This is an early 1950s image of Hycroft Towers at the SE corner of Granville and Marpole Ave. Hycroft Towers was originally the “kitchen garden” of Hycroft Manor (which today is across Marpole Ave from HT). It isn’t clear to me how long these gasoline pumps remained at the entry to the parking garage of HT. (It strikes me as a potentially dangerous place to locate pumps.) Neither is it clear to me how payment for gasoline was arranged as I don’t see any sign of an attendant or booth in the image. Robert Moffatt, in a Dec. 1999 article titled “Vancouver Modern“, for the Vancouver Heritage newsletter, pointed out that HT was the first venture into apartment design of Harold Semmens and Douglas Simpson (architects). Moffatt points out that among the features interior to HT were “…space-efficient storage walls and removable party walls which allowed reconfiguration of the units into 1, 2, and 3-bedroom combinations.” Semmens and Simpson were responsible for designing a number of attractive and enduring buildings in Vancouver, including the Burrard Street Vancouver Public Library Central Branch (1957) – now occupied, in large part, by the local flagship of an American-owned women’s underwear store; VPL Central moved in 1995 to a new building at Georgia and Homer, Moshe Safdie, architect – St. Anselm’s (Anglican) Church on the UBC Endowment Lands (1952), and the United Kingdom Building (1960) on Granville at Hastings.
These gents, who appear to be pretty pleased with themselves, were apparently in a bowling tournament held in 1929 at LaSalle Recreations at 945 Granville St. This was a year before Commodore Lanes came along (on the other side of Granville – east – and one block north of LaSalle). LaSalle was located roughly where Tom Lee Music is today. The following ad is from the BC Teachers Federation newsletter. (I like the parenthetic note in the ad that an “Improved Ventilation System” had been included; doubtless a welcome feature given the airless environment of most bowling alleys – typically located in the basement – and the many less-than-pristine socks going into well-used bowling shoes!)
This is an inspired image by Otto F Landauer of part of The Orillia block (SW corner Robson and Seymour) in its full colour (in every way!) in contrast with the duotones of the new RBC building on Robson at Granville. For more about The Orillia in VanAsItWas, go here.
This photo is of the hull of a small pleasure craft under construction at Vancouver’s Shipyards at the opening of the 1930s (and located then at the corner of Georgia and Thurlow, near where the Shangrila building is today). A decade later, construction of such a human-scale water craft would be almost unthinkable. In the 1940s, with Canada’s focus fully on producing war-related products, spending this kind of time, attention and material on pleasure would be seen as quite decadent. In the new decade, Vancouver’s shipyards would become associated almost exclusively with building big troop movers and other war-related craft. The building of the much larger warcraft would take place on the waterfront at locations like the North Vancouver drydocks and West Coast Shipyards on False Creek.
This ’30s image is a reminder to me of the myth (which endures today, albeit in different form) of an implied near equivalence of hygiene standards between the purveyors of beauty products and those of medicine. Witness, above, the white uniforms on all staff except the receptionist. Today note, for example, the dominance of white in ads of Clinique products.
What had been on this northwest corner of Burrard and Pender before the coffee shop? The corner had housed, among other things, a dairy (indeed an ad for Empress Dairies can still be made out in this image on the wall of the building closer to the Marine Building).
By 1953, this block was changing dramatically; the home of Canterbury Cafe was demolished (see first image below) and was replaced by a federal Customs House (which endured from 1955 until, in turn, it was demolished in 1993). The mid-century modern Customs House (CBK Norman, architect) was replaced with the current structure (at 401 Burrard St), the federal government building named in honour of Douglas Jung (1924-2002), Canada’s first Member of Parliament of Chinese origin (MP Vancouver Centre, 1957-62).
This is an early incarnation of the Vancouver Art Gallery (which was housed at this time in the same building as the City Museum (the ancestor of the Museum of Vancouver) and the Vancouver Public Library. All three were in the structure known today as the Carnegie Community Centre, which still houses VPL’S Carnegie Branch.
If the board of the Art Gallery gets its way, the gallery will move within the next decade or so to yet another location – the former site of Cambie Street Grounds; today the grounds are a City parking block.
This slideshow is a compilation by me of some of the best winter scenes of Stanley Park in the holdings of the City of Vancouver Archives.
This is a very different view from the comparable one you would see today from atop Vancouver’s Harbour Centre. This image appears to have been made a few months after the building opened in June, 1977. The sprawling downtown Woodward’s department store complex has, of course, been replaced by the Woodward’s condo development. And the industrial buildings located just east of the Sun Tower is where International Village is today.
The clump of trees on the top border of the photo is one constant. It is Burnaby’s Central Park (with the iconic Telus structure – what is now known as Telus’ Brian Canfield Centre at 3337 Kingsway – silhouetted in front of the trees).
The “Lord Mayor” of Yokohama in 1969 is pictured here riding in what appears to be a North American car travelling on Burrard Street just north of Georgia Street. Vancouver and Yokohama seem to have been honouring the twinning of the Canadian and Japanese cities a couple of years earlier (in 1965). The 50th anniversary of this relationship is celebrated here.
*The title of this post is borrowed from the Irving Berlin song, “Sisters”, performed in the movie, White Christmas.
Robert Marrion was appointed as the City’s health inspector a couple of years prior to this image being made. He was, before that time, a master plumber. His reputation among the staff that grew around him over the years evidently was positive, witness the corporately self-congratulatory 1912 photographic assembly of the lot of them which appears below. (Salus Generis Humani, by the way, translates as “Salvation of the Human Race”!) Mr. Marrion’s reputation was not as great among the Chinese population of Vancouver, where he was known for enforcing health laws in a manner that today would be considered racially discriminatory. John McLaren and others have correctly pointed out, however, that Marrion was a product of his time (as are you and I in ways we cannot begin to imagine).
*Before the Royal Bank’s temple tower replaced the Hadden Building at the corner of Granville & Hastings, the Chess Club was located there (Suite 9, 633 West Hastings) for several years.
The undergraduate pictured third from the left in the UBC photo above would become an Ottawa ‘mandarin’ within a few years of the date this exposure was made. In 1929, Norman Robertson joined the Department of External Affairs in Ottawa, and by 1941 he was appointed to the highest post within that department: Undersecretary of State for External Affairs. In the intervening years, Robertson was a student at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, and later at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C.
Robertson was the recipient, in absentia, of an honorary doctorate from UBC on October 31, 1945. The UBC Senate regretted that “duty in England” prevented him from being present in person to receive the degree. I’m not sure what were the specifics of this duty, but we know that Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King was in England for much of October and that Robertson accompanied him. This visit included, no doubt, post-war meetings; another subject of the visit, likely, was the then-secret Igor Gouzenko defection, which happened around this time (although it wasn’t made public until February 1946).
Judging from the caption on a duplicate of the image above in a profile of Robertson (in a 1956 issue of Alumni Chronicle), Robertson was greeting Governor-General Vincent Massey (1952-59) upon his arrival for a visit to London, England, presumably during Robertson’s second appointment as Canada’s High Commissioner there (first appointment, 1946-49; second, 1952-57).
A couple of excellent sources of information on Norman Robertson and his Ottawa mandarin colleagues are:
• The Ottawa Men: The Civil Service Mandarins 1935-1957 by J. L. Granatstein.
• A Man of Influence: Norman A. Robertson and Canadian Statecraft 1929-68 by J. L. Granatstein.
Note: Robertson’s father, Lemuel Robertson, was Professor and the first Chair of the Classics department at UBC. He appears in the group portrait shown below.
This cycling oval was originally built for the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver in 1954. After the Games were over, it became known as China Creek Cycle Oval. The oval seems to have been located just east of where Vancouver Community College (Broadway Campus) has been since 1980. The track cost $115,000 to construct and was made of all wood.
The images below show a couple of interior views of an unnamed camera shop taken (it is estimated by the City of Vancouver Archives) sometime in the 1960s. I wondered if these were early shots of Leo’s Camera Supply on Granville near Nelson. It has certainly been around long enough, having recently celebrated 60 years in business (August 2015). The counters in the images also appear to me to be similar to the counters at Leo’s; however, I suspect that such fixtures were de rigeur for any serious camera shop of the time.
In a bio note in CVA’s online records, they indicate that the photographer of these images, Leslie F. Sheraton, “was co-owner of a photographic supply shop in Vancouver.” Whether the shop was Leo’s or some other shop, is not stated. But it seems likely that these images were made in the retail outlet co-owned by Sheraton.
This image of a PNE float is, in my judgement, one of the most outrageous of those I have seen. It was a bit of a puzzle, at first, as to just what was being advertised. The central figure – a young woman – was raised above the float level with lightning bolts apparently radiating from her throne. The text on the float’s front reads “Gift of the Gods” and another piece of text seems to read “Power in Pardise”.
The clue to the origin of the float is the word “Wenatchee” – which appears on the side of the float. Wenatchee, of course, is a community in Washington State. This led me to speculate that the float was from the Pacific Northwest. It seems that the float was a celebration of the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival. For a more modest float photographed as part of the Daffodil Festival in Tacoma in 1976, see here.
The programming available in 1978 from Jerold Cable Converters seems uninspiring, but perhaps that’s just me. Maybe there was more of an audience at that time for House of Commons TV, the CBC Northern Service (in both official languages, no less), and no fewer than three channels of American old-time-religion (delivered through new-fangled media): Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, Paul Crouch’s Trinity Broadcasting Network, and Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s PTL service.
According to Blue Skies: A History of Cable Television, by Patrick Parsons, ‘Fanfare’ was a regional sports provider that would be swallowed in 1979 by Showtime to become Showtime Plus (p396).
The ‘Grand Prize’ cabinet TV appears to be perched pretty precariously atop this PNE booth!
There are no CVA or VPL photos that I could find of the garden site before it became SYSG. But there are a couple of clues that tend to confirm my conclusion that the playground was on the site of what ultimately became SYSG.
First clue: The building in Photo B behind Mayor Taylor and the two Chinese gents appears to my eye to be very like the building in Photo C at left and marked “1904” (although without the awnings in Photo C). This structure would have been behind the men if they were facing east and standing roughly where SYSG is today.
Second clue: In Photo D, the men were standing on a platform. Behind them is what looks a lot like the Georgia Viaduct (No.1). The Viaduct would be visible south of the site of SYSG.
Canadians are in the midst of a tedious federal election campaign with no truly interesting leaders nor stimulating platforms. I for one am missing Richard “The Troll” Schaller, of North Vancouver, the former western caucus chairman of the Rhinoceros Party (their ‘prime directive’: to not fulfill any of their promises), who died of cancer in 2006.
This CBC News clip from the 1988 federal election illustrates The Troll’s lighthearted and comic attitude.
Wouldn’t it make a welcome change if Harper, Trudeau, et. al. could (a) publicly laugh at themselves (without being scripted to do so) and (b) refrain from promptly polling the nation to check whether ‘we’ liked it?
The Rhinos are running candidates in 2015, but sadly not many in the West. Indeed, Parti Rhino seems to be strongest in Quebec – home to the current leader and several of its candidates. Between 1965 and 1988, the Rhinos captured between <1% to 2.4% of the popular vote.
For some of the RP’s ‘platform’, see here. My favourite is #11 (“Ban guns and butter – both kill”); #12 (“Reform Loto-Canada, replacing cash prizes with Senate appointments”) is a little too close to what has become reality in recent years.
This is a somewhat unusual view of the Cambie Street Recreation Grounds (for some later years, the site of the long-distance bus station, later still – optimistically – dubbed Larwill Park and serving as a City car park with aspirations to become the site of the Vancouver Art Gallery). The image appears to be taken from the SW corner of the block toward the NW corner. The crowd of mainly men was viewing a soccer game. And, remarkably, virtually every head in then crowd is covered. The soccer players were evidently permitted to play bare-headed without social impunity; however, notably, the men in striped jerseys – game officials, I presume – seem to have been be-hatted.
The second site of the YMCA is visible in the distance (near mid-photo, at corner of Dunsmuir and Cambie), as is part of the Sun Tower (right) and Vancouver High School (the school’s prominent tower appears to the left of the photo behind residences).
I won’t pretend to understand fully why hats were such a dominant and lasting feature of men’s and women’s fashion in the 19th and 20th centuries. For extended commentary on men’s hats in earlier years, see here and here, among other sources.
I cannot resist showing another CVA image of an Australian cricket team visiting Vancouver in 1911 (and including the photographer of this image and of the one above, Stuart Thomson, a former Aussie who emigrated to Canada the year before this image was made and who would make his home and career in Vancouver until his death in 1960). Interestingly, a couple of the gents in the photo seem not to have received ‘the memo’ and appeared hatless (gasp!).
…[N]o man wore fewer than one hat, outdoors, regardless of weather. A man’s hat was the status symbol that distinguished the white man from the aborigine, the God-fearing from the heathen, the clad from the unclothed. The hat was something to raise to a lady, to remove in church, and to hang in the home. It had the magic properties of the amulet, warding off evil, shielding the wearer at the most vulnerable part of his anatomy: the crown of his skull. — Eric Nichol, Vancouver.
One item which I was unable to immediately name, however, was the machine on which the woman near the centre of the image was working (and whom the balding fellow appears to be admiring). My wife identified this as a sort of early tracing machine which may have been used by art instructors and others for preparing classroom materials.
This office was in the still-standing 3-storey structure (1929?) shown below (far left). Stuart Thomson successfully captured not only the interior of the 1936 tableau, but also part of Clarke and Stuart’s exterior signage (which, if the dating is accurate, was due soon to be replaced with the sign shown in the W. J. Moore photo made one year later) and two of its still-existing across-the-street-building neighbours: — the apparently Georgian-inspired 543 Seymour (which would be CKWX radio’s downtown HQ for years, beginning in the 1940s, I believe; later home to the Canadian Armed Forces; in recent years, home for a series of private colleges and language schools) and the Seymour Building, at 525 Seymour (1920), known in its early years as the Yorkshire block.
James Duff Stuart (note: CVA shows his surname as “Stewart”; a misspelling) and Harold Clarke were the owners of the school supply purveyor shown above. For more about them and their apparently successful Vancouver business interests in several locations, see here and here.
While I find the people in both images to be endlessly interesting, the architecture in the 2015 version I find less so.
I could find out nothing about the above bridge either online or in the local library. The photograph of the bridge (1 of 2 by Don Coltman; the other image is here) shows the structure spanning Georgia Street at one-way, south-bound Howe Street in October 1944. There is no photographic (nor textual) evidence that I’ve been able to find to indicate that there was a bridge at this location except for this image.
Zooming on the image reveals a sign on the structure identifying it as “Bailey Bridge Class #2(? or 7?) Dual Carriageway”. Initially, I assumed that “Bailey” was after a local British Columbian (e.g., Vancouver professional photography pioneer, Charles Bailey). But I’ve since concluded that while Bailey is indeed a surname, it wasn’t for a B.C. resident (rather, for British engineer, Sir Donald Bailey); furthermore, the name of the bridge isn’t a unique identifier, but instead a type of bridge (created by Bailey) which was commonly used during and after WWII in Europe and elsewhere. In short, the Bailey Bridge was a modular means of spanning a water or land gap with a structure that could carry vehicles as large and heavy as tanks. For detailed info on Bailey Bridges, please consult this page.
The Georgia Street crossing was evidently meant to carry both pedestrians and automobile traffic (there is one vehicle visible). However, there seem to be a number of pedestrians who ignored the existence of the bridge and preferred to take their chances crossing Georgia at street level. The lack of buy-in from many pedestrians plus the limited clearance on Georgia (10’6″) imposed by the bridge may have contributed to the bridge’s brief lifespan (especially in post-war Vancouver with increasing industrial traffic travelling on Georgia to and from the North Shore).
But, for now at least, the questions of motive (why it was built and why it stood so briefly) remain unanswered. My wife has suggested that perhaps it was a demonstration bridge. That’s a plausible explanation, but why build it here, over a moderately-busy intersection in a part of the world where there are no lack of water crossings?
If readers of VAIW have any clues/tips (or are aware of other images of this bridge), I’d appreciate hearing from you.Note: A fascinating article of the contribution of a Canadian to Bailey Bridge variants may be found here: “Kingsmill Bridge in Italy”, by Ken MacLeod.
This amusing photo may be one of the final images made (and certainly one of the last professional photos made) at Jubilee Methodist Church in Burnaby before it became Jubilee United Church later in 1925. Jubilee Church was located on Kingsway near Imperial Street. In 1936, Jubilee and the former Henderson Presbyterian Church – which, by then, had become Henderson United Church (at nearby Kingsway and Joyce) – amalgamated to become Henderson-Jubilee United Church; they constructed a new building in 1947 (Twizell & Twizell, of St Andrews-Wesley United Church fame) and became known from then as West Burnaby United Church (which still stands as such).
This ‘musical revue’ may have been a variation on the traditional English pantomime.
The wedding allegedly took place “beneath a spreading maple tree” in what was then known as Skunk Cove (today, Caulfield, West Vancouver; not far from where Lighthouse Park is today).
The bride (#1) was Annie Evalyn Hopcraft, nee Grant, (although she is sometimes referred to as Nancy); the groom (#4) was Lt. William Dixon Hopcraft (sometimes the surname is spelled Hopcroft, for some reason). W. D. Hopcraft was an officer with the Canadian Pacific Empress transpacific liners. He would go on to command the Empress of Japan.
Rev. Dr. Grant, 1852-1912, (#2) was a Baptist minister who came, originally, from Connecticut and had held pastorates in Boston, New York, New Hampshire, and Oregon. Grant accepted the call of First Baptist Church, Vancouver, in 1900 and resigned from a (temporarily) split church by 1904. Grant seems to have been largely responsible for the split; the short story is that his supporters were the ones who walked out of FBC (including E.B. Morgan who appears in the un-cropped version of the wedding photo below). By early 1906, happily, the divided church was reunited.Presumably, “Alderman Grant” in the un-cropped version of the photo was a relation of the Roland Grants (he wasn’t Roland’s brother, however; his brother’s name was Alonzo Timothy Grant). It seems likely that he was early Vancouver Alderman Robert Grant, but he is probably not the female person identified in the photo (#11 and #12 seem to have been mistakenly switched and probably should show #11 as Alderman Grant and #12 as Mrs Robert Grant). #3 appears to be correctly – although oddly – identified as Mrs Hopcraft’s mother; she was that, but it would have made more sense (to me, at least) to refer to her either as “Mrs Roland Grant” or (even better) as “Mrs Helen Grant”. The “Miss Grant” identified as #14 (the lass whose hand Rev Grant is holding) is most probably his younger daughter, Berona.
I should note upon conclusion that this probably wasn’t a church crowd; or at least, it wasn’t a predominantly Baptist crowd. Hopcraft is believed to have been of the Anglican persuasion. Although Roland, Helen, and Annie, as well as E. B. Morgan appear on the membership rolls at FBC, it seems unlikely that this wedding party was dominated by Baptists. Indeed Caulfield’s St. Francis in the Wood church website identifies this wedding (which pre-dates the St. Francis church building being erected in 1927) as having been an Anglican one (although the St Francis site shows the bride, Mrs. Annie Hopcraft, as Mrs. ‘Nancy’ Hopcraft, so I’m not certain of the site’s historical reliability). It isn’t known if Roland participated in officiating in the wedding; but given the size of Rev. Grant’s ego, I would be very surprised if he didn’t play some role!
The scene above captures well the enthusiasm of PNE Parade spectators at East Hastings and Princess Street in the mid-1950s. There would be parades to kick off the Pacific National Exhibition each year for another 40 years (ending in 1995). The only exception since ’95 has been a parade to mark the 100th anniversary of the PNE in 2010; but that parade was held on Beach Avenue near Stanley Park rather than along the traditional Hastings Street strip.
The Carl Rooms block (which apparently went up in the early years of the Great War, likely 1915) at 575 East Hastings still stands, as does the 4-storey Spokane Rooms two doors east (left) of there, which seems to have been on the block since about 1913. There is still a grocery where B&B Grocery once was; and today, the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House is where The WashHouse Launderette was in the image. At least a few of the single storey structures east of Spokane Rooms appear to remain: what was in 1956 home to such ‘Mom & Pop’ shops as Sak’s Tailors, a butcher (no baker or candlestick maker, as far as I can tell), an accordion manufacturer/college/musical instrument repair shop, and (of course) a barber shop and lunch counter (Princess Lunch). The dwelling between Carl Rooms and Spokane Rooms has been demolished to make way for the Tung Koon Benevolent Association block.
What is being created in these images is chain for use as anchor cables on war period merchant ships. James Pritchard in A Bridge of Ships: Canadian Shipbuilding During the Second World War (2011) points out that a Canadian crown plant called Wartime Merchant Shipping, Ltd. was set up on Granville Island. The crown corp purchased a chain creation process called “Electro-Weld” from Pacific Chain and Manufacturing Company (Portland, OR) to supply 144 sets of anchor-chain cable. The process at Granville Island was the same as that employed at the American company’s Seattle plant:
- Steel bar stock was cut, heated, and formed into chain. Photo A shows the steel being formed into chain.
- The support was welded into each link (whether by hand or machine isn’t clear; perhaps it was begun by one process and finished by the other). See Photo B.
- The completed length of chain was stretched out for inspection and testing (and some welding was done at this point, presumably to fix missed areas). See Photo C.
- Completed chain was heat-treated for strength in an oven (steps 3 and 4 may have been reversed). See Photo D.
If you are interested, this video shows a present-day, more automated chain-production process.
Where was this image made? It was pretty plainly made from the north side of Georgia, likely closer to Hornby Street than to Howe St, most probably from the Medical-Dental Building (McCarter & Nairne) – opened in 1929, the same year as this photo was made, and demolished in 1989. The Devonshire Hotel (also McCarter & Nairne, 1925) – demolished in 1981 (the HSBC bank replaced it on the site) – is really the only other contender for the honour, but it was a relatively shorter structure than the Georgia Hotel (next door and east of the Devonshire) – of which we can spot the near upper corner in the lower left image of the image, meaning that the camera was angled downward relative to the Georgia, and that would have been impossible from the rooftop of the Devonshire. It had to be taken from the relatively taller Georgia Medical-Dental building. For a helpful visual illustration of the differing heights of these buildings, see this image.
It is undeniable that Expo was a major hinge of change (much of it positive) in Vancouver. I’ll touch on just a couple of those changes. One, plainly, is the development of a component to the local public transit system, SkyTrain; this novelty would, gradually, be taken more seriously by Vancouver residents and their political leaders as a real and viable option as a people mover for Greater Vancouver.*
Another change was the early development of a downtown stadium district. BC Place (with its, then, air-inflatable ‘puffy’ roof construction), visible behind the head of the gent in the photo, was opened in 1983 and would be the site of Expo’s opening and closing ceremonies. Notably, before Expo, it would host some of its largest audiences for a couple of Christian gatherings – Pope John Paul II’s ‘Celebration of Life’ visit and a Billy Graham crusade (both in 1984). There is no sign above, of course, of GM Place (which would replace the Pacific Coliseum in 1995 as the main indoor sport stadium, housing the NBA expansion team, Vancouver Grizzlies, and to be home to the NHL franchise, the Canucks. In 2010, GM Place would be re-branded as Rogers Arena.
*I was surprised to read, as part of my research for today’s post, about a Vancouver monorail system that was installed as part of Expo ’86 and which in 1987 was moved to the U.K. See here for details. If you are wondering, as was I, what features distinguish monorails from Skytrain and other elevated rail technologies, this site is helpful. This is a very good video showing Expo ’86 buildings, monorail, and gondola.
I don’t know for certain where this image was made. But if I had to guess, I’d say it was near the trolley car barns (Main and Prior). The streetcar nearby and the quantity of track (both laid and in pieces) led me to that conclusion.
The photographer of the image above seems to have been standing on Howe Street, just across from where, today, is the parking garage entry to the former Eaton’s/Sears (soon-to-be Nordstrom’s), facing south toward the Robson Street side of Robson Square. Where the W.C. steps descended was, roughly, to where today’s Robson Ice Rink is. The Court House Block (left background) and Clements Block/Alexandria Ball Room (right) – later known as “Danceland” (b&w image below) – were where the grounds and buildings of Vancouver’s Law Courts are today.
For an intriguing history of “comfort stations” or “sanitary conveniences” in early Vancouver, see this article by Margaret W. Andrews.
The building on the northeast corner today (175 W Cordova) is the former CNCP Telecom Building (Francis Donaldson, 1969) – today, home to Allstream. The Telecom block was one of the buildings approved as part of Mayor Tom “Terrific” Campbell’s ill-fated “Project 200”. Harold Kalman describes this project as being part of the “sweep-the-old-stuff-away mania of post-WWII urban redevelopment.” (Exploring Vancouver: The Architectural Guide, 2012).
I like this image. It shows a Seymour Street that has largely disappeared. It also shows (just barely) a sign of one of Vancouver’s enduring clubs that had a couple of locations before this address (724 Seymour). I’m referring to the Quadra Club – the sign for which is visible on the left midway up the image (vertical orientation).
The Quadra seems to have been started in about 1925 at 901 West Hastings (where the little green space is, just east of the Vancouver Club, today). By the 1930s it had moved up West Hastings a block to 1021 West Hastings (adjacent to the the 1930-completed Marine Building). Harold Kalman (in Exploring Vancouver: The Architectural Guide, 2012) describes this building as being of Spanish Colonial Revival design (Sharp and Thompson, 1929). By the 1940s, the Quadra Club had moved into its Seymour address. I’m not sure when the Quadra eventually went belly up, but it seems to have ceased operation by the ’60s. There are references on the website of guitarist, Howie James to “resurrecting the old Quadra Club in Vancouver” in the ’60s and ’70s . This isn’t strictly so, however, as the Quadra which he claims to have had a role in reviving was not the Quadra Club, but the Quadra Cabaret (shown below). The Cabaret was in Yaletown on Homer near Nelson.
For more about the Quadra (and its successors), see comments below.
This wooden sidewalk was, according to the City of Vancouver Archives, somewhere on 16th Avenue in 1914. Where this was on 16th, I don’t know. It might have been almost anywhere — from Collingwood Street (in Dunbar/Point Grey) in the west to Main Street (Mount Pleasant area) in the east.
The image above seems to have been made through the windscreen of a vehicle that was stopped on Georgia St. for a red light. (Not, in 1963, we may safely assume, taken with the driver’s mobile phone!) It appears to have been shot eastwards from where Bute St. intersects Georgia, probably near dusk (the sun would set behind the driver-photographer’s vehicle).
Much has changed along Georgia. No longer is there a Volkswagen Service centre on the south side of the street, nor is the Shell Oil building on the north side. Today, Coastal Church is the occupant of the former Scientology structure (right foreground); and the Shangri-La today towers over this section of Georgia.
The Grey Cup decorations referred to in the City of Vancouver Archives description seem to have been the large red banners with a Lion Rampant portrayed on one side and ‘B.C’ appearing vertically on the other side. The other team playing in the football game was acknowledged only with the small circular sign affixed to the light pole in the right foreground: “Welcome TiCats”. This referred to the ultimate winners of the 51st Grey Cup, the Hamilton (Ontario) Tiger Cats.
Notably, this was the first CFL championship to include the Lions. The headline on the “Extra” edition of the Vancouver Sun, describing local reaction to the game’s outcome, was “NUTS!”
BC Equipment, by the 1960s, had become one of the major dealers in industrial equipment in the province, and it seems that by the mid-1960s, their workers had become organized. The company offered a wide range of products: from pneumatic picks to bulldozers, from cranes to lathes. The 551 Howe property, today, is occupied by a restaurant at street level and the basement appears to have been leased out for storage.
August 12, 2015 Addendum:
I have today noticed, in a history of Granville Island, this interesting quote pertaining to the post-1915 reclamation of the Island: “B.C. Equipment Ltd. built a wood-framed machine shop, clad in corrugated tin, at the Island’s west end. (Today the same structure houses part of the Granville Island Public Market.)” Below is a 1919 photo of the BC Equipment structure on the Island (along with a couple of other early tenants).
The troupe was posed in front of the Badminton Hotel (southwest corner Howe and Dunsmuir). The image below shows what the interior of the Vancouver Opera House (adjacent to Hotel Vancouver #2 on Granville Street) might have looked like around the time that Pollard’s Lilliputians were in town.
The very small grade change associated with the bridge once known widely as the First Avenue Viaduct contributes to its near-invisibility to the modern eye. The principal function of the pre-WWII viaduct was to allow motor traffic to travel over the rail yards in the false creek flats basin, thereby gaining swifter access to the Grandview/Commercial Drive communities. Unlike its nearby cousin, the current Georgia/Dunsmuir Viaduct, this bridge has not had to struggle with negative public relations associated with motives behind its birth. Instead, it has been apparently completely accepted by the general Vancouver public as a near-‘natural’ part of our urban landscape. High praise, indeed, for any bridge.
Ironically, the “first” attributed to JHC most often – ‘first Vancouver Fire Chief’ – actually wasn’t. That honour went to Samuel Pedgrift (1886); he was followed by J. Blair (briefly); JHC became chief after Blair in the autumn of 1886 until 1888 (Carlisle’s term as chief began after the Great Fire of June 1886). Wilson McKinnon followed JHC’s initial 2-year term. But then Carlisle became chief again — this time for a period unmatched by any chief since: 39 years (1899-1928).
Chuck Davis’ website notes that in 1911 the VFD was ranked by a committee of international experts as among “the world’s best in efficiency and equipment”; and in 1917, it became Canada’s first completely motorized department.
Appropriately, the city’s first fireboat was named in honour of the man: the J. H. Carlisle.
For a photograph of JHC as a relatively young man, see the image and post here.
I think that the bandleader pictured above (violinist, centre) is Francesco Maracci, ‘the Venetian virtuoso’ as he was touted in The Oregonian in the early years of the 20th century. Maracci’s Bluebirds was heavily weighted towards woodwinds (saxophones figure prominently in the image).
I don’t know what source led CVA to conclude that the band was called the “Ambassador Orchestra”. I cannot find any Vancouver hotel (or any other institution) in 1924 called “Ambassador” and the band’s name appears (as per normal) on the bass drum. The dominant decorative motif of the room seems to be the humble pine cone (see central light fixture)! So, I think I have identified the band, but as to the location where the image was taken . . . no idea!
(Note: I learned later that there was an Ambassador Hotel in Vancouver, at 773 Seymour (replacing the Hudson Hotel), but that it wasn’t established until about 1939. The Ambassador has since been demolished).
The business had various homes over its two decades: 862 Granville (ca1910-13); 957 Granville (ca1914-19); 412 W Hastings (ca1920-22); and 147 W Hastings (ca1923-28).
Trites Real Estate was owned and operated by Frank Noble Trites (1872-1918). He was from New Brunswick originally and had been in the Vancouver area beginning in 1905. He established a real estate firm operating under his own name until 1909, then as Trites & Leslie, and a few months later as F. N. Trites & Co., Ltd. and finally as Trites, Ltd. (as the firm was known at the time the photo was taken).
An example of one of Trites’ successes is summed up in British Columbia From the Earliest Times to the Present (for which ‘the present’ is 1914): “One such was the sale, in 1909, of the Point Grey lands, owned by the government, a record sale, in which the firm disposed of six hundred and sixty acres for the sum of two million, six hundred and fourteen thousand dollars. At the time the tract was absolutely wild land and the prices obtained were unheard of for such land. Mr. Trites has always advertised extensively in Canada, the United States and abroad, and during the sale of the Point Grey lands he himself bought property to the value of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars [$250,000]. This land is now subdivided and constitutes one of Vancouver’s most beautiful suburbs, the lots bringing a high figure.” (This expensive-for-its-time property was not, it seems, to have ended up being the Trites’ residence. He moved into what seems to have been his final home in 1912 after apparently unloading his previous one at 779 W 9th/Broadway. Mrs. Trites was still living at their ca1912-purchased home (2385 W 2nd Ave) two years after Mr. Trites died in 1918.
So where was Overlook? I simply don’t know. Trites built a home in the municipality of Point Grey (West 19th at an unknown cross-street), in 1914; he built two other homes on W. 14th Avenue in Vancouver (between Carnarvon and Balaclava) in 1913. I can find no subdivisions named (even provisionally) Overlook at anytime in Vancouver. So, for now, this remains an open question. I’m very open to input from readers of VAIW who have clues as to Outlook’s location.
F. N. Trites died a relatively young man, just a few years after the Overlook image was taken, at age 46. The year of his death (and the fact that there is nothing I can find today showing his involvement in Vancouver real estate from 1915 on) raises flags. But I couldn’t find any evidence that he was a serviceman in WWI. Whether he served, however, in a civilian capacity during the war (he died in Agassiz, oddly ) and subsequently died as a result of that, I’ve not explored.
These two images were taken by the same photographer (Stuart Thomson), the camera is facing the same direction (northwest), and are of nearly the same locations (Seymour Street at Nelson in the first image; Seymour from a bit south of Nelson in the second).
The 1920 image was one of two made by Thomson of an automobile wreck on the corner (the second image looks west down Nelson, toward Granville), possibly for an auto insurance client of Thomson’s. The occurrence of auto accidents was apparently still sufficiently uncommon that it could draw a crowd of pedestrian rubber-kneckers on a miserable day. The 1926 image was made by Thomson for an advertising client, Duker & Shaw Billboards.
It is remarkable, to me, how dramatically this section of Seymour Street had changed in the approximately six years that passed between the creation of the two images. In the 1920 photo, the property on the northwest corner of Seymour and Nelson was a single family dwelling (albeit, one that appears to have been for sale) and the neighbouring properties appear likewise to be family homes. In the 1926 image, Nelson Street crosses Seymour about mid-way up the image. You can just make out the end of the name of the business then located at the northwest corner of Seymour and Nelson: Boultbee Motors. The neighbours of Boultbee appear to be other businesses and the anchor at the end of the block (at southwest corner Seymour at Smithe) is Vancouver Motors (the building in which the Staples stationery store is located today).
For different/later images of Seymour and Nelson, see this post.
We are looking toward the northeast corner of Granville Street at Beach Avenue in these two images. The first photo (above) was taken slightly to the east of the second (1909) Granville Bridge; the photo below was made a little ways to the east of where the first one was taken – where the Seymour off-ramp of the third (1954) Granville Bridge now is. It is looking at the same lot, however. Today, this lot is one of the very few in downtown Vancouver which is undeveloped. I suspect the reason for this is that for many years the lot was the site of automobile paint removal shops and garages/service stations. Typically, such lots need to pass pretty stringent environmental tests before they are approved for re-development.
To the west of this location, at Howe and Beach, is where Vancouver House will be located. I expect that an innovative design akin to that of Vancouver House will be proposed, ultimately, for the oddly-shaped lot beneath the Seymour off-ramp.
The brick structure (on the right above and pictured below) still stands today. It was built in 1913 for what seems to have been an investment and real estate multinational (with a local board) called London & British North America Co. Sharp & Thompson were architects (and were responsible for the design of a great many other Vancouver buildings during their 82-year partnership); and Bruce Bros. were the builders.
This post consists of two 1914 images that appear to have been made on the same day by BCER (and of the mates made last week by the author).
The 1914 images were interesting to me because they were made at one of those retrospectively important historical junctions. Until shortly before this image was made, what would become Victory Square (the cenotaph was unveiled in 1924) had been the first Vancouver courthouse. The courthouse had been demolished by 1914 and the great horrors of the Great War (and the need of a memorial for this first world-wide war) were, to put it mildly, unanticipated.
In this second 1914 photo, the photographer seems to have move to a place part way down Cambie, between Pender (where the earlier image had been made) and Hastings. We are looking towards what was the Vancouver Hospital (on the corner where the parking garage is today). The building on the left of both images was built in 1911 for early Vancouver grocers, the Edgett Bros., and today houses (among others) the Architectural Institute of B.C.
This image illustrates for me, yet again, the potential of a photograph to help me see things as they once were. I knew from earlier reading that the first Georgia Viaduct (1915) began and terminated at different points than does the current (1972-installed and twinned) structure of the same name. I had no difficulty visualizing where the eastern end was – thanks to early photographs – but picturing just where the early Viaduct had its western end wasn’t, for me, easy to imagine. Partly, I think, because I hadn’t seen a clearly contextual photo of it with a current and contemporary major landmark in common . . . until today.
The western end of the 1915 Viaduct apparently began about half a block north of where it currently starts (Georgia at Beatty). The southern exposure of the Beatty Street Drill Hall faces the viewer and was close to the western end of the early structure. (Today, the Dunsmuir Viaduct – the westbound twin of the 1972 Georgia Viaduct – runs next to the northern end of the Drill Hall).
The image evidently was made as a promotional photo by Stuart Thomson for the national Department of Public Works shortly after the end of the Great War. The choice of background – the Drill Hall – was a potent and, generally, positive symbol of the role of the federal government in the recently won war (staggering casualties, notwithstanding). In the foreground were symbols of man’s vanquishment over natural impediments to ‘progress’, the 1915 Viaduct and, of course, the federal trucks.
So, as an image of its time, it seems to me to have been successful. And as a help to this amateur historian of a different time, it has proven to be, arguably, even more helpful.
Thanks again, Stuart! (To see other VAIW posts with Thomson images, link here).
Well, it won’t come as a shock to you (if you paid attention to the the title of the post or to the caption on the photo above) that the photograph is not of Hornby, Howe, or Georgia Streets, where one might expect to find comparable types of shops today, but on the unit block (address numbers less than 100) of East Hastings (near Pioneer Square – aka ‘Pigeon Park’ – at Carrall Street).There are a couple of things worthy of note, I think. On the one hand, and most obviously, the neighbourhood has changed dramatically. The Windsor Hotel, today, is known (principally by those living in it) as the Washington Hotel (a SRO rooming house) at 52 E Hastings. And in the building adjacent (which, then and now, was called the Gross Building) was, until recently, a pharmacy that has been closed by the authorities, apparently. So it is pretty plain that the sort of shops and those who patronize them have changed.
Less obvious perhaps, is the extent to which the buildings of an earlier Vancouver have been retained. If one looks up and down Howe or Hornby Streets today, for instance, you would be hard-pressed to find any surviving buildings of the vintage represented in this photograph (roughly, of the 19-teens).
In short, one lesson seems to be that poverty tends to be kinder to heritage structures (in terms, at least, of preserving them in some condition) than is great wealth.
Perhaps the most remarkable element of this image is the very rough shape that unpaved Burrard Street was in!
Fairview Baptist Church, according to First Baptist Church’s first historian W. M. Carmichael, had its beginnings as a regional Sunday School. The school was an extension of First Baptist, launched at a January 1902 prayer meeting. Mr. and Mrs. Edward Peck were then living at the corner of Maple Street and West 3rd Avenue (2001 W. 3rd), where they ran a small grocery. The Pecks had “an unused room” at their home which was offered to the Sunday School. The School met at the Pecks’ for two years. (Note: This Mrs. Peck was not Mary Peck, a charter member of FBC, although she may have been related by marriage to Mary and Elias James Peck).
In 1904, the School moved into its first building at 2008-4th Avenue (near Maple). The building is shown in the image above (with a post-church commercial appendage, probably added between 1910-14). According to Carmichael, this church structure was built for $500. However, a check of the Vancouver Heritage Building Permits shows the cost to have been a bit higher: $1000. The architect/builder was R. E. Scarlett.
On August 23, 1905, the First Baptist members involved in the regional Sunday School “received their letters” from the denomination to organize as a separate church. The church was named Fairview Baptist Church. Rev. Peter H. McEwan was the first pastor. (Before accepting the pastorate at Fairview, McEwan had been the pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Victoria. While there, he served as the construction supervisor for their church building; Thomas Hooper was the architect. The sanctuary was erected for about $8000 in 1892. Remarkably, it still stands as Victoria’s Belfry Theatre.)
By 1909, remarks Carmichael, “because of the laying of the street car tracks along Fourth Avenue”, (due to concerns for the safety of youngsters attending the school and crossing 4th Ave?) they sold this property and raised a new structure at the corner of 5th Avenue and Arbutus Street. This building was designed and built by Samuel Buttrey Birds for an estimated $5,500 (he also built the nearby Fairview Methodist Church at 6th and Fir and Chalmers Presbyterian Church at Hemlock and 12th).
With the move to Arbutus, there ensued an institutional identity crisis. The church’s name was first changed to “Fifth Avenue Baptist Church” and in 1913 it was changed again to “Kitsilano Baptist Church”. In March, 1922, following a tumultuous period for Kits Church and for the denomination generally (there was at least one significant split of the congregation at Kits), the church amalgamated with Central Fairview Baptist to form Fairview Baptist Church. The building which houses Fairview today stands at 1708 W 16th Ave (near Pine).
- Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada.
- British Columbia City Directories: 1860-1955
- Burkinshaw, Robert K. Pilgrims in Lotus Land: Conservative Protestantism in British Columbia, 1917-1981. McGill-Queen’s University Press: 1995.
- Carmichael, W. M. These Sixty Years, 1887-1947: Being the Story of First Baptist Church Vancouver, BC. .
- Fernwood News. History Corner, Spring 2007.
- Heritage Vancouver Society Building Permits: 1901-1921
The image above shows the interior of the sanctuary at First Baptist Church (Burrard & Nelson). However, close inspection reveals differences from today’s sanctuary. In fact, this photo shows the sanctuary before the 1931 fire which all but destroyed that part of the Church. (For more about the fire, see the conclusion of this post).
The camera is facing the Nelson Street entry to the sanctuary (taken probably from the podium on which the preacher and choir typically stand).
There are at least three markers that speak to differences between the older space and the new one created for FBC by Dominion Construction in 1931: (1) The lack of clear demarcation of a foyer/narthex from the sanctuary. Today, there is a wall of wood and glass, with doors into the sanctuary which may be closed during services. There is no sign of a wall in the image above. There appear to be horizontal wooden slats that rise approximately to waist height, but that’s it; the view of the stairs leading to the balcony on either side of the Nelson St. doors is unobstructed (and I imagine it would have been more difficult to disguise the noise of one’s late arrival to a service — even if the wooden stairs were carpeted!). The principal motive for this very open design feature was likely to let in as much natural light as possible in the days before inexpensive and easily accessible electricity.
(2) The horseshoe-shaped balcony (still present today) is ringed with what appears to be much more porous construction than we have in the post-fire rebuild (see image below). The pre-fire balcony wall appears to have consisted of a series of dowels within a wooden frame as contrasted with the, no-doubt safer (especially for young ones) but less open, balcony wall of today.
(3) Different light fixtures. The pre-fire fixtures visible above seemed to include a much greater number of bulbs – twelve in each visible fixture – as compared with the five present on comparable fixtures today. It isn’t clear from the photo how many fixtures were in the original sanctuary, but it’s likely that there were fewer than today. It also isn’t clear whether or not there were single-bulbed fixtures over each balcony gallery, as we have today.
Another feature which I believe was significantly different between the two sanctuaries, but which isn’t visible in the pre-fire image, is the ceiling-work. The original ceiling, installed when the building was constructed in 1910-11 was, I believe, similar in appearance (at least to a layman, like me) to the ceiling in Christ Church Cathedral (Burrard & Georgia) – i.e., a good deal of exposed wooden beam-work. The ceiling in the later sanctuary consists of a series of tiles (probably intended to improve acoustical quality).
Fire Destroys Sanctuary in ’31
In FBC’s official history, author and FBC member Les Cummings described the fire:
In the early morning hours of February 10, 1931, the fire swept through our church. The blaze was one of the most spectacular in the history of the downtown district, the flames shooting through the slate roof and attracting hundreds of early morning workers. Fire Chief C W. Thompson said the blaze started directly behind the organ. When he realized that the main sanctuary was doomed, he concentrated the firefighters’ efforts on saving the tower housing the chimes, and the Sunday School [Pinder Hall]. They stood alone, while the church itself became a mass of ruins. (Our First Century, Leslie J. Cummings, 1987 (Updated 2002), 42).
What caused the fire, to the best of my knowledge, was never determined.
I have become quite fond of the work done in the early years of the 20th century by BC Electric Railway photographers. Most of these anonymous souls don’t seem to me to have been amateurs (although a few images are very over-exposed). The aspect of the BCER images which I most like is that they were differently motivated than were many commercial shots made by photographers for other clients. For the BCER, photographers seem to have been instructed (especially in the early years of power) to ‘shoot anything with wires’! Whether or not they were actually so instructed, many of the early BCER images capture scenes that weren’t attempted by many others for whatever reasons, often, I suspect — as with this image — because the scene wasn’t believed to be appealing to most viewers of their day.
Plainly the main motive for this shot (of which this is a cropped part) was to capture the electrical lines in this back lane ‘east of Granville Street’. In 1914, lanes were typically little more than dirt (or after some rain, as above, mud) trails. This shows a couple of garbage pickers of the day (whether official or unofficial). Their pony and wagon seem to be to the right. And, like today, “J. G.” couldn’t resist scrawling his or her initials on a lane-way wall (granite window sill at right, foreground).
This photo makes me smile. It was taken in 1925 by one of my favourite early Vancouver photographers, Stuart Thomson, at the present site of First Baptist Church (Burrard and Nelson Streets). The young men in the image were apparently a group of sporty lads associated with FBC who had won the Junior League Football Championship in 1924-25.
This photo was made a few years prior to the 1931 fire which all but destroyed the Sanctuary. It was taken at the point where the wing known then as the Sunday School (today called Pinder Hall) met the Sanctuary building (for some context, see the early image of the church building here). As a side note, the person after whom Pinder Hall was named many years later, Sunday School Superintendent B. O. Pinder, was active in church leadership at the time of the image above.
The adults flanking the team in the first row are the ones who make me grin. Mr. McGregor (Manager) does not look like an easy man to please. I have confirmed that he was born in Vancouver, but I think I detect an ancestral Scots burr behind his scowl (believe it or not, he was only 22 years old when this image was made; to my eye, he appears to be at least 30).
Dr. J. J. Ross (Pastor, 1923-29), after whose wife, Georgina, the “Ross Room” would much later be named is on the left. I don’t know what that tag was on JJR’s suit, but to my eye it looks like a modified price tag (although what it was modified to, is a mystery to me. See the closer view of JJR’s lapel at right; I cannot distinguish what it says/portrays. If anyone else can, please let me know)! In any case, it seems all but certain that when Georgina Ross learned that JJR had his photographic portrait taken with this tag-like object hanging off his lapel, she had something to say about it!
Sydney Morgan Eveleigh (1870-1947) was a Vancouver architect. He was born in England, coming to Vancouver in 1888. He worked with early Vancouver architect Noble Hoffar for several years and later struck a partnership with William T. Dalton. After Dalton retired (1922), Eveleigh was elected president of the Architectural Institute of B.C. and later continued to practice until retiring in 1940.
But it wasn’t Eveleigh’s accomplishments as an architect that make him noteworthy, in my judgement. It was his unpaid community contributions. He was a member of the Art Workers Guild (ca 1900) which later became the Vancouver Arts and Crafts Association. According to the City of Vancouver Archives, “[t]he members of the association held annual exhibitions and sales of work [at O’Brien Hall, in 1900] and conducted art classes throughout the year.”
Most importantly, however, according to the Changing Vancouver site, Eveleigh was a local library board member for several years and was instrumental in the establishment of the first permanent site for Vancouver Public Library: “It was he who contacted Andrew Carnegie, and the five $10,000 cheques that helped build the [Carnegie] library were personally made out to Eveleigh.”
If I may be permitted a bit of a rant – why, in light of S. M. Eveleigh’s contributions to this city, have most residents (I’d wager) never heard of him? A street was named in his honour, but it was never very much of a street (one block hidden today as a back alley and entry to two immense parking structures behind Bentall Centre). Granted, Eveleigh wasn’t a CPR big-wig and, therefore, wasn’t well-connected to the likes of Lauchlan Hamilton (who was responsible for early street naming in Vancouver; according to Street Names of Vancouver, when Hamilton was asked in 1936 by Major J. S. Matthews why Eveleigh Street was so named, Hamilton “could not remember”). Nor did he have the good fortune to have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth (e.g., Granville).
Would it not be appropriate to consider naming a VPL library branch after Eveleigh? Or something else a little more prominent than the pokey wee alley that today bears his name?
This fine image by Stuart Thomson was made ca1924 at the 900 block of West Pender Street – not the 1100 block of Granville Street. There are at least three clues to the actual location: (1) Abbotsford Hotel (still standing today at 921 W Pender; known today as “Days Inn”) is just behind the Chevy lot; (2) the 1924 BC Directory shows a Chevy lot at 933 W Pender; (3) a magnified look at the image shows the number “933” pretty clearly on the glass door of the pictured dealership.
A friend noticed this striking older building at 1855 Vine Street (between 3rd and 4th Avenues), which today consists of private condo units. She asked me if I’d encountered it and if I had any idea what the original purpose was of the structure. I replied negatively to both questions. But I certainly was intrigued!
I first checked online to see whether there was any low-hanging fruit there. I found some realty descriptions, such as this one, which noted that the building was of beaux-arts style, and was formerly “a Presbyterian Sabbath School”, built ca1911. Assuming this info was accurate, that was pretty impressive detail for a realty site. I learned elsewhere that in the 1970s, the building had housed the Vancouver Indian Centre (ancestor to the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre), until it occurred to those running the centre that Kitsilano wasn’t densely inhabited by aboriginal people in the 1970s (unlike the 1870s, comparatively speaking) and they moved nearer to where most of their constituency resided.
So, what went on between ca1911 and 1970?
I knew that most Presbyterian churches in Vancouver did not retain ‘Presbyterian’ in their names after 1925, due to the ‘church union’ movement which subsumed most Methodist, Congregationalist, and (roughly two-thirds of) Presbyterian congregations into a new protestant denomination to be known as the United Church of Canada. I had been to the Bob Stewart Archives (BSA) of UCC on a previous occasion, when it was still in the basement of the Iona Building at UBC. But since the Vancouver School of Theology had sold that building to UBC in 2014, I found that BSA had moved to Kerrisdale (across Yew Street from Ryerson United Church at the United Church Memorial Centre).
I set up an appointment with BC Conference Archivist, Blair Galston. At BSA, Blair had set aside a file full of documents pertaining to the former Kitsilano Presbyterian Church. From these papers I learned a great deal:
- church got its start in 1906 in a small store building on Cornwall near Yew;
- first pastor, Rev. Dr. Peter Wright, accepted a call to Kits in 1907. He retired from the post in 1913 and died in 1914. Subsequent full-time/permanent pastors of Kitsilano Presbyterian were Rev. A. D. MacKinnon (1914-20) and Rev Gordon Dickie (1922-39); Dickie left Kits to accept an appointment to Union College (the predecessor to Vancouver School of Theology);
- congregation officially named Kitsilano Presbyterian Church on March 5/07 with 35 charter members;
- by ca1909, the small store space had become too small for the congregation and lots were purchased “at the corner of 3rd Ave. and Vine St. for a new church”;
- following the launch of a fundraising campaign, “proposals were received from various architects, and a plan made by Mr. H. B. Watson was selected for the Sunday School Hall, to be erected on the rear of the lots, leaving the 3rd Ave. side for a church building at a later date”. (I suspect, but have been unable to prove, that the Sunday School – or “Sabbath School” – structure was the only part of the church ever constructed. Church services seem to have been held in the Sunday School structure. There never was, as far as I can tell, any separate Presbyterian church building on 3rd Ave). Architect Henry Barton Watson also built St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church (2881 Main St), Queen Alexandra School 1300 E. Broadway), and Empress Hotel (235 E. Hastings Street), all still standing;
- contract awarded June 1/10 to John Watson Bros. for a sum totalling $23,868.23;
- building completed and first service held within it in January, 1911;
- in 1917, despite loss of many young men during WWI, Kits Presbyterian was ‘having its day,’ with membership at 881 and the Sunday School roll having 467 people, including 32 teachers/officers.
Following the 1925 vote by the Kits church to join the union movement, Kitsilano Presbyterian Church was renamed St. Stephen’s United Church. This was not the same St. Stephen’s congregation that stands today at Granville St. near 54th. That (confusingly) is a different church with a different (and much briefer) history.
St. Stephens Kits apparently was unable to recapture its glory years. The number of people who attended the church dropped to such an extent over the years, that by 1952 St. Stephens United amalgamated with Crosby United Church and became Kitsilano United Church at the former Crosby building at 2nd Ave. and Larch Street. There were a couple of other twists and turns in the stories of these congregations which can be tracked here, if you are curious. But the short(er) story is that Kitsilano United ultimately became what today is Trinity United Church in a new-ish structure which the congregation shares with St. Mark’s Anglican Church at 2nd Ave. and Larch.
What happened to the original Kitsilano Presbyterian Church building? It’s unclear (to me, anyway) just what happened in the period 1952-1970. It’s possible that the building sat empty during those years. By 1970, the Vancouver Indian Centre had taken up occupancy (as mentioned earlier in this post). They vacated by 1979, and nothing much appears to have been done with the building in the years 1979-84.
By 1985, the word “heritage” had come into fashion in Vancouver. The Sinclair Centre project was in full swing, and (among other heritage projects), the former Kits Presbyterian Church building was being renovated (relatively sensitively) for private condominium residences (5 suites). And so it remains today, with the slightly snooty, non-Presbyterian name (in my opinion), Devon Court (Donald O’Callaghan, architect).
Once again, I’m indebted to my buddy, Wes, for knowing and sharing the name of this vehicle (it wasn’t specifically identified in the VPL online record). The location was 741 Homer Street, which today is (roughly) the Budget Rent-A-Car lot adjacent to the former Ford Theatre (now occupied by Westside Church), just across Homer from the Central Banch of Vancouver Public Library.
Interestingly (to me, anyway), the year that this image was made, George H. Hewitt Co. (the subject of a post a couple of days ago) was located across Homer (on one of the lots where VPL Central stands today).
The Fleetside Fastback was parked in front of the service department of Collier’s, a GM dealership (shown below).
Untitled art. Fisherman’s Union Building (1968), Leonard Epp artist.
This pre-cast concrete relief triptych is on three sides of the former Fisherman’s Union building (1968) at NE corner East Hastings and Hawkes (today, home to AIDS Vancouver).
According to Steil’s and Stalker’s excellent resource, Public Art in Vancouver: Angels Among Lions, this was the creation of Leonard (sometimes spelled “Leonhard”) Epp. The three fishing-related forms appear in different orders on each of the three walls of the building (note: above, each of the forms has been cropped separately to maximize the amount of each form that is not covered by vegetation). The buiding was designed by Robert Harrison, whose other work included the W.A.C. Bennett Library at SFU (Burnaby Mountain).
The Yellow Submarine record shop shown above in 1975 and the commercial building to the left of it appear still to stand. Unfortunately, the baby-blue-coloured home on the other side of the Sub seems to be gone.
Toronto House apartments had been around for about a decade when photographer Stuart Thomson made the Vancouver Public Library image above. It later became the Astoria Hotel. The apartment block was built in 1912 for owner R. A. Wallace and was designed by architects Hugh Braunton and John Liebert. Toronto House was built at the peak of Vancouver’s boom and, according to Don Luxton, ed.’s Building the West, in addition to Toronto/Astoria they were successful in obtaining the commission for Irwinton Apartments (777 Burrard), still standing. The Standard Trust and Industrial Building (570 Seymour) is another block still standing that was designed by B&L in 1913 (also known as the Rexmere Rooms block with a slightly different address and separate entry at 568 Seymour). Braunton and Liebert both left Vancouver by 1914 (after working here as partners for just a few, but architecturally prolific, years); apparently, they moved to El Paso, Texas and later to California.
In my judgement, this is definitely an image made by S. J. Thompson, although his first initials do not appear on the print (and although it isn’t attributed to SJT by the City of Vancouver Archives). It is technically possible that John E. Thompson made this image, but to my eye, it cries out “S. J. Thompson made this!”
(Note the evidence of habitation at this time on Deadman’s Island).
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, the Arctic was a “suit and tie” place where you needed to display a purchased membership card and sign in before entering. It was located at 724 W. Pender (south side of Pender, near Howe) .
The Arctic Club is but a memory today; according to VJF members, by the early 1960s, one of the owners, Bob Mitton, closed the club when he purchased the (by-then longish-in-the-tooth) Cave supper club around that time (just a quick walk away on the 600 block of Hornby). By the late-1960s, preparation would have been underway at the former Arctic Club site for construction of the office towers that today dominate the block at 700 W. Pender (1972) and 750 W. Pender (1974).
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 the first one was located, but the second hotel was (and still is) adjacent to (and remains an annex to) the flatiron block.
Parr and Fee clearly seem to have been influenced by Daniel Burnham’s Flatiron building (much taller than its 6-storey Vancouver cousin) in NYC (1902), shown below.
According to one source, whom I trust, Angelo Calori may also have owned the Princess Theatre (which in later years became the Lux Theatre and, more recently, a non-market housing block also called the Lux.
The Europe Hotel has been used as a set in various movies, including The Changeling (1980), Legends of the Fall (1994), and The Never Ending Story (1984).
Another early Vancouver flatiron block is here.
In these times when the almighty dollar is king, the norm is that he/she/they who donate the largest wad of cash to the construction of a building gets it named after him/her/them. This appears not to have been the case at UBC in the relatively recent past, with two libraries, a reading room, and a lecture series named in honour of Professor Garnett Sedgewick. GS was the first head of the department of English and he lectured on Chaucer and Shakespeare. There is no evidence available online that he left a substantial sum to the university upon his passing in 1949.
The first image (above) is of “College Library” at its renaming as “Sedgewick Library”. This original Sedgewick Library was located in the east(ish) wing of the Main Library (shown below). This space was occupied by the Special Collections Division of the library when I was at UBC in the early 1990s. (And, if memory serves, was where graduate students deposited completed theses).
The two images below show the Sedgewick Undergraduate Library as I knew it when I was a student at UBC. The night shot shows a library skylight — one of the few photographable exterior features of the library, since the principal defining feature of ‘Sedge’ that it was an underground library.
There was a 1960s feel to Sedge. This isn’t surprising, given that it was built in the early 1970s and opened in 1973.
This final image is of the Sedgewick Memorial Reading Room in the Main Library.
This image from the 1920s is of the Canada Garage. This lot is adjacent to the lane that divides the east side of the block from the Victoria Apartments (now Hotel). This space was home to automobile garages of different names for several decades: from the 1930s until the 1950s (at least), it was Pacific Garage; by the 1970s, it had become Marine Garage.
Today this space hosts a hair service outlet: Zone Hair Gallery. The building in which Zone is situated finally changed. There is no longer any sign of the former garage structure. Zone is located within a lower-rise structure that includes the entry to the BC Hydro HQ parking garage (to the north of the multi-storey current Hydro building at Dunsmuir and Homer).
At Zone, the staff probably offer a “washing” service, just as Canada Garage did; probably not “greasing”, however!
On the exterior, this shop looks mostly unchanged today; it houses a barber shop (adjacent to The Paper Hound Bookshop in the Victoria Block).
These photos were made by Artray apparently to accompany advertising copy. These two were part of a series of several similar images.
Elroy Joseph (Hap) O’Connor (not O’Conner, as CVA currently has it) was an American baseball umpire for 40+ years. Evidently, he was umping in Vancouver for a game in 1929. He died in San Bernardino county, CA in 1957.
Go here for the only known film images of the original Cellar club (and a few seconds showing bearded artist Harry Webb at work there, I believe).
For more about Harry and Jessie Webb, I highly recommend The Life and Art of Harry and Jessie Webb by Adrienne Brown (Salt Spring Island: Mother Tongue Publishing), 2014.
The image above shows a former back lane in 1978, apparently then used principally for accessing the garage of 808 Hawkes Avenue (home on the right; not visible). The image below was made this week. It shows the home on the left and the former back lane; but the lane is apparently now not used for its former purpose. It appears now to have been (poorly) fenced off — perhaps as private property of one of the homes pictured. The garage, today, doesn’t seem to be used for that purpose.
The fellow facing the camera appears to be the candidate and then-M.P. for the riding of Fraser Valley, West, Robert L. Wenman. He was first elected in that constituency in 1974 and was subsequently re-elected in 1979, 1980 (following the conclusion of Prime Minister Clark’s brief government and the resurrection of Trudeau to lead the Liberal Party back into power), 1984, and 1988. Before running as a federal candidate, he trained as a teacher in Saskatchewan (where he was born and raised) and was elected in 1966 (and re-elected in 1969) as a Social Credit MLA in BC’s legislature. He died in 1995, a relatively young man (54), after contracting a bacterial infection while on a business trip to Asia.
This retail corner (SE Cordova and Granville) was anchored by a newspaper vendor called The Checking Depot in the 1910s (I suspect that this image was made in 1914 – the only year I could identify in BC Directories in which most of the shops pictured existed). Next door was Taylor and Young: Marine and Stationary Engines; adjacent to that, Momsen & Rowe: General Shipping Agents. And next door to Momsen & Rowe was Great Northern Express Co (presumably the shipping arm of the Great Northern Railway). Running east of The Checking Depot up Cordova there was (according to BC Directoires) a rooming house, a barber shop, and a restaurant.
The image above is the same corner a decade later. The third CPR Station (now Waterfront Station) had been built (1914) and is visible in the background (note that the WWI tribute sculpture at that time was at the opposite end of the station from where it is today). Except for The Checking Depot, none of the Granville-facing retail units are the same. In place of Taylor & Young is Lando Fur Co., and W. L. Webber: The Stationery Shop is in Momsen & Rowe‘s former quarters. Standing where the Great Northern Express office once was are Royal Transfer Co. and American Railway Express offices.
By the 1940s, there was a newspaper anchor of a different name at Cordova and Granville. The former Checking Depot was now Wilson’s Newspapers. Wilson’s appears to have been well-stocked. The list of “Daily Papers” on the chalkboard at the Granville entry seems to have been extensive. And they bragged that “Irish, Scotch, and English Papers” were available.
It is difficult to make out the retail shops running east of Wilson’s on Cordova, but using VPL’s BC Directories, it’s probably safe to deduce that the bell-shaped sign in the middle distance serves to advertise Dinner Bell Cafe and Dinner Bell Cigar Stand. The taxi stand is probably for Safe-Way Taxis. This image doesn’t afford a look up Granville Street to see whether any of the retail outlets from previous decades were extant. But, once again, BC Directories came to the rescue: Lando Furs and Railway Express were still present. But added to the retail mix is a shop called Wigwam Souvenirs.
The reason I’m including this image in the series is because, prior to 1952, Cordova ended at Granville. After that year, however, the street was extended west to Burrard Street. Wilson’s was still on the corner in 1952 (and endured at this site at least until 1961). But none of the other shops is visible.
I don’t know how long the parking garage has been on the corner. But, judging from the final image in this series (below) it’s been there at least since the mid-1970s.
This final photo in the series gives us a glimpse a bit further east up Cordova than we’ve had with earlier images. The Grandview Hotel (at some periods in its history, known as Austin’s Grand View Hotel) had been there since the early years of the century (about 1903); the St. Francis Hotel (at SW Cordova and Seymour) had been at that site from about 1907 (before that, there was a rooming house or hotel known as Revere House, later replaced by the White Swan Hotel).
The Sears sign in the distance marks the site of the iconic building which housed Spencer’s Department Store (from 1928-48) and which would later be home to two other department stores: Eaton’s (1948-70s) and, in a pattern which would be repeated several years later at Pacific Centre, Sears (1970s-80s). Sears ultimately realized it couldn’t make a go of it on this site, and cried “uncle”, turning the building over to Burnaby-based Simon Fraser University (SFU) to become its downtown Vancouver site. The SFU property became known as Harbour Centre Tower.
The early image above was made at the 2300 block of Yukon Street (near 7th Avenue and Cambie Street). Later, this block became less industrial and more residential. The wood frame apartment block which appears below was on the same side of the block (2347 Yukon).