Lost Urban Objects 2


By 1910, Vancouver had three public restrooms available to those in need (earlier facilities were pretty basic public urinals for men) and while an editorial in the Vancouver World lauded the city for its progress and development, it complained that it lacked the necessary number of public conveniences for a city growing at such “an unparalleled pace.”

It took awhile and many proposals, but by the 1920s the city had a number of locations under consideration for additional comfort stations. However, as soon as the locations were announced protests began. Former mayor L.D. Taylor issued a writ to protest the construction of the Georgia and Howe station, and was joined by complaints from the Law Society and the provincial and federal ministers of public works. The provincial government even threatened legal action to prevent the construction. Their gripe was that a public loo was inappropriate so near an important public building such as a court house.

Protests and complaints also delayed construction on the Hamilton and Hastings location and the federal government once again got involved protesting the proposed post office location. Even the library board and the automobile association felt the need to weigh in on the issue.

Eventually, Council decided to push forward with the Georgia and Howe, Hamilton and Hastings, and Main and Hastings locations, dropping three other contentious locations. Arthur Julius Bird, the city’s building inspector and an architect, got the job of designing the loos. Their above ground presence was confined to elaborate cast iron railings.

The Georgia and Howe location was demolished in the 1960s, while the remaining two were renovated. Main and Hastings was redesigned above ground with a striking modern concrete canopy that soared over the entrances, providing an interesting counterpoint to the rusticated stone facade of the 1903 Carnegie Library.

Sadly, this was demolished in the early 2000s as part of a redo of the space around the Carnegie Centre and replaced with railings and gates that sort of recall the restroom’s original form.

Above: Main and Hastings in the 1980s

Jewish Book Festival Coming Up!

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 10.45.49 PM
Jewish Book Festival is one of Vancouver’s leading cultural and literary events, attracting a large and varied audience of over 5,000 people of all ages. This highly popular community-wide event brings together prominent and emerging Jewish writers and non-Jewish writers with Jewish interest subject matter in literature, the arts, philosophy, theology, history and current events during this week-long literary experience.

Tickets here

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 10.48.12 PM

A New “Through the Lens” at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

From Heather Gordon and the Authenticity Blog:

John Atkin and Michael Kluckner have curated two new “Through the Lens” shows for the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre’s digital Planetarium Star Theatre. Using historic photographs from the early 20th century paired with contemporary shots of the same locations, these “indoor” digital walking tours allow you to experience the changes that have occurred in our city over the past 100 years.

The Canadian Fishing Co. Ltd. and New England Fish Co. building on the Gore Avenue Wharf, 1920. Reference Code: AM54-S4-3-: PAN N163

The historic images come primarily from the Archives’ W. J. Moore panorama negatives, which we’ve featured here before. Remarkably, the Space Centre uses the same high-resolution JPG images that you can download from our online search and projects them to fill the dome of the Star Theatre. They are matched with stunning modern panoramas and other audiovisual elements to produce two unique shows. This year, there will also be some historic aerial views which, on the planetarium dome, promise to provide a unique, if dizzying, perspective on the city.

Aerial view of Kitsilano Beach and Park, 1945 Reference code AM54-S4-: Air P28

Last year, Through the Lens: Building Vancouver’s History, was so popular it sold out and was repeated earlier this year. Don’t miss your chance to see this year’s shows!

7:00pm Wednesday, November 13 (Michael Kluckner)
7:00pm Wednesday, November 20 (John Atkin)

Tickets available at the door

– See more at: http://www.vancouverarchives.ca/2014/11/06/a-new-through-the-lens-at-the-h-r-macmillan-space-centre/#sthash.IXl1vjuZ.dpuf

Vaudeville’s Great White Way: Hastings Street!

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 10.37.22 AM
Yes, it all happened on Hastings Street! It was a world of dreams and escape, thrills and wonders beyond belief, every day and night right there on Hastings. Once home to a legion of theatres that hosted the likes of the Marx Brothers, Welda and Serano, Wallace the Untameable Lion, and a host of others.

Tom Carter and I have a great lecture planned for this evening.

November 4th at 7:30pm | Hycroft 1489 McRae Ave | 12 bucks!  Book here.