Human Scale Urbanism On The Drive

As mentioned in the minutes to the last meeting, GHG and GWAC are co-sponsoring one of this year’s Jane’s Walks (named for famed urbanist Jane Jacobs).

The walk along the Drive — with the theme Human Scale Urbanism — will be led by Lewis Villegas and Steve Bohus. Jak King will tag along to offer an historical and heritage perspective.

The walk begins at 1:00pm on Sunday May 8 and we will be gathering outside Bump n’Grind Cafe near Commercial & Venables.

More details can be found at the Jane’s Walk page.

Walking Tours

First, a reminder that GHG’s first walking tour of the year is this Sunday. It is a walk and talk through the older industrial section of Grandview north of Hastings. It begins and ends at Pandora Park.  Details can be found in this post.

In addition. the Vancouver Heritage Foundation is holding a tour of Grandview’s Places of Worship led by our good friend and colleague Maurice Guibord on Saturday 23rd April from 10:00am to noon. “Grandview is a vibrant neighbourhood dotted with a diverse array of places of worship. Some remain in their original use, some have changed hands while others are in transition … at least five different sites that are at various stages in their historical timeline. Explore the architecture of these historic buildings, and see how the evolution of religious buildings in this neighbourhood reflects the changing dynamic of the area.”  For this tour you need to register, and the cost is $15.

Hope to see many of you this Sunday!

Grandview Heritage Walking Tour

Join heritage expert John Stuart as he explores Grandview’s industrial heritage. 

Sunday 10th April 2016, 11:00am

Free (though donations to GHG are always happily accepted)

Tour begins and ends at the facilities building at Pandora Park, Garden & Pandora

“A feature of recent town planning has been the separation of work and living spaces.  Today communities are building transportation systems that carry huge numbers of people on the daily commute from home to workplace and back.  Grandview offers us a wonderful opportunity to explore the idea that this was not always the case.  Growth was much more organic.  A century ago and more large factories located on the Burrard Inlet waterfront near supply and shipping facilities – the lumber mills, shingle mills, sash and door factories and fish canneries…  The supporting foundries, the pattern shops, the saw makers, the fishing tackle makers, the boat works, the harness and boot makers, the work clothes tailors,… located nearby.  The residential community we know and love appeared with its supporting shopping area, often filling in the gaps between the industrial operations.”


Early Immigrant Walking Tours: Strathcona

Strathcona, Vancouver’s historic east end, has been home to generations of immigrants from around the world. In the 1930s the local elementary school was called “the Little League of Nations” acknowledging the 33 nationalities that attended classes there. In the surrounding neighbourhood, local churches reflected the diversity and the evolving nature of immigration; a Lutheran church established by the Swedes had in a few short years a Norwegian and then German congregation before becoming the American Methodist Episcopal Fountain Chapel, home to the city’s growing black population.The streets and grocery stores were alive with Croatian, Russian, Jewish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese and Chinese neighbours. A legacy that survives today includes grocery stores such as the Union Food Market and Benny’s Market, the pioneer Italian market. The Ukrainian and Russian community halls and a former synagogue, which was the city’s first, are also important sites in the development of Strathcona.

Join John Atkin or Maurice Guibord as we walk the streets and explore the rich diversity of this neighbourhood. The tour ends at Union Food Market which has been a traditional Portuguese grocery and bakery since 1962. Please note the October 16th tour will be given in French.

With John Atkin
Tuesday October 14th 2-4pm
Friday October 17th 4-6pm

With Maurice Guibord
Wednesday October 15th 2-4pm
Thursday October 16th 4-6pm (offered in French)

These tours are free of charge, however registration is required
Click here to register

Walking Tour: West Grandview

Next Saturday, 29th March at 10am, historian and GHG’s own Maurice Guibord will be conducting a walking tour concerning the history and heritage of the area between Commercial Drive and Clark Drive.

This is a walk arranged by the Vancouver Heritage Foundation who describe it in the following way:

“This fascinating sub-area has been little explored, straddling industrial, commercial and residential precincts and displaying the transitions that continue to transform its built heritage. You will see how artists have played an important part in making the area more livable, how demographic pressures have transformed the residential landscape, and how some individuals chose this area to make their statement, be it cultural, patrimonial or other.”

Registration can be done online: or by calling their office: 604 264 9642.  There is a cost of $15 for VHF tours.

Maurice is an erudite and entertaining tour leader and this is thoroughly recommended.

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.

Next Meeting: Thursday 3/20

The next meeting of the Grandview Heritage Group is this coming Thursday, 20th March, at 7:00pm at the Britannia Board Room.  The agenda at this point includes:

  • Report on our student intern’s work on Woodland Park area history
  • Michael Kluckner presentation:  “H is for Heritage”
  • Sunday’s walk (see below)
  • Update on 1872 Parker Street
  • Visit with the Agnew Family
  • Teaser for Eric on Glass

Michael’s presentation is a lead up to our 2014 Centenary Signs walk on Sunday.  We will be meeting outside the Britannia Library at 9:30am and we will be exploring the area west of Britannia to Clark and north to Venables.  Please join us on Sunday even if you can’t make Thursday’s meeting!

Heritage Walk This Saturday!

Historian, raconteur and all-round great tour guide Maurice Guibord will be conducting a heritage history walk this Saturday and you shouldn’t miss it.

His tour will cover the area to the west of Commercial Drive down to Glen Drive — an area that is often forgotten when people think of Grandview’s heritage.  Maurice has collected a wealth of history and anecdote about people and houses in that area, and he will share that knowledge with his usual humour.

The tour starts at 10:00am sharp and walkers should meet at Mosaic Park, Charles & McLean, rain or shine.

This is a fundraiser for the Grandview Heritage Group and the suggested donation is $10.