Archive for the ‘Historical Buildings’ Category

Exploring Vancouver’s West End. Part 2 – Historical buildings of the West End.

Friday, April 11th, 2014

When exploring the West End pay attention to the buildings and architecture that is a mixture of young and old, Victorian among modern era which makes the West End one of the most unique districts that Vancouver has to offer. As you wander around the area you will find an interesting mix which makes the West End stand out very strikingly, it really sets up your imagination where you can wonder what this area actually looked like around the end of the turn of the century, it also coincides with the incorporation of the city of Vancouver (April 6, 1886 – looking good for 128).

HISTORICAL BUILDINGS AND COLOURFUL STREETS
We wholeheartedly encourage you to meander around the suburbs of the West End and more specifically we will guide you to some of the more notable buildings and streets to visit.

Bute Street
This is one of our most favorate streets to walk along as it has plenty of history and some really quirky looking buildings that are awash in colour, at different times of year these properties (specifically Ashby House) are decked out in plenty of festive cheer depending on what event is happening at the time of year. As you wander further along Bute Street you will see some pretty large impressive buildings all the way up till Robson St many of these were built at the turn of the century and were residential buildings for many of the large Corporations that were making homes for themeselves and staff alike, nowadays these buildings are purely residential.

Check out the Google Street-view of this area: https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.284092,-123.129884,3a,75y,287.02h,85.53t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sKefKwZHuWqY_B3x2BCwkVw!2e0

Roedde House Museum and Barclay Square
Coming to visit the famous Roedde House which is part of the Barclay Square complex you will immediately find yourself back in time to the late 1800s era. The house is named after the very first Bookbinder in Vancouver named Gustav Roedde and the house was built in 1893
The house is under the property of the City of Vancouver and way back in 1976 it was decided to be placed under the Heritage building list.
The most unique aspect about this museum is the fact that none of the Artifacts are behind Rope or a Glass box – the idea is that you are literally meant to realistically take a step back in time so you experience the House as it was in 1893.

Website: http://www.roeddehouse.org/

Barclay Square Gardens
The Roedde House museum is one of a few properties that are built around the gorgeous Barclay Square gardens The gardens are tended by the city and are open for not only the visitors to Vancouver but West End residents alike. The park opened up in 1985 a year before the Roedde House opened for the public – the reasoning behind the park was to encourage more Green spaces in the already congested downtown core, even though there is Stanley Park which is not too far away and is pretty huge, it is still a nice surprise to find a little Oasis among the smaller older properties and the towering high rises.

The Gabriola House
This was built for a Mr B.T. Rogers who was the founder of B.C. Sugar Refining Co. This Queen Anne style grand mansion, is located on Davie Street and Nicola Street.
This is a gorgeous building that really stands out in the neighbourhood, however unfortunately it is standing derelict at this time with rumours that it will open as a Keg restaurant. Even though the property is currently empty the stunning gardens are still maintained and certainly worth a visit on lovely Summer days.

Heritage Vancouver Society
For further information on the West End historical buildings click on this link:http://www.heritagevancouver.org/topten/2013/topten2013_08.html

Exploring our neighbourhood – Vancouver West End. Part 1 – Dining and Shopping.

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

When coming to Vancouver and especially our community be sure to make the most of the local area that is the known as The West End. In this blog we will write about what you can find when you are checking out the community – The West End has plenty of history and a unique vibrant look and vibe – from Historical Buildings with some that have been turned into cute museums, a great extensive shopping district that is Robson St, Parks and Beaches to a vast restaurant scene for your dining pleasure – The West End really does have it all.

RESTAURANTS – WEST END DINING
From Davie Village (which is where we are located) to Denman St and Robson St you will find so many choices for places to eat and be merry, some places have been part of the fabric for many many years, while some are brand new and a welcome change as some of these places you may have never tried before!

Davie Street (which is immediately adjacent to the hotel) offers a large selection of delicious ethnic, international and local dining options favored by Vancouver residents, as well as specialty shops, there is also Denman and Robson to discover for excellent food options.
Here are some of our best picks for the West End……

Banana Leaf – Malaysian 1043 Davie St.
Prepare to step out of Vancouver and into the warm heart of Malaysia at the award-winning Banana Leaf Malaysian Cuisine. Cheerful atmosphere, friendly service, colourful traditional décor, and excellent prices create a dining experience to remember.
Website: http://www.bananaleaf-vancouver.com/locations.html
They also have locations on Denman and Robson St too!

Raincity Grill – Pacific Northwest, 1193 Denman St.
Open since 1992, Raincity Grill has become a fixture in the West End, capturing the essence of Vancouver in food, wine and atmosphere. The menu focuses on seafood, game, poultry, and organic vegetables from British Columbia, Alberta, Washington State and Oregon. Dedicated to developing a menu based on local ingredients, the team behind Raincity Grill believes local resources will increase as restaurants look more and more to their own backyard and local waters for the best ingredients.

Website: http://www.raincitygrill.com/index.php?pg=home

GUU- Japanese “Izakaya” 4 downtown locations – The West End location is on Thurlow St
Guu serves home style Japanese food in a loud and electric atmosphere. Food is served from an open kitchen and the dishes are generally tapas-sized.
Website: http://guu-izakaya.com/

Cin Cin – Italian – Robson St
As Vancouver’s leading Italian restaurant, CinCin is your destination for authentic Italian flavours in the heart of downtown. A contemporary Italian cuisine, smell the wood-burning forno, and drink from the award winning wine list.
Website: http://cincin.net/

SHOPPING on ROBSON ST
With the most fashionable shopping in Vancouver, this major thoroughfare in downtown features a concentration of trendy shops and restaurants. It hosts some of the hottest names in fashion including Hermès, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Betsey Johnson, Chanel, Burberry, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Lacoste, Coach, and Salvatore Ferragamo. Robson Street is a short walk from Sunset Inn & Suites.
For further information on Robson St: http://www.robsonstreet.ca/

ART DECO – Where to look for Art Deco buildings in Vancouver.

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours are promoting the Month of March as Art Deco Month and want to show off the buildings that were built in this style around the city, we will also like to write a little about this as we feel Art Deco Buildings are truly magnificent and really do stand out in the city. Vancouver does not have too many buildings left in this style – but what we do have is truly stunning and each place has its own piece of history besides just the look.

For further information on Forbidden Vancouver, please click on the link below….
Forbidden Vancouver: http://forbiddenvancouver.ca/

Art Deco can be traced back as early as the 1900s with its origins hailing from France, it became popular during the 1920s before flourishing widely through the 1930s and 1940s where it pretty much reached its peak, after the second World War its popularity waned and in time became an historical relic as other modernistic designs and fashion had a greater influence.

Art Deco can be found not only in Buildings but in Art, movies and fashion – if you spend time in coffee shops around the city you can see the influence of Art Deco merging with Abstract inspired works of Art, there are some amazing works hung up on the walls that have images of Vancouver in the style of Art Deco with a more modern twist, an example of this are some works from a local artist called Laura Zerebeski who works at The Beaumont Studios. Laura’s Art is certainly in the flavour of Surrealism yet from what we can see it looks like some Art Deco influence has crept in too….

To see more work from Laura Zerebeski: http://laurazee.com/

The Beaumont Studios: http://www.thebeaumontstudios.com/

Vancouver is home to some exquisite Art Deco designs and the first building that comes to mind is the old Marine Building. Located in the Downtown Core where today the district is now home to the Financial Sector, this building still stands out today (although it is dwarfed by the more modern day glass structures), however, when you do walk by it, you will see the unmistakable design which tells it apart from the other structures in the area and that it is truly Art Deco at its finest.
The inside of the Marine Building is stunning too, there is so much to look out for within this building and it has so much intricate detail that you could spend a few days uncovering the Artwork that is so special and unique to this wonderfully historical landmark in the heart of the city.

The Marine building opened its doors on October 7th 1930 right in the heyday of this popular design and at that time it proudly held the record of being the tallest skyscraper structure within the British Empire, standing at an impressive 97.8m and holding 22 floors the building kept this record until 1939. It would have been quite the sight if you were coming to Vancouver back in the day, as many of the surrounding buildings and structures were no bigger than a couple of storey’s high with a few buildings barely reaching ‘mid level status’ – the few buildings that did were likely built by the big CEO’s of their day as large mansion houses for themselves, staffers and workers that were earning their keep at the various industries of the day.
The building that was originally the tallest prior to the Maritime building as the tallest skyscraper within the British Empire was ‘The Sun Tower’, this too being a very popular building in Vancouver with its distinctive faux-patina steel dome painted to imitate copper cladding, is a structure that is easily spotted from many vantage points around the city – especially if you are looking with your back facing the North East looking at the downtown skyline.
The design of the Sun tower also hails from the influence of French architecture that is known as Beaux-Arts architecture this type of design was very popular from around the 1600s right through to the same era as Art Deco, this can be seen throughout Canada and especially The Prairies with many of the structures being built between the 1900s and 1960s.

Other notable buildings that were built in the Art Deco design are the Vancouver City Hall which reminds me of the Fritz Lang Movie ‘Metropolis’ which was undoubtedly a champion of Art Deco in film – even the Band Queen got in the act when they were promoting one of their biggest hits Radio Ga Ga which used footage from the film and created their stage set courtesy of this movie from 1927.
The Bay Theatre (Starlight Theatre) which was built in the Art Moderne style of Art Deco and is now home to Blenz coffee shop located on Denman Street which is not too far away from us here in the West End.
The Vogue Theatre – located in the heart of downtown Vancouver on 918 Granville Street, the Vogue has been one of the defining architectural achievements in Vancouver since its opening in 1941 (and still entertains the masses to this day) it is a true Art Deco/Art Moderne building.

The Vogue Theatre is a very popular venue and it actually features extensively within the entertainment scene in Vancouver, in our last few blogs we had written about events in March – well take a look at the Vogue as it will be showcasing performances from the upcoming CelticFest as well as many other acts….

The Vogue Theatre: http://voguetheatre.com/

For further information on historical buildings take a look at the Vancouver Heritage Society http://www.heritagevancouver.org/

Gabriola House, the Sugar Refinery and Mr Rogers!

Friday, May 17th, 2013


Gabriola House is a beautiful Mansion house just a few short blocks away on Davie Street (As you head towards English Bay at Davie and Nicola).

This Mansion House was designed by the famous Industrialist Mr Benjamin T Rogers who is the founder of The B.C. Sugar Refinery that is located at The Port of Vancouver in East Vancouver.
Both buildings are quite an impressive sight and have a look that harks back to the old English style buildings of the Industrial revolution (for the Refinery) and a Quaint English Style Country house (For the Mansion). The British influence on the architectural design were no accident as when Mr Rogers was visiting Britain in the late 1800s he fell in love with the English style Mansions and wanted to have one for himself.

At the turn of the century there were many Mansion houses like these dotted all around the West End all built by wealthy industrialists that were mainly in the logging industry. Mr Rogers made his fortune at the age of 22 by becoming the manager of the B.C’s Sugar refinery, his mansion house was used as living quarters for his small group of staff for personal use and some that worked at the refinery itself.

In modern times the Mansion has been used as a restaurant (formerly run as the Romano’s Macaroni Grill) and as it stands today it is empty but has been bought out by The Keg Steakhouse.

The Gardens are certainly a place to visit in high summer and still well kept even if the building is derelict at the moment, we do encourage that you head down there to look at the grounds and the beautiful building, it is a perfect setting for a warm summers evening.

The mansion is called Gabriola as the Stones were all carved from the sandstones of Gabriola Island under the design of architect Samuel Maclure – it was known as the most Lavish home of its day. The Windows are gorgeously glass stained too and were designed by the Bloomfield Brothers.

In the 1970s the building was in very poor state at that time and was very close to being demolished, but thankfully, other people saw the light and saved the day, it was then under some major reconstruction to refurbish and renovate the building close to its former glory.

Below is link on the Mansion and some spooky extras to go with it!
http://www.ghostsofvancouver.com/gabriola_house.htm

The Sugar refinery building really stands out on its own down in the middle of the Port of Vancouver, it has a look that resembles the Industrial revolution of the late 1700s and 1800s in the UK. The Refinery opened in the late 1800s just 4 years after the city of Vancouver was born – and it still makes the Rogers brand of sugar to this day.

The complex itself was built in 1980 and at the time it had employed between 12 to 15 staff, by 1901, the monies that Mr Rogers had made enabled him to build his dream mansion. In modern times, the refinery is still running well and now employs up to 300 staff.

We also recommend that you take a long meander around the West End district, as there are some really stunning buildings still in existence from the turn of the century – Barclay Square and The Roedde House Museum is certainly worth a look, and also check out the gorgeous red brick buildings that resemble the Manhattan style Mansions of its day, the West End Architecture is really steeped in history – there will be future blogs about these buildings.

http://www.roeddehouse.org/

The Jimi Hendrix connection & the district of Strathcona

Friday, May 10th, 2013

There has been a lot of interest in the local media as of late on the subject of Multiculturalism and, in particular, the ethnic diversity of the populations that reside in Vancouver. It seems apparent that the so called majorities that the articles are talking about can be assumed to be of Caucasian decent, however, the reason these articles are being created suggest that the Caucasian populous are actually the absolute minority. When you come to visit Vancouver you will immediately notice that it truly is a very diverse city, the differing ethnicity of people all around you is very clear to see, this has always been the case in Vancouver and such its history is very rich and varied.

The subject of multiculturalism and political correctness can be left for discussions over a coffee or a beer among yourselves, it does however lead us onto some interesting history regarding the area of Strathcona and a certain influential musician by the name of Jimi Hendrix.

JIMI HENDRIX, HOGANS ALLEY & STRATHCONA
Many of you will have heard of Jimi Hendrix and will know that he hailed from the Seattle area which is not too far away from us just South of the Border – along with many other very famous musicians that have over time have been extremely influential on the musical scene. However…did you know that he actually spent some of his childhood growing up in an area not too far from Main Street Station called Strathcona and more specifically an area known as Hogan’s Alley.

Hogan’s Alley was a Neighbourhood area that was predominantly made up by the Black community and Jimi Hendrix was one person who resided there, he went to school here as a young boy and eventually started to begin his journey into music learning his trade in the area.
The alley itself now has Plaque in commemoration to the once vibrant community that has all but vanished and transformed into Chinatown and The Strathcona district. A predominant Asian and specifically Chinese community, Strathcona is also one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city – and it really does show, you can walk around and see the differing colours, shapes and sizes of the property and can imagine the battles between the locals, urban planners, and ultimately, the influence and evolution of Gentrification that the locals have had to endure over the years.
During the 1950s and 1960s the Black community started to be moved on by urban planners and this has been a bone of contention over the years due to the manner of how this happened.
The Plaque in the area has been a long time coming and as Vancouver has well over 20,000 black people here it is right that this community is not forgotten like many others who are celebrated here.

JIMI HENDRIX SHRINE
Yesterday, a friend and myself decided to take a walk along Main Street towards Chinatown, the Downtown Eastside and Gastown and along the way we decided to stop by the small building that is now the Jimi Hendrix Shrine.

This is a true little gem and is well worth a visit, it is also quite close to the Main Street Station Bus and Train terminals, you just need to walk 2 blocks North along Main St under the Georgia Viaduct, which is also the southern gateway to Chinatown. Here you will see a building and a sign that has guitar murals painted on the side of it – follow the building East and the little shrine is there.

We walked in and was met by a really nice guy called Lewis who is one of a few handful of volunteers that help run the shrine and its cute little garden out back. Inside the Shrine, there are pictures, guitars and some information on Jimi’s history in the neighbourhood and there are also his Lyrics to his very well known songs on the wall.

There is also some great information regarding a famous Restaurant called Vie’s Chicken and SteakHouse which was located right by where the Shrine now stands and is part of folklore on Hogan’s Alley. It was here at Vie’s that Jimi’s grandmother Nora worked and as Jimi got older he would learn to play here at after hours. Vie’s operated between the 1920s through to the 1970s and was a major hangout for very famous Black Stars of the day such as Nat king Cole.

The site of where the shrine is where a letter was found to be written by Jimi and addressed to Nora Hendrix, at 209 Union St. in Vancouver’s Chinatown. The now owner of the Shrine followed his curiosity to see the address only to find a dilapidated shed on that location – it was then discovered that this was the former location of Vie’s kitchen and was then decided that a special memorial should be created – and the rest as they say is history!

We hope that you found something from this blog and will take a small trip to the Shrine while you are checking out the Chinatown area.

Historical Heritage in the West End

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

When arriving in Vancouver the first thing people seem to notice about its look are the tall Glass Skyscrapers that dominate the downtown Skyline, you can easily think that this is a city that is somewhat bereft of history…but that is not simply not true. If you decide to get around the city by foot, you will be amazed at the pockets of history that are dotted all around, and there are the more obvious older areas sheltered by the tall structures, such as Gastown and Chinatown, some of the oldest areas of the city. http://www.gastown.org/

The West End where we are located is steeped in history, we highly recommend that you take a small stroll all around the district, it will be an excellent way to visit some hidden gems and to see the beauty of the West End area.

Barclay Heritage Square & Roedde House Museum
To get an idea of what Vancouver looked like in the late 1800s you should take a visit to Barclay Heritage Square and the Roedde House Museum.

http://www.roeddehouse.org

This is a great museum that lets you see what a house in the 1800s looked like, all the materials and furniture are originals from that era, and the difference in this museum is that the artifacts are not behind a rope or glass wall they are there for you to get up close with and personal, some items you can even touch!
The house is situated in an area call Barclay Square, its like an oasis of history that is on of the 9 houses heritage buildings that surround the square.

http://www.heritagecanada.org/en/visit-discover/find-historic-places/historic-sites-canada/british-columbia/barclay-heritage-square