Taylor Manor - ca. 1915
951 Boundary Road, Vancouver, BC.
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place:
Taylor Manor is a three-storey Tudor Revival style building facing east onto Boundary Road. Relative to the modestly-scaled buildings in this mainly residential neighbourhood, Taylor Manor presents an imposing, institutional facade to the street. Set back from the street and surrounded by mature trees, it is located at the northeast corner of a lot that is one and one-half city blocks in width, with a newer institutional building immediately to the north, the remainder of the lot being the open green space of Adanac Park. The historic place consists of the building, the front yard, and the immediate surrounding landscape.
Constructed ca. 1915, the heritage value of Taylor Manor resides in its historical reflection of the social and economic history of Vancouver through the housing of its elderly residents, its Tudor Revival style, its location, its association with Vancouver mayor Louis D. Taylor, its landscaped setting, and its designers.
A neighbourhood landmark, Taylor Manor maintains an historical connection to the social and economic history of Vancouver, which in the late 1800s was a frontier city of young, mostly male, working people. As the city aged, so did its population, with destitution exacerbated by seasonal and cyclical economic downturns and city social policy, which was reluctant to sustain financial or physical care for the old and infirm. At the same time, it also represents the emergence of Vancouver's social conscience, as taxpayer support for the elderly was successfully ratified in 1912 through the funding for the construction and operation of a city-run Old People's Home.
Architectural value is found in the Tudor Revival style of Taylor Manor, a nostalgic style which evokes genteel living in the English country-house manner. The style, along with the sweeping driveway and large grounds, indicate the desire for a particular exterior perception of the building. The building's architects, the partnership of Richard Thomas Perry and Charles Busteed Fowler, practiced together in Vancouver from 1914. Their largest project was the Vancouver Old People's Home. This project epitomized their strength in combining nostalgic British influences with more modern building forms.
There is heritage value in the physical layout of the building, which reflects its construction as a residence for the elderly early in the twentieth century. An institutional complex of narrow corridors accessing individual sleeping rooms and dormitories on the second floor, and segregated common rooms on the first floor, the design and layout of Taylor Manor is the physical manifestation of the perception of the requirements of the elderly at that time. Interestingly, the home contained a number of steep staircases, later recognized as one of the building's drawbacks for housing the elderly. The external and internal symmetry of the building reflects its institutional nature, and a way of easily segregating male and female residents. The building's symmetry, strict interior layout, and Tudor Revival manor-house character are a representation of both "home" and "institution".
The current name of the building emphasizes the sometimes-hidden stigma of the elderly in Vancouver society at that time. Pronounced as a reflection of attitudinal changes towards the old and indigent, and in the hope of increasing applications for residency, the original "Old People's Home" became the more glamorous "Taylor Manor" in 1947, named after the late Vancouver mayor Louis D. Taylor.
The sitting mayor of Vancouver when the Old People's Home was opened in June 1915, L.D. Taylor was a self-made man who owned the left-leaning Vancouver Daily World newspaper. Taylor served five terms as mayor, and had strong socialist inclinations, emphasizing concerns popular with working people and speaking on behalf of the masses and those less fortunate.
Heritage value is also found in the open space around Taylor Manor, and the spaciousness and careful landscaping of the grounds, maintained first by the City, then by the Parks Board. Formal planting of ornamental deciduous and coniferous trees to the front and rear of the building emphasize the formality and country-house feel of the Manor and grounds. The surrounding open space, now Adanac Park, once housed the farming and garden operations for the Home, which generated fruit, vegetables, eggs and other farm produce for the residents. The remainder of the lands adjacent to the Home were the grounds of the Provincial Girls Industrial School.
Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program
Key elements that define the heritage character of Taylor Manor include:
- the symmetrical form and horizontal massing of the building, which is a result of both its Tudor Revival style and its institutional building plan
- the freestanding landmark scale of the building relative to the surrounding modest residential neighbourhood, with front and back facades
- a mix of building materials, including brick masonry on the main building, and stucco and wood shingle on the wings
- Tudor Revival influenced exterior stylistic details, such as half-timbering on front building wings and in the rear gables, rough cast stucco and a cupola
- roof shape, which is a combination of a gabled main roof with two gabled wings with square brackets, and flat roofs on front and back building sections, with a central half-timbered gable dormer in the front facade
- central brick chimney
- its imposing front facade
- symmetrical fenestration in a variety of window types on all facades, including continuous bays of multi-paned windows in the sun porches, eight bays of double-hung wooden sash windows on front and rear facades, with 1-over-1 with multi-paned lights, two-paned horizontal sash windows 2-over-2 in the basement, and pairs of narrow double-hung wooden sash windows
- arched wooden entry doors with stained glass lights and glass sidelights
- interior layout, including the narrow corridors running the length of the building, small single and double rooms, and larger dormitories, segregated washroom facilities, original kitchen, basement with original coal-fired water heater, enclosed sun porches at each end of the building, and a central wooden staircase
- interior details, including wood paneling, lights over wooden interior doors, evidence of building systems such as water heated registers and electrical elements, and the fortified doorway to the boiler room
- the vegetation surrounding the building, including ornamental coniferous and deciduous trees in the front yard, a row of oak and maple trees at the back, shrub planting including ilex and holly, and low foundation planting
- the setting within mature trees, including the proximity of Adanac Park, and the views to the North Shore mountains
- its location in an area of Vancouver that was once relatively isolated, and was once adjacent to another institution, the Provincial Girls Industrial School
- the setback of the building from Boundary Road to accommodate the circular driveway and the front yard, which is a reflection of the original landscaped grounds
- its location in the northeast corner of its original lot, leaving open space for agricultural purposes