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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West Vancouver’s Ambleside: Then and Now

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If you live on the North Shore, chances are that you spend at least some of your summer at Ambleside. Did you know that you are sitting on reclaimed land? Prior to 1965, much of this land was a swamp.

In 1914, Ambleside was subdivided into 17 lots and filled with makeshift homes and a few businesses.

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The East Cordova Street Murder Factory

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When I was going through John Vance’s personal files for Blood, Sweat, and Fear, a small article torn from the pages of the long defunct Vancouver Star caught my eye. Vance’s handwriting dated it October 23, 1931 and it mentioned the murder of Naokichi Watanabe. Vance had clearly kept the clipping because he had testified that blood found on the suspect’s clothing was human.

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What was there before? The Courthouse

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The Vancouver Courthouse, bordered by Georgia, Hornby, Howe and Robson, was designed by celebrity architect Francis Rattenbury in 1907 and completed in 1911. Since 1983, it has been home to the Vancouver Art Gallery. Pamela Post wanted to know what sat on the site before. What she found was nothing and everything.

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The Chinese Labour Corps: One of BC’s Best Kept Secrets

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Robert Ashton kindly sent me this photo of hundreds of Chinese men standing on a hill with rows and rows of white army bell tents in the background.

He also found a 1920 copy of Pacific Marine Review with this story.

“During the last five months, almost 50,000 Chinese coolies have passed through the port of Vancouver on their way from work in the European war zone back to their homes in China.

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