Last Thursday evening, the GHG met for its November meeting. It was another conversation full of interest, with a good turn our and new people attending. In brief, we discussed:
- 1872 Parker Street. Craig Ollenberger gave a history of the last few years of Brookhouse, leading to the current situation where we will almost certainly lose this magnificent Queen Anne building in the next few weeks. The debate widened into HRAs and other mechanisms that might save such houses. It was agreed that we need to research the additional value of heritage houses for buyers. It was also agreed that we should invite Heather Deal to a GHG meeting to discuss an updated Heritage Register.
- Penny got us up-to-date on her discussions with UBC Professors about using students to assist us with our projects this winter/spring. It seems that basic research on our Centenary Celebration houses might be the best bet. It was noted the students will need hand-holding. It was agreed will determine our needs in December for a January start.
- Britannia is currently managing the Astorinio’s space at Commercial & Venables. It is part of the proposed Boffo properties development. It was noted that the EWaldorf and the Hollywood received demolition delays, and we agree that Astorino’s shoild get at least that. We will be pushing for a Statement of Significance to be completed. Penny will see if we can get a tour of the property.
- Eric Phillips gave a presentation that was an update to several of his wonderful Mechanicals & Materials series. He covered new forms of roofing materials, dealing with tin roofs, textured concrete blocks, and drywall mud.
- Penny and Maria and others have begun the process of walking the neighbourhood looking for candidates for our 2014 Centenary Signs project. They have already covered two of ten areas, and other walking tours start each Wednesday at 1pm from the 1700 block Napier. It was noted that some of the 2013 signs may be missing and may need to be replaced.
- Jak agreed to call Lance about the Permanent Signs project.
- Britannia is having an Open House on Thursday 28th November in the greenway. GHG is sharing a table with GWAC. Volunteers are needed.
- Bruce Macdonald reported on the first formal meeting of the Mount Pleasant Heritage Group – the first in what we hope will eventually be a city-wide collections of groups. A local brewery has agreed to sponsor space for their meetings.
- Penny reported on our finances, which are in good shape.
- It was noted that Jak King and Bruce will be making a history/heritage presentation at the COPE meeting on Sunday 24th November.
- Michael Kluckner is curating a series of historic Vancouver films at the Van City Cinema on Sunday 24th.
- Michael is also curating a series of Vancouver panorama photographs at the Space Centre on December 4th at 7pm.
- Finally, Carolyn Lair introduced us to the ASPECT program that mentors organizations on fundraising, and organizational strengths.
Another very full and worthwhile evening.
Kristen Harpula has put together an execellent article about heritage issues in Grandview. It can be found on her website here.
With her permission we are embedding her video on the subject.
Yes, it’s that time again — another GHG meeting! We’ll meet as usual at 7:00pm in the Britannia Board Room. This month’s meeting will include:
- a report on Mt. Pleasant’s inaugural Mt. Pleasant Heritage Group meeting (Bruce Macdonald)
- a discussion of GHG taking on one or more students doing research for a fourth-year UBC historical geography course under the supervision of Prof David Brownstein
- upcoming GHG tour of the Astorino’s building
- identifying candidates for our centenary signs project for 2014
- staffing a table for the Britannia site-wide open house on Nov 28th in the Napier Greenway
- a report on the Brookhouse residence on the SW corner of Parker and Victoria (Craig Ollenberger)
- updates from a few earlier Mechanicals & Materials presentations (Eric Phillips)
All that … plus our usual wide-ranging and fascinating conversation about whatever relevant topics come to people’s minds.
Our meetings are not formal. Everyone is welcome. Please do join us if you can.
The following message is from Bruce Macdonald who has been intimately involved in the events described:
Grandview, the only of Vancouver’s 22 local areas to have its own heritage group, this week helped to spawn the founding of a new heritage group. On November 13, 2013 Danielle Peacock and Alyssa Myshok organized the founding meeting of the Mount Pleasant Heritage Group. The inaugural meeting was held in Mount Pleasant’s Quebec Manor, an historic co-op heritage building. The new group decided to use the Grandview Heritage Group as a template to get started. It will create a similar blog, and explore replicating Penny Street’s successful Grandview Centenary Signs Campaign, which places celebratory signs in the front yards of heritage homes 100 or more years old.
Mount Pleasant is a Victorian neighbourhood that started along Brewery Creek and had the distinction of being the location of 4 breweries by the 1890s. They were gone by 1913, but one hundred years later Mount Pleasant is now once again home to 4 new breweries. The new Red Truck Brewery right at the mouth of Brewery Creek will have a community room when it opens in 2014, and the Mount Pleasant Heritage Group could have its monthly meetings there.
The ease of creating web sites and blogs helped to facilitate the founding of the Grandview Heritage Group in 2011, resulting in the city’s first neighbourhood heritage group, website and blog — a model for other neighbourhoods in Vancouver, in other Canadian cities, or anywhere else. The web site already has over 100 historic photos of Grandview. The Grandview Heritage Group has now also started a wiki, a web site where ALL historic information on Grandview can be easily uploaded including the history of Grandview and its streets, parks, individuals, businesses, groups and organizations.
We are also working to make it easy for others to create a new heritage group. Some other possible new neighbourhood heritage groups in Vancouver are the following:
Cedar Cottage Heritage Group
Cedar Cove Heritage Group
Dunbar Heritage Group
Fairview Heritage Group
Gastown Heritage Group
Hastings Heritage Group
Kitsilano Heritage Group
Marpole Heritage Group
Strathcona Heritage Group
West End Heritage Group
Yaletown Heritage Group
Historian, raconteur and all-round great tour guide Maurice Guibord will be conducting a heritage history walk this Saturday and you shouldn’t miss it.
His tour will cover the area to the west of Commercial Drive down to Glen Drive — an area that is often forgotten when people think of Grandview’s heritage. Maurice has collected a wealth of history and anecdote about people and houses in that area, and he will share that knowledge with his usual humour.
The tour starts at 10:00am sharp and walkers should meet at Mosaic Park, Charles & McLean, rain or shine.
This is a fundraiser for the Grandview Heritage Group and the suggested donation is $10.
Excellent meeting last night with a number of new people in attendance, including two from Mount Pleasant who have been inspired to start a heritage group in their neighbourhood — that’s what we want to see all over the City! There were a number of interesting items on the agenda:
- We started with an announcement of a heritage/history walk: Maurice Guibord will be conducting a tour of the area west of Commercial Drive on Saturday 9th November. Meet at Mosaic Park (Charles & McLean) at 10:00am sharp. Suggested donation is $10. Maurice — an excellent and experienced tour leader — has found some fascinating material from that area and the tour is bound to be of interest.
- The wonderful Brookhouse at 1872 Parker seems doomed. Subject to a few conditions, the City has informed the owner — Ernie Ho of FuHo Design — that his permit to demolish and rebuild will be issued in early November. They have completely disregarded the letters sent from GHG and GWAC. Only direct pressure on the owner can save it now.
- As a corollary to the 1872 Parker disaster, it was suggested that both GHG and GWAC write to City Council regarding the Heritage Revitalization Agreement process that seems to be so arduous that it has scared more than one owner away from saving a valuable property.
- We also discussed the issue of the Astorino’s building at Commercial & Venables which is part of the ongoing Community Plan (CP) issues. It was confirmed that City Council amended the Jackson Report to allow the potential development of this site (along with the Kettle, Ace of Suedes and the City parking lot) to continue even during the CP process but with “significant reduction in proposed height). We now await the developer’s proposal. In the meanwhile, we want to push for a Statement of Significance on the building as a folk-cultural artifact (it was agreed the building itself was not of the highest class) and as a performance space (especially as Britannia is now using it as such).
- The 2014 Centenary House signs campaign is now officially underway. Penny and Maria will be organizing selection tours to create a list of potential houses.
- We also discussed the “permanent plaque” program with reference to the fading that has been noticed on the Shelly’s Sign wall. Lance will investigate the issue and report back to us.
- Jak agreed to write a brief guide to adding material to our wiki. This will appear on this website in the next few days.
- Bruce reported on the Ridge Bowling Pin which he has been trying to secure for the Grandview Lanes roof. It has been purchased by Yusuf Wosk for $5,000 and is apparently stored in his backyard. Maybe we can still get it if he gets bored with it.
- It was noted that there is an Opne House for the Trout Lake Masterplan on Saturday. Bruce Macdonald will be giving a heritage overview at the Community Centre that morning.
- Finally, we thoroughly enjoyed part 4 of Eric’s marvelous series “Mechanicals and Materials“. Tonight’s was about the Hazards of Old Houses. He talked about the uses and problems with lead, asbestos, mercury, leaking underground storage tanks (apparently known as LUST to specialists), and other chemicals. Highly informative and entertaining as always. Thanks Eric!
A fun and entertaining evening.
Our usual meeting, in the Britannia boardroom from 7 till 9, will consider the following topics:
• Candidates for our 2014 “Century Signs” campaign – dividing the neighbourhood into sections, walking and evaluating, the timing for removing the 2013 signs and rolling out the 2014 houses
• the permanent plaques: update on the proposal to offer heritage plaques, for a fee, to interested homeowners, which leads to….
• light-proofing the Shelly’s plaque – the one we installed in June has faded quite badly. We will discuss options on how to shield it from UV and consider alternatives to the kind of plaque we used there
•Astorino’s and the Boffo project at Venables and Commercial: the old Astorino’s dance hall space is potentially a victim of the redevelopment process that Boffo, with support from the Kettle society, is trying to fast-track past the community plan process. Is it worth trying to put together a Statement of Significance or mount some other intervention?
•1872 Parker at Victoria Drive: the Queen Anne-style Woodhouse house (see the post below) is about to be demolished, the current owner having no interest in retaining it. As the building is not on the heritage registry, there appears to be little that staff can do to delay the owner’s development application. The only requirement the city is putting on the owner is the retention and repair of the granite wall. Is there value in a community campaign or will this just become a “teachable moment”?
•Danielle and Alyssa from Mount Pleasant are hoping to attend as part of their effort to form their own heritage group like ours.
• And, there may be a Powerpoint presentation on some aspect of our history and heritage.
Hope to see you there.
Our great friend Maurice Guibord has sent me notice of two events that you may find of interest.
As many of will recall, we were lucky enough to have a tour of the interior of Brookhouse at 1872 Parker some while ago. This was just after a new owner had decided to move ahead with an HRA for the property. Unfortunately, that project had difficuties and the current owner is seeking a demolition order and the right to build two duplexes. 68 members of GHG have signed the following letter in protest at that plan:
Subject: Development applications (DE417015 and DE417016), 1872 Parker Street
We the undersigned, who together form the Grandview Heritage Group, protest the above-listed development applications and insist that any demolition activity on this property be denied until the heritage house at 1872 Parker is properly assessed with a Statement of Significance and all options are explored for the house’s adaptive re-use under a Heritage Revitalization Agreement.
Built in 1909, the house is one of only about a dozen Queen Anne-style homes whose signature turret has become an identifying emblem of the Grandview area. In spite of its poor condition due to years of neglect, the house still is a landmark on a very prominent section of Victoria Drive, adding character and sharing the streetscape with the 1910 Copp House at Napier and the Hawkins residence (designated and rehabilitated as part of Britannia Lodge) between Napier and Parker. Other significant Queen Anne-style houses in nearby blocks are the Odlum House (a coop on Grant Avenue) and Kurrajong (designated) at Napier and Salsbury.
As well as its distinctive architecture, the house still contains significant interior detailing, in spite of its decades as a rooming house.
In the Mount Pleasant area near City Hall, houses of this style have attracted the interest of sympathetic developers: for example, the former Anglican Women’s Auxiliary house at 334 West 14th, has recently begun the process of conversion into suites with an infill building. It is only laziness and expediency on the part of the property’s current owners that is prompting them to consider demolition of such a heritage asset.
It is our understanding that work was done a year or so ago to develop plans for a Heritage Revitalization Agreement. We insist that these or similar plans become the basis for a future use of the home. Demolition, in this “greenest city,” is simply not an option.
The Grandview Heritage Group
The following is what is almost certainly a previously unknown photograph of the clearing of Victoria Park in 1909. The image was taken by Edward Faraday Odlum and is shown here courtesy of Ms. Ruth Raymond, a descendant.
This is a view of the as-yet-uncleared Park looking north from the south-east corner of Grant Street & Victoria Drive. The houses are on what was then Bismark Street (now Kitchener). The old Fire Hall and the Queen Anne-style Jeff’s House at Charles & Salsbury can be seen in the background.
This is a marvelous addition to our knowledge of the Park and we thank Ms. Raymond most sincerely for sharing this treasure with us, and to James Evans for forwarding it..