As Vancouver continues to increase in population, it puts increasing pressure on the city’s historic neighbourhoods and buildings. Several neighbourhood plans, including the Commercial Drive/Grandview plan are underway. Many of these plans will have an impact on the city’s heritage sites.
Over the next year, Heritage Vancouver will be actively involved in the development of these plans, and other community initiatives in an attempt to preserve Vancouver’s history.
From a Heritage Vancouver press release, here are Heritage Vancouver’s 2014 Top 10 Endangered Sites:
1. Hollywood Theatre
The Art Deco Hollywood Theatre is a precious community landmark built in 1935-36, and one of the last intact neighborhood theatres in the city.
2. First Shaughnessy
With the upcoming review of the effectiveness of the 1982 First Shaughnessy Overall Development Plan, requests for demolitions are piling up at City Hall. Architects are targeting the pre-date (1940) houses, in an attempt to get demolition approvals before any real constraints are enacted. The Fleck Mansion (1924) at 1296 The Crescent, as well as houses at 1288 The Crescent, 1263 Balfour and 3990 Marguerite, are imminently threatened, and we anticipate that there could be more.
3. Kerrisdale Baptist Church
With declining attendance at many Vancouver churches, potential church closures are rampant, and threaten the loss of many significant heritage buildings. When these buildings close, Vancouver communities lose more than Sunday worship space; they lose space for the countless social and cultural activities that churches accommodate seven days a week.
4. Morrisette Farm House and Avalon Dairy
There is an immediate threat to two identified historic farmhouses, the Morrisette Farm house (1912) in Dunbar, a designated heritage building, and the Avalon Dairy in Killarney. The threat to these two early farm buildings, and the continuing demolition of others, demonstrates the necessity of identifying historic farmhouses that still survive. Hopefully, more of these reminders of Vancouver’s agricultural past can be added to the Heritage Register, saved and restored.
5. South Vancouver High School
The history of South Vancouver High School is associated with four generations of school buildings. John Oliver High School is slated for demolition, the ‘Barn’, already vacant, could be demolished, as could Sandford Fleming. Once the Vancouver School Board is finished with its current demolition program, these three South Vancouver High School buildings may be nothing but a fading memory.
The buildings that make up the historic South Vancouver High School are just three of a number of historic schools that we could lose over the next round of the Vancouver School Board’s seismic mitigation initiative.
6. Firehall No. 5
The City’s current plan is to replace Firehall No. 5 (1952) at 3090 East 54th & Kerr with a new facility incorporating social housing.
7. World War One Memorials
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the ‘Great War’. After Armistice in 1918, monuments commemorating the lives of Canadians killed in overseas conflict have occupied a prominent place in our urban cultural landscape, rooting us to our history and reminding us of these monumental events. There are also memorials that commemorate others lost in World War Two and Korea. Unfortunately, some of these significant memorials are neglected, deteriorating or are at danger of being lost.
8. Arthur Erickson House & Garden
Arthur Erickson is considered Canada’s greatest architect of all time. His house and garden was his inspiration, his haven, and one of his most delicate design accomplishments. I
9. East Hastings Street – Heatley to Campbell
In 1996, Vancouver City Council approved a policy to “let go” of the industrial frontages along East Hastings from Heatley Avenue to Victoria Drive. The draft Local Area Plan proposes the creation of a ‘high-street’ along East Hastings from Heatley to Clark as a part of the renewal of the area. Ill-considered development along this corridor could impact critical heritage and cultural landmarks at an accelerating rate. Unrecognized but important heritage assets remain unprotected and could be lost, or could alternatively be retained and rehabilitated to serve as a basis for a renewed local shopping area.
- SEE ALSO: The billion dollar DTES plan
10. Commercial Drive – Grandview’s main street
Commercial Drive has evolved over the years into a street that is an interesting mixture of textures, tastes, cultures and activities. It is outstanding not only for its significant heritage buildings but also for its sense of place, experience and uniqueness. As Vancouver continues to grow eastward, the pressures to develop this site to its allowable four-storey height limit could create a dreary blandness that would destroy what is important about ‘The Drive.’