Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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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

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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

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Spencer’s Details

This post is about David Spencer, Ltd.  This is a now-long-gone but once much-beloved B.C. department store chain with a store located in downtown Vancouver (which most residents of the city today know as the locations of Harbour Centre tower and … Continue reading

Posted in department stores, Dominion Photo, Don Coltman, Harry Bullen, street scenes, stuart thomson, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 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

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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

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One of the Largest Organs West of Winnipeg

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

Posted in churches, new westminster, Russell Photo Studio, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘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

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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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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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

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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 , , , | 9 Comments

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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Chinatown & Strathcona, 1890s

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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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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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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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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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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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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

Posted in art, hotels/motels/inns, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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

Posted in Bailey & Neelands, businesses, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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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