Notes From The October Meeting

The October meeting of the Grandview Heritage Group was very well attended, including a very welcome visit by Patrick Gunn of Heritage Vancouver. Although a presentation took up much of the meeting, we were also able, as usual, to discuss a wide range of other topics.

  • Jak King presented his Database of Grandview Properties which includes historical details of almost 5,000 houses in Grandview, more than 1,100 of which no longer exist.  After examining the database, the presentation discussed the formation, surveying, and use of Districts, Blocks, and Lots within Grandview and reviewed them in the context of the history of Grandview. Finally, Jak discussed the need, over time, to incorporate this data into GHG’s wiki.  Jak will be working on ways to make the database public, probably on this site.
  • Following the presentation, we looked at a number of ways of using VanMap, Google Maps, and Goad’s 1912 atlas for historical research.
  • Eric noted that several parts of his Mechanicals and Materials series have been published on this site as Heritage Life Hacks. There will be more to come.
  • Eric also presented a shortened version of his monthly Neighbourhood Updates. This edition included the Terminal City Iron Works (now demolished), changes at 2111 Kitchener, 920 and 1102 Commercial, 540 and 1115 Victoria, and 906 Salsbury. This discussion also touched on environmental remediation and the art of debuilding rather than demolition.
  • Michael updated the group on the new First Shaughnessy heritage designation, and on updates to the Heritage Registry and possible changes to evaluation standards

It was another full and fascinating evening for heritage and history buffs.

 

Meeting Notes: October

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.

Introducing The Grandview Wiki

For the last few months we have been working on creating a wiki for Grandview. For those for whom the term “wiki” is obscure, it is, in short, an online encyclopedia of information that can be updated easily. The best known of these is Wikipedia.

The Grandview wiki is designed to capture as much information as possible, to list and describe everybody who ever lived in the neighbourhood, to list and give histories to all the businesses that ever operated here, to identify and celebrate every house and building that ever existed in Grandview.  A rough estimate is that there is over 100,000 pages of data available to meet these requirements.

We have made a start. We now have several hundred pages of information started (along with another 1,500 pages that we already know need to be created) and so we believe we can now make it public and at least give you an idea of what we trying to achieve.  The link to the wiki is here — and will be permanently listed near the beginning of the right hand sidebar.

The information in the wiki is grouped into a number of major categories (history, streets, parks, individuals, businesses, and groups) which you will find on the Main Page. But, as you will discover, the power of a wiki is in the complex linking of information between categories. You might look up a particular hardware store, say, and you will find it is linked to all the other hardware stores in the database and to every business that operated from that address and to the individuals who worked there. At this point, the data for Commercial Drive is the most detailed (though still far from complete).

Note that, as usual on the Internet, blue texts are links. Red text are links-still-to-come.

We have so far entered only a tiny percentage of the information we have available (and there are very few images yet), but still our ambitions are high. As mentioned above, we want to list everything that is known about Grandview.  Moreover, we hope that the Grandview Wiki will be a beacon to other neighbourhoods and cities to create their own wikis and, thereby, increase the availability of information to us all.

Please visit and see what we are talking about.

 

Meeting Notes: August 2013

We had another great meeting last Thursday evening.  We covered quite a lot of ground:

  • It was noted that the 1921 Census of Canada is now available for scholars. At the moment it is made available via Ancestry.ca and a subsription membership is required.  The current search engine dies not allow searches via addresses.
  • Bruce Macdonald reported further on the 12′ tall bowling pin model from the Ridge Bowling Lanes, and his desire to have it placed on the Grandview Lanes building at Commercial & 6th.  It has now been made available to him, for free, but work still needs to be done with City Hall to allow it to be displayed.  We are seeking its designation as a piece of art rather than a structure.  It was agreed that GHG will write a letter of support, and Jak will approach the BIA for similar support.
  • We looked carefully at the brochure of historical houses and sites put out by the Heritage Revitalization Advisory Commission of Ladysmith, BC and forwarded to us by Maria Hindmarch.  We were impressed by its content and style; and we discussed in general terms producing one or more of similar type for Commercial Drive and Grandview.  Michael Kluckner noted that he had created a map/brochure for one iof his latest walks, and had made it available on iPad etc.
  • Jak explained and displayed the GHG Wiki (see next post) and generally showed users could add information about their houses, for example.
  • We then discussed the idea of permanent ceramic signs for heritage houses in Grandview.  We are just about ready to move forward on this project and we debated on some detail the nature of content, the possibilty of placement, and the price we will charge. These final points need to be established finally at our next meeting.
  • Eric Philips discussed the short personal videos a vintage car club has curated, and he encouraged us to create something similar for our historical house sites on the website and the wiki.  This was unanimously endorsed, and Penny Street offered the use of a flip camera she has.
  • Eric also noted that he is working on fresh presentations for this Mechanics and Materials series. These include (a) the hazards of old houses; (b) glass; and (c) heating systems.  We are hoping that one of these will be ready for presentation at our September meeting.
  • Michael noted that we need to complete our final reports to the funding agencies for both the Shelly Sign painting project and the Street Party project.

Meeting Notes: June 20th

We had another well-attended and very productive meeting of the Grandview Heritage Group last night, dealing with a wide range of matters:

  • We reviewed the Heritage Fair and Car Free Day experiences.  It was agreed that we met a lot of people at those events, answered a lot of questions and, hopefully, enthused a few about our neighbourhood’s heritage.
  • We discussed the fact that one of our 2013 Centenary House signs has gone missing from outside one house.  A range of options was suggested, including marking each sign with which house it was attached to;
  • This led to a continuation of our discussions about offering more permanent ceramic plaques for the houses.  A sub-committee (Lance, Penny, Dorothy) was struck to examine the issues (cost, price, content, attachment strategies, etc) and it will report back to the next meeting.
  • Our big party at the Shelly’s Sign is this coming Sunday; Ann caught us up on the status of the organization and we spent some time finalising the details, filling volunteer slots, etc.
  • Michael Kluckner gave a fascinating presentation reviewing how some developers/home owners are using Heritage Revitalization Agreements to get around the restriction on laneway houses and infill in RT zones. His example was from Kitsilano but he noted that we have similar lot sizes and issues here in Grandview.  We have previously been keen on getting more Grandview houses onto the Vancouver Herirtage Register, but Michael showed how this could be quite damaging to the neighbourhood in the long run.
  • The group discussed some upcoming issues concerning the Grandview Woodland Community Plan:
    • The Historical Context Statement meeting at the WISE Hall on 24th June at 7:00pm
    • Questionnaire responses to the draft Community Plan deadline on 3rd July.
    • The GWAC Public Meeting on 8th July at 7:00pm
  • We had a good discussion about the Grandview Heritage wiki that we are developing.  This will become formally open on the weekend to allow the QR code on the Shelly’s plaque to be made available.  There will be a lot more info on this in the next few days –watch this space!
  • We also discussed the fact that someone — perhaps the Commercial Drive BIA — has had signs reading “The Drive” on street signs placed throughout Grandview.  It was agreed we will contact the BIA to find out how this came about.
  • Bruce discussed his plan to salvage the 12′ bowling pin from the Ridge Bowling Lanes and to place it on Grandview Lanes.  He has had preliminary discussions with the Ridge, with heritage staff at City, and with the Marino family who own GV Lanes. Bruce will keep us informed as to progress.