913 Denman Street

913 Denman Street, detail from Vancouver Lawn Tennis Club – finals international, August 15, 1907; Vancouver City Archives: CVA 677-242; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/vancouver-lawn-tennis-club-finals-international-tyler-and-ballinger-vs-payne-and-armstrong.


913 Denman Street was on the northwest corner of Denman Street and Barclay Street.

Legal Description: District Lot: 185; Block 67; Lot 35.


Detail from Insurance plan - City of Vancouver, July 1897, revised June 1901 - Sheet 43 - Coal Harbour to Comox Street and Bidwell Street to Stanley Park

Detail from Insurance plan – City of Vancouver, July 1897, revised June 1901 – Sheet 43 – Coal Harbour to Comox Street and Bidwell Street to Stanley Park.


Detail from Insurance plan - City of Vancouver, July 1897, revised June 1903 - Sheet 43 - Coal Harbour to Comox Street and Bidwell Street to Stanley Park

Detail from Insurance plan – City of Vancouver, July 1897, revised June 1903 – Sheet 43 – Coal Harbour to Comox Street and Bidwell Street to Stanley Park.


Goad's Atlas of the city of Vancouver - 1912 - Vol 1 - Plate 7 - Coal Harbour to Barclay Street and Cardero Street to Stanley Park

1800 Block of Barclay Street; north side; Goad’s Atlas of the city of Vancouver – 1912 – Vol 1 – Plate 7 – Coal Harbour to Barclay Street and Cardero Street to Stanley Park.


913 Denman Street; detail from Goad’s Atlas of Vancouver, Volume 1, Plate 54 [Denman Street to Haro Street to Chilco Street to Comox Street]; Item : 1972-582.29; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/plate-54-denman-street-to-haro-street-to-chilco-street-to-comox-street.

There are no references to this property in Heritage Vancouver Society’s database of historic building permits: http://permits.heritagevancouver.org/index.php?cID=1 [searched May 30, 2019].


On June 20, 1899, the city issued water permit no. 3910 for lot 35 to H. M. Burwell, on Denman Street. (The building permitting process for Vancouver did not begin until January 1901.)


Vancouver directory listings from 1900 to 1920:


1900 to 1912 Burwell, Herbert Mahlon
1913 to 1915 McMurrich, John Dewar
1916 to 1917 Vacant
1918 to 1919 Waters, Claude Higginson
1920 Bissett, James Douglas


In the 1920s, the house began to offer rental accommodation.


Vancouver Province, January 25, 1921, page 14, column 3.


Vancouver Province, October 4, 1926, page 18, column 7.


Vancouver Sun, May 28, 1929, page 14, column 6.


Vancouver Province, September 24, 1934, page 10, column 7.


In June 1938, house wreckers were demolishing the house.


Vancouver Province, June 18, 1938, page 23, column 4.



The Bay Theatre

In the summer of 1938, the Dominion Construction Company announced plans to build the “Bay Theatre” at the corner of Denman Street and Barclay Street. Charles Bentall (1882-1974) was the head of the Dominion Construction Company, which built many apartment buildings, commercial developments and other large projects in western North America.

The owner of the new theatre was Mayer Chechik, a former grain dealer and cold storage company operator who was also involved in the export liquor business. He lived at 1834 Haro Street from 1941 to 1947. (Further information appears on the page for 1834 Haro Street.)

The theatre building also had space for shops, medical offices and an apartment suite.


Vancouver Sun, June 4, 1938, page 26, columns 7-8.


The city issued a building permit in July 1938.


Vancouver Sun, July 16, 1938, page 3, column 2.


By November 1938, the building was nearly finished. Many people have referred to style of the building (which still stands) as “art moderne,” although it is somewhat more angular and less-streamlined than many art moderne buildings.


Bay Theatre under construction at 935 Denman and Barclay, November 1938; Vancouver Public Library, VPL Accession Number 24698; https://www3.vpl.ca/spePhotos/LeonardFrankCollection/02DisplayJPGs/263/24698.jpg.


Mayor George Clark Miller (1882-1968) officially opened the theatre on November 9, 1938, and the theatre opened to the public on November 10.


Vancouver Sun, November 10, 1938, page 12, columns 3-5.


1800 block of Barclay Street, north side, Vanmapp, City of Vancouver; http://vanmapp.vancouver.ca/pubvanmap_net/default.aspx. [Includes 1912 Goad’s map of Vancouver and property addresses in 2019.]

The theatre building occupies almost all of the lot.


Northwest corner of Denman Street and Barclay Street; Google Maps, 3D view; searched May 30, 2019.


On the opening night, the theatre showed “The Joy of Living,” starring Irene Dunne and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.


Vancouver Sun, November 10, 1938, page 12, columns 1-4.



A Legal Matter

Charles Bentall designed and supervised the construction of the Bay Theatre, even though he was an engineer, not an architect. The Architectural Institute of British Columbia complained that Mr. Bentall and the Dominion Construction Company were practising as architects, even though they did not have certificates of registration as architects. Charles argued that the provincial Architects Act did not apply to him.

In the police magistrate’s court, Magistrate George Robert McQueen (1887-1944) convicted Charles and fined him $25. Charles appealed to the county court.


Vancouver Sun, April 14, 1939, page 18, column 6.


County Court Judge Charles James Lennox (1875-1952) upheld the magistrate’s decision, and confirmed that engineers in British Columbia could not practise as architects unless they had a certificate under the Architects Act.


Vancouver Sun, May 4, 1939, page 4, column 7.



The Theatre over the Years

Along with its regular movies, the Bay Theatre hosted live performers, fund raisers, corporation meetings, political gatherings, film festivals and other events.


Vancouver Province, May 31, 1941, page 42, column 3.


Youngsters parading on Denman Street near Bay Theatre [cropped], 1950; Vancouver City Archives, CVA 392-1788; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/nst-5657.


Vancouver Province, April 12, 1952, page 18, column 5.


Vancouver Sun, October 17, 1967, page 27, column 6.


The theatre operated independently until 1969.


Famous Players

In 1969, Famous Players leased the theatre from Max Chechik.


Vancouver Sun, June 19, 1969, page 37, column 2.


Cineplex Odeon

In 1979, the Cineplex group took over the theatre. (It appears that they leased the building from Max Chechik.)


Vancouver Sun, November 22, 1979, page B1, columns 4-5.


935 Denman Street [Bay Theatre]; November 1985; Vancouver City Archives, CVA 791-0260; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/935-denman-street-2.

Cineplex operated the theatre until the fall of 1989.


Local Management

In 1990, Leonard Schein redeveloped the building as the Starlight Cinemas, which regularly ran art films and foreign cinema presentations.


Vancouver Sun, April 11, 1990, page 27, columns 1-3.


Teresa Waclawik created a large mural of caricatures of film stars on the Barclay Street frontage of the building. (She later made a similar mural, featuring local residents instead of film stars, on a building at 18th Avenue and Cambie Street.)


Portion of mural by Teresa Waclawik, wall of Starlight Cinemas [edited image: sources: https://www.flickr.com/photos/canadagood/3068383735 and https://www.flickr.com/photos/canadagood/3068383457/in/photostream/.%5D

Vancouver Province, July 18, 1990, page 24.


In 1994 and 1995, the musical show “Forever Plaid” had a long run at the theatre.


Vancouver Sun, May 5, 1994, page 46, column 6.



Closing of Theatre and Re-Development

The theatre closed in December 1996.

In 1997, the Amadon Group acquired the building and re-developed it as a site for a restaurant and other businesses. Teresa Waclawik’s mural disappeared as part of the renovations.


“At the Movies,” 1990, by Teresa Waclawik, during renovation of Starlight Theatre building, 1997; number 1; photograph by Robert Moen.


“At the Movies,” 1990, by Teresa Waclawik, during renovation of Starlight Theatre building, 1997; number 2; photograph by Robert Moen.


“At the Movies,” 1990, by Teresa Waclawik, during renovation of Starlight Theatre building, 1997; number 3; photograph by Robert Moen.


Northwest Denman Street and Barclay Street, Google Streets, searched May 30, 2019; image dated April 2009.



Bay Theatre

Bay Theatre, 911 Denman Street, Vancouver, BC V6Z 3G5; http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/39433.

“Mayor Miller Opens New West End Picture House,” Vancouver Sun, November 10, 1938, page 12.

George Clark Miller (9 January 1882 – 17 March 1968); Wikipedia article; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Clark_Miller.

Bay Theatre, 935 Denman, Vancouver BC; https://www.cinematour.com/tour/ca/883.html.

Heritage Designation and Floor Space Increase – Bay Theatre (907 – 935 Denman Street); Report from Director of Community Planning on behalf of the Director of Land Use and Development to Vancouver City Council; September 23, 1997; Dept. File No. BA/GMcG; https://council.vancouver.ca/previous_years/971009/ph1.htm.

British Columbia Movie Theatres, 1945-1960; http://dukefilmography.com/british_columbia_movie_theatres_1945_to_1953.html. Includes brief reference to Bay Theatre.

Bay Theatre (Starlight Theatre); https://explore150.tigweb.org/en/bay-theatre-starlight-theatre.

“John Skibinski: Taken From Us Too Soon. May He Rest in Peace”; http://www.vanramblings.com/john-skibinski-taken-from-us-too-soon-may-he-rest-in-peace.html: “Leonard Schein converted the old Bay Theatre on Denman into the newly-renovated Starlight Cinema.”

907-935 Denman St, Vancouver BC; Heritage Site Finder; Vancouver Heritage Foundation; https://www.vancouverheritagefoundation.org/location/907-935-denman-st-vancouver-bc/.

“Longtime Movie House to Close,” Westender, November 28, 1996, page 3 [includes photograph of theatre].

“Plans End Life of Denman’s 60-year-old Theatre,” Westender, June 19, 1997, page 6 [includes photograph of Max Tomaszewski and plans for Bay Plaza].

“Denman Theatre Reborn in Gold and Royal Blue,” Westender, October 1, 1998, page 9 [includes photograph of Max Tomaszewski in front of Bay Plaza].

“Fate of Mural Brings Tears to Subjects Eyes,” Vancouver Sun, January 31, 1998, page D1.

“At The Movies” [mural by Teresa Waclawik]; Facebook post by Kevin Dale McKeown, October 29, 2016; https://www.facebook.com/westendjournal/posts/d41d8cd9/331780727188139/.

This page includes many images of the mural: Teresa Waclawil’s Wall: https://web.archive.org/web/20010306130313/http://www.seethewestend.com/movies/movies.htm.

“Face to-face with Cambie Caricaturist,” Vancouver Courier, November 24, 2006, page 44 [Teresa Waclawik in front of her “Face of Vancouver” mural at Cambie Street and 18th Avenue.]

“Cambie residents mourn mural,” by Jenny Peng, Vancouver Courier, August 28, 2014; https://www.vancourier.com/news/cambie-residents-mourn-mural-1.1333143 [includes photograph of mural by Teresa Waclawik].

“Cambie Village’s ‘The Face of Vancouver’ mural torn down to make way for coffee shop patio”; by Scott Brown, Updated August 26, 2014, Vancouver Sun, https://vancouversun.com/news/staff-blogs/cambie-villages-the-face-of-vancouver-mural-torn-down-to-make-way-for-coffee-shop-patio.

“Facing Off Over a Much-Loved Vancouver Mural,” Vancouver Sun, August 28, 2014, page 3 [includes photograph of mural by Teresa Waclawik].

Teresa Waclawik’s website: http://www.teresawaclawik.com/.

Teresa Waclawik, YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQFj4iwsFEDLSscgWA_lkig.


Charles Bentall (engineer and contractor)

Charles Bentall, Canadian Business Hall of Fame; http://www.cbhf.ca/charles-bentall.

The Charles Bentall Story: A Man of Industry and Integrity, by Shirley f. Bentall; Vancouver, the Bentall Group Limited, 1986, pages 118-122.

Charles Bentall, Business Laureates of British Columbia Hall of Fame; https://www.businesslaureatesbc.org/laureate/charles-bentall/. [Year inducted: 2006.]

Rex v. Bentall, [1939] 3 Western Weekly Reports 395; 54 British Columbia Reports 81; 72 Canadian Criminal Cases 176; 1939 CanLII 438 (British Columbia Supreme Court); https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcsc/doc/1939/1939canlii438/1939canlii438.html.

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986; 1992-1993”, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FLBL-12X : 8 November 2017), Charles Bentall, 1974; http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Image/Genealogy/672ad67a-8994-422d-bc63-362a1de3830d.


George Robert McQueen (police magistrate)

“Ontario Births, 1869-1912,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FMQY-BV3 : 8 August 2017), George Robert Mcqueen, 04 Jun 1887; citing Birth, Dundas, Wentworth, Ontario, Canada, citing Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,845,888.

“British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932; 1937-1938,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JDDQ-V59 : 11 March 2018), George Robert Mc Queen and Rhona Mary Bain, 20 Sep 1911; citing Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, British Columbia Archives film number B11375, Vital Statistics Agency, Victoria; FHL microfilm 1,983,703.

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986; 1992-1993”, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FLVT-5F4 : 8 November 2017), George Robert McQueen, 1944.

George Robert McQueen, death notice, Vancouver Province, March 6, 1944, page 13, column 4: “McQUEEN. On March 4, 1944, in Hospital, George Robert McQueen of 1551 Laurier Ave, in his 57th year. Survived by his wife, 1 daughter. Barbara, at home; 3 sisters, Misses Annie, Kate and Fanny, Vancouver. Funeral service in Center & Hanna Chapel. Tues., March 7, at 3:30 p.m. Rev. E. D. Braden. D.D, officiating. Committal family plot, Mountain View Cemetery.”

“Find A Grave Index,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVV5-QK8J : 13 December 2015), George Robert Mcqueen, 1944; Burial, Vancouver, Greater Vancouver Regional District, British Columbia, Canada, Mountain View Cemetery; citing record ID 26298521, Find a Grave; https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/26298521: “George Robert McQueen, Birth: 4 Jun 1887; Death: 4 Mar 1944 (aged 56); Burial: Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver, Greater Vancouver Regional District, British Columbia, Canada; Plot: JONES/*/37/020/0006; Memorial ID: 26298521.”


Charles James Lennox (County Court Judge)

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986; 1992-1993”, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FLPZ-YJV : 8 November 2017), Charles James Lennox, 1952; http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Image/Genealogy/039ce1d1-b89a-4ece-bc88-062f4142b1d0.

Charles James Lennox, death notice, Vancouver Sun, August 7, 1952, page 25, column 4: “LENNOX. On August 5, 1952, after a short illness, Judge Charles James Lennox, 2905 St. Kilda Ave., North Vancouver, beloved husband of Dorothy Lennox. Funeral service in St. Martin’s Church, East Windsor Rd North Vancouver, Friday, August 8, at 2:30 p.m. to Capilano View Cemetery, Rev. Leonard A. Morrant officiating. Burrard Funeral Chapel Ltd. in charge of arrangements.”

5 thoughts on “913 Denman Street

  1. Pingback: James Douglas Bissett (1860-1945) | westendvancouver

  2. Pingback: Herbert Mahlon Burwell (1862-1925) | westendvancouver

  3. Pingback: Claude Higginson Waters (1889-1966) | WestEndVancouver

  4. Water permit no. 3910 issued June 20, 1899 to H. M. Burwell, on Denman Street, lot 35. There will be no building permit issued/available, as the building permitting process for Vancouver began January 1901.

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