Benjamin Tingley Rogers was an industrialist from the US – but his pursuit of success as a sugar refiner didn’t prevent him from dabbling in real estate development, both as investments and for his personal use.
The earliest reference we can find to Crowe & Wilson, contractors, is 1893, when S J Crowe visited Plumper’s Pass on Vancouver Island to supervise the construction of the new fog warning system. Charles Henry Wilson had arrived in Vancouver in 1886, 3 weeks after the fire. He was born in Wingham, Ontario, and we assume he arrived from the east. Sanford Johnson Crowe was born February 14, 1868 in Truro, Nova Scotia and moved to Vancouver in 1888. We know a bit more about him because later he became a Senator, so his biography was recorded. Although that wasn’t true for Mr Wilson, he was still alive in 1937 and some of his early memories were recorded in a conversation with Major Matthews.
As well as creating a sizeable property empire, both men were elected aldermen on Vancouver City Council, and Crowe was appointed to the Senate. He retired from the development business in 1909 to enter politics (although his name stayed on the firm, which continued to be active as developers) and was elected an alderman on Council from 1909 until 1915. He lived on Pendrell Street in the West End, and was elected to the House of Commons in 1917 as a Liberal-Unionist. He was appointed to the Senate in 1921 where he sat until his death in 1931, aged 63. Crowe was important enough in the construction industry to represent the employers in a 1907 strike by carpenters. The employers meetings were held in the Crowe and Wilson Block on East Hastings Street.
In 1891 C H Wilson was unmarried and aged 33. He seems to have been missed by the 1901 census, but 1911 shows he had a late start in raising a family. Now aged 51, he was living in the West End on Nelson Street with his 29 year old wife, Evangeline Mary (also born on Ontario) and their two children, Isabel aged 4 and Morris aged 2. (A third child, Evelyn was born after the census.) Their domestic, Helen Petterson, was born in Finland. Wilson was elected Alderman from 1902 to 1905 but had given that up by time he was married in 1906 at Christ Church.x
In 1900 he purchased twenty acres in a swamp west of the old North Arm Road, (now Fraser Avenue), from the Provincial Government for two thousand dollars, and ultimately sold it for twenty-one thousand dollars. In consequence, Wilson Heights, Wilson Hill, and Wilson Heights Church were all named for him, as was 41st Avenue, which was Wilson Avenue for a while. W H Lambke recalled its early days in 1934 conversation with Major Matthews “Bell’s original building on the southwest corner of Wilson Road (41st Avenue) and the C.P.R. line to Steveston, was a very modest building painted dark green with white trimmings, and absolutely devoid of ornamentation, verandah; indeed, I am not certain that there was a sidewalk, even of boards. It was set in a frame of forest, and was reached by turning down Wilson Road, then a muddy track through the stumps, from the road to the North Arm, now Granville Street, which was not much better. All around the store was stumps in second growth and an odd boulder or two.”
SANFORD JOHNSON CROWE.
Sanford Johnson Crowe through association with the contracting business has taken active part in the substantial upbuilding of Vancouver. He is now practically living retired. His attention, however, is given to his personal investments, which include good dividend-bearing properties. As the years have gone by he has won substantial success, his indefatigable energy and capable management enabling him to overcome all obstacles and difficulties and reach a position among the men of affluence in Vancouver. He was born at Truro, Nova Scotia, February 14, 1868, his parents being John S. and Rebecca (Fulton) Crowe, the former a son of Jasper Crowe, who was a native of north Ireland but came to Canada about 1810 and settled at Onslow, Colchester county, Nova Scotia, where he engaged in farming until his death. His son,
John S. Crowe, was born and reared on his father’s farm and was apprenticed in his youth to the carpenter’s and shipbuilder’s trades at Truro. He afterward followed building and contracting at that place until 1895, when he retired and came to Vancouver, where he remained until his death, in September, 1910. He married Rebecca Fulton, who was descended from one of four brothers of that name who came from Scotland to America in 1800. Two of these brothers settled in Nova Scotia and two in New York. Of the two latter one was Robert Fulton, who in the early part of the nineteenth century invented the first steamboat.
When he advanced his idea he was laughed at for his pains, none believing steam could be applied to navigation, but with courageous spirit he worked on until an interested crowd witnessed his first trip up the river to Philadelphia and his inventive genius and ability then found recognition. George Fulton was one of the two brothers who settled in Nova Scotia, taking up his abode in Colchester county, where he rose to a position of prominence. His son and namesake, George Fulton, Jr., was born in Colchester county, where he spent his entire life. It was his daughter, Rebecca, also a native of Colchester county, who became the wife of John S. Crowe and the mother of Sanford J. Crowe.
In the public schools of Truro, Nova Scotia, Sanford J. Crowe pursued his education and later was apprenticed to the carpenter’s trade, at which he served from 1883 until 1885. Subsequently he was in the employ of Thomas Dunne & Company, of Truro, with whom he remained until 1888, when he came to British Columbia, settling at Vancouver, where he took up the carpenter’s trade. He was thus engaged as a journeyman carpenter until 1901, at which time, in partnership with Charles H. Wilson, he embarked in the contracting and building business under the firm name of Crowe & Wilson. They met with success in that undertaking, many important contracts being awarded them, while various substantial structures of this city still stand as monuments to their ability and enterprise. They continued to prosper as the years passed on and conducted an extensive and gratifying business until 1908, when both parties practically retired from active connection with the business although the firm remains intact. Both Mr. Crowe and Mr. Wilson now devote their attention largely to looking after their common and private interests. The former has become a large owner of realty and also has other private business and financial connections. As a contractor he saw opportunity for judicious investments and from time to time added to his holdings until he now derives a gratifying annual income therefrom. In 1905 he was one of the organizers of the Cascade Steam Laundry Company. Ltd., of which he is the secretary-treasurer. He also has other financial interests and for the past two years has been vice president and active in the affairs of the Vancouver Exhibition Association.
Mr. Crowe was appointed in July to represent the city of Vancouver on the board of the Burrard Peninsula Sewerage Commission, also known as the Greater Vancouver Sewer Commission, which was created by the government at the last session of the legislature and will begin their work August i, 1913. In speaking of Mr. Crowe as one of the members of the new commission, Attorney-General Bowser refers to him as being in a class by himself, and having had years of wide experience in sewer construction in Vancouver, he is indispensible to the board.
Ever since the provisional board was conceived nearly two years ago Mr. Crowe has taken a very active part and always been a sincere worker for the establishment of a permanent commission to conduct this much-needed work.
On the 1 9th of March, 1901, in Vancouver, Mr. Crowe was united in marriage to Miss Annie C. Smythe, a daughter of Richard Smythe, a minister and farmer of Bathurst, New Brunswick. Mrs. Crowe passed away April 29, 1912, leaving two children, Richard Elmer and Harold Stinson. In politics Mr. Crowe is a liberal, taking active and helpful part in support of the party, and since 1909 has served as alderman of the city, his term expiring in 1914. He belongs to the Terminal City Club and to the Presbyterian church. He has ever been interested in matters pertaining to the growth, development, welfare and progress of Vancouver and for a number of years he was a member of the board of managers of the Vancouver General Hospital. He takes active and helpful interest in all that pertains to general progress and has been generous in his support of measures to ameliorate the hard conditions of life for the unfortunate. What he has undertaken he has accomplished and while he stands today among the successful business men of Vancouver he has never concentrated his attention upon business affairs to the exclusion of other duties, recognizing fully his obligations to his fellowmen and to the community at large.
Hewitt Bostock, PC was a Canadian publisher, businessman and politician.
Built 903 Homer (factory) – He was born in Walton Heath, Epsom, England and studied at Trinity College, Cambridge graduating with honours in mathematics. Bostock then studied law and was called to the bar in 1888. Rather than begin a legal practice he toured North America, Australia, New Zealand, China and Japan before settling in British Columbia in 1893 starting a ranch and lumber company.
He founded the Province newspaper and then entered politics winning election to the Canadian House of Commons as a Liberal in the 1896 election, representing the riding of Yale—Cariboo for one term.
In 1904, he was appointed to the Canadian Senate by the prime minister, Wilfrid Laurier. …
Dr. Ezra Newton Drier was born in Woodstock, New Brunswick somewhere between 1870 and 1872. In the 1891 Census, when he was still living at home in New Brunswick he was shown to be born in 1871, although the 1901 entry says it was 1870. His second marriage in 1909 recorded his birth date as 1872, and his death certificate also said 1870.
He arrived in Vancouver, as best we can tell from Street Directories, in 1901. He practiced very successfully as a doctor, with offices on Pender Street and a home initially in the West End. Dr. Drier and his wife, Hope (also from New Brunswick) obviously also enjoyed travel. In 1902 he took over as the surgeon on an Australian liner, (owned by the Oceanic Steamship Company) the SS Moana, for a two month period. He hired W T Whiteway to design his house at 1101 Burnaby Street.
Dr. Drier was a man with many interests; in 1905 he patented an arm splint, and in 1906 he hired Grant & Henderson to design a commercial block at 432 West Pender Street. His own offices had moved to the Fairfield Building on Granville Street, although by 1912 he was in the block he developed, and also lived there. Also in 1906 he conducted the installation of new officers of the Elks lodge; he was described as the “past exalted ruler, an officer of the supreme lodge of Canada”
In 1907 it was reported in the Vancouver World that “Dr. E. N. Drier, of Vancouver, lately purchased a very beautiful site on the Capilano river overlooking the last canyon in D. L. 593. This block of land and adjoining tracts is believed to be the choicest on the river for scenery and location, and also being a most suitable situation for a hotel or sanitarium.” We’re not aware whether he actually developed anything on this site.
A year later, in June, it was reported that Hope Drier had died; “The deceased lady had been ill for some time. She was native of Richmond, N. B., to which place the remains will be sent on this afternoon’s train, accompanied by her husband and mother”
Early in 1909 Dr. Drier remarried, to Jessie Townsend Reid. Jessie was the daughter of a Scot, John Reid, and Alice Cockayne, and was born in Port Townsend although by 1901 the family were resident in Vancouver. The family had a daughter, Francelle, in 1910, and a son, Newton died at birth in 1911. After his marriage he took an extended trip to Europe with his new wife, but took up his medical practice again in his return.
In 1911 Dr. Drier (wrongly identified as Dr. Driver in the Contracts Journal) was involved in the establishment of a company called Western Securities, who had Grant and Henderson design Hampton Court, a six storey apartment building built by J J Dissette at a cost of $100,000 (seen here in a 1975 Vancouver Archives picture). The 1243 Thurlow Street address is actually the same as 1101 Burnaby Street – so Dr. Drier demolished his nine year old home to develop the apartments.
In 1916 he relocated to New Zealand, where he quickly gained a reputation of some importance. He was quoted in newspapers soon after his arrival: as a Canadian Dr Drier did not see many points in favour of a nationalised medical service (a proposal being debated in New Zealand at the time). In 1919 he was in Auckland, commenting on the Spanish influenza (which was, in his opinion, a separate illness and not really influenza).
The family returned to Vancouver in 1932. There’s a substantial collection of items donated by Dr. and Mrs. E Newton Drier in the Museum of Vancouver, showing they spent some time collecting in South Africa and New Zealand. In the year he returned Dr Drier donated his collection of 750,000 shells to the museum, and there are other important ethnological items in the collection from the Driers. He took on the role of honorary curator of the items.
Ezra Newton Drier died, aged 70, in Vancouver in 1941.
George Byrnes has very little written about him, but he is important for having developed one of the first buildings after the 1886 fire – and it’s still standing. Census records and newspaper reports from here suggest he was born in Sydney, New South Wales in 1840 or 1841, but we’ve recently heard from family members in Australia that he was born in 1839 in Dungog, about 200 kilometers north of Sydney near Newcastle, and then we found this Sydney Mail piece from 1897 which seems more specific, but is actually just confusing, as Dungog (where his birth was registered) and Tamworth (in the newspaper below) are some 250 kilometers apart. (Thanks to Dennis Donovan and Edward L’Estrange, who also added some of the information that follows).
His parents were Thomas and Frances (Fanny) A Byrnes and they had been married in Sydney, also in 1839. He was reportedly in the stationery business and then sheep-raising, before coming to Victoria “to join his mother, whose husband Mr. Byrnes stepfather was the proprietor of the Bee Hive and afterwards the St. Nicholas hotels, when they were the chief hotels of the city“. (obituary notice, Times Colonist). A photograph of Mrs Byrnes refers to her as becoming Mrs Lee, although she certainly seems to have been known as Mrs Byrnes at the Bee Hive.
George nearly didn’t make it to meet his mother; he was one of only three saved from the shipwreck of the Coya sailing from Sydney to San Francisco in 1867 – two were ship’s crew and he was the only passenger to survive. On the day she hit the rocks, Coya carried 29 passengers and crew. Among the travelers were six women, including the captain’s wife and daughter. Most were below deck enjoying tea.
“The sea kept lifting her from rock to rock, crushing in the bottom,” recalled George Byrnes, a passenger. “With the sea breaking over us, nothing could be seen but a mass of hissing foam.”
He went from Victoria to the Cariboo gold fields in the same year that he arrived, although he obviously maintained connections with Victoria as he was elected to Masonic Office there in 1870. He was appointed tax collector in 1873 and also Sheriff in Cariboo District at $500 a year.
George got married in Barkerville to Maria Neate (ne Halley) who was born 21 May 1849 in Dublin and had been married to William Collyer Neate, an Oregon pharmacist. Anecdotal evidence is that Maria lived in Portland, Oregon and then moved to British Columbia. They were divorced in 1874 and custody of the two childres Albert and Lily Mabel were granted to Maria and she married George in the same year. She died in Victoria B.C. June 29 1900 of a heart ailment after several months in hospital. Albert Neate died in a horse riding accident (in California) in about 1903 and after George and Maria died, Lily married James Sharp the manager of the Hudson Bay Company in Port Simpson where her daughter Hilda was born in 1906. James and Lily eventually left Canada and finally settled in Brisbane Australia.
George was appointed Notary Public in Cariboo in 1876, and Commissioner in 1877. He was Involved with two different gold mining claims in Barkerville in 1878, one also involving P C Dunlevy and F J Barnard (of Barnard’s Stagecoach line).
In the 1881 census George was living in Richfield & Barkerville & Lightning, Cariboo, BC, aged 40 with Marie (ten years younger) born in Ireland, and Lillie Mabel (sic), aged 12, born in the USA. With them appear to be Elizabeth, George and Margaret Pinkerton, aged 5, 4 and 1. Two Pinkerton’s were partners with George in one of his Barkerville mines, and both were living alone in Barkerville in 1881.
George was paid to be the returning officer in Cariboo for the Federal election in 1882 – one of 5 in BC. He advertised a Portable Sawmill for sale in Barkerville in 1883, for Mr Robert Tatlow of Victoria (Tatlow was a real estate and insurance businessman who had been private secretary to the Lieutenant Governor, Richards, and who later moved to Vancouver).
August 24 1884, “The Card of Mr George Byrnes, late Sheriff of Cariboo, and now a valued resident of Victoria appears in this issue. Mr Byrnes, who is a gentleman of experience and ability, has leased the commodious building on the northwest , corner of Fort and Langley streets” (Times Colonist). By October he was selling lots in Hastings Townsite. His arrival in Victoria is noted in March 1886 on the Louise, from the mainland.
“When Vancouver was in its infancy Mr Byrnes purchased a considerable amount of property In what is now one of the principal sections of the town , and which a couple of years ago became very valuable” (obituary notice, Times Colonist). One parcel was the site of the burned out Deighton Hoise – where Jack Deighton had moved his hotel before he died. George erected the Alhambra Hotel, although it also carried his name as ‘The Byrnes Block’. The new building was designed by Elmer Fisher, but not (initially) necessarily for George. The initial tenders for the stonework were handled by Rand Bros, a well-known firm of land agents; and the architect was still based in Victoria.
Once the project was underway, in April of 1887, George was identified as the client, and a publication in 1887 refers to ‘The Byrnes Block’ as being constructed.
The block has lasted extraordinarily well, and a recent restoration has returned it to close to its original appearance.
We know that George didn’t conduct his business by long distance from Victoria. He came to town, and ended up in a famous early image of Maple Tree Square, taken just before the 1886 fire. A 1929 Vancouver Sun interview with Harry Devine, the photographer of the 1886 image below identified the two men standing in the centre of the picture. “The man with his back to the camera is J M Spinks, pioneer realty man, and brother of the late Judge Spinks of Vernon. The bearded gentlemen with the derby hat, light coat and leather leggings is George Byrnes, Vancouver’s first auctioneer”.
In the 1891 census George, Maria and Lily were living in Victoria – George is now noted as aged 48, a two year difference from his 1881 entry, and four years younger than he really was.
He auctioned racehorses in 1894, owned land that was given up for construction of the new railway on Vancouver Island in 1895, was a Hospital Trustee in 1896 and was still advertising as an auctioneer in Victoria (one of several) in the Daily Colonist of 1898. His death, from a heart attack, was reported 13 March 1899.
Edgar George Baynes and William McLeod Horie were partners in a construction business they started in 1893, and were responsible for constructing over a hundred of the city’s building. They weren’t just content to build other people’s projects; E G Baynes in particular developed a series of commercial projects and houses. They invariably built their earlier buildings without the involvement of an architect, so appear as developer, architect and builder on many Building Permits.
Baynes has a significantly higher public profile, although Horie was the older of the two. Horie’s name suggests he was of Scottish extraction – and several generations back this is true – his grandfather was born on Orkney in about 1794. His grandparents moved initially to Nova Scotia with their first child, Mary (born in Scotland), to River Philip where they had five more children including William’s father Joseph. They then moved to Port Daniel in Quebec where two more children were born and their family grew up. Joseph married Melinda Ramier, a Port Daniel native in her home town in August 1857. Over a period of 23 years they had ten children, including William – the oldest, born either in 1857 (family records) or in 1858, a year after his parents married (his birth date in the 1891 census) – or a year after that (1901 census)
We know from family records that William Horie came to British Columbia in May 1889. He was a carpenter, and had married Mary Lawrence in October 1887. His son Roy is shown as being born in August 1889 in Quebec, so perhaps Mary joined him a little later and daughter Edna in British Columbia in December 1890. From their arrival in Vancouver the family continued to grow, Alfred was born in 1891, Harold in 1893, Frank in 1895, Maxwell in 1898, Gordon in 1901, Ivan in 1903 and Dorothy in 1906.
Edgar Baynes was born in September 1870 in Bocking, Essex. His family were farmers – and pretty successful ones if his parents subsequent move to Broxted Hall in Dunmow is any indication. He was the oldest of at least six children (from the 1881 UK census) and left school ‘early’ to join his uncle’s building and contracting firm. How early isn’t clear – but he arrived in BC in 1889 with his uncle, J A Franklin, having learned his trade as a builder. A 1914 biography of Edgar says they worked together for a couple of years, then he moved to the Squamish valley as a rancher (which probably explains his absence from the 1891 Census) before returning to Vancouver in about 1893 where he returned to being a builder, and teamed up with William Horie. Family records say it was actually a homestead up the Cheakamus River, upstream from Squamish, and that he rowed there from Coal Harbour to establish his claim.
He married an Ontario native, Margaret McAlpine in April 1899 when he was 28 and she was 25. They had four children, Doris Lillian born in 1903, Jean Hetty in 1904, George Edgar in 1907 and Margaret Anderson in 1908.
Baynes and Horie could tackle building both framed and masonry buildings. They later added poured in place concrete construction to the methods they adopted – some of the earliest in the city. Two of the earlier buildings they built that are still standing are the 1902 $7,000 brick and stone store designed by Thomas Parr for T McWhinnie, and the adjacent $12,000 buildings built in the same year for Borland and Brown and designed by Parr and Fee.
In that same year they built a small brick store building on Main Street for $2,500 for themselves. They were also already picking up contracts from some important clients – BC Electric Railway Co had them build a wood and iron building on Barnard Street, and further larger contracts followed in later years. They picked up other important public clients like the Park Commission and the School Board, and the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1905 the built another larger building for their own investment purposes on the corner of Howe and West Pender Streets.
Their contracting work expanded dramatically, in 1909 they had over $200,000 worth of contracts, and in 1912 11 projects worth over $475,000.
The company were involved in public works – in particular they erected the arch into Stanley Park. Edgar Baynes would become an active Parks Commissioner in later years.
As well as the projects developed by Baynes and Horie for themselves, Edgar Baynes increasingly invested in real estate on his own account. We’re assuming the projects recorded as being for for Edmund Baynes and Edward Baynes are his too – it’s fairly certain he was known as ‘Ed’ Baynes (and Mr Horie as ‘Will’) from conversations recorded by Major Matthews in the early Vancouver Archives, and there were no Edward or Edmund Baynes in Vancouver. In 1910 Baynes and Horie built this W F Jones designed building for E Baynes on the corner of Broadway and Alberta
In 1912 Ed Baynes built a $150,000 building on Howe Street, the Grosvenor Hotel.
Although that no longer exists, in the same year he also built a $45,000 commercial building on Powell Street, which he designed and built.
A couple of years later he had Sharp and Thompson design a number of houses which he built on West 42nd Avenue, two of which are still standing.
In the mid 1920s Ed Baynes built Vancouver’s first parking garage on Water Street, leased to Nagle Brothers. In 2009 it was restored and had 3 extra storeys added, but the original poured concrete structure looked like this before that significant change to the building’s appearance.
There’s a new park in the Downtown South area, and to the north there is a 1910 building which these days is called Brookland Court. It was built by two brothers, who are referred to in the architectural history books as ‘the Lightheart Brothers’. They were builders who designed their own developments and owners of a factory on the site before they built the apartment building. Two other brothers are mentioned in passing as well. What hasn’t been noted until now is that there were in fact at least six different Lightheart brothers, all of whom ended up living in Vancouver and all of them involved in construction and development. None of the brothers are mentioned in any of the contemporary biographies of worthy citizens, or the Times Colonist newspaper, and there are no identified photographs in the archives, despite their significant development activities.
In the 1881 Census 32 year old Joseph Lightheart was living in Nottawasaga, Simcoe in Ontario, (on Lake Huron) a farmer who had been born in Ontario into a family originally recorded as being of German origin (although family members had been born in Nottawasaga at least back to 1800, and most seem to be of Scottish decent). His wife Alice, born in England, is also aged 32, their daughter Mary is 6, and sons William and Joseph are 5 and 3. There’s another brother – a 2 year old also (confusingly) recorded as William, but also called James. Ten years later Joseph and Alice’s family has grown – (although Mary died in 1887). There are now six sons, and Joseph senior is recorded as a labourer. William #2 is missing, but another son, Thomas, is recorded.
Two others had been born and christened between George and Oliver; Alice and Robert, twins, who like Mary may not have survived. A final child, a daughter, Emma, was born in 1893.
Only a few years after Emma’s birth William and Joseph had moved to Vancouver. In 1901 they both lodged with James A Johnston and his family, 25 year old William working as a builder and his 23 year old brother Joseph as a carpenter. They appear in the 1901 City Directory at 604 Hamilton Street, which presumably was their works yard. In 1901 William built a house on Burrard Street and in 1902 he built a house for George Whatmore on 8th Avenue. Joseph built a house in the same year on Burrard Street for himself, and it was a substantial house too – it cost $2,200. (At least two other houses were built by Lighthearts with different initials in 1901 as well, although neither of them seem to be in the street directory or recorded in the census of that year – so they could just be errors by the clerk compiling the register).
In 1902 they mysteriously disappeared from the directory records, but in 1903 there were six Lighthearts in town, five of them (George, Jacob, Captain Joseph, Thomas and William) all living at 1111 Richards Street, and Joseph R at 1262 Burrard. It appears that Captain Joseph is the brothers’ father. In 1904 the five brothers were listed living at 1111 Richards, the year in which Lightheart, W A and Bros had a factory at the corner of Seymour and Helmcken. J V and G E Lightheart (George and Jacob) teamed up in 1907 to build four houses on Cardero between Nelson and Barclay. Remarkably all four houses, which each cost $4,000 to build, are still standing today.
In 1908 Joseph R and William were living at 1262 Burrard, and the other three brothers George, Jacob and Thomas were living at 1111 Richards with Joseph senior and Oliver, the sixth brother, was now living with them.
In 1909 there are some changes in where the family are living. Jacob was in partnership with George and living at 748 Bidwell, although George was still at 1111 Richards, as was Joseph senior, Thomas and Oliver. Joseph R was now at 1123 Richards, while William was still on Burrard Street. A mysterious Jacques Lightheart, capitalist, was listed living on Cardero Street, although there seem to be no other records of anyone with this name and he had disappeared again a year later.
By 1911 Emma had arrived in the city, and was living at 2941 Burns St (these days it’s called Prince Albert St) and George, Joseph Oliver and Thomas were living there as well. Jacob was at 1686 Barclay and William still on Burrard Street. 1911 was the census year – and how reliable the census data is can be see in the numbers of Lighthearts identified that year. William and his wife Winnifred and children William and V. (no name listed) are at Burrard St with their English born domestic, Edith Ponsford. Jacob and his Scottish wife Christine, their son Jacob and two of her relatives, John and Isabella Mowatt are at the Barclay St address. No other Lighthearts were recorded by the census, and Joseph senior is missing from the street directories – although he may have been in hospital as he died in March 1912.
In 1912 Joseph R had moved to Alberta Street, and in 1913 Jacob was in real estate and living at 1086 Bute (a building he had recently developed). From this point on a number of other people called Lightheart were living in the city making it more difficult to follow the family fortunes.
In 1921 Joseph’s widow Alice was still at Burns St, George was managing the Bute St building but living in Shaughnessy Heights, Jacob was living on Comox Street, Joseph on West 14th Avenue and Oliver on West 12th Avenue. William remains at Burrard Street. In 1927 Emma was a dressmaker, living at 2570 Spruce, Jacob was now listed as owner of Renfrew Lodge, built in 1925 at 2570 Hemlock Street, and Oliver was living on Cypress Street.
By 1931 Alice had moved to Stanley Park Manor on Haro Street, built that year, where Cecil Lightheart (almost certainly William’s son) was manager and William was the owner. (So he was probably developer as well, although now there’s a registered architectal firm designing the building, Hodgson and Simmonds).
Both Cecil and William had homes in Shaughnessy, and Louise, George’s widow lived there too. Jacob was now listed as proprietor of the Cambridge Apartments, and was living on Bidwell Street, and Joseph owned and managed Vallejo Court, on West 10th Avenue but lived on West 14th Avenue. As this was built in 1927, it’s quite likely another Lightheart project. Oliver owned the Malborough Apartments, on Jervis Street, built in 1928 and lived in West Point Grey.
The city’s early Building Permits show that various combination of brothers built seven substantial apartment buildings (as well as many houses) during the city’s growth spurt from 1909 to 1913. The first to be built were the Seymour Street building that William and Joseph built at a cost of $120,000 in 1909 on the company factory site, and a more modest frame apartment built by Thomas and Oliver Lightheart at a cost of $15,000 on Nelson Street these days called the Clifton Apartments. Jacob, probably with his brother George, built an apartment building on the corner of Bidwell and Barclay Streets that is no longer standing.
A year later Thomas built another apartment building adjacent to the Nelson Street building on the remaining half lot on Nicola Street, and a much more substantial $250,000 building on Bute Street, called Strathmore Lodge which he partnered in developing with his brother Jacob.
In 1912 William built another apartment building on Fir Street at a cost of $140,000. That no longer exists, as the Granville Bridge off-ramp sits on the site. A year later in 1913 another Bute Street lot was developed by Oliver with a $200,000 apartment building called The Berkeley.
(Mary born 1875, died 1887).
William Akitt, born 1876 married Winnifred Maud Vickers, died 19 December 1966 aged 91. Son Cecil born 1907, died 1971, daughter born 1916, died 1920.
Joseph Robert, born 6 Sept 1877, married Jessie Martell then later Annie Hendry of Alberta (born 1909), died 9 April 1971 aged 93.
Thomas James, born Jan 1 1879, died April 1912 aged 33.
Jacob Valdone, born 11 April 1881, married Christina Mowatt, died 9 Sept 1955 aged 74.
George Edward, born 10.Aug 1883, married Mable Cairns of PEI 1915 died 17 June 1930 aged 46.
(Alice and Robert, born 1886).
Oliver Richard, born 30 Aug 1888, married Margaret Macgregor of PEI 20 March 1918, died N Van 20 Sept 1971 aged 83.
Emma, born 11 Jan 1893, married Grant Nicol Murchie, died 15 July 1962 aged 69.