Victory Square: what was there before?

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Before Victory Square was Victory Square and home to the Cenotaph, it was a happening part of the city known as Government Square, because it was the site of the first provincial courthouse.

The impressive domed building was operational by 1890 and was the first major building outside of Gastown. It was quickly apparent that it was too small for our growing city, and within a few years had a large addition with a grand staircase and portico facing Hastings Street.

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The PNE: Party Like it’s 1957

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The last time I went to the Pacific National Exhibition was about a decade ago when my kids were still small. I’m guessing it hasn’t changed all that much. But I bet 60 years ago it was a whole different story.

Take the prize home for instance. This year’s house is valued at $1.6 million.

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The Buntzen Power Stations on Indian Arm

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A couple of weeks ago, I took a boat ride up Indian Arm with Belcarra Mayor Ralph Drew and the Deep Cove Heritage Society. It’s hard to imagine that over a century ago Indian Arm was thriving and serviced by sternwheelers, a floating post office and grocery store.

The highlight for me was finally seeing the Wigwam Inn, but almost as exciting were the two massive power stations that dominate the eastern shore at Buntzen Bay.

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Saving History: Twinning the Lions Gate Bridge

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The Lions Gate Bridge spans the first narrows in Burrard Inlet, connects Vancouver to the North Shore, and is one of the most iconic structures in the city. Built by the Guinness family to encourage development after they bought the side of a West Vancouver mountain, the suspension bridge was tolled from the time it opened in 1938 until 1963.

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Vancouver’s Buried Houses

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A few weeks ago, Michael Kluckner ran a painting of a Kitsilano house on his FB page. I googled the address and was astonished to find that the house was still there on busy 4th Avenue, buried behind an ice-cream parlour. Michael tells me that only a handful of these buried houses remain, and he kindly wrote this story illustrated by his paintings from 2010 and 2011 that appeared in Vanishing Vancouver: The Last 25 Years.

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The Navvy Jack House: Past, Present and Future

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Jane Williams kindly gave me a tour of her parent’s house at 1768 Argyle Avenue last week. Her father, Lloyd Williams died in April at the age of 96, and she was getting ready to hand the keys over to the District of West Vancouver. Lloyd and Jane’s mother Bette paid $50,000 for the house in 1971, before the seawall was installed and when the next-door John Lawson Park was still a field with a few scattered houses.

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