Coronavirus
November 17, 2020

Vancouver Through Two Plagues~Fundraising Webinar to Benefit Vancouver Archives

 

If you have not been on a walking tour or an event and met Vancouver historian John Atkin, now is your chance to hear him moderate a fascinating panel on the impact and outcomes of the 1918 Spanish Flu and the 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic.

The 1918-19 influenza outbreak and our current CoViD-19 pandemic have many parallels in government action, public reaction, and a concern for the economy.

Join our panelists Dr Margaret Andrews, Professor of History at Washington State University  and  Simon Fraser University’s Duke of Data Andy Yan for an enlightening discussion on pandemics then and now.

Funds raised for the Friends of the Vancouver City Archives, whose contributions support the work of the City of Vancouver Archives, including making materials from its holdings available online.

This event is sure to be oversubscribed so get your reservation in. The suggested cost is $15.00 CAD plus tax, and if you wish to provide a donation over $25.00, you will get a tax receipt.

Date: Thursday December 3, 2020

Time: 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time

You can reserve your space by clicking on this link.

Image: VIA

 

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Last week I wrote about finding a Vancouver treasure 5,700 kilometres away in Prince Edward Island. It was a post card size photo taken around 1914 of a couple with their son and dog in front of a very handsome craftsman cottage on Clark Drive.

The one clue to the identity of this family was in the inscription on the back of the card which read

“2825 Clark Drive E. Vancouver B.C. A glimpse of us and our new home with units. Kind love and best wishes for a very happy Xmas and New Year to you all. Edie, Arthur, Willie”.

The house is still standing, hidden by a bushy tree, with pink stucco covering the formerly handsome exterior.

I asked readers whether anyone could help identify who Edie, Arthur and Willie were, and whether I could return the image to their family.

What a response I received. Within 24 hours  I knew all about this family and their story, and had found another story of this family  that should be retold for Remembrance Day.

Meet the Millachip Family. The family  came to Vancouver in 1912 from England, and had their son’s christening in London.

Arthur Herriot Millachip  and Edith Eliza Moore had one son, William who was born in  1904 in London United Kingdom. Arthur was a house decorator, a trade he also had in London.  They moved into 2025 Clark Drive in 1913 and lived the rest of their lives in Vancouver. Edith passed away in 1935. Arthur died in North Vancouver in 1959.

Sadly, their son William died in Tranquille British Columbia at the time the facility was a tuberculosis hospital. Arthur did have a brother John who also came to Canada. His story is tragic as well. John signed up with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces in 1914 and died in France at the battle of Somme in 1916. I will be writing up the remarkable story of John, and how the men in this  extended family were decimated in war.

The house at 2825 Clark Drive was built around 1909 to 1910, and Frank D. Gore who was a butcher was the first home owner. This information came from @VanalogueYVR who also established that Arthur Millachip was the owner by 1914.

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Just out from the Literary Review of Canada:

PT: Frances Bula has indispensably covered urban issues and city politics in Vancouver long enough to remember things other writers didn’t even live though much less forgot (as the review of Jesse Donaldson’s book, Land of Destiny: A History of Vancouver Real Estate, demonstrates).  So with her nuanced and in-depth perspective, she’s now able to piss off every side of the debate on housing affordability, development and who’s responsible.

Here are some excerpts – but go read the complete story here.

Donaldson limits his narrative to one overarching theme: that a select group of speculators have controlled this city forever. In Land of Destiny, only the names change through the decades — the general storyline stays the same. There is always a powerful group of marketers and speculators, and there is always a willing band of politicians to give them whatever is needed in order to reap the windfall.

Donaldson suggests that Vancouver’s dynamic real estate experience is unique. But that interpretation, a familiar one in an often unhappy city, where suspicion-filled and resentful narratives about development are an established noir tradition, leaves out so much. For one, Vancouver is not unique when it comes to land rushes. That’s pretty much the story of the western United States and Canada, as people scrambled to acquire property, in what were seen as newly opened and empty territories, and then market it to newcomers. Capitalism at its rawest.

Second, Donaldson doesn’t explain why the speculators were so successful here compared with other places. Many have failed at this capitalist game of creating demand where there was none before, losing fortunes as buyers failed to appear at their gimcrack Shangri‑Las. What was it about local dynamics that nurtured enough pressure on real estate that it became a reliable speculative vehicle right from the start?  (Details follow.)

 

Here’s the part of the review that I think is most salient:

A history of Vancouver real estate should give some kind of attention, at some point, to all buyers and owners, not just foreign investors. But too many of those buyers and owners are absent from Land of Destiny. Their absence becomes steadily more glaring as the chapters unfurl because local transactions are, in the end, the mechanism that makes speculation work.

She adds a quote from Los Angeles writer Mike Davis’s City of Quartz that is particularly relevant to Vancouver culture (and to the local Green Party in particular):

Davis details the way that homeowner groups of thirty years ago, using the language and often the support of the environmental movement, blocked development of lower-cost housing throughout Los Angeles: “Environmentalism is a congenial discourse to the extent that it is congruent with a vision of eternally rising property values in secure bastions of white privilege.”

And then, ka-pow:

Land of Density makes it sound like a mystery why all those politicians with real estate cronies get elected. But it’s not a mystery. A significant group of voters, the ones who have benefited from the way the current system works, keep electing them. They were mostly pleased with themselves and their foresight while Vancouver property values kept climbing. It’s only when things got a little out of hand this past decade — when suddenly neither children of the land rich nor double-income households could afford even the first rung of the homeownership ladder — that we saw some backlash from the existing owners.

It would have been nice to see that analysis and history in this book. The opportunity was there. There’s no shortage of archival news accounts of locals pushing back to keep the outsiders away, including the now-legendary comment by a west-side resident in one public hearing that a potential transportation corridor shouldn’t be allowed in her area because it is filled with the “crème de la crème.”*

Or this:

Donaldson employs language and framing that pins everything on the cabal of “others.” Real estate is controlled by “oligarchs.” Developers and politicians,

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Scot writes:

A friend gifted me a beautiful replica 1928 map of ‘Greater’ Vancouver (just before the amalgamation of Vancouver, South Vancouver and Point Grey in 1929).

 

Upon further examination there are some neighbourhoods listed that I’ve never heard of, or perhaps have been renamed.

Rosedale – Renfrew & Grandview Highway:

Riverview – Victoria Drive & 59th:

Magee – West Blvd & 52nd:

In addition they are showing a neighbourhood called Strathcona located just south of King Edward west of Granville street

Any insight, PT historians?

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A century after the 1918 Flu, Vancouver is once again grappling with the effects of a pandemic. The boundaries between past and present begin to blur when we look closely at what happened in 1918 and where we are now.

Linking the past to our future, the Vancouver City Planning Commission’s Chronology Project is holding a panel discussion 102 years after that heartbreaking day when the virus claimed so many lives – October 27, 2020 – to explore how the 1918 influenza changed Vancouver and whether we should anticipate similar changes in the months and years ahead. The panel is part of a VCPC series of discussions on the post-pandemic city.

 

Mary Rowe, President and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute.

Dr. Kelley Lee is a Canada Research Chair Tier I Professor of Public Health at Simon Fraser University.

John Atkin is a civic historian, author and heritage consultant.

Additional panelists to be confirmed.

Moderator Uytae Lee produces produces a video column with CBC Vancouver called About Here

 

Tuesday, October 27

7:00 – 8:30 pm PDT

Online Event

Register

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The Biennale has several events for people to take part in.

During a year that has been unlike any other, we’ve been inspired to see how artists, festivals, arts organizations, and cultural institutions are continually adapting. Here in Vancouver and around the world, we’ve found new ways to continue creating and connecting (safely) together. We are taking part in Culture Days 2020 this month, the nation-wide celebration of Canadian arts and culture indoors, outdoors, and online. Visit their website to find dozens of local experiences you can explore in person or online from September 25 – October 25th!

Ride Through Time
We’ve designed this self-guided bicycle ride (it’s walkable, too) to take you through the transformation of Vancouver’s waterfront as it developed from the 1860s to present day. Check out the three museums at Vanier Park and learn about the 12,000 years of history of Sen̓áḵw.

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Vancouver Heritage Foundation – Chinatown Through a Wide Lens: The Hidden Photographs of Yucho Chow

 

FALL 2020 VIRTUAL LECTURES
VHF’s Evening Lecture series continues this fall in a new virtual format. Join us from the comfort of home to enjoy fascinating pieces of Vancouver’s history from a selection of speakers. If you are unable to attend the scheduled lecture time, you may register ahead of time and a link to access the recording will be sent to you. Please note the link is only active for a specific period of time.

Vancouver’s first and most prolific Chinese photographer, Yucho Chow, operated a commercial studio in the heart of Chinatown from 1907–1949. He chronicled life during a tumultuous and transformative time in Canadian history and captured the faces of early marginalized communities including South Asians, Black Canadians, Indigenous residents, mixed-race families and Eastern European immigrants. For some communities, he was the only photographer willing to take their portraits. Sadly, his negatives – and the individual stories and history they chronicled – were all discarded when his studio closed. Chinatown curator Catherine Clement spent over eight years uncovering Yucho Chow’s photographs – one family at a time, one photo at a time, one story at a time.

In 2019, Catherine mounted the first-ever solo exhibition of Chow’s work. That exhibit created a flood of new submissions which are now in a book. She will share the story of Yucho Chow and show some of these remarkable never-before-seen private photographs and stories of diverse, early communities. She will also explore what these images tell us about Vancouver’s history and the role Chinatown played in the lives of so many groups.

Date:Tuesday, October 27th
Time: 7pm – 8:30pm
Registration charge: $16 / $10 (incl. tax)

Please note: This lecture will be offered online. Information on how to attend will be emailed to registrants.

To register, click here for further information.

Images: YuchoChow

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Let’s begin in Osoyoos, the southern-most town of the Okanagan:

The shot above was taken on August 27, 2020.

Here’s the equivalent from the lookout on Anarchist Mountain in 1977:

Beautiful BC magazine via BC Archives

Compare urban development in the two shots.  Notice how almost nothing has changed except some development on the middle right along the lakefront, a large white complex in the lower centre and what is probably an industrial strip in the upper left.

In a world where values rise when land is flat, easily serviced, near major roads and close to an urban core, how can this be?  Especially in the Okanagan, where the liaison between real-estate interests and local politicians has been, shall we say, often intimate.

The answer is the yellow line in the map below:

Water Science Series, BC Government

The line, almost block by block, is the boundary of the Agricultural Land Reserve, originally established in the early 1970s.  (To considerable opposition by many who owned the land within it.)

In an economy based on tourism and retirement, it’s extraordinary that there is anything green between the white municipal boundary and the yellow ALR.  Today, that economy of wine and fruit and tourism based on the appeal of a natural landscape was made possible by the vision of the NDP government in 1972 to establish the ALR (which paid for it in the loss of 1975) and the reluctance of successive Social Credit and Liberal governments to pay the political price to undo it.  (Not that there haven’t been nibbles of alienation – like golf courses as illustrated in the above report – but there hasn’t been huge bites of removal.)

Osoyoos may be a particularly graphic example of the juxtaposition of urban and agicultural, where vineyards come with a kilometre of the city centre.  But the same is true for much of the Okanagan (and arguably even Vancouver, hello Southlands), with one particularly egregious counter-example.  We’ll get there soon.

 

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Another archival image found by Dianna Sampson of several people in Stanley Park on January 9, 1944. Each of the women have hats, and the child is bundled in a snowsuit.  It appears that the women with children have trundled their baby carriages in on the hard ground.

This was during war time and before the Battle of Normandy that waged on from June to August of 1944.

In July of this year the St. Roch would leave Vancouver to go through the Northwest Passage in the Arctic returning in October. For the first time this year a day care was set up for the children of soldiers, and the City of Odessa, Russia would become Vancouver’s sister city.

And in September? A new product was introduced in Vancouver, the contact lens.

You can read more about this year in Vancouver here.

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Word Vancouver is back from September 19th to the 27th and this year they have virtual offerings which can be viewed here.

The purpose of the festival is to “foster the joy of the written word and inspire creativity by bringing together readers and writers from all backgrounds in an annual, inclusive and free literary arts festival, connecting local communities and celebrating literary arts through the collective experience.”

There’s one event that will be of particular interest to readers, and that is “Where History is Headed” with four well known Vancouver authors.

“Vancouver has changed and grown so much in the recent years, that today, books published on the history of Vancouver it seems have never been more popular. But so has the spectrum of the histories presented, with a broader look at the people, events, and social histories of different cultures in Vancouver, and even before the city was here.

Crime histories, entertainment and business histories of the city add to the array and mythology of the city and Photography books on Vancouver from Herzog to Girard have come bestsellers: Vancouver history has never been more popular—and with a wide age group of readers.

How did it happen—and more importantly, where is it all headed? Will books remain the most popular medium, or will other formats of media take a greater role? With a panel of Vancouver history authors and writers, and guests, join what will be a engaging and revealing discussion: Where History is Headed.”

Moderator: Aaron Chapman, Vancouver After Dark (Arsenal Pulp Press)

Aaron Chapman is a writer, historian, and musician with a special interest in Vancouver’s entertainment history. He is the author of The Last Gang in Town, the story of Vancouver’s Clark Park Gang; Liquor, Lust, and the Law, the story of Vancouver’s Penthouse Nightclub, now available in a second edition; and Live at the Commodore, a history of the Commodore Ballroom that won the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award (BC Book Prizes) in 2015. In 2020 he was elected as a member of the Royal Historical Society. He lives in Vancouver.

Panelists:

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