The Triangle Building: ‘Aorta’ of Mount Pleasant’s ‘Heritage Heart’

Christine Hagemoen – 2017

The Triangle Building at 2402-2422 Main St/44, 46 Kingsway is a key building in what has become affectionately known as Mount Pleasant’s ‘Heritage Heart’, the area around the triangle block. Created by Broadway and the historic intersection of Kingsway, Main Street and 7th Avenue and referred to by this name in the Mount Pleasant Community Plan (2010), the ‘Heritage Heart’ was the hub from which ‘Old Mount Pleasant Village’ developed and it has remained the hub of the neighbourhood ever since.

The Triangle Building was built by merchant, developer and philanthropist Ben Wosk in 1947.  Beneath the grey stuccoed skin of this unique Streamlined Art Moderne building still exists the original vitrolite exterior finish.  This pigmented structural glass was a product of mid-century developments in material science.  Also indicative of the period’s affinity for slick shiny surfaces are the stainless steel window and door frames which surround the building front and back.

VPL-78025B – Robert O. Bentley 1972 Dominion Photo Co.

Mount Pleasant’s vibrant mix of small businesses is one of its characteristics most valued by both its residents and the city at large. Since it was built, the Wosk Block/Triangle Building has provided more small, accessible storefronts and offices for the neighbourhood’s countless prized independent businesses than any other building in the area. One locally owned shop especially cherished by the community was Bain’s Candies and Fine Chocolates (established in 1938), which was housed in the tip of the building from the time the Wosk Block opened in 1948 until the turn of the 21st century. People still remember Campbell Munro who made candies for Bain’s for more than 66 years. The building is currently home to an eclectic group of businesses much loved by the community and provides some of the most affordable commercial rents in the area, as was highlighted in the recent article in the MetroNews, ‘Landlord helps keep block ‘alive’ (Thursday, February 21st, 2017).

aa-1404-CBC – Alvin Armstrong – 1956 – Night Shot for Almanac

The building’s upstairs offices have continually been used by businesses, community groups and non-profit associations emblematic of the neighbourhood and important to the community’s social and cultural cohesion. In the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s there was a high concentration of industrial workers associations and credit unions mixed among various professionals as well as community groups like the Viet Nam Action Committee and Canadian Jewish Outlook Magazine. Since the late 1980’s the offices have been home to many arts organizations and artists studios along with other groups and businesses. The building tells the story of the neighbourhood’s evolution and changing identity and its present popularity as a social gathering place, both inside its shops, cafe and eateries and outside along the sidewalk, reflects how much the building and its tenants are held dear by the people of Vancouver.

As the Mount Pleasant Heritage Group it is our goal to identify, celebrate and preserve heritage buildings that are not only of architectural interest and importance but that have a history of contributing to the social/cultural identity and fabric of the community.  It is our hope to open up a conversation about the future of this treasured and vital building that might be characterized as the ‘aorta’ of the ‘Heritage Heart’.

Addendum to original post:  This photo shows the Triangle Building with its new mural by Bracken Hanuse Corlett, painted for the Vancouver Mural Festival 2017.

Mural by Bracken Hanuse Corlett

Mural by Bracken Hanuse Corlett

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My Canada Is…In My Backyard

Have you ever wondered why Mount Pleasant’s streets are named after the Canadian provinces/territories & why Ontario Street is the centre/000 block of Vancouver?

In 1869 Henry Valentine Edmonds, the clerk of the municipal council in New Westminster, acquired District Lot 200A – the wilderness south of False Creek and north of today’s Broadway that would later become Mount Pleasant. By 1888, a year after the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Dr. Israel Powell, who hailed from Ontario, was a co-owner of the land with Edmonds. In 1871 Dr. Powell had been one of the key people to negotiate the entry of the British colony of British Columbia into the country of Canada, which had been created in 1867.

Dr. Powell named all his streets in Mount Pleasant after the seven provinces that made up Canada in 1888, when the neighbourhood was established; thus creating a representation of the map of Canada. The centre street of Vancouver’s grid system is Powell’s Ontario Street, the 000 hundred block going east-west. He probably did this because Ontario is known as central Canada and it was Powell’s birthplace. The eastern province streets are east of Ontario Street with the western province streets west of it.

“The original map of Canada street name system in Mount Pleasant was later extended to include two new north-south streets after a new province and a new territory were formed: Alberta Street, in the 300 block west (Alberta was formed in 1905) and Yukon Street in the 400 block west (the Yukon territory was formed in 1898).”

Information, quotes and map from the ‘Mount Pleasant Historic Context Statement’ (pages 2-5) written by Bruce Macdonald in 2008 for Donald Luxton and Associates and the City of Vancouver.

MPHG would like to thank the Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Area (MPBIA) and Rath Art Supplies for their generous support of this project.

This Heritage Week 2017 project brought to you by Alyssa, Danielle and Jennifer.

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Celebrating Heritage Week 2017 and the theme ‘My Canada Is…’

Have you ever wondered why Mount Pleasant’s streets are named after the Canadian provinces/territories & why Ontario Street is the centre/000 block of Vancouver?

For an explanation check out our Heritage Week 2017 banner display ‘My Canada Is…In My Backyard’.

my-canada-is

The banner is in the window of Rath Art Supplies, located in the Triangle Building at 2412 Main Street, right in the centre of Mount Pleasant’s ‘Heritage Heart’.

It will be up until February 26th, 2017.

Mount Pleasant Heritage Lives!      window-on-side-of-crosbie-blk-on-sw-corner-of-main-8th

MPHG would like to thank the Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Area (MPBIA) and Rath Art Supplies for their generous support of this project.

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Mount Pleasant’s Historical Themes

Each year since the Mount Pleasant Heritage Group’s inception we have had a Heritage Lounge (at the Autumn Shift Festival 2013-2015 and at the Vancouver Mural Festival 2016). We have created display boards on different topics including this one on Mount Pleasant’s historical themes. To access the City of Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant Community Plan document, on which this display board is based, click here.mp-themes-2015-dec2c

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Heritage Heart Look and Find


Her Heart Header

To Celebrate Heritage Week 2016’s theme ‘Distinctive Destinations:  Experience Historic Places’ join in the Mount Pleasant Heritage Heart Look and Find.

Heart from stained glass window on Crosbie Block at the corner of Main & 8th

Heart from stained glass window on Crosbie Block at the corner of Main & 8th

Head to Rath Art Supplies at 2412 Main Street to participate in the fun and explore Mount Pleasant’s Heritage Heart.  Project up until March 15th. #HeritageHeartLookandFind

 

This project was generously supported by the Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Area (MPBIA), Rath Art Supplies and our MPHG volunteer team.

To view the answers for the Mount Pleasant Heritage Heart Look and Find CLICK HERE

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The Naming of Mount Pleasant and Its Map of Canada Streets

Here are a couple of highlights from our discussion of Mount Pleasant’s early days.  This discussion took place at our April monthly meeting and we used our Mount Pleasantries as a guide.  A previous post, Brewery Creek Ravine As A Playground At The Turn Of 1900, is another.

Mount Pleasant was named in 1888 after a small Irish village outside Dublin – the birthplace of the wife of Henry Valentine Edmonds. In 1869 Edmonds, the clerk of the municipal council in New Westminster, had acquired District Lot 200A, the wilderness south of False Creek in the future Mount Pleasant. “He was speculating that Vancouver’s unusually fine natural harbour would someday become home to the terminal of a transcontinental railway, since he had witnessed first hand the pandemonium that ensued when San Francisco had been declared a transcontinental railway terminal.”

Map by Bruce Macdonald based on the Dakin fire insurance map, 1889 (City of Vancouver Archives:  AM54-S23-2-- /Major Matthews Collection)

Map by Bruce Macdonald based on the Dakin fire insurance map, 1889 (City of Vancouver Archives: AM54-S23-2– /Major Matthews Collection)

By 1888, a year after the arrival of the railway, Dr. Israel Powell, one of the people who had negotiated British Columbia’s confederation with Canada in 1871, was a co-owner of the lot. “The first street in Mount Pleasant had originally been an ancient First Nations and animal trail, now known as Kingsway…the super-Canadian and Ontario-born Powell named all his streets in Mount Pleasant after Canada’s provinces to create a representation of the map of Canada…The centre street of Vancouver’s grid system is Powell’s Ontario Street, in the 000 hundred block going east-west, probably since Ontario is known as central Canada…The western Canadian Streets are west of Ontario Street, and the eastern Canadian streets are east of it.”

Information, quotes and map from the  ‘Mount Pleasant Historic Context Statement‘ (pages 2 – 5) written by Bruce Macdonald in 2008 for Donald Luxton and Associates and the City of Vancouver.

 

 

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MOUNT PLEASANTRIES Revised

In 1886 pioneers Jacob and Mary Grauer became the parents of George Grauer, the first baby birth recorded in Mount Pleasant.

Twenty years later, in 1906, their sixth son, Albert Edward “Dal” Grauer, was born on Sea Island, now the site of the Vancouver International Airport.  Dal Grauer, who became the well-known President of the BC Electric Company, was also elected Chancellor of UBC in 1957 and presided over Queen Elizabeth’s 1959 visit to the University.

Photo for #8 City of Vancouver Archives:  SGN 1026  Photo for #9 City of Vancouver Archives:  Str P270.05 Photo for #10 City of Vancouver Archives:  Dist P 18 All Major Matthews Collection

Photo for #8 City of Vancouver Archives: SGN 1026
Photo for #9 City of Vancouver Archives: Str P270.05
Photo for #10 City of Vancouver Archives: Dist P 18
All Major Matthews Collection

We have changed #12 to reflect that, despite being born 20 years later, George Grauer was Dal Grauer’s older brother, not his father.

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