Notes from the January Meeting

On Thursday evening we had a grand turnout for our monthly meeting.  It was, I believe, the largest gathering of its kind that we’ve had.  There were lively discussions about a wide range of topics.

  • We began by discussing the Heritage Workshop put on by the Community Planners that many of us had attended during the previous week. It was generally agreed that some useful debates took place there, and the availability of the City’s heritage planners was valuable — hopefully they listened to what was being said.  However, we noted that they seemed to be trying to steer us in certain directions (picking individual sites of value rather than recognising the holistic nature of the neighbourhood, for example).  The general consensus was that the summaries given at the end of the event did not include several of the major points mentioned at the tables.  We look forward with great interest to see how accurately this workshop will be reported out.  It was further noted that heritage plays an important role in the future workshops on Housing and Transportation.
  • Further to the Workshop, it was noted that the Planners’ survey seemed to indicate that the “value” of heritage was not high on respondents’ concerns.  It was agreed that the question was skewed and thus the result is meaningless.  Further, the value of Grandview’s heritage to the rest of Vancouver has so far been ignored in the process.
  • The role that GHG could take in the expansion of the Heritage Register was discussed.  It was noted that the recent “Waldorf crisis” seems to have awakened City Council to a possible expansion of the Register.  GHG could take a role in identifying properties not yet on the Register, and could assist City staff by our contacts with relevant owners.
  • The creation of a Visioning Report by the Commercial Drive BIA was noted.  We will try to get hold of a copy for study and comment.
  • Eric Philips presented a fascinating slide show on the use of concrete blocks in Grandview’s early days.  He also circulated a catalog of early 20th century block-making machines. At a later date Eric will give a further presentation on the local use of concrete foundations.
  • We discussed the wrap up to the 2012 Centenary House project.  Penny has drafted a letter to the 2012 recipients which mentions that she and others will be collecting the signs soon and cleaning them up ready for this year’s project.  At the November meeting we agreed to look into the creation of a more permanent sign that could be offered to participants.  Lance has begun this exploration and he is currently looking at printing moulds on a 3-D printer and casting them in pewter.  It was agreed that our permanent signs should look different than the City’s Heritage plaques.
  • We then moved on to the 2013 House Signs project.  We had a list of about 150 houses we believed were constructed in 1913; however on further research many of these turn out to be earlier or later.  Given this, and the future problem of finding any houses for 1914 through 1916, we agreed to explore a change to our signs that would indicate the houses are over 100 years old rather than a specific age.  A date for a walking review tour of the 30+ possibles on our list was agreed.
  • The City’s 2013 Heritage Awards programme was discussed and we hope to be nominated both for the House Signs project and advocacy/education through the website and walking tours.  Deadline for nominations is January 28th.
  • Planning for the House History Workshop on March 23rd was moved ahead. Penny will present the workshop at the Eastside Family Place at 3pm.  Further details will be posted in the next few weeks.
  • Ann noted that there is a Community Small Grants program for Hastings North ( an area that covers Victoria Drive to Boundary, docks to First Avenue.)  It was suggested that we could apply for a grant to refurbish the heritage advertising sign on the side of the Via Tevere Pizza building on Victoria.  Various options regarding the future of the sign were discussed.  Ann will look into the grant possibility.
  • Michael noted that the Vancouver Heritage Foundation is seeking new locations for its Open House tour in early June.  A number of suggestions were made which Michael will forward to VHF.

It was another busy and productive meeting.

January Meeting This Thursday

Just a reminder that our monthly meeting is this Thursday at 7pm at the Britannia Board Room in the Info Centre on Napier Street.  It should be a busy meeting with a number of interesting items to consider, including:

  • A review of the Community Plan Heritage & Character Workshop of last week;;
  • GHG’s role in expanding the Heritage Register in Grandview;
  • A look at the community’s view of “heritage value” as indicated by the Community Plan surveys;
  • The notion of a Neighbourhood Heritage Design panel;
  • the Commercial Drive BIA’s design guidelines for the Drive;
  • Heritage Awards (deadline Jan 28);
  • The 2013 Centenary House sign campaign;
  • The use of concrete;
  • The House History event in March;
  • Anything else that crops up.

So, lots to talk about!  Do come and join us for a lively informal discussion about heritage and history and the future of our neighbourhood.

Community Plan’s Heritage Workshop

On Thursday we had the Heritage & Neighbourhood Character Workshop organized as part of the Grandview Community Plan process.  It was a lively and sold-out affair.

We had organized to push for three main points: recognition of the entirely of Grandview as a neighbourhood of heritage (rather than certain areas), retention of current zoning patterns, and enforcement of design guidelines with community oversight.  I believe we were successful in getting those points across to the heritage planners in the room.  We just need to see how it gets reported out.

I have written elsewhere about my general satisfaction with the meeting. Does anyone else have thoughts on how it went down?


More Building Permits

I haven’t been writing blog posts regularly over the last few weeks because I am swimming in an ocean of historical data that I am trying to collate for a project.  Part of this data is coming from the extraordinarily important work that Heritage Vancouver is putting in to transcribe all the old Vancouver building permits and make them available on-line.

Patrick and his colleagues are to be congratulated for their far-more-than-useful efforts in making these landmark documents easily accessible to all researchers. This work continues, of course, and I understand that they have just this week released a further 400+ permits dated 1916.

Great stuff. Congratulations all around!



Let Us Make This Grandview Heritage Month

This could be a very important month for Grandview’s heritage.  As previously noted, the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan workshop on Heritage takes place on Thursday 17th January. This could be the only time we can discuss heritage on its own as part of the Plan process. If you have not yet registered, we strongly urge that you do so.

As a lead up to this Workshop, I will be making a short illustrated presentation to the GWAC meeting on Monday evening on “Heritage At Risk” which will concentrate on the fact that 51% of our current housing stock was built before 1930 — thus one of our slogans:  Grandview is heritage.

GWAC meetings are open to all residents of Grandview and take place at The Learning Resource Centre under the Britannia Library (if you get lost, ask at the Britannia Info Centre on Napier).  They start at 7:00pm and again we urge all local folks to attend and help steer our neighbourhood’s future.

Update: There was an excellent turnout at the GWAC meeting, with a lively and articulate crowd, many of whom are registered for next week’s Workshop.  I am ever more confident that we will get our points across.