Meeting Notes: April 2014

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!

Meeting Notes: March

We had about twenty people at our meeting last night, with a couple of new visitors.  I don’t think anyone was disappointed with all that we managed to cover in a couple of hours.

  • Michael Kluckner gave a detailed and excellent illustrated talk that led us through the history of heritage legislation and regulation in Vancouver, starting with the first Heritage By-law (which has its 40th anniversary this year), which was a result of the controversial Birks Building demolition. He then segued into a review of the various housing styles that we can find in Grandview, focusing on the change from a front porch-based culture to one that prefers more privacy in backyards and courtyards.
  • Michael’s talk was by way of a primer for our 2014 Centenary House signs project walk on Sunday.  We will meet at the Britannia library at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday 23rd March.  We will cover the area west and south of Britannia.  Everyone is welcome to join us.
  • We noted that Stephanie Chang, the UBC Historical Geography (GEOG 429) student who has been wortking with us, will present her paper next Tuesday.  Michael and Jak are planning to go.
  • We discussed the situation regarding Brookhouse, 1872 Parker. The news does not seem good, and we may well lose this house to demolition very soon.
  • The meeting that several of us had with the Agnew family was described, and led to an interesting discussion about the value of family papers and photographs.
  • Jak and Bruce described the $25,000 New Horizons grant that has now been received and is to be managed by VCN.  The purpose of the project is to collect as many seniors’ stories as we can.  Interviews should begin in April.
  • Last, and certainly not least, Eric Phillips gave us a teaser about the new edition of his series, Heritage Mechanicals and Materials, that he will present at our meeting next month.  The subject is Glass.  He brought along a number of examples of stained glass and beveled plate, and then encouraged our attendance next month with some fascinating illustrations about the history of glass.

Another great meeting; I think we are really getting into our stride now.