Posts filed under #inhabitsouthgranville

Two Cents in Two Sentences - What do you collect?

 Illustration by  Zenija Esmits

Illustration by Zenija Esmits

From tarnished commemorative spoons to albums full of scratch-and-sniff stickers, most of us have had a collection at one time or another. Here are ours. What are yours? Play along why don't ya?

ZE:"I unconsciously collect things, e.g. inadvertently ending up with an Eiffel Tower collection. It began with buying and being gifted mini metal Towers to uselessly sit on shelves and gather dust - it has devolved without out any help from me, into a smattering of Eiffel themed mugs, magnets, key chains and note pads - Ruined.

HM: "I seem to have a thing for ticket stubbs and travel ephemera. I have almost every boarding pass from every flight I've ever taken in the last 25 years including a very interesting retro design courtesy of Aeroflot that never fails to bring back memories of a terrifying journey in an Ilyusion 62 which seemed at the time to have been fuelled largely by vodka and a huge Russian Samovar of tea."

LC: "I have exactly two Limoges porcelain trinket boxes - one shaped like an avocado, and the other is a banana, incase I am ever a super rich old lady with time on my hands, I have a serious collection to build out. However, as the daughter of a serious collector, nice shoes aside - I’m hoping to gather ‘things’ at a minimum."

HP: "OK, this is a hard one because my whole living room is a collection of flotsam and jetsom.  Mostly rocks, feathers, fossils, arrowheads and shells warmed up with the occasional coffee table book, pine cone and antique."

Two cents in Two sentences - The #10 Bus

Topic: The #10 Bus

ZE: "It smells like nicotine-soaked hair + salami and is inevitably late or early. I'm always the one getting up so an invalid or geriatric can sit down, even though there's an oblivious 19 year old & her skateboard draped across three assigned seats."

LC: “Its an expensive bus to wait for if it’s running late. The longer you stand at the #10 stop, the louder the call is to walk inside MISCH and just ‘look around’… as if."

HM: "I'm in favour of it. And If I can avoid being hit by one, so much the better."

HP: "I catch the No. 10 right across the street from work, so I always get a seat.  It's a quick commute home to SG, but what pisses me off are the ass-hats who stand in the doorways (even while seats are available) and refuse to move out of the way as you disembark."


 VPL and magnolias.

VPL and magnolias.

It was one of the first things I did when I moved to South Granville - get a library card.

I suppose when I applied for it I had a standard form to fill out, likely including my name, address and a list of all allergies. I remember getting a card and I must've used that card periodically (get it). However at some point use ended and sporadic sitings took their place. But god knows where and god knows when. Was it in my wallet, with my defunct UK bank cards or tucked in an ink stained pocket of a messenger bag?

Checking books out of the library has changed in even the nine years I've been in Vancouver. As if the local branch wasn't convenient enough, now I can tap some digital keys on my mobile, enter a code and reserve a hard copy, or if my laziness factor is exceptionally high - an ebook. That way not only can I be as noisy as I want, but I can read a book via iPad and I don't even need to leave the confines of my apartment. Which means no interaction with humans and ultimately, a happier me. 

I wandered into the Firehall Branch last week and was told in order to get a new card with an existing account it would cost me $2.00. A steal. The fact that I could've opened a completely new account and it wouldn't have cost a dime is beside the point. I rattled off my new address and my amended allergy list and I was off to the literary races. In stereotypical librarian fashion, the woman that assisted me was stern with very little patience and even less personality. She told me I had a late fee and asked if I wanted to pay it now. Keeping in mind I think the last time I visited the VPL was in 2006. The way she delivered the question I was half expecting several hundred dollars in fines. Very seriously she said "Two dollars and sixty cents." - which included my new card. Thank god these things don't accrue interest. And that right there is why the library is awesome.

At any rate, I've got two e-books on order (via iPad) and am waiting with bated breath for an e-mail alerting me to their availability. How lucky are we that we have a VPL branch right here in the neighborhood - not that it really matters. 

Freedom 45?

It's Spring. The time when a young(ish) woman's fancy turns to thoughts of . . . retirement. Well, not so much retirement as old age in general. Because I plan on living in South Granville forever and ever, should I consider putting my name on a list for a spot at one of SG's coveted retirement homes? Is it like preschool? Apparently parents these days start the admissions process at infancy. Does a similar rule apply to nursing homes? At almost middle age should I be thinking of my geriatric future?

 Me: dancing around the SGPL water feature in front of my future home. Photo ©2014  Helena McMurdo

Me: dancing around the SGPL water feature in front of my future home. Photo ©2014  Helena McMurdo

With a medium-sized billboard type mural depicting the tranquility and comfort of tea-cups, scones and shrubbery,  Chalmers Lodge on 12th certainly has its "charm" (no pun intended). However,  South Granville Park Lodge on 14th is my personal favourite.

The retirees seem to be entirely content when I've seen them loitering on the benches out front and the garden appears tidy and cared for. Embodying timeless mid-century architecture not to mention the gratuitous water feature at the entrance, SGPL would be the perfect transition from Hycroft Towers.

I mean I've already got the selection of moth-eaten cardigans and the pacemaker. I'm halfway there. May as well get in on the ground level. In fact, on the off chance I get in sooner rather than later, I have a hunch I'd have no trouble assimilating to retired life. 

Warm cups of milky tea and scrabble games all day, every day. Of course I'd have to get a lilac rinsed "permanent" and adopt a wardrobe of colorful crocheted shawls. With those things in place I could happily shuffle to the shops on Granville for all eternity, or age 75. Whichever comes first.

Full disclosure: When I told boyfriend this was going to be my next SGI post he said "Don't publish it until we actually get our names in. You always have good ideas before everyone else."

So heads up South Granville Park Lodge. You're about to get some new recruits. Is there hazing like in college? Should we bring our own beer-bong?

The Odd Couple

Play, film - any way you slice it, one of my all time favourites.

There are classic lines, clever lines, quick-witted insults and snarky remarks at every turn. Clever classic and comedic. In my opinion, the three C's of entertainment.

Cut to: Valentines Day 2014 - When my mismatched other half sprung for tickets to our neighborhood theatre - The Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. In celebration of our differences and toleration of one another we were going to see The Odd Couple as it was originally intended to be seen - in the flesh. It wasn’t my first time; Ive seen it performed before. Years ago a girlfriend of mine played one of the Pigeon Sisters, Gwendolyn or Cecily - who the hell knows.

 Photograph taken seconds before my "Felix" told his "Oscar" to iron her top and run a comb through her hair.

Photograph taken seconds before my "Felix" told his "Oscar" to iron her top and run a comb through her hair.

Boyfriend is Felix to my Oscar. Like most people we both have bits of the opposing character loitering in our psyche. However, Boyfriend does have that fastidious OCD thing in spades. There's a place for everything and everything in its place. I on the other hand, am a little more cavalier about things. He'd say I like to set traps for him around the apartment - I say my clothes and shoes simply fall where they may - it's not like my rogue socks lie in wait for unsuspecting bare ankles to wander by.

The Arts Club production of The Odd Couple was fantastic, not to mention a bunch of other complimentary adjectives. I laughed, I did not cry. I did however, annoyingly whisper lines into Boyfriend’s ears seconds before they were delivered on stage. Fun was had by one and all - and by all, I mean me.

In my unprofessional opinion, the casting was superb. The card game gang was perfect in their comedic timing and improvisation. When a rogue pickle flew from the stage into the front row and then was promptly flung back onto the stage – Odd Couple pal; Roy (played by Alec Willows) calmly picked up the pickle that had done its rounds on a selection of floors, and popped it casually into his mouth. With the audience in gales of laughter, the actors kept it together expertly.

Andrew McNee's interpretation of Oscar stole the show. His laid-back sloppiness to Felix’s (Robert Moloney) exceedingly high-strung anxiousness was impeccable. I'm not even remotely close to a theatre critic so I don’t know how similar the film is to the play. Presumably because Neil Simon wrote the play and subsequently adapted it for film it's pretty similar. How much artistic license do directors take when interpreting a classic like this? All I know is, being highly familiar with the Walter Matthau/Jack Lemon version, I was in no way disappointed (as I sometimes can be when it comes theatre). Most of us grow up watching movies. We often have cinematic expectations. It’s generally only later in life that we see actors portraying some of our favourites on stage. I’ve been disappointed in the past. Not so with The Stanleys presentation of The Odd Couple.

The bad news: Its over in less than a week. So get on it Inhabiters! Do yourself a solid and take your favourite nemesis out for an evening or afternoon of cultural excellence. If all else fails, revisit the 1968 film. 

Thanks Neil Simon for being a genius - and thanks Arts Club Theatre for doing his genius justice. 

Fill 'er up sonny.

 Hycroft Medical Building under construction in the background.

Hycroft Medical Building under construction in the background.

No kidding (see previous article) - There really was a full-service garage at Hycroft Towers. Lucky tenants got the royal treatment when it came to their Edsel or Studebaker. Gone are the days of gas-jockeys and whitewalls, now the grand 61 year-old building simply has parking and potted plants. Regardless, there's still a smattering of that nostalgic charm left in the ol' girl.

 Spit-shining the chrome and buffing the bumper.

Spit-shining the chrome and buffing the bumper.

The Best Laid Plans

Finally. I made it to the movies - specifically, the movies at 5th Ave Theatre. There's no arguing, this is our neighborhood cinema. Anyway - the last two times I've been, the films have been sold out (fury). It's not like I arrived 15 minutes to show time either. Shaking fist

Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on you also. Third time’s a charm? Attempt number three: tickets were purchased mid-day for the evening showing of American Hustle (stupendous btw). After putting two and two together I had realized in order to enjoy a film locally I was going to have to be less fly by the seat of my pants about it. Planning may be in order.

Of course this casualness is why folks love Fifth Ave. It's smaller and more intimate than say the cinematic behemoth downtown; Scotia Bank Theatre. Although recently Fifth’s been almost as busy, at least proportionally.

What is going on?! Well, with my keen powers of deduction I pieced it together. My observations are as follows:

popcorn and DVDs.jpg
  • About a year ago there existed a semi-local “rival” theatre. The Ridge offered the same "boutique" movie-going experience. Those days are gone. Instead in something like 2 years, you'll be able to buy a condo underneath the nostalgic Ridge signage. Turn on the flat screen, throw in a DVD and turn on the air popper.

  • Secondly. Fifth Ave is no longer a Festival Theatre. It's now Cineplex. Crap. This means more mainstream shows, WAY more staff and as a result a heap more movie-goers. Plus, I don't think their popcorn has retained its legendary status.

Fifth Ave still retains some of its charm: Like the mosaic by the bathrooms, the post modern “city scape” encircling the foyer and my favorite - the scraps of newspaper tacked to a wall detailing hard nosed reviews of the current movie listings. Get there early enough and you can read ‘em all, alternatively you can read the measly Tribute magazine they now carry. 

Not so charming: There’s still an Australian voice used for the automated ticket machines outside. Hey, better than South African right? Anyone? Tumbleweed*

Bright side? Well, I can now use the free Ciniplex tickets that have been wilting in my wallet for over a year.

Up The Street & Down Memory Lane - Part 5

I love my apartment.
Hycroft Towers (not to be confused with Fawlty Towers - I WISH!) has a lot going for it. It is comparatively large, has a great layout and excellent original features. Plus the building itself is an architectural landmark. 

  "Children will be permitted on a case basis."

 "Children will be permitted on a case basis."

Built in 1952 by Vancouver Architects Semmens and Simpson, Hycroft Towers was advertised as the largest apartment building in Canada. 

The building was particularly impressive for a few reasons:

One of which was the land it was going to be built on. Apparently the grade between Marpole Ave. (often mistaken for 16th Ave.) north to 15th is quite the topographic challenge, a challenge everyone was eager to see conquered - and conquered it was. With this steep grade, the large triangular lot (originally belonging to Hycroft Manor and acting as the estate's vegetable garden - more like small farm) ended up affording many of the building's tenants large unobstructed views of the city, mountains and water.

Secondly and maybe most notably, Hycroft Towers has all the earmarks of the “International Style” of Architecture (read: Modern) and is a direct reference to pioneer Modernist; Le Corbusier’s “5 Points of Architecture”. 

  • Pilotis
  • Free ground plan
  • Free façade 
  • Elongated windows
  • Roof garden (that's right, you heard me)

Boyfriend (see previous article) says . . . and I quote: "Darling, we live in Unité d'Habitation." After doing some research - I say hopefully one day we'll live in Villa Savoye.

  Photo © 2013  Helena McMurdo 

 Photo © 2013 Helena McMurdo 

Third - the aforementioned rooftop garden. A communal outdoor space sits happily on top of the north wing of the building. Residents can view this 360 degree panorama (arguably the best in the city) 365 days (and nights) of the year. Tables, umbrellas plants and chaises pepper the rooftop to maximize resident's enjoyment.  

In Hycroft Tower's case, size and luxury really did matter. The building boasts large well thought out floor plans (see below: inclusion of grand piano in interior drawings), massive expanses of window and back in "the day" a full service garage (the price of fuel being included in monthly fees).

Hycroft Towers-floor plans.jpg

Having lived in Hycroft for three and a half years, I can attest to the view, the quiet concrete living and everything that made it special in the early 50's. It has a timeless design (inside and out) and stands head and shoulders above its condo competitors throughout the city.

Mine is a love affair with Hycroft. I have become more than attached to its history, my future and our years together.


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