Wednesday, February 27, 2013


This is a Crafstman style home at 2439 Eton Street, and a fine example of one. Builder-contractor Andrew Berquist who was also responsible for numerous other local buildings such as 2457 and 2487 Eton and an apartment building at 2598 Eton built it in 1911.

The ownership of this home passed on to Berquist's son, Art, who was also a contractor and the house remained in the family until 2000.

This house has been kept in exceptional condition with a multitude of original details. The decorative brackets, den-tilled barge boards, stained glass, curved balcony recess and original dark stained interior remind visitors of the beauty of years gone by.

This is another building built by Berquist - 2598 Eton Street - also built in 1911.

It is known as Park Grocery. Before the city adopted its usage-restricting zoning bylaw, corner grocery stores were common in our residential areas.

The majority of today's neighbourhood grocery stores are operated by Chinese Canadians, who entered this field after having monopolized local truck gardening.

This bay windowed, 3-storey clap board building has suites above the shop that was originally called the Beacon Hill Grocery. This store served the East Hastings area, which is an extension of the former Hastings Townsite. The district developed rapidly with the extension of the street car lines along McGill Street shortly after 1910.

For the information I relayed on the buildings I have to thank the plaque outside the Berquist house and bob_2006 at The photos you are seeing today are ones I have taken.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Film at 1907

On Friday, I promised to tell you about a film that was made here in 1907 by Seattle movie maker, William Harbeck. I also thought it would be interesting to show you a few photos from that time as well so you could see Vancouver as he did. These photos came from the Vancouver Public Library collection of historical photos.

The top photo is a view along West Hastings - you can see the Woodwards building. The second one is at Brockton Point in Stanley Park, the third is at the corner of Hastings and Granville Street and the fourth photo was taken on Granville Street. All were taken in 1907.

This film is only seven minutes long but it apparently has thrilled those who have seen it. Harbeck filmed his journey along Granville and Hastings, along Westminster (now Main Street) as well as Carrall, Powell, Cordova, Robson and Davie. Harbeck's film ends at about the 1100 block of Davie Street.

This is a 1907 wanted poster for 'The Grey Fox' and to read more on him, please consult this entry.

All the men in this film wore hats and all the women were attired in dark, ground length skirts. People hurried in and out of stores and occasionally a recognizable sign could be seen: Knowlton's Drugs, P. Burns (the third photo is of the legendary meat packer, taken about 1897),the Edison Grand Theatre; Woodwards and 'Cascade: A Beer without Peer'. The second CPR station at the foot of Granville, Trorey's Jewellry Store and the original Province newspaper building are also seen. 

Three months before this film was shot, George Trorey sold his store to Birks, though they kept him on as manager. Birks also kept the now famous clock, which you can see in the third photo.If you want to learn more about the Birks clock go here.

In this film you can see streets full of horse drawn carriages, pedestrians and lots of people on bicycles. There were a few cars in Vancouver in 1907 but apparently they aren't on this film.

How this film came into Vancouver's possession is an interesting story.

It was found in the basement of an abandoned theatre in Australia. It had been discarded by movie house managers and was with other films no longer watched.

Someone looked at the film and thought it was an American city so they sent it to the Library of Congress. It was viewed there but someone rightly decided it wasn't a city in the U.S. So, off to the National Archives in Ottawa the film went. There the location was recognized as Vancouver.

A little side tidbit: A resident along the route, occupying a studio on the second floor at 570 Granville, was Emily Carr.

 Do you remember when I wrote on the great fire in New Westminster in 1898? If not, here is a link to the original entry.

While going over photos in the Vancouver Public Library I found two that show the disaster. The first was taken by Stuart Thompson and the second by Dominion Photo Co.

It is necessary to thank the History of Metropolitan Vancouver website for the information on the 1907 film.

A piece of news. The Bond, A Paranormal Love Story has been named MasterKoda's Indie published Best Book of 2012.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Still '43

On November 11, 1943 - after being silence due to wartime shortages - our city's Famous Nine O'Clock gun fired again. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story of Vancouver's Nine O'Clock gun, please visit here to learn more.)

On November 13, local newspapers reported that the president of Army and Navy Department Stores Ltd, Samuel J. Cohen, had purchased the Dominion Bank Building. Rumour was that Cohen planned to turn this 15-storey, office building at the Northwest corner of Cambie and Hastings into a modern department store after the war. But that never happened.

According to Cohen's granddaughter, Jacqui Cohen, that was never the plan. Samuel bought the building because the price was right.

Christmas Day 1943 was a sad one for the Knowlton family. Edmund Shorey Knowlton died at the age of 75.

Knowlton was a pioneer druggist. Born in Newboro, Ontario in 1868, Knowlton came to B.C. in 1896 and opened 'Knowlton's Drug Store' a year later. He moved to store to a series of sites on Westminster (now Main Street) and Hastings before finally setting in 1911 at 15 E Hastings.

After his death, the company continued. In 1948, Knowlton's opened a second drug store in West Vancouver. In 1965, the name was changed to Knowlans Drugs but restored to the original name in 1970.

A famous 1907 film of Vancouver, which I will tell you about on Monday, shows one of the Knowlton locations.
I took this photo recently just to show that spring is coming! At least in my part of the world.

It was in 1943 that Kitsilano Beach was used for rehearsing commando beach assaults. 

1943 is the year that the Southlands Riding Club was incorporated. Now it sits on just over seven hectares in the heart of the community but it wasn't always so grand.

Originally, an abandoned fishermen's net storage hut on Deering Island was dismantled and carried piece by piece to a new location to build the club house. This was all done by members on horseback.

62-year-old Victor Odlum was named Canada's first ambassador to China in 1943. A former soldier and newspaper publisher, he served until 1946. (Victor was the son of Edward Faraday Odlum after who there is a nearby street named after. And one with a few historical homes that I have to get photos of.)

I have to thank The History of Metropolitan Vancouver website for the above information. There is more to tell and I may do so on Monday. If there is room after telling you of the 1907 film.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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