Anders Falk is a Vancouver realtor with deep roots in the city. His great, great grandparents William and Mary Henderson Garden arrived in Vancouver from Helensburgh, Scotland, via Liverpool and a cross Canada train trip in April 1889. William opened up Garden and Sons Wholesale Tea and Coffee on East Hastings. By 1894, Murchies has broken their monopoly on the tea business, and William and Mary and their two sons William and John have moved into a new house at the corner of Thurlow and Alberni Street.
William died in 1897, and the following year, the business has disappeared from the directory. John became a lumber broker and William Junior played in a band and worked at the Bay for his day job. The Gardens remain at 752 Thurlow until 1903. Fortunately one of the Garden family was an avid photographer and was able to capture the family’s various activities—at the house, a boat at the rowing club, and biking in Stanley Park.
Anders says Joe Fortes taught the Garden kids to swim at nearby English Bay.
William Lamont Tait, a wealthy retired lumber and real estate tycoon, is the next resident at 752 Thurlow. Tait must have spent much of the next few years planning and supervising the building of Glen Brae, his Shaughnessy mansion on Matthews. Completed in 1911, Glen Brae, named for Tait’s Scottish homeland, was dubbed “the Mae West” by locals because of its two outlandish turrets. Tait died in 1919, and in 1925, his former house became the headquarters of the KKK. More recently it has found a nicer use as Canuck Place.
The house on Thurlow Street and Alberni, like most large places in the West End, went through a number of uses—at one point it was a YWCA, a nursery, and during the First World War, it was occupied by the Canadian Medical Army Corps.
Between 1924 and 1940, 752 Thurlow showed up as the Vancouver Women’s Building in the directories, and in 1941 it was taken over by the Salvation Army. Surprisingly, it looks like it survived until at least 1956, and at some point went through a street change to #754.
In 1966, 752 Thurlow was a three-storey building next to the Manhattan Apartments and occupied by Oil Can Harry’s. The club stayed there for the next 11 years.
The Carlyle, a 21-storey tower replaced the Thurlow Street building in 1989. Its address is now on Alberni.
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