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MacLaren-Uchida House

Photo Credit: Claire Vulliamy

Address

2798 Yale St, Vancouver BC

Neighbourhood

Hastings-Sunrise

Type

Residential

Description

Built in 1911 by R. J. McLaren, 2798 Yale Street was the first house to be built on Yale Street. This Craftsman style house exhibits an unusual form, as a large Foursquare form house with a low pitched roof. The house is named for its first two owners, the MacLaren and Uchida families. It is valued for its association with the early development of Hastings Townsite, early Craftsman style, and historical connection with the first two owners.

MacLaren Family

Robert and Jenny MacLaren lived in the house from 1911 until 1919. Robert had found success in Calgary as an early real estate investor and developer, and work in the oil and gas fields as a geologist. The MacLaren’s relocated to Vancouver in 1911 following this success, and his success continued in Vancouver, as evidenced by his financing and ownership of the York Theatre on Commercial Drive in 1913. Robert and Jenny’s son Donald MacLaren was an accomplished pilot with the Royal Air Force, ranking third among Canadian pilots in 1918 (after Billy Bishop and Raymord Collishaw). In 1919 he was selected to establish the Royal Canadian Air Force. He returned to Vancouver and established the first flying service on the west coast in 1924.

Uchida Family

The second owners, Sentaro and Shizuko Uchida lived in the house from 1919 until 1942. Sentaro Uchida was a successful merchant with two stores on Powell Street. A prominent member of the Japanese-Canadian community, he served as director of the Japanese Language School and as President of the Canadian Japanese Association. In 1942, the Uchida family was forcibly removed from the west coast as part of the internment of Japanese-Canadian families and disposal of their properties. Shizuko had returned to Japan in 1940 with one of their daughter’s for a Japanese Education. Sentaro and their daughter Ayako (Irene), who had remained in Canada, were interned at Christina Lake in the Interior, and then moved to Lemon Creek in the Slocan Valley. Sentaro and Shizuko’s daughter Ayako (Irene) Uchida taught close to 500 children during the internment, and after their release in 1944, she completed her Bachelors and Masters degrees, as well as her PhD . Irene rose to national fame in the medical community as Director of the Department of Medical Genetics at the Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg, where she became the first scientist to link radiation exposure in women throughout their lives to Down syndrome in their children.

In 1958, the house was converted to a private care facility, the Eventide Rest Home which housed elderly people in the upstairs bedrooms until 1979. The second floor porch was widened to take advantage of expansive views of the mountains and harbour.

Source

Huch McLean, The Globe and Mail