Next Meeting: 18th April 2013

It is amazing how quickly the months roll around, and here we are just a week away from the next GHG Public Meeting.  As usual we will meet at the Britannia Board Room on Napier Street at 7:00pm on Thursday 18th April.  We have quite a few things to talk about.

I am sure the highlight of the evening will be the third in Eric Phillip’s excellent series on Historic House Mechanicals and Materials.  This one will be about balloon construction and why it was different from both platform and timber frame construction.

cyclopedia07-p49There are a number of events coming up that we need to discuss:  2013 Heritage Awards (end of May); Heritage Vancouver House Tour (2nd June), which we might have some part of; and CarFree Day on the Drive (16 June), in which we have participated before.

We also have a couple of projects that are ongoing:  the launch of the 2013 Centenary House Signs campaign needs to be arranged; and we have news to share on the Shelly’s 4X Sign renewal project.

Hopefully we will also have time to discuss a summer program of walks and talks, and to discuss the upcoming 75th anniversary (July 1st) of the First Avenue Viaduct.  And, of course, anything else that folks want to raise

It should be a fun and interesting evening, so do please join us in this continuing conversation designed to enhance and protect the heritage of Grandview.

Come Walk Commercial Drive’s Western Slope

On October 21st, famed guide Maurce Guibord will take us on a unique history walk.  As he describes it:


Let’s head for the tracks! A tour of Grandview, but downhill all the way. On the slope leading down to the railway tracks, we’ll see how urban development created a still-changing environment. Among other sites, you’ll walk the tracks, see a hidden mosaic garden, the home of a star boxer, visit a huge warehouse transformed into artists’ studios, and the former city dump transformed into urban gardens.


Meet up at the corner of Charles and Woodland at 10:00am for a two-hour tour.


We will be accepting voluntary donations to help us continue our work of recording and preserving the heritage of Grandview.  $10 is suggested, but pay as you can.   See you there!

Meeting Notes — September

We had a splendidly full and interesting meeting last night.

Michael Kluckner led a discussion about how best we can approach the preservation of historic signs in Grandview.  These would include the Shelly’s sign at the Via Tevere Pizza restaurant on Victoria, and the Cozy Apartments sign on Commercial. It was noted that there are other signs on the Drive that are beneath thin veneers of whitewash. It was agreed that we should meet with the Tevere owners and discuss a possible repainting in the spring.

While we are talking about the Shelly’s sign, it is worth noting that the excellent images of the sign by one of our members, Egon Simons, are being used by the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan folks.

The talk of signs led us inexorably to the question of the Little Theatre sign that has been revealed by the redevelopment of the York Theatre.  The development plan shows that the wall is supposed to be covered by what appear to be white metal sheets.  However, we all agree that retention and diaplay of the sign would be a desirable outcome in what is an otherwise non-heritage renovation.  It was agreed that we will write to the developers to ascertain their plans for the sign and lobby for its continued public display.

We then turned to the matter of the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan.  Many of the people at the meeting are also members of the Community Plan PACE group and we discussed the first meeting of that Process Advisory and Community Engagement group that took place on Tuesday.  It was noted that heritage was a key factor in the discussions, especially in what the planners were keen to call “the Heritage area” east of Commercial Drive.  It was agreed that there are also pockets of important heritage value west of the Drive, many of which offer affordable housing options, and these need to be protected from any sweeping apartment-zone changes that may be contemplated in the new Plan.

There was a long and interesting discussion about the creation of a mixed cultural-industrial zone along and to the east of Clark Drive.

Talk of the area west side of Commercial was also timely because the next of our Walk & Talk series will feature that area.  One of the City’s most experienced guides, Maurice Guibord, will be leading the walk on October 20th and we’ll be publishing more details in the next little while.

Finally, we spent some time discussing additions and improvements to this website of ours.  It was suggested and agreed that we should have a page about resources for heritage home owners looking to repair and renovate their houses, and we will be gathering data for that.  We will also include a page with pointers for those looking to research the history of their homes, and this will tie in with our scheduled Talk in January on the same subject.  So, look for changes coming here soon!



History & Heritage Walk: Bruce Macdonald

Eminent Vancouver historian Bruce Macdonald (“Visual Vancouver“) will be giving a walk and talk this month:

Saturday, September 15th at 2pm: “The Top of Commercial Drive — Where Grandview Began”:  Meet on the front stairs of the home of Vancouver historian Bruce Macdonald for a walking tour of the area where Grandview began in the 1890s – Grant and Commercial Drive. Bruce lives at 1730 William Street, just off the Drive by Havana Restaurant and Joe’s Cafe.

We will be seeking voluntary donations to support the work and projects of the Grandview Heritage Group.  $10 is suggested, but pay as you can.

Grandview Walks and Talks

At our last meeting, we firmed up our plans for a series of walks and talks on the history and heritage of Grandview during the fall and winter season.  Here are some brief details for you to fill out your calendar:

Saturday, September 15th at 2pm:   Bruce Macdonald will conduct a walking tour of the area around Grant & Commercial, discussing the importance of that area to the development of Grandview.

Sunday, October 21st at 10am:  Maurice Guibord will take you on a walking tour around the streets between Clark Drive and Commercial Drive — an often overlooked part of our neighbourhood.

Wednesday, November 21st at 7pm:  Jak King will give an illustrated talk on the history of Commercial Drive to 1950.  This will probably be at The Learning Centre at Britannia Library.

No registration will be required for these events and attendance will be by donation..

In addition, in January, Penny Street will be giving a workshop on building a history of your house, and there will be further walks and talks in the spring of 2013.

As we get closer to each event, we will post more details here and through our email list which you can subscribe to by sending a message to



Meeting Notes

We had a marvelous meeting last night, with lively discussion on a wide range of topics.  These included:

  • our Centenary Signs project (the signs will be ready next week);
  • the age of the buildings on the 1200-block Lakewood Drive (1909 and 1910);
  • wallpaper stylings in early heritage homes;
  • the large number of “party hats” (or conical roofs) on the Queen Anne houses in Grandview (and how we can encourage their return on buildings that have lost them);
  • the development of radio and its impact on Commercial Drive retail;
  • early electricifation for homes and businesses; and
  • the history of bay and oriel windows (a signature style in Commercial Drive, for example)

We also determined on a series of walking tours for the fall and a lecture series in the winter.  More details on these will be forthcoming shortly.

It’s amazing how quickly two hours goes by!  Our next meeting is on the 16th of August and, as always, everyone is welcome.

Sunny Day Walking Tour

Here’s a photo, by Connie Minogue, of the group on the walk on Saturday morning in front of the monastery/manse of St. Francis of Assisi Church at Semlin and Napier. Thanks to everyone who came out and contributed to the financing of our Century House Signs project, which will be launched soon.

Grandview walking tour reminder: this Saturday, 10 am!

Bring sunscreen and a hat (guaranteed!) at 10 am Saturday to the corner of Pender and Victoria for a walking tour of a corner of historic Grandview led by me, Michael Kluckner. We will wind our way through blocks of old builders’ houses, past some grand homes, churches, heritage conversions and modern infill houses. The tour will take about 2 hours and end up near the start point. Please also bring $10, which will go entirely to pay for our “Century House” signs that we will be putting up in the neighbourhood later this month.