Beach Town House – 1949 Beach Avenue

1949 Beach Avenue; Google Streets, searched March 26, 2019; image dated September 2018.

1949 Beach Avenue; Google Streets, searched March 26, 2019; image dated September 2018.

Beach Town House is an apartment building at 1949 Beach Avenue.

The architect was William Karel Noppe (1900-1983). According to some sources, he made the original design in 1940, although the building itself was not built until 1950. The builders were E.M. and J.D. Craig Limited.

Legal Description: District Lot: 185; Block 71; Lots 10 and 11.

1900 Block Beach Avenue (north side); source: Vanmapp, City of Vancouver; http://vanmapp.vancouver.ca/pubvanmap_net/default.aspx. [Includes 1912 Goad’s map of Vancouver and property addresses in 2019.]

1900 Block Beach Avenue (north side); source: Vanmapp, City of Vancouver; http://vanmapp.vancouver.ca/pubvanmap_net/default.aspx. [Includes 1912 Goad’s map of Vancouver and property addresses in 2019.]

Earlier Houses on the Site

There were two earlier houses on this site: Lot 10 was 1919 Beach Avenue; Lot 11 was 1929 Beach Avenue.

1919 Beach Avenue and 1929 Beach Avenue, 1913; detail from Denman Street to Comox Street to Stanley Park boundary to English Bay Reference code – 1972-582-38 – Plate 63.

1919 Beach Avenue and 1929 Beach Avenue, 1913; detail from Denman Street to Comox Street to Stanley Park boundary to English Bay Reference code – 1972-582-38 – Plate 63; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/plate-63-denman-street-to-comox-street-to-stanley-park-boundary-to-english-bay.

The two houses were private residences until the late 1940s. The houses themselves were almost invisible from the street because of the large trees on the property.

1929 Beach Avenue and 1919 Beach Avenue, detail from English Bay Beach, Beautiful Vancouver, Souvenir Album, Vancouver Sun, 1948, page 61.

1929 Beach Avenue and 1919 Beach Avenue, detail from English Bay Beach, Beautiful Vancouver, Souvenir Album, Vancouver Sun, 1948, page 61.

In 1949, house wreckers demolished the house at 1919 Beach Avenue.

Vancouver Sun, March 2, 1949, page 43, column 3.

Vancouver Sun, March 2, 1949, page 43, column 3.

The house at 1929 Beach Avenue was probably demolished about the same time.

Further information on these houses appears on the pages for 1919 Beach Avenue and 1929 Beach Avenue.

 

New Apartment Building

In April 1949, the firm of Richards, Akroyd and Gall Limited was promoting a new apartment building for the site.

Vancouver Province, April 13, 1949, page 21, column 3.

Vancouver Province, April 13, 1949, page 21, column 3.

The name of the building was “Beach Town House.”

Vancouver Province, October 22, 1949, page 48, columns 4-5.

Vancouver Province, October 22, 1949, page 48, columns 4-5.

The construction was well underway during the spring and summer of 1950.

Beach Town House apartment building under construction, April 2, 1950; Vancouver Public Library, VPL Accession Number 81222; https://www3.vpl.ca/spePhotos/LeonardFrankCollection/02DisplayJPGs/983/81222.jpg.

Beach Town House apartment building under construction, April 2, 1950; Vancouver Public Library, VPL Accession Number 81222; https://www3.vpl.ca/spePhotos/LeonardFrankCollection/02DisplayJPGs/983/81222.jpg.

 

Beach Town House apartment building under construction [cropped], April 2, 1950; Vancouver Public Library, VPL Accession Number 81222A; https://www3.vpl.ca/spePhotos/LeonardFrankCollection/02DisplayJPGs/983/81222A.jpg.

Beach Town House apartment building under construction [cropped], April 2, 1950; Vancouver Public Library, VPL Accession Number 81222A; https://www3.vpl.ca/spePhotos/LeonardFrankCollection/02DisplayJPGs/983/81222A.jpg.

Vancouver Province, June 24, 1950, page 40, columns 4-6.

Vancouver Province, June 24, 1950, page 40, columns 4-6.

 

Lawsuits

As the building was nearing completion in the fall of 1950, a series of advertisements offered to lease several suites in the building.

Vancouver Sun, September 15, 1950, page 45, column 2.

Vancouver Sun, September 15, 1950, page 45, column 2.

The building was complete by the spring of 1951 and the owners began to move into their suites.

Many owners were unhappy with the leasing scheme. In October 1951, 26 owners of suites sued to stop the leasing process.

Vancouver Sun, October 17, 1951, page 11, columns 1-2.

Vancouver Sun, October 17, 1951, page 11, columns 1-2.

The court later extended the injunction for a week. The final outcome of the lawsuit is not available.

Many owners were also upset about the quality of the building’s construction. In 1953, 32 owners of suites sued for damages, because the building was not soundproof and because there were leaks in the building.

Vancouver Province, April 22, 1953, page 30, column 8. (Note: the newspaper article refers to the building’s address as “1929 Beach,” not its correct address of “1949 Beach.”)

Vancouver Province, April 22, 1953, page 30, column 8. (Note: the newspaper article refers to the building’s address as “1929 Beach,” not its correct address of “1949 Beach.”)

The judge awarded damages to the owners of 25 suites, and he sent the case to the court registrar to assess the specific damages that each owner would receive.

Vancouver Sun, August 6, 1953, page 39, columns 2-3 (first portion of article).

Vancouver Sun, August 6, 1953, page 39, columns 2-3 (first portion of article).

Later, the judge decided to assess the damages himself.

Vancouver Sun, December 22, 1953, page 9, column 4.

Vancouver Sun, December 22, 1953, page 9, column 4.

By January 1954, the judge had calculated the total damages. Each owner was to receive an amount equal to that owner’s proportionate financial interest in the building.

Vancouver Province, January 8, 1954, page 1, columns 5-6.

Vancouver Province, January 8, 1954, page 1, columns 5-6.

Richards Akroyd and Gall Ltd. was not able to pay the damages, and the company became bankrupt. The trustee in bankruptcy sued the directors of the company.

Vancouver Province, August 28, 1954, page 40, column 1.

Vancouver Province, August 28, 1954, page 40, column 1.

Eventually the lawsuits disappeared from the news, and it appears that the owners collected whatever they could from the bankruptcy process.

 

Later Years

Beach Town House has continued to be a prominent and well-loved building in Vancouver’s West End.

It has been the home of many prominent people, and the local society columns regularly mentioned events in the lives of the building’s residents.

Vancouver Sun, December 12, 1960, page 24, column 8.

Vancouver Sun, December 12, 1960, page 24, column 8.

Edward McWhinney (1924-2015), a legal scholar and member of the Canadian parliament, lived in Beach Town House for many years.

Vancouver Sun, May 30, 2015, page 41, columns 2-4

Vancouver Sun, May 30, 2015, page 41, columns 2-4.

 

Sources

Canada’s Historic Places; Beach Town House Apartments, 1949 Beach Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6G, Canada; https://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=8775.

Beach Town House – 1949 Beach Avenue, West End / West, Vancouver; https://www.vancouvercondos.ca/beach-town-house-1949-beach-avenue-vancouver.

Noppe, William Karel (1900-1983); Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada, 1800-1950; http://dictionaryofarchitectsincanada.org/node/2378: “His best-known work is the striking modernist design of The Beach Town House Apartments, a seven storey block overlooking English Bay in Vancouver (1949). . . . The Beach Town House Apartment Block, Beach Avenue near Chilco Street, 1949 (C.R., lxii, May 1949, 174; Rhodri Liscombe, The New Spirit: Modern Architecture in Vancouver 1938-1963, 148-49, illus. & descrip.)”

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986; 1992-1993”, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FL1N-V28 : 8 November 2017), William Karel Noppe, 1983; http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Image/Genealogy/ae5174f0-cff2-47d1-9e37-534e62548ea7.

British Columbia Death Registrations; Registration Number: 1994-09-004047; Person: Gabrielle Noppe; date of death: February 21, 1994; place of death: Princeton; age at death: 93; http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Image/Genealogy/61302838-8ac4-4147-9540-36fa25ecd35b; medical certificate of death: http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Image/Genealogy/0fa2dfcb-789c-492b-88b2-789ab16ffc28.

McGarry et al. v. Richards, Akroyd & Gall Ltd., 1953 CanLII 290; [1954] 2 Dominion Law Reports 367 (BC SC); https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcsc/doc/1953/1953canlii290/1953canlii290.html.

Beach Town House Apartments Ltd. v. British Columbia (Assessor of Area #09 – Vancouver Sea to Sky Region), 2013 BCCA 325; https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcca/doc/2013/2013bcca325/2013bcca325.html; affirming Beach Town House Apartments Ltd. v. British Columbia (Assessor of Area #09 – Vancouver Sea to Sky Region), 2012 BCSC 1060; https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcsc/doc/2012/2012bcsc1060/2012bcsc1060.html.

Beach Town House Apartments Ltd. v. British Columbia (Assessor of Area #09 – Vancouver Sea to Sky Region), 2012 BCCA 409; https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcca/doc/2012/2012bcca409/2012bcca409.html.