Meeting Notes: November

Another good gathering last Thursday, and more fascinating discussions.

  • We looked at various property assemblies being created in the south end of the neighbourhood; we also noted the falling state of the RE market; and then we were still surprised to find 1976 still priced at less than $1 million;
  • There was a fine discussion regarding the plans for the lot immediately behind the Florida Building/. It appears that what the developer wants is so close to what is already allowed that it is small change in exchange for guaranteeing the protection of the Florida Building itself,
  • It was noted a potential good use had been found for the Urban Empire storefront at 1108 Commercial which has now been vacant for more than three years. Unfortunately the agent listing the property has not returned any messages.
  • Eric reported on the renovations being made to the heritage apartment building at Adanac and Victoria;
  • There has been some, though slow, progress on the Bosa Building on Victoria;
  • The Shelly’s sign at Victoria & Williams which GHG salvaged some years ago, is now showing signs of disrepair and weather damage. Between now and the spring when the work could be done, Penny, Michael, & Victoria O., will come up with a repair plan and budget;
  • The replacement heritage plaque that we have at the sign is also in the process of being replaced and improved to better stand up to the UV damage;
  • We looked at the twin heritage houses at 1962 and 1968 Turner. Both built by Joseph Barlow with building permits dated 1912 but still vacant at time of Goad’s map at the end of that year. They were, I assume, built in 1913 when Barlow was building other houses on Turner and Harris Streets.
  • We examined the deterioration of vacant building during this winter. Brookhouse, for example (process delays), and 2145 Parker (no known reason);
  • Eric showed some information on the Haney Brick Works, from which came many of the bricks used in Grandview;
  • Future events noted included:
    • Open house re: Safeway site (11/19)
    • VHS lecture on the Kits Indian Reserve (11/24)
    • Open houses for Community Plan zoning (11/26 and 11/30)
    • Vancouver Heritage Christmas Party (12/6)
    • VHS lecture on Civic Politics (1/26)

Meeting Notes: October

We had another fine gathering this evening. There was a short agenda but we managed to fill the time with interesting discussions.

  • Eric presented his latest Neighbouthood Update.
    • Land assembly is going on around Broadway and Garden in preparation for the changes allowed under the new Community Plan
    • Work is continuing on the Green House on Venables; it is looking better than it has for more than a decade;
    • We looked at the work going on at the Westerdale apartments at Adanac and Victoria; at First & Victoria, and both the Bosa building and The Frances site on Victoria.
  • Notices about Upcoming Events included:
    • various lectures at Hycroft
    • Navigating City Hall for Heritage owners on 10/25
    • Friends of the Archives fundraiser this Sunday with a presentation on Vaudeville in Vancouver
    • Next Thursday’s Vancouver Historical Society lecture at MOV is on activism in the 1970s.
  • Jak gave a short presentation about the original grand plans for the building that eventually became Joe’s Cafe. This will be subject of a post on this site.
  • We had a report on both the sign and the plaque at the Via Tevere restaurant.
    • The plaque has once again fallen victim to the sun fading the words untikl they are illegible. It was agreed we will replace the plaque and this time Steph has agreed to build a frame that will incorporate a laminated glass so as to reduce this problem;
    • The owners of the building have pointed out that some of the paint restoration work we did on the Shelly’s sign is shifting. It was agreed we will contact the artist, Victoria G, survey the situation and come up with a budget to improve the sign.
  • Eric presented two more very entertaining Heritage Life Hacks:
    • The trials and tribulations of mending old locks;
    • Dealing with roots in old sewer lines.
  • We discussed the upcoming Complete Streets policy decisions, and how this may affect heritage buildings on the Drive.
  • Finally, we briefly discussed the uses of Newspapers.com and their complete run of Vancouver World.

Notes To September Meeting

We enjoyed a wonderfully full and productive meeting last night. There were almost thirty people in attendance, many of them new to the group. They were interested and articulate, and it was great to welcome them all. The following agenda items were covered:

  • Donato Calogero began the meeting with a wonderful presentation on his house at 1350 Graveley. He has conducted considerable research on the property including the collection of a marvellous group of photographs. Donato has discovered that the house was built on the shore of False Creek (then, 1200 E. 1st) probably in 1900. As part of the construction of the First Avenue Viaduct, the house was moved in 1937 to 1726 Clark Drive. In 1956 it was moved again to its present location on Graveley. It is concluded that this is the oldest continuously existing building in Grandview. Over the next short while we will work to put the presentation on this website for all to see. It was also agreed that we will design and erect a plaque noting this important history.
  • Centenary Celebration Houses 2016:  We discussed this briefly. Unfortunately there was an online technical issue and we were unable to show the photographs.
  • Eric gave another of his fine What’s Happening In the Neighbourhood presentations.
    • We noted the replacement of the Heritage Plaques previously stolen on Salsbury
    • We agreed to replace (for a second time) the plaque on Via Tevere building, damaged by sunlight
    • Work on the Cultch’s Green House is progressing well
    • There was a general note that some heritage houses for sale seem to be staying on the market longer than earlier this year
    • It was noted that Brookhouse (1872 Parker) is showing considerable signs of being damaged due to the length of time it has now sat unoccupied
    • Other properties on Victoria, 7th, 5th, Commercial, William, and Venables were reviewed
    • The current state of the maple trees in Grandview Park was also noted, several trees having already been felled
    • It was also noted that a number of development applications on Commercial Drive are asking for very limited or zero parking
  • Eric also took us through a number of Upcoming Events. These include a number of tours via Heritage Vancouver, the Van Hist Society’s lecture on 9/22, and the Friends of Vancouver Archives fundraiser on 10/23
  • Finally we discussed the future of GHG itself.  It was noted that the founders are getting older and several are currently working on projects unconnected to Grandview (and thus not suitable for presentation at the monthly meetings). Younger and active volunteers are needed to ensure that we carry on as successfully as we have in the past. However, tonight’s excellent turnout and program shows that the group clearly does have a promising future.

Meeting Notes — June 2016

We had another interesting meeting last Thursday evening.

  • Claire Shepansky gave an excellent presentation on her recent project which was to document and analyze the residential displacement caused by the building of the Britannia Community Centre in 1973-1974.
  • The regular monthly feature on Neighbourhood Changes discussed Heritage Conservation Areas (as is being mooted for Mole Hill in the West End); the renewal of porches and balconies, the upcoming public hearing for the Brookhouse HRA, and a number of recent real estate activity of interest to heritage;
  • A discussion of upcoming Events included an Architectural Salvage Sale, walking tours in Mount Pleasant, Downtown, and the PNE, and various fall workshops;
  • This year’s Centenary Signs project continues with seven new signs going up this week; we will celebrate them in September;
  • It was agreed that the summer season meetings of July and August will be cancelled this year. Our next meeting will be on 15 September.

Notes From The May Meeting

We had another lively, informative, and well-attended meeting last Thursday evening. After introductions:

  • We took note of our fifth anniversary on 5th May
  • Centenary Signs Campaign
    • All the previous year’s signs have been collected
    • Maria and Donato have assembled a number of possibilities on the west side of Grandview
    • It was agreed we will look for other potentials to tie in with the route of this year’s Eastside Garden Tour
    • Penny, Dorothy, and Donato volunteered to collect more addresses
    • Michael and Jak will do write ups
  • Neighbourhood Update
    • The continued upward pressure on house prices was noted
    • Also noted that Commercial Drive is on Heritage Vancouver’s Top 10 Endangered List again this year
    • 1102 Commercial was discussed
    • A number of renovations on Graveley were examined
    • A number of sales and demolitions in the neighbourhood were discussed
  • Gastown Historic Area was noted
  • A number of upcoming events were noted, including
    • 5 June: Heritage House Tour
    • 11 June: Heritage Vancouver Garden Tour
    • 18 June: Architectural Salvage Sale
    • 19 June: East Van Garden Tour
    • various walking tours from the Vancouver Heritage Foundation
  • Eric reviewed a number of Vancouver Heritage Brown Bag lectures, including the old Remand Centre in DTES, Taylor Manor, and St George’s School
  • The debate on What’s So Special About The Drive which took place the previous evening was discussed, as were some of the ideas for density and affordability
  • We discussed Car Free Day 2016 on 19th June.  It was agreed we would not have a table this year as many members were involved with other tables and activities that day.  We will request that the GWAC table hold some basic materials for us.  It was agreed we will definitely have a table in 2017 and that some effort this year will go toward producing materials and displays for that table.
  • We discussed the idea of having as a regular part of each month’s meeting a short presentation on the history of one house in the neighbourhood.
  • It was noted that this year’s student, Claire Shepansky, has produced an excellent report on the displacement of residents during the establishment of Britannia Centre. As soon as possible we will put up a link on our website to the report.

Meeting Notes: April 2016

The GHG had another interesting and productive meeting last night with a fine turnout for a warm “early summer” night,

  • After introductions, Jak attempted to show a short video entitled “Living In Gunter’s World” which takes viewers through a short history of surveying measurements and how that has directly affected the shape and history of Vancouver.  Unfortunately, technical issues made the viewing impossible, but the link is included in this post and everyone is encouraged to view the 3 minute presentation.
  • There was a quick review of John Stuart’s interesting and successful industrial heritage walk.
  • The monthly Neighbourhood Update report covered a lot of ground including commercial property changes on Commercial Drive, and sales of properties on E. 7th, Venables, Semlin, Lakewood, William, Napier, and a number on Charles Street — all with typically high prices, and many seemingly slated for demolition and redevelopment.  It was noted that 2088 Charles is being retained by the new owners, using an HRA to include a small infill coach house. Further, work on restoring the Green House at 1985 Venables is moving ahead and should be completed this summer. It was agreed this was a far better use of funds than the Cultch’s original plan to demolish the heritage building and replace it with a modernist and inappropriate box-like structure.
  • We reviewed a number of upcoming Vancouver Heritage Foundation events and workshops, details of which can be found on their website.
  • John Aitken’s “Researching The History of a Building” workshop is part of the Heritage BC event at Granville Island (see 2c on the schedule). A half-day registration for the event is $70. We recommend Penny Street’s excellent seminar on the same topic, her on our website for free.
  • Maurice Guibord’s tour on “Grandview: Places of Worship” is on Saturday from 10am until noon.
  • It was agreed to sponsor a Jane’s Walk tour of the Drive on 8th May. Jak will contact Steve Bohus and Lewis Villagas who are interested in organizing the event.
  • The ongoing Heritage Vancouver series, “Shaping Vancouver” continues on 18th May with a discussion on “What’s So Special About The Drive“. Registration is required.
  • It was agreed that Jak will conduct a history/heritage walking tour of Commercial Drive on 11th June.  More details to follow,
  • Further walking tour ideas were briefly discussed, including the possibility of one focusing on the women of the neighbourhood,
  • We discussed the possibility of a 2016 version of our annual Centenary Signs program.  Maria and Donato have begun to collect potential houses. It was agreed that Penny and Maria will commence the task of collecting last year’s signs (for cleaning and refurbushment) and Penny will write letters of thanks to last year’s recipients.
  • To complete the evening, Michael gave a very interesting illustrated presentation on “The Curious Case of Shaughnessy Heights“. The presentation took us through the history of First Shaughnessy from before the CPR land grant to the 1970s and beyond. Michael noted the curiosity that the single-family nature of Shaughnessy was in its DNA — not to mention the various restrictive legislation and by-laws that have governed the district for good or ill.

Another interesting and full evening.

Notes from the February 18th meeting

Our February meeting ranged over a number of topics:

• Cynthia Low, the ED of Britannia Community Services Centre, attended the meeting to ask whether GHG would be willing to coordinate a research project on the history of First Peoples in the Grandview area. It would involve consultation with Elders, a review of historic documentation, a study of the landscape and natural history, and suggestions for showcasing the results as part of the Carving Pavilion recently erected next to the community centre. If at all possible, the work would include involvement with students at all levels. We are going to liaise with Cynthia to try to come up with terms of reference and a time line.

• Eric Phillips presented a detailed edition of his Mechanics and Materials series, this time on Seismic upgrading for homeowners. He referenced the SafeStrongHome website for further investigation. It was a good, comprehensive primer on the top handful of tasks homeowners should contemplate to minimize the damage their houses might suffer from the Big One and the Not-Quite-As-Big One.

• Michael Kluckner presented a handful of images and some speculation about the rumours of redevelopment swirling around St. Francis of Assisi School at Victoria and Venables and the possible implications for the church/presbytery at Napier and Semlin (especially its large lawn area) and the other church property, the former “Poor Claires” convent at the northwest corner of Napier and Semlin (now the Church of St. John of Shanghai). He included some informal history of the Italian community in Grandview.

• John Stuart will figure out a time to give his industrial heritage walking tour, sometime in late March or early April, which we will report on this site.

• We agreed to put together a table for Car-Free Day, June 19th. Details to follow.

• Eric Phillips wrapped up the meeting with pictures and commentary of changes in the neighbourhood, including the demolition of the old Bosa’s store/apartment building on Victoria Drive.

Next meeting will be on Thursday, March 17th at 7 pm, in the boardroom of the Britannia Info Centre at 1661 Napier, as always.

Meeting Notes, January 2016

The GHG had another well-attended and fascinating meeting last night, covering a wide range of topics:

  • Eric took us through a long list of items on the regular Neighbourhood Update segment. We discussed the recent fires on Lily Street and Commercial Drive; land assembly around Broadway; new buildings on E. Peder and Ferndale; and another dozen or more developments throughout Grandview;
  • We reviewed a number of upcoming courses and lectures of heritage interest;
  • We discussed the projects we had lined up for two GEOG 429 students this year. One student, working specifically for the Britannia Planning & Development group, will be examining the social aspects of the earlier development of Britannia, including the demolition of many houses and the displacement of residents. A second student was planning to conduct a research project on Grandview’s transportation history. Unfortunately, he has withdrawn from the class;
  • The idea of reviving GHG walking tours was bruited.  Jak agreed to conduct a new Commercial Drive tour in the summer. John described his idea of a tour of the industrial areas north of Hastings. We welcome other ideas;
  • Jak discussed the next update to the Grandview Database due to be published on 1st February. As an example of what can be derived from the collated date, he presented a series of maps illustrating the historic growth of Grandview from 1900 through 1915;
  • Eric presented another of his highly informative Heritage Mechanicals and Materials series — this time on gutters. Who knew they could be so interesting?

 

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.

 

Notes From The September Meeting

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.