Category Archives: interiors

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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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

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When a “Shooting Gallery” Was Where Guns Were Fired

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When the Subject was Not Human

Although one might be tempted to identify the humans in this photograph as the principal subjects, I don’t think that is the case. It seems more likely to me that the prime subject of this image is the huge living … Continue reading

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Dr. Tongue’s 3D House of Electrictity (Pretty Scary, Kiddies)!

The fellows in this BCER laboratory scene do not seem to have similar comedic sensibilities to those of John Candy or Joe Flaherty (fortunately for them and the BCER), but they do seem to be borderline ‘mad’ scientists, if the equipment and fluids in the … Continue reading

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The Arctic Club

The Arctic Club was one of several cocktail and supper clubs that were part of Vancouver in the late 1940s and 1950s (the Palomar and the World were two other examples). According to some remembrances of the place on the Vancouver Jazz Forum, … Continue reading

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One of Our Early Flatirons

The building which was formerly the Hotel Europe (and, indeed, is still remembered as such) was designed by Parr and Fee for Angelo Calori and was constructed in 1908-09. It was, apparently, the third of Calori’s hotels. It isn’t clear where … Continue reading

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20 Ladies Switching

There are some striking aspects to this image. First , most if not all of the switchboard operators appear to have longish hair that has been tied up  — surely this is not a coincidence; must have been corporate style code. Second, … Continue reading

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Sweat of the Brow

CVA doesn’t identify what sort of industry these workers worked at, nor who they were. The gent in the waistcoat holding the rope looked familiar to me and so I sifted through some of the CVA “industrial” images made roughly … Continue reading

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When You’re Smilin’

The Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret was a fixture at 109 East Hastings from the 1950s to the 1980s. Today, the place has been given new life as the SBC Restaurant – a combined indoor skateboarding park/restaurant.

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White Lunch No. 4

The image above is one of my all-time favourites of Stuart Thomson images (of many made by this consummate pro with a decidedly uncommon eye). I love how he has well captured human feelings and attitudes in this little interior … Continue reading

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BC Permanent Loan Co.

This building lived with the contradiction that was its name for a number of years (there is no such thing as a permanent loan, except in the nonsense-world of art galleries and museums). There is at least one other contradiction … Continue reading

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Precursors

Charles Bradbury (1871-1950) is the amateur photographer who made this image. Camera Workers has this to say about him: Originally from Great Britain, Bradbury emigrated to Canada from Borneo. A telegrapher, he photographed throughout the Vancouver region as well as along the … Continue reading

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The Helliwells

This image shows an interior room of the home at 916 Cardero Street in Vancouver in about 1908. The BC directory for that year indicates that this was the home of John F(rederic) Helliwell. (An exterior photo of the home appears at the … Continue reading

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Gastown Pressed Tin

This is a pressed-tin ceiling panel from inside “le Magasin” in Gastown (332 Water Street). The building was constructed in 1912 (Bertram Dudley Stuart and Howard E. White, architects) and has been known by different names over the years, including “Cloth Hill” … Continue reading

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How Odd . . .

This image shows what remains of the Pender Street side of the cornerstone at the Odd Fellows Hall at Hamilton and Pender. The structure was built for the IOOF (Independent Order of Odd Fellows), a secret fraternal society akin to that of the Masons, in … Continue reading

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YMCA Reading Room

The image above is of the Y’s Reading Room in its earliest Vancouver building (139 W Hastings), built 1887. I’m not certain why the City of Vancouver Archives (CVA) dated this photo as “189-“; it seems pretty clearly to have been … Continue reading

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Chevy Motors on Mainland Street

 I love this photograph. There are few photos by Stuart Thomson that I don’t like, to be honest; but this one is special. The natural lighting is wonderful; it takes the viewer’s eye deeply into the background of the image. … Continue reading

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When Imperial Was King

The striking image above is one of the photographs in the City of Vancouver Archives which is categorized as “Description in Progress”(1). I assume that the label is meant to indicate that the site of the photograph (and/or the period … Continue reading

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Tweedsmuirs in Lotusland: A Few Notes

John Buchan (b. 1875) was raised in Scotland. He was a writer of many novels — including, most famously, The 39 Steps — biographies, histories, articles, and poems. He was invited by King George V to become his representative in Canada (on the advice of then Canadian Prime … Continue reading

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Light and Shadow in the Borderlands: Duncan/Shelly and Earlier Buildings

This 6-storey office building at 119 W. Pender St. was constructed in 1911 (H. L. Stevens, architect) and was known originally as the Duncan Building; later, as the Shelly Building. It is located in what might be described as the … Continue reading

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