Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Commercial Drive and Grandview

This is the Grandview School near 1st and Commercial. The photo was taken in 1914 by Philip Timms. The school is no longer there and that corner looks like this now.
This photo is off the opposite corner of 1st and Commercial in 1922.

I want to tell you a little about a neighbourhood close to me, Grandview and Commercial Drive. Vancouver is bursting at the seams right now and is looking in all corners for new areas to build housing for the incoming residents. I told you about Brookhouse last week but that isn't where it ends. Apparently, plans are being made to change the buildings in the Grandview area.

Thanks to the Vancouver Public Library collection of photos, I downloaded a few of the Commercial Drive area and I got some of what the area looks like now.

Settlement began in this area in the 1890s with the establishment of the Vancouver-New Westminster Interurban service. Growth picked up early in the 20th century when property owners subdivided their large properties and built blocks of houses.
Here's a photo of the Interurban railway taken by Philip Timms. 
Leonard Frank took this 1929 photo at the corner of East 5 and Commercial.
The last two photos are of the corners at 5th and Commercial and there is still a gas station there.

The streetcars running on Commercial Drive - called Park Drive until 1911 - helped support the community based shops and services. Newly rich citizens built large homes on "Grandview Hill" and looked at the burgeoning city from their front windows.

Grandview is a good example of a neighbourhood that has adapted well to the 21st century. We have a wide mix of housing ranging from cottages to mansions to co-ops to apartment buildings. Retail buildings on "The Drive" have apartments upstairs and townhouses as well as condos are popping up all over the district.
Corner of Venables and Commercial, 1955. Photo by Vic Spooner
The corners today.

If a person wanders around Grandview, they will find excellent heritage buildings, mature landscaping and a historic commercial core. They can look in awe at homes where some of our city's elite built homes -which look like they belong on the city's west side - and lived lives that helped create Vancouver.

Unfortunately, this vibrant, eclectic, distinctive and desirable neighbourhood is in danger and on Friday I will explain more.

You would think that these two are of the same building wouldn't you? Apparently, they aren't though. The lower one was taken in 1922 and is listed as being at Napier and Commercial. The top photo was taken further south than that. Hmm. Wonder if a mistake was made on the listing of the old photo.
This is 1575 Commercial Drive in 1929 as seen through the lens of Leonard Frank.

And here is 1575 today - the hardware store.

I want to thank the Vancouver Heritage Society website for the information on Grandview and the Vancouver Public Library for the old photos.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Leonard Frank took this photo of the Grandview Theatre at 1730 Commercial Drive in 1930.
Here is the address in 2013.

I talked above about the building at the corner of Napier and Commercial and this is it.

, , , , , , ,,


  1. Thanks for posting this informative little article!

    I am a native Vancouverite, and have recently become interested in the history of our city.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the entry. In the four and a half years I have been writing this blog, I am always surprised at how much history our city does have!