The Marlborough Apartments, just before its completion in 1929. (


Built in 1928, Marlborough Apartments at the corner of Jervis and Pendrell replaced a house that had stood on the site since the late 1800s. It was designed, built and owned by Oliver Lightheart, who was one of six Vancouver brothers who developed apartment buildings throughout Vancouver’s downtown and West End. The Lightheart family were originally from Nottawasaga, Simcoe in Ontario, and Oliver, born in 1888, was the youngest son.

In the early 1970s — and not much, expect the background skyline, has changed since then.

By 1921 Lightheart was living in Vancouver with his PEI-born wife Margaret, their one-year-old son Lloyd, and their servant, BC-born Louise Bestwick. He was listed in that year’s census as a contractor and builder. At the age of 34 (a year after the census) he built a $200,000 apartment building on Bute Street, The Berkeley, which is also still standing today.

The Marlborough was built six years later, not long after the Lighthearts had moved to an $8,000 house on Cypress Street that Oliver had, according to the records, built for “Mrs. M. Lightheart”, presumably his wife.

Ninety years later, the building is much as it looked in 1928, and continues to provide rental housing to West Enders..