Rob Roy Meats, Toban Shoes Columbia Street New West circa 1980’s by Won Kang.
…After service in the Royal Canadian Air Force, he joined the Province as a reporter and columnist (1952-89) until he suffered a major stroke. A sensitive writer with a broad knowledge of cars, planes, the film industry and Vancouver’s power elite, he was noted for his careful use of language. A peer of fellow journalists Jack Wasserman, Jack Webster, Allan Fotheringham and Pierre Berton, “he moved with ease among politicians and paupers.” Remembered for his rapier wit…
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!
The Culture Crawl, 2013, part 2! Featured here are Lonely Only by Jon Shaw, The Drive by Lawrence Lowe, Ovaltine by Lori Motokado, Transformer 167 E. Pender by Nadia Baker, and Early Morning Streetscape by Suzy Arbor. See you there this weekend!
Vancouver, a triptych from 2012 submitted by Julia Casol. She writes:
Cities are unique worlds of their own within larger urban areas. They are thriving, dense, rhizomatic centers, and everyone and everything is connected into one giant network. This triptych is a surreal representation of the city: resembling an organic form of a neuron, I emphasize the network and density present in Vancouver with the urban nucleus and the nexus of roadways, cables, and electrical wires.
The H.R. MacMillan Planetarium, a pen & ink with watercolour submitted by Brian Hebb. Brian writes: “The H.R. MacMillan Planetarium was brand-new when I lived in Vancouver in 1968. Now, this great building is the Space Centre and the Museum of Vancouver. The big crab sculpture sits in a fountain outside the Space Centre/Museum of Vancouver. It’s a wonderful statue of shinny stainless steel sculpted by George Norris for Canada’s centennial year. I painted it yellow to depict the golden hue it exudes in the sunshine.”
Kitsilano illustrated by Ken Steacy, a special ghoulish and dystopian Halloween edition! This illustration was created for the first issue of Vancouver Magazine in the new millennium, January/February 2000. This was the second issue of the magazine that Douglas Coupland guest edited. There were four illustrations that accompanied an article titled: Vancouver’s future - will it be beauty and brains or dumb and scum? Most likely a mixture. Four illustrators report back. Ken tells me his contribution was the most dystopic; the caption read:
Kitsilano, Cornwall and Yew. March 47, 2048, 853 GTX. Complete ecological and political failure: melted ice caps; a botched hepatitis-K vaccine; mass extinction. Moral Cleansing squads sent by a fiat U.S. government invade Kits to snuff out marijuana smokers and render extinct Vancouver’s 10-storey-high “Superpot” trees - a geneticists’ blend of cannabis, timber bamboo, Douglas fir and bermuda grass - that have overrun virtually all other vegetation.
Comic fans at Canada Place, a custom comic created for use in the VanCAF 2013 VIP art books by Sam Logan. VanCAF took place back in May of this year, but with all the images emerging from NY Comic Con, and with fall on the horizon, I thought it would make an appropriate post.
The Marine Building by McCarter & Nairne, Architects and Structural Engineers. Created for client Stimpson’s Canadian Development Co. Ltd., February, 1929. These most excellent drawings are from the University of Calgary, part of the Canadian Architecture Collection. They also have an outstanding promotional booklet from 1930 drawn and designed by Ronald Jackson, whom I have featured here many times.
In related news, VanHeritage’s repeat event Sunday Morning at the Marine once again sold out, but coffee at the Marine Building any other day sounds like a great way to start your morning!
Vancouver Convention Center, submitted by Delphie Côté-Lacroix. Thanks, Delphie!
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.
Portion of a rendering of the Hotel Vancouver (1916) by Francis S. Swales, architect. Preliminary perspective drawing by H.C. Wilkinson, retouched by Francis S. Swales. From an article in Pencil Points magazine (September, 1930) dedicated to Francis S. Swales, the work is further described…
…as being the earliest modern set back building, designed in 1911. The drawing was done in pencil on mounted Steinbach paper and rendered with water color. The portion reproduced measured 8¾” x 11 on the original while the whole drawing measured 34” x 26”. It is seldom that we see today such care expended in drawing the detail on a building.
Alas, if we could only see this entire rendering in colour—spectacular! It was truly the grandest hotel we ever had in this town. Speaking of Grand Hotels, you have one more full week of the Grand Hotel exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery, which closes on September 15th, 2013.
You can see the full rendering of the hotel in this previous post, printed in the August 1916 issue of The Architect. Sadly, this magazine was only produced in black and white. It is unknown if the original presentation drawing survived, though it did last until at least 1930 when this colour detail was printed. The third image above does show a postcard with the same perspective, but it has been completely recoloured and lacks the subtlety of the original. I did discover that the Library and Archives Canada has a negative of this image, which I thought may have been acquired via the CN Archives, but instead it appeared in the Albertype Company fonds:
Albertype Company, a postcard factory in New York, New York, was established in 1938 on the site of what was originally the 1846 First Free Congregational Church, and later the African Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Church, a major stop on the Underground Railroad in the 1860’s…Material was acquired in 1968 from Miss Edith G. Firth of the Toronto Public Library, Baldwin Room, College and George St., Toronto, Ontario.
I’m thankful for all the archival materials relating to the hotel that have been preserved to date, but I’m surprised there isn’t more available on such a prominent building and architect. The CPR Archives seem to have very little material on this hotel. To rectify this, I’d like to start with an excerpt from the above mentioned Pencil Points article, providing some insight into the life of the architect Francis Swales:
Francis S. Swales, born in Canada of American parents, was reared and educated in the United States. Heredity and environment formed a uniquely favorable background for the rapid development of his natural talents in the field of architecture. His father, a building contractor of the old school, kept a joinery shop in the rear of the Swales home in Buffalo. Here old white-bearded English craftsmen and artists executed fine interior woodwork from architects’ drawings and details. Constant contact with these activities from infancy made the keen young Swales so familiar with the various phases of the craft that at the age of eight years, he was quite capable of reading and interpreting all types of drawings of carpentry, joinery, and building construction. Steel was just the beginning to supplant wrought iron structurally and Mr. Swales can still recall how the various members had to be colored for identification—red for wrought iron and blue for steel. As far back as he can remember, architectural magazines came to his home and he followed the usual bent of children by copying their illustrations. Probably by reason of environment his interest did not wane; his efforts were continuous and his ability to draw grew apace…
The entire article is rich with details and anecdotes, It’s one of those great little hidden gems that deserves to be shared and rediscovered. That’s why I plan on donating a copy of this magazine to the Vancouver Archives in the near future. Update! I also scanned the whole article! Stay tuned VanArchives; I’m saving it for you! Cross-posted with alternate text to VancouverIsAwesome.com
Granville and Robson Lines by Urban Sketcher, Won Kang.
Hotel Vancouver luggage label, circa 1901, seen via ebay. This shows the west wing addition of 1901-1905 that was designed by Francis Rattenbury, strategically obscuring the original 1886-1887 building from view. We could speculate this label may have been in use anywhere from 1900-1916, but I also presume it would predate 1912, at which point the hotel would be much more keen on promoting the grand new design by Francis S. Swales then under construction.
Changing Vancouver further describes the addition:
It was in an Italianate style, and from the postcard here it rather looks as if they expected to demolish the first hotel designed by T C Sorby. But as the picture [here] shows, the eastern wing of the addition was never completed. Instead it was cut off rather alarmingly and there would be a nearly ten year gap before the CPR were ready to replace the hotel and the first addition, also designed by Rattenbury. When they did that, they brought in new architects, initially W S Painter and later Francis Swales, who prepared a series of different designs all reasonably similar in style to the second addition which was incorporated into the final building.