100 Years Ago Today in Grandview, #12

June 5, 2023


The Great Storm of ’23

On Tuesday 5th June 1923, Vancouver was enjoying a heat wave, with noontime temperatures close to 80 across the city. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a storm erupted east of the city, moving rapidly west, moving first over Grandview and then much of downtown.

“Great crashing in the heavens and flashes of flame from the black heavy clouds, accompanied by one of the worst downpours of rain experienced for years, blown by a wind of almost cyclonic velocity,” said the Province.

Two bolts of lightning ten minutes apart did much of the damage. A blue ball of electricity formed on the BCER trolley wire on Cambie Street, rolling and jumping along the wire towards Hastings Street. Trees were uprooted, windows were blown in, signboards were wrenched from walls.

At the corner of Commercial and Kitchener, lighting struck a telephone pole, splitting the timber ten feet down from the top. Another pole was struck at Commercial and Charles. A Grandview woman pressing clothes with an electric iron received a shock so great it knocked her over. People reported minor shocks near other utility poles.

Sources: Sun 1923 June 6, p,1, 12; Province June 6, p.24

100 Years Ago Today in Grandview, #9

May 18, 2023


On Friday, 18th May 1923, John Y. Steel received a $3,000 building permit for a new store at 1544 Commercial. Steel had operated a dry goods business at 1584 Commercial since 1918. This image from 1922 shows the empty lot beside the corner block.

Steel had moved into his new building by the spring of 1924 and he stayed there until he sold the business to Frank Frost in 1928. Frost’ Dry Goods was a great success, surviving through Depression and War until April 1953. This image shows the store in 1939.

In the middle 1950s, a greengrocer and a salvage store used the space. But in 1956 it was taken over by Manufacturers’ Outlet flooring until the early 1980s. For most of the time since then, the building has been part of the Kalena Shoe empire.

100 Years Ago Today in Grandview, #8

May 13, 2023


One hundred years ago today it was Mother’s Day and then, as now, flowers were the usual gift for the celebration.

At the time of this ad in the Vancouver Sun, Grandview Florists had been established less than one year. They would stay on the Drive until the mid-1980s. The full history of the Buftons and their flower shop can be found at: https://grandviewheritagegroup.ca/2022/08/02/the-buftons-of-commercial-drive-a-biographical-sketch/

100 Years Ago Today in Grandview, #7

April 27, 2023


A Major Accident

Friday 27th April 1923 began as an ordinary working day. That afternoon, Drive power-broker and realtor Charles Smith was driving his touring car south on Commercial. He had in the car with him a Mr Wilbrand who was looking for a property, and a Mr. Robinson who seems to have been just along for the ride.

Smith was in the process of turning east on 2nd Avenue when he realized that a large industrial truck was bearing down on them at speed, and that a collision could not be avoided. Smith yanked the car out of the way, but mounted the sidewalk and ran into a number of women talking at the corner. Mrs. Boulton, wife of the storekeeper at Commercial & 1st, was mortally injured and died in the ambulance on the way to hospital.

The truck that Smith was trying to avoid — carrying a load of cider barrels for Van Brothers — locked up its wheels as it skidded to avoid the car, grazed the sidewalk causing the barrels to fly though the air. One cider barrel struck Mrs Thomas Fea outside Thomas Cahill’s Grandview Grocery Store, throwing her against a telegraph pole, damaging her back and legs. Another of the barrels hit Smith’s car, leaving a big dent.

Smith was arrested for manslaughter and was released later on $10,000 bail. At the Coroner’s hearing, the police charged that Smith had “tried to beat” the truck to the turn but had miscalculated. The coroner’s jury agreed, placing responsibility for the accident fully on Smith. In May, Smith was committed to trial.

Sources: Province 1923 Apr 28, p.1, 23; 30, p.13; Vancouver Daily World Apr 28, p.2; 30, p.11; May 17, p.9; Sun Apr 29, p.1

100 Years Ago Today In Grandview, #6

March 19, 2023


The First Bus

Monday 19th March 1923 saw the first running of motor buses as scheduled units within the BC Electric system. It seems self-evident to us today that the bus would eventually take over the role in transit that streetcars used to serve. But in 1923, this was still a new and exciting development, allowing better access to and from Grandview and Hastings Townsite. The Province raved that the new service had been “awaited with keen interest” in Grandview.

The first route of this extension began at Broadway & Commercial, travelled SE along Grandview Highway to 13th Avenue and then on to Renfrew to 22nd and along 22nd to Rupert. One bus handled the service in the beginning, but a second bus would enter service later.

The two buses each cost $7,500 to purchase and a total of $20,000 to put on the road. The company made great efforts to ensure everyone was aware that the buses were part of the BC Electric fleet; each car is furnished inside and out in the same style as the company’s streetcars, and ticketing and transfers were the same as the rest of the system. Each bus was rated for 35 passengers, with 21 seated and 14 standing.


Sources: Province 1923 Jan 16, p. 13; Feb 17, p.5; Mar 9, p. 14; Mar 16, p.4; Vancouver Daily World Jan 10, p.2, 3; Mar 19, p.9; Apr 4, p.9; Sun, Mar 19, p.11

100 Years Ago Today in Grandview #5

February 23, 2023


Friday evening, 23rd February 1923, saw the opening of the new I.O.O.F. Hall at 1718 Graveley Street. The new building was described as “handsome” and “commodious”, with electric heating.

More than 250 members attended the opening banquet, and they enjoyed:

“an interesting program of vocal and instrumental music, followed by dancing to the orchestra of the East Hastings Lodge.”

The building has housed a number of organizations over the decades, and still stands proud:

100 Years Ago Today in Grandview, #4

February 9, 2023

On Friday 9th February 1923, movie-goers at the Grandview Theatre on Commercial got their first chance to see fan-favourite Harold Lloyd as a country doctor who cures a girl (Mildred Davis); she promptly falls in love with him to the ire of her father (John T. Prince.)

Having been released at the end of November, “Dr. Jack” was already one of the top ten box office hits of 1922.

If that wasn’t enough for your nickel, there was also a baritone and a dance!

100 Years Ago Today in Grandview, #3

February 3, 2023


Swap Columns

The Vancouver dailies included scores of pages of ads. Many of them were corporate material just trying to sell you stuff; but a significant number were “swap” ads, where individuals offered up something in exchange for something else. For example, on Saturday 3rd February 1923, someone offered a short silk plush coat with fur collar and cuffs in exchange for “anything useful.”

Someone else was willing to swap their Edison phonograph and records for a heater or pullets.

A bed with dresser, skates and boots, a Briscoe roadster “in good shape,” 40 acres of unimproved land in the Okanagan, an 8-day clock and a Mackinaw coat were offered. A late model light touring car, a lot in South Vancouver, chickens, and a modern typewriter were sought after items.

Several people offered help around the property in exchange for rent.

It was an efficient way to recycle and re-use.

Source: Sun 1923 Feb 3, p.10

Grandview 8th December 1920

December 8, 2020
Province, 19201208, p.5

All previous Grandview 1920 clippings.

Grandview 6th December 1920

December 6, 2020
Province, 19201206, p.19

All previous Grandview 1920 clippings.

Grandview 4th December 1920

December 4, 2020
Province, 19201204, p.18

All previous Grandview 1920 clippings.

Grandview 3rd December 1920

December 3, 2020
Vancouver World, 19201203, p.18

All previous Grandview 1920 clippings.

Grandview 2nd December 1920

December 2, 2020
Vancouver Sun, 19201202, p.3

All previous Grandview 1920 clippings.

Grandview 1st December 1920

December 1, 2020
Vancouver Sun, 19201201, p.13

All previous Grandview 1920 clippings.

Grandview 30th November 1920

November 30, 2020
Vancouver Sun, 19201130, p.13

All previous Grandview 1920 clippings.

Grandview 29th November 1920

November 29, 2020
Vancouver Sun, 19201129, p.12

All previous Grandview 1920 clippings.

Grandview 28th November 1920

November 28, 2020
Vancouver Sun, 19201128, p.35

All previous Grandview 1920 clippings.

Grandview 27th November 1920

November 27, 2020
Vancouver World, 19201127, p.20

All previous Grandview 1920 clippings.

Grandview 26th November 1920

November 26, 2020
Vancouver World, 19201126, p.2

If you, like me, wondered what “violet rays” did, here is a Wikipedia article on it.

All previous Grandview 1920 clippings.

Grandview 25th November 1920

November 25, 2020
Vancouver Sun, 19201125, p.8

All previous Grandview 1920 clippings.