Simpson Block (Simpson Apartment Building)

The Simpson Block was a four-storey apartment building at the northeast corner of Denman Street and Davie Street.

The outside of the building had a distinctive pattern of ochre and dark red bricks.

Simpson Block; ochre and dark red brick pattern; detail from Automobile movement to English Bay, 1960; Vancouver City Archives, CVA 780-403; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/automobile-movement-to-english-bay.

Simpson Block; ochre and dark red brick pattern; detail from Automobile movement to English Bay, 1960; Vancouver City Archives, CVA 780-403; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/automobile-movement-to-english-bay.

 

Simpson Block, about 1920, detail from View of English Bay Beach and bathhouses from the pier, Vancouver City Archives, CVA 1504-2; http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/view-of-english-bay-beach-and-bathhouses-from-pier.

Simpson Block, about 1920, detail from View of English Bay Beach and bathhouses from the pier, Vancouver City Archives, CVA 1504-2; http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/view-of-english-bay-beach-and-bathhouses-from-pier.

 

1100 Block Denman Street - 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

1100 Block Denman Street – 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.

Simpson Block Apartments; detail from Goad’s Atlas of Vancouver, volume 1; Plate 54; Cardero Street to Comox Street to Denman Street to Beach Avenue/Burnaby Street; Vancouver City Archives, 1972-582.39; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/plate-54-denman-street-to-haro-street-to-chilco-street-to-comox-street.

Simpson Block Apartments; detail from Goad’s Atlas of Vancouver, volume 1; Plate 54; Cardero Street to Comox Street to Denman Street to Beach Avenue/Burnaby Street; Vancouver City Archives, 1972-582.39; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/plate-54-denman-street-to-haro-street-to-chilco-street-to-comox-street.

The owners of the building were the Simpson brothers (William and Zack Simpson). (Further information appears on the page for Zachariah Simpson: https://westendvancouver.wordpress.com/biographies-n-z/biographies-s/simpson-zachariah-1849-1910/.)

The date of the building permit was December 29, 1911, and the cost of the building was $75,000. The architects were Townsend and Townsend, who built many other buildings in Vancouver, many with the distinctive brick pattern on the outside. (See Changing Vancouver for two examples: https://changingvancouver.wordpress.com/tag/townsend-townsend/.)

District: Vancouver
Permit:
Owner: Simpson Bros.
Architect: Townsend & Townsend
Builder: Simpson Bros.
Legal Address: DL: 185 Block: 61 Sub: Resub: Lot: S 1/2 15
Date (Y-M-D): 1911-12-29
Street Number: 1783-1785
Street Name: Davie Street
Value: $75,000.00
Remarks: Stores & apartments (also 1190-1198 Denman Street)
Reference ID: VN-3200-3201-683

Vancouver Building Permits, Heritage Vancouver; http://permits.heritagevancouver.org/ [searched April 7, 2018].

Zack Simpson owned the Simpson Block until he died in 1949. His widow, Lydia, sold the building in 1950.

In 1972, the Sands Hotel was planning to build a 23-storey building on the corner, but it did not go ahead.

Northeast corner of Davie Street and Denman Street, about 1975; Vancouver City Archives, http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/n-e-corner-davie-and-denman-sts.

Northeast corner of Davie Street and Denman Street, about 1975; Vancouver City Archives, http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/n-e-corner-davie-and-denman-sts.

The Vancouver City Archives image below is dated 1977, but it is somewhat earlier than that, because the building was demolished in 1976.

Simpson Block, 1977, Vancouver City Archives; Corner property, Denman and Davie, CVA 140-2; http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/corner-property-denman-and-davie.

Simpson Block, 1977 [sic], Vancouver City Archives; Corner property, Denman and Davie, CVA 140-2; http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/corner-property-denman-and-davie.

In 1975, a fire damaged much of the building.

The Vancouver Sun, August 16, 1975, page 10, columns 1-2 (top).

The Vancouver Sun, August 16, 1975, page 10, columns 1-2 (top).

The Vancouver Sun, August 16, 1975, page 10, columns 1-2 (middle).

The Vancouver Sun, August 16, 1975, page 10, columns 1-2 (middle).

In 1976, the building was demolished.

The Vancouver Sun, April 6, 1976, page 21, columns 1-3.

The Vancouver Sun, April 6, 1976, page 21, columns 1-3.

A low-rise building later replaced the Simpson Block.

Denman and Davie Streets looking east, [between 1980 and 1997]; Vancouver City Archives; CVA 772-532; http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/denman-and-davie-streets-looking-east.

Denman and Davie Streets looking east, [between 1980 and 1997]; Vancouver City Archives; CVA 772-532; http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/denman-and-davie-streets-looking-east.

Denman Street and Davie Street, Google Street View, searched April 7, 2018; image dated June 2017.

Denman Street and Davie Street, Google Street View, searched April 7, 2018; image dated June 2017.

 

Sources

Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver Building Register; Simpson Block; https://ipac2.vpl.ca/ipac20/ipac.jsp?profile=comres.

“The West End, before the high-rises,” Vancouver Province, September 30, 1972, page 5.

“Innovators, battle wrecker,” Vancouver Sun, May 24, 1973, page 20.

“Three for the money, two to go,” Vancouver Province, December 4, 1975, page 54.

“English Bay landmark, illus. and caption only,” Vancouver Sun, April 6, 1976, page 21.