I have been pottering around for yearss now working with various parts of the earliest history of Grandview, and it is time to share some of that research. This will be the first in a series of essays I will publish here as pdfs for comment and improvement. Your ideas, suggestions, corrections, etc will be gratefully received and will help us all understand a little bit better the history of our wonderful neighbourhood.
Many of you will know that the real growth of Grandview took place between 1905 and 1913. However, that growth was an outcome of decisions made decades earlier when lumber was king and Grandview was a forest. This part of the story — “:Birth_In The Beginning for web” — (select link to download the pdf) describes how Grandview came to be in the 1860s and 1870s.
Another good turn out for our March meeting, and another good session of heritage and history talk.
- Heritage Renvation Issues: We were joined by Cynthia who owns a heritage house on Semlin. More than a decade ago, she built a sunroom on her deck and made some changes to the old cottage at the foot of her yard. The City is now claiming these changes are not up to code and there is a hearing to determine what steps whe will have to take to remediate the situation. It was noted that heritage activists have for years complained that work on older but perfectly fit-for-use buildings is too expensive because the city demandss the wholoe building be brought up to code. Cynthia is hoping that her neighbours will support her cause with the city;
- Neighbourhood Update: Eric then presented this month’s update on physical changes to the community. This included
- building plans for the lot at 1138 Lily which was destroyed by fire in January 2016;
- a discussion about the continued deterioration of Brookhouse while the city delays permits for the HRA;
- Eric reviewed the few remaining Quonset huts that survive in East Vancouver, and our expectation that they will soon be demolished;
- A good discussion about the Crystal Dairy building, a solution to where an image of the fleet barn was taken (on Clark between 3rd and 4th), and the delivery of milk in the 1950s;
- the ongoing development of the REACH building on the Drive, durng which it was confirmed that no social housing units are being built on the site;
- a quick review of last months RE figures
- The Grandview Database: Jak reviewed the progress on entering data into the database, explained the ease with which information can be recovered, and briefly touched on the future entries to be made;
- The Oldest House in Grandview: The wording for the plaque to be placed at 1350 Graveley was agreed. It was also agreed we will apply for a neighbourhood grant for the plaque. The final materials for the plaque are still to be determined;
- Upcoming Course and Lectures: A number of upcoming events were discussed, including heritage maintenance and repair, a masonry workshop, lectures at Hycroft and from the Vancouver History Society, the Friends of Vancouver Archives AGM, and John Stuart’s presentation at the Scandinavian Cultural Society;
- Concrete: We ended with a short video on tips and tricks with using concrete.
Yes, the next GHG meeting is just a couple of days away!
We meet at 7:00pm on Thursday in the Britannia Board Room on Napier.
As usual, we have a very loose agenda, and we welcome other topics that are of interest to you. This month we will have
- What’s Happening in the Neighbourhood? Eric’s monthly review of, mostly, physical changes in Grandview;
- Jak will give a brief overview of the GV Database’s growth and future;
- Final decisions on Donato’s Plaque for the oldest house in Grandview;
- Photographs of the Crystal Dairy and where was that fleet yard?
- Whatever is on your mind about heritage and the neighbourhood.
Come join us. The conversations are always interesting.
In September 1910, Mayor Louis D. Taylor and Aldermen Stevens and Enright toured the city “to see just what the [public] work was going on.” They began in Cedar Cove and then moved into Grandview. The following report, which gives a good description of some parts of Grandview at that time, is from the Vancouver World 24 September 1910 (page 18) and is headlined: “Terracing Fad Ruin Of Streets”:
We have today uploaded a new and updated version of the Grandview Database. We have launched this version two days earlier than scheduled in order to ensure that the latest version is available for a “How To Research Your House” seminar at Britannia on Tuesday 28th February.
This version incorporates more than 570 new data points since the previous release.
This version also includes the start to a reformatting of dates. Dates in the database have previously been formatted as month-day-year; this is changing to year-month-day which allows for easier scanning of dates, especially for those entries that have considerable detail.
At the same time, I have reformatted the last column which contains all the historical material. Bullet points have been removed to allow more space for data in an otherwise constrained environment, and allows for a more comfortable scan down the years for those entries with a great deal of data.
There are many thousands of dates and data points in the database and so changing formats is a long and tedious business, only a fraction of which can be automated. The change has begun with this version and is about 60% complete. You will still find both formats represented for a while. As time passes, the older formats will be discontinued.
Lakewood Drive is a thoroughly lovely residential street today. But that is not how some residents wanted it to be.
“A petition signed by a large number of property-owners on Lakewood Drive is being presented to the B.C.E.R. [the streetcar company] for a carline on that thoroughfare, to parallel the Park [Commercial] Drive line and relieve much of the present heavy traffic. Lakewood Drive is a through street, is equi-distant between Park Drive and Nanaimo Street, and is admirably suited to become a business street according to the petitioners.”
This from the Vancouver Daily World on 11th April, 1911, page 16.
We had another well-attended and packed-with-news meeting on Thursday evening.
Javier Campos, president of Heritage Vancouver, gave a short presentation and initiated a dialogue about the City’s new Character House Review process. Javier is opposed to what he considers “extreme” heritage preservation rules which, he believes, is forcing the city to push the majority of new density onto arterials. He wants heritage preservation to be “flexible” and for heritage enthusiasts to accept change. He cited Shannon Mews as an “atrocious” example of what can happen.
He and Heritage Vancouver are opposed to the character review proposal, especially as it is neighbourhood-specific rather than city wide. They believe that many neighbourhoods will be de-densified by the City’s proposals at the expense of other districts. It was noted that the Review applies to RT5 zones of which there are none in Grandview. Javier seemed opposed to the concept of RT zoning, noting that while some large houses have been saved by it, the “constraints” imposed by the zoning have been “terrible” for the development of most neighbourhoods.
It was noted that “character” does not infer “heritage” and that “heritage” does not equate necessarily to “character”. It was further noted that the west side of Vancouver does not enjoy duplex zoning in the same way that we do here in Grandview, and ot was suggested that such a change would be helpful.
There was a wide-ranging discussion. There will be an Urbanarium debate on this subject on March 8th, with Michael Kluckner and Javier on opposing sides.
- Eric’s monthly Neighbourhood Update included discussions on:
- the new report on the thousands of empty properties in Vancouver;
- Brookhouse, where the asbestos shingling is being removed;
- ongoing work at the old Bottle Depot on Victoria and William;
- more land assemblies taking place in the south of the neighbourhood;
- the now-closed Wonderbucks property on the Drive;
- 1145 McLean, a house built by James Guinet in 1909 which, Eric noticed during reconstruction work, was balloon-framed, unusual for such a small house;
- Coming Events:
- There are a number of Heritage Foundation events that may be of interest;
- The Friends of Vancouver Archives AGM is on 19th March with Aaron Chapman as guest speaker;
- Heritage Evaluation: Michael took us through the new evaluation criteria for the heritage registry which now takes cultural and social history into account. It is a “values-based” approach.
- St. Francis of Assisi Development: There was a brief discussion about the meeting held at SFA regarding their school development. There is no further news on this.
- Donato’s House: We confirmed that we will be installing a plaque for the oldest existing house in Grandview. Ther wording of the plaque is still to be finalised but we agreed it should be completed by next meeting.
- Database Expansion: Jak spoke briefly about the new entries to the Grandview Database.
Yes, it’s go to meeting time again! We will met as usual at:
Britannia Boardroom, Napier Street at 7:00pm on Thursday 16th February 2017
The agenda is always open to suggestions from those at the meeting, but I am sure we will touch upon:
- What’s happening in the neighbourhood;
- City of Vancouver’s new Heritage Evaluation system,
- St. Francis of Assisi development project;
- Final edit on Donato’s plaque (oldest house in GV);
- Developments in the GV database;
- Early prep for No Car Day display
Plus lots more! See you there!
We have today uploaded a new and updated version of the Grandview Database.
This version incorporates more than 750 additions and updates. Most of these additions have been taken from a review of newspapers from 1916 – 1924 and include different kinds of information than formerly. For example, more than 50 households had their contents auctioned (search: “auctioned off”), others were subject to robberies, and returning soldiers (search: “soldier” or “war”) are a feature. There are help wanted ads, work sought ads, births, marriages, deaths, even a divorce.
There are also significant additions to the details of retail and service companies both on Commercial Drive and elsewhere in Grandview.
With the inclusion of the 1000+ entries so far this year, the database is much livelier and more personalised than before.Some earlier errors on the 1700-block eastside of Commercial Drive and the 1700-block Venables have also been fixed.
We had another great turnout for our first meeting of the year last night, and we managed to cover a great deal of ground.
- Eric began with his regular What’s Happening in the Neighbourhood review
- The Cultch’s Green House on Venables appears to be occupied now after an excellent program of renovation and restoration;
- The old Bottle collection building on the corner of William and Victoria is now partially demolished and the structure can be seen as being constructed on concrete blocks;
- It was noted that a large land assembly has been achieved at 11th & Victoria;
- The continuing fine restoration work at 765 Victoria was noted;
- Excavation seems to have started down at the old Iron Works;
- The buildings at the old Bosa store at 540 Victoria, the condos opposite, and the Co-Housing development at 1st ad Victoria are all proceeding quickly;
- the stumps for the trees removed at Grandview Park have now been ground down.
- We discussed the potential for land assembly and development in the 1800-block westside of Commercial Drive (the Wonderbucks building) and Jak gave a brief history of the two buildings. It was agreed we should celebrate the history of the Wonderbucks building if it is threatened with demolition;
- We reviewed the first proposal for the wording on the plaque to be placed at 1350 Graveley, site of the oldest house in Grandview. More editing required. There was also some discussion regarding grants for heritage restoration;
- Following on from this discussion, and the fact that the house used to sit where a gas station stood for decades after, we had a long and interesting discussion about contamination in lots that were gas stations, dry cleaners, etc.;
- After discussions with Via Tevere and acceptance of a budget of $1,025, it was agreed we will fix the Shelley’s sign. Victoria will be the artist, with assistance by Michael and Penny. The work to start when the weather settles;
- We noted once again the continuing decline of the physical fabric at Brookhouse, 1870 Parker. There seems to be a dispute as to whether the City or the developer is causing the delays;
- We briefly looked at the “temporary social housing” being installed at Main and Terminal;
- We have been unable to secure a student this year from UBC Geography/History. We offered two possible topics for study (the 1979/1980 Community Plan process; and, GWAC in the 1970s) but neither were picked up. We will look for opportunities next year;
- Neville reported on continuing developments at St Francis of Assisi and their desire to build a bigger and better school on Wilga gardens. There will be an open community meeting in the church hall, 2021 Napier, at 7pm on February 2nd;
- It was noted that Wednesday 25th January is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Grandview Woodland Area Council;
- Johhn raised the possibility of a federal tax incentive for retention of heritage homes. We look forward to more details later.
Update: Re-examined research notes corrects the GWAC anniversary to Oct 25th rather than January 25th. My apologies for the error.