100 Years Ago Today in Grandview, #3

. 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

The Drive: Birth of a Community (1901-1907)

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)

The Drive 1890s: False Start

. 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

Louis Toban: Drug Store Tycoon and Philanthropist

. 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 Buftons of Commercial Drive: A Biographical Sketch

. 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

Bringing Self-Service To Vancouver & The Drive, 1918-1926

. 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 Viaduct That Saved Grandview (1938)

. 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)

The 50 Year Struggle To Get A Library in Grandview

. 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

Lawn Bowling to Rock ‘n’ Roll: Leisure on the Drive, 1930-1965

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

Smallpox! Grandview’s Isolation Hospital

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