Widening Commercial Drive

In an earlier post, we described how the Brandon Block on Commercial Drive was pushed back by seven feet when the street was widened in 1913.  Further to that, I have now found the Local Improvement Schedule that includes the widening.

The Schedule was published on 18th October 1911 and called for the widening of Commercial to 80 feet from First Avenue to 16th Avenue.  This required the acquisition of seven feet of land on either side of the street.  The estimated cost for the widening was $215,137.00 – a very tidy sum in 1911. 

Moreover, this was handled through By-Laws 563 and 838, which meant that the entire cost was to be paid by the “owners of the real property immediately benefited thereby fronting or abutting thereon.”  The cost was added to their taxes over a number of years. Many such local improvements were halted by petitions against them; but in this case no such petitions were filed.  I can only assume therefore that the business owners in the southern half of the Drive thought the widening was a valuable addition to the neighbourhood.

[Source:  CVA, 134-A-2 file 1, page 57]

The Growth of Grandview 1903-1910

While the City Directories have their faults, and specifically cannot be used to create accurate population counts, they have proven to be very useful in illustrating trends.  To create the following powerpoint, I identified every Grandview household listed in the Directories from 1903 to 1910 and mapped them to their position within the rectangle Clark Drive, E. Georgia, Lakewood Drive and 7th Avenue.  This has allowed me to map the geographic growth of Grandview over time.

Automatic powerpoint:  Growth 1903-1910_test

Example map:

Drug Stores On the Drive

One of our currently vacant storefronts is about to be taken over by, I believe, Pharmasave.  Several people have said to me:  “Why do we need another drug store on the Drive?”  Fair enough question, and it led to me to see how many drug stores we have had on the Drive historically.  The following is a chronological list of such stores from the Drive’s beginning until 1999:

  • Royal Drug Company (1910-1914)
  • Tucker’s Drugs (1910)
  • Cochrane & Campbell (1911)
  • Vancouver Drugs (1911-1939)
  • Brown & Dawson (1913)
  • Grandview Drugstore (1915-1928)
  • Reliable Drugs (1915-1999)
  • Royal Drug Store (1915-1955)
  • Cunningham Drugs (1940-1969)
  • Docksteader Drugs (1956-1963)
  • Druggists Bulletin Service (1956-1967)
  • Fred’s Pharmacy (1963-1999)
  • Shoppers Drug Mart (1972-1989)
  • Tech Drugmart (1977)
  • Circle Drugs (1979-1980)
  • Pacific Pharmacy (1980-1982)
  • Service Drugs Pharmacy (1986-1992)
  • Health Point Pharmacy (1987)
  • People’s Drugs (1990-1995)
  • Commercial Drug Mart (1998-1999)

One of the things that jumps out from this list is that no new pharmacies opened on the Drive between 1915 and 1940.  This shows, I suspect, the market dominance of Louis Toban’s Reliable Drug Stores which had four branches on the Drive between Parker and Broadway.

Data from “The Encyclopedia of Commercial Drive“.

York Theatre Renovation

The renovation of the old York Theatre at Commercial and E. Georgia is moving ahead quite quickly.   As a result of the stripping of stucco from the south wall we now have another “ghost” sign:  this one for the Little Theatre.  It is not so easy to see, especially with the scaffolding still in place, but hopefully you can get a flavour of it from this image:

Tom Durrie, who has written a sketch of a history of the York Theatre, believes the “Little Theatre” sign was painted in 1923 when the Little Theatre Society purchased the site.

Will the sign be saved?   We can only hope!

GHG meeting Thurs June 21st

Just to remind you (or let you know) that the Grandview Heritage Group meets on the third Thursday of the month at Britannia Centre (1661 Napier) in the Brit Board Room, 7:00 p.m. That would be this Thursday, June 21st!
Our meetings are fascinating, fun, educational, and quite informal and open to anyone who’s interested.
See you there!