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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Heritage Streeters with Bill Allman, Kristin Hardie and Pamela Post

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This is an ongoing series that asks people who love history and heritage to tell us their favourite existing building and the one that never should have been torn down.

Bill Allman is a “recovering lawyer” and instructor of Entertainment Law at UBC. Bill has been a theatre manager (the Vogue), president of Theatre Under the Stars, and a concert promoter through his company, Famous Artists Limited.

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A Short History of the Canada Post Office Building on Georgia Street

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Seriously, is this the best that our architectural minds can conjure up? Take a beautiful mid-century building on a prime downtown Vancouver location and use it as a “podium” for three glass towers and call it The Post? After reading John Mackie’s story in the Vancouver Sun today, I was inspired to pull together a short history of the Canada Post Office.

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The 100-year-old Unsolved Murder of Special Constable Charles Painter

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Last year, Constable Graham Walker of the Metro Vancouver Transit Police was asked to research the history for their 10-year anniversary. Graham promptly fell down the rabbit hole and his journey has taken him to UBC Special Collections, City of Vancouver Archives, BC Hydro Archives, and the Vancouver Police Museum. Graham’s first surprise was that the history of transit police goes back far longer than 2005 when a recommendation by the BC Association of Chiefs of Police led to the creation of the Transit Police. 

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Women’s History Month: Remembering Kiyoko Tanaka-Goto

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Kiyoko Tanaka-Goto may not be the first person who springs to mind for women’s history month, but she was brave and entrepreneurial and succeeded at a time when there were few opportunities for women, especially ones who weren’t white. This is an excerpt from Sensational Vancouver.

Kiyoko Tanaka-Goto was an enterprising Japanese woman who was born in Tokyo and came to Canada in 1916 as a 19-year-old picture bride.

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