Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Panels on Powell

Today we are continuing our stroll through Japantown and the first place I am showing you is the Maikawa Department Store at 365 Powell Street. The Maikawa and Co General Store opened at this location in 1908. It quickly became the largest commercial operation on Powell Street.

Tomekichi Maikawa owned this operation while his two brothers also opened stores on the same block. Behind their stores was a boarding house for their employees - most employees were Japanese immigrants. In the 1930s the Maikawa family businesses took over most of the north side of the block. In 1936 two lots were consolidated and architect T.L. Kerr was hired to design a new Art Deco style building. (Interesting fact. The original store is behind the Art Deco facade) And, if you look at the top photos, the name Maikawa is still visible across the front.

The Hotel Yebisuya shows an attempt by the Japanese to fit in with the rest of Vancouver. This Edwardian-Commercial, bay-windowed design building is typical of other structures built in Vancouver in 1907. To this day a person can see similar buildings along Main Street and Commercial Drive.

This building was originally three stories and the Hotel Yebisuya was a rooming house for seasonal workers while the retail spaces on the ground floors had Japanese run businesses such as the Ikeda Barbershop, Nabata shoemaker, cafes, restaurants, a meat shop, a tailor and a pool room.

This cheery building is now the home of Doulble Happiness Food Limited but it has been many things since it was built around 1907. At least that is when part of it was built.
Hatsume Watchmaker has resided here as has Hori's Coffee Shop and Hitose-Yu Bathhouse. The bathhouse was one of five Japanese style ofuro bathhouses. Bathers would thoroughly scrub before entering a large, communal hot tub. Clients were charged five to ten cents at these bathhouses with items such as towels, soaps and washcloths being supplied by the bathhouse. Hitose-Yu Bathhouse ran from 1936 - 1942. 

441 Powell Street has been home to Russ Rooming House from 1898 to 1902; the Uchida Family from 1908 to 1942 and Wakabyashi Tofu was located here from approximately the 1920s to 1942.

Many families lived in small apartments above the business they ran on the street level.

In 1906 393 Powell Street was Ebata Japanese Goods. Three years later the Canadian News was here and during the 1930s it was home to Maple/Victory Rooms. Tsuruda Sewing was here in 1941.

Some of the information for this post and a few former entries has been garnered from panels on the sides of certain buildings in Japantown that are part of the Open Doors Project. Panels like this.

When I attend the Powell Street Festival I picked up a small notice on these panels and it is such a joy to see people taking such pride in their history and informing others of what was once here.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

,, ,,,,,

No comments:

Post a Comment