Buildings on the beach side of Beach Avenue

Earlier this year, Harry Swain of Victoria donated a photograph to us and it caused great excitement. Here it is:

image of Beach Avenue

View from the Sylvia Court Apartments, May 18, 1913. Reference code AM1376-: 2013-002.1

Here’s why we were excited. The 1900 and 2000 blocks of Beach Avenue no longer have buildings on the water side. There are very few good views of the buildings that existed there and nearly all of them were taken from the beach rather than from across the street. This is the only view we have that shows these long-gone buildings from this angle.

The photo above, showing streets and features.

The photo above, showing streets and features.

This view down English Bay beach shows the direction from which the photograph must have been taken: high up in the Sylvia Court apartment building (now a hotel), facing the buildings in the distance.

English Bay beach, showing bathers and surrounding buildings, about 1913. Detail from Reference code AM54-S4-: LGN 1030

English Bay beach, showing bathers and surrounding buildings, about 1913. Detail from Reference code AM54-S4-: LGN 1030

For a completely different (and not photographic) view of these buildings, we can look at Fire Insurance Plans. These detailed plans were created by fire insurance underwriters to evaluate fire risks.

This plan was created in 1893 but updated to 1901. The updates were made by gluing new pieces of paper onto the old plan. You can see that the alignment is a little off here:

Detail from Map 384, showing buildings in the same two blocks as in the photograph.

Detail from Map 384, showing buildings in the same two blocks as in the photograph.

There were a few buildings on the water side. The real fun was a few blocks over.

Detail from Map 384, showing buildings further along Beach Avenue. Note the toboggan slide in the lower right corner!

Detail from Map 384, showing buildings further along Beach Avenue. Note the toboggan slide in the lower right corner!

The following plan is from 1912, closer to when the 1913 photograph was taken. Note that the original shoreline was outlined. This plan was annotated in pencil by Major Matthews, the first City Archivist. We don’t write on the records any more.

Detail from Plate 8 of MAP 342.

Detail from Plate 8 of MAP 342.

The photograph would have been taken from pink building “7” (the Sylvia), facing toward the Englesea Lodge.

Another view of these buildings from a few years later is the hand-coloured photograph we used as our first Twitter background.

View of English Bay Beach

English Bay Beach, 1916. Frank Gowen, photographer. Reference code AM54-S4-: Be P93.

This photograph gives a good view of the Alexandra Park bandstand and the English Bay Pier.

English Bay Pier, detail from reference code AM54-S4-: Be P93

English Bay Pier, detail from reference code AM54-S4-: Be P93

In 1909, large boulders were removed from the beach and used for the construction of English Bay Pier, and sand was pumped from the ocean bottom to create the sandy beach. The Pier was demolished in 1939.

Alexandra Park bandstand. It appears that these two women are moving concert equipment, probably chairs. Detail from reference code AM54-S4-: Be P93

Alexandra Park Bandstand. It appears that these two women are moving concert equipment, probably chairs. Detail from reference code AM54-S4-: Be P93

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexandra Park Bandstand was built in 1914 and concerts were subsequently held there instead of at the Pier bandstand. It was renamed the Haywood bandstand to acknowledge the contribution made by Haywood Securities toward its 1987 restoration. It is now a designated heritage building protected under City of Vancouver Heritage By-law No. 4837.

For more on the buildings on these blocks, especially Englesea Lodge, see this post by Eve Lazarus on her blog.

5 responses to “Buildings on the beach side of Beach Avenue

  1. Fun fact: Photo also shows 2024 Beach Ave. (2nd house over from Englesea Lodge), where W. Kaye Lamb (former Provincial Librarian, University Librarian (UBC), and Dominion Archivist) lived with his uncle Prof. Joseph Kaye Henry while attending school.

  2. Heather Gordon

    That’s a totally fun fact for a Friday afternoon!

  3. Following up on last month’s comment, here’s the 1999 eulogy for W. Kaye Lamb, written by Basil Stuart-Stubbs, which references the house at 2024 Beach Ave: http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/pdfs/misc/lamb_eulogy.pdf

  4. Sue Bigelow

    Thanks for this!

  5. Dianne Kittila-Krause

    My parents managed The Englesea Lodge in the early 70s. We had movie stars in the building, and the oldest tenant was 101!
    It was beautiful to have the greenery of Stanley Park at our door and the ocean at the back of the building. Stunt men, Actors, and more lived there. With the popcorn venders cycling up and down Beach Ave, it was a charming environment! I am grateful for the experience of my own apartment at 14 , with its Murphy bed that I pulled down to sleep at night sad the old building with its Gargoyles is now gone.

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