The City of Vancouver was wondering what to do with the “hippies” who were concentrated largely in the Kitsilano area. A committee of “aldermen” from Vancouver City Hall called a “three man Council team” in the Vancouver Sun on October 12, 1967 “generally disclaims charges by Kitsilano ratepayers last summer when  the Fourth Avenue population was at its peak that hippies constituted a serious moral, sanitary and legal threat”.

The report concluded  that “more active interest should be taken by assisting hippies to get work and decent places to live, sending them social workers, inviting them to express their views before Council and by re-assessing youth activity programs in schools, churches and community centres”.

Sadly, the report also recommended “the acceleration of urban renewal programs and revitalization of depressed and blighted areas where hippie communities thrive”. These were the programs that would decimate Strathcona and threaten Chinatown in the early 1970’s.

Here’s a really weird clip of a show from 1968 hosted by commentator Bill Good. On a show called “Lets Go” there is a very twisty set of  interviews that are not too focussed, but do give a taste of opposing views at the time.

A youthful but conservative Mr. Good interviews Kitsilano’s ‘Hippies’ but does not really name them except for the late Doug Hawthorne who managed the “Psychedelic Shop” on 4th Avenue.

The show compares the 1960’s 4th Avenue “scene” to that of the great music and drug scene in  San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury, and then does surprising segues talking to people like singer Pat Boone, comedian Richard Pryor, Little Richard and even the Maharishi Yogi. Richard Pryor has the best line, saying that more people smoke pot than eat peanut butter sandwiches.

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Michael Gordon, doing research in the bunker we call an Archives, came across “a proposal to declare the still-existing Kitsilano Indian Reserve a park – and excitement over a ’20 mile driveway’.”

The proposal was by the City’s de-facto archivist Major Matthews, as reported in the Vancouver Star in 1924.  His vision:

… a magnificent driveway twenty or more miles long, running out Georgia street, around Stanley Park, back over Beach avenue and Pacific streets to Burrard street, thence across the new Burrard Bridge (it hadn’t been built yet) to Indian Park (to be ‘acquired’ for park purposes) and Cornwall street and finally around Marine drive by the University and back over Granville street.

If this route were properly beautified and marked out by trees, where is the drive in the whole world that can best it?

Over time, Vancouver ultimately surpassed Matthew’s vision, extending the seawall around Coal Harbour and False Creek – not for a driveway, of course, but for the greenway we see today.  (Though if the NPA of today had their say over the design, perhaps they would have tried the Fairness Finesse, arguing that a seawall for only pedestrians and cyclists is unfair.  Anything less than a shared route for cars – Matthew’s Driveway – would discriminate against the disabled and seniors requiring easy access.)


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The greatest loss in the heritage history of America was the demolition of Pennsylvania Station in 1964.  From the grandeur of the McKim Mead and White original in 1910:

To the bland and squalid replacement in 1963:

But now, with opening in January 2021 of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Train Hall, Pennsylvania Station is expanding into the adjacent neoclassical James A. Farley Building, the former main post office.  And that looks like this:

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Here’s a recommendation for a book I haven’t even finished yet.

Yes, a whole book about street addressing.  It’s like one of those long-form New Yorker articles on a subject you never thought about and can’t imagine would be of sustained interest, like surveying.  You would be wrong.

It begins among the unaddressed in Kolkata and ends … well, I don’t know yet.  This is not a book to rush.  I save each chapter to consume one at a time, like selecting a chocolate in a particularly tempting box.  Nor are there a lot of empty calories. I’ve gained all kinds of related information and insights (why American cities use numbers to name streets, why Japanese don’t use names at all).

Indeed, I wish I had read the chapter on Korea and Japan (“Must streets be named?”) before visiting Tokyo.  I would have seen the city in a different way, more like the Japanese see their cities (and the world).

This book is about culture, not just numbers (or lack of them), and why urbanism is such a key to understanding the issues (like race and power) that capture our attention today.

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From Planetizen:

The Berkeley City Council, the very first city in the United States to implement single-family zoning, now commonly referred to as exclusionary zoning, has voted to completely upend that legacy.*

“In 1916, single-family zoning was born in Berkeley’s Elmwood neighborhood, forbidding the construction of anything other than one home on each lot. At the time, an ordinance stated that its intent was to protect ‘the home against the intrusion of the less desirable and floating renter class,'” reports Sarah Ravani in an article that preceded a late-night vote on February 23. …

By a unanimous vote of 9-0, the Berkeley City Council last night to end single-family zoning citywide, the latest in a string of U.S. cities to reform the planning and zoning status quo. …

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It’s Black History Month – and Michael Gordon adds this contribution:

Those of us old enough to remember can recall being hosted by a Black porter in a sleeping car on a CPR transcontinental train between Toronto or Montreal and Vancouver. I do, and they were wonderful hosts – a good memory to reflect on this month.

This week at the Vancouver Archives I discovered the CPR Porters’ Quarters at 1227 Richards Street. It was near Drake Street, which was the entrance to the CPR rail yards where the transcontinental passenger trains were prepared for journeys east to Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Minneapolis-St Paul

View photos and train schedule:

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