Imperial Roller Skating Rink

 

Imperial Roller Skating Rink - detail from Vancouver City Archives - AM54-S4 -Be P31-4 - about 1906; http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/english-bay-beach-8

Imperial Roller Skating Rink – detail from Vancouver City Archives – AM54-S4 -Be P31-4 – about 1906; http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/english-bay-beach-8

Esplanade and Baths - English Bay - Postcard - about 1910 to 1911

Esplanade and Baths – English Bay – Postcard – about 1910 to 1911

Looking across English Bay beach to the “Joy Wheel Fun Factory” [and] roller rink; VPL No 35445

Looking across English Bay beach to the “Joy Wheel Fun Factory” [and] roller rink; VPL No 35445

The Imperial Roller Skating Rink was a wood frame building at the northwest corner of Denman Street and Beach Avenue. It opened in 1907, and its prominent tower was a landmark on English Bay until the rink burned down in 1914.

The first two plans below show the area before the roller rink arrived. The third plan shows the outline of the roller rink.

Detail from Insurance plan - City of Vancouver, July 1897, revised June 1901 - Sheet 45 - Comox Street to English Bay and Bidwell Street to Stanley Park

Detail from Insurance plan – City of Vancouver, July 1897, revised June 1901 – Sheet 45 – Comox Street to English Bay and Bidwell Street to Stanley Park

Detail from Insurance plan - City of Vancouver, July 1897, revised June 1903 - Sheet 45 - Comox Street to English Bay and Bidwell Street to Stanley Park

Detail from Insurance plan – City of Vancouver, July 1897, revised June 1903 – Sheet 45 – Comox Street to English Bay and Bidwell Street to Stanley Park

Detail from Goad's Atlas of the city of Vancouver - 1912 - Vol 1 - Plate 8 - Barclay Street to English Bay and Cardero Street to Stanley Park

Detail from Goad’s Atlas of the city of Vancouver – 1912 – Vol 1 – Plate 8 – Barclay Street to English Bay and Cardero Street to Stanley Park

Roller skating was going through one of its many periods of popularity during the early 1900s, and the Imperial Roller Skating Rink was one of a series of roller rinks in Vancouver.

Harry G. Koller (1864-1932) was the first manager of the roller rink. He was also a proprietor of the English Bay Natatorium at 1868 Beach Avenue, along with Henry Dowse (1877-1961).

The Vancouver Province ran an article on the opening of the rink:

NEW ROLLER RINK WILL OPEN TO-NIGHT

Handsome Pavilion at English Bay Will be Blaze of Color and Gaiety – Largest Skating Floor on Continent.

The long-looked-for advent of a big, up-to-date roller skating pavilion for Vancouver has at last come to pass, and after many distressing delays in its erection, the handsome structure that now looms up so prominently at English Bay is to make its initial bow to the public to-night, when a brilliant opening is planned by Manager Koller.

So popular has the roller-skating pastime become in Vancouver, although heretofore there has been no adequate place for the enjoyment of the sport, and so much curiosity has been prevalent for a sight and a trial of the new rink that there is little doubt that a throng of skaters and spectators will be on had to witness the opening.

. . .

There is to be music both afternoons and evenings, Trendall’s Military Band having been engaged to render captivating strains from a bandstand erected above the floor. All in all, the new rink seems destined to spring at once into popularity. [NOTE: James Wyatt Trendell (1850 or 1851-1911) often called J. Wyatt Trendell or J.W. Trendell, was a prominent musician and bandleader in Vancouver and elsewhere in Canada.]

Vancouver Province, October 10, 1907, page 5.

The roller rink had little or no insulation and almost no heating system, so it was cold in the winter.

Skating Rink Notes

The cold weather put quite a crimp in the skating game in Canada the last few weeks. At the Imperial Rink, Vancouver, B.C., managed by H.G. Koller, the place was completely closed from January 11 to 15, the weather being exceedingly cold during that time. The rink was re-opened on the 16th, however, and a fancy dress carnival given, which proved a big success. Manager Koller also had a three-mile race on January 22, and will put on an obstacle race on February 3. Manager Koller will play exhibition skaters in the near future, and is now completing bookings.

Billboard, February 6, 1909, page 41, http://fultonhistory.com/Newspaper%2015/Billboard/Billboard%201909/Billboard%201909%20-%202186.pdf

Claude Reginald Porpa was an employee (and possibly manager) of the rink from 1908 to 1911. He lived at 1174 Denman Street in 1908 and at 1008 Denman Street from 1909 to 1911.

Live theatre and other performances sometimes appeared at the roller rink.

When Harry Lauder made his first appearance here, about 1910, his manager was fighting the New York theatrical syndicates that controlled the good houses. So Lauder had to play the old roller rink at English Bay. It was the coldest day in twenty years and there wasn’t even a stove in the place. I could see his goose pimples.

“Vancouver Knew Them in the Days of Live Theatre,” Vancouver Sun, March 7, 1953, page 18

The roller rink lasted only seven years. From 1911 to 1914, Alexander Magellan Gibson, of 1807 Beach Avenue, was the manager of the rink.

In late September 1914, not long after the beginning of the First World War, a fire broke out and destroyed most of the building. Parts of the walls and a portion of the tower were still standing weakly, but English Bay’s roller rink enterprise was finished: “Imperial Skating Rink is No More,” Vancouver Sun, September 30, 1914, page 2.

Apparently the ruins stood there for some time.

Those gardens at the foot of Davie Street are on the site of an ugly wooden building which housed a roller skating rink and was sometimes used for traveling theatrical companies. The rink was destroyed by fire and for a few years the site was a disgraceful heap of ruins, rat infested.

It is to the credit of the Park Board that the property was purchased and transformed into the present green triangles.

“Boating Era Fades Into Past as Bay Pier Comes Down,” Vancouver Sun, January 31, 1939, page 7.

By about 1920, there was pressure for the City of Vancouver to take over the roller rink property, along with the other portions of the block.

MAY EXPROPRIATE ENGLISH BAY PLOT

Complaining that “old shacks and undesirable types of building” were being erected at English Bay at the foot of Davie street, Mr. W.D. Burdis of the Pioneers’ Association today asked the City Council to adopt expropriation proceedings to obtain the property which is part of the Morton estate. Although booked at an assessed valuation of $45,000, the city is informed that $110,000 on terms or $100,000 cash is the purchase price.

City Engineer Fellowes is now working on the proposal for expropriation of a strip which would extend Davie street through the property to Beach avenue. His instructions are to report to the council at the earliest moment.

Vancouver Province, May 8, 1920, page 25

By 1926, the City had decided to buy the land, and arranged to borrow the purchase price by issuing debentures:

CITY OF VANCOUVER

A By-Law to raise by way of Debentures the sum of $55,000.00 for the purchase and improvement of that parcel of land known as the English Bay Triangle, and more particularly described as all that parcel of land lying between Denman Street and Beach Avenue, and between the production westerly of Davie Street and Morton Avenue, being a portion of Lots Forty-two (42) to Forty-seven (47), Block Seventy-one (71), District Lot One Hundred and Eighty-five (185), in the City of Vancouver, for park purposes, and for widening Morton Avenue adjacent thereto.

Vancouver Sun, November 29, 1926, page 18

The area has been used as a park ever since.

There is one reference to this property in Heritage Vancouver Society’s database of historic building permits: http://permits.heritagevancouver.org/index.php?cID=1 [searched May 11, 2013].

Municipality: Vancouver
Permit:
Owner: Imperial Roller Skating Rink
Architect: Imperial Roller Skating Rink
Builder: Imperial Roller Skating Rink
Legal Address: DL: 185 Block: 71 Sub: Resub: Lot: 9 & 10
Date (Y-M-D): 1910-03-22
Street Number:
Street Name: Beach Avenue
Value: $200.00
Remarks: Alterations
Reference ID: VN-3100-3101-1380

Sources

“Roller skating,” Wikipedia article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roller_skating

“Roller rink,” Wikipedia article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roller_rink

The History of Roller Skates, http://inventors.about.com/od/rstartinventions/a/rolle_skates.htm

Harry G. Koller

Harry G. Koller was born in Tiffin, Ohio, on November 30, 1864. He married Lillian Forrester in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 10, 1891. They had a daughter, Helen, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1894. By 1900, the family was living in Seattle. Harry stayed in Vancouver for only a short time. By 1910, he was back in Seattle.

Harry continued to live in Seattle until he died there on May 23, 1932. He was buried at Acacia Memorial Park in King County, Washington. Lillian died in Seattle on June 18, 1951; she was buried at Acacia Memorial Park.

“United States Census, 1880,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M8SP-TS6 : accessed 11 May 2013), Harry G. Kohler in entry for Henry Kohler, 1880.

“Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VF9X-G3J : accessed 11 May 2013), Harry G. Koller and Lillian R. Forrester, 1891.

“United States Census, 1900,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MS1R-72Z : accessed 11 May 2013), Harry G Koller, 1900.

“United States Census, 1910,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MGJS-LMP : accessed 11 May 2013), Harry G Koller, 1910.

“United States Census, 1920,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MHFR-MMG : accessed 11 May 2013), Harry Koller, 1920.

“United States Census, 1930,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XC34-KTC : accessed 11 May 2013), Harry Koller in entry for L Vernon Masfield, 1930.

“Washington, Death Certificates, 1907-1960,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NQM8-7L2 : accessed 11 May 2013), Harry G. Koller, 23 May 1932.

Harry G Koller, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=87633760

“Washington, Death Certificates, 1907-1960,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N3B9-62F : accessed 11 May 2013), Lillian Forrester Koller, 18 Jun 1951.

Lillian F. Koller, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=87633749

Henry Dowse

Henry Alexander Dowse was born December 28, 1877 in Montreal. He was a stationary engineer. He enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War. He died in South Burnaby, British Columbia on April 5, 1961.

“Canada Census, 1881,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MVJ2-PL3 : accessed 11 May 2013), Henery Dowse in household of Henery Dowse, Ste-Anne Ward, Montreal (City), Quebec, Canada.

“Canada Census, 1901,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KHVJ-DWW : accessed 11 May 2013), Henry A Dowse in entry for Henry Dowse, 1901.

Henry Alexander Dowse enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the First World War, regimental no. 2691339: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/cef/001042-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=364314&interval=20&&PHPSESSID=tljjvq7bh2pjhnterun3s7pao1

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FLR2-6D8 : accessed 11 May 2013), Henry Alexander Dowse, 1961.

British Columbia Death Registrations, Henry Alexander Dowse, http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/images/getimage/genealogy/screensize/4121fc71-ce95-48ae-8c2c-b476410b51d7

“British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JDZP-NX2 : accessed 11 May 2013), Henry Alexander Dawse and Margeret Morden, 1919.

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FLG3-3VK : accessed 11 May 2013), Margaret Ann Dowse, 1924.

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FL5P-5M4 : accessed 11 May 2013), Sarah Elizabeth Dowse, 1959.

British Columbia Death Registrations, Sarah Elizabeth Dowse, http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/images/getimage/genealogy/screensize/fada8237-4729-4653-9454-ac22708992f8

James Wyatt Trendell

1898 BC Voters List: http://bc.canadagenweb.org/vote1898/voteti.htm: Trendell, James Wyatt, 718 Richards St, Musician, Van.

“Canada Census, 1901,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KHL4-1NW : accessed 15 May 2013), James W Trendell, 1901; http://automatedgenealogy.com/census/View.jsp?id=56557&highlight=50&desc=1901+Census+of+Canada+page+containing+James+W.+Trendell

Canada Census, 1911, http://automatedgenealogy.com/census11/View.jsp?id=63971&highlight=14&desc=1911+Census+of+Canada+page+containing+J.+Wyatt+Trindell%3F

“British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932,” index and images,FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JDZ6-J45 : accessed 15 May 2013), James Hyatt Treudell and Sophia Frances Rogers, 1892.

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FLK1-ZTT : accessed 15 May 2013), James Wyatt Trendell, 1911.

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FL2N-89C : accessed 15 May 2013), Sophia Frances Rogers Trendell, 1935.

“British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JDZJ-PWY : accessed 15 May 2013), Locksley Clark and Katherina Wyatt Trendell, 1913.

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FLPS-VVW : accessed 15 May 2013), Katharina Wyatt-Trendell in entry for Ernest Archibald Mckay, 1950.

“British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JDZJ-1P1 : accessed 15 May 2013), Oscar Warner Goff and Frances Wyatt Trendell, 1913.

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FLK1-KQP : accessed 15 May 2013), Oscar Warner Goff, 1918.

“British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JD8R-HDN : accessed 15 May 2013), Arthur Mcarthur and Frances Goff, 1925.

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FLBL-NG8 : accessed 15 May 2013), Frances Wyatt Trendell in entry for Mcarthur Thornhill, 1974.

BC Death Registration, Frances Wyatt Mcarthur, August 16, 1987, Reg. No. 1897-09-013203, http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Genealogy/DisplayGenealogyImage?k=6bc0a764-5af7-4dbb-b904-003175877903.

Street-naming program honours Guelph’s war dead, GuelphMercury.com, http://www.guelphmercury.com/news/local/article/833941–street-naming-program-honours-guelph-s-war-dead: a street in Guelph, Ontario, is named for James Wyatt Trendell’s son, Roger Wyatt Trendell, who died in the First World War.

Private Roger Wyatt Trendell, Died: December 29, 1918, http://www.canadiangreatwarproject.com/searches/soldierDetail.asp?Id=19596

Guelph Concert Band – History of our Band – 1878-1998, Ross W. Irwin, Guelph Historical Society, 1998, http://www.cba-ontario.ca/guelphconcertband/long%20history.html.” In 1893 the 30th Wellington Battalion Headquarters was moved from Elora to Guelph. A band was raised from the City Band, and concerts were presented under the name of the 30th Battalion Band. J. Wyatt Trendell of Vancouver was appointed bandmaster. Trendell was an accomplished clarinetist, and also became the musical director for the Royal Opera House.”

“The Guelph City Band, under Wyatt Trendell, gave a final concert for the St. Patrick’s Society on Mark 17, 1899.”

Aboriginal Brass Band Contest, Dominion Exhibition, 1905, New Westminster, British Columbia, refers to J. Wyatt Trendell as the adjudicator of a brass band contest. Brass bands representing aboriginal groups from various parts of British Columbia went to New Westminster to compete; http://vabbs.org/FirstNations/DominionExhibition.php

“Pride of the Fleet: Song,” words by Captain Charles Eddie; music by J. Wyatt Trendell, published by Dyke, Evans and Callaghan, Vancouver, B.C., [no date; about 1905], cover image: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/028008/f1/csm08239-v6.jpg

Charles Eddie (1854-1930) was “examiner of masters and mates” in Vancouver: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Ei5mAAAAIBAJ&sjid=f4gNAAAAIBAJ&pg=3285,2385114&dq=charles-eddie+vancouver&hl=en

Obituary Notices: Fellows:- Eddie, Charles, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 91, p.316, http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1931MNRAS..91R.316. This notice says that Captain Eddie settled in Vancouver in 1908; “British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FL28-KHM : accessed 15 May 2013), Charles Eddie, 1930.

5 thoughts on “Imperial Roller Skating Rink

  1. Pingback: Imperial Roller Skating Rink | westendvancouver

  2. Pingback: English Bay Natatorium | westendvancouver

  3. Pingback: Alexander Magellan Gibson (1860-1940) | WestEndVancouver

  4. Pingback: Claude Reginald Porpa (1856-1911) | WestEndVancouver

  5. Pingback: Imperial Roller Skating Rink and the other missing structures of Beach Avenue | Eve Lazarus

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