History · Pacific Northwest · Vancouver

All That Hanging About…

…a cobblestone courtyard, where apparently, a hangman’s scaffold once stood. In full view of gathering public, the noose was pulled tight many times over, taking over 40 people to the grave. One of the more popular Gastown myths wrapped around Blood Alley Square is the so-called Court House and a gallows that supposedly dispatched large… Continue reading All That Hanging About…

History · Pacific Northwest · Transportation · Vancouver

From Point Grey to a Train Robbery

Researching houses is always interesting. There is the architecture, or lack of it, the builders and the context that prompted a development or subdivision and there are the lives of those that once inhabited a house, sometimes ordinary, a few times interesting and occasionally linked to intriguing events. Soon after the 4th Avenue streetcar line… Continue reading From Point Grey to a Train Robbery

History · Pacific Northwest · Vancouver

A Disappearance…

Research into houses is always interesting. Sometimes it’s the unexpected life or deeds of an owner or tenant that sheds a bit of light on an obscure aspect of Vancouver history. Or in the case of Marshall Smith a mystery. The house at 1685 Nelson (pictured above in the Vancouver Archives photo, to the right… Continue reading A Disappearance…

History · Pacific Northwest · Vancouver

A Lion’s Backend…

Lions have been the guardians of choice for numerous courthouses, public buildings and monuments around the world. The most famous of these, in the Commonwealth at least, might be the ones that sit at the base of Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square. In Vancouver, the Georgia Street side of the Vancouver Art Gallery (the former… Continue reading A Lion’s Backend…

Elsewhere · History · Pacific Northwest

Squirrels Were Once Desired…

Squirrels are everywhere in the city and it seems they have been with us forever. While it’s hard to believe now, squirrels were not a common sight in early 19th Century cities, in fact they were considered somewhat exotic and desirable. My curiosity was peaked when I found references to the mayor of New York… Continue reading Squirrels Were Once Desired…

BC Mills · History · Pacific Northwest · Vancouver

On the Junk Pile…

In researching the construction chronology of the Hastings Mill Store, both original and post move, I’ve been reading numerous newspaper articles, all celebratory, about the saving of the building and its move by barge from Burrard Inlet to its current site at the foot of Alma Street. Once installed on its new foundation the building… Continue reading On the Junk Pile…

History · Pacific Northwest · urban design · Vancouver

The First Chinook Street Name

At their November 29, 2016 meeting City Council approved the recommendations of the Civic Assets Naming Committee to name a new road in the redevelopment of the Arbutus Shopping Centre as Lahb Avenue. Lahb is Chinook for the Arbutus tree. This is the first Chinook word used for a street in Vancouver. This approval continues the… Continue reading The First Chinook Street Name

History · Pacific Northwest · urban design · Vancouver

It’s Quite Simple: Dump Trump

The Holborn Group’s refusal to excise the Trump name from their Georgia Street project is an insult to all residents of Vancouver. Regardless of whether it is private property, that there are contracts or operating agreements in place, Holborn is morally and ethically wrong to continue to promote the name of someone who is openly… Continue reading It’s Quite Simple: Dump Trump

Pacific Northwest · urban design · Vancouver

A Very Vancouver Building

The conceptual design for the Vancouver Art Gallery was unveiled yesterday. It’s a perfect Vancouver building. There’s no extraneous swirls or doodads ala Gehry, just a thoughtful response to the program and site. There are echoes of the architecture of coastal First Nations, the Pacific Rim (it’s almost pagoda like in some aspects) and the… Continue reading A Very Vancouver Building