It was just the most perfect day for our Birthday Party in Grandview Park this afternoon.
We had another full and fascinating meeting of the Group last night, welcoming a number of first-time visitors. We began with a series of celebrations and good news.
We have received confirmation that the Group has been selected for an Award of Merit for Heritage Advocacy in the 2013 City of Vancouver Heritage Awards. The award ceremony is at the Georgia Hotel on May 27. We are very proud recipients.
That was good news, followed by the great news that we now have the funds to complete the revitalization of the Shelly’s 4X Sign at Victoria and William. The sign has suffered badly in the elements since it was revealed last year when the stucco covering was removed during renovations prior to the opening of the Via Tevere Restaurant.
We have received a substantial contribution of $2,000 from the Via Tevere Restaurant, for which we are very grateful. In addition we have received $1,500 from a North Hastings Community Grant which allows us to celebrate the sign and its neighbouring area in a proper way. Once again we are extraordinarily grateful for their assistance. We have also applied for additional grants to complete the work but, in the meanwhile, we will top up the budget from our own funds.
Michael Kluckner has already put up temporary protection on the sign and now we just need a stretch of five or six days good weather to dry out the wood and for artist Victoria Oginski to work her magic. We are hoping to get this completed within a month or so.
Later, early in the summer, we will be having a big celebratory party for the sign and its position within the neighbourhood. You can expect food and music, a scavenger hunt, history tours and a lot of fun! As we firm up dates and details, we will post them here.
And the good news just rolled on. We have now put up all 25 of this year’s Centenary Birthday Signs on a wide range of wonderful houses in Grandview that are at least one hundred years old. We have established a page on this site where you can find a map of all the houses along with architectural and historical details. If you happen to have more information about any of these houses, please send it in and we’ll update the map.
For the 2012 Signs campaign, we had a lovely birthday party, and we decided to do another one for the 2013 campaign. This year’s party will be at 1:30pm on Saturday 4th May on Grandview Park opposite 1636 Charles Street. More details to follow, but everyone is welcome to join us in this celebration of Grandview’s glorious heritage houses.
Michael Kluckner gave a presentation on some lessons we have learned from this year’s campaign. As we were preparing the final list of 2013 houses, we were approached by the owner of a house on Woodland and we were delighted to give a sign as we had documentation that the original house had been built in 1907. However, on viewing the property, Michael and others became suspicious about its actual date.
The 1907 building permit said it was a $750 cottage, in the middle of three other $750 cottages; but, this house was clearly bigger than its neighbour, and far too big for a $750 cottage of that age. The 1910 and 1912 maps we looked at showed four square little cottages equidistant apart. However, by the 1927 Fire Insurance map, this house was shown to have grown and moved a lot closer to its southern neighbour. And aerial photos revealed that the roof had been significantly altered.
So, although there is a 1907 buildng permit, and even though the same owners had the property from 1908 to 1952, it seems certain that between 1912 and 1927 they demolished the original cottage and replaced it with a much larger house. This goes to show that documentation isn’t everything!
The meeting continued in great style with the third in Eric Phillip’s marvelous Heritage House Mechanics and Materials series. This presentation — with excellent visuals and a lot of hard-won personal knowledge — was about the difference between traditional timber framing, balloon framing, and Western Platform framing. It was fascinating. We will work on Eric to prepare this series for web access as soon as possible because it deserves a wider audience.
It was agreed that next month our presentation will be Michael Kluckner on house types/styles in Grandview. That promises to be another fascinating lesson.
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.
There 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.
Ta daaaaah! Here’s the map of the houses, 100+ years old, displaying our historic Grandview signs.
Select “View Larger Map” for details about each of the houses. Please send in any comments or additions to build the stories of these wonderful buildings.
We will be launching the signs with a party, so stay tuned…
Three of us piled into Penny’s Mini this morning — along with signs and stakes and letters to residents — and terrorized the neighbourhood as we swept hither and thither from north to south, from Pandora to E. 7th, delivering and putting in place our 2013 Centenary Heritage signs. Here are a couple of examples of how they look:
Nineteen people jammed the Britannia boardroom for our latest meeting, including first-timers, some of whom had been contacted about hosting a centenary sign on their front lawn. The highlight was Eric Phillips’s excellent talk on the esoterica of knob and tube wiring, early electrical codes and how Grandview houses fitted seamlessly into the modern age a century ago. At the next meeting, April 18th, Eric will continue his series of “house mechanic” talks with one on framing methods for vintage houses.
The group discussed possible upcoming walking tours: Cedar Cove (foot of Victoria Drive) and Venables/Prior would take us away from the familiar “heritage” area around The Drive/Victoria. There was also discussion of the possibility of night-time walks – the best time to observe the leaded glass in a lot of old houses and apartment buildings.
The group heard updates from Michael Kluckner on the progress (slow) toward raising funds to restore the Shelly’s 4X Bakery sign on the sidewall of the Via Tevere restaurant at Victoria and William; Penny Street told the group that 22 homeowners had committed to hosting the 2013 centenary signs on their front lawns. The signs will be distributed within the next few weeks and we anticipate a launch/community celebration, perhaps in May.
Don’t forget!: this Saturday (the 23rd) at 3 pm, at the Eastside Family Place, 1661 Napier Street, just north of Grandview Park, by the playground, Penny Street will be conducting a seminar on how to research the history of your house. All are welcome – we will be asking for a $10 donation to the Grandview Heritage Group at the door.
Many thanks to the nine brave souls who joined us this morning — in pouring rain — for the second half of our Centenary House signs walkathon to pick this year’s candidates.
Today we covered a lot of ground, primarily in the south and far east of the Grandview neighbourhood, where we identified a range of beautiful heritage buildings — everything from mansions to workmens’ cottages — that we are keen to celebrate. Over the next few weeks, we will refine the list and start to contact the owners for permission to place signs on their property.
Thanks again to all those who came for one or both of the walks. These are the very best way to get to know the neighbourhood.
We had a busy, lively and highly productive meeting on Thursday last.
- The Centenary Birthday House project: We are still exploring options for permanent signs for the Centenary House campaign. These will be offered to those houses that were celebrated in 2012. We followed up on our walk for the 2013 campaign, and will finish off the second half of our potentials list on Sunday. We will be meeting at Continental Coffee at 10am if anyone cares to join us.
- There was a fascinating discussion about the plans for preserving the Shelly’s 6X sign on Via Tevere’s wall. We discussed the pros and cons (and possible availabilities) of various funding sources for the estimated $3,000 cost, including neighbourhood grants, foundations, paint companies, and other. We will be exploring these options over the next few weeks. Michael Kluckner will also supervise a small test patch to confirm the methods we hope to use to preserve the sign. We also discussed the potential for various tie-ins to the project, including the Rose/Lily annual block party, St. Francis Church, and a historical tour.
- We looked at a number of relevant events that are upcoming:
- Michael Kluckner is organizing an Art Mob to help save the Mac-Blo building at Van Dusen Gardens. This starts at noon on Saturday 23rd.
- The Grandview Woodland Community Plan is holding a workshop on housing on Wednesday 27th from 6pm at the WISE Hall. This is a workshop that has obvious implications for heritage in the neighbourhood.
- Eric is attending the Heritage Foundation’s Old School workshop on plastering on Saturday 2nd March.
- Also on 2nd March, the Rio Theatre is showing the excellent documentary called “The Hollow Tree” about the efforts to save an iconic relic in Stanley Park. It features our own Bruce Macdonald.
- On Monday 4th March at 7pm, the monthly GWAC Meeting will include a presentation by the Commercial Drive BIA on their Vision Report for the Drive. This again has strong relevance to heritage.
- Finally, on Saturday 23rd March, Penny Street will be presenting her workshop on researching the history of a house. We will write a detailed post about this at the beginning of March, but we suggest you pencil in that afternoon in your date book.
- It was noted that Spank on the Drive is looking for vintage photographs. This led to a discussion about venues where we could display some of the heritage images of Grandview.
- Eric has offered to present at our March meeting a talk on heritage electrical systems. His offer was enthusiatically approved. We’ll have more information on this in a later posting.
- Bruce Macdonald presented the first draft of a booklet he is preparing on the early history of the Cedar Cove district of Grandview.
- Jak noted that he is now formally at work on the second volume of his history of Commercial Drive and he is looking to schedule interviews with those who lived or worked on the Drive (and neighbourhood) between 1955 and 2000.
Many thanks to those who came along on Thursday night and helped the conversation.
Many of us of the Grandview Heritage Group took a long walk through the neighbourhood yesterday afternoon. We were looking at the houses we have listed as potentials for the 2013 Centenary House signs and trying to whittle the list down to 25. The walk started in the 2000-block of Pandora and meandered down to First and Woodland where we stopped for the day.
The weather was perfect; it started sunny and bright and, as the exertion of the walk heated us up, it turned cloudy and cool: couldn’t have been better.
It was a joy to look carefully at so many of the heritage treasures that decorate our streets. Even more pleasant was to meet a lot of the residents who were drawn to wonder why a group of people were peering at their houses so intently. They all seemed genuinely pleased to talk with us and to hear about our efforts to preserve and advertize these glorious Grandview assets.
In a week or so we’ll finish the second half of our list, this time south of First.