On September 3, 1906 the first North Vancouver streetcar began its journey at the ferry dock, travelled up Lonsdale and stopped at 12th Street. Jack Kelly was the conductor aboard that inaugural run. Everything went smoothly on the way up, but on the way back down, the brakes failed and Car 25 came crashing into another streetcar waiting at the bottom.
Last week I wrote about the oldest house in Vancouver—well at least that’s what they called it when it burned to the ground in 1946. It was built in 1875, and until 1915, its address was Seaton Street.
Unlike most of Vancouver’s streets that are named after old white men, Lauchlan Hamilton, the CPR surveyor, named this one in 1886 after pulling it at random from a map (the town of Seaton is long gone, but used to be near Hazelton in northern BC).
It’s hard to imagine today, but when the Marine Building opened in 1930 it was the tallest building in Vancouver and stayed that way for more than a decade. If you look at the photo (above), you can see that when architects McCarter and Nairne, designed it, four of the 22 floors were built into the cliff above the CPR railway tracks.
The first time I went to the Vancouver Police Museum was in the late 1980s. It was a breakfast meeting for a tourist organization called Vancouver AM, and we ate in the autopsy room. I fell in love with the place then in all its macabre glory, and nearly three decades later I still love going there.
Do you remember the little house on Richards Street between Nelson and Helmcken? It was one of the last ones standing and for years had quite the garden and lots of funky birdhouses and wheelbarrows. I was reminded of it when Glen Mofford posted a photo that he took of owner Percy Linden outside his house in the summer of 2001.
This is an occasional series that asks people who love history and heritage to tell us their favourite existing building and the one that never should have been torn down.
Patrick A. Dunae is a Victoria-born historian. A past member of the City of Victoria Heritage Advisory Panel, he is currently president of the Friends of the BC Archives.
The Birks Building at Granville and Georgia (where the London Drugs store is today) was demolished in May 1974. Two months earlier, on March 24, a group of people got together and held a funeral. Angus McIntyre attended and took photos, and he has kindly written a guest blog about the building and its demise.
If you’re on social media you are likely already familiar with Canadian Colour–beautiful, eye-popping historical photographs of Vancouver’s people, buildings and events. The guy behind these colourized photos is Mark Truelove, a Brit who moved to B.C. 16 years ago, and now lives in Hope.
Mark’s day job is web designer/developer, but increasingly he’s doing colourization work for individuals and corporations.