History of Apartments: June 2nd

Our own Michael Kluckner is giving what sounds like a fascinating talk on the history of apartments and condos in Vancouver.  The following is from the Heritage Vancouver Foundation’s notice:

“A century ago, half of Vancouver’s population rented. Today, that proportion is unchanged, yet the city is so physically different it’s hard to imagine it as the same place. In an illustrated talk, Michael Kluckner takes a look at Vancouver’s apartment and condo history in two parts. Michael begins with the evolution of the apartment building, from humble flats above stores to the luxurious suites of the 1920s, the walk-ups of the 1940s and the high-rises of the 1960s. He also explores the social changes in the city – the passage in 1966 of the Strata Title Act, as well as other forms of collective ownership of buildings – that have turned tenants into owners and investors into landlords.”

The lecture is at Hycroft at 7:30pm on June 2nd.  Please visit the VHF site for full details.

Heritage Salvage Sale — This Saturday!

The Vancouver Heritage Foundation is holding a sale that should be of great interest for those with heritage houses or looking to do a fix-up. As they write:

We have collected enough material to host a one-day sale of architectural salvage. The types of items we will have range from hardware and small metal pieces to leaded-glass windows and solid wood doors. There will also be a few unique pieces that may just be the missing part of your project. Please come prepared to take away purchased items the day of the sale.

 

Saturday, April 11th
1pm – 4pm
593 E. Georgia St (access via the lane)

 

August 21st meeting recap

There was a full house again for the GHG’s monthly meeting, held (as always) in the boardroom at Britannia at 7 pm on the third Thursday.

Cynthia Low, the executive director of Britannia, gave a Powerpoint presentation and listened to questions and comments about the ongoing planning process to replace the current Britannia Community Centre buildings. She focused on the desire to increase the visibility of the east and west facades of century-old Britannia school, which are largely hidden by the jumble of buildings, and mentioned the possibility of giving the new centre a presence on Commercial Drive, probably at Napier Street. She urged GHGers to become involved in the planning process and directed us to their website for further details on the Capital Plan and the various consultative stages that lie ahead.

Bruce Macdonald presented two of the interviews he has been filming with senior citizens – specifically those involved in the workforce in the 1940s and 1950s – who have a connection with Grandview and East Vancouver. Marjorie McKeown Agnew, aged 98, spoke of her youth growing up in the blocks around St. Francis of Assisi Church when that property was home to Australian real-estate speculator William Miller, her friendships with the children of the Odlum family of Grant Avenue, and her connection to the recently restored Hawkins-Agnew house on Victoria Drive between Napier and Parker. Several months ago, a few members of the GHG met with Marjorie’s daughters Susan and Barbara and received a lot of information and photographs of the family’s years living in Grandview.

Bruce then presented a brief excerpt of his hours of recordings of Bob Williams, the legendary planner and politician who became Premier Dave Barrett’s right-hand man in the NDP government of 1972–5. Mr. Williams told a fascinating story of his early years, from his birth in the Sally Ann unwed mothers’ home, his childhood rag- and bottle-picking on an old dump site where the Italian Cultural Centre now stands and his summers spent with his grandmother, who lived “a short walk” away in Capitol Hill in Burnaby and who had a cabin/shack on the Dollarton mudflats in North Vancouver near the sometime home of novelist and legendary alcoholic Malcolm Lowry.

Bruce intends to sort out the technology so this set of interviews (25 of which he’s done so far) can be streamed from our website.

Finally, Eric Phillips took a second look at floorcoverings in vintage houses, focusing on linoleum and its numerous imitators and adding new images of linoleum and wood carpets to what he presented last month. He brought a number of samples, including a strip of battleship linoleum and several handmade hooked rugs dating back to his own family’s homesteading and farming days.

Eric also drew everyone’s attention to the large number of upcoming lectures and events pertaining to heritage and history:

•the 5th annual Autumn Shift in Mount Pleasant, taking place on September 14th from 12–6.

autumnshift

•lectures on Heritage and Gentrification (September 30th), architect Samuel Maclure (October 21st) and Vaudeville (November 4th) offered by the Vancouver Heritage Foundation at Hycroft.

•walking tours and other programs offered on August 23rd, September 7th and 27th by Heritage Vancouver.

The next meeting will be held on Thursday September 18th at 7 pm!

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.

Heritage Fair

Last Sunday we were involved in the Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s Annual House Tour. For the first time, they had what they called a Heritage Fair which happened to be at the rear of a tour house on Kitchener.  This was our table.

HeritageFair… with Penny and Christine handling the duties.  Several of us took shifts and through the day we saw several hundred people come through. It is always fun to talk about our neighbourhood and its heritage!

The Importance of Heritage

VHF graphicThe Vancouver Heritage Foundation has published a very interesting piece of research that shows “the importance of heritage to both public and professionals. It gives an overview of past and present municipal heritage conservation programs and policies, and suggest[s a] strategy to ensure that heritage remains an integral part of the urban environment and landscape.”

The Introduction to rthe Report notes that

there is strong public support for the conservation of heritage buildings. Thepublic does believe heritage buildings are important to retaining the character of theircommunities and that 50% of Vancouverites would prefer to live in retrofitted olderbuildings rather than new buildings. They also want less demolition of heritagebuildings in their neighbourhoods.

 

These findings match very well with the ideas expressed by the Grandview Heritage Group in its submission to the Grandiew-Woodland Community Plan, and to comments made at the various Workshops that have accompanied the Community Plan.

This is very useful and timely research from the VHF and we would encourage everyone to download and read the entire Report.

 

Heritage Survey

Vancouver Heritage Foundation along with SFU has put out a survey request regarding heritage buildings in Vancouver.  It is, they say, “a critical tool” in their “effort to explore whether heritage building conservation matters in the 21st century.”

https://websurvey.sfu.ca/cgi-bin/WebObjects/WebSurvey.woa/wa/survey?117560497

The survey takes just a few minutes to complete and I would encourage those interested in our heritage to submit your responses as soon as possible.