Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Parr and Fee

Today I want to tell you about two architects in Vancouver's history and you may remember seeing their names numerous times in previous blog entries.

John Edmeston Parr was born in 1856 in London England and came to Vancouver in 1896. Son of Samuel Parr, a London architect, John Parr first opened a solo practice but a year later he partnered with Samuel Maclure for two years before joining forces with Thomas Arthur Fee.

Thomas Arthur Fee was born in Drummond County, Quebec in 1860. He learned how to be an architect by studying under Minneapolis architect Harry Wild Jones. Fee contracted polio as a child and spent the rest of his life wearing leg braces.

Together Parr and Fee are responsible for many of Vancouver's heritage buildings. The three photos I have shown you so far are from the Glen Brae House which was built in 1910 for lumber magnate William Lamont Tait. It has a ballroom on the third floor with a floor underlaid with seaweed.

Vancouver has listed this as a heritage building and it is now a hospice for children - Canuck Place.

Here's another house designed by Parr and Fee, this one on West 12 Avenue and built in 1909. By the looks of it has now been divided into rooms or units to rent.

Doesn't the domed tower look familiar? It was a trademark of theirs apparently.

Presently this is called the Moda Hotel but when it opened in 1908 it was called the Dufferin Hotel after a former Governor General of Canada, Lord Dufferin.

Back then the hotel's main clientele was Canadian Pacific Rail workers and travelers. I would like to mention that according to Wikipedia the hotel was built in 1910 but the Moda Hotel website states it opened in 1908. So that is the date I will stick with here.

This massive building on Dunsmuir was constructed in 1908 and opened as the Dunsmuir Hotel. During World War II it served as barracks and later it was home to the Salvation Army.

When the Salvation Army moved in 2003 this building became the Dunsmuir International Village Student Housing - a home for international students coming here to learn English.

1911 saw the Hotel Barron make its appearance on Granville Street in Vancouver. Now it is the Comfort Inn.
This building dates back to the start of the Parr and Fee partnership - it was built in 1899. Originally this was the McDowell, Atkins & Watson Company Building but now, as you can see, it is the Cambie Hostel.

This is just a sample of the structures that Parr and Fee designed. In 1912 the partnership dissolved with Parr forming a new company with John Mackenzie and John Charles Day - Parr, Mackenzie & Day - which operated until 1918.

Fee left architecture to pursue other interests. He vocally opposed Canada's involvement in World War I and gained more notoriety for promoting the idea of British Columbia joining the United States.

John Edmeston Parr passed away in 1923 and Thomas Arthur Fee followed in 1929. But they left their mark on this city and helped to shape it.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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