We had a marvelously lively meeting on Thursday evening, dealing with a wide range of topics.
- We began by discussing the 10-point proposal that GHG has submitted to the Grandview Woodland Community Plan. This led to an animated debate about the role of public engagement allowed under the Plan’s Terms of Reference.
- The 1913 version of the Centenary Birthday signs campaign was next up. It was suggested that we look at a “transition” from the successful 2012 campaign whereby the 2012 householders be offered the chance to purchase a more permanent form of the birthday sign. This was generally approved and some members volunteered to look into manufacturing options. They will report back to the meeting in January. As for the 1913 campaign, a list of 106 local houses built in 1913 was circulated and members agreed to check out the ones in their immediate neighbourhood. We hope to have a shortlist of possibles by the January meeting.
- The successful completion of the “Highland Echo” project was enthusiastically noted. Jak will be interviewed on CBC Radio about the project on Friday.
- Lance made a proposal about creating a wiki for the GHG. There was a long and interesting discussion about the pros and cons. It was agreed that we will discus it further early next year.
- The idea of having a heritage building resources list on the website was debated in some detail. It was noted that there are potential legal liability issues with “recommending” contractors and suppliers. We will give this further thought.
- It was noted that some residents of Cedar Cottage seem keen on establishing their own Heritage Group, similar to GHG. We encourage this and will be happy to assist them.
- The idea was proposed that we publish a version of our “Pictorial History of Grandview“ as a book, a fundraiser for the GHG. We will research the costs and what else is required and report back to the February meeting.
- We decided not to have a monthly meeting in December, the third Thursday being too close to Christmas. However, our next event is the talk on December 8th about “The Birth of Our Community.”
- The first event for us in 2013 will be Penny Street’s talk on “How To Research The History of Your House” which is scheduled for Saturday 19th January at 3pm. We will publish more details on this as soon as the venue is confirmed.
- It was agreed that we will continue our practice of public meetings on the third Thursday of each month in 2013.
The neighborhood of Commercial Drive was served from 1917 to 1995 by a wonderfully quirky local newspaper called The Highland Echo. The Echo was defiantly local, covering no national or international news, but every week detailed the economic and personal stories that animated Commercial Drive and the wider Grandview community. The Echo is a vital resource for anyone interested in the history of East Vancouver.
The earliest copies of the Echo have disappeared; however, the Special Collections department of the Vancouver Public Library has collected and maintain most of the weekly editions between 1935 and 1969, and these have already provided the primary resource for at least two books on the history of Commercial Drive. An almost complete set of the editions between 1970 and 1995 – covering important cultural changes on the Drive — are held at the Provincial Archives, but their location in Victoria makes them difficult for Vancouver-based researchers to access.
The Grandview Heritage Group is proud to announce that it has purchased copies of all twenty-one microfilms of “The Highland Echo” newspaper held by the Provincial Archives and has donated them to the Special Collections department of the Vancouver Public Library, thus making them accessible for historians and researchers on the Lower Mainland.
“Community newspapers can provide an unparalleled look at the day-to-day issues and character of our neighbourhoods,” says VPL director Shelagh Flaherty, who oversees the library’s Central branch in downtown Vancouver. “It’s important that communities be able to easily connect with their history, and we are delighted to have these past issues of The Highland Echo as part of our collection.”
Kate Russell, Asst. Mgr. Special Collections, accepts some of “The Highland Echo” microfilms on behalf of the Vancouver Public Library
The Grandview Heritage Group gratefully acknowledges the significant financial assistance of Vancity and the Vancouver Foundation, without whose generous support this project could not have come to fruition. Their recognition of this important community-based project is sincerely appreciated.
Even the torrential rain couldn’t keep us away from the latest meeting of the Grandview Heritage Group last night!
We began by reviewing the latest news on rezoning following Council’s approval of the recommendations from the Mayor’s Task Force of Housing Affordability. There was a spirited and articulate discussion that noted the economics of the recommendations are not yet clear. However, a heritage-dense neighbourhood such as Grandview is at peculiar risk from the upzoned designations now allowed at certain distances from arterial roads and shopping areas.
Maurice Guibord gave us more details on what will be the first ever historical/heritage walk along the slope west of Commercial Drive. The tour will go ahead rain or shine at 10:00am on Sunday morning. Maurice promises us that it will finish at the Gelato place at Venables and Glen.
We also discussed dates for the November talk. In the end (after the meeting) it was agreed Jak King will talk about the early history of Commercial Drive on the afternoon of Saturday 8th December in the Learning Centre at Britannia.
Finally, Jak displayed his now completed database of the building stock in Grandview (some 4,100 lots) and the maps and graphs associated with the database. There was a long discussion about the uses to which the database can be put, and the additional data that can be added. The following is an overall map showing the age of the building stock in Grandview: the darker the colour, the older the building.
The maps — which are searchable by decade and lot-by-lot — need some informative and analytical text to make their interpretation as valuable as possible. Perhaps more immediately useful are graphs produced by an analysis of the database, such as this one:
… which shows that 50% of the current building stock in Grandview was constructed by the end of the 1920s. Talk about heritage-dense!
Once again it was an excellent meeting with a lot of information and ideas shared.
The Waldorf Hotel on East Hastings has recently been spruced up and thoroughly renovated. The work has been completed in time to celebrate the Hotel’s 63rd birthday today.
The Waldorf opened to local acclaim on 24th January, 1949. The owners put a full page ad into the previous week’s Highland Echo: