If any of our readers are planning on going to Main Street tomorrow (June 16th) for the Car Free Day event, we would urge them to look out for the Mount Pleasant Heritage Group (MPHG) Heritage Lounge which will be in front of Heritage Hall from noon to 7:00pm.
MPHG have a lot of interesting things to say about how that neighbourhood should recognize and integrate its heritage and history into the ongoing City Plan process. Stop by and take a look.
The new season of meetings kicked off on Thursday with a good attendance. As usual, the discussion was wide-ranging and fascinating.
- We began as usual with our Around The Hood segment in which Eric leads us through an illustrated tour of various changes, sales, rumours etc within Grandview. This month we covered 17 properties. In many cases we looked at heritage properties that were or had been for sale; for others (such as 2111 Kitchener and 1102 Commercial) we wondered at the quick flipping of sites for huge short-term profits. We noted that three major apartment blocks on Commercial, each of which had supplied affordable rentals for decades, have now been or are being renovated with rental rates expected to increase dramatically.At 2088 Charles, we noted that this double lot was to be split as part of an HRA. Finally, we were pleased to see that 1003 Commercial (“The Peg”) which recently sold is having its roof repaired and thus seems likely to be preserved, at least temporarily. These tours always spur interesting discussions and often produce nuggets of genuine historical value.
- Eric has also transformed some parts of his earlier “Mechanicals and Materials” series into handy Life Hacks for Heritage presentations. Within the next short while they will appear on this site on their own page.
- We then spent some time reviewing and discussing the 2015-16 Centenary Signs houses. The map and the short descriptive listings are already up on the site. Some years we have had a cake to celebrate the houses; this year, Penny made peanut butter cookies which were at least as good as cake!
- Michael reviewed the new Heritage Register renewal project, and discussed the First Shaughnessy designation as an Historic Area. Michael doesn’t believe other areas of Vancouver will receive such a designation because, in neighbourhoods such as Greandview and Mount Pleasant, the current RT zoning seems to be working as a reasonable defence of heritage. This is not working so well, however, in commercial areas such as Main Street.
- Mount Pleasant Heritage Group is looking for assistance to find old pictures of the Triangle Building in their neighbourhood at Main & Kingsway. They can be contacted via their website.
- The next meeting is on 15th October. Jak will be presenting his database of Grandview properties.
This fascinating structure is what is known as the Black House, on E. 6th by Main. Bruce Macdonald has been researching this property and is sure it is from 1889 and is perhaps the oldest building extant in Vancouver outside of the old downtown core. It is in solid shape and is currently occupied by six artists as a living/display space.
The reason I have used this image is that last night, five members of the Grandview Heritage Group joined the Mount Pleasant Heritage Group for their regular meeting which took place in this house.
The Mount Pleasant folks are pulling their organization together in a fine way. Last night’s meeting was to introduce the candidates for their Treasured Properties sign campaign (similar to our Centenary Houses Signs Project). While Mount Pleasant has a number of well-known Victorian and Edwardian buildings, the MPHG has deliberately chosen a much wider assortment of buildings to celebrate, including houses, apartment blocks, and stores. It was a very cool list and we look forward to the group finalizing the plans for celebrating them.
On behalf of GHG, I’d like to thank the hosts for their interesting presentation, their kind hospitality with beer and snacks and, last but not least, a grand tour of this wonderful old building.
There was a heavy rainstorm and a wintry wind last night, but still the came out for the latest of our regular monthly meetings. As always, the meeting was full of erudite and fun stuff: We discussed:
- The student program, working with UBG Geog. It didn’t work very well for us this year. In fact, it is reasonable to say that we got nothing out of it at all — not even a look at the final paper so far. The student met with us once and then declined to meet with us again. It should be no surprise then that Michael, who attended the class project presentations, said her paper veered off track from what we had hoped. It was agreed that we review the situation again next year if the offer comes up.
- On a more positive student note, Jak mentioned that SFU’s John Ngyuen‘s piece on Commercial Drive and the Community Plan should be available late this week. In the meanwhile, his class project on youth estrangement from politics is now available.
- We then discussed the fact that Commercial Drive as a whole was put on Heritage Vancouver’s Top 10 Endangered List this year. Several of us disagree that the development pressures that may be leaning on the Drive today are anything to do with heritage. The debate drifted into the current situation in Shaughnessy One and Dunbar.
- It was noted that the owners of several heritage properties on the north side of the 1800-block Venables have received letters from a developer seeking to assemble lots there.
- Michael then took us through the situation with our plaque on the Shelly’s Wall. It is deteriorating quite quickly, fading.
- This led us to the 2014 Centenary Celebration House Signs project. We have 39 houses on the shortlist and 24 signs. We will launch again in June with a cake-in-the-park party.
- Penny and Bruce will be talking to the Mount Pleasant Heritage Group about setting up a centenary signs project of their own.
- Which brought us to the main event of the night. Eric’s latest episode of this Heritage Mechanicals and Materials. This one was on glass. He entertainingly took us through the history of glass making and its use in houses. He had illustrations on slides and brought along a fine collection of artifacts for us to see and handle. Another excellent episode.
- We finished the evening by talking about and sampling the ware’s of Bomber, the only brewer in the main part of Grandview. A fine end to a fine evening!
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.
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