Author Archives: mdm

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

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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

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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

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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

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Cenotaph Before Victory Square

Update: This was initially posted October 27, 2017 This makeshift-looking, wooden cenotaph was located at the South Vancouver Municipal Hall – formerly SW corner of Fraser St. at 41st Ave.; across from Mountain View Cemetery; today, it is the site … Continue reading

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1972 BC Progressive Conservative TV Ads

Update: October 19, 2017 (First Posted October 4th) 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 … Continue reading

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Turn On Your Headlights for Car Service

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 of … Continue reading

Posted in cafes/restaurants/eateries, Werner Lenggenhager | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Chinatown & Strathcona, 1890s

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Kids’ Hospital on Haro Street

Update (First Posted: August 2017) The children’s hospital shown above was the Infants’ Department of Vancouver General Hospital. It was at this location from about 1917 until about 1950. (For a couple of years prior to 1917, there was something … Continue reading

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Annotated Georgia at Hornby (and Environs)

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Maple Leaf Flying in Vancouver Nearly 40 Years Before Becoming National Flag!

The screen grabs that appear above are taken from this film. CVA describes part of the film as showing “the Georgia Hotel, the Court House (now Vancouver Art Gallery), a parade in downtown Vancouver, [and] various scenes with automobiles…”¹ The … Continue reading

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Wreck Beach’s Opposite

This scene is most likely the beach on English Bay, ca 1895. The ladies and gents who appear here are dressed ‘to the nines‘! The image, from the Royal BC Archives, seems to suffer from double exposure, but remains a good … Continue reading

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J. H. Carlisle: A Man of Firsts

Update First Posted July 2015 J. H. Carlisle (1857-1941) accomplished several “firsts”. He was the first Sunday School Superintendent of First Baptist Church (FBC), before it was formally organized; his name was the first listed among the charter members of FBC when the … Continue reading

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Cowan & Brookhouse Printers

Update The photos above were made by a photographer with Canadian Photo Co.; the photographer isn’t identified on the prints (nor by CVA), but they seem likely to have been made by gifted photographer, W. J. Moore.¹ The first image looks … Continue reading

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The First First

A couple of posts ago, I presented an artist’s sketch by Reginald Blunden of the first permanent structure of First Baptist Church. But I didn’t say very much about that structure, how it came to be, where it was located, nor … Continue reading

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Jean Fuller & Don Flynn, Entertainers

UPDATE First Posted: February 2016 There was a nightclub on Seymour Street in the 1930s popularly known by those who went there as “Nigger Jean’s”. The proprietress (a black lady, originally from Texas) was known locally as Jean or Jeannie … Continue reading

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The Cowboy Evangelist

Rev. James B. Kennedy, the minister at First Baptist Church, invited self-styled Cowboy Evangelist, George W. Rasure, to preach at the evening service on Sunday, November 18, 1888.¹ He preached at FBC every evening for at least two weeks; perhaps … Continue reading

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W. J. Cavanagh: Acquitted of Bigamy

Early Years William James Cavanagh (c1862-1915) was a complex man with a complicated life. He was born in Leeds County, ON (near Brockville). He left there for Western Canada by about 1887. He stayed in Manitoba for a number of … Continue reading

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Kim Campbell on Brentwood Float?

Could the blonde young woman on this float advertising Brentwood Towne Centre shortly after its opening in the early 1960s be Canada’s 19th Prime Minister, Kim Campbell? I think her age would be roughly right (she was born in 1947), … Continue reading

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Forgotten Maestro: George P. Hicks

A Funny Thing Happened . . . A funny thing happened at a pizza party I held recently for some of my friends (whom I’ve taken to referring to, collectively, as the History Five). Neil brought with him a gift … Continue reading

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Hammond Furniture

Update (Originally Posted November 2015): The buildings that today house at least three businesses on the NW and NE corners of Clark at Venables were ones that I’ve wondered about each time I’ve gone past. This morning, as I was browsing through … Continue reading

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Oops! NOT Vancouver’s Greyhound Depot

I ran across this photo at a flea market about 6 months ago. I bought it because it looked to me to be an image of the Vancouver downtown Greyhound Bus depot when it was located at the current parking … Continue reading

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Sheila Buchanan’s Little Known Career

Sheila Buchanan (1917-2009) was known to the congregation at First Baptist Church as an 18-year veteran missionary to Bolivia; as the Church librarian for a number of years; and as a regular volunteer in the church office. But what wasn’t … Continue reading

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J. W. Freeston and a California Shoe Company Outing?

Update: First Posted April 2014 The panorama image shown above was made by B.C. professional photographer, John W. Freeston, sometime in the 1920s or perhaps earlier. I’m not certain where it was made, but there is some evidence to conclude … Continue reading

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Oddball in Buckram (Part the Fourth/Final)

This is the conclusion of my multi-part post about my purchase of The Book of Roberts, which came with a much-signed pamphlet advertising a lecture by a member of the Roberts family. The author of the book was William Harris … Continue reading

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Oddball in Buckram (Part the Third)

In this post and the next, I’ll reveal some of the characters associated with The Book of Roberts and, especially, those whose signatures appear on the little pamphlet that was tucked into my copy. Alfred M. Pound: An Important Character … Continue reading

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Oddball in Buckram (Part the Second)

In Which I Read the Book of Roberts It has been a couple of days since I updated this blog on the volume picked up at The Paper Hound bookshop, recently. It seemed fitting that I ought to attempt to … Continue reading

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Oddball in Buckram

This post will be a little different. My standard procedure with VAIW has been to become enchanted with a photo of earlier Vancouver, see if there is anything new to say about the image and/or the image-maker, do as much … Continue reading

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Magnifying BC Hotelmen

I bought the snapshot shown above at a flea market a few months ago. It isn’t a great photo; it was taken at a rakish angle that is suggestive that the photographer had been sampling a bit too liberally from … Continue reading

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‘Zip Line’ to Wreck Beach for Construction of Early UBC Buildings?

When I first saw this image, my initial thought was “Gee, did they build a ‘zip line’ at the Point Grey campus as early as 1923?”. Then common sense kicked in. There was precious little development at Point Grey, then. … Continue reading

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Sir John and The Russian Prince

Sir John Martin Harvey had a reputation as a Shakespearean actor on the stage and (later) as a silent film star in the U.K. and in the wider world, not least in Canada. The Russian Prince pictured above with Sir … Continue reading

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Ernst’s Cello (NOT Piano) Fingers

Any piano student who has ‘short finger syndrome’ can spot a fellow-sufferer in an instant. So one look at the photo above was all it took for me to realize that this chap with stubby fingers could not have earned … Continue reading

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Southern View (Pender at Seymour), 1892

This view of Vancouver as it appeared to early Vancouver photographer, Charles S. Bailey just six years after incorporation as a city has appealed to me since I first clapped eyes on it a couple of years ago. Vancouver may … Continue reading

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Frank L. Beebe’s Vancouver Aliens

The charming illustrations shown here prompted me to ‘splurge’ on Alien Animals in British Columbia which was sitting on the $2 cart outside The Paper Hound Bookshop last week. This volume is an introduction to the non-native animals (“aliens”) that have been introduced … Continue reading

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The New Democracy of William Herridge

William Duncan Herridge (1886-1961) neither lived in Vancouver nor worked here. In fact, he admits in the speech he delivered here on May 3, 1939 that it had “not been my good fortune often to visit British Columbia.”¹ But, for … Continue reading

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Gal: “You are SUCH a ninny!” Guy: “What?”

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The Yoshio Hinatsu Mystery

I purchased the little pamphlet history shown above at a recent paper ephemera fair. I was taken with the art deco illustrations on the cover and on interior pages and wondered who was Yoshio Hinatsu, the illustrator, and what became of … Continue reading

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Up Granville from Hastings, 1909

This is another outstanding scene by early Vancouver photographer, P. T. Timms. Timms would have been standing with his back to the second C.P.R. station (1898-1914; Edward Maxwell, architect) at Granville and Cordova. His camera was pointing up Granville from the … Continue reading

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The Happy Wanderers: Findlater’s Elgar Choir

Charles E. Findlater (1893-1975) founded and led the Elgar Junior Choir from 1924 until shortly before his death.¹ Until Findlater received permission from English composer Sir Edward Elgar’s daughter in 1932 (there is some disagreement as to the year; in some places, … Continue reading

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W Marks the Spot

This was originally posted July 2015. Updated on April 28, 2017.

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

The NE corner of Georgia and Richards is currently occupied by an office block (475 W Georgia). The building itself is not remarkable. It is distinguished by a sculpture of a life-sized bull which eyes the property kitty-corner from the building (Telus Gardens). … Continue reading

Posted in Art Jones, automobiles, cafes/restaurants/eateries, churches, Dick Phillips, Tom Christopherson | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Orange Meat?!

I came upon this advertisement when looking for something else in a 1904 edition of the Vancouver Daily World. The very peculiar product name compelled me to drop what I was looking for and read the rest of the ad. The ad … Continue reading

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Church Membership Transfers

Membership transfers (or “letters of dismissal/admission”) were an important aspect of early 20th century protestant churches. This post will explore some of the features of membership transfers, using First Baptist Church, Vancouver as a case study. I will present scans of actual membership … Continue reading

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Behind This Wall at Hotel Vancouver…

Update: March 24, 2017 This post has been revised since it was first published about 10 days ago. The most significant change has been to its scope. It was originally a very lengthy discussion that wandered into topics well beyond Beatrice … Continue reading

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

Another Hotel Vancouver ‘Lost’ Artwork

Update: March 24, 2017 This post was originally part of the one about Beatrice Lennie’s lost art at the Hotel Vancouver. I have created this new post for two reasons: (1) the Lennie post was too lengthy and the principal connection with … Continue reading

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Bolivia Bound: The Story of Howard & Mary Plummer

Howard’s Early Years Arthur Howard Plummer (1900-1970) had his first taste of a mission career when he was 8 years old. In 1908, he accompanied his parents from their home in England to Wenchow, China, where his father, Dr. William … Continue reading

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A Peculiar Notion: Foot Bridge Across First Narrows, 1909

The plan above appears to have been one of the first proposals for a crossing of the Burrard Inlet at First Narrows (preceding the very different Lion’s Gate Bridge by about 30 years). It was the brain child of William Thomas … Continue reading

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Nina Raginsky’s ‘LIP Grant’ Images

I have recently been introduced to British Columbia photographer, Nina Raginsky. How I have managed to live this long without being aware of her amazing photographic skill and talent, I don’t know! Raginsky makes her home on Salt Spring Island … Continue reading

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Corrected Image by Horizontal Flip

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 was … Continue reading

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

Norris Sculpture a Viaduct Memory

George Norris (1928-2013) was a Vancouver artist whose sculptures adorn many city spaces. Doubtless the best known is his award-winning Crab at the entry to the Museum of Vancouver. Another one is Mother and Child at UBC near the Irving K. … Continue reading

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First Baptist Church in Disguise?

Update: February 10, 2017 This postcard of mis-identification was presented to me about a year ago as a gift by JMV of Illustrated Vancouver. The image appears to have been made between 1911 (when construction of FBC at Nelson & Burrard was completed) … Continue reading

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Cafes and Bookshops – Two of My Favourite Things

Paper Hound (344 W Pender) books is located on the site of what was for several decades a cafe in Vancouver’s ‘book row’. Most recently (ca 1989-2002), it was White Rose Cafe (evocatively shown in the drawing above by Keith McKellar). Before that, it was … Continue reading

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UBC’s Main Library (aka Barber Learning Centre) as it Was

If this view of the UBC Main Library (today known as the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre) seems strange, it shouldn’t be surprising. It has been awhile since the library building and environs have appeared this way. The main entrance of … Continue reading

Posted in books/reading, libraries, schools/colleges/universities, street scenes, war | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Miss Jefferd’s Epithets

Miss Jefferd was never at a loss for an apt epithet, often with a touch of malice. Even yet, I hesitate to quote those applied to various professors which were hilariously funny and with enough truth to sting. But I … Continue reading

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Early Submariner Dies in Hospital

What an odd assortment of people to see with a work party in Burrard Inlet’s First Narrows! I would expect to see most of the men here pictured, but not the four young women and three kids. We are able to … Continue reading

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Ackers’ Shoeshine Shop

I like this photo. It has a strong human element but enough contextual content that it isn’t exclusively about the two men who are its subjects. If I’d had my ‘druthers’, I would like to have seen the image in proper exposure … Continue reading

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Lionel Haweis: Artist

Lionel T. J. Haweis (1870-1942) was born in England to Rev. Hugh Reginald Haweis (1838-1901) and Mary Eliza Haweis (nee Joy) (1848-1898). Hugh preached at St James Church, Marylebone in London, but was known widely as a lecturer and author … Continue reading

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The Drifting Mizonys

The original photo from which the above crop was made is the one featured at this recent post. I was zooming into the original shot, during the time that I was writing that post, when I noticed the sign atop … Continue reading

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The Hastings MEATS Puzzle

The first time I laid eyes on this photo, I saw the prominently displayed “MEATS” sign and immediately assumed I was looking at an early version of the Save On Meats sign – where it is today on the north side … Continue reading

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Rev. Arthur J. Hadley: “Let’s Go!”

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 Mississauga … Continue reading

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The Vancouver Vagabonds

The Vancouver Vagabonds was a men’s club. It didn’t last long (1914-1928), but it was fondly remembered by former members long after it had ceased to exist.(1) The Vagabonds are generally believed to have been the creation of J. Francis Bursill (1848-1928). Bursill, … Continue reading

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Freeze, Varmint! (Or ‘Vacant Lot as Window to the Past’)

This very early Vancouver image by pioneer photographic professional, Charles Bailey, makes me chuckle. Not only is it a clear and sharp photograph of a time in Vancouver which would be nearly inconceivable today, without such images, but it shows … Continue reading

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Polar Pan?

Here are Royal Lifesaving Society members, Peter Pantages and Miss E. Robinson. (Sadly, we don’t know Miss Robinson’s first name; she looks like she was quite a character. Although Peter and Miss Robinson appear in the photo to be friendly, … Continue reading

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Pet/Person Fountain . . . Gone.

On October 1, 1986 – in Vancouver’s centennial year – this fountain was established on the north side of Robson street, a half-block east of Burrard (in front of the retail space that at that time housed the main store of … Continue reading

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Fate’s Temptress

Mary Warburton (ca1871-1931) was a Vancouver nurse with a penchant for walking where she needed to go, regardless of distance or season. Two of her trips were reported in the news – one from Hope to Princeton in 1926; the … Continue reading

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Unsung Local Artist: Hans Lankau

Updated: November 22, 2016 The image from 1972 was added. Hans Gottfried Edita Lankau (1897-1971) was born and raised in Germany. He immigrated to post-war Canada in 1951 when he was in his mid-50s, settling in West Vancouver. His principal work in … Continue reading

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Lads and Strays BENEATH the Platform, Please!

The photo above was made in 1943 on the occasion of (among other things, perhaps) the crowning of the Air Raid Precautions (A.R.P.), District 16 “Queen” Viola Balzer from among other contenders for the crown (some of whom, I assume, … Continue reading

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Pacific Centre Rotunda to be Demolished for Denser Commercial Space? REALLY?

In the nearly 450 posts I’ve produced for VanAsItWas over the past two years, I’ve typically focussed on Vancouver’s past. I will continue that practice. But today I will pause to reflect and comment on a news item which I … Continue reading

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John Goss: Baritone, Art Advocate, Politician, and Marxist

John Goss (1894-1953) was an Englishman by birth, but for most of his later years, he made Vancouver his home. In the 1920s and ’30s, Goss toured in the U.K., the U.S. and Canada as a recital singer, gradually building a … Continue reading

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Thomson’s Cowboys

I purchased the image above last week from a friend. It shows a number of men dressed as cowboys. The location of the image, I quickly concluded, was indeterminate; there are no visible landmarks. The photographer was Vancouver professional, Stuart … Continue reading

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Franklin Hall

I was recently browsing through a Vancouver newspaper which was new to me: The Greater Vancouver Chinook. The Chinook seems to have run from 1912-15, then briefly (1915-16) as the Saturday Chinook, and still later as The Standard (1916 and … Continue reading

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Guide to Secondhand Bookstores in 1987-88 (3rd Edition)

The Guide This is the first in a series of a posts I plan to write that will make public my collected editions of this Guide to the Secondhand and Antiquarian Bookstores & Antique Map Print Shops of Vancouver. My reason … Continue reading

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English Bay Theatre

Players When I happened upon the photo shown above in CVA’s collection I said to myself, “That looks like a theatrical company in costume for Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado!” I could find no mention in local newspapers in 1912 for any … Continue reading

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1912

1912 was a significant year in the development of Vancouver’s skyline. Among the structures under construction that year were: Birk’s Building (destroyed 1974); Sun Tower (visible at extreme left of “Vancouver Today” image above); Third CPR Railway Depot (now Waterfront Station). This isn’t visible … Continue reading

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Where W.E.C. Shopped?

Updated October, 2016 This image appears to have been made sometime in the 1970s; right around the same period when the hapless Wile E. Coyote was entertaining fantasies of terrorizing the nameless Roadrunner using machines built from products made by Acme. The company portrayed in the image, … Continue reading

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The Empire Cruise Comes to Town

What was the Special Service Squadron of 1923-24? Here is how the official site of HMS Hood (1915-41) sums it up: This epic journey, known to the public as the ‘Empire Cruise’ or ‘World Cruise’ (but called the ‘World Booze’ by the … Continue reading

Posted in Bottomley, Navy, stuart thomson, water scene | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Bunch of Characters

These newsboys are a charming lot. The very few adults in the frame are in the background and in most cases, largely obscured by the boys. I spot only one boy who is a visible minority – the black boy apparently resting one … Continue reading

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Use Your Head (With IBM)

Updated September, 2016 This is an exterior shot of IBM’s Vancouver presence on Georgia Street in 1936. Their monosyllabic motto of the time, evidently, was ‘Think’ – which also was the name of an employee/customer magazine that published its first … Continue reading

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Department Store Dining

Updated September, 2016 Woodward’s This is an early Vancouver interior shot of the Woodward’s dining room in what is today East Vancouver, but at the time was considered by most residents to be ‘downtown’. The Bay (Hudson’s Bay Company) This … Continue reading

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Elva Selman Drowns at 2nd Beach

Elva Selman, a 24-year-old member of First Baptist Church, died in the waters off Second Beach on Friday, August 21, 1908 at around 11am. She was the daughter of Samuel and Clara Selman. Samuel was a realtor in the City … Continue reading

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T. T. Shields ‘Second Fiddle’ to A. E. Greenlaw… Who?

This article appeared in the Vancouver Daily World on August 17, 1908. An intriguing aspect of the piece, to me, was that Shields, who was near the beginning of his career as an Ontario Baptist preacher of note (later, pastor at Jarvis Street Baptist … Continue reading

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“What the…?”

I think this is a terrific shot made by some (today unknown) soul with enough spunk to see the potential of the shot and to just shoot it (in a day when camera technology didn’t often reward such spontaneity)! A … Continue reading

Posted in boats/ships, water scene | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Peter Thomas, Pender & Homer Portrait, 1972

Peter Thomas is not a photographer with whom I’m familiar. But upon stumbling upon some of his work at VPL’s online historical photos site, recently, I have to say I like his style. The image above was apparently made at … Continue reading

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Langara School for Boys

The Langara School for Boys was one of two private schools (the second was a school for girls known as Braemar) that were under the authority of Western Residential Schools. Principal McKay (of Westminster Hall) was president of Western Residential Schools … Continue reading

Posted in Dominion Photo, education, Richard Broadbridge | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Charles Schooley: City Paymaster and Prominent Baptist

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 first men to enter into the moss trade (of … Continue reading

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‘That Old [Herzogian] Feeling’

This image is a powerful reminder, to me at any rate, of a Fred Herzog image. I make no claim at all that this is a Herzog photo (it isn’t; it is one taken for the Vancouver Planning Department by a photographer … Continue reading

Posted in city, Electric Power, yesterday & today | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Gasoline ‘Strike’ of April ’40

The week-long, so-called ‘gasoline strike’ of April 1940 should probably more accurately be called an embargo or boycott. This wasn’t a withdrawal of labour, thus inconveniencing management and pressuring the latter to negotiate with labour’s trade union representatives (the common meaning … Continue reading

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An Audi Baritone: Update

Originally published October 2014. Who is the apparent rock star above? A fellow who, in his day, was a household word: American opera baritone, John Charles Thomas.  Today, his vocal stylings are not quite forgotten (although his name is all … Continue reading

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Classic Images: Update

These two images are, in my judgement, outstanding examples of pictorial photography (or camera work as art). Both were made by Vancouver photographers: Harold Mortimer-Lamb was an amateur; John Vanderpant a professional. But when looking at these two lovely images, such labels … Continue reading

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Charles van Sandwyk

Today’s post is a bit of a detour from the usual for VAIW. I was reminded today, by a couple of events, of these wonderful illustrations. I was engaged this morning in the happy task of re-arranging the volumes in our bookcases … Continue reading

Posted in Illustrations | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The ‘Heebie Jeebies’

When I first ran across this image in the City of Vancouver Archive online images, I was inclined to be scornful. Until I remembered some of the ads I’ve seen in recent years for so-called ‘body sculpting solutions’ and a wide … Continue reading

Posted in Artray, First Baptist Church, Vancouver, people | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Unsolved Photo Mystery

I recently purchased the print from which the above scan was produced. It was made by one of my favourite early Vancouver professional photographers, Stuart Thomson. The photo seems to have been taken in a commercial food/drink establishment, somewhere in Vancouver … Continue reading

Posted in stuart thomson | 10 Comments

Frank Hart’s Harangue

The photo was made to commemorate the Maple Tree Monument at the corner of Carrall and Water streets. The monument was created by prolific Vancouver sculptor, Charles Marega, originally as part of a drinking fountain in 1925. In 1986, with … Continue reading

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When a Rake Was a Component of Pole Vaulting?

This is something I don’t recall seeing in recent track and field days: a dude standing next to a pole vaulter with a rake at the ready! Gotta love those stripy jackets with short pants! (Presumably, the rake was to smooth … Continue reading

Posted in Dominion Photo, sport | 2 Comments

Bow-Mac Supermarket

The 80-foot Bow-Mac sign at 1154 West Broadway, has been a landmark in the neighbourhood since it was erected in 1958. There were a couple of aspects about Bow-Mac’s history of which I wasn’t aware until today: (1) the lot was originally … Continue reading

Posted in automobiles | 6 Comments

Mr. Rockefeller Regrets

This letter was written by John D. Rockefeller’s attorney, Starr J. Murphy (1860-1921), in response to a now-lost letter sent by Dr. L. N. MacKechnie (1864-1926) of First Baptist Church (Vancouver). It seems reasonable to conclude from the context that the … Continue reading

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Baptist Missionaries in Shaughnessy

In 1953, a member of First Baptist Church, Mrs. Francis Stewart, moved out of her home in Shaughnessy district at 1492 West 33rd Avenue (at Granville) and donated it to the Baptist overseas mission board. The home was used as the Vancouver … Continue reading

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Local Shutterbugs: ‘The Bees’ Wings?’

Camera Craft was a long-running monthly periodical published by the Photographers’ Association of California which (thanks to Internet Archive) is easily accessed today. There are interesting articles of enduring interest to a camera-savvy readership. But our attention here will focus on  a … Continue reading

Posted in Photographers, W J Moore, W. H. Calder, Wadds Bros. | 1 Comment

A Five-Hour Tour

87 years ago this month, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester,** came to Vancouver for a few days of R & R (or, rather, G & P . . . Golf and Polo) before a planned itinerary that was to include a stop … Continue reading

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Designated Alien Landing Zones?

Real estate in Vancouver is at a premium. That is a truism. It has nearly always been the case in this city. Sure, there have been periodic and relatively short-lived dips. But only rarely has the real estate market here been … Continue reading

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

The Lumberman and His Boy

This is one of my favourite early photographs of Vancouver, the condition of the negative, notwithstanding. I love it for the usual reason for love . . . just because! But also for compositional and historical reasons. It seems to … Continue reading

Posted in J. D. Hall, people, street scenes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cecil Akrigg and Stan Lowe Go for a Climb

Cecil Akrigg and Stan Lowe were in their 20s when they made these images to remember their adventures in and around the Lion’s Gate Bridge ca 1939. No mention is made as to whether their climb up the bridge tower (of … Continue reading

Posted in biography, bridges/viaducts, people | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Dr. Trevelyn Sleeth, Vancouver Vet

Dr. Trevelyn Elston Sleeth (1890-1987) first showed up in Vancouver as the proprietor of B. C. Dog and Cat Clinic in 1914 (in his first year in the business, however, the hospital was called the “Canine and Feline Hospital”; perhaps too many … Continue reading

Posted in Leonard J. Frank, stuart thomson | 2 Comments

Not-So-Terrifically Respectful

Vancouver’s 31st mayor (1967-72), Tom Campbell, was a pro-development, shoot-from-the-lip civic leader. Campbell is best known to Vancouver heritage advocates and to the communities of Chinatown and Strathcona, as one of the most vocal proponents of the proposed downtown freeway system. … Continue reading

Posted in politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Charles S. Price: Healing in Vancouver?

  For three weeks in May 1923, Rev. Charles S. Price (1887-1947) held daily (and often twice daily) evangelistic meetings and faith healing services in Vancouver. Price had been in Victoria for several days in April 1923 before coming to … Continue reading

Posted in churches, First Baptist Church, Vancouver, Yucho Chow | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Answers to “Find The Errors”

1. CVA 99-3791 The image is not the Marine Building (which is decorated with terra cotta marine features such as seahorses); it is the Georgia Medical-Dental Building (decorated with healthcare-related features (such as the nurse figure at the very top of the … Continue reading

Posted in street scenes | 2 Comments

Find the Errors

If you’ve been following VanAsItWas for awhile, you’ll recall that a few months ago, we played Name Those Streets. This consisted of me showing three images which were misidentified by the City of Vancouver Archives (CVA) as to their street locations.* … Continue reading

Posted in street scenes | 3 Comments

Fine Work by Unknown Artist

I find lithographs such as this one (from a volume in the Uno Langmann Collection entitled Views of British Columbia and Akaska) to be very appealing. Vancouver Art historian, Gary Sim, has pointed out that that the first image (from the source hard copy of the book; the … Continue reading

Posted in art, Uno Langmann Collection | Tagged , , , , , , ,

West Cordova Unit Block*

It is a pity that we don’t know who made this photograph. To me, it is one of gems in the City of Vancouver Archives (CVA) collection. Why do I say that? The muted colour tones, for one thing, speak … Continue reading

Posted in hotels/motels/inns, street scenes, yesterday & today | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Canada’s First Drive-In Theatre

The Cascade Drive-In in Burnaby was B.C.’s and Canada’s first¹ drive-in theatre. It was started by George and William Steel and Joe and Art Johnson (Steel-Johnson Amusements, Ltd.) in 1946, opening in August of that year. The theatre was built along Grandview … Continue reading

Posted in Artray, theatre/vaudeville/cinemas | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Vancouver Arts & Crafts Association

The Arts & Crafts Association came into being in April, 1900 and lasted little more than a couple of years.* It had as its “chief aim . . . to encourage artistic feeling and knowledge and to bring the designer … Continue reading

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“What Food These Morsels Be”

This sign was painted on the side of a building on Prior Street many years ago. A friend, who is in his 70s, claims not to remember a time when the advertisement wasn’t there. W. T. Money established W. T. … Continue reading

Posted in advertising, books/reading, food | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Risky Swinging in the ’20s

This couple appear pretty relaxed, given that they are suspended by a none-too-sturdy-looking cable over what I believe (but cannot prove) is Seymour Creek in North Vancouver. I’m led to conclude that it is probably Seymour Creek mainly from context. There are a … Continue reading

Posted in parks, people, Uno Langmann Collection | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Ye Little Brown Inn

Yesterday, I was looking at a printout of Sheet 16 of Goad’s Fire Insurance Atlas of Vancouver (March 1920) when I noticed the name of a business that was new to me: “Little Brown Inn”. What could that be, I … Continue reading

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A. J. Davis, Vancouver Painter

The painting above was purchased by my good friend, Wes, at a thrift store, recently. He didn’t know who the artist was nor anything of his story. He just liked the painted rendering of the portrait. A bit of digging online revealed that the painting … Continue reading

Posted in art, biography, Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Another Controversial Subject: Vancouver Housing

Traffic congestion and inadequate housing are subjects which are revisited regularly in Vancouver. The previous post was a look at how the City tried to persuade residents not to be ‘Traffic Peakers’ in the 1940s. This post is a reproduction of … Continue reading

Posted in homes/apts/condos, Jack Lindsay | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

“Traffic Peaker” vs “Polar Cap Melter”?

This 1940s ad, which I’m assuming was a production of the City of Vancouver, makes use of all three of the classical rhetorical appeals. There is ethos in the use of statistics, figures, and a chart to persuade the audience … Continue reading

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Henry (“Harry”) S. Van Buren

Henry Samuel Van Buren (1885-1977) was a Vancouver business owner from the late ’20s until the late ’40s.  He seems to have had two principal businesses: VB Grocery (from 1926 until about 1935) and Western Merchandise Brokers (during the 1940s). Henry Samuel … Continue reading

Posted in biography, Dominion Photo, First Baptist Church, Vancouver | Leave a comment

Mudge the Poultry Man

William Mudge’s business was known in early Vancouver as Mudge & Son and (probably better) as Mudge the Poultry Man. As indicated in the latter name, he specialized in providing chicken products to hard-working, hungry Vancouverites. He hung his shingle … Continue reading

Posted in biography, businesses, P. T. Timms, street scenes, stuart thomson | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lest We Impress

It is all too easy to impress the present onto the past. Especially in cases where there has been an attempt made by contemporary architects to ‘nod’ to a prior building that once occupied a lot. A good example of this … Continue reading

Posted in Frank J. Leonard, street scenes, stuart thomson, yesterday & today | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A Block of Libraries

 In 1925, Mrs. A. J. Davidson would start a little bookstore business across the street from the home shown above (later she would move the business next door to the home, later down the block a few doors; it would never … Continue reading

Posted in books/reading, businesses, street scenes, yesterday & today | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Val Quan

Late-breaking information on Val Quan (June 13, 2016): See comment from Bonnie, Val’s grand-daughter. She kindly provided some additional details. The information she supplied has been incorporated below.  Val Quan (sometimes spelled Quon), his second wife, Pauline, and their family … Continue reading

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

The Lesters and their Dance Schools/Halls

It’s Hazy in Detroit There isn’t a lot known about the proprietress of M. Lester Dancing Academy. Maud was an Ontario girl (although exactly where in Ontario she was born and raised or what her maiden name was isn’t clear to … Continue reading

Posted in A. L. Yates, businesses, street scenes, stuart thomson | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Church Parades and Church Street

I think I may have a reasonable explanation as to why Church Street (the north-south lane between Seymour and Richards and Georgia and Robson) was so named in the early years of the city. It seems to me that the name … Continue reading

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325 Howe

The Name Game The building shown above has been known as the “Welton” Building (1912-1919), the “Pacific Coast Fire” Building (1920-?), and recently, probably, simply as good old 325 Howe. Who decides what a building shall be called? It is usually safe to … Continue reading

Posted in Don Coltman, street scenes, stuart thomson | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

J. Q. A. Henry Declines FBC Vancouver’s Call

This post is a footnote to the history of First Baptist Church, Vancouver. Neither These Sixty Years (1947) by W. A. Carmichael nor Our First Century (1986) by Leslie J. Cummings (the two official histories of the church) makes mention of a call from … Continue reading

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Put By Your Pennies

This image is among my favourite school room photos of days gone by. Mainly, I suppose, because it seems so greatly to resemble my own elementary school experience a couple of decades later. It surprises me how little seems to have … Continue reading

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Salvation Army Service at First Baptist Church

The image above and the two below were taken by photographer, Jack Lindsay, of a Salvation Army service held in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church, Vancouver. According to City of Vancouver archivists, these were made sometime in the period between … Continue reading

Posted in churches, First Baptist Church, Vancouver, Jack Lindsay | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fairview/Roxy Theatre

There isn’t much known about the Fairview Theatre (1912-38), later called the Roxy Theatre (1939-55?). In fact, I have never before seen a photograph of the theatre. According to the building permit for the Fairview (which appears in the permit database … Continue reading

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Belmont Grocery and Quality Gifts

  These are two separate images of adjacent shops made at the corner of Granville & Nelson in 1969. Left image: CVA 780-26 – Belmont Grocery, Theatre Row, [at 999 Granville Street] 1969. Right image: CVA 780-24 – [View of a] … Continue reading

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NOT a Winning ‘Campaign Promise’!

There is what appears to be a slogan on the wall of the Clowes Building (with my thanks to the comment from ChangingCity below), on Granville Street north of Davie, for Robert Reeds, erstwhile Mayoral candidate in the 1970 civic election. It … Continue reading

Posted in Al Ingram, music, politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Victory on 500 Block of West Hastings

This is a very nice image made by Jack Lindsay, probably on VE or VJ Day.* The photographer was on ground level for this shot, standing in a vacant parking spot in front of the Bank of Toronto building (later, the … Continue reading

Posted in automobiles, Charles S. Bailey, Jack Lindsay, street scenes, war | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

PNE Rocket Science

This photo shows the 1958 Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) feature celebrating British Columbia’s centennial year.* Project X “was kept secret until the eve of the fair, when it was revealed that the attraction was a display of modern rocketry. The … Continue reading

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The Foot of Main Street

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Views of CPR Right of Way: Before and After 1932

  These two images of the CPR right of way in Vancouver’s downtown east side have features in common. Both photos were made in the midst of the Great Depression, all of the people in the photo are men, all wearing dark … Continue reading

Posted in Al Ingram, Photographers, public transit, street scenes, W. E. Frost | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost? Found: Pendrell Street Grounds

This photo shows a ‘park’ in Vancouver’s West End that seems to have been all but forgotten. It was located on Pendrell Street (D.L. 185, Block 70, Lot 31); an empty lot at the time the image was made. It was two … Continue reading

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Answers to ‘Name Those Streets’

Image #1 This is Granville Street. The image was made from elevation near the intersection with Georgia; the camera was facing south. The Vancouver block, Castle Hotel, and the Orpheum and Capitol Theatres are visible (among other landmarks). As of today’s … Continue reading

Posted in street scenes | 2 Comments

Name Those Streets!

I will show below three City of Vancouver Archives (CVA) photos. Each photo has been wrongly identified by CVA. Your challenge (if I may borrow from the theme of a 1950s-80s U.S. television network game show) is to correctly Name Those Streets! … Continue reading

Posted in Jack Lindsay, street scenes | 3 Comments

‘Battle of the Jowls’? (or ‘Singing from a Different Hymnal’)?

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John Morton

CVA 677-509 – [Studio portrait of John] Morton and second wife Ruth Morton 190- John Morton (1834-1912) was one of the first residents – arguably the first resident, although others have laid claim to the distinction – of modern-day Vancouver. … Continue reading

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1936 Commissioned Image of Granville

I very much enjoy the image above, made by one of my favourite local photographers, Stuart Thomson. I like the gentle blur of the strolling crowd. And I especially like the lady caught in profile looking into Saba Bros. Silk … Continue reading

Posted in Photographers, street scenes, stuart thomson, theatre/vaudeville/cinemas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Robsonstrasse in Days of Yore

We are looking at the south side of Robson above, between Thurlow and Bute streets in the mid-1970s. Below, is a very fetching scene, in my judgement (note the effective use of light and shadow), of the same block, but across the … Continue reading

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Mum (Nothing Needs Saying About this Lovely Street Scene)

Posted in Don Coltman, public transit, street scenes | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Ernest Augustus Muling, French Chef

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 where … Continue reading

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

The Old Cecil

I refer in this post to the “old” Cecil Hotel (on the north side of 100 block West Hastings Street) to help distinguish it from the newer Cecil Hotel with which most Vancouver contemporaries are probably more aware – the one formerly on Granville … Continue reading

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

Sir Charles Tupper the Object of ‘Fearless Loathing’!

In one of the early posts to this site (May 2014), I remarked on what now seems to be a companion photo of the one above*. The City Archives (the source of both images) do not identify the central male, adult, figure … Continue reading

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From a Photographer Some 80 Years Ago: ‘Happy New Year’!

This corny Christmas/New Year photo was a ‘selfie’ creation of Vancouver professional photographer Stuart Thomson, made sometime in the 1930s (the later 1930s, in my opinion). May this year be a peaceful one on the Earth and in our neighbourhoods.

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Butter Packing ’40s-Style

It is mildly shocking to our (or, perhaps more accurately, my) contemporary sensibilities to see butter being cut by patently non-antiseptic metal machinery and handled by people without any gloves. Ah well, the folks who consumed the butter were doubtless glad … Continue reading

Posted in interiors, Jack Lindsay, technology | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment