was a proposed ‘red light’ district; the homes of the Lane were destroyed to help make way for the Union railway depot; the depot ultimately also succumbed … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Turn On Your Headlights for Car Service

Update This is an unusual photo. I’ve seen other photos taken from Smithe or thereabouts on Burrard Street (such as the one that appears below) with the White Spot neon signage displayed. But this is the only image I’ve seen … Continue reading

Posted in cafes/restaurants/eateries, Werner Lenggenhager | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Professor Alan C. Cairns

The fact that Professor Alan Cairns was on the faculty of UBC’s Political Science Department was one of the principal reasons that I came to Vancouver and UBC to do my M.A. And so it is with sadness that I … Continue reading

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Alfred Lafond

Alfred Lafond was born in Quebec to Joseph and Genevieve on March 1, 1849. Alfred married Azilda (b. 1863). In 1883, a daughter was born to the couple. They named her Lodivine. A son, Albert, was born in 1896. Alfred … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

1930s View Down Richards Street

Images 2592/3 present unusual northward views of Richards Street. They show a commercial strip in the early 1930s that was ignored by many photographers. Who do we have to thank for these atypical views? Photographer, Stuart Thomson? Well, not really. … Continue reading

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500th Post: A Case of Mistaken Identity

I purchased the framed image above (complete with functioning thermometer!) at an antique shop when I was in Lethbridge, AB, recently. The label of “Stanley Park” on the photo bothered me from the outset. But I bought it anyway (for … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

How Victory Square and Its Cenotaph Came to Be

From the vantage of 2018, it is all too easy to look at Victory Square and assume that one or two sentences can amply sum up the history of the place. One might say, for instance, that Victory Square was … Continue reading

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Speculations on a Black ‘House of Ill Fame’

When I was browsing through a fascinating, very early fire insurance map book of Vancouver in UBC’s rare book room, recently, I noticed a label that took me aback: “Negro Ill Fame”.  I knew what “ill fame” denoted (a ‘house … Continue reading

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Bully Off!* Very Early Ladies’ Grass Hockey

The photo shown above is of the Vancouver Ladies Grass Hockey team as it was in December 1900. The photo is from the album of William A. Bauer, a brother of one of the players, Maud Bauer.¹ This is among … Continue reading

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Three Early Seafood Nosheries

Once upon a time in the City of Vancouver there were three major seafood restaurants in the vicinity of Hastings and Carrall Streets. Yes, I said three not only the Only – which was one of the three and certainly … Continue reading

Posted in cafes/restaurants/eateries, stuart thomson, W. E. Frost | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Charles Schooley: City Paymaster and Prominent Baptist

Update (Originally posted August 2014): Charles Abraham Schooley (1850-1931) was born in Port Colborne, Ontario. He studied law for a couple of years but ultimately withdrew from that course of study due to illness. He then was one of the … Continue reading

Posted in biography, city, First Baptist Church, Vancouver | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Victorian Picnic Images of the 1890s

For a summer project, I’ve been systematically viewing all photos available online from the City of Vancouver Archives – starting with the earliest images and gradually working my way forward in time. (This is no small project; the total CVA … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Arcadians’ One-Hit Wonder?

The ‘Arcadians’ mentioned in the headline do not refer to a 1920s family of cooking ranges, nor to residents of a region of Greece, nor indeed to an obscure race created from the imaginations of the writers of Star Trek.¹ Our … Continue reading

Posted in stuart thomson, theatre/vaudeville/cinemas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vancouver Bible Training School

The Vancouver Bible Training School (VBTS) was a child of the Vancouver Evangelistic Movement (VEM). Among the goals of VEM was the establishment of a Bible training school. The school was, accordingly, started in 1918. The first principal of the … Continue reading

Posted in churches, schools/colleges/universities, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zion’s Friend and Rebel

John Alexander Dowie’s divine healing movement had a connection with Vancouver’s Baptists, briefly, in the person of Rev. George Armour  Fair, the pastor of Jackson Avenue Baptist Church (aka “Zion Baptist”) in 1898. George Fair was born in March, 1866 … Continue reading

Posted in churches, First Baptist Church, Vancouver, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

No Bull! The Conversion of Black Motors to Black’s Restaurant

Update Originally posted April, 2017 VPL 80449. Black Motors gas station, NE corner at Georgia & Richards Streets. Service station and parts dept components of Black Motors. Looking north. 1948 Tom Christopherson photo. The NE corner of Georgia and Richards … Continue reading

Posted in Art Jones, automobiles, cafes/restaurants/eateries, churches, Dick Phillips, Tom Christopherson | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Flirtation by Postcard?

  I purchased this postcard from a dealer, recently. It was not an expensive card, but the view of the (then-new) World Building, the long-gone water tank on the extant warehouse structure behind the World, the view along West Pender … Continue reading

Posted in postcards | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Old Books” Seller

I am a sucker for antiquarian and used book stores. And so, when I stumbled upon this, to me, hitherto unknown bookshop, I naturally investigated to learn as much as I could about the seller. There wasn’t much to learn, … Continue reading

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Transition

I ran across this photo amid the holdings of New Westminster’s Archives when I was researching another subject. The image struck me as worthy of attention for a couple of reasons: First, it was unlike any photo I’d seen of … Continue reading

Posted in new westminster, Norman Caple, yesterday & today | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Age of Aquaria

You may have been under the impression (as was I) that the only location of Vancouver’s Aquarium has been where it is today: at Stanley Park. This misapprehension is abetted by the current aquarium’s lack of acknowledgement of its forbears on … Continue reading

Posted in aquarium, Dominion Photo, Don Coltman | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Not ‘Cricket’ (Nor True to the Story)!

The Vancouver firm best known for producing neon signs in the city is Neon Products. But when I was flipping through a 1948 Sun business directory yesterday, I came across  another firm that was active in the city: David Neon … Continue reading

Posted in neon, parades, PNE, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Menacing Mollusks Munch Maritime Piles

The beastie shown above has been known as a “teredo,” sometimes with an additional descriptor — “worm” — tacked on at the end. They aren’t worms, although they do bear a striking resemblance; they are mollusks. Technically, they are called Teredo … Continue reading

Posted in boats/ships, critters, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Re-Inventing CPR/Waterfront Station

Fastening a ‘historic site’ plaque to a building doesn’t ensure that everything about the site will be preserved as it was. It is vanity to assume that we, with our contemporary sophistication, are able to still the hands of time … Continue reading

Posted in Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), railways, stuart thomson | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Early ‘Brief Lives’ of Richmond Apts

This post offers brief glimpses into the lives of a few early tenants who lived in Richmond Apartments at the NW corner of Robson and Hornby streets.∞ The Richmond block was built in 1910 (ready for occupation in 1911), just … Continue reading

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A Look Back to a Look Ahead to the 1960s

North Vancouver: ‘1963’ In 1913, B.C. Hilliam was working for the North Shore News and trying to launch a future career as a professional musician/composer and (ultimately) as a notable comedian. Hilliam was still a relative unknown in North Van and, … Continue reading

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Bridge Tender’s Nightmare Made Worse?

Bridge Tenders There were, once upon a time in early Vancouver, many bridge tenders. Who was a bridge tender? He (I’ve never heard of a female bridge tender in Greater Vancouver) was the person responsible for swinging the span on … Continue reading

Posted in bridges/viaducts, railways, W J Moore, water scene | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

‘The Smallest Building’ in Vancouver

As I spent a recent evening paging through the various editions of Exploring Vancouver (1st ed, 1974, 2nd ed., 1978, and 3rd ed., 2012) by Harold Kalman, I noticed an entry that I must have read at some point in the … Continue reading

Posted in Bailey Bros., Charles Wishart, hotels/motels/inns, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Remarkable Images of the Springer Album

The image shown above is a fine example of what seem to me to be the quite ‘modern’ images that comprise the Springer family album that is part of UBC’s Uno Langmann Collection. The photograph above, which probably was taken … Continue reading

Posted in Eric A. Hegg, Gidley Studio, Harry E. Bullen, J. A. Brock, Photographers, UBC, Uno Langmann Collection | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Poodle Dog

This image caught my attention when I was browsing through CVA’s photos recently. The Rustic was located at 318 Cordova St., just a couple of doors west of the extant Arlington Hotel (at the corner where Cordova meets Cambie), today … Continue reading

Posted in cafes/restaurants/eateries, hotels/motels/inns, street scenes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Views of CPR Right of Way: Before and After 1932

Re-Posted February 2018 (First Posted Jan. 2016) I was recently struck (again) by what excellent images these two are of 1930s Vancouver. How exemplary of how I often have thought of the ’30s in this city, and how great an … Continue reading

Posted in Al Ingram, Photographers, public transit, street scenes, W. E. Frost | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

NOT a K-Tel Record(*)!

  I recently picked up this recording** made by Social Credit, Vancouver Centre MLAs, Herb Capozzi (1925-2011) and Evan Wolfe (1922-2009) as part of their joint campaign¹ for the 1969 General Election. The recording was cleverly called The Record of [fill-in-the-blank]. The candidates … Continue reading

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Grace & Claire Corbould

I recently came across the cabinet card of Grace Milwood Corbould (1886-1969) at Vancouver’s History Store. A week later, upon returning to the shop, I found the smaller card of her elder sister, (Marion) Claire Corbould (1884-1966).¹ These girls were two … Continue reading

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Historical Corner: Terminal & Main

I encountered this image in CVA’s online holdings a couple of months ago. I was initially puzzled as to where this service station was located; but it didn’t take too long for me to realize that this was the SE … Continue reading

Posted in Jack Lindsay, yesterday & today | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

B. C. Hilliam, Music Man

B. C. Hilliam immigrated to Canada in 1911 from England, with his mother, when he was 21. Although they initially stopped in Calgary, they moved quickly from there, briefly to Fernie, and finally settled in North Vancouver. Hilliam had some … Continue reading

Posted in vaudeville | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

HNY from BC Electric (and VAIW)!

This 1937 night shot of the BCER Interurban terminal on Hastings at Carrall is, as usual, well done by James Crookall. He was an ‘amateur’ photographer in the sense that he wasn’t a ‘professional’ (i.e., not typically paid to shoot … Continue reading

Posted in James Crookall, public transit | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A. E. Beck, Pioneer Lawyer

I recently added these two portrait photos to my collection. When I saw them at the vendor’s shop, I thought that the handwriting on the backs of each looked the same; and I was pretty sure that the surnames scrawled … Continue reading

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Boys at the World

This photograph by an unidentified photographer is, without a doubt, taken in front of the Vancouver World building (aka the Bekins building and still later the Sun Tower). The date of the photo is unknown, but I’m willing to bet … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Alan Beech’s Final Illusion

Update: December 13, 2017 Alan Beech was a photographer and photo finisher for Spencer’s and (after Spencer’s sold up) for T. Eaton’s Co. department stores in Vancouver. He was also an amateur magician. Alan was in Eaton’s Advertising and Sales … Continue reading

Posted in department stores, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

B.C. Maternity Hospital

I’ve recently made the acquaintance of Gordon Poppy. He is 89 years old and he shared with me that he was born at the B.C. Maternity Hospital in the community of Cedar Cottage (in what was then within the Municipality … Continue reading

Posted in hospitals/health care | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Fuel-Based Buses

The buses shown above and below¹ are some very early examples of transit that was powered by fuel (rather than electricity, as with the electric railway or trolleys). According to Kelly & Francis in Transit in British Columbia: The First … Continue reading

Posted in Don Coltman, public transit, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Empire Building

The Empire Building (C. O. Wickenden, architect) was located at the NW corner of Hastings at Seymour from 1889 until the late 1970s. It was initially known as the LeFevre Block, as the structure was built for CPR physician, Dr. James … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized, W. E. Frost | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments