Wednesday, August 1, 2012


These are the Wenonah Apartments at 2703 Main Street. The building has stood there since 1913. Wenonah was the daughter of Tecumseh, a Shawnee chief who allied his tribe with the Brits and Canucks for the War of 1812. 

We are back in Mount Pleasant today and when we last left, we were discussing the fact that so much of the heritage in Mount Pleasant is being lost due to progress. However, all is not lost.

There is an obvious pride in the history of the area as can be seen with the tributes to the past that are everywhere. The Mount Pleasant Business Association sponsored a bus shelter that is a replica of the original streetcars that used to run in that area. The shelter is located at Broadway and Kingsway.

There is restored old-style street paving at 10th and Alberta and 10th and Columbia.

In 1996, “the City of Vancouver Planning Department adopted the Brewery Creek Guidelines which allowed the city to request developers to recognize and commemorate Brewery Creek in return for granting relaxations benefiting their proposed new developments near the route of the creek”.

I showed you the Brewery Creek Cairns, which have been added to the core of Mount Pleasant. These Cairns have plaques that tell a little of the history of the area. And you have seen the cast iron clock. These all help to remind visitors, and residents, of the rich history of the area.

Outdoor spaces have been reclaimed as well. One example is the Brewery Creek Native Plant Park next to the Artiste at Brunswick and 5th and Scotia and 5th. The plants there are ones that would have grown and flourished in that area many years ago. 

So, as you can see, there is a love of the history of the area. But there is no real protection. Nearby Gastown has a heritage protection policy and a Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee composed of representative interest groups from the Gastown area. This ensures that, for the most part, the heritage buildings are preserved. There have been attempts to adopt a similar plan for Mount Pleasant but not everything is in place yet.

There was talk about upzoning the area around Mount Pleasant's oldest block. These drastically high buildings would threaten the existence of Mount Pleasant's heritage structures through overshadowing and the out of scale feeling the skyscrapers would lend to the area. (I actually thought that in certain areas of the city there was a height restriction on new buildings but from what I have been hearing and seeing lately, I don't know.)

The city admits that “the existing Mount Pleasant residential zoning has worked very effectively to conserve neighbourhood character while allowing significant densification” 
It is a sticky situation. Real estate in Vancouver is expensive and in order for the developer to make a profit, he or she has to build up or charge so much that most people will be unable to buy. Yet, our history is important too and we must preserve that too. Whichever way you turn, there is a loser.

Thanks to Namely Vancouver by Tom Snyders and Jennifer O'Rourke for the history on Wenonah and to Ramp Vancouver for the information on Mount Pleasant.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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1 comment:

  1. Those windows are just amazing! Thanks for sharing them with me and the world.