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 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

Building The Legion Hall

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day when we celebrate our veterans. It seems an apt time therefore to look at how our newly-painted Legion Hall at 6th & Commercial came to be. The story is told through the pages of our local newspaper, "The Highland Echo". ***** Branch 179 of the Royal Canadian Legion was founded in … Continue reading Building The Legion Hall

What Might Have Been

Anyone who knows Commercial Drive knows Joe's Cafe on the corner of William Street. It is an unprepossessing single-storey flat-roofed structure, not unlike many other similar buildings along the Drive.  This one has been that way since Harry Evans had it built in 1910: Building Permit issued 9th November 1910 Owner: Harry Evans Architect: Townshend … Continue reading What Might Have Been

Lecture about the Shelly’s 4X sign

The neighbourhood's ghost sign at Via Tevere Ristorante on Victoria Drive at William is the subject of a Vancouver Historical Society lecture on Thursday, September 22nd. I will be talking about the discovery of the sign, its restoration by the Grandview Heritage Group in 2012 or was it 2013, and the advertising campaign the bakery … Continue reading Lecture about the Shelly’s 4X sign

Life & Death of Grandview’s Corner Grocery Stores

In an earlier post, we had described the presentation to GHG of the work created by our UBC student intern, Kevin Shackles, on the history, decline, and future of corner stores in Grandview, and their relationship to the development of retail business in the 20th century. Kevin's excellent illustrated thesis can now be viewed as … Continue reading Life & Death of Grandview’s Corner Grocery Stores

Meeting Notes: April 2015

We had another exciting and stimulating meeting of the Grandview Heritage Group last night, with about 20 folks in attendance.  The topics we discussed were as wide-ranging as ever. Ann presented information about a film screening and an art show, both of which will be of interest to Vancouver urbanists.  At the Grunt Art Gallery … Continue reading Meeting Notes: April 2015

Meeting Notes from November 20th

A full house of about 25 for our November meeting... • Our Geography 429 student, Kevin Shackles, introduced himself to the group. He will be working on a project in the Spring to map the old grocery stores and other commercial storefronts of "back-street" Grandview (that is, not The Drive, not Hastings Street) and investigate … Continue reading Meeting Notes from November 20th

Notes From Our October Meeting

We had another fine turn-out for our October meeting, with some new and welcome faces. We began by discussing the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhood's all-candidates meeting.  The candidates' responses re: the Heritage Action Plan were discussed.  It was also noted that all parties other than Vision had stated their opposition to the current Grandview Community … Continue reading Notes From Our October Meeting

Scott’s and other grocery stores

As reported in the previous post, Scott's Grocery is having a close-out sale; Steve and Esther, who have run it for more than 20 years, are retiring to Burnaby, the building has been sold, and the new owner reportedly wants to build "apartments" on the RM4-zoned site. Here's Scott's in Google Street View: ... and … Continue reading Scott’s and other grocery stores

Meeting Notes: February

We had another excellent meeting last night, with some new people joining us for the first time. I think they had a good tme.  Our discussions included: the Green House next to the Cultch.  Michael reviewed the history of our involvement and our desire to see the building renovated rather than demolished. It was noted … Continue reading Meeting Notes: February

Business Development on Commercial Drive

It is very pleasant to see our work used as the basis of a story in Spacing Vancouver:  The article in question is part of Erick Villagomez's series "Cartographically Speaking" and uses material that was originally presented at one of our meetings about a year or so ago. Erick is a good friend of GHG … Continue reading Business Development on Commercial Drive

More On The Buftons

In another place, I have written about a marvelous lunch I had this week with JoAnn Bufton, granddaughter of Hubert and Catherine Bufton, founders of the florist shop that flourished on the Drive from 1920 through the mid-1980s. In addition to the wonderful oral history she was able to provide, she also gave me some … Continue reading More On The Buftons

Shelly’s 4X sign restored!

Kudos all round for the completion of the project to restore the unique Shelly's sign on the side of Via Tevere restaurant at Victoria and William. The owners of the restaurant paid the lion's share of the costs; our Neighbourhood Small Grant will cover the balance of the materials costs, and we have money in … Continue reading Shelly’s 4X sign restored!

International Women’s Day: Mary Lindfield

Mary Lindfield was one of the many women who have made Commercial Drive such a wonderful place to live, and it is through her that we celebrate International Women's Day 2013. Mary Lindfield was born in Mosside, Alberta, where her parents were visiting from South Africa.  By the mid-1940s she was travelling supervisor for Harriet … Continue reading International Women’s Day: Mary Lindfield

The Bentholme Building

Those residents of Grandview who have been here for more than, say, seventy years might remember that the north west corner of First & Commercial was the site of the Grandview School of Commerce. Since the mid-1980s,this has been the site of Il Mercarto Mall, which is how most people think of it.However, from the … Continue reading The Bentholme Building

The Wealthy Barber and The Tin Man

Just the other day I was standing on Commercial Drive looking across at two of my favourite buildings which are in the centre of the east side of the 1600-block. The building on the left is the Odlin Block and the building on the right is the Rodway Block.  My interest was piqued because these … Continue reading The Wealthy Barber and The Tin Man