Chinatown · History · Vancouver

Chinese Social Clubs, Gambling Raids and a Lawyer…

When working on research into Chinatown buildings, it’s common to come across newspaper reports of police raids on the area’s “gambling dens.” Reporters highlighted the number of men arrested and in some cases, the haul of money confiscated. Following up on these busts is interesting. After the initial publicity around the police action it was… Continue reading Chinese Social Clubs, Gambling Raids and a Lawyer…

History · Vancouver

The Winters Hotel, John McAfee and a Trunk…

The recent fire and demolition of the Winters Hotel at Water and Abbott Streets was a shock and is a loss for Gastown and the city. Designed in 1907 by W.T. Whiteway for Mrs Alice Winters, the hotel welcomed travellers and businessmen to Vancouver. For its day it was a good hotel with 120 rooms,… Continue reading The Winters Hotel, John McAfee and a Trunk…

Chinatown · History · Pacific Northwest · Vancouver · walking tours

Rubber Knives, Ketchup and the Persistence of Tourism Myths…

Years ago I had heard of a tour bus operator who arranged for a couple of guys in costume brandishing knifes that would run across Pender Street near Carrall on the edge of Chinatown as the bus came down the street so that the driver could announce “oh my a tong war!” to the apparent… Continue reading Rubber Knives, Ketchup and the Persistence of Tourism Myths…

History · South Vancouver · Vancouver

Treasure House Ransacked

It was a one paragraph item in the August 8, 1955 edition of the Vancouver Sun noting that a house formally owned by Ezak Nep at 878 SW Marine Drive had been wrecked by people looking for a supposed fortune hidden somewhere in the house. I made a note in my book of perpetual research… Continue reading Treasure House Ransacked

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… Continue reading What’s a Hector’s?

History · Pacific Northwest · Vancouver

All That Hanging About…

…a cobblestone courtyard, where apparently, a hangman’s scaffold once stood. In full view of gathering public, the noose was pulled tight many times over, taking over 40 people to the grave. One of the more popular Gastown myths wrapped around Blood Alley Square is the so-called Court House and a gallows that supposedly dispatched large… Continue reading All That Hanging About…

History · Pacific Northwest · Transportation · Vancouver

From Point Grey to a Train Robbery

Researching houses is always interesting. There is the architecture, or lack of it, the builders and the context that prompted a development or subdivision and there are the lives of those that once inhabited a house, sometimes ordinary, a few times interesting and occasionally linked to intriguing events. Soon after the 4th Avenue streetcar line… Continue reading From Point Grey to a Train Robbery

Chinatown · History · Vancouver

Chinatown, Gambling Raids and a Lawyer…

When working on research into Chinatown buildings, it’s common to come across newspaper reports of police raids on the area’s ‘gambling dens.’ Reporters highlighted the number of men arrested and in some cases, the haul of money confiscated. It was interesting to following up on these raids and note that cases brought forward for prosecution… Continue reading Chinatown, Gambling Raids and a Lawyer…

History · Pacific Northwest · Vancouver

A Disappearance…

Research into houses is always interesting. Sometimes it’s the unexpected life or deeds of an owner or tenant that sheds a bit of light on an obscure aspect of Vancouver history. Or in the case of Marshall Smith a mystery. The house at 1685 Nelson (pictured above in the Vancouver Archives photo, to the right… Continue reading A Disappearance…

History · Pacific Northwest · Vancouver

A Lion’s Backend…

Lions have been the guardians of choice for numerous courthouses, public buildings and monuments around the world. The most famous of these, in the Commonwealth at least, might be the ones that sit at the base of Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square. In Vancouver, the Georgia Street side of the Vancouver Art Gallery (the former… Continue reading A Lion’s Backend…