Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Lifeguard Remembered

Constructed in 1928 by Dominion Construction, the Queen Charlotte Apartments is a fine example of Colonial Spanish Revival style.

With its mission shaped roof parapets, tile roofs cantilevered from the wall surface, recessed balconies and multi paned wood frame windows this well known West End landmark can't be missed. The building is symmetrical in its massing and has a two storey entrance way that is quite elaborate.

There are also some noteworthy features inside. Wooden mouldings, doors, floor and a banister compliment the decorative tile work and metal light fittings. There is even the original birdcage elevator. In 1981 the Queen Charlotte Apartments became a strata corporation and the building consists of 25 units.

As you walk along Beach Avenue you will come to Alexandra Park and a fountain marks the entrance.

This is a tribute to Vancouver's first lifeguard, Seraphim Joe Fortes. Fortes was a sailor originally from Barbados then later Liverpool who was also a competitive swimmer. He arrived in Vancouver in 1885 and worked as a labourer and bartender in Gastown. He had a cottage on English Bay and acted as an unofficial bodyguard as well as teaching numerous children how to swim.

The inscription says: 'This fountain erected by the citizens and children, co-operating with the Kiwanis Club of Vancouver, commemorates the life and deeds of 'Joe' Fortes. For many years guardian of this beach.
-Little Children Loved Him-
A.D. 1927
Fortes died in 1922 and there was a record breaking funeral procession which was unusual since Fortes was one of Vancouver's few black citizens.

Our city has honoured Fortes in many ways such as with this monument, a library and a branch of the Vancouver Public Library. In 1985, one hundred years after he arrived in Vancouver, a downtown restaurant opened that was named after him. It is the year 2011 and it is still there.

This is Joe Fortes on a mural on Beatty Street.

This is the Alexandra Park Bandstand. Or at least that is what it used to be called. The Queen Anne style architecture is characterized by its light and airy wooden structure, cantilevered floor, curved brackets, hipped roof and ornate fretwork.
The Vancouver Park Board, with financial assistance from Haywood Securities, Amon Industries and the BC Heritage Trust, restored this 1914 beauty. It is now called the Haywood Bandstand.

I hope you find the beauty around you. (I forgot that on Monday's post but know that I always want you to find these things.)

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