History · urban design · Vancouver

What’s a Hector’s?

I’ve been researching the area around Fifth Avenue and Fir Street recently and in searching through the City of Vancouver Archives photograph collection found this photo taken in 1966. I was intrigued, it looked like a electrical sub station, but BC Hydro doesn’t do cute names, and there’s lots of lumber outside so it looks like its under construction.

So a quick look through the newspapers turned up a few interesting items. Hector’s it turns out was a restaurant/dinner club along the lines of the Cave or Bamboo Terrace.

Hector’s on Fifth Avenue at Fir Street. City of Vancouver Archives photo CVA 1135-16 The image was taken by William Graham who was the City’s director of planning

An advertisement in the Vancouver Sun in September 1966 highlighted what they would offer when they opened. The advert’s headline implies a bit of a delay in their opening.

Vancouver Sun Advertisement September 1966

The Province on October 6, 1966, carried an opening day advert for Hector’s which showed off the interior which looked rather interesting with it’s balconies and coved ceiling.

Hector was Hector Morrison, and Jack Wasserman reported that the place cost the proprietors nearly $300,000. in the same column reporting on the opening night he relates how his suggestion about lighting caused some confusion. Jack writes: “The place was bathed in light, including the area where people were dancing. I suggested it should be a bit darker. Hector agreed. The light switches were a few feet away. The two dozen switches were unmarked. Hector apologized because he wasn’t sure which was which “We haven’t had time to mark them.” He started trying lights. Finally the place was suitably dim. A bus boy arrived and said,”Pardon me, sir, but you’ll have to try again the lights are out in the kitchen.” So Hector flicked some more switches. Everything was great until a panic call came from the lobby area. “Would you mind turning on the lights in the checkroom the girl can’t find the coats.”

However, continuing to read the paper’s Hector’s made the news on June 12, 1967 as the Vancouver Sun reported on a robbery where staff reporting to work were grabbed and held by three men at gun point while they made off with three thousand dollars. The manager Greg Anders complained that it took three phone calls to the police department before they answered his call. The staff were held in the dining room and their hands were taped together, the thieves ripped the telephones off the wall and warned everyone to keep their eyes down.

On the 16th of June the police reported that they had arrested two men in connection with the robbery and were still looking for a third person. Thing’s didn’t improve though. A fire in July 1967 destroyed the upper floor and roof. As well for a brief period the restaurant was known as Barnetts, but in 1968 Greg Anders revived the restaurant and it was Hector’s again at least for the New Years celebration. It was briefly the Daisy Nightclub before becoming retail space.

There were a few other retailers before the building, looking less interesting, became home to the Lazy Gourmet.

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