Human Scale Urbanism On The Drive

As mentioned in the minutes to the last meeting, GHG and GWAC are co-sponsoring one of this year’s Jane’s Walks (named for famed urbanist Jane Jacobs).

The walk along the Drive — with the theme Human Scale Urbanism — will be led by Lewis Villegas and Steve Bohus. Jak King will tag along to offer an historical and heritage perspective.

The walk begins at 1:00pm on Sunday May 8 and we will be gathering outside Bump n’Grind Cafe near Commercial & Venables.

More details can be found at the Jane’s Walk page.

Meeting Notes: April 2016

The GHG had another interesting and productive meeting last night with a fine turnout for a warm “early summer” night,

  • After introductions, Jak attempted to show a short video entitled “Living In Gunter’s World” which takes viewers through a short history of surveying measurements and how that has directly affected the shape and history of Vancouver.  Unfortunately, technical issues made the viewing impossible, but the link is included in this post and everyone is encouraged to view the 3 minute presentation.
  • There was a quick review of John Stuart’s interesting and successful industrial heritage walk.
  • The monthly Neighbourhood Update report covered a lot of ground including commercial property changes on Commercial Drive, and sales of properties on E. 7th, Venables, Semlin, Lakewood, William, Napier, and a number on Charles Street — all with typically high prices, and many seemingly slated for demolition and redevelopment.  It was noted that 2088 Charles is being retained by the new owners, using an HRA to include a small infill coach house. Further, work on restoring the Green House at 1985 Venables is moving ahead and should be completed this summer. It was agreed this was a far better use of funds than the Cultch’s original plan to demolish the heritage building and replace it with a modernist and inappropriate box-like structure.
  • We reviewed a number of upcoming Vancouver Heritage Foundation events and workshops, details of which can be found on their website.
  • John Aitken’s “Researching The History of a Building” workshop is part of the Heritage BC event at Granville Island (see 2c on the schedule). A half-day registration for the event is $70. We recommend Penny Street’s excellent seminar on the same topic, her on our website for free.
  • Maurice Guibord’s tour on “Grandview: Places of Worship” is on Saturday from 10am until noon.
  • It was agreed to sponsor a Jane’s Walk tour of the Drive on 8th May. Jak will contact Steve Bohus and Lewis Villagas who are interested in organizing the event.
  • The ongoing Heritage Vancouver series, “Shaping Vancouver” continues on 18th May with a discussion on “What’s So Special About The Drive“. Registration is required.
  • It was agreed that Jak will conduct a history/heritage walking tour of Commercial Drive on 11th June.  More details to follow,
  • Further walking tour ideas were briefly discussed, including the possibility of one focusing on the women of the neighbourhood,
  • We discussed the possibility of a 2016 version of our annual Centenary Signs program.  Maria and Donato have begun to collect potential houses. It was agreed that Penny and Maria will commence the task of collecting last year’s signs (for cleaning and refurbushment) and Penny will write letters of thanks to last year’s recipients.
  • To complete the evening, Michael gave a very interesting illustrated presentation on “The Curious Case of Shaughnessy Heights“. The presentation took us through the history of First Shaughnessy from before the CPR land grant to the 1970s and beyond. Michael noted the curiosity that the single-family nature of Shaughnessy was in its DNA — not to mention the various restrictive legislation and by-laws that have governed the district for good or ill.

Another interesting and full evening.

Next Meeting: 21st April

Time flies, and here we are again almost ready for another monthly meeting.  It is on Thursday 21st April at 7:00pm at the Britannia Boardroom, Napier Street.

This month’s agenda will include:

  • Our regular Changes in the Neighbourhood review;
  • An illustrated talk by Michael Kluckner on “The Curious Case of Shaughnessy Heights“;
  • A short video on how Vancouver is shaped the way it is;
  • A quick review of the Industrial Heritage Walk;
  • A discussion on Jane’s Walks for May;
  • Other walks this summer?

And who know’s what else may crop up?  Our agenda is always flexible.  Everyone is welcome to join us, and we look forward to seeing many of this Thursday!

Walking Tours

First, a reminder that GHG’s first walking tour of the year is this Sunday. It is a walk and talk through the older industrial section of Grandview north of Hastings. It begins and ends at Pandora Park.  Details can be found in this post.

In addition. the Vancouver Heritage Foundation is holding a tour of Grandview’s Places of Worship led by our good friend and colleague Maurice Guibord on Saturday 23rd April from 10:00am to noon. “Grandview is a vibrant neighbourhood dotted with a diverse array of places of worship. Some remain in their original use, some have changed hands while others are in transition … at least five different sites that are at various stages in their historical timeline. Explore the architecture of these historic buildings, and see how the evolution of religious buildings in this neighbourhood reflects the changing dynamic of the area.”  For this tour you need to register, and the cost is $15.

Hope to see many of you this Sunday!

Grandview Heritage Walking Tour

Join heritage expert John Stuart as he explores Grandview’s industrial heritage. 

Sunday 10th April 2016, 11:00am

Free (though donations to GHG are always happily accepted)

Tour begins and ends at the facilities building at Pandora Park, Garden & Pandora

“A feature of recent town planning has been the separation of work and living spaces.  Today communities are building transportation systems that carry huge numbers of people on the daily commute from home to workplace and back.  Grandview offers us a wonderful opportunity to explore the idea that this was not always the case.  Growth was much more organic.  A century ago and more large factories located on the Burrard Inlet waterfront near supply and shipping facilities – the lumber mills, shingle mills, sash and door factories and fish canneries…  The supporting foundries, the pattern shops, the saw makers, the fishing tackle makers, the boat works, the harness and boot makers, the work clothes tailors,… located nearby.  The residential community we know and love appeared with its supporting shopping area, often filling in the gaps between the industrial operations.”


Next Meeting: 17th March, 2016

Amazing how time flies — and it is meeting time again!  The next meeting of the Grandview Heritage Group is on Thursday 17th March at 7:00pm at the Britannia Boardroom.

Some of the items up for discussion include:

  • What’s Happening in the Neighbourhood?
  • A brief on the history of Britannia and its effect on nearby residences
  • A presentation on the history of building in Hawaii
  • Heritage renovation and the new building code
  • History walks for the spring and summer
  • The threatened gasworks in New Westminster

And, as usual, who know what else will turn up?

Everyone is welcome and we look forward to meeting you there!

Grandview Database v. 5

We have today uploaded a new and updated version of the Grandview Database.

Changes in this version include:

  • More than 1,026 new data points from a December 1909 list of lots in tax arrears, the City Directories for 1910 and 1911, the 1910 Insurance Map, and various media and MLS reports;
  • 11 additional previously-demolished buildings recovered;
  • 2 new houses;
  • miscellaneous minor corrections

More on Maxwell Smith

In January, I wrote of the anniversary of the first meeting of the Grandview Ratepayers Association.  Since then I have received correspondence from our friend Jim Wolf of New Westminster.  He has sent the following image, probably taken in 1911, of Maxwell Smith, the Ratepayers’ first President.

Maxwell Smith

Jim writes that Maxwell Smith was also a major figure in the development of the Central Park District in Burnaby. In fact, Smith Avenue is named for him.

Excellent new information.  Thanks, Jim!

Notes from the February 18th meeting

Our February meeting ranged over a number of topics:

• Cynthia Low, the ED of Britannia Community Services Centre, attended the meeting to ask whether GHG would be willing to coordinate a research project on the history of First Peoples in the Grandview area. It would involve consultation with Elders, a review of historic documentation, a study of the landscape and natural history, and suggestions for showcasing the results as part of the Carving Pavilion recently erected next to the community centre. If at all possible, the work would include involvement with students at all levels. We are going to liaise with Cynthia to try to come up with terms of reference and a time line.

• Eric Phillips presented a detailed edition of his Mechanics and Materials series, this time on Seismic upgrading for homeowners. He referenced the SafeStrongHome website for further investigation. It was a good, comprehensive primer on the top handful of tasks homeowners should contemplate to minimize the damage their houses might suffer from the Big One and the Not-Quite-As-Big One.

• Michael Kluckner presented a handful of images and some speculation about the rumours of redevelopment swirling around St. Francis of Assisi School at Victoria and Venables and the possible implications for the church/presbytery at Napier and Semlin (especially its large lawn area) and the other church property, the former “Poor Claires” convent at the northwest corner of Napier and Semlin (now the Church of St. John of Shanghai). He included some informal history of the Italian community in Grandview.

• John Stuart will figure out a time to give his industrial heritage walking tour, sometime in late March or early April, which we will report on this site.

• We agreed to put together a table for Car-Free Day, June 19th. Details to follow.

• Eric Phillips wrapped up the meeting with pictures and commentary of changes in the neighbourhood, including the demolition of the old Bosa’s store/apartment building on Victoria Drive.

Next meeting will be on Thursday, March 17th at 7 pm, in the boardroom of the Britannia Info Centre at 1661 Napier, as always.