Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hastings Street, Tattoos and Boots

Today I did the second part of my month end shopping along Hastings Street. For those who do not reside here and who have paid attention to certain news items, Hastings Street can seem very scary. It brings to mind skid row and prostitutes and drug dealers and assorted crime. And although that is a part of Hastings Street that is only a small area, less than 2 kilometres. Hastings Street itself runs from downtown Vancouver and through part of Burnaby - about twelve kilometres.

The Hastings Street I know runs from about Victoria Drive to Renfrew and is a vibrant area filled with shops and businesses that make the customer feel welcome.

Today I had to get my hair cut and decided to try somewhere new.
I walked into the Kim Loan Beauty Salon and was served immediately. The hair cut was exactly what I wanted and at a good price. I'm happy.

After my haircut I walked further east along Hastings Street. I have to admit that I have always taken it for granted, never really thought about the name or history of this street. It has always just been the east-west route that many people travel on.

So it was interesting when I found out that Hastings Street is named for Vice-Admiral George Fowler Hastings, a former officer of the Royal Navy and had once served as commander in chief of the Pacific Station in Esquimalt. (My mother grew up in that area so I feel a special kinship to it.)

More interesting though are the photos I saw of what Hastings street used to look like. Lots of changes.
This is one of my favourite places on Hastings to shop. And not only for the fresh fruit and vegies.

Of which you can see there are many! I like the unique, hard to find items here - today I bought blueberry, vanilla goat cheese as a special treat - and the people are fantastic. Everyone is so warm and friendly.

Finding friendly people along here is not too difficult. Take Thomas Lockhart.

He is the talented genius behind West Coast Tattoos. And he is a fairly nice guy too. He did my tattoo and not only was the price reasonable he was so patient with me and all my stupid questions. (I had never got a tattoo before) I think he did an excellent job, don't you?

I feel for Thomas though. I am soft spoken and he can never hear me. I try to raise my voice but I don't do that well enough. Perhaps next time I will bring a chalk board to write on.

I can't finish this without mentioning a shop that doesn't appear to be much but has a history that is remarkable.

During the winter of 1946 Charlie Wohlford was a man with a history in the logging industry and who managed the Lumberman's Social Club. He had also learned in earlier life the craft of shoemaking and would repair the boots for the loggers. One evening the loggers, helped a little by a case of whiskey (or so they say), convinced Wohlford to start designing quality logging boots. Who knew that all these years later Dayton Boots would be known and appreciated world wide. And just think, it all started in my city on Canada's west coast.

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