I never took a photograph of it because I thought it would always be there.
Last week, if you stood at the southwest corner of Denman and Comox, you would have seen this, unchanged from when I took this shot almost a decade ago:
Perhaps you might have picked up some fresh fruit, or flowers, or a litre of milk.
Gone, and I don’t know why. A classic Chinese market-garden corner store, with roots that go back, what?, practically a century. So perhaps the owners, finally retired, have no one to pass it on to. Or couldn’t compete? Or evicted?
To be replaced by, what?, another coffee shop to take advantage of the Comox greenway. Or another fast-food brand, thinking the beach traffic will be insatiable. West Enders will find another place to shop, of course, but now there is less diversity, less character. And a whole lot of memories.
If anyone has some – or, better yet, a picture of South Van Produce with the fruit and flowers spilling onto the sidewalks – pass them along.
And to those families who worked those endless hours, struggled and thrived, raised their children behind the counters, and served generations of West Enders, a thank you, a very special thank you.