Perhaps the greatest undersold development proposal in the history of Vancouver, here we have uncovered the plans that may have been pitched to the CNR suggesting what they could do with block 52 and the former CPR Hotel Vancouver. I’m reblogging this via pasttensevancouver, with additional images showing a detail of both the old Hotel Vancouver and this proposed perspective drawing from the Library and Archives Canada:

Perspective sketch of remodelling of the old Hotel Vancouver, Wednesday 12 July 1939

Nineteen thirty-nine was the year the current Hotel Vancouver opened and the fate of the much cooler old one would be undecided until after the war when Eaton’s ripped it down for a parking lot where they built their flag ship store a couple of decades later. Had it gone ahead, I believe this building would have consisted of retail stores below a parking garage.

UPDATE: This and other proposed structures that never materialized in Vancouver are part of a show opening today at the Museum of Vancouver called Vancouver Imagined: The Way We Weren’t, curated by Jason Vanderhill of Illustrated Vancouver fame.

Source: Watercolor by P Henderson for the Canadian National Railway, Library and Archives Canada #2963055

I was very interested to include this particular drawing for a number of reasons. It highlighted some key themes in my show; it delves into the question of attribution, it adds detail to the story of the unbuilt city where documentation is often scarce, and it tells the tale of a single drawing which found its way into the National Library and Archives.

First and foremost, I had been searching for any and all information regarding P. Henderson who sketched another one of the presentation drawings in my show. This drew me to the collectionscanada.gc.ca URL which described the drawing, but it had not yet been scanned. I commissioned a scan of the drawing through the Archives website, and was quite surprised to see the result. I’m not sure if the city has ever seen such an uninspiring proposition. The drawing may have been forgotten as quickly as it was drawn, but I’m glad it found its way into our National Archives through a donation from the Canadian National Railways collection.

Though I encountered very little additional information regarding P. Henderson, I was able to determine his first name. Peter Henderson is listed as an architect in both the 1939 Montreal directory and in the book Dear Nan: Letters of Emily Carr, Nan Cheney, and Humphrey Toms by Doreen Walker. I can’t provide extensive biographical details regarding his career (beyond the fact that he was working for the CNR’s architect at the time, John Schofield), but I did learn he was also in charge of art commissions and purchases for the CNR hotel. It seems he had some good taste, as he intended to purchase at least one of Emily Carr’s paintings!

My biggest regret with respect to these drawings is the fate of the original H.C. Wilkinson watercolour retouched by architect Francis S. Swales, which I have featured here before. Where has this original drawing gone? I don’t know if it has been seen since it appeared in the September 1930 issue of Pencil Points, but I hope one day it is rediscovered and properly preserved. Special thanks to the Library and Archives Canada and the Canadian Architecture Collection at McGill University for their contributions to this post.

And so, you now have the back story to one of the featured drawings in my new show at the Museum of Vancouver. There are lots more stories to uncover with respect to Vancouver Imagined; I hope you get to see the show in person!

Cross-posted to Vancouverisawesome.com with alternate text.

Weekend Special by Ken Pattern, the December image in the 1985 Vancity Calendar. Here we have my favourite print from the series, featuring skiing atop the Hotel Vancouver # 3. Ken’s style is meticulous and well suited to the medium of stone lithography, a most demanding art form. It’s also exceedingly humorous, as his recent series on the Marina Bay Sands development in Singapore attests.

About the stone lithography process, his website gives an introduction to the process, as does the calendar: 
In this process, Ken Pattern creates the prints by first drawing an image on a flat piece of limestone. He then brushes a solution of gum arabic and nitric acid over the stone’s surface; the resulting chemical reaction secures the image onto the stone.
To print the image, Ken rolls an oil-based ink onto a rubber roller, which he then rolls onto the stone. Repeating this inking process several times, he uses a sponge between each pass of the roller to keep the stone damp. With the image fully inked, Ken places a piece of paper on the stone, cranking the paper beneath the hard pressure bar to transfer the ink from the stone.
Each colour in the image requires a separate drawing and a separate printing. After each colour is printed, Ken grinds the image off the stone with grit, and then draws the next colour on the stone. Finally, with the printing finished, Ken edits the prints. Only those meeting his standards are included in the edition, and he ten signs and numbers them.

To truly appreciate this work, you must see one of these prints in person. Start by looking at the Burnaby Art Gallery, or perhaps the Malaspina Printmakers Society where these prints were produced; they may still have one or two available! Happy Christmas everyone!
Weekend Special by Ken Pattern, the December image in the 1985 Vancity Calendar. Here we have my favourite print from the series, featuring skiing atop the Hotel Vancouver # 3. Ken’s style is meticulous and well suited to the medium of stone lithography, a most demanding art form. It’s also exceedingly humorous, as his recent series on the Marina Bay Sands development in Singapore attests.
About the stone lithography process, his website gives an introduction to the process, as does the calendar:

In this process, Ken Pattern creates the prints by first drawing an image on a flat piece of limestone. He then brushes a solution of gum arabic and nitric acid over the stone’s surface; the resulting chemical reaction secures the image onto the stone.

To print the image, Ken rolls an oil-based ink onto a rubber roller, which he then rolls onto the stone. Repeating this inking process several times, he uses a sponge between each pass of the roller to keep the stone damp. With the image fully inked, Ken places a piece of paper on the stone, cranking the paper beneath the hard pressure bar to transfer the ink from the stone.

Each colour in the image requires a separate drawing and a separate printing. After each colour is printed, Ken grinds the image off the stone with grit, and then draws the next colour on the stone. Finally, with the printing finished, Ken edits the prints. Only those meeting his standards are included in the edition, and he ten signs and numbers them.

To truly appreciate this work, you must see one of these prints in person. Start by looking at the Burnaby Art Gallery, or perhaps the Malaspina Printmakers Society where these prints were produced; they may still have one or two available! Happy Christmas everyone!
An American’s Guide to Vancouver by Marv Newland in the July, 1979 issue of Vancouver magazine. This cartoon led off a rather interesting article also written by Marv, where he profiles a whole list of cultural noteworthy items and establishments, including our currency, burgers, baseball, and television.
Allow me to take a moment to look back at the businesses mentioned; they include the Fresgo Inn (now moved to Surrey), the Frying Dutchman (now the De Dutch franchise; the original location opened August, 1970 at the current site of Black Dog Video, 3451 Cambie), Lynn’s (now Bikram Yoga Kitsilano), the Topanga Cafe (opened in 1978 and still at 2904 W. 4th Avenue), the Montreal Bagel Factory (now Royal Feet Vancouver Reflexology Acupuncture, I think), Kaplan’s Deli (still at 5775 Oak Street, I believe), Szasz (now the site of the restaurant West, 2881 Granville Street), Rubin’s (formerly at 974 Granville), Dai Kee (formerly at 540 Main Street), Il Corsaro (moved to Maple Ridge after 20 years on the Drive), European News and Import House (no longer on Robson or Hastings), and Universal News & Gifts (possibly the site of Versus Training Center in Gastown?). Oh, and back in 1979, nearly everything was closed on Sundays!
Update! Michael Kluckner adds:

Maybe as late as 1979, Universal News occupied a small low building at 108 East Hastings (now the Acme something-or-other) that had a minor distinction as the city’s first bicycle and auto repair shop. I remember Universal News for its wide range of foreign (and especially radical) newspapers; it was owned by a Finnish immigrant named Paakspuu, whose son I went to school with. There’s probably a connection in there between the shop and the general radicalism of many Finns who came to Canada in that era.

Postcards are a recurring element in Marv’s work, as his site Marv Cards attests. His animation work has been produced in Vancouver under the International Rocketship moniker for over 20 years. Here’s a vintage video which features Marv, circa 2000. You can order a DVD of the best of International Rocketship directly from Marv, as described here on Cartoon Brew.

An American’s Guide to Vancouver by Marv Newland in the July, 1979 issue of Vancouver magazine. This cartoon led off a rather interesting article also written by Marv, where he profiles a whole list of cultural noteworthy items and establishments, including our currency, burgers, baseball, and television.

Allow me to take a moment to look back at the businesses mentioned; they include the Fresgo Inn (now moved to Surrey), the Frying Dutchman (now the De Dutch franchise; the original location opened August, 1970 at the current site of Black Dog Video, 3451 Cambie), Lynn’s (now Bikram Yoga Kitsilano), the Topanga Cafe (opened in 1978 and still at 2904 W. 4th Avenue), the Montreal Bagel Factory (now Royal Feet Vancouver Reflexology Acupuncture, I think), Kaplan’s Deli (still at 5775 Oak Street, I believe), Szasz (now the site of the restaurant West, 2881 Granville Street), Rubin’s (formerly at 974 Granville), Dai Kee (formerly at 540 Main Street), Il Corsaro (moved to Maple Ridge after 20 years on the Drive), European News and Import House (no longer on Robson or Hastings), and Universal News & Gifts (possibly the site of Versus Training Center in Gastown?). Oh, and back in 1979, nearly everything was closed on Sundays!

Update! Michael Kluckner adds:

Maybe as late as 1979, Universal News occupied a small low building at 108 East Hastings (now the Acme something-or-other) that had a minor distinction as the city’s first bicycle and auto repair shop. I remember Universal News for its wide range of foreign (and especially radical) newspapers; it was owned by a Finnish immigrant named Paakspuu, whose son I went to school with. There’s probably a connection in there between the shop and the general radicalism of many Finns who came to Canada in that era.

Postcards are a recurring element in Marv’s work, as his site Marv Cards attests. His animation work has been produced in Vancouver under the International Rocketship moniker for over 20 years. Here’s a vintage video which features Marv, circa 2000. You can order a DVD of the best of International Rocketship directly from Marv, as described here on Cartoon Brew.

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

Here’s a reblog of a remarkable Vancouver tattoo via Vancouverisawesome.com:

Vancouver Ink: Lydia DeCarllo’s tattoos of the Art Gallery, Hotel Vancouver and ChinatownToday we’re sharing Lydia DeCarllo’s VERY Vancouver pieces on her arm that she sent in.Hello, I had a friend tell me you were doing pieces on Vancouver tattoos. Here is mine; it is the Hotel Vancouver at the top, underneath that the Vancouver Art Gallery fountain, below that is our gates to our China town. You can not see the inside but there is Gastown and the coaster from Playland as well.- Lydia DeCarllo
Photo by @aspiringmedia

Lydia mentioned to me the tattoo was done by Mike Prior at Lady Luck Tattoo in Langley. She also commented how the piece is personally important to her because it was her great grandfather Wesley Gillis who was very involved in the construction of the art gallery fountain. An epic tribute, indeed!

Here’s a reblog of a remarkable Vancouver tattoo via Vancouverisawesome.com:

Vancouver Ink: Lydia DeCarllo’s tattoos of the Art Gallery, Hotel Vancouver and Chinatown

Today we’re sharing Lydia DeCarllo’s VERY Vancouver pieces on her arm that she sent in.

Hello, I had a friend tell me you were doing pieces on Vancouver tattoos. Here is mine; it is the Hotel Vancouver at the top, underneath that the Vancouver Art Gallery fountain, below that is our gates to our China town. You can not see the inside but there is Gastown and the coaster from Playland as well.

- Lydia DeCarllo

Photo by @aspiringmedia

Lydia mentioned to me the tattoo was done by Mike Prior at Lady Luck Tattoo in Langley. She also commented how the piece is personally important to her because it was her great grandfather Wesley Gillis who was very involved in the construction of the art gallery fountain. An epic tribute, indeed!

A panel from a Fraser Wilson comic, numbered 86-40, titled # 7 The Handicap Down South, from the Jack Boothe Fonds in the Vancouver Archives. You can see from the full panel that this is essentially the week’s news in review, covering topics such as the escalation of armament leading up to WWII, the Japanese question in British Columbia, the old Hotel Vancouver filing for unemployment, the sentencing of Social Credit by the Supreme Court (I believe Mother Abe refers to Social Credit politician Abe William Miller), and the Handicap Down South, showing Seabiscuit struggling with a flood at the racetrack. From these events, I am guessing the publication date is from 1939. The final panel may be referring to the 1939 California tropical storm in September of 1939. This was also a few months after the new Hotel Vancouver was opened, and of course, falls on the eve of WWII.

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.

 

Vancouver Art Gallery patio by Jeckenzibbel on Flickr.
As a followup to last week’s Hotel Vancouver #2 mural, here’s another long lost mural from the Hotel Vancouver #3. 

 In 1939 Charles Comfort depicted Captain Vancouver as the guest of honour at a Northwest Coast Native potlatch ceremony for the foyer of the newly constructed Hotel Vancouver. 

In the previous mural, a group of completely out of place Plains Indians appear far off in the background on the right hand side. At least here, the Northwest Coast Natives are depicted with greater accuracy, prominently placed in the foreground with artistry.
But it’s hard not to view the depiction of the First Nations in a subservient manner. The three white men stand on podiums like track and field winners, looking rather pompous with their ship’s oar, navigational aids, and British flag. A massive totem pole looms in the background while birds fly idyllically overhead. With a target audience of visiting tourists, the intent of the mural was clearly to welcome and inspire the guests. There is no foreshadowing of the potlatch ban that would come years later.
This image is seen on the cover of the book National Soul: Canadian Mural Painting, 1860s - 1930s by Marylin J. McKay. Ironically, the painting itself is on the other side of the country in the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown, PEI.

As a followup to last week’s Hotel Vancouver #2 mural, here’s another long lost mural from the Hotel Vancouver #3. 

In 1939 Charles Comfort depicted Captain Vancouver as the guest of honour at a Northwest Coast Native potlatch ceremony for the foyer of the newly constructed Hotel Vancouver.

In the previous mural, a group of completely out of place Plains Indians appear far off in the background on the right hand side. At least here, the Northwest Coast Natives are depicted with greater accuracy, prominently placed in the foreground with artistry.

But it’s hard not to view the depiction of the First Nations in a subservient manner. The three white men stand on podiums like track and field winners, looking rather pompous with their ship’s oar, navigational aids, and British flag. A massive totem pole looms in the background while birds fly idyllically overhead. With a target audience of visiting tourists, the intent of the mural was clearly to welcome and inspire the guests. There is no foreshadowing of the potlatch ban that would come years later.

This image is seen on the cover of the book National Soul: Canadian Mural Painting, 1860s - 1930s by Marylin J. McKay. Ironically, the painting itself is on the other side of the country in the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown, PEI.

In my ongoing exploration of Vancouver’s murals, I present to you one rare and extraordinary survivor from one of Vancouver’s greatest hotels. The Landing of Captain Vancouver by American artist Marion Powers Kirkpatrick. This mural measuring 8 x 16 feet once hung in the magnificent CPR Hotel Vancouver #2 of 1916. Paul Sternberg, Sr. writes about the artist in his book "Art by American Women":

Born in London, England of American parents, Marion Powers excelled in vibrant still lifes that had textile designs in them and large-scale murals. She began art study in London and then in Paris.

She married the English painter, W.A.B. Kirkpatrick [
William Arber Brown Kirkpatrick], and in 1906, they settled in Waldeboro, Maine. Prior to living in Waldoboro and Friendship (summer studio) Maine, she and her husband maintained a studio in Boston. She executed a mural at the Canadian Pacific Railway’s Hotel Vancouver in British Columbia and also did still life with randomly displayed objects, painted only for the purpose of showing the objects.

She was an illustrator for “Harper’s” Magazine. She illustrated many magazine covers for Woman’s Home companion, Sunday Magazine various books as well as advertisements for Jello. Many of her still lifes involve food or flower arrangements with very brilliant colors. From 1906 to 1929, she exhibited numerous times at the annual exhibitions of the National and Pennsylvania Academies and was in many other exhibitions.

She is in the permanent collection of the Lourvre in Paris.

Not much is known about Marion Powers Kirkpatrick’s connection to Vancouver, but it is perhaps possible that Francis S. Swales, the architect of the hotel saw her work at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915 and commissioned this mural in time for the Hotel’s grand opening in 1916.

The August 1916 edition of the Architect magazine is dedicated to the hotel, featuring text written by none other than the architect himself, Francis S. Swales. I got very excited recently when I discovered that this entire issue of the Architect is available on archive.org; I had seen the copy at the Vancouver Archives last year, and it is a phenomenal view of the greatest hotel we ever had. I actually searched all other posted issues of the Architect but failed to find any other major articles about Vancouver. But back to the mural, about which the architect writes: 

A beautifully composed and richly colored decorative picture in the central lunette over the back bar, painted by Marion Powers Kirkpatrick, of Boston, is comparable with the work of Frank Braugwyn and gives the necessary glowing note of color that prevents what might otherwise be a somber effect.

The accompanying photos just barely show the mural in position over the bar on the lower level of the hotel. It’s hard to imagine having anything somber to say about the Hotel Vancouver #2, except for the fact that it was demolished just 33 years after it was built to make way for a parking lot.

This mural is currently on display at the Vancouver Maritime Museum, where it is part of their permanent collection. The fact that this mural outlived the hotel is something of small miracle. The mural’s second home also faced the wrecking ball, but fortunately for us, it was once again rescued at the last moment. From the description of the artwork at the museum:

Commissioned from an unknown source, Boston area artist Marion Powers Kirkpatrick created this mural to hang in the Hotel Vancouver. The painting was later installed in the lobby of Pier BC, over the double doors in the lobby that led to the walkway along the roof over the sheds of the pier. Pier BC was opened in 1927, but it is not known when exactly the painting was installed [I speculate it was probably just prior to the demolition of the hotel in 1949 when most of the hotel fixtures were auctioned off]. It hung there until 1980, a few days before Pier BC was demolished. Canada Place is where Pier BC used to be.

As for the depictions in the mural itself, I will refrain from being too critical of the subject matter. The scene is pure historical fantasy. If the Native Indians on the far right of the scene appear to be out of place, remember this was painted by an American woman from Boston who lived in a time long before the aid of the Internet. Captain George Vancouver’s musclebound crew are seen showing off their shirtless bodies while feasting on a tropical bounty no doubt just in from Hawaii. The small child in the foreground acts as a reminder of man’s responsibilities, fitting for all those who find themselves seated in front of the bar for too long.

This nearly 100 year old work of art is one of our city’s great hidden gems. I highly recommend a trip to the Maritime Museum to see it in person, and when you do, try to imagine what it must have been like to sit at this bar when the hotel was just one year old and prohibition kicked into effect for four long years (October 1, 1917–June 14, 1921).

Corner of Granville & Georgia Streets, 1889, a watercolour by George Thercer, or possibly George T Mercer (confirmed!). This painting is in the Vancouver Maritime Museum’s fine art collection, and in my mind, the dramatic wide angle perspective of this panorama gives the painting a decidedly modern feel (if it wasn’t for all the missing skyscrapers!)

Based on the vantage point of this painting, I’d say that we are on the third or fourth floor of the very first Hotel Vancouver, which was situated at the corner of Georgia & Granville Streets. We are looking down Granville Street, all the way to the waterfront. In 1889, the Hotel Vancouver was just 1 year old, and the great fire had leveled the city just 3 years prior. Remarkable how things change in just a few short years…

Vancouver, circa 1962 from the opening pages of George Kuthan’s book Vancouver: Sights & Insights. This colourized variation is a scan of an electronic reproduction of what could be an aquatint or perhaps a hand coloured drawing. None of the images in the above mentioned books are shown in colour, but this print demonstrates the possibilities. The print came from Robert R. Reid’s studio, via Heavenly Monkey. Robert was a close friend of George Kuthan, and this colour treatment was likely done by Robert in more recent years. From the Heavenly Monkey website:

…The two met at Reid’s printing shop in Vancouver in 1951, shortly after Kuthan’s arrival in Canada. Born in Klatovy, Czechoslovakia in 1916, Kuthan was a medical student at the University of Prague when the Nazis closed it, in 1939. It was at this time that he turned his attention to art, which he studied at Prague’s School of Decorative Arts for the next six years. After the war he went on to study painting and various forms of printmaking in Paris for several years. What few published details of his life exist indicate he enjoyed some success while there, making his decision to emigrate to Canada somewhat puzzling (especially since he first landed in Saskatchewan!). Shortly after arriving in Vancouver, he was introduced to Reid…

More biographical information about George Kuthan can be found here, and a pamphlet from 1964 from the Private Press of Robert R. Reid dedicated to George’s work can be seen here.

Vancouver, circa 1962 from the opening pages of George Kuthan’s book Vancouver: Sights & Insights. This colourized variation is a scan of an electronic reproduction of what could be an aquatint or perhaps a hand coloured drawing. None of the images in the above mentioned books are shown in colour, but this print demonstrates the possibilities. The print came from Robert R. Reid’s studio, via Heavenly Monkey. Robert was a close friend of George Kuthan, and this colour treatment was likely done by Robert in more recent years. From the Heavenly Monkey website:

…The two met at Reid’s printing shop in Vancouver in 1951, shortly after Kuthan’s arrival in Canada. Born in Klatovy, Czechoslovakia in 1916, Kuthan was a medical student at the University of Prague when the Nazis closed it, in 1939. It was at this time that he turned his attention to art, which he studied at Prague’s School of Decorative Arts for the next six years. After the war he went on to study painting and various forms of printmaking in Paris for several years. What few published details of his life exist indicate he enjoyed some success while there, making his decision to emigrate to Canada somewhat puzzling (especially since he first landed in Saskatchewan!). Shortly after arriving in Vancouver, he was introduced to Reid…

More biographical information about George Kuthan can be found here, and a pamphlet from 1964 from the Private Press of Robert R. Reid dedicated to George’s work can be seen here.

As mentioned yesterday, here is the cover of that brochure from 1956, 971.133 V224co PAM in the VPL Special Collections, “Produced by the Community Arts Council of Vancouver for the enjoyment of discerning visitors”. The cover image is unfortunately unsigned, so we may never know who it was who penned this, But it is nice to see the Hotel Vancouver and the Vancouver Block towering above the jazzy little city…

Advert for Hume & Rumble Limited, electrical engineers, from page 7 of the Vancouver News-Herald, August 14, 1948. Ad copy states:

The Faith that Built Vancouver

"…mark my words Jim, this town’s gonna grow. In a few years you’ll need a horse and buggy to get from one end of Vancouver to the other. There’s gonna be thousands of people here…more streets…more stores…more homes. Yes, sir—there’s a great future right here and I aim to be part of it!"

Faith in its future built Vancouver from a collection of huts at the water’s edge to Canada’s third metropolis in two generations. The B.C. Electric Railway Co., Ltd has long been associated with this growth…played a major role. Hume & Rumble, Western Canada’s leading electrical contractors, have shared in this spirit for over 30 years…been closely connected with electrical installation work in many great B.C. Industries and enterprises. Latest of these, B.C. Electric’s new trolley coaches are an important milestone on the road of progress in British Columbia.

Part 2 of the Cinderella Stamp collection of Ron Lafreniere in Montreal, this time celebrating Vancouver’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1946. His book titled A Field Guide to the Cinderella Stamps of Canada is available in Vancouver at All Nations Stamp & Coin at 5630 Dunbar, a shop which happens to have a great early Vancouver postcard collection, some of which have been featured here!