Next Event: Talk On December 8th

At 3pm on Saturday 8th December, the Grandview Heritage Group will sponsor an illustrated talk by Jak King on “The Birth of Our Community: Grandview 1890-1915.” It was this quarter-century that turned Commercial Drive and Grandview from a raw forest to one of Vancouver’s primary residential and shopping centres.

The talk will take place at the CFEC Room upstairs at Family Place at the south end of Britannia Community Centre facing Grandview Park (1655 William Street.)

Seats are limited and so we would welcome a note in advance to to let us know you will be coming.  We will be asking for a $10 donation to assist the work of the GHG.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Meeting Notes: October

Even the torrential rain couldn’t keep us away from the latest meeting of the Grandview Heritage Group last night!

We began by reviewing the latest news on rezoning following Council’s approval of the recommendations from the Mayor’s Task Force of Housing Affordability.  There was a spirited and articulate discussion that noted the economics of the recommendations are not yet clear.  However, a heritage-dense neighbourhood such as Grandview is at peculiar risk from the upzoned designations now allowed at certain distances from arterial roads and shopping areas.

Maurice Guibord gave us more details on what will be the first ever historical/heritage walk along the slope west of Commercial Drive.  The tour will go ahead rain or shine at 10:00am on Sunday morning.  Maurice promises us that it will finish at the Gelato place at Venables and Glen.

We also discussed dates for the November talk.  In the end (after the meeting) it was agreed Jak King will talk about the early history of Commercial Drive on the afternoon of Saturday 8th December in the Learning Centre at Britannia.

Finally, Jak displayed his now completed database of the building stock in Grandview (some 4,100 lots) and the maps and graphs associated with the database.  There was a long discussion about the uses to which the database can be put, and the additional data that can be added.   The following is an overall map showing the age of the building stock in Grandview: the darker the colour, the older the building.

The maps — which are searchable by decade and lot-by-lot — need some informative and analytical text to make their interpretation as valuable as possible.  Perhaps more immediately useful are graphs produced by an analysis of the database, such as this one:

… which shows that 50% of the current building stock in Grandview was constructed by the end of the 1920s.  Talk about heritage-dense!

Once again it was an excellent meeting with a lot of information and ideas shared.



Next Meeting: 18th October

Just a reminder that the next public meeting of the Grandview Heritage Group is this coming Thursday at 7:00pm.  As usual we will meet in the Board Room at Britannia on Napier Street.

There is no agenda, of course, but this week we will discuss, I am sure, Maurice Guibord’s walk on Sunday 21st, my lecture in November, heritage concerns regarding the ongoing Grandview Community Plan, and I will be displaying a new database of the entire housing stock of Grandview plus associated historical maps.  Doubtless other matters will arise as we chat.

Please join us on Thursday evening.

Kluckner and Kodachrome

What could be better — GHG’s own Michael Kluckner and beautiful Kodachrome photographs!

I’m sorry I didn’t post about this earlier, but tomorrow afternoon (Sunday) is the date — 2:00pm at Vancouver Archives — for Michael’s lecture on behalf of the Friends of the Archives.  Go to it — it will be raining anyway — and you’ll have a master storyteller talking about Vancouver’s commercial photographers.   Good stuff!

 Update:   This turned out to be a sold-out affair with a heap of good money raised for the Friends of the Archives.  Great presentation and good to see at least one of the featured photographers (Dan Propp) there to talk with us.

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!

York Theatre Sign

At our September meeting we discussed the wonderful “Little Theatre” sign that has emerged on the York Theatre’s south wall, and we agreed to write to the architects and developers in an attempt to preserve this important artifact of our cultural and community past.

We have now heard back from the architects and Don Luxton their heritage consultant.  Their letters said in part:

The appropriate due diligence was performed, with comprehensive input from envelope consultant, heritage consultant, structural consultant, and paint/coatings authority …  The consultations concluded that exposing the ghost signs and protecting them with an encapsulating coating is not feasible due to the too irregular and rough surface of the clay tile substrate and proper adhesion would not be achieved ,,,

[A] glass box option would also require the application of a UV resistant coating on the ghost signs, which may again lead to deterioration of the historic paint …

It was concluded that the signage could not be effectively available for visual display, but will continue to exist and will be protected and preserved accordingly … The design intent is to protect the ghost signs with an interlayer that separates the signs from the new stucco layer that will be appllied on top.  This conservation strategy will preserve the ghost signs behind the new facade render for future research and treatments when enhanced conservation technologies are available …

As an homage to the recommended concealed ‘ghost’ signage, the historic lettering was documented and is being replicated, to be incorporated as ‘ghost lettering’ in the renovation on the Commercial Drive facade roof screen.”

Not a bad result and we thank the architects and their principals for taking these steps to preserve the signs for the future.