History · Pacific Northwest · Vancouver

What’s in a Name?

Blood Alley Square an evocative name that conjures up brawls and murders, or slaughter houses and butchers, the hangman’s noose, and of course ghosts. Blood Alley Square was the name officially given to the recently created space in the 1970s, a part of the renovation and beautification of the newly minted heritage district of Gastown. In… Continue reading What’s in a Name?

History · Pacific Northwest · Transportation · Vancouver

Georgia Viaduct Overweight…

That was the headline in the August 18, 1965 edition of the Vancouver Sun and the report went on to say that the then 49 year bridge “full of humps and bumps, is slowly collapsing under its own weight, city engineer Ran Martin reported Tuesday. Martin told city council $100,000 in maintenance work could keep… Continue reading Georgia Viaduct Overweight…

Chinatown · History · Vancouver

Chinese Social Clubs, 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. Following up on these busts is interesting. After the initial publicity around the police action it was… Continue reading Chinese Social Clubs, Gambling Raids and a Lawyer…

History · Vancouver

The Winters Hotel, John McAfee and a Trunk…

The recent fire and demolition of the Winters Hotel at Water and Abbott Streets was a shock and is a loss for Gastown and the city. Designed in 1907 by W.T. Whiteway for Mrs Alice Winters, the hotel welcomed travellers and businessmen to Vancouver. For its day it was a good hotel with 120 rooms,… Continue reading The Winters Hotel, John McAfee and a Trunk…

Chinatown · History · Pacific Northwest · Vancouver · walking tours

Rubber Knives, Ketchup and the Persistence of Tourism Myths…

Years ago I had heard of a tour bus operator who arranged for a couple of guys in costume brandishing knifes that would run across Pender Street near Carrall on the edge of Chinatown as the bus came down the street so that the driver could announce “oh my a tong war!” to the apparent… Continue reading Rubber Knives, Ketchup and the Persistence of Tourism Myths…

History · South Vancouver · Vancouver

Treasure House Ransacked

It was a one paragraph item in the August 8, 1955 edition of the Vancouver Sun noting that a house formally owned by Ezak Nep at 878 SW Marine Drive had been wrecked by people looking for a supposed fortune hidden somewhere in the house. I made a note in my book of perpetual research… Continue reading Treasure House Ransacked

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 · urban design

Maxine Lane, the newest addition to the West End

In December, City Council will receive a report from the Civic Assets Naming Committee recommending that the lane between Harwood and Burnaby streets be named Maxine Lane to honour Maxine MacGilvray an enterprising Vancouver business women. Maxine’s name was chosen because of her strong connection to the West End with her beauty school and salon… Continue reading Maxine Lane, the newest addition to the West End

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