Friday, January 11, 2013

Night Life in Vancouver

URGENT: A Vancouver landmark is scheduled to close January 20, 2013 so that it can be torn down and condominiums put in its place. Can you sign the petition to save it?

I am continuing to show you photos of the Terminal City Iron Works complex but I want to talk today about the striptease industry in Vancouver. For reference, I am reading Burlesque West by Becki L. Ross. This is quite the book, detailed and much research has gone into it. It is impressive.

I am going to start with the period of time after World War II. It had been a rough start for the twentieth century with the tragedy of World War I, the despair of the Great Depression and the horrors of World War II. But finally it was over and good times were looming on the horizon.

Vancouver was emerging as a force in Western Canada. Provincially, there was a boom in the export of oil, fish, natural gas, hydro-electric power, minerals, and forest products. My beautiful city was a central depot for these resources as well as the world's largest grain-shipping centre.

Vancouver was being sold as an appealing tourist destination - as it is today. The majestic beauty of the mountains, the sparkling gem of the Pacific Ocean, the serenity of Stanley Park draw people from around the world. A playground for the outdoors people.

Then there was Vancouver's night life. The blue laws, which prohibited commercial entertainment on Sundays were revoked. Vancouver was ready to party!

Starting in the 1950s, this confident port city beamed with civic pride as sleek, modern office buildings, diverse cultural venues, and state of the art sports facilities sprung up.

By the 1960s, our  city was ablaze with the electric energy of 18,000 neon signs. The Granville Bridge offered the denizens of the densely populated West End easier access to the down town core. Yes, these were good years for Vancouver.
For tourists looking for excitement, Vancouver's night spots were as alluring as the mountains, parks and oceans were to the outdoor adventurer. A person could go see live music such as big band, swing, jazz, blues, soul, and rock 'n roll. Whether the fun seeker was young, old, urban, suburban, visitor or resident - Vancouver's night life cast its spell on them all.

It was during the forties and fifties that live acts prospered in Vancouver's down town core. (Later, that success would spread to the ever growing suburbs and small towns that our improved transportation routes now linked together.) Those routes also brought to the city the miners and loggers from the interiors and coastal regions - some of those workers would have been in the bush or underground for months without female companionship.

Vancouver was gaining a reputation as the 'home to the hottest nightclubs north of San Francisco' and this was due partially because of the influence of Las Vegas. There is no other city in Canada that has the same geographical and symbolic linkage to 'Sin City'.

Monday I will be looking at more on Vancouver's night life after World War II and getting more into the burlesque and strip tease side. I hope you will join me.

I hope you find the beauty around you. 

No comments:

Post a Comment