. Swap Columns The Vancouver dailies included scores of pages of ads. Many of them were corporate material just trying to sell you stuff; but a significant number were "swap" ads, where individuals offered up something in exchange for something else. For example, on Saturday 3rd February 1923, someone offered a short silk plush coat … Continue reading 100 Years Ago Today in Grandview, #3
. It was a big day for Grandview -- January 29th, 1923 -- as the Grandview Theatre debuted its brand-new $15,000 orchestral organ. It was, they said, "the last word in organs." You got all this, plus a Jackie Coogan feature, for just 30 cents!
. One hundred years ago today, on 24th January 1923, it was announced that the School Board had purchased the block between Lakewood & Templeton, and E. Georgia and Barnard (now Adanac), for the sum of $10,500, a price that was considered "exceptionally low". This would eventually become Templeton School.
. The summer of 1910 was a hot one for labour across North America. In the first couple of weeks of July, more than fifty thousand garment workers went on strike in New York in a dispute that would eventually draw in more than 100,000 workers; bricklayers and stonemasons walked off the job in Montreal; … Continue reading The Italian Labourers’ Strike, July 1910
. Magnet Hardware, which currently operates as a Home Hardware franchise on the corner of Commercial & Graveley, has been in business for exactly 100 years today. Magnet originally opened on 28th October 1922 “in the gallery of the Cal Van Market” at 25 Hastings Street. By early 1923, the business was located at 1515 … Continue reading Happy 100th Magnet Hardware!
This is the third chapter in my history of early Commercial Drive. Chapter One: In The Beginning Chapter Two: False Start * * * * What pushed things forward was the change in use of the interurban line and its inclusion in the city-wide streetcar system. The Vancouver Electric Car Co had been given rights … Continue reading The Drive: Birth of a Community (1901-1907)
. In 1890, the boostering land owners of Vancouver and New Westminster -- backed by their respective mayors and financial elites -- decided it had become necessary to link the two cities by means of an electric interurban railroad. One contemporary observer later confided that "there was a strong suspicion in many minds" that an … Continue reading The Drive 1890s: False Start
. In the beginning there was forest, where the local indigenous peoples hunted deer and other animals for untold generations. But then the settlers arrived and much of the rolling hills east of the new city of Vancouver had been granted to the Hastings Mill Company as a timber lease in 1870. They paid a … Continue reading The Drive: In The Beginning
. Louis Toban was born in 1901 in Lithuania to a Jewish family. His father, Samuel Toban, came to Vancouver in 1910. The following year, Samuel’s wife and six children joined him and they were all naturalized as Canadian citizens in 1914.i It took a while for the Toban family to settle down; between 1914 … Continue reading Louis Toban: Drug Store Tycoon and Philanthropist
. The Bufton family opened a store on Commercial Drive in the early 1920s. By the time they closed their business in the 1980s, they had become Drive royalty, both as a result of their corporate longevity and also because of their active involvement in so many of the issues that faced Grandview in those … Continue reading The Buftons of Commercial Drive: A Biographical Sketch
. The Great War of 1914-1918 brought with it many changes to Canadian society. This brief essay looks at one such change; the move from full service grocers to the concept of self-service. During the war, and for some time thereafter, most retail businesses on the Drive were still stores rather than shops, with apron-clad … Continue reading Bringing Self-Service To Vancouver & The Drive, 1918-1926
. The boom for building in Grandview was in the decade before the First World War, and by 1914, the neighbourhood was filling out and thriving. Unfortunately, the impact of the War and the business downturns immediately after, left the Drive without much opportunity for further development and expansion. These difficulties were exacerbated a decade … Continue reading The Viaduct That Saved Grandview (1938)
. It was during 1950 that the Grandview Chamber of Commerce took up the issue of a lack of a library in Grandview. The need for a library in the district had been recognized as far back as the 1920s, and a site on the northwest corner of 3rd and Commercial was selected and purchased … Continue reading The 50 Year Struggle To Get A Library in Grandview
One hundred years ago today, 3rd June, 1922, there was an auction of household contents at 1549 E. 2nd in Grandview. The 6-room wooden house had been owned and occupied for some time by Albert Cameron and his wife, Susannah. Albert is listed in the census of the previous year as a carpenter in a … Continue reading House Contents, 1922
The times they were a’changin’. The long recession that swamped Grandview from 1913 to the mid-1920s had merged into the Great Depression after just a few years of optimism and building. However, continued population pressures brought a steady growth of residents and the consequent continuation of trade for the kind of businesses that served the … Continue reading Lawn Bowling to Rock ‘n’ Roll: Leisure on the Drive, 1930-1965
. The northwest corner of First and Commercial must today be considered a prime retail location. For most residents of the neighbourhood, except for those with memories stretching back more than thirty years, that intersection is Il Mercato Mall with a VanCity credit union on the corner itself. But before the mid-1980s, when the Mall … Continue reading Battle For The School Site, 1940-1955
The first Isolation Hospital, known then as the pest house, in Vancouver was just a shack on the Inlet near where B.C. Sugar refinery would soon be built. However, when smallpox -- “the loathsome disease” -- struck in 1892, the shack was quickly abandoned, and infectious disease victims were shuffled off to a temporary camp … Continue reading Smallpox! Grandview’s Isolation Hospital
. In 1888, more than a dozen years before Grandview began any proper existence, a prosperous merchant, the Toronto-based E.J. Clark offered to give to the City of Vancouver seven acres of land he owned east of False Creek to be used for “athletic purposes”. This was not the simple philanthropic gesture that it may … Continue reading Grandview’s Parks to 1930
Visitors and locals alike often wonder why Commercial Drive south of First Avenue -- a wide arterial road -- is different than the northern half which is narrower and more intimate. The reason goes back more than 110 years and it all had to do with political intrigue in the Balkans. Like many streets in … Continue reading The Widening of Commercial Drive
It was the spring of 1949 and Commercial Drive -- after two long decades of Depression and War -- was reveling in the first flush of postwar prosperity: the stores were full and people finally had money to spend. No doubt, it was this very prosperity that drew Robert Harrison to the corner of First … Continue reading Shoot Out At First & Commercial