Notes From The June Meeting

The GHG had another interesting meeting last night, covering a wide range of topics:

  • We discussed arrangements for the plaque to be placed at 1350 Graveley to recognise it as the oldest still-extant house in Grandview. The unveiling will take place near the end of July (date to be confirmed) when a number of the original owners’ family will be present. Dates and final details to be confirmed in early July to allow for notification of the event;
  • Eric took us through this month’s Neighbourhood Review which included a look at the work moving swiftly ahead at both the new Bosa store on Victoria and Brookhouse on Parker, stone wall repair on Lakewood, and the history of Robertson Church on Salsbury. These discussions also allowed us to look into the costs of “legalizing” a suite in an older building, the costs associated with that, and a review of various BC MIlls (and similar “packaged”) houses;
  • Plans for GHG participation at Commercial Drive’s No Car Day on 9th July were discussed.  We have a table and will display various maps of Grandview’s growth, some early real estate ads and, hopefully, we will have access to the Grandview Database to allow passers-by to check the history of their houses. More GHG business cards and flyers will be prepared;
  • Eric also took us through a number of upcoming events, such as Maurice Guibord’s walking tours, VHS activities, and Heritage Vancouver’s Top Ten Endangered Sites tour;
  • We then looked at the new development application for a 10-storey tower at 11th and Victoria which, they claim, will include preservation of a single “heritage” house on the site;
  • Nigel raised the idea — available in Europe, apparently — that people could step in, through some form of legal arrangement, to assist heritage home owners who are unable or unwilling to maintain their properties. He noted that we already lose a lot of heritage homes through development and demolition, and it is a shame to lose others simply through neglect;
  • Eric showed a video about home to build porch (and similar) concrete piers;
  • We finished the evening with a lively discussion about preservation of heritage interiors. John had taken the New Westminster Heritage Tour this spring and noticed that some houses had done this,while many others — including many in Grandview — had preserved the exterior and form, but stripped out the interior. There was a back-and-forth debate about how far can heritage preservation actually go (do we really want an Edwardian kitchen, for example?).

Another excellent evening of fascinating talks.

The June Meeting

It’s that time of the month again — another Grandview Heritage Group meeting!  We will meet at

7:00pm Thursday 15th June, Britannia Board Room, Napier Street

As usual, we will have an open agenda that will include our monthly review of Neighbourhood Changes, confirmation of the Plaque Reveal day for the Oldest House in Grandview, and discussions about GHG’s table at No Car Day in July. No doubt there will be a  number of other heritage and historical issues that come up.

Come along and join the conversation!



Grandview Database v.14

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

This version incorporates almost 1,500 new data points since the previous release. Nearly all the new entries are households from the 1911 census, which is now complete. The balance includes an almost complete set of entries for the 1912 City Directory.

I had hoped to be able to say that everyone listed in the 1911 census is now listed in the Database. However, readable handwriting was NOT one of the requirements for census enumerators, and much of the writing, even if well formed, has now faded from sight.There are several hundred households missing for these reasons.  The following link is to a typical page to illustrate these issues.

We hope you find the Database of value, and we encourage and welcome corrections, and additions.



Meeting Notes: May 2017

The GHG had another fine meeting last night, covering a diverse set of topics.

  • During the 1940s and 1950s, oil heating was marketed across Canada, became a popular alternative, and many people had oil storage tanks buried in their yards. These days, the old tanks are considered a hazard and are generally removed, especially when a house is for sale. Steve Holmes gave an excellent presentation on the removal of the oil tank from his yard. The presentation was illuminated with videos of the action. There was a discussion about the pros and cons of digging up and disposing of contaminated soil as opposed to a biological remediation, which Steve chose. The discussion also encompassed the use of sawdust for heating (very popular in Grandview);
  • The meeting looked at the mock-up of the plaque we are preparing for 1350 Graveley, the oldest house in Grandview. After debate, we agreed the images, the text and the financing.  We are aiming to inaugurate the plaque in July when descendants of the original house-owner will be in town. We were glad to note that Donato’s article on the house has been accepted by BC History Magazine and will be published this fall. Congratulations!
  • The sixth birthday of GHG (May 5th) was duly noted;
  • We discussed arrangements for a GHG table at No Car Day which this year is pushed to 9th July. Jak will prepare a series of maps showing the growth of Granville from 1900-1915, and will also have available a series of 1900s real estate ads enthusing about our neighbourhood. It was also agreed that, if we can secure power, we will have a computer available to perform searches on the GV Database. Eric will help prepare the displays, and will contact the organizers to try to secure a spot away from loud music.  Final details will be completed at the June meeting;
  • Jak gave a short presentation on changes to land values between 1929 and 1955;
  • James Evans, the developer, kindly visited to give us an update on the work moving forward at Brookhouse (1870 Parker). The old building has been moved to its new location (2 feet north and 8 feet west of its original spot) and the new foundations will be poured this week.  Framing for the old house and the new infill building will begin next week;
  • The meeting next looked at a number of housing issues in the neighbourhood, including  the recent Open Houses on changes to the RT zones which will effect heritage (“character”) houses. It was noted that while some ideas seemed positive, there seemed to be little discussion by Planners of how they would work in the GW environment where many lots are not standard 33×100.  It was also noted that the Britannia Renewal housing committee will be meeting on May 29 to discuss housing options for the Britannia site. The unconfirmed report that Boffo is withdrawing from its tower project at Commercial & Venables was also discussed;
  • The meeting closed with a shortened version of Eric’s Neighbourhood Update, during which it was noted that Vancouver Heritage Foundation is still looking for volunteers for its Heritage House Tour on June 4th.

Next Meeting: Thursday 18th May

The next meeting of the Grandview Heritage Group will take place this Thursday, 18th May, beginning at 7:00pm.   We will meet at the Britannia Boardroom in the Info Centre on Napier Street.

As usual, we have an open agenda but we will certainly be discussing the regular Monthly Neighbourhood update, our plans for No Car Day, the plaque for the Oldest house in Grandview, and celebrating GHG’s 6th anniversary. No doubt there will be additional matters to attract our attention.

Everyone is welcome and we look forward to seeing many of you on Thursday!

Postwar Housing Bubble

A month ago, I posted about the housing and land value collapse during the Depression and the lead up to World War Two.  Thanks to the contunued diligent work of my colleague Donato Calogero, we now have a second set of data from property tax registers. This one illustrates the rapid increase in land and property values in the period 1948-1955.

The data this time covers Block 60 in District Lot 264a, a residential block enclosed by Clark drive, Graveley Street, McLean Drive and E. 1st Avenue. It contains 24 lots, of which 9 were vacant, and 15 included buildings.

Using 1948 as the baseline (100%) value for the assessment, the following two charts show the rise in assessed values through 1955.

Housing boom 1948-1955

Housing boom 2 1948-1955

In 1948, the vacant lot assessments ranged from a low of $460 to a high of $645.  The property assessments in the same year ranged from $960 to $2,660.

Birth of a Community — Part 4

The fourth part of my brief history of early Grandview covers the first real growth of our community in the period 1901 to 1907.

Select link to read the pdf for Part 4 — Birth_Creating Grandview

Part 5 will cover the boom from 1907 to 1913

The first 3 parts of this series are available at Birth_One_to_Three

Comments, suggestions, and corrections are welcomed and encouraged.

Grandview Database v. 13

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

This version incorporates almost 1,600 new data points since the previous release. The new entries this month include several hundred more households from the 1911 Census, several lists of tax-default properties in 1902 and 1909, a significant portion of the 1912 City Directory, and a wide variety of entries taken from the Highland Echo from 1935 to 1970, primarily concerned with Commercial Drive.

There is also a complete inventory of the current business occupants of 900-2300 Commercial Drive for the first time.

The reformatting of both dates and data points is almost complete.

John Stuart at the Cannery

One of our regular members and tour leader, John Stuart, is conducting a presentation during an open house at the Gulf of Georgia cannery in Steveston from 11am to 4:00pm on May 6th.  John’s piece is on the contribution of Scandinavians to the fishing history of B.C.

There is a full day of presentations and exhibits called “The Pull of the Net: A Multicutrual Celebration,” and I believe there will also be a fabulous Japanese tall ship in the harbour.

Heritage and the Provincial Election

Many of our readers will have views on the political interface between heritage needs and the Provincial government. Those folks will want to know about the

joint All-Candidates’ Meeting for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant and Vancouver-Hastings, Monday May 1st in Gym D at Britannia from 6:30pm.

Quoting from the release:

All ten candidates running in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant and Vancouver-Hastings have said they are coming.

The format for this event is different from All-Candidates Meetings in previous elections.

6:30-7:00 — Everyone is welcome to enjoy socializing over a free light meal (vegetarian soup or chili, buns, butter, salad, and dessert).
7:00-7:45 — Each candidate will have an opportunity to make a 3-minute prepared statement.
7:45-9:00 — Participants will sit at either Hastings or Mount Pleasant tables while candidates in their riding visit their tables to have informal conversations about the issues that concern them — World Café style.

Have your heritage questions ready!