The neighbourhood’s ghost sign at Via Tevere Ristorante on Victoria Drive at William is the subject of a Vancouver Historical Society lecture on Thursday, September 22nd. I will be talking about the discovery of the sign, its restoration by the Grandview Heritage Group in 2012 or was it 2013, and the advertising campaign the bakery used in the 1920s. The title is “Selling Bread to Housewives in the 1920s”; there is an article about the talk in Spacing magazine.
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.
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.
Once again we had a full house for our meeting on 19th February. We covered a lot of ground and had two very special visitors.
- Eric began the meeting by taking us through some of the changes in the neighbourhood that we have noticed over the past month or so. These included the sale of a heritage house at 918 Salsbury for $1.6m, along with other houses being sold or modified (or seemingly being abandoned) on William, Kitchener, McSpadden, E. 1st, E.4th, and E 5th. We looked once again at the damage to Beckwoman’s building after the fire there, and the potential loss of the BC Mills House behind it. This section ended with a discussion about the potential for loss in the apartment area west of Commercial due to renoviction.
- Up next was one of the 25 video interviews that Bruce has completed as part of the Grandview Seniors’ project. This one was an interview with Jack Burch who was owner, editor and publisher of “The Highland Echo” from 1947 to the mid-1990s. Mr. Burch’s family moved to Vancouver in 1923 when he was one year old, and settled at 3rd and Nanimo in 1928. We were privileged to have Mr Burch, aged 92, and his wife Jean as visitors to the meeting, and it was an especial treat to hear him talk about growing up in Grandview in the 1930s (including meeting with the residents of the Depression hobo camp on Clark) and how he and his family ran The Echo for so long. He presented the group with four beautifully framed copies of The Echo from various times in its history. These will be treasured and, hopefully, will form part of a Grandview Museum at the revitalized Britannia Centre.
- We talked about the plaque the group had affixed to the Shelly’s Bakery sign two years ago. The sun and elements have made it quite unreadable. It was decided the simplest solution will be to replace the plaque with a new one. Michael agreed to handle that this during March.
- A First Nations’ artist Tania Willard is proposing to erect a piece of art at the Grandview Cut. We agreed to meet with her to discuss the proposal during our March meeting.
- Penny suggested that we prevent the destruction of heritage houses for sale in the neighbourhood by assisting with an historical overview of any such property which we could offer to the agent as a value-add. Penny and Dorothy agreed to work on a format and Jak agreed to do the research for 2172 Adanac, currently for sale, as a test case.
- In a brief Q & A session at the end of the meeting, one of the local oweners presented a heritage column base that needs replacement and asked for advice. A number of suggestions were made.
Our next meeting will be on 19th March.
There has been endless talk in Vancouver over many years now about the effects of gentrification on our beautiful city. How endless, you say? Well, Grandview’s own illustrious city historian Michael Kluckner will tell you at a lecture this coming Tuesday, September 30th, 7:30 pm at Hycroft, 1489 McRae Avenue.
As Michael writes: “This is my lecture on Gentrification in Vancouver, its historical roots in the city and its relationship to heritage, urban renewal and The Big Picture of global economic changes in recent decades.”
Tickets are a modest $12 and are available from http://www.vancouverheritagefoundation.org/learn-with-us/workshops-talks/evening-lectures/ or by calling 604 264-9642.
Michael is an excellent lecturer, always erudite and amusing. This will be a worthwhile evening for anyone interested in the subject.
For those of you with longer-range calendars, Michael Kluckner is conducting a walk around the hippy highspots of old Kitsilano on 17th August. There is limited capacity, so sign up soon!
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.
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!
After some preliminary work, we are now ready to put together the list of buildings that we will celebrate with centenary signs this year.
We have picked out some spots that we really want to include this time out, but we need to find more possibilities. The rule is that the building must be at least 100 years old and not changed too much from its original design. As usual, we will begin the process with a walk (or walks) that often turns into a vibrant educational tour for those who join us.
The first walk this year will begin at 9:30am on Sunday 23rd March and we will gather in the square outside the Britannia Library entrance. We will be walking through the area west to Clark and probably north to Venables, in an area where many of our earliest builders plied their trade. The walk will be completed by noon and is open to anyone who cares to join us.
Our house styles expert, Michael Kluckner, will be with us to point out interesting architectural details, and no doubt one or more of our historians will be able to supply more details on the history of the area and the builders.
In advance of the walk, at our regular monthly meeting on Thursday 20th March, Michael will give a presentation of a primer he calls “H is for Heritage”. More details on the meeting will be available next week.
Last Thursday evening, the GHG met for its November meeting. It was another conversation full of interest, with a good turn our and new people attending. In brief, we discussed:
- 1872 Parker Street. Craig Ollenberger gave a history of the last few years of Brookhouse, leading to the current situation where we will almost certainly lose this magnificent Queen Anne building in the next few weeks. The debate widened into HRAs and other mechanisms that might save such houses. It was agreed that we need to research the additional value of heritage houses for buyers. It was also agreed that we should invite Heather Deal to a GHG meeting to discuss an updated Heritage Register.
- Penny got us up-to-date on her discussions with UBC Professors about using students to assist us with our projects this winter/spring. It seems that basic research on our Centenary Celebration houses might be the best bet. It was noted the students will need hand-holding. It was agreed will determine our needs in December for a January start.
- Britannia is currently managing the Astorinio’s space at Commercial & Venables. It is part of the proposed Boffo properties development. It was noted that the EWaldorf and the Hollywood received demolition delays, and we agree that Astorino’s shoild get at least that. We will be pushing for a Statement of Significance to be completed. Penny will see if we can get a tour of the property.
- Eric Phillips gave a presentation that was an update to several of his wonderful Mechanicals & Materials series. He covered new forms of roofing materials, dealing with tin roofs, textured concrete blocks, and drywall mud.
- Penny and Maria and others have begun the process of walking the neighbourhood looking for candidates for our 2014 Centenary Signs project. They have already covered two of ten areas, and other walking tours start each Wednesday at 1pm from the 1700 block Napier. It was noted that some of the 2013 signs may be missing and may need to be replaced.
- Jak agreed to call Lance about the Permanent Signs project.
- Britannia is having an Open House on Thursday 28th November in the greenway. GHG is sharing a table with GWAC. Volunteers are needed.
- Bruce Macdonald reported on the first formal meeting of the Mount Pleasant Heritage Group — the first in what we hope will eventually be a city-wide collections of groups. A local brewery has agreed to sponsor space for their meetings.
- Penny reported on our finances, which are in good shape.
- It was noted that Jak King and Bruce will be making a history/heritage presentation at the COPE meeting on Sunday 24th November.
- Michael Kluckner is curating a series of historic Vancouver films at the Van City Cinema on Sunday 24th.
- Michael is also curating a series of Vancouver panorama photographs at the Space Centre on December 4th at 7pm.
- Finally, Carolyn Lair introduced us to the ASPECT program that mentors organizations on fundraising, and organizational strengths.
Another very full and worthwhile evening.