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William Lamont Tait was a lumber baron and real estate developer.
Some of the buildings he had built in Vancouver were:

  • Manhattan Apartments
    on Thurlow at Robson (1907);
    the first reinforced- concrete structure in Vancouver. The Doric columns, stained glass and bevelled glass in the main doors were all installed by the first owner of the building, William Lamont Tait, who decided in 1907 that he wanted to create the best apartment building in Vancouver.

  • Robson Street entrance
    Manhattan Apartments,
    now the home of the Manhattan Housing Co-op.

    Thurlow Street entrance

  • Glen Brae (1911),
    one of the first mansions in Shaughnessy Heights and home of William Tait, now the Canuck Place Children's Hospice



  • From The Orillia Packet, April 18, 1912
    LETTER FROM MR. J.O. COATES Some Impressions of Vancouver
    From Vancouver Mr. J.O. Coates writes, in part:

    One from the East has no conception of what real estate business means until he makes a trip to the West. In the street, in the hotel corridors, in the store, office, and on the trains, everywhere one goes the feverish topic of conversation is Real Estate, until one feels that there is something in the air that is almost uncanny. The prices asked for uncleared lots, on which one would desire to make a home, are so appalling that one almost feels as if one was seeking an entrance into a land of eternal bliss. However, I must say that wealth is pouring in here from some source; for the manner in which these cities and adjacent municipalities are building roads, laying sidewalks and pavements, putting in sewerage and water works in districts where for blocks a house has not been erected as yet, puts to shame the dilatory methods of municipal improvement in many towns in the old Province of Ontario.

    Shaughnessy Heights, which until three years ago was a vast forest and wilderness, to-day is being cleared, streets laid out and paved, electric lighted, sewers and water works installed, and many beautiful homes are adorning the site - among which the $100,000 mansion of Mr. W. L. Tait crowns the summit. I had the pleasure on Thursday evening of meeting at Mr. Tait's residence many old Orillians who had gathered to greet Mr. A. Tait, who is on a visit to the Pacific Coast.
    (Andrew Tait, older brother to William and David, had a shingle mill back in Orillia.)
    Among them were D.M. McKinlay, G.H. White, A. Kerr, W.O. Black, J.O. Perry, L. Wilson, and many others. To-day I drove in an automobile from Westminster to Vancouver, over beautiful roads and through Stanley Park - a park set aside by the Dominion Government and being improved and maintained by Vancouver. The day was delightful, trees just beginning to break out in leaf. Occasionally one sees fruit trees breacing out in blossoms, while crocus and daffodil and pansy are blooming everywhere. Away across English Bay and the Inlet one sees the Capelino Canyon; and beyond, the snow-capped range of mountains stretching far away to the north and west. The climate appears delightful and the scenery is grand. The people are optimisticand full of hope, and have a pardonable pride in their own and their adopted land, and ill give to their posterity an inheritance such as possibly can no other province in our fair Dominion. For all this, however, I think old Ontario is yet the best for me, and Orillia is after all a pretty good place to live in. Possibly I shall be able to point out to many others why they are just as well off in the old home town as they would be in the Golden West. When I return, let them ask me. I hope to take a trip over to Victoria next week, of which much is said as to its future prospects. Railroad building is going on apace, and the Canadian Northern has construction camps all the way from Port Mann to Kamloops. Many other railways are projected, and the Coast people are looking for greater things to come their way when these roads are completed.