Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Banks and Families

Architects Somervell and Putnam designed this Greek temple- style bank for the Union Bank of Canada. However, when it opened in 1920, it was the local head office for the Bank of Toronto.

The Bank of Toronto merged with the Dominion Bank in 1955 and this bank served as the Toronto Dominion Bank's main Vancouver Branch until 1984.

Architect W. Marbury Somervell trained in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and designed this building in the Italian Second Renaissance style. At that time there were ten other banks on Hastings Street, Vancouver's main business street at the time.

Built in 1911, this simple two - storey gabled Craftsman style house is located at 1386 Thurlow Street. This style was prevalent at the time the home was built and is well suited to climate and geography of the West Coast.

The layout and siting of the house are a direct response to the side slope condition of the site. The entry porch is on the uphill side of the property. From what I read it appears that this home is still a single family dwelling which is rare. Many of the older homes in the city have been divided into rental units.

Like this house, next door at 1390 Thurlow. It was built in the same year, is the same style of home but it has been divided into suites.

This home, though it appears to need some work, is occupied. I met a woman who was cleaning the front unit so that it could be rented out.

I don't know if this place is a heriage building or not. I am showing it to you because of a little story I heard. It is beside the previous two I featured, the heritage homes. At one time it was speculated that the three  buildings were going to be torn down and the property sold so a large development could be put in. But the previous two were designated heritage so it can't be done.  I am curious to see what will happen with all the buildings. A lady I spoke with told me that the interior apartments to this unit are beautiful and spacious with quality hardwood floors. Ideally someone with the monies necessary would take over the properties and restore them to their former glory.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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Monday, March 28, 2011


This is the Abbott House located at 720 Jervis Street. It was built for Henry B. Abbot, the first superintendent of the Pacific Division of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Abbot was a prominent figure in the development of Vancouver.

In 1900, when this home was built, this was the heart of Vancouver's first prestigious neighbourhood,  nicknamed Bluebood Alley.

The Abbott House was originally clad in wood lap siding and cedar shingles. The design features a curved bay facing Georgia Street, overhanging eaves and a central gable which features a remarkable art glass window.

Below the window extends a large porch with round columns and a wood railing. The home was restored and a period garden was recreated in 1997 as part of the adjacent large scale development.

This home is at 1050 Nicola. It was built around 1909 and is a prime example of the Edwardian style of homes that were built in Vancouver around that time.

Some of the notable features of this home are the decorative scalloped shingles in the upper portion of the front gable, fluted porch columns, front gable roof along with various forms of fenestration (retaining their original wood frames and with stained glass elements) including a two-storey bay window, and a bay window off the front porch, and dormer window.

Today I walked for along the Seawall for a little while. I happened upon this treasure during my walk.
The inscription inside is great.

(That should say rhytmn of the tides)

I have to admit that today was an interesting day. I took some photos of some beautiful heritage homes but unfortunately the photo of the information plaque was too blurry to read so I will have to go back and get another photo.
But as I was leaving Pacific Street, where the homes were, I decided to head towards Beach Avenue because something caught my attention.
Isn't it interesting? And aren't you glad I took a detour?
I hope you find the beauty around you.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Kensington Place

In 1912 architect Phillip M. Julien designed this Baroque Renaissance building on Nicola Street.The Spanish and Italian influences are quite obvious when a person looks at  Kensington Place.

As is evident from these photos Kensington Place is not only large but also quite decorative.

Surrounding the entrances and windows is precast, iron ornamentation, columns frame the recessed balconies and elaborate consoles support the roof cornice.

This building is unique in the fact that it was built using a combination of a massive timber frame and concrete. Apparently various noteworthy British Columbians  have resided here.

Do you remember when I wrote about Gabriola and the rumour that there was tunnel beneath it that led to 1215 Bidwell Street? According to what I was told B.T. Rogers, who owned Rogers Sugar and Gabriola, used to run bottles of booze through those tunnels. There was a mansion on Bidwell that was also a one time a finishing school for ladies. Later years it became different restaurants. This is what it looks like today.

This blue wall extends for a little ways down Davie Street. At one time the plan was to build a large condominium tower but I heard conflicting stories from different people I talked with on the street. I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens.

I hope you find the beauty around you.
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