Art & Culture
April 3, 2019

Shark on the Roof in Oxford Great Britain

 

 

An American named Bill Heine moved  to Oxford Great Britain and ran two cinemas. This gentleman had studied law before turning to running movie houses.

But in 1986 Mr. Heine had a Big Idea and commissioned a fibreglass shark which he craned to the top of his house. The timing of his installation of a headless shark on the roof of his 1860 British townhouse was the  “41st anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki.” The piece was created by artist John Buckley.

The shark weighs 400 pounds and is 25 feet from its headless body to its tail.  As this web page on the Hedlington Shark attests  the placing of such a large object on the roof of a pretty ordinary residence sprung the local Oxford city council to action.

First city council said the shark had to go because it was a dangerous hazard. But when the shark installation was inspected, it was carefully installed and was safe. Then Council used Section 22 of the Town and Country Planning Act that had no provision for the placement of large things like sharks on roofs within the municipality.

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From Marilyn Rummel (via Tim Pawsey):

This has knocked me off my feet. A video from Paris compiled from footage shot from 1896 – 1900 by the Lumiere brothers who were by and large the inventors of the moving picture (and their last names WERE Lumiere!)

A Canadian, Guy Jones, has made it his mission to restore old bits of footage he has found. Superb!! And of course he has plenty more besides this one, but I can’t imagine anything topping it.

 

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Over the years, I thought I had seen all the renderings and sketches for the various freeway proposals that had been put forward in the late 1960s and early ’70s.

Nope.  The indispensable John Mackie, the Sun journalist with the time, interest and access to the paper’s archives, has pulled out some great pics to illustrate this week’s history column: 1967 — Wacky Bennett and Tom Terrific team up to push for a third crossing.

In the 1960s everybody seemed to have a plan for a new bridge or tunnel at the First Narrows. But nobody wanted to pay for it.

So on March 23, 1967, Social Credit Premier W.A.C. Bennett came up with a funding formula: 40 per cent from the federal government, 40 per cent from the provincial and civic governments, and 20 per cent from the National Harbours Board and the developers of Project 200, a giant highrise development on the downtown waterfront.

Bennett talked Vancouver Mayor Tom Campbell into supporting his plan. But federal Liberal Arthur Laing dismissed it as “ridiculous nonsense.” …

The same day Bennett announced his formula, a consortium of four city engineering firms unveiled a $57-million plan to twin the Lions Gate Bridge.

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From the Vancouver Heritage Foundation: 2019 Walking Tours with John Atkin.

Starting in May, John will explore the industrial heritage and history found across Vancouver. John’s walks are extremely popular so we recommend signing up early if you’d like to attend. Both May dates are filling quickly and are close to capacity. A full list of May to October dates and topics is now up on the Walking Tour page.

Select Saturdays from 10am to 12pm

Register for all walks here, $16

 

‘AN INDUSTRIAL CITY’

In 2019 join John Atkin to explore Vancouver’s industrial heritage and history

 

June 8: Vernon Street

A lost waterfront, duck hunting ground, indigenous portage route and home to the arts and taxis.

 

July 6: From Creek to Trains

The eastern reaches of False Creek were filled for rail yards, passenger depots and a home for industry in the early years of the 20th Century and change is once again on the horizon.

 

July 20: Shipyards, Salt and the Olympics

The southeast corner of False Creek has become one of the city’s newest residential neighbourhoods leaving behind its heavy industrial past.

 

August 10: Beer, Boxes and Tents

Once home to a number of industries including a brewery, Jones Tent and Awning and a host of other firms attracted by the rail access, the district today is an interesting mix of modern construction and heritage buildings.

 

August 31: Vegetables, Furniture and Flowers

Chinese vegetable wholesalers and retailers rubbed shoulders with other small scale industry on the edge of Mount Pleasant and the fertile valley between Main St and Fraser St.

 

October 5: Foundries, Lumber and Baseball

Before the construction of the Granville Street Bridge, the area was home to the Capilano Stadium and the local baseball team. Foundries and lumber yards were mixed in with a collection of houses and churches in the surrounding neighbourhood.

 

October 19: Take Me to the River

For thousands of years the Fraser River and its shoreline has been an important food source and transportation corridor. It has long been a major industrial
artery and is now an emerging residential area.

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Worth bringing forward: Sam Sullivan took the opportunity to comment on the upcoming ‘Tales from the West End’ talk on the People’s Park fight at Coal Harbour in the early 1970s.  (Click on headline for all illustrations and text.)

The 1971 model. Much more on the project by the invaluable John Mackie at The Sun

Sam Sulllivan:

Actually the original proposal (1964) was 15 towers of guaranteed rental for 3,200 residents. Towers from 15 to 30 stories. There would have also been a 13 story hotel near the entrance to the park. Critics didn’t mention the apartment rental and focussed on the smaller so-called ‘luxury’ hotel.

Instead Council spent $30 million in today’s money to turn this into a park. This depleted five years of park aquisition money which would have been used for park deficient east side neighbourhoods instead creating an additional park beside the 100,000 acre Stanley Park.

Gerald Sutton-Brown believed we could convert waterfront industrial land into high density towers to provide quality homes and keep down the price of housing. This would have been years ahead of the rest of the world. TEAM opposed this and fired him. They implemented their vision in South False Creek which had lower densities than a typical single detached house neighbourhood. It would be almost two decades before Coal Harbour, Concord Pacific and City Gate would revive Sutton-Brown’s vision.

TEAM went on to oppose townhouses in single house neighbourhoods(Shannon Mews), tried to end the Vancouver Special by removing the basement exemption, end any approval of residential towers for over a decade and introduce processes that have succeeded in preventing the densification of RS neighbourhoods

When I was in elementary school our teacher took us on a tour of Peoples’ Park and met the protesters. It all seemed quite wonderful. But in light of what has happened to the price of housing since we lost Sutton-Brown, I think of the apt symbolism of what happened to the city vision, looking in our purse for what was on our head.

Bayshore Gardens and Harbour Park today.

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To appreciate West Vancouver, it helps to understand this map:

This is the region’s streetcar and interurban system at its peak around 1940.

 

Take a closer look at the North Shore portion:

 

Notice where the No 3 streetcar stops: at the Capilano River, the border with West Vancouver.  At that point, if you were heading further west, you’d switch to a Blue Bus, separately owned and operated by the district municipality since 1912 – reputed to be the first bus-only transit system in North America.  And though contracted with TransLink today, it still maintains a distinct identity.

Why isn’t it fully part of TransLink, you ask, given that routes and fares are otherwise integrated?  Frances Bula speculates: “I’d suggest that it’s attractive politically, as it reinforces the image of West Van as a place that’s a little special, set apart, and with superior municipal services.”  Frances is right: Blue Buses for blue bloods.

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March’s featured storyteller is Kevin Dale McKeown, editor and publisher of The West End Journal.

As part of his “People’s Park” story, Kevin recalls the spring of 1971 when Vancouver’s Yippie movement occupied and built a tent city on the proposed site of a new Four Seasons Hotel at the entrance to Stanley Park – where Devonian Harbour Park is today.

Kevin was in the thick of the action, helping out at the camp kitchen. The protest lasted a year, Mayor Tom Campbell called it “a breakdown of society”, and obviously the campers / protesters won the battle.

Today the main attraction at the site is not a glitzy international hotel but the bronze statue of a woman sitting on a park bench, apparently searching in her purse for the glasses we can all see sitting atop her head. But things could have gone differently.

 

JJ Bean Cafe, 1209 Bidwell Street (Bidwell & Davie)

Wednesday, March 20

4:30 to 6:00 pm

Admission: Free, Complimentary coffee and tea thanks to JJ Bean

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If there’s meme believed about Vancouver, it must be this: A city in constant change, bulldozing its past for the latest glassy tower.  And yet – at least with respect to its historic main street – it has hardly changed at all.

Not the Main Street, of course (originally Westminster Road) but the north-south arterial that ran through the centre of the CPR land grant, from its waterfront station (now, heh,  Waterfront Station) to False Creek.  Our main street has always been Granville Street.

The boys at Changing Vancouver are featuring it in their current post:

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How many Churches and Schools along Burrard Street can you identify?

February’s storytellers, educators and historians, Isaac Vanderhorst and
Janet Leduc will intrigue us with their story, “West End Schools and
Churches, 1890s to 1930s”.

Discover the central role schools and churches
played in early community life. Bring your stories and photos to share
with your neighbours.

 

JJBean Coffee Shop, 1209 Bidwell @ Davie

Sunday, February 24

4:30 to pm, story telling from 4:45 – 5:45

Admission: Free, Complimentary coffee and tea thanks to JJBean

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