Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


Collingwood Corner: Joyce Street in 1914



If you live in the Joyce-Collingwood area you will have noticed the recent upgrades to the Skytrain station, and will be aware that big changes are coming over the next 20 years. I recently filled out a survey from the city asking what sort of shops and amenities I’d like to see along Joyce Street in the near future. I put down my suggestions and then I wondered what used to be here way back in 1914, when Joyce Street was first mentioned in Henderson’s Directory.

henderson-directoryJoyce Street was named after Abraham Joyce, a school trustee for Carleton Elementary from 1897 to 1898. I discovered a 1914 map of the Collingwood area in the Vancouver Archive website. By comparing the map with the 1914 directory of street names it’s interesting to note the changes and additions to the area.

For instance, the address for Collingwood Baptist Church is 617 Joyce near Price Road. But anyone familiar with this area knows it is located near Monmouth Avenue and the current address is 4847 Joyce, but in 1914 Monmouth Avenue didn’t exist.

By studying the BC Directories online (1860-1955) sponsored by the Vancouver Public Library, you will become something of a sleuth! The website is easy to navigate. Here is the link:

The 1914 directory lists residents and businesses with names of cross streets. There are names of the early settlers, along with many shops. A few are vacant, but there is a dry goods store near Archimedes, plus a Collingwood Electric Co., a grocer, and a Watson and Wood shoemakers.

Near Euclid there is a physician, three vacant stores, a shoemaker, a meat store, a barber and pool place, a dentist, a druggist and a dry goods store. Near Vanness there is an associated brokerage company, Fraser Brothers grocers, a postmaster, a Collingwood E. post office, a real estate agent, a bank of Vancouver Collingwood East branch, a restaurant, William H. and Son second hand dealer, a tailor, and even a Collingwood Theatre near Wellington Avenue.

Past Wellington there are homes plus Collingwood Baptist Church. I was amazed at the variety of businesses. Joyce Street had it all!

Near the west side of the Skytrain there was the Collingwood East station for the BCER tram that travelled from downtown Vancouver to New Westminster. Near Rupert Street the Collingwood West station was located, and near Boundary and Vanness the Park Street station was located.

These are shown on the 1914 map. There were also quite a few stations near Central Park, along the same track route that we now take on Skytrain to Metrotown Station in Burnaby.

Do you think the residents of Collingwood were better off in 1914? Or do you think that the future of Collingwood will compare to the variety of lifestyle once available here?

Loretta Houben is a long-time resident of Collingwood and coordinates the Seniors Connection section of the RCC News.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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Renfrew-Collingwood Heritage: Earles Road Substation



Once again, we dive into Renfrew-Collingwood’s rich history to find these then-and-now photos of Earles Road Substation.

Built in 1912 and designed by architect Robert Lyon, the Earles Road Substation provided electrical service to the Central Park Line of the BC Electric Railway. This line linked downtown Vancouver to New Westminster and continued in operation until 1953.

For 35 or so years, the substation was boarded up until 1989 when the building was turned into a condominium by architect Linda Baker. Seeing potential in the old station, Linda and her team would turn the substation into 12 housing units of between 1,200 and 1,500 square feet. A three-story wood frame structure was built within the substation’s concrete shell to avoid any contaminates and the exterior received new balconies, windows and entrances.

The result transformed the then ugly, abandoned building into the beautiful neighbourhood landmark that it still is today.

If you have some old photographs, stories or memorobilia that you would like to share with our community, please contact the Renfrew-Collingwood Heritage Committee at 604-435-0323 or email

Working with advice from the Vancouver Archives and the Museum of Vancouver, the committee enables the residents and former residents of Renfrew-Collingwood to submit
items for inclusion in a Renfrew-Collingwood historical collection.

Copyright (c) 2016 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News