When the King & Queen of England Came To Grandview

In the late spring of 1939, as the political situation in Europe darkened and war with Germany became inevitable, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth toured Canada by train to meet their subjects and bolster the bonds of Empire  From small-town whistle stops on the Prairies to bustling cities coast to coast, eager crowds cheered, sang and lined up for hours, eager for a glimpse of royalty. Grandview was as excited as anywhere, especially when it became known that the royal procession would pass by First & Commercial as part of a city tour before the Royals moved on to Victoria.

Come the day — May 29th — there were flags and bunting on First Avenue from Woodland to Victoria, and on Commercial from Graveley to Second.  Local people had started arriving before noon, bringing boxes, chairs, stools and benches as spontaneous grandstands.  The Graveley Boys Band stood in front of the Commerce Bank, playing hard.  The streets and sidewalks around the First & Commercial intersection were jammed with spectators as the royal motorcade was spotted climbing the First Avenue hill.

Crowds waiting at Charles & Victoria: UBC Collection

At a few minutes past three in the afternoon, the royal car crossed the streetcar tracks traveling at about fifteen miles per hour.  The car went by so fast that most of the eager crowd caught just a brief look at the King and barely a glimpse of the Queen’s powder blue hat.

And that was that.

[Source: King 2010 “The Drive“, p.98-99; qv Vancouver Province and Vancouver Sun for 1939/5/28, 29, & 30th)]

Grandview Database v. 28

After a delay of some months due to technical issues, we have today uploaded a new and substantially updated version of the Grandview Database.  

This version incorporates more than 6,000 new and amended data points since the previous release

  • Grandview:  All Directory entries are now complete through 1918, entries from the 1921 Census are about 90% complete, and a generalised “Grandview” sweep through newspapers is complete through 1934;
  • Commercial Drive: Entries from the 1921 census are complete. Directory information for blocks 900-1300 is now complete through year 2000, for blocks 1400-2200 the Directory entries are now complete through 1924. A specific “Commercial Drive” newspaper sweep is complete through 1931, with significant additional material from 1936-1956.
  • New formatting has been adopted to help shape and define the information blocks.

Now that the 1921 census data entry has been completed, analysis of certain overall characteristics of Grandview in 1921 can begin to be ascertained — population densities, household sizes, the location, distribution and cost of residential rental space, for example.  The recent concentration on Commercial Drive allows for the beginnings of detailed analysis of retail and other sociological trends across decades. Over the next few months we hope to bring some of this work into the public forum.

We hope you find the Database of value, and we encourage and welcome corrections, and additions which should be sent to jakking@shaw.ca.

May GHG Meeting – Thursday, May 16th

Our next Grandview Heritage Group meeting is Thursday, May 16th.
We meet in the Britannia “Info Centre” Board Room at 7:00 p.m. and we’ll have our usual wide-ranging and open agenda, which this month will include:

  • Introductions
  • A mystery photo identified
  • Historical survey of Clark Park?
  • Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s planned Sept 28th Grandview tour update
  • Changes around the neighbourhood, including a demolition case study

Our agenda is flexible, and we are always happy to add items that you might want to discuss.
Everyone is welcome! Do come and join us!