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

Chinatown · History · Vancouver

Chinatown, Gambling Raids and a Lawyer…

When working on research into Chinatown buildings, it’s common to come across newspaper reports of police raids on the area’s ‘gambling dens.’ Reporters highlighted the number of men arrested and in some cases, the haul of money confiscated. It was interesting to following up on these raids and note that cases brought forward for prosecution… Continue reading Chinatown, Gambling Raids and a Lawyer…

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…

History · urban design · Vancouver

Odd Little Bits of Ground…

The recent listing for sale of a nine foot wide piece of property in the Grandview neighbourhood drew lots of interest and I was interested in finding out why this odd bit of property existed. Pulling out the maps you can see District Lot 264A, which the Grandview neighbourhood sits in, being carved up into… Continue reading Odd Little Bits of Ground…

History · urban design · Vancouver

Lightning in the Neighbourhood…

In recent research on a house on Tyne Street in Vancouver, I came across this this fascinating and terrifying account of a thunderstorm in August 1919 in the Daily World. The thunderstorm on Thursday night resulted in three houses being struck by lightning. The home of Mrs. Dunlop, Tyne street and Fifty-third avenue, was one.… Continue reading Lightning in the Neighbourhood…

Chinatown · History · urban design · Vancouver

H-frame Power Poles: A cultural asset for Chinatown?

Yes of course, maybe… H-frame power poles have graced most downtown Vancouver lanes for over 80 years but with modernization of the electrical system BC Hydro has been busy putting the power lines underground and the H-frames have largely disappeared from the downtown core. A few lanes in the Downtown Eastside, Gastown and Chinatown still retain… Continue reading H-frame Power Poles: A cultural asset for Chinatown?

History · stanley park · Transportation · Vancouver

There be Dragons…

In the stuff that lies around on my desk, I have a photo of the figurehead of the Empress of Japan taken in 1928 just after it was installed in Stanley Park. As the ship was being broken up near the Second Narrows bridge on the North Shore, Vancouver Province publisher Frank J. Burd had… Continue reading There be Dragons…