Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Immigrant Entrepreneurs

You may remember when I wrote on the Hotel Europe. This four-storey brick hotel with semicircular arched windows and Venetian-style brick detailing on the upper levels is known as the Hotel Europe Annex.

Prominent Canadian-Italian entrepreneur Angelo B. Calori had this hotel built in two phases and it is the only significant business venture to be completed by an Italian immigrant prior the Great Depression of 1930.

The first phase, a four-storey brick hotel on the easternmost lot (what we are looking at now) was built in 1886 and is recognized as one of the earliest brick buildings to be built after the Great Fire of 1886 that decimated Vancouver.

Calori's business acumen, along with some favorable decisions from the Canadian Pacific Railway, ensured the Italian immigrant's success as he continued to purchase the adjoining lots and in 1908 he was able to build the Hotel Europe that we see today.

(just a reminder of which building I am referring to. If you look closely you can see the grey of the annex behind the main structure.)

These buildings were renovated and converted into affordable housing in 1983 by architects Adolph Ingre and Associates.

This six-storey building, which is now residential suites, is located at 103 Powell Street - at the corner of Powell Street and Columbia Avenue.

Known as the Fleck Brother's building this imposing yet restrained Edwardian structure was originally a warehouse. It was constructed in two parts from 1910  to 1911 for hardware and chandlery supplier, Boyd and Fordham.

The sheer size of this building attests to the success of Boyd's earlier business venture - Boyd Burns and Co., who were perhaps Vancouver's largest supplier of plumbing, engineering, and, after 1902, ships chandlery supplies.

The Fleck Brothers Building shows the enormous scale and importance of the supply chain in different business ventures such as logging, mining, ship repair and buiding construction. Especially in the days when Vancouver was just emerging and other parts of the province were being settled.

The sale of Boyd and Fordham's business, first to Simson-Balkwill Co. Ltd. around 1913 and by them, in the 1920s, to Gordon and Belyea Ltd., shows how important these businesses were to the development of the province. Fleck Brothers Industrial Limited held the building in the 1960s and 1970s.

(The center photo has nothing to do with this building. It is just something I saw.)

Originally this building was served by its own siding of the Canadian Pacific Railway but with the closure of the branch line and the transition to road freight Gordon and Belyea purchased the CPR right of way and had a three-storey vehicle loading building built to the designs of architects Townley and Matheson in 1933. That building is now demolished.

As you can see this is the May Wah Hotel. It is located on East Pender Street in Chinatown.

Built in 1913 it is also known as the Loyal Hotel and is designed in the Neo-Classical architectural style. The architect responsible was none other than William F. Gardiner. He designed it for the business partnership of Barrett and Deane.

The hotel was designed after the city's 1910 Lodging House By-law had been passed. This by-law was written to clean up the sometimes inhabitable conditions that people were forced to live in.

Although the original fenestration has been replaced with modern units, this imposing hotel retains much of its original character. It occupies three adjacent lots.

Some of the building's importance in history is due to its association with the important entrepreneurial Chinese-Canadian Louie family. In fact the building is still associated with the Le-Kiu Importing Company Ltd and Le-Kiu owners Alex and Victor Louie - the HY Louie Group, are grandsons of the important early Chinese-Canadian businessman HY (Hok Yat) Louie.
I hope you find the beauty around you.
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