Missing Block in 1921 Census

I have been doing more work on the 1921 Census for Grandview and have discovered that the north side of the 2000-block Venables Street was missed by the enumerator.

The south side of the block (house numbers: 2012, 2030, 2036, 2052, 2056, 2062 and 2076) is captured on pages 4, 5 and 6 of district 22, sub-district 74 of the Census.  But after several hours of looking, I can find no trace of the north side on any page in that sub-district or its surrounding neighbours.

To double check, I did name searches in the Census for the residents listed in the City Directory for that year and again came up blank.

Given that the Census in those years was reliant entirely on fallible human surveyors, I wonder how many blocks or partial blocks were missed across the country?


Our June 19th meeting

About 20 people showed up at the boardroom at Britannia Community Centre for the monthly GHG meeting.

the launch party for the 2014 Centenary Signs, with cake and refreshments, will be at 11 am Saturday June 28th at Mosaic Park at the corner of Charles and McLean in the heart of the “west of The Drive” area we’ve highlighted with this year’s set of houses. There will be an email reminder to everyone and we hope that the occupants of the houses who have agreed to host the signs this year can come along.

• Michael described the recent policy changes the city has instituted as part of its Heritage Action Plan: a one-year moratorium on demolitions of pre-1940 houses in First Shaughnessy; a new, interim checklist to determine pre-1940 “character houses” that the city is using while it formalizes an inventory of them; suggestions by city staff for carrots and sticks that would encourage house owners to retain character houses rather than demolish them; and, the implications of the city’s deconstruction and recycling policies that will force demolishers of character houses to divert 90% of the material from the landfill into salvage and re-use. There was a lot of discussion and questions. The policies, although city-wide, are specifically targeted to try to reduce the numbers of demolitions on the big lots of west-side neighbourhoods like Point Grey and Kerrisdale, where there is a considerable business opportunity (i.e. the ability to construct a much larger house) compared with that available on the standard 33 x 120 foot lots of Grandview and other east-side communities; the implications for communities like Grandview will, hopefully, be an increased awareness of the value of the smaller 1920s-1930s houses and more flexible city regulations to encourage their retention.

• There was a brief report on the plan, in abeyance for several months, to create permanent plaques for Grandview heritage houses and offer them to the 74 owners/occupants of the Centenary houses from 2012, 2013 and this year. More effort will go into finalizing research on the houses for the wiki and sourcing a plaque that will be durable (more so, at least, than the one installed at the Shelly’s sign at Victoria and William, which has faded badly after a year).

• Penny showed slides and offered hilarious commentary on her recent trip to Kansas’s depopulated towns of fine old buildings standing vacant under The Big Sky. And Eric, self-described “Amateur House Mechanic,” gave a brief presentation on the stone walls and foundations of vintage Grandview, including demonstrating how to split granite blocks with hand tools, part of his fascinating series of talks on the inner workings of early Vancouver houses.

The next meeting will be at 7 pm on Thursday, July 17th (the third Thursday of the month, right?) in the boardroom at Britannia Community Centre.

Mount Pleasant Heritage Group

black houseThis fascinating structure is what is known as the Black House, on E. 6th by Main.  Bruce Macdonald has been researching this property and is sure it is from 1889 and is perhaps the oldest building extant in Vancouver outside of the old downtown core.  It is in solid shape and is currently occupied by six artists as a living/display space.

The reason I have used this image is that last night, five members of the Grandview Heritage Group joined the Mount Pleasant Heritage Group for their regular meeting which took place in this house.

The Mount Pleasant folks are pulling their organization together in a fine way. Last night’s meeting was to introduce the candidates for their Treasured Properties sign campaign (similar to our Centenary Houses Signs Project).  While Mount Pleasant has a number of well-known Victorian and Edwardian buildings, the MPHG has deliberately chosen a much wider assortment of buildings to celebrate, including houses, apartment blocks, and stores.  It was a very cool list and we look forward to the group finalizing the plans for celebrating them.

On behalf of GHG, I’d like to thank the hosts for their interesting presentation, their kind hospitality with beer and snacks and, last but not least, a grand tour of this wonderful old building.

Next Meeting: 19th June 2014

Another month, another meeting!   The Grandview Heritage Group will have its monthly meeting this coming Thursday evening at 7:00 pm at Britannia Boardroom (which will no doubt be drier than our booth yesterday!)

As usual, the agenda is open to anything we want to discuss, but include a demonstration of granite splitting by Eric, some excellent images from Penny, a brief discussion about Vancouver City Council’s latest heritage pronouncements from Michael, and final arrangements about our House Celebration party scheduled for June 28th.

Come along and join the conversation!

GHG At Car Free Day 2014

20140615 Car Free Day for GHGHere are Maria and Eric manning our booth just as the torrential downpour began to ease off.  Thank goodness for sunshine later!

We had a wonderful time on the Drive yesterday, meeting folks and having a number of fascinating conversations about heritage houses and local history.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by, and to all the volunteers who help with the booth!

Census Finding Aid 1921

Some while ago, I produced a Census Finding Aid for the 1911 Canada Census.  Now that the 1921 Census data is available, I have made the same kind of aid for that series.  The purpose here is to allow researchers looking for specific addresses or specific streetscapes to find the data they require more easily than is presently available.  I hope you find it of value.

1921 Census Aid copyI have tried multiple times to get the formatting correct, without complete success.  Therefore, I have uploaded the properly-formatted pdf for easier use.

The 2014 set of Centenary Signs houses


For the third year in a row, we have celebrated two-dozen Grandview houses that are at least 100 years old.

This year’s set focuses on groups of historic houses and includes, for the first time, a number of houses west of Commercial Drive – a sometimes overlooked historic area that has been infilled with quite a number of apartment buildings. It also features an apartment building for the first time: the one at Salsbury and Parker, built in 1911 when about 52% of Vancouverites were tenants – a proportion, incidentally, that is the same today.

We will be celebrating in our usual way this set of houses on the morning of Saturday, June 28th: mark your calendars and check back here to confirm time and location.

Open the map with this link.