Thursday, July 22, 2010

East Side Culture

At the corner of Adanac and Victoria is a building that may appear plain to some but attracts the interest of many. WISE Hall was established in the late 1950s as a gathering place for immigrants from the United Kingdom. It became a place to unite where the newly arrived could meet, discuss, probably argue and/or enjoy a good sports event. Some of that still goes on but there is so much more to the Wise Hall than just the lounge.

Nowadays you can enjoy a variety of shows, including burlesque revues which is what I have been there for. Sundays there is a gospel meeting, praise the Lord in style. And just take a look at their calendar for other events. It is great to see a part of Vancouver history still going strong.

Up the road, at Venables and Victoria, is a newer building. Although the Vancouver East Side Culture Centre has been around for thirty six years, the building we now see from the outside is a year old, maybe a little more.

The Cultch is another venue with quite the history. Or at least the site has history. In 1909 it was site of the Grandview Methodist Church.Unfortunately in post war times the congregation numbers dwindled and the church was turned over to Inner City Services in 1968. For a time the building shared space with lawyers. Vancouver notables such as former Mayor Mike Harcourt have fond memories of the place.

In 1973 the Cultch opened with a two week run of the Anna Wyman Dance Theatre and it hasn't stopped, for long, since. Artists have shown their works here, classes for youth, live theatre and music and a multitude of other programs that both enhance and entertain are still part of the structure.

So if anyone ever tells you that there isn't any culture on the Vancouver's East side tell them to look closer. It is all around us.

Here's to find the beauty around you.
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