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!
This could conceivably be Vancouver, as there was no Lions Gate Bridge in 1925. I have to admit those mountains are pretty exaggerated though. Back then, standing on Little Mountain, gazing over to North Vancouver probably seemed much further away. All a matter of perspective, I suppose. One of the reasons I think this poster succeeds is because of its unrealistic, imagined depiction of the coast. The travel agent of the day could extol the merits of the Redwood forest, the Oregon coast, the mountains of Washington, the metropolis of Seattle, and of course, you mustn’t forget Vancouver! See this artwork for a remotely similar view by Ron Jackson.
The above poster was created by the Willmarths for the Newman-Monroe Company in Chicago. Jack R. Lundbom notes in the book Master Painter: Warner E. Sallman that Newman-Monroe Co. was a design and illustration firm, which at the time described (1909) was located in the First National Bank Building (now home to the Chase Tower Chicago). After further digging, I believe this would have been the neoclassical structure completed in 1902 by noted architect Daniel Burnham.
Here are a few more travel posters that Newman-Monroe produced, one promoting travel to California, and another to the Far West. Then there’s this majestic 1933 poster celebrating the World’s Fair in Chicago. If these posters are any indication, Newman-Monroe must have been a powerhouse, responsible for a significant amount of early transportation advertising. It makes me wonder what happened to them, and much of their legacy is actually known and remembered today.
About the Willmarths, streamlinermemories.info writes:
I can’t find much information about the Willmarths on line except that William was a watercolorist, while Kenneth specialized in oils. William was born in 1898 and died in Arizona in 1984. While the Travel by Train posters were signed “The Willmarths,” later posters and paintings were just signed “Willmarth,” and many look like watercolors, suggesting they were done by William Willmarth.
Like the Newman-Monroe story, more research into the life work of Kenneth and William Willmarth is warranted! Fantastic work, all around! May this blog post help to solidify their contributions to the art of travel.
Visit the Pacific Northwest Wonderland, circa 1925. New in Vintage Travel Posters. (via Visit the Pacific Northwest Wonderland | Vintagraph)
Stanley Park Christmas Train, Lost Lagoon Fountain Lights, and Carol Ships Vancouver Harbour (2010) by artist and illustrator George McLachlan.
The Stanley Park Christmas train runs December 5 through January 5, though it is closed Christmas Day. Tickets are available here at Ticketmaster with some reserved at the gates, but I would say advance tickets are a must (the time slots have a tendency to sell out very quickly). More from the City of Vancouver website:
Entrance to the Bright Nights Train Plaza is by donation (you don’t need to purchase train tickets to see the holiday lights)…Train tickets are sold in half-hour time slots. Several trains will depart within each time slot. Avoid the crowds and come out Monday to Thursday in the first two weeks…
Happy Holiday Travels!
The Marine Building by Peter Ewart, sold via auction in December, 2012. This painting may have been one of those featured in the “Gallery of the Golden Key” exhibition from 1972:
The exhibition includes a number of Vancouver street and harbour scenes as well as several landscapes. All are treated with a strong sense of mood, and a keen appreciation of atmospheric effect.
If anyone knows who acquired this painting, please get in touch with the artist’s daughter, who maintains the website peterewart.ca.
With the lack of development around this iconic building, this is clearly an early depiction of the area; I’m not sure when those classic lamp posts were replaced either. Peter’s daughter Linda estimates the painting may be circa 1968.
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!
$1.49 Day / 1993 by Ken Pattern, drawn during the final year of the Woodward’s department store. Born in New Westminster, Ken Pattern began his fine art career in Vancouver with a show at the VPL in 1978. His curiosity of the world has taken him around the globe, and he currently lives and works in Indonesia, returning to Vancouver each year to print at the Malaspina Printmakers on Granville Island. I met Ken on the Island this summer, and he graciously gave me a viewing of some of his iconic lithographic prints. He also provided me with a superb artistic artifact from the 1980s - a VanCity calendar from 1985 which I am very much looking forward to featuring in future posts.
His latest show, ON MARINA BAY, opened at Galeri Hadiprana in Jakarta on November 23rd, 2013 and runs to January 4th, 2014.
Aaron Chapman recently came across a piece of vintage Vancouver in his family papers. The print was created by his mother Evadna Chapman, a Vancouver artist in the 1970s and 1980s. About the work, he writes:
[Above is] an old photograph that my late mother took of downtown Vancouver from across the water at Stanley Park, and an illustration she later did. She silk screened the art on a number of hand made greeting cards…
Coal Harbour had been home to an eclectic assortment of squatter shacks and boathouses for many years, until around 1955, when these homes were removed and replaced with the Vancouver Yacht Club Marina. Michael Kluckner talks about this time in his gentrification talk at about 9 minutes 30 seconds here.
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.
It happens but once a year, the Emily Carr University of Art + Design student sale! Moments before noon on Friday, a crowd grows restless at the entrance to the Concourse Gallery, and when the ribbon is cut, there is a wild rush of footsteps as art patrons flock to all corners of the gallery in search of an inspiring discovery!
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the student sale, and the selection of paintings, photographs, prints, ceramics, sculpture, (and more) on display are sure to impress! This is no ordinary art show - the work starts to fly off the walls the moment the sale begins! The show is free to attend so arrive early and return often with friends. It really is a great place to see emerging work at the mid-point of the school year, and it could lead you to that perfect holiday gift.
I couldn’t help but be bowled over by the dramatic silkscreen prints shown above by Jonathan Hodges; no matter what size the room, these are destined to command your attention! I also enjoyed taking a close look at paintings by Michael Siu, Gabrielle Strong, Danielle Roberts, and Brett Barmby. I wish you good fortune as you browse this hallowed hall of art; may you find just what you are looking for!
Concourse Gallery, North Building
1399 Johnston Street, Granville Island
Friday, November 22, 2013 12 - 8pm
Saturday, November 23, 2013 12 - 5pm
Sunday, November 24, 2013 12 - 5pm
Cross-posted to VancouverIsAwesome.com
View of Sleeping Beauty from the Windows of the Canadian Pacific Railway Hotel, Vancouver, a watercolour by Agnes Gardner King (1857-1929), circa May to June, 1912. This image now appears online in the Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1990-312-21.