Home Miniature house 1920s Granville Street unveiled on giant fire insurance map

1920s Granville Street unveiled on giant fire insurance map

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The cylindrical roll produced by the brokerage is 11 feet long.

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Vancouver businesses have used all kinds of things to promote themselves over the years.

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Union steamers take out a clipboard from one of his ships. Grouse Mountain made a miniature wooden ski with a mini ski boot and even a mini ski pole. The Vancouver Sun and The Province used to place porcelain “push bars” with their logos on grocery store doors.

Don Stewart of MacLeod’s Books has one of the biggest promotional items: an 11-foot-long Granville Street fire insurance card from the 1920s. It was issued by MacGregor, Creery and Farmer Ltd., a company of insurance and real estate brokerage that existed from 1925 to 1956.

The card rolls up in a cylinder for easy storage. As you pull it down, you see the outlines and descriptions of every building on Granville Street downtown, plus a few on Seymour and Howe streets next door.

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The map appears to be taken from Goad Atlas of the City of Vancouver and Surrounding Municipalities , a fire insurance card that documented every building in the city.

“These maps were there so that insurance agents and building owners would know what materials each building around them was made of and what their own building was,” says Stewart. “It would make a big difference in the bonuses. If it were a wooden structure of any size, it would be considered to have a higher fire risk than a brick building.

“They’re all color coded, usually two or three colors. This one is in three colors, yellow for wood, pink for brick and marble or stone is blue.

The Vancouver Archives have a similar map published by Sharples and Sharples, a broker where Wallace MacGregor was listed as a “rental manager” in the early 1920s. The Sharples and Sharples list in 1925 indicates that the company is “succeeded by MacGregor. , Creery and Farmer ”, so the maps were probably made in 1924-25.

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But this is only a guess, because there is no date of identification, it is enough to determine it by the buildings.

The card is so long it takes up an entire aisle at MacLeod's Books.
The card is so long it takes up an entire aisle at MacLeod’s Books. Photo by Arlen Redekop /PNG

At the top of the map, there is a listing for a “new CP station,” which opened in 1914. But in Georgia and Seymour streets, there is a listing for the Allen Theater, which opened. doors in 1920, so the card must be minus since that time.

To complicate matters, the Goad map was published in 1912-13, in 49 separate sheets. It has been periodically updated, including in 1923, which is why there are newer buildings.

Any old fire insurance card is rare, as it was usually removed as new cards or updates came out. But they’re incredibly detailed, making them a boon for historical research.

“They don’t really exist outside of a handful of records,” said Stewart. “I once had a fire atlas from the early 1890s which is the only known copy, which is in the special collections at UBC. This one was fabulous, as it showed (Vancouver’s first red light district on) Dupont Street and all the brothels.

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In the MacGregor, Creery and Farmer map, you get quirks of the time, such as the description of a “wooden bridge on stilts” from the south end of Granville Street to downtown on the other side. of False Creek.

The Orpheum theater on the map is not the current one, which opened in 1927, it is the one that was located in the old Vancouver Opera House, which opened in 1891. Another building in the streets Granville and Dunsmuir is listed as “Moving Picture Theater.” (It was called the Colonial and, like the old opera house, was demolished for the construction of the Pacific Center in the late ’60s, early’ 70s.)

Stewart has the MacGregor, Creery and Farmer card for sale for $ 3,500.

“You should use the phrase, ‘Here is the opportunity to own Granville Street,’” he joked.

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The map of the gold regions of British Columbia was published in 1862 in Victoria.
The map of the gold regions of British Columbia was published in 1862 in Victoria. Photo by Arlen Redekop /PNG

Luckily, Stewart has another incredibly rare historical map for sale.

The Map of the Gold Regions of British Columbia was drawn by Gustavus Epner and published by the Victoria Booksellers Hibben & Carswell in 1862, at the height of the Cariboo Gold Rush. The caption is “compiled from sketches and information given by His Excellency James douglas , CB, Governor of British Columbia and Vancouver Island, and from data obtained from the smartest and most reliable miners. “

It’s as small as MacGregor, Creery, and Farmer’s card is big, enclosed in a hard book cover that you could stick in your shirt pocket. The card is folded inside and extends up to 44.6 x 34.7 centimeters (15.5 x 13.6 inches).

The original owner wrote their name on the inside of the front cover – Edouard Stamp , the man who founded Hastings Mill in 1865, the birthplace of the city of Vancouver. The price is $ 5,000, but you don’t get a better historical provenance than that.

The Vancouver Archives have digitized Goad’s fire insurance card, and you can search for it on their website as well as at Vanmap . UBC Special Collections digitized the Map of the gold regions of British Columbia , which you can search for on their website.

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The Complete Map of the Gold Regions of 1862 in British Columbia.
The Complete Map of the Gold Regions of 1862 in British Columbia. Photo by Arlen Redekop /PNG
The map shows the distances between communities in British Columbia in 1862.
The map shows the distances between communities in British Columbia in 1862. Photo by Arlen Redekop /PNG
Don Stewart holds the plan of Granville Street, which rolls up in a cylinder.
Don Stewart holds the plan of Granville Street, which rolls up in a cylinder. Photo by Arlen Redekop /PNG
Detail of the Sharples and Sharples map at the Vancouver Archives, which appears to be the same as the MacGregor, Creery and Farmer map.  This shows the west side of Granville Street between Georgia and Robson streets in the 1920s, when Vancouver's second hotel was on Georgia and Granville streets and the old Vancouver Opera House was known as the Orpheum Theater. .
Detail of the Sharples and Sharples map at the Vancouver Archives, which appears to be the same as the MacGregor, Creery and Farmer map. This shows the west side of Granville Street between Georgia and Robson streets in the 1920s, when Vancouver’s second hotel was on Georgia and Granville streets and the old Vancouver Opera House was known as the Orpheum Theater. .
A Union Steamship paperweight.
A Union Steamship paperweight. Photo by Ian Lindsay /Vancouver Sun
Various promotional items from the history of the Vancouver Sun, including a porcelain
Various promotional items from the history of the Vancouver Sun, including a porcelain “push bar”. Photo by Jason Payne /Vancouver Sun
Grouse Mountain miniature ski, boot and pole.
Grouse Mountain miniature ski, boot and pole. Photo by Gerry Kahrmann /PNG

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