Progress on the Green House

greenhouse

The wraps are off the Green House – the former rectory of the Grandview Methodist/United Church on Venables near Victoria, which is being renovated to resume its role as the administrative and workshop space for The Cultch. Kudos to the city and the contractor! Earlier posts on this thread tell the story….

Meeting Notes — June 2016

We had another interesting meeting last Thursday evening.

  • Claire Shepansky gave an excellent presentation on her recent project which was to document and analyze the residential displacement caused by the building of the Britannia Community Centre in 1973-1974.
  • The regular monthly feature on Neighbourhood Changes discussed Heritage Conservation Areas (as is being mooted for Mole Hill in the West End); the renewal of porches and balconies, the upcoming public hearing for the Brookhouse HRA, and a number of recent real estate activity of interest to heritage;
  • A discussion of upcoming Events included an Architectural Salvage Sale, walking tours in Mount Pleasant, Downtown, and the PNE, and various fall workshops;
  • This year’s Centenary Signs project continues with seven new signs going up this week; we will celebrate them in September;
  • It was agreed that the summer season meetings of July and August will be cancelled this year. Our next meeting will be on 15 September.

Next Meeting: 16th June

The world keeps spinning and before you know it is time for another Grandview Heritage Group meeting. This Thursday evening. This month’s agenda will include:

  • a presentation by Claire Shepansky on her paper about the residential displacement caused by the creation of the Britannia Community Centre in the 1970s;
  • a review of Centenary House candidates for 2016;
  • the monthly round up of neighbourhood changes;
  • a quick look ahead to our display at Car Free Day 2017 (yes, always thinking ahead!).

As always our agenda is open and fluid, so who knows what else might be discussed?

Do come join us on Thursday at 7:00pm at the Britannia Board Room.  Everyone is welcome!

Grandview Database v. 7

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

Update June 4th:  I had misloaded the new pdf and it wasn’t making itself available. I believe it is fixed now and I apologise for any inconvenience.

Changes in this version include:

  • More than 247 new data points from the City Directory for 1911, various media and MLS reports, and from Clairw Shepansky’s study of residential displacement in the building of Britannia Community Centre.;
  • 8 additional previously-demolished buildings recovered;
  • miscellaneous minor corrections

Notes From The May Meeting

We had another lively, informative, and well-attended meeting last Thursday evening. After introductions:

  • We took note of our fifth anniversary on 5th May
  • Centenary Signs Campaign
    • All the previous year’s signs have been collected
    • Maria and Donato have assembled a number of possibilities on the west side of Grandview
    • It was agreed we will look for other potentials to tie in with the route of this year’s Eastside Garden Tour
    • Penny, Dorothy, and Donato volunteered to collect more addresses
    • Michael and Jak will do write ups
  • Neighbourhood Update
    • The continued upward pressure on house prices was noted
    • Also noted that Commercial Drive is on Heritage Vancouver’s Top 10 Endangered List again this year
    • 1102 Commercial was discussed
    • A number of renovations on Graveley were examined
    • A number of sales and demolitions in the neighbourhood were discussed
  • Gastown Historic Area was noted
  • A number of upcoming events were noted, including
    • 5 June: Heritage House Tour
    • 11 June: Heritage Vancouver Garden Tour
    • 18 June: Architectural Salvage Sale
    • 19 June: East Van Garden Tour
    • various walking tours from the Vancouver Heritage Foundation
  • Eric reviewed a number of Vancouver Heritage Brown Bag lectures, including the old Remand Centre in DTES, Taylor Manor, and St George’s School
  • The debate on What’s So Special About The Drive which took place the previous evening was discussed, as were some of the ideas for density and affordability
  • We discussed Car Free Day 2016 on 19th June.  It was agreed we would not have a table this year as many members were involved with other tables and activities that day.  We will request that the GWAC table hold some basic materials for us.  It was agreed we will definitely have a table in 2017 and that some effort this year will go toward producing materials and displays for that table.
  • We discussed the idea of having as a regular part of each month’s meeting a short presentation on the history of one house in the neighbourhood.
  • It was noted that this year’s student, Claire Shepansky, has produced an excellent report on the displacement of residents during the establishment of Britannia Centre. As soon as possible we will put up a link on our website to the report.

Getting To Today On The Drive

During a recent debate on the future of Commercial Drive, Jak King briefly described the historical/social processes that have created the Drive of today. These remarks may be of interest to our readers:

“From its founding in the early years of the 1900s through to the Second World War, the Drive was a rather staid and boring street, dominated by a population that was 85%+ Anglo. There were always a few Italians, a few Germans, some Chinese and, until 1942, a substantial Japanese population. But the English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh dominated.

By the mid-1950s, the Drive was collapsing as an economic unit and Grandview was undergoing what the City called “slumification.”  The area was saved by two circumstances: the Italians who had previously lived in Strathcona decided to move East; and Federal immigration laws were relaxed, allowing many more southern and eastern Europeans to come to Canada, many of whom settled in Grandview.

Perhaps surprisingly — but certainly an important marker for the future — the Anglo elite welcomed these newcomers because they added a vitality and prosperity to the Drive that had not been there for a generation.

Since that time – for some 60 years – the Drive has been the scene of continuous change. We have had a constant change of people on the Drive – starting with the Italians and the Portuguese and some East Europeans, followed by Central Americans, Jamaicans, those from the Middle East, and a variety of Africans. Not only different cultures and nationalities and languages, but also different sexualities and those of various economic circumstances were welcomed to the neighbourhood.

Each of these groups have left their mark on the patina that is the glory of the Drive today. They have changed our building styles, grocery options, street art, food availability, everything; and they have done this over and over again.

And all of these continuous changes have been welcomed, indeed encouraged, by most Drive residents.  And that is because each of these changes have been subtle, incremental, and evolutionary within the general envelope of what the Drive is – which is a place of low-rise buildings, 25′ store fronts, and, importantly, local business ownership.

That is how we got to today, and it this same velocity and style of change that will maintain the Drive that we all love. Introducing rapid and intrusive change can only damage what is a highly successful and well-loved neighbourhood.”

The May Meeting

Wow!  Time just zips by when you’re busy saving the world; and here we are already at the next GHG meeting.

The meeting is on Thursday 19th May at 7:00pm in the Britannia Boardroom as usual.

The agenda will include the Neighbourhood Update, and also a discussion about our participation in No Car Day this year.  I’m sure there will be plenty of other things to keep us busy.

As usual, everyone is welcome, so come on along!