In 1912, when the first residents
moved into the Mount Stephen Apartments at 101 East 7th Avenue, the
facade featuring two bare breasted female figures caused a mild scandal.
Still drawing second glances from photographers and heritage buffs,
the nymphs hold the classic gable above the double doors. Other details
made the building stand out then as today.
When wood was the prime material for surrounding buildings, brick walls
made this structure more noticeable, sturdy and durable. Zigzag patterns
in red brick lacing the corners are one of the brothers’ typical
embellishments. Bay windows, light wells, wide staircases and third and
fourth floor sunrooms also enhance this structure. Residents can admire
the view of the North Shore from the back landings.
Despite increasing prosperity during and after World War II, the Mount Stephen Apartments never regained their intended status, but were a reminder of former glory. The building was renamed Quebec Manor when sold in the 1960s.
In 1979-80, faced with a 65% rent hike and declining maintenance, residents banded together and undertook a legal rent strike. They then organized to create the Manor Housing Co-operative, organizing finances to purchase the building. With the help of Shirley Schmid of Columbia Housing, they were able to establish an agreement with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to establish the co-op and then began ongoing renovations to preserve the structure and got the building listed on the Heritage A list of the City of Vancouver.
The 32 unit building continues to be home to a mixed community of young and old, blue collar and white collar workers, visual and performing artists, community activists and so on.
On July 21, 2012, Quebec Manor will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the building.