Grandview Database v. 13

We have today uploaded a new and updated version of the Grandview Database.  

This version incorporates almost 1,600 new data points since the previous release. The new entries this month include several hundred more households from the 1911 Census, several lists of tax-default properties in 1902 and 1909, a significant portion of the 1912 City Directory, and a wide variety of entries taken from the Highland Echo from 1935 to 1970, primarily concerned with Commercial Drive.

There is also a complete inventory of the current business occupants of 900-2300 Commercial Drive for the first time.

The reformatting of both dates and data points is almost complete.

John Stuart at the Cannery

One of our regular members and tour leader, John Stuart, is conducting a presentation during an open house at the Gulf of Georgia cannery in Steveston from 11am to 4:00pm on May 6th.  John’s piece is on the contribution of Scandinavians to the fishing history of B.C.

There is a full day of presentations and exhibits called “The Pull of the Net: A Multicutrual Celebration,” and I believe there will also be a fabulous Japanese tall ship in the harbour.

Heritage and the Provincial Election

Many of our readers will have views on the political interface between heritage needs and the Provincial government. Those folks will want to know about the

joint All-Candidates’ Meeting for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant and Vancouver-Hastings, Monday May 1st in Gym D at Britannia from 6:30pm.

Quoting from the release:

All ten candidates running in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant and Vancouver-Hastings have said they are coming.

The format for this event is different from All-Candidates Meetings in previous elections.

6:30-7:00 — Everyone is welcome to enjoy socializing over a free light meal (vegetarian soup or chili, buns, butter, salad, and dessert).
7:00-7:45 — Each candidate will have an opportunity to make a 3-minute prepared statement.
7:45-9:00 — Participants will sit at either Hastings or Mount Pleasant tables while candidates in their riding visit their tables to have informal conversations about the issues that concern them — World Café style.

Have your heritage questions ready!

A Connection To Nanaimo, V.I.

In June 1902, the Vancouver City authorities published a long list of the lots on which property taxes had not been paid (see, for example, “Vancouver Daily World,” June 11, p.18).  This list included the names of the last-known owner of each lot, making it a highly useful set of dta for the GV Database.

While working on this list, I noticed that one company — McBain & Hardy — were listed for a significant number of the lots (more than 50). I decided to map the M & H lots to see if there was any pattern to their purchases. I also looked up the company, without much success in Vancouver. However, I did notice that George A. McBain took trips to an from Vancouver Island and so I started looking there, eventually finding them in Nanaimo.

I had also noticed that John D. Foreman was the next most prolific owner in the lists and, sure enough, he too was based in Nanaimo. More research revealed at least another half dozen listings for Nanaimo-based owners.

1902 Nanaimo Connection

Two other matters come to mind. First, virtually all of these Nanaimo-based purchases are contained within Blocks 146, 147, and 148, from Commercial Drive to Garden Drive and from Third to Sixth Avenue (McBain & Hardy also owned a half-dozen lots in Block 136 from the Copp estate). Moreover agents George McBain, Charles Hardy and John D. Foreman all flourished in the early years of the 1890s and essentially disappear thereafter.

My preliminary conclusion therefore is that, during the 1891-1892 speculation period [see Birth of a Community, Part 2), Vancouver land interests sent these blocks to a Nanaimo broker (possibly McBain and Hardy) who then sold them on locally. There was, as we know, no land rush for settlement and these lots were left idle until the accumulated property taxes became too burdensome.



Michael Kluckner Exhibition

GHG’s own Michael Kluckner, watercolorist, author, and heritage expert, is having his first exhibition in Vancouver since 2006. The exhibition will include watercolours, oils, and drawings “mainly about Vancouver”.

The show is at the VanDusen Gallery Gallery on Oak Street, between April 29th and May 27th. Admission is free. An opening reception will be on Saturday 29th April from 2:30 to 5:30pm.

Michael is also streaming a complete virtual show at his website.

Don’t miss it!

The Birth of A Community — Part 3

The third part of my brief history of early Grandview covers the earliest residents of Grandview, those that settled between 1891 and 1901.

Select link to read the pdf for Part 3 — Birth_John Mason and His Neighbours

Part 4 will get into the nitty-gritty of developing the neighbourhood through 1909.

Parts 1 and 2 of this series are available at Birth_One_Two

Comments, suggestions, and corrections are welcomed and encouraged.

Meeting Announcement

The regular monthly meeting for April has been cancelled.  We will meet again on Thursday 18th May.  A reminder and a review of the agenda will be published closer to that date.

We have cancelled the April meeting in order that members may attend what we believe will be a very interesting talk on “Learning and Community Growth” given by Asa Kachan, head librarian at Halifax Public Library.  The talk is part of the Britannia Renewal Speakers’ Series and will take place in Britannia Library at 7:00pm on Thursday 20th April.

Hope to see you there.

When A Housing Market Crashes

There is much talk in Vancouver these days about how the “housing bubble” may have burst, that the astonishing rise of house prices over the last couple of years is coming to an end and that, perhaps, prices may actually fall.  Given this background, I was interested to have access this week to a few pages of the City of Vancouver property tax assessment register for the years 1933 to 1939.

The pages cover Block 67 in Grandview; a residential block enclosed by Clark Drive, Graveley Street, McLean Drive, and First Avenue and consisting of 24 separate lots. Nine of these lots were occupied by dwellings during the period 1933-1939, while fifteen were vacant.  The period covers the depths of the Depression before eastside Vancouver’s housing market improved with the influx of wartime workers from 1940.

Using 1933 as the baseline (100%) value for the assessment, the following two charts show the fall in assessed values through 1939.

Vacant Lot Assessments

Property Assessments

In 1933, the vacant lot assessments ranged from a low of $500 to a high of $630.  The property assessments in the same year ranged from $1,280 to $3,500.

As a further indication of how housing markets can fall from dizzying heights, lots 15 and 16 in this Block which were together assessed at $1,155 in 1933 and $795 in 1939 had been offered for sale during the crazy boom year of 1910 at $7,250.

Birth of A Community — Part 2

The second part of my brief history of early Grandview covers some aspects of the 1880-1899 period. In particular, it looks at some efforts to open the area to development, including the opening of the interurban railway between Vancouver and New Westminster, and a speculative real estate boom which failed completely.

Select link to read the pdf for Part 2 — Birth_False Starts

Part 3 will look at the small band of pioneer settlers who chose to live in Grandview between 1891 and the 1901 Census.

Part 1 of this series is available at Birth_In The Beginning for web

Comments, suggestions, and corrections are welcomed and encouraged.