Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sweet Georgia Part Two

I had more to tell and show you about my adventures on Georgia Street. I want to start with some more details on the Hotel Vancouver which is currently known as the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.
The offices and broadcast studios of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation were in this hotel for many years until the CBC opened their own offices, the CBC Regional Broadcast Centre, on Hamilton Street. They were located on the mezzanine level overlooking Georgia and Hornby until the 1970s. A large sound stage, in the art-deco style, was located on the main floor and was used for radio theatre and musical broadcasts.

The King of Swing, legendary Canadian big band leader Dal Richards, began his career here in the Panorama Roof Ballroom. And it may not have happened. A young Richards and his 11 piece band - laong with 13 year old singer Juliette - were booked for a six week stint to fill in for Canada's leading dance band, Mart Kenney and his Western Gentlemen. That short gig turned into a twenty five year run as well as numerous appearances on the CBC radio show The Roof. (An interesting side note is that Richards composed the song Roar You Lions Roar, the fight song for the BC Lions Football Club.)

Another interesting rumour I just heard. Apparently the thirteenth floor of this hotel is haunted and closed to visitors. Of course I am not declaring that to be fact but it does make you wonder. I know that there is no floor named thirteen so it would be the equivalent. Another mystery that I may one day find the answer to.

At the corner of Georgia and Burrard stands the oldest church structure in Vancouver and the oldest stone church in the lower mainland. The Christ Church Cathedral.

The original foundation was made of granite quarried from Little Mountain. A temporary roof was installed allowing the first service to be held in October of 1889. Parishioners had their church, sort of, but two years later, in 1891, its existence was threatened. The CPR labelled the building an eye sore and threatened to have it torn down. Fortunately a group got together and put together a financing plan that would allow them to finish construction. The first cornerstone was laid on July 28, 1894 and the church was officially dedicated on February 17, 1895.

This Gothic Revival sandstone building features an interior that is awe inspiring. I stepped inside and the sneakers I was wearing squeaked on the polished floors. Although the kind woman sitting behind a desk told me not to worry, I walked on my tippy toes while taking my photos. The place inspires that kind of reverence.

The interior  is fashioned in the style of the English churches and large halls dating back to the 1300s with hammerbeam trusses supporting the roof.  As you can see in one of the photos the stained glass windows are remarkable. And I was informed that when the sun shines through the windows it is stunning. I couldn't get really clear pictures because they do keep the interior dim. However I did find a noteworthy display that my camera was able to catch a picture of.

This stenciling used to cover the Cathedral walls. At one time the walls glowed with a golden ochre colour and these lively stencils brightened the area. The stencilling was discovered when an upper gallery that was attached to a south wall was dismantled. Parts of this unique design are to be preserved. They are waiting for conservation treatment. This is quite fragile and the piece I have taken a photo of was behind glass. Oh, I did have permission to take photos inside before I did so.

This isn't the best photo but it gives you a better idea concerning the style of lights and you can glimpse the ceiling. The Eagle shown below stands guard over the stencil and one of the doors into the Cathedral.

If you are in the area and wish a quiet place to reflect and perhaps worship then consider stopping in here. The doors are usually open.

More treats and surprises tomorrow.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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