Happy Birthday To Us!

Today — May 5th — is the seventh anniversary of the very first meeting of the Grandview Heritage Group!

Modest though we may be, I believe we are all proud of our achievements over this time, including the Grandview Database, the annual Heritage Signs, helping to save the Green House next to the Cultch, advocating, cheering each other on, mentoring other neighbourhood groups, talking and learning.

Here’s to the next seven years!

Great Day To Unveil A Plaque!

This afternoon, during a gathering at 1350 Graveley Street, we unveiled our plaque to the oldest surviving house in Grandview.

Members of GHG were graciously welcomed by the Calogero family who have carefully maintained the house since the 1970s, and we were joined by neighbours, and descendants of the Wheeling family who built the house in 1899 on the eastern shores  of False Creek. Some of the relatives travelled up from the States for the occasion. Many of us enjoyed a full tour of the interior along with expresso and biscotti.

We first engaged with a presentation on this house in September 2016, and the full story is scheduled to be published in the fall edition of BC History magazine. It makes for fascinating reading.


GHG Events In July

There will not be a formal meeting of the Grandview Heritage Group this month. However, we will be involved in two exciting events:

  • On Sunday 9th July, from noon until about 6:00pm, GHG will have a booth at Commercial Drive’s Car Free Day festival. Our booth will be on the east side of Commercial just north of Parker, outside Bosa Foods. We will have a number of displays of Grandview’s history and heritage, odd items for you to guess their function, and access to the Grandview Database to look up the history of your house. In addition there will be volunteers who can discuss local heritage issues. We hope to see many of you and for you to put faces to names you may have read here and elsewhere.
  • Then, on Saturday 22nd July at 2:00pm, we will be unveiling a commemorative plaque to celebrate the extraordinary history of the house at 1350 Graveley Street which after being moved twice, is the oldest surviving house in the neighbourhood, dating from 1899. The current owner/occupiers will be joined for the celebration by descendants of the original family that built the house. Come join us for this historic event!

Happy Birthday GHG!


Four years ago on Monday we had our first Grandview Heritage Group meeting in Craig’s kitchen in the middle of his rather chaotic home-renovation project! His lovely home is long-since complete, and GHG has accomplished quite a lot!
So … CONGRATULATIONS! Good on us! Happy Anniversary!

August 21st meeting recap

There was a full house again for the GHG’s monthly meeting, held (as always) in the boardroom at Britannia at 7 pm on the third Thursday.

Cynthia Low, the executive director of Britannia, gave a Powerpoint presentation and listened to questions and comments about the ongoing planning process to replace the current Britannia Community Centre buildings. She focused on the desire to increase the visibility of the east and west facades of century-old Britannia school, which are largely hidden by the jumble of buildings, and mentioned the possibility of giving the new centre a presence on Commercial Drive, probably at Napier Street. She urged GHGers to become involved in the planning process and directed us to their website for further details on the Capital Plan and the various consultative stages that lie ahead.

Bruce Macdonald presented two of the interviews he has been filming with senior citizens – specifically those involved in the workforce in the 1940s and 1950s – who have a connection with Grandview and East Vancouver. Marjorie McKeown Agnew, aged 98, spoke of her youth growing up in the blocks around St. Francis of Assisi Church when that property was home to Australian real-estate speculator William Miller, her friendships with the children of the Odlum family of Grant Avenue, and her connection to the recently restored Hawkins-Agnew house on Victoria Drive between Napier and Parker. Several months ago, a few members of the GHG met with Marjorie’s daughters Susan and Barbara and received a lot of information and photographs of the family’s years living in Grandview.

Bruce then presented a brief excerpt of his hours of recordings of Bob Williams, the legendary planner and politician who became Premier Dave Barrett’s right-hand man in the NDP government of 1972–5. Mr. Williams told a fascinating story of his early years, from his birth in the Sally Ann unwed mothers’ home, his childhood rag- and bottle-picking on an old dump site where the Italian Cultural Centre now stands and his summers spent with his grandmother, who lived “a short walk” away in Capitol Hill in Burnaby and who had a cabin/shack on the Dollarton mudflats in North Vancouver near the sometime home of novelist and legendary alcoholic Malcolm Lowry.

Bruce intends to sort out the technology so this set of interviews (25 of which he’s done so far) can be streamed from our website.

Finally, Eric Phillips took a second look at floorcoverings in vintage houses, focusing on linoleum and its numerous imitators and adding new images of linoleum and wood carpets to what he presented last month. He brought a number of samples, including a strip of battleship linoleum and several handmade hooked rugs dating back to his own family’s homesteading and farming days.

Eric also drew everyone’s attention to the large number of upcoming lectures and events pertaining to heritage and history:

•the 5th annual Autumn Shift in Mount Pleasant, taking place on September 14th from 12–6.


•lectures on Heritage and Gentrification (September 30th), architect Samuel Maclure (October 21st) and Vaudeville (November 4th) offered by the Vancouver Heritage Foundation at Hycroft.

•walking tours and other programs offered on August 23rd, September 7th and 27th by Heritage Vancouver.

The next meeting will be held on Thursday September 18th at 7 pm!

Birthday #3 !!!

Today is the third anniversary of the first ever meeting of the Grandview Heritage Group, sitting around Penny’s table wondering what we might do with ourselves now that we were working together.

Looking back, I don’t think we have anything to worry about; what we have achieved in three short years has been magnificent. The amount of history we have unearthed, the number of houses we have cherished, the collegial atmosphere of the monthly meetings, the encouragement of a new Heritage Group in Mount Pleasant, the sheer fun of it all. And the City even gave us an award last year!

Thanks to everyone who has contributed — and that means everyone who has attended a meeting or one of our history walks or lectures and workshops, everyone who has visited and read from this site, and everyone who now thinks better of our neighbourhood and what makes us who we are.

Our next meeting is May 15th. Come join us as we celebrate some more!