Parakontas (spelling varies)

"And the blind shall see"


Parakontas was the Greek name given to a house in the West End of Vancouver, at 1087 Bute Street, owned by the grandfather of Beatrice Lennie. The large old house was divided up into studios that had a number of artists working in them, including Fred Varley, Jock MacDonald, Maud Sherman, Vera Weatherbie, and Ione MacDonald. Not all of these artists were listed in the City Directories as having studios in the house, though, see list below.

Maud Sherman's studio at Parakontas c1932:
Left to right: Maisie Robertson, Jessie Innes, Maud Sherman, Edith Carter, Norma Park

The house was very close to the B.C. College of Arts Ltd. and the Vancouver Art Gallery, just a few blocks away on Georgia Street, as well as to the Vanderpant Studios on Robson Street.

The 1930 issue of The Paint Box, the student annual of the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts, noted on page 33: "ALICE SHARPE: - The business world for Al, too. She's making lampshades in the Parakontas Studios."

The name Parakontas crops up from time to time, mentioned in passing, but since the artists known to be involved with the studio are of significance to Canadian art history more research should be done on the activities and members of the studio. The house itself has long been demolished to make way for a three storey walk-up apartment building.

Summary of Residents from City Directories 1924 - 1937

1924 F. Shields of F. Shields & Co. Wrigley/Henderson Amalgamated
1925 J. Hope Wrigley/Henderson Amalgamated
1926 Leonard T. Williams, school principal Wrigley's BC
1927 H.J. Bedford Wrigley's BC
1928 vacant Wrigley's BC
1929 Frederick H. Varley, artist
Walton, teacher, languages
A.N. St. John Mildmay, artist
Wrigley's BC
1930 A.N. St. John Mildmay, artist
Trinity College of Music
Wrigley's BC
1931 #1. Alfredo Duarte, artist
#3. Miss Gooding, music teacher
#4. Robert Evans, janitor (res)
#5. Miss Vera Weatherbie, artist
#5. Miss Irene Offer, artist
#7. Frederick H. Varley, artist
Wrigley's BC
1932 Miss Vera Weatherbie, artist
Miss Maud Sherman, artist
Miss Cecilia Dunn, dressmaker
Wrigley's BC
1933 Mrs. Dora Baillie
W. Nelson, prop, Nelson Bottling Works
Miss Maisie Robertson, artist
Miss Marjorie Park, artist
Miss Norma Park, artist
Miss Maud Sherman, artist
Miss Madge Farmer, artist
Platon von Ustinow, artist
Wrigley's Greater Van & New West
1934 Chas. J. Baillie, engineer (home)
Miss Maisie Robertson, artist
Miss Norma Park, artist
Miss Maud Sherman, artist
Miss Jessie Innes, artist
Miss Lilias Farley, artist
Rudolf Engel, tie designer
Sun Directory
1935 vacant Wrigley's BC & Yukon
1936 no listing Wrigley's BC & Yukon
1937 no listing Wrigley's BC & Yukon