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

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)

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

When the King & Queen of England Came To Grandview

In the late spring of 1939, as the political situation in Europe darkened and war with Germany became inevitable, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth toured Canada by train to meet their subjects and bolster the bonds of Empire  From small-town whistle stops on the Prairies to bustling cities coast to coast, eager crowds cheered, … Continue reading When the King & Queen of England Came To Grandview

The Wonderbucks Building

In the most recent Changes On The Drive, I reported that the building at 1301 Commercial, which most of us these days know as the Wonderbucks Building, is now for sale after lying empty for more than a year. The building has a fascinating history which I thought I might relate here. The Fraser family … Continue reading The Wonderbucks Building

Tour of St. Francis Church and Rectory

On Thursday evening last, Fr. Eugenio, pastor of the St. Francis of Assisi parish in Grandview, very kindly invited a group of GHG members and friends to the Church on Napier Street where he took us on a tour of both the church and the rectory where he lives. In the early 1920s, Franciscan monks … Continue reading Tour of St. Francis Church and Rectory

Grandview Transportation: The Long View

Next Tuesday there is an important public meeting about the future of transportation in Grandview.  In anticipation of that meeting, I thought you might be interested to see this headline: This was the front page story in "The Highland Echo" dated 3rd November, 1938 -- seventy four years ago! We have been struggling with this … Continue reading Grandview Transportation: The Long View

The King and Queen Visit Grandview

In the late spring of 1939, as the political situation in Europe darkened and war with Germany became inevitable, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth toured Canada by train to meet their subjects and bolster the bonds of Empire  From small-town whistle stops on the Prairies to bustling cities coast to coast, eager crowds cheered, … Continue reading The King and Queen Visit Grandview

St. Francis of Assisi church and the Italian community

(This is an excerpt from the recently published Vanishing Vancouver: The Last 25 Years [Whitecap Books]. The photographs are from The History of Saint Francis Parish, Vancouver, published in 1959)   The Franciscan Monastery, its front porch closed in, on Semlin at Napier in the 1950s   There are just a handful of places in … Continue reading St. Francis of Assisi church and the Italian community

International Women’s Day: Catherine Bufton

In honour of International Women's Day, I thought I'd write a short piece on one of the most dynamic women ever to grace Grandview and Commercial Drive. Catherine Bufton (nee Drake) was born in Gloucester, England, in 1881.  She emigrated to Manitoba where she met and married Hubert Bufton.  After Hubert's service in World War … Continue reading International Women’s Day: Catherine Bufton

The Development of the 1500-block Commercial

From the earliest days of Grandview's development, the lots on the southeast corner of Commercial and Grant were owned by the Odlum family. Professor Odlum, the pioneering patriarch of the family, built himself a large house on Grant Street, leaving the lots along Commercial vacant, paying taxes on them and keeping them neat. In this … Continue reading The Development of the 1500-block Commercial