Friday, April 26, 2013

Grandview Centurians

This is a heritage reinterpretation by Allen Diamond Architects. The original home - built in 1909 - was used as a rooming house for decades and was altered almost beyond recognition.

On Wednesday, I told you about the 'Miracle Mile' ran in 1954. What I didn't tell you was the the event was the cover story of the premier issue of Sports Illustrated. The games were also broadcast by CBC's new local station, CBUT, becoming the first international sporting event ever broadcast across North America. This brought Vancouver its first taste of international exposure.

The triangular closed front gable, the curved-shingled indented sleeping porch on the second floor and cut-in front stoop are all main features that reflect the Edwardian style. Most homes of this style have shed dormers while this one has a gabled one.

Traditional Edwardian homes also have smaller windows than this modern adaptation. The triple set of double-hung windows is not a historic style and the vertical glazing bars on the top sashes are reminiscent of the 1920s not the 1910 era.

Vancouver had another reason to celebrate in 1954. That year, our first cocktail bar was licensed. It was located on the top floor of the Sylvia Hotel.

Two years later, Billy Haley and the Comets performed at the Kerrisdale Arena. The Vancouver Sun labelled it as the 'ultimate in musical depravity'. The fans paid no attention to this negativity. The powerful youth culture that made its mark on the sixties and seventies had begun.
This front gabled 'Vancouver Craftsman' home is more commonly seen in Kitsilano and rare to see in any other district. The home has exposed rafters and brackets and small bracketed shed roof over the sleeping porch, which are typical of this style.

The fifties may have seen happy and productive and consumer orientated but there was also a dark side. The cold war was going on in the background and we still lived under the shadow of the atomic bomb that had been cast by World War II.

The evil Soviet Union was a threat to war and fodder for those who could alarm the people. Employees were screened for Communist sympathies, private citizens built their own bomb shelter and air-raid sirens were tested.  And don't forget about Senator McCarthy.

The students at UBC - University of British Columbia - publicly denounced McCarthyism as a "witch hunt" (they weren't alone in that thought) and the senator as a 'facist' and urged Canada to bar the politician from entering our country.

The fifties was a decade of progress yet that progress came with growing pains. By the time the decade ended, Vancouver had to deal with big city problems such as traffic congestion and urban decay. It was in the following decades, even now, that the city would define itself by the way we deal with these challenges.

Once again, thanks are extended to Aynsley Vogel and Dana Wyse and their book, Vancouver, A History in Photographs as well as the Grandview Heritage Group for the information on the homes. I hope you find the beauty around you.

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