Thursday, November 27, 2014

My parent's first little home in Burnaby BC.

I've always loved this photo of my Mom, Susie (Brutke) Williams standing outside her first little home at 4683 Union Street in Burnaby. Until today I didn't know the actual address, so I phoned my Mom and asked if she knew it off the top of her head. (she has a phenomenal head even if she is 81!) She remembered, as she verified it later after looking up an old mortgage receipt. 
My parents were married in Sept 1955 and lived at 131 W 12th Ave in Vancouver until they saved up enough money to put a down payment down on this house in 1956. The house was $6,350 for two double lots! After the down payment they owed $4,900 and paid $50 each month on it. They lived here until buying another home in Vancouver in 1959.

There is a neat online website which features terrific aerial photos of BC.
I realized that the Brentwood Mall area might have my parent's first house in it, if only I could figure out where it was, which I did by using Google maps. It was a little tricky as I needed the hundred block of Union Street and then I needed to figure out where Union Street was!
The white arrow shows where the house is. It's totally amazing how much this area has changed in the past 60 years.

This is getting closer to the house. I didn't recognize Hastings Street at all.
Can you? I counted down from Hastings, to Pender, to Frances, to Georgia and then Union.
Next I needed to know which direction the house faced, and what was next to it. I remember my Mom saying that they were on a double lot, but couldn't remember if it was on the corner. I asked my Dad today, and he remembered the corner street; Beta.

A closer zoom in. My Mom told me today that when they went to finalize the deal and sign the papers, the school just a block away burned down and had to be rebuilt. She was worried as it was quite close to their house. I'd never heard this story before.

By confirming the address with my Mom today, and checking Google maps to get the odd numbered side of the street correct (facing South) and also using the 1958 photo up above so I knew what the house next door looked like, I could pinpoint my parent's first little home. I assume that it was built in the 1920's era. I can verify that by double checking the BC directories and seeing who lived there.
I feel extremely pleased with myself! I also feel like a really good detective...
By Loretta Houben

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