Stop The Demolitions

Here is the text of an email we received today about a cause close to our hearts — the preservation of heritage homes.

Stop the Demolitions: A Gathering to Save Our Character and Heritage Homes

When: Sunday May 25, 3 pm

 Where: The Legg Residence, 1241 Harwood Street

Bring your messages, pictures and mementoes of a vanishing Vancouver to attach to the orange fences.

Why: The Legg Residence is a grand Arts and Crafts mansion built in 1899 when the West End was one of Vancouver’s most desirable neighbourhoods, but this 115 year-old A-list heritage home will soon be demolished. It will be replaced by a 17-storey condo.  Last year more than a thousand demolition permits were issued in Vancouver, many for pre-1940s houses built with a high level of craftsmanship and quality materials.  As well as sending more than 50 tonnes of waste to the landfill, each demolition takes with it the history, character and narratives of our established neighbourhoods.

Please join us in honouring the Legg Residence and all the homes we have lost.  Let’s demand better protection of the heritage buildings that remain.

Heritage buildings reveal Vancouver’s history and are essential to our city’s sense of place.

Say NO to wasteful demolitions.  Say YES to preservation of our built heritage.

Stop by if you can on Sunday and show them support!

Chilliwack Archives

I spent the day in Chilliwack, at their archives.  It was my first visit, both to the city and to the institution. It was a partly cloudy and a partly sunny day, great both for the highway and for walking around. It was neat to be out of the big city, I have to say.

The Chilliwack Archives are part of a small complex of government offices with excellent parking.  They are open 8:30am to 4:30pm.  They have one reading/reception room and, I would assume, a limited area of archival storage.  There are a couple of large scale maps of the district on the walls which are useful orientation for a newby to the area like me.

Shannon Bettles is a magnificently helpful and cheerful Archivist, even though she keeps the room a little cooler than I was comfortable with (City-soft I guess).  They have a well-stocked bookshelf, all the Directories you would expect, large books of early tax records, and I am sure a good collection of materials and artifacts.

For me today, what they have in particular is a digitized version of the “Chilliwack Progress” newspaper. They have it stored as individual pdfs for each weekly edition from the nineteenth-century on. This means you can do full word searches on a range of dates through a simple screen they provide.  I did a simple search for my subject and found scores and scores of hits in just the first fourteen years (1910-1924) that I searched.

This is how local newspapers need to be stored for research.  Easy to use, simple, and comprehensive results.  PDF searches do what’s required — no need to re-invent the wheel.  Well done, Chilliwack!

The squeeze on local government funds is unhappily apparent here. I had planned to go back tomorrow to finish but they are closed tomorrow due, I understand, to staff shortages or some such. If you happen to be passing through Chilliwack some time, take a half hour to look into the Archives and browse.  It’s good to make sure they and their bosses know they are appreciated.

Meeting Notes: May 2014

We had another interesting meeting last night, with even more newcomers filling out the room.  It was great to see them.

After introductions, Penny reported on the response to the 2014 Centenary Houses project.  She and Maria delivered 35 letters of proposal about two weeks ago, and we have already heard back positively from about 13 or 14.

Jak then gave an illustrated lecture on James Guinet and his contribution to the development of Grandview, 1907-1912.

Eric mentioned the avalability of a BC Mills House for study in Burnaby. He also mentiond the history of the Terminal Iron Works, an original Grandview foundry that oprated at the beginning of the twentieth-century.

Thanks to everone who came along!

Our Next Meeting

Boy, the time just flies by and here we are almost at our next monthly meeting already!

We will meet in the Britannia Boardroom at 7:00pm on Thursday 15th May and the agenda will include an illustrated talk on local builder James Guinet, more details of our 2014 Centenary House celebration, and much more.

Please join us for a fascinating evening of local history, heritage, and gossip!

Birthday #3 !!!

Today is the third anniversary of the first ever meeting of the Grandview Heritage Group, sitting around Penny’s table wondering what we might do with ourselves now that we were working together.

Looking back, I don’t think we have anything to worry about; what we have achieved in three short years has been magnificent. The amount of history we have unearthed, the number of houses we have cherished, the collegial atmosphere of the monthly meetings, the encouragement of a new Heritage Group in Mount Pleasant, the sheer fun of it all. And the City even gave us an award last year!

Thanks to everyone who has contributed — and that means everyone who has attended a meeting or one of our history walks or lectures and workshops, everyone who has visited and read from this site, and everyone who now thinks better of our neighbourhood and what makes us who we are.

Our next meeting is May 15th. Come join us as we celebrate some more!