Imperial Roller Skating Rink and the other missing structures of Beach Avenue

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More than 100 years before the laughing statues appeared at English Bay, the Imperial Roller Skating Rink opened in Morton Park at Denman and Davie Streets. Roller skating was experiencing a surge in popularity and the rink was housed in a big wood framed building with a huge tower that looked out over Beach Avenue and boasted the “largest skating floor on the continent.”

In 1912 for instance, you could go skating at the Roller Rink and wander across the road, past the Englesea Lodge and out along the English Bay Pier.

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The House that Chip Built

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It’s the first week of January and if you own a house you’ve received your BC Assessment notice. If you’re like us you’re not popping open the champagne quite yet because your house has smashed through the ceiling of the home owner grant and you’re on the hook for a lot more taxes, all without putting out one lick of paint.

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Top 10 Facebook Group Pages for 2016

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For my last post of the year, I’ve chosen the top 10 Facebook group pages. This list is highly subjective and based on a loose criteria—they have to deal with some aspect of the history of Greater Vancouver or Victoria, and you have to be able to see the posts without having to join (I’m intrigued by East Vancouver Selfies and Lululemon Barter Wars, but fear either rejection or disappointment).

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The Grinch who Stole Lynn Valley

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Confused by the new parking restrictions and hostile signage at Lynn Valley? Creeped out by the guy in blue that follows you around the parking lot? Not sure where LV shopping Centre starts and where LV Village takes over? Wondering why they can’t just enforce a one or two-hour parking limit and let customers park where they want?

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The Wigwam Inn at Indian Arm

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One day, someone is going to invite me for a sail up Indian Arm in their luxury yacht so I can get a look at the Wigwam Inn. It seems crazy to me that it’s still fairly inaccessible (unless you own a boat), yet in 1910 there were four different sternwheelers taking guests up and down the Arm from Vancouver—the year the Wigwam Inn opened.

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Our Missing Heritage: The Orillia

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The Orillia at Robson and Seymour Streets was a distant memory by the time I moved to Vancouver, but from time to time I’ve seen a mention or photo of this early mixed-use structure. I thought of it again when I saw the photo (above) boarded up, covered in music handbills, graffiti, and destined for destruction.

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Jim Munro (1929-2016)

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I was so sad to hear of Jim Munro’s death last Monday. Jim was a huge promoter and lover of books, heritage buildings, art and authors, including of course, his first wife the Nobel prize winner Alice Munro.

He was also a lovely man. I had the pleasure of meeting Jim a few years back when I was researching Sensational Victoria.

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Vancouver in 2050

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Fans of Michael Kluckner’s history books—Vanishing Vancouver, Vancouver the Way it Was, and several others of his beautifully illustrated history books, might find his latest release a big departure. 2050, A Post-apocalyptic Murder Mystery is a graphic novel, a fictional account of a Vancouver that has been ravished by disease, climate change and a benevolent dictator who keeps the population poor to reduce their carbon footprint and ultimately save the planet.

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