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1923::Granville Street in Vancouver, British Columbia

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

A look up Granville Street 100 years ago.

1923::Corner of Hastings and Granville Street Vancouver, BC.

"1923::A Look Up Granville Street from West Hastings"

Photo (top): (tbd)

Maneuvering around the streetcars at the corner of Vancouver's West Hastings and Granville Street is an A. P. Slade truck. Slade trucks were a frequent commuter at the Hastings-Granville intersection with its wholesale grocery outlet just around the corner on Water Street's famous 'Wholesale Row.' In the background is the Williams Building. It was built during the Klondike Goldrush in 1897 by mining and lumber man James McKinnon, and purchased (and renamed) in 1907 by Frederick Williams.

"A. P. Slade & Co."

Photo: BC Archives (C-02446)

In 1912, Vancouver produce wholesalers A. P. Slade was at the top of their game. Their success was partly due to the purchase of two Albion trucks which they used to reach customers in areas where the rails didn't go. The business expanded throughout the province and by the mid-1920s, Slade's was a household name in British Columbia.

1921::The Williams Building (McKinnon) at Granville and Hastings Street in Vancouver, BC.

"1921::The Williams Block at the Corner of Hastings and Granville"

Photo: City of Vancouver Archives (Str P106)

The Williams Building was a beauty in its day, and Granville at West Hastings was a most desirable location for business. The building had centralized heating and was wired with electricity throughout all four floors. By the 1940s, it was determined that the building's elevator, known as the birdcage, was the oldest running lift in the city. One of the building's busiest tenants, Service Tobacco, a big name on the East Coast, opened its first western store at the Williams Building location and was bought out two years later in 1923 by an American firm.

In 1959, when the building was finally torn down, a group of well-known sculptors noticed that the building's foundation of large sandstone blocks were being set aside to be used as landfill at a different construction site. After asking the right people, the local sculptors managed to salvage 40 sandstone blocks (some almost 5 feet tall) to be carved by the group. Whatever came of their sculptures is unknown.

1921::Right side of the road driving in effect.

"1921::Final Warning: Right-Side Road Rules Take Effect"

Clip: Victoria Daily Times (1921)

Victoria, British Columbia

Until January 1, 1922, at 6 am, motorists, coaches, and anything with wheels on the road felt safe driving on the left side of British Columbia's streets just as the Londoners did. But visiting American auto-tourists escaping the California heat (and prohibition) were confused by the left-side road rules whenever they drove north of the border. To accommodate the money-spending southerners, as well as to accommodate the North American automobile designs with their left-side steering wheels, British Columbia adopted the right-side-of-the-road driving rule.

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