Monday, January 31, 2011

Abbotts and Future Sensing Dogs

Let's take a look at a place on Abbott Street in Gastown. Abbott Street was named for H.H. Abbot (1829 - 1915) who was a general superintendent for the CPR in BC.

This is 228 Abbott Street. It has been called the Hickey Block or the Abbott Cosmopolitan Rooms. Built in 1889, the Hickey Block is an early Gastown hotel.
This Victorian Italianate style building was one of the first brick buildings to be built after the Great Fire of 1886. It was a beautiful example of the craftmanship that existed in Vancouver as the city was emerging as Western Canada's predominant commercial center.

For a short time this was home to the Central City Mission until the mission's permanent home was built in 1911. Across the street at 233 Abbott Street.

When I read the above information it saddened me. I look at these photos and realize how this building has been left to deteriorate, this piece of our history could be vanishing. Hopefully someone will redo it.
Ming Wo Cookware has been in existence in Chinatown since 1917. Back then it was a hardware store and hardware stores sold everything. It was founded by Wong Chew Lip and in an article I read which was from 2006 the reporter was speaking with the grandaugher, Fontaine Wong. According to Ms. Wong it is still a family business and they have retained some of the original wood floors and shelving.

While walking today- I was on Cordova Street I think - I happened upon a street mosaic with an interesting story to it.

You might be furrowing your brow right now wondering what the importance of a yellow dog is. Well you remember the stories of Gassy Jack Deighton who founded Gastown - with a saloon - and was a character. He had numerous health problems (one theory is chronic heart and lung disease) and was bedridden in May of 1875. His yellow dog started howling the night of May 29 and Jack is reputed to have said "You son-of-a-bitch! There's something going to happen." And something did. That evening, at the age of 44, Gassy Jack Deighton passed away. Did the dog know something I wonder?

This is the Chinese Benevolent Association Building or the CBA building which was built in 1909. From its beginnings all through the 1960s this building and its inhabitents have played a vital role in the Chinese community in Vancouver.

Chinatown's leading businessmen at the time lent their time, expertise and other assets to ensure the building's construction. Wang Yu Shan sold the CBA the property at rock bottom prices, not making a profit at all;  Yip Sang, owner of the Wing Sang Company, supervised the construction work and Chang Toy, owner of the Sam Kee Company (the narrowest building in the world) also lent a hand.

The CBA was instrumental for many decades in trying to uphold the rights of the Chinese immigrants that were living not only in Vancouver but also across the country. The organization helped to supply education and health services; the CBA lobbied the government over such injustices as the Head Tax that was imposed on Chinese immigrants.
In 1910 a hospital for the Chinese was established in the building and seven years later the Chinese Public School became a tenant. Even though the CBA's influence and power started to decline in the 1960s due to the changing times, this building and the work that organization did remains important not only to Chinatown's history but to Vancouver as well.

Remember when I wrote on the Vancouver Club and couldn't find much information on it? Well this is the rear - last time I showed the Hastings Street entrance - and I managed to find some information after all.

January 1, 1914 is the date I found for this building. It is designed in a sophisticated Edwardian era structure with Classic Revival ornamentation. The architectural firm of Sharp and Thompson were responsible for this clubhouse that was made to resemble a substantial British townhouse - a home away from home if you will for the private club members.Interesting note. Shortly after winning the commission to build the Vancouver club, Sharp and Thompson won their most famous commisson - the University of British Columbia.

The above is a shot of downtown. You can see the train and the yeards, the W and the rear of a few Gastown buildings.

And a shot of downtown taken from East Hastings, around Victoria Drive. I was trying to get a really good photo of that balloon - the red dot you see - but it didn't work.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

TAGS:, , , ,,,,

No comments:

Post a Comment