A friend sent me the link to the Blizzy63 Photostream, which is a feast of old postcards from around the province. I was interested to see images of St. Francis of Assisi monastery and church at Semlin and Napier, in the distinctive hand-tinted photographic format with cursive lettering of photographer Frank Gowen. I’d believed that he was out of business by about 1931, having sold to Coast Publishing which had a very different style; however, these cards cannot be earlier than 1938, when the church was built.
There was a heavy rainstorm and a wintry wind last night, but still the came out for the latest of our regular monthly meetings. As always, the meeting was full of erudite and fun stuff: We discussed:
- The student program, working with UBG Geog. It didn’t work very well for us this year. In fact, it is reasonable to say that we got nothing out of it at all — not even a look at the final paper so far. The student met with us once and then declined to meet with us again. It should be no surprise then that Michael, who attended the class project presentations, said her paper veered off track from what we had hoped. It was agreed that we review the situation again next year if the offer comes up.
- On a more positive student note, Jak mentioned that SFU’s John Ngyuen‘s piece on Commercial Drive and the Community Plan should be available late this week. In the meanwhile, his class project on youth estrangement from politics is now available.
- We then discussed the fact that Commercial Drive as a whole was put on Heritage Vancouver’s Top 10 Endangered List this year. Several of us disagree that the development pressures that may be leaning on the Drive today are anything to do with heritage. The debate drifted into the current situation in Shaughnessy One and Dunbar.
- It was noted that the owners of several heritage properties on the north side of the 1800-block Venables have received letters from a developer seeking to assemble lots there.
- Michael then took us through the situation with our plaque on the Shelly’s Wall. It is deteriorating quite quickly, fading.
- This led us to the 2014 Centenary Celebration House Signs project. We have 39 houses on the shortlist and 24 signs. We will launch again in June with a cake-in-the-park party.
- Penny and Bruce will be talking to the Mount Pleasant Heritage Group about setting up a centenary signs project of their own.
- Which brought us to the main event of the night. Eric’s latest episode of this Heritage Mechanicals and Materials. This one was on glass. He entertainingly took us through the history of glass making and its use in houses. He had illustrations on slides and brought along a fine collection of artifacts for us to see and handle. Another excellent episode.
- We finished the evening by talking about and sampling the ware’s of Bomber, the only brewer in the main part of Grandview. A fine end to a fine evening!
As many of you will know, we meet on the third Thursday of each month, at 7:00pm in the Britannia Board Room in the Info Centre (Commercial & Napier) and the next meeting is rapidly approaching — this Thursday.
The highlight of the evening will be Eric Philip’s illustrated talk on Glass in his remarkable Heritage Mechanicals and Materials series. Those who were there won’t soon forget last month’s teaser! Come along and see the real thing.
We will also discuss this year’s experience working with a university student, and compare it to the previous year’s experience, in order to answer the question: Should we keep doing this?
Other topics will include Heritage Vancouver’s Top 10 Endangered listing for Commercial Drive, a replacement for the Shelly plaque, and the schedule for the 2014 Centenary Celebration house signs project. And, of course, any other relevant topic that springs to mind..
Hope to see you there on Thursday
The Daily World was perhaps the most important newspaper in Vancouver in the first decade or more of the twentieth century. At one point it claimed to carry more advertising inches than any other newspaper on the continent! When the paper was owned by Louis D. Taylor (our most-often elected Mayor) the profits were large enough for Taylor to commision the World Tower (now the Sun Tower) which was briefly the tallest building in the British Empire.
Access to The World is a vital resource in the arsenal of historians of early Vancouver. The Special Collections Unit of the Vancouver Public Library has them all on microfilm, but now they have been made available from 1888 to 1924 online through Newspapers.com. The site also has most of the run of the Vancouver Evening Sun. This is a subscription service, but worth every penny for those who enjoy delving into our past.