Photo Credit: Madeleine de Trenquayle
20 E Hastings St, Vancouver BC
The 1911 2-storey Con Jones Building east of the Tellier Tower housed Jones’ ‘Don’t Argue’ tobacco store and pool hall into the 1930s. Its second street-level business was the popular Only Fish & Oyster restaurant, a culinary destination for Vancouverites from 1916 to 2009. it was also referred to as the Only Cafe or Only Fish and Chips. The Logger’s Social Club on the second floor closed down at about the same time.
In 1935, the Hotel and Restaurant Employees’ Union successfully organized staff in the 1930s. In 1935, workers went on strike for one day when management fired all union workers and withheld $800 in wages. A later organizational drive in the 1970s did not manage to unionized the employees again.
In 2013, the “Only Seafoods” neon sign was reaffixed to the building as a preliminary step towards the restaurant’s planned reopening by the Portland Hotel Society, but that plan ended when they were forced to sell the building. The new owner provides social housing, which increase the threat of demolition.
Working Class and Labour History Walking Tour, Heritage Vancouver Society Top Ten Endangered Buildings 2015