Another piece of vintage China, this time by Shelley Potteries, it’s a Lions Gate Bridge creamer, via ebay. According to wikipedia:

Shelley Potteries, situated in Staffordshire, was earlier known as Wileman & Co. which had also traded as The Foley Potteries. The first Shelley to join the company was Joseph Ball Shelley in 1862 and in 1896 his son Percy Shelley became the sole proprietor, after which it remained a Shelley family business until 1966 when it was taken over by Allied English Potteries. Its china and earthenware products were many and varied although the major output was table ware. In the late Victorian period the Art Nouveau style pottery and Intarsio ranges designed by art director Frederick Alfred Rhead were extremely popular but Shelley is probably best known for its fine bone china “Art Deco” ware of the inter-war years and post-war fashionable tea ware…

Very cute 1936 Golden Jubilee teacup. Currently for sale on ebay (which ironically, does not ship to Canada!):

One Aynsley Bone China Tea Cup made in England. It shows a beautiful panorama of Vancouver in 1886 (trees and a few homes made of logs) to a panorama of Vancouver in 1936 (a vast metropolis). It is very light. Delicate almost in its transparency. I have had this cup in my collection for years. Signed “Photo Arts Ltd.”

Looking for one of these locally? Try the traveling flea market circuit here!

Letterhead from The Vancouver Breweries Ltd; comprised of the Red Cross Brewery at left, and the Doering and Marstrand Brewery at right, from a letter dated 1906. Thanks, Robert!

This line of Vancouver Breweries can be traced back to some of the earliest names in brewing in our city. The City Brewery appeared in Vancouver around 1887, according to Beer Barons of BC by Bill Wilson and Brewed in Canada by Allan Winn Sneath. House of Suds mentions the year 1882, but I believe that to be an error. Actually, the City Brewery’s origins could be traced back as early as 1879, if there is any connection between the City Brewery on Cunningham Street in New Westminster (I’m not certain if there is).

A somewhat mysterious J.A. Rekab or Rekabe is the first man noted operating Vancouver’s City Brewery on Seaton Street near the CPR wharf. He’s mysterious in that he’s only listed for that first year (John Williams takes over the following year) and I have no idea where he’s from. Personally I wonder if his name is an abbreviation or Anglicized version of the surname Al-Rekabe.

I doubt we can call him the first brewer in town though (on second thought, maybe we can); by 1888 he’s listed in the same phone book alongside at least two other brewers, Robert Reisterer and Charles Doering. Reisterer’s first brewery was called Mainland Brewery, located near Brewery Creek, and Doering’s first choice of names was the Vancouver Brewery (which changed to Doering & Marstrand’s Brewing in 1892).

City Brewery would become Red Cross Brewery around 1890, and after changing hands a few times, and Williams, Doering, and Marstrand would ultimately merge to form the first company named Vancouver Breweries Limited in the year 1900. Most of this info comes from Beer Barons of BC by Bill Wilson, for those who want further plot twists and turns.

Someone wrote to me today asking:

I have two beer bottles from Vancouver Breweries each with a paper label for ‘Queen Beer’. The bottles themselves still have the original corks pushed down inside. one is a very pale green, almost clear, the other is ‘beer bottle brown’. Their shape is similar to a modern wine bottle. The paper labels are identical. Can you offer any insight into their age? Are there folks who collect these?
Ah yes, Queen Beer, a most colonial name choice for a beer! Given the brand comes from Vancouver Breweries Ltd. (plural), we can date this to be some time around 1900 or thereafter, and I would guess within the first 10 years. I can ask the local bottle club for more details - they are a combined wealth of knowledge! And indeed, early bottles can be very collectible, especially with their labels!
Feel free to send me photos or more information about such things; I’m always interested to learn more, and I believe things like this ought to be more carefully cataloged. Thanks also to the recent follower who contacted me with a UDL bottle; I always appreciate such gifts! I should also note I’m working on a chapter for an upcoming book featuring some of Vancouver’s lost prohibition era beer history; there are a number of super discoveries, and I’m very excited about the project! Stay tuned for more in the months to follow!
A very early postcard from Vancouver, Christmas, 1887. This card was sent with compliments from Johnston & Tyson.

May Christmas joys flow into your heart, and peace and happiness ever wait on your dear household.

via Neil Whaley at the Vancouver Postcard Club:

Shown [above] is a trade card from when the city was one year old and the population was only 2,000. The card was chromo-lithographed by Louis Prang of Boston, and overprinted with an 1887 Christmas greeting from Gastown clothiers AG Johnston and AM Tyson. 

Johnston and Tyson were located briefly at 2 Carrall Street. According to the 1888 phone book, JC Johnston also had a boot and shoe store on Cordova Street; both JC and AG Johnston were listed with Johnston and Tyson, and the two Johnston’s lived on Westminster Avenue (Main Street). By 1892, AM Tyson had moved his gent’s furnishings store to 200 Carrall Street, and AG Johnston was working as a bookkeeper for John Scuitto on Powell Street.
The deadline for Christmas delivery of lettermail overseas has already past (that was Friday, December 6, 2013); this Friday is the deadline for USA; and cards to Canada can wait as late as December 17, 18, or 19, depending on how far it has to go. But don’t delay too much longer; everyone loves getting mail at Christmas!

A very early postcard from Vancouver, Christmas, 1887. This card was sent with compliments from Johnston & Tyson.

May Christmas joys flow into your heart, and peace and happiness ever wait on your dear household.

via Neil Whaley at the Vancouver Postcard Club:

Shown [above] is a trade card from when the city was one year old and the population was only 2,000. The card was chromo-lithographed by Louis Prang of Boston, and overprinted with an 1887 Christmas greeting from Gastown clothiers AG Johnston and AM Tyson. 

Johnston and Tyson were located briefly at 2 Carrall Street. According to the 1888 phone book, JC Johnston also had a boot and shoe store on Cordova Street; both JC and AG Johnston were listed with Johnston and Tyson, and the two Johnston’s lived on Westminster Avenue (Main Street). By 1892, AM Tyson had moved his gent’s furnishings store to 200 Carrall Street, and AG Johnston was working as a bookkeeper for John Scuitto on Powell Street.

The deadline for Christmas delivery of lettermail overseas has already past (that was Friday, December 6, 2013); this Friday is the deadline for USA; and cards to Canada can wait as late as December 17, 18, or 19, depending on how far it has to go. But don’t delay too much longer; everyone loves getting mail at Christmas!

The Carrall Street Gas Plant, an illustrated booklet showing the operations of the new Carrall Street gas plant illustrated by KEN and published by BC Electric in 1932. I believe the plant went into service in 1933, and the plant obtained gas from coal until some time in the 1960s? I’m not sure; not much has been written about this former Vancouver landmark. If anyone knows, feel free to comment. The current Georgia Street viaducts were built over top of the site in 1972. This has left something of a toxic legacy, as stated on page 11 of this PDF report on the Georgia Street viaducts.

The activities and wastes associated with this former gas plant have significantly influenced the environmental conditions in the area, and will be an important factor in future remediation planning.

This comment by Alex Mackinnon noted on the Skyscraperpage bulletin board sums up the problem:

I was talking to Andy with Bing Thom at the Viaducts or Viadon’ts event, and according to him, the land underneath the viaduct in 1986 was estimated to cost $180M to rehabilitate due to contamination issues from the coal gas plant that used to occupy the site. CPI adjusted this is $372M in 2012 dollars.

While the industrial waste has left it’s toxic mark in the soil, it also affected the city skyline for many years with this ginormous gasometer jutting out of False Creek. I’ve decided to include a photograph from the Vancouver Archives just to give you an impression of the scale of this structure. You can also see the silo in the top left of the Goranson/Fisher/Hughes mural here. And Tom Carter seems to recall someone - probably Arthur Irving - said the whole city smelled like coal gas while it was being demolished.

KEN illustrated a number of other BC Electric pamphlets and brochures, but I have yet to determine who he actually was. He’s a pretty good draftsman, so I’d like to know more about him! Thanks again to Neil Whaley for contributing this brochure image!

A Souvenir Folder of Vancouver, a postcard printed by the Photogelatine Engraving Co. Limited, Ottawa, via ebay. This page mentions the firm operated from 1910-1953.

A Souvenir Folder of Vancouver, a postcard printed by the Photogelatine Engraving Co. Limited, Ottawa, via ebay. This page mentions the firm operated from 1910-1953.

Vancouver, Gateway to the Orient, a bicycle registration decal. On April 22, 1963, Bryan registered his bicycle, but for some reason or other, the bike vanished and the decal was never applied. Now, 50 years later, I present to you bicycle registration number 14414.
At the time, bicycle registration was 50¢, subject to renewal each year. If you sold or gave away your bicycle, you were to mail the certificate to the bike registration depot on 2512 Yukon Street. If your bike was lost or stolen, you would immediately report your bike to the police with this certificate. Given that these registration decals were more like temporary tattoos, I can’t imagine they were very effective.
Today, the VPD recommends you engrave your bike with your DL or provincial ID number with their Log it or Lose it campaign. Alternatively, I believe it was the Kryptonite lock company who created Bikeshepherd.org and sister site Bikerevolution.ca which offer an updated version of bike registration. You can register online for free in their global bike database. You can also purchase 3 tamper-resistant decals for $14.95 which contain QR codes. These codes can rapidly assist anyone linking a found bike to an online directory of missing bikes.
What does the future hold? Well, there’s a whole host of new smart bike tools emerging as we speak; I just found these three on Kickstarter for instance. Oh, and another one! We haven’t quite gotten to the stage where lost bikes will automatically return themselves to their owners, but we’re getting closer.

Vancouver, Gateway to the Orient, a bicycle registration decal. On April 22, 1963, Bryan registered his bicycle, but for some reason or other, the bike vanished and the decal was never applied. Now, 50 years later, I present to you bicycle registration number 14414.

At the time, bicycle registration was 50¢, subject to renewal each year. If you sold or gave away your bicycle, you were to mail the certificate to the bike registration depot on 2512 Yukon Street. If your bike was lost or stolen, you would immediately report your bike to the police with this certificate. Given that these registration decals were more like temporary tattoos, I can’t imagine they were very effective.

Today, the VPD recommends you engrave your bike with your DL or provincial ID number with their Log it or Lose it campaign. Alternatively, I believe it was the Kryptonite lock company who created Bikeshepherd.org and sister site Bikerevolution.ca which offer an updated version of bike registration. You can register online for free in their global bike database. You can also purchase 3 tamper-resistant decals for $14.95 which contain QR codes. These codes can rapidly assist anyone linking a found bike to an online directory of missing bikes.

What does the future hold? Well, there’s a whole host of new smart bike tools emerging as we speak; I just found these three on Kickstarter for instance. Oh, and another one! We haven’t quite gotten to the stage where lost bikes will automatically return themselves to their owners, but we’re getting closer.

The Lions Gate Bridge, from an ad for the British Properties from May 27, 1939, just a couple years after the bridge had opened. The complete ad has been posted here.

The Lions Gate Bridge, from an ad for the British Properties from May 27, 1939, just a couple years after the bridge had opened. The complete ad has been posted here.

The Stanley Park entrance and Stanley Park Brewery, painted in 1897 by artist unknown, via the Vancouver Archives blog. Also shown here is a photograph of Jackson T. Abray (far left) and others in front of the entrance to the Cosmopolitan Hotel at 101 Cordova Street, also via VanArchives (I’ve tweaked the image, removing some reflective silver in the print). Note the ad for “Stanley Park Brewery, English Ales & Stout” in the background.

This post is somewhat of a milestone, as I have now reached 900 out of 1000 posts of my lofty ambition. I had a hard time deciding what to post for this milestone, as there has been much to choose from lately. I came across a great cartoon by Sam Logan at VanCAF 2013 at the Roundhouse last weekend. The winners of the Ironclad Art competition were just announced yesterday; congrats to Nigel Dembicki and Andrew Dexel for their winning entries! I’ve found some more Ron Jackson, a personal favourite of mine, and I’ve also recently rediscovered the work of Peter Ewart whom I hope to show more of in the future. However, I figured a celebratory post about beer would be fitting during Craft Beer Week.

To dig deeper into the history of the Stanley Park Brewery, you simply must track down a copy of Bill Wilson’s book “Beer Barons of BC" available from the author or at the VPL. He has also reprinted an updated version of the history of the Stanley Park Brewery in the Spring 2013 issue of BC History Magazine (TOC only) The article begins with this intriguing opening paragraph:

Former city Archivist J.S. Matthews certainly recognized its significance when, on July 24, 1944, he took the time to interview John Benson, the last person to operate the brewery. Benson’s interview provided some key answers, but questions still remained about this intriguing and iconic Vancouver business. Then in the summer of 1993, a few more tantalizing tidbits emerged in an article by Rosamond Greer in the British Columbia Historical News. Unfortunately, the details were again left out – the article actually created more questions than answers. Brewery historians still wondered about some of the basic questions regarding the company. Was the brewery actually in the park? What was the Royal Brewing Company’s involvement? Who actually brewed the beer? Was ginger beer actually made at the brewery? When did the company cease business? What actually happened to the brewery and when? These questions still had no answer…

And so with this milestone, I am officially taking a hiatus. I won’t be posting for the foreseeable future, but I hope to return to this blog at some point to complete the final 100 posts. I should also announce that I’ll be giving a talk about Illustrated Vancouver at the Vancouver Historical Society on Thursday, March 27, 2014, 7:30pm at Museum of Vancouver (more details posted here). I may post the occasional time sensitive entry between now and then, or perhaps Illustrated Vancouver will turn into a bi-weekly or monthly publication instead of a daily one. If you have anything to share, please feel free to use the submit button. Until next time, happy tumbling!

Cross-posted to VancouverIsAwesome.com.

Update! Bill Wilson sent me pictures of the only Stanley Park Brewery label design known to survive! And only two such labels are known to exist; the other one is a partial label on a bottle. It’s such a great piece of beer lore, I just had to include it! Thanks, Bill!

pss: The only way to pick up Bill’s book is to send $30 ($25 + $5 shipping) payable to Tamahi Publications, P.O. Box 46, Lantzville, B.C. V0R 2H0. The book is about ½ sold out!

Revisiting the So Many Things mural not long after I photographed it reveals it has been white washed. It’s true it had seen better days; now it appears that the proprietors are shopping the site as a commerical / retail opportunity. While they managed to scrub some of the mossy green from the signage, I think they need to work a little harder than this…

Revisiting the So Many Things mural not long after I photographed it reveals it has been white washed. It’s true it had seen better days; now it appears that the proprietors are shopping the site as a commerical / retail opportunity. While they managed to scrub some of the mossy green from the signage, I think they need to work a little harder than this…

The Spiro Tower, seen above in a period flyer via Emporis.com. I don’t normally feature photographs, but in this case, given the relative obscurity of this item, I’m including anything I can gather! Facts about the tower, built 1968, demolished 1979, from Emporis:

  • Diameter of tower: 8 feet 2 inches.
  • Capacity of gondola: 60 persons.
  • Traveling speed: 295 feet per minute.
  • Rotations of gondola per trip: 3.
  • The tower was Swiss design and manufactured and imported from West Germany.
  • Built by Mercedes-Benz who placed their logo on the top at installation (removed later for advertising space).
  • Tower was located just inside the main Playland entrance gate on Hastings Street.
  • The structure’s purpose during its 11 year existence was as an observation tower/amusement ride.
  • Traveling height of the 2-level cabin: 216 feet.
  • Tower was opened the same year Spiro Agnew was elected US Vice President (Richard Nixon’s running mate), so many people mispronounced its name as SPEAR-RO Tower instead of SPY-RO.

Also seen above is page 165 of 100 Years of Fun, the retrospective book on the PNE. The PNE sent me some additional images, including their 1968 Annual Report which featured the tower on the front cover. From this annual report, the footnote text on the back cover stated:

A spectacular 300-foot high elevator ride into space was the exciting high point for visitors to Playland during the 1968 Pacific National Exhibition. Gently rotating three times on the way up and down, the picture windows allowed each passenger an uninterrupted panoramic view of not only the 184 “Acres of Fun”, but of the most beautiful city in Canada—from atop the new, exciting and unique Spiro-Tower.

There’s got to be more great photos of this tower/from this tower in your parents and grandparents photo albums! Here’s a great panoramic shot from Harold H Johnston for instance. Keep an eye out for them, and post them soon!

I’ve posted these photos from 1969 previously, but I think it’s worth a repost. On the left, we have the photographs of Nicholas Russell from 1969, showing the demolition of the Lyric Theatre (the former Vancouver Opera House, among other names over the years). The demolition crew creatively used the historic theatre backdrops as demolition curtains, enough to make any heritage advocate cringe! On the right, I’ve photographed the former Sears building, with mesh netting just recently applied, during the demolition of the building’s facade. I missed my chance to shoot right through the building before the netting was installed, but then the idea struck me to feature a little ‘then and now’. It’s also hard to get the precise identical angles as the scale of the buildings are so dramatically different, but I’m happy with the result. I’m also extraordinarily grateful for folks like Nicholas Russell for documenting the evolving landscape of our city when it was still relatively uncommon to do so. The three 1969 photos are courtesy of the Vancouver Archives [one two three]; my photos are on flickr.

There’s still an opportunity for someone to photograph the building from the other side of the block!

An etching of the Spencer’s building, from a letter to the Windsor Hotel, New Westminster dated September 8, 1942. Here you can see the actual building very much as it appears today. By contrast, you may recall the proposed structure I featured twice before which would have overtaken the entire block. Changing Vancouver delves into this aspect of the story here.

And one final bit of Spencer’s lore, here are two of my favourite bits of vintage Vancouver motion picture. Part 1 and part 2 of the Spencer’s Christmas parade believed to be from 1927, from the Colonel Victor Spencer family fonds at the Vancouver Archives.

artists against artists - 2011 dtes woman’s housing march, a monochromatic painting mounted to the construction wall right in front of the former Pantages Theatre on Hastings Street. More photos from the walk here.

artists against artists - 2011 dtes woman’s housing march, a monochromatic painting mounted to the construction wall right in front of the former Pantages Theatre on Hastings Street. More photos from the walk here.

So Many Things cruise ship mural, located at 325 Columbia Street in the DTES, artist unknown. As you can see from Jeremy’s photo a few years ago, this mural has gotten a bit smaller with the removal of those cheering the cruise ships from the shore.