Depuis presque cinq années, la SHFCB s’intéresse à la préservation de ce petit immeuble patrimonial, construit en 1899 pour loger la quincaillerie du ferblantier Magloire Desrosiers, au coin SE des rues Hastings et Carrall, à côté de l’impressionnant Hotel Pennsylvania.
Il s’agit de l’un de moins d’une dizaine d’immeubles patrimoniaux à Vancouver qui portent le nom de leurs propriétaires francophones originaux.
Magloire en avait probablement confectionné lui-même la corniche portant son nom, et c’est justement en raison de sa détérioration – maintenant dangereuse pour les piétons – que nous avons à nouveau engagé la discussion avec la Ville de Vancouver.
On nous a signalé ce matin qu’en raison de la désignation patrimoniale qui perdure pour cet immeuble, le propriétaire a maintenant quelque trois semaines pour entamer, avec les services patrimoniaux de la Ville, la restauration de l’ensemble de la façade, y compris la préservation de sa corniche.
Nous vous tiendrons au courant des suivis. Entre temps, en voici un petit historique et quelques photos. Les photos historiques proviennent des Vancouver City Archives: la première (CVA Str P414, vers 1910) montre le Desrosiers Block, tout petit entre les deux immeubles à étages multiples, et la deuxième (CVA 235-3, vers 1910), Magloire à gauche dans son magasin avec des employés.
DESROSIERS BLOCK, 1901 or 1899??
6-8 E Hastings St.
(Note: Several spellings of the Desrosiers name appear in the directories and census records, linked to the people named in this text: Des Rosiers, Desrosier, Derosier, De Rosier, DeRosie, Derouchie, Derousee, De Rousie, Derousie, Deruchie.)
On-line texts on the Desrosiers Block state that it was built with contractor P.J. Donahue in 1901. However, photos until 1936 show it with a tin cornice crowned with the date 1899.
The Desrosiers Block’s heritage value is in its historic relationship to this area and to the economy of Vancouver, in that is became part of the commercial hub of Gastown that served the CPR staff and the new settlers in the areas it opened up.
The building was dwarfed by its much taller neighbours even back then, but its modest scale was balanced out with solid stone massing and a nicely defined cornice with two tiny columns, quite conceivably made by Desrosiers himself.
By 1908, the tenants included two liquor stores and Miss Lulseta Colassin’s Ladies’ Barber Shop. The second floor contained a couple of apartments, housing a succession of tenants.
Later tenants included:
1910s: McLennan & Urquhart liquors, Schmehl & Wright liquors & cigars, Tien Tsin Chop Suey restaurant (upstairs), Crown Liquor Store, The Original Old Country Fish & Chips Shop (to 1930)
1920s: Overseas Mechanics club (upstairs)
1930s: Rex Café, Olympic Boxing & Wrestling School (upstairs)
1950s: New Rex Café, Paris Café (through 1960s)
1960s: Donald’s Café
1970s: 4 Star Café
1980s: Saigon Garden Restaurant, Vietnamese Garden Restaurant
1990s: Number One Coney Island Seafood Restaurant, B&J Restaurant
2000s: Armani Market
In November 2013, an accidental fire destroyed much of the interior of the Desrosiers Block’s second floor. In March 2014, owner Mohamed « Koreshi » had brought in Guy Bruyère of Firstonsite Restoration for the repairs. On the front of the building, the second-floor windows were still cracked and smoke-damaged,
but there was no evidence of the fire from the back alley, though building additions prevented a clear view.
Koreshi stated on March 28, 2014 that he had been authorized by the City to add five stories to his building, which was then stated as incorrect by City staff; no application for such additions had been received by City Hall by that date. Two days earlier, Zlatan Jankovic of the City’s Planning Dept. had stated that there had been five unsuccessful attempts over several years at having the façade of this building restored. He added that the best approach would be a stabilization of the façade, and that no more than two stories should be added in the eventuality of such an application.
Several photos exist of the Desrosiers Block:
190?: VPL 6531, with no commercial details
- 1910 (VPL=1911): CVA M-11-22, showing E. Lee Jeweler, McLaren & Urquart Liquor Store, Tien Tsin Chop Suey, Comet (This is the same view as VPL 13682, but CVA’s copy is in better condition.)
- 1910: CVA Str P414, showing Tientsin
1910s: CVA M-11-52, showing Tientsin
1913: VPL 8396, showing large sign between Holden building & Pennsylvania Hotel, and Liquor neon sign on floors 3-5
1916: VPL 8397, showing Crown Liquor
1918: VPL 20587, showing no commercial details
1922: VPL 21341, showing Original Fish & Chips; Overseas Mechanics
1923: CVA 99-3455, showing the window of The Original Old Country Fish & Chips
1931: CVA 99-3895, showing Old Country Fish & Chips; (upstrs) Olympic Boxing & Wrestling School
1936: CVA Bu P56, showing Rex Café; ….. Studio (upstairs) [much the same photo as VPL 10944]
1957: VPL 42420, showing Paris Café
betw. 1980-1997: CVA 772-433, showing Vietnamese Garden Restaurant
betw. 1980-1997: CVA 772-434, showing no commercial details
1990: CVA 772-443, showing Coney Island Seafood Restaurant
M., MICHAEL … OR MAGLOIRE DESROSIERS?
Michael Desrosiers is first mentioned in Vancouver directories in 1889, listed simply as foreman, and in 1892 as foreman tinsmith (as Michael, then Mich., M., Mike, Mitchell, and Michele – « Michel » appears nowhere). As of 1890, he is listed as working as tinsmith and cornice maker for E.S. Scoullar & Co., dealers in stoves & ranges, manufacturers of galvanized iron cornices, and tin, copper and sheet iron ware, established at 162 Water St. (replaced in the 1970s? by the building that eventually housed the short-lived Storeum [2004-06]) and the New
York Block on the 600 block of Granville St. (built by the CPR in 1888 and replaced in the 1920s by the present HBC store).
It is quite possible that « M. » anglicized his name in Vancouver to « Michael ».
Desrosiers worked as plumber and tinsmith from 1894 to 1899 at 831 Granville St., across from the Orpheum, and from 1897 to 1901 at 214 Carrall St. [Vancouver Insurance Atlas 1901 shows 214 Carrall as the door to the W of the present Abrams Block, but none of the fire maps give the name of the business on the premises.]
In 1899, « Michele » Desrosiers is listed as working at Tinsmith and cornice makers Magloire Desrosiers, at 214 Carrall. Is 214 Carrall the « retail stove outlet » that appears in the on-line texts on the Desrosiers Block? If it indeed M.’s own store, why then would it bear the name Magloire, unless M. IS Magloire?
The City of Vancouver Archives holds the Aug. 19 1895 application written and signed by M. Desrosiers, 831 Granville, to receive a plumbing license, having complied with the conditions. (City of Vancouver fonds, Clerk’s Office, C-D file) However, the signature is in the same handwriting as in those of Magloire Desrosiers on the birth certificate of his son Arthur Joseph, BC 92-09-115516 / 50516, Jan. 30 1892; that of son Homère Joseph, BC 95-09-117689 / 51689, Jan. 14 1896; as well as that of his son Wilfrid Fernand (BC 00-09-120545 / 53545, May 10 1900. In this case at least, M. Desrosiers is indeed Magloire.
From 1896 to 1901, M./Michael Desrosiers lived at 526/528 Helmcken (since demolished).
The same year that « Michael » Desrosiers is first listed, 1889, John Desrosiers also appears, as a carpenter. Two years later, he’s listed as a plumber, having lived on Granville and at 560 & 734 Seymour. No place of work is indicated. In 1891, A John Derousie is listed as a fitter, also living at 734 Seymour – this would then be the same man. A BC death certificate for a John Desrosiers (June 22 1863-June 21 1937), a carpenter born in QC (died in Princeton BC – lived 10 years there and 35 yrs in BC, so since 1902, though info was provided by his nephew from Manitoba) indicates that this is Magloire’s brother, Jean-Baptiste, indicated in FamilySearch.org as having been born June 22 1864 in St. Paul de Joliette, QC, to Magloire’s parents. This relationship is also made clear in Magloire’s obituary.
In 1899-1900 appears Magloire Desrosiers (also phonetically misspelled as McGuire, among others) at the same address and workplace as M./Michael, also dealing in stoves and tinware.
The last reference to an M. Desrosiers (dairyman) is in 1908. That year, both M. and Magloire lived at 1063 Seymour.
Are these two M. Desrosiers and Magloire Desrosiers THE SAME PERSON??
Magloire, born in 1862 at St Paul, Joliette, QC, was the son of Magloire Desrosiers of QC and Luce Desautels de la Pointe. In 1891, in Vancouver, he married Marie Caroline Boeur, born in 1872 at Mousny, Belgium to Isadore Joseph Boeur and Catherine Joseph [possibly Josephte] Philomène Grandjean. Both Magloire and Marie Caroline died in Vancouver, he and in 1936, and she in 1934. They had at least 9 children:
Arthur Joseph (1892-?), eventually residing in Seattle, WA,
Marie Luce (1893-1909),
Homère Joseph (1895-?), eventually residing on Los Angeles, CA,
Marie Florida (1898-?); married to Cornelius E. Brennan in 1924, eventually residing in San Mateo, CA,
Wilfrid/Wilfred Fernand Joseph (1900-1964); married to Florence Godfrey in 1928, [named Wilfred J. Avila in his mother’s obituary)
Marie Cécilia (1892-?), married to J. Ross, Vancouver, in 1934,
Marie Éveline (1907-?;) married to Michael Anthony Engelbeen in 1933), Vancouver,
Harold A. (?-?), Vancouver, and
Clarence (?-?), Vancouver.
Magloire’s obituary also lists two of his brothers, who survived him:
August[e], of St. Annes, Manitoba, and
John, of Princeton, BC. [This would be Jean-Baptiste, who died in 1937, the year after Magloire’s death].
Magloire lived at 526/528 Helmcken, along with Armand [could this be his son Arthur?] Desrosiers, until 1904.
As of 1908, a growing family of Desrosiers lived at 1063 Seymour, including Magloire and several children of Magloire and Marie Caroline (she is not listed), as follows:
- – 1908
Joseph A (Joseph Arthur, son of Magloire) – 1911-13
Arthur J (the same son of Magloire) – 1914-19
Cherrill – 1913
Homer (Homère, son of Magloire) – 1914-1916
Florida (Marie Florida, daughter of Magloire) – 1918-22
C.B. – 1918
Cecilia (Marie Cécilia, daughter of Magloire) – 1920
Wilfred (Wilfred/Wildriid Fernand Joseph, son of Magloire) – 1920
Florence (wife of Wilfred above) – 1921
At the same time, several other Desrosiers families (various spellings) lived and worked in the Lower Mainland, though do not appear to be directly related to Magloire’s family.
In 1903-05, Magloire Desrosiers appears as being with [Magloire] Desrosiers & [H.A.] Slater, stoves and tinware, at 6 E Hastings, the address of the Desrosiers Block. This also gives credence that M. Desrosiers is actually Magloire.
Magloire Desrosiers is listed as involved in real estate in 1917, operating out of 2343 S. Granville (in the block at the NW corner of W 8 Ave.) and as retired in 1925.
The Magloire Desrosiers clan moved from 1063 Seymour to 24 E 69 Ave. in 1923, where at least nine family members resided off and on until 1950.
Neither of Magloire’s (Vancouver Daily Province, Sept. 15, 1936, p.13) or wife Marie Caroline’s (Vancouver Daily Province, Mar.2 1934, p.17) obituaries mention an M. or Michael Desrosiers, which again highlights the fact that M. is probably Magloire himself.