Lee’s Pier Tea Rooms

Detail from Pier English Bay - Vancouver BC - Post Card - European Import Company - No 32

Detail from Pier English Bay – Vancouver BC – Post Card – European Import Company – No 32

Lee’s Pier Tea Rooms was a refreshment parlor at the north end of the English Bay Pier, with a street address of 1900 Beach Avenue.

The tea room: Detail from The pier, English Bay, Vancouver, B.C., Vancouver City Archives: CVA 677-227.; http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/pier-english-bay-vancouver-b-c-4;rad

The tea room: Detail from The pier, English Bay, Vancouver, B.C., Vancouver City Archives: CVA 677-227.; http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/pier-english-bay-vancouver-b-c-4;rad

Charles N. Lee (born Cornelius Nemmo Lee, and often called “Charlie” ) operated this business from 1908 to 1920.

Detail from PAN N77 - [Panoramic view of English Bay beach, Sylvia Court Apartments (decorated in the Great Peace celebration) and bathhouses from the English Bay Pier], July 19, 1919, http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/panoramic-view-of-english-bay-beach-sylvia-court-apartments-decorated-in-great-peace-celebration-and-bathhouses-from-english-bay-pier;rad

Detail from PAN N77 – [Panoramic view of English Bay beach, Sylvia Court Apartments (decorated in the Great Peace celebration) and bathhouses from the English Bay Pier], July 19, 1919, http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/panoramic-view-of-english-bay-beach-sylvia-court-apartments-decorated-in-great-peace-celebration-and-bathhouses-from-english-bay-pier;rad.

In the early 1900s, the City of Vancouver decided to improve the facilities at English Bay. One of the proposed improvements was a pier at the end of Gilford Street. This area was the former home of Alexander Biggart Sayer-Smith (1848-1935).

Vancouver Province, November 27, 1906, page 5, column 3.

Vancouver Province, November 27, 1906, page 5, column 3.

Vancouver Province, February 1, 1907, page 13, column 5.

Vancouver Province, February 1, 1907, page 13, column 5.

Parr and Fee were the architects for the pier.

Vancouver Daily World, March 12, 1907, page 10, column 3 [portion of article].

Vancouver Daily World, March 12, 1907, page 10, column 3 [portion of article].

Vancouver Daily World, March 15, 1907, page 14, column 5.

Vancouver Daily World, March 15, 1907, page 14, column 5.

Two factors delayed the construction: one was a carpenters’ strike; the other was the need for the federal government to approve structures in English Bay. (At this time, the federal government claimed that English Bay was a federal harbour and that it belonged to the federal crown under British Columbia’s Terms of Union with Canada. Further information appears on the page for 2030 Beach Avenue. As well, the Navigable Waters Protection Act required federal approval for any works that could affect navigation on navigable waters in Canada.)

Vancouver Daily World, April 11, 1907, page 6, column 3.

Vancouver Daily World, April 11, 1907, page 6, column 3.

After the end of the carpenters’ strike, the Parks Board decided to work on the bathing pavilions first, and to finish the pier construction later.

Vancouver Province, May 6, 1907, page 1, column 3 [portion of article].

Vancouver Province, May 6, 1907, page 1, column 3 [portion of article].

The Gold Teredo-Proof Pile Company treated the pier’s pilings against Teredo navalis, a bivalve that lives with bacteria that can digest wood. (Further information appears on the page for Mary Jane Allan.)

Vancouver Province, November 13, 1907, page 20, column 3.

Vancouver Province, November 13, 1907, page 20, column 3.

A series of rocks served as the part of the base for the pilings of the pier.

English Bay Pier pilings and view of Beach Avenue, about 1908; Vancouver City Archives, Be P102; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/english-bay-pier-pilings-and-view-of-beach-avenue.

English Bay Pier pilings and view of Beach Avenue, about 1908; Vancouver City Archives, Be P102; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/english-bay-pier-pilings-and-view-of-beach-avenue.

 

Pier Tea Rooms

By November 1907, the pier was almost finished. The Parks Board considered the possibility of having a tea-room at the entrance to the pier.

Vancouver Province, November 14, 1907, page 14, column 3.

Vancouver Province, November 14, 1907, page 14, column 3.

English Bay Pier, detail from English Bay Beach, English Bay Pier and Beach Avenue, about 1912; Vancouver City Archives, CVA 71-17; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/english-bay-beach-english-bay-pier-and-beach-avenue.

English Bay Pier, detail from English Bay Beach, English Bay Pier and Beach Avenue, about 1912; Vancouver City Archives, CVA 71-17; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/english-bay-beach-english-bay-pier-and-beach-avenue.

English Bay Pier, detail from English Bay Beach, English Bay Pier and Englesea Lodge, about 1912; Vancouver City Archives, CVA 71-18; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/english-bay-beach-english-bay-pier-and-englesea-lodge.

English Bay Pier, detail from English Bay Beach, English Bay Pier and Englesea Lodge, about 1912; Vancouver City Archives, CVA 71-18; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/english-bay-beach-english-bay-pier-and-englesea-lodge.

By the spring of 1908, Charles Nemmo Lee (often called “Charlie” Lee or “C.N. Lee” was the proprietor of the tea-rooms. (Further information on Mr. Lee appears on the page for Charles N. Lee.)

Vancouver Daily World, May 12, 1908, page 2, column 1.

Vancouver Daily World, May 12, 1908, page 2, column 1.

Mr. Lee operated the tea rooms until 1920.

Vancouver Province, March 23, 1916, page 8, column 7.

Vancouver Province, March 23, 1916, page 8, column 7.

In 1916, a fire damaged the tea rooms.

Vancouver Province, September 23, 1916, page 26, column 6.

Vancouver Province, September 23, 1916, page 26, column 6.

The Parks Board discussed the options for re-building the tea rooms.

Vancouver Sun, September 28, 1916, page 10, column 5.

Vancouver Sun, September 28, 1916, page 10, column 5.

Charlie Lee continued to operate the tea-rooms until 1920.

Vancouver Daily World, November 28, 1918, page 9, column 3.

Vancouver Daily World, November 28, 1918, page 9, column 3.

By the beginning of 1921, Charles no longer operated the tea rooms. The Parks Board paid Charles $5,500 for his improvements to the facility.

Vancouver Province, January 29, 1921, page 7, column 3.

Vancouver Province, January 29, 1921, page 7, column 3.

The Parks Board took over the tea rooms and later leased them to a series of operators.

Vancouver Daily World, February 23, 1921, page 3, column 3.

Vancouver Daily World, February 23, 1921, page 3, column 3.

Vancouver Province, March 1, 1924, page 21, column 8.

Vancouver Province, March 1, 1924, page 21, column 8.

In the late 1930s, the Parks Board concluded that the pier had reached the end of its life. Work to demolish the pier began in February 1939.

Vancouver Sun, January 30, 1939, page 1, column 3.

Vancouver Sun, January 30, 1939, page 1, column 3.

Vancouver Sun, February 3, 1939, page 7, column 8.

Vancouver Sun, February 3, 1939, page 7, column 8.

The recovered materials from the pier were for sale.

Vancouver Province, February 1, 1939, page 19, column 1.

Vancouver Province, February 1, 1939, page 19, column 1.

Vancouver Province, March 17, 1939, page 4, columns 4-5.

Vancouver Province, March 17, 1939, page 4, columns 4-5.

For a short time, a portion of the pier structure was available for boat storage.

Vancouver Sun, March 1, 1941, page 19, column 8.

Vancouver Sun, March 1, 1941, page 19, column 8.

The tenants of the tea room space hoped that the Parks Board would retain the tea room for at least some period of time. However, the board decided to demolish the tea room along with the rest of the pier.

Vancouver Province, April 17, 1939, page 22, column 3.

Vancouver Province, April 17, 1939, page 22, column 3.

In 1943, the Parks Board considered removing the rocks that had been part of the pier’s foundation.

Vancouver Sun, January 9, 1943, page 26, columns 2-3.

Vancouver Sun, January 9, 1943, page 26, columns 2-3.

However, the foundation was still visible in 1954.

Rocks for English Bay Pier, detail from First Beach, 1954; BO-54-211; http://vintageairphotos.com/bo-54-211/.

Rocks for English Bay Pier, detail from First Beach, 1954; BO-54-211; http://vintageairphotos.com/bo-54-211/.

The remnants of the rocks are still visible, especially at low tide.

Rocks for English Bay Pier, offshore from English Bay Beach, near Gilford Street and Beach Avenue; Google Streets; searched March 7, 2019; image dated May 2016.

Rocks for English Bay Pier, offshore from English Bay Beach, near Gilford Street and Beach Avenue; Google Streets; searched March 7, 2019; image dated May 2016.

 

4 thoughts on “Lee’s Pier Tea Rooms

  1. Pingback: Charles N. Lee (Cornelius Nemmo Lee) (1874-19–) | westendvancouver

  2. Pingback: Lee’s Pier Tea Rooms | westendvancouver

  3. Pingback: Charles N. Lee (Cornelius Nemmo Lee) (1874-1924) | WestEndVancouver

  4. Pingback: Lee’s Pier Tea Rooms | WestEndVancouver

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