Posts filed under Neighborhood Observations

Granville & 12th

Notorious and disastrous, the corner of Granville and 12th is prone to accidents. 

The most recent destruction happened last month when a chunk of Douglas Lodge was dislodged after it was plowed into. Now the retailer in the base of the building requires some serious TLC.

 Although no laughing matter - the quantity of accidents is laughable. In fact if you're a longtime resident the multitude of accidents warranted clever wall art (and branding) by Baccis. For years a multi-colored bullseye has been painted on the Bacci's exterior wall on the North East corner of the intersection.

After repeat accidents culminating in damage to their building the idea was to make the wall a focal point. Even today the metal Bacci's 'Home' lettering remains twisted due to repeat traffic abuse. The bullseye too, is still there. A more subtle version embellished with vibrant florals was painted a couple of years ago. 

Our stretch of Granville is a favorite spot for speeding traffic going to and from downtown. People are in a rush to get in and out of the city and inevitably run red lights, can't stop or are just plain unaware. Most of the intersections between 16th and 6th see their fair share of action (see our most recent incident above) - but it's the intersection at 12th that sees the majority.

It's not Monaco folks. Leave your Formula 1 tendencies at race-tracks in Abbotsford and out of South Granville.


Posted on February 3, 2016 and filed under Neighborhood Observations.

Pantone in the sky

 Fair SG in all its Pantone-hued glory.

Fair SG in all its Pantone-hued glory.

As soon as Pantone's color(s) of the year was announced it was clear where they got their inspiration. South Granville, naturally.

Rose Quartz & Serenity are the flowery names the color conglomerate has chosen for essentially pink and blue. It's the first time two hues have tied for winner(?). The reasons Pantone picked what they did span issues of gender equality to feelings of tranquility in a time when the world is under great stress. 

Regardless of reason - this shady forecast will undoubtably be seen heavily on runways, on walls and online until 2017's color of the year is chosen. 

Operation Pumpkin Patch

Call me crazy, but I think SG needs a pumpkin patch. 

Nothing fancy, in fact it can be relatively make-shift. Here's what I'm thinking: Haul all of the Meinhardt pumpkins over to the Granville Park - that's the grassy bit behind the Dog Park. We don't need any poo pumpkins - mud and bugs are enough. 

This is not an SG pumpkin patch . . . but it could be.

Never mind the logistics. I'm sure Meinhardt has the capability to load a few hundred pounds of pumpkins onto a truck every morning - drive 4 blocks and dump said pumpkins in a strategic manner on a patch of grass. Then, at the end of the day the truck would come back and gather all the rejected gourds, load 'em up and shuttle them home to 14th and Granville. I mean what would it take? 4-5 humans, maybe 3 hours overtime each and about a total of 10 hours extra work? Whatevs. 

But let's be honest, they'd only have to do it once a day because ALL the pumpkins would get picked because it's a great idea! 

Imagine a little local field dotted with various orange globes? Precious - and fun for the whole family. But most importantly, fun for me. We all know how much I dislike leaving the neighborhood, so this would be a great way for me to scratch a literal field trip off my list. 

Who's with me!

Posted on October 18, 2015 and filed under Neighborhood Observations.

Retro, Rococco or Restoration.

by Zenija Esmits

Taking a quick peruse through Pinterest you can't swing a cat without hitting a pink statement wall or strategically worn velvet couch. Decorating your home is equal in popularity to decorating yourself. But as with pinning the perfect wardrobe (a wardrobe we often can't afford, and secondly if we could we'd still stumble back to that one pair of jeans and pullover) pinning the ideal home is just as delusional-y aspirational - albeit a lot of fun.

So we continue to dream. Amongst the plethora of gold (and in some cases rose gold) fittings there are the inevitable kitchen pins sporting enormous faux beams, god awful beige granite countertops and wrought iron bar stools. To each his own I suppose. Those rose gold faucets are going to scream 2015 in 10 years when all of a sudden shell shaped sinks are back in style.

The great thing about current design trends is that really most anything goes. Whether people fixate on retro, rococco or suburban, retailers abound with whatever turns their door knob.

Over the last 10 years a few of these wily (and obviously brilliant) retailers have infiltrated South Granville. We've inadvertently become a hub for the design set. From the accessible (West Elm) to the plush (restoration hardware) and the minimalist (EQ3). A casual stroll through the neighborhood can easily culminate in a mid size cosmetic overhaul of your humble abode. Especially if you are a DIY-er and mosey below Broadway to Windsor Plywood*. 

We've got local designers to international Pinterest darlings represented in SG. Peter Cardew's design holds court in 18Karat and Kelly Wearstler is on display at Peridot. If gilding and geology are right up your alley you're in luck. Personally I'm all over this geology trend. My grandmother always (almost literally) had tonnes of rocks placed strategically on her shelves. Every room in the house had at least one interesting chunk of quartz nestled beside a stack of art books. If it wasn't quartz it was petrified wood, fools gold or jade. Maybe this was all the rage in the mid 70's when she outfitted her new BC Special entirely in danish modern, cow hides and geodes. All I know is today you can achieve this look in a 6 block length of South Granville. The joys of the modern age. It's true what they say: You can't go home again . . . wait. No.

What's Old is new again. 

*After 6 months of tripping over planks of teak on my office floor, Boyfriend has finally installed shelves on an actual wall. disclaimer: Don't let this happen to you. 

Posted on September 25, 2015 and filed under Neighborhood Observations.

See More Seymour.

Anyone having difficulty finding a GP? I know I am. Groan* Not that my current family practitioner is terrible, I’m just sort of disenchanted with her. I’m more disenchanted however, with the array of doctors (read quacks) at the Granville Medical Clinic. Located in the upper level of the dank strip mall that houses a currency exchange, a cannabis dispensary, the neighborhood cobbler and a bizarre slapped together patch of dirt featuring scraps of trellis, the Medical Clinic is somewhere between ghastly and tolerable.

In a pinch I use the aforementioned clinic, because it’s close and I’m lazy. Also I find if I pay my GP more than one visit a year, she’s likely to unceremoniously usher me through a 10 minute session, as doctors are prone to do apparently.

But the hopeless state of the BC medical system isn’t what I’m writing about. What I am writing about is the fact that as indifferent as I am with my current doc, visiting the Seymour Health Center is my favorite. Oh. Em. Gee. It’s a modernist dream. With interior atriums dividing the six stations, it’s borderline brutalist with a nice smattering of west coast airiness. It's quite Erikson-esqe with its heavy concrete skeleton juxtaposed with the interior glass that brings the outside in. Simply entering the building is consistently the best part of my doctor visit whether I'm there for pleurisy, plague or pink-eye. I love the dated blocky furniture that's a greyish, brownish muddy something or other and I happily sit where hundreds have sat, sniffed and snotted before me. I thumb through torn and stained issues of Flare and Cross Stitch Quarterly and generally end up contracting more ailments than I came in with, but I love it just the same.

The bad news: there is zero information on 1530 West 7th Ave - nothing about its architect or anything. I've scoured the internets and I've tapped my other resources, the most promising of which came back with zilch. The history of Seymour Health Centre is a mystery. So this post is now a plea for anyone who knows even a little bit about this building. It has inadvertently become one of my SG architectural faves.

Block Building

By Ženija Esmits

As with my beloved Hycroft Towers there are many who dislike the Block Building on the corner of 11th and Granville.

Where I see the beauty in the reflective copper panels and expanses of window that pick up the weather’s mood, be it a luminescent sunrise, afternoon gloom or a hazy summer evening – others see brown. That’s it. Just brown.

I never knew much about the building, not even its - let’s face it - semi unimaginative name. However I always admired it. With my not so subtle love of mid century design, this doesn’t come as a huge surprise.

Since doing a little research I’ve found out that the architectural firm behind one of Vancouver’s most dope buildings also designed this amber colored jewel in SG. The most notable of projects by Townley and Matheson was City Hall in 1935. The firm would go on to design a handful of my favorite hospitals (because they’re the ones I’ve been fortunate/unfortunate enough to visit)

In the late 60’s Townley and Matheson underwent a slight name change (and Associates) and I suppose as the name changed so did the style of the day. The Block building was built in the 70’s just before postmodernism began tastelessly popping up. 

So when you're roaming SG now you know to take note of the chameleon residing at 2695 Granville Street.

South Granville - Still Stylish


A literal snipped of SG history. Here's a small sample of a couple of neighborhood addresses past tenants.

With a rich history in retail, South Granville has had many shops, come and go over the years and I've mentioned the turnover of shops in the neighborhood on several occasions.  This clipping sent by my dad has a couple of tiny adverts pertaining to mid-century South Granville. Dad had the clipping because he and my grandmother appeared in this particular issue of the Vancouver Sun in an article about DP's (Displaced Persons) coming to Canada from various parts of war-torn Europe. Personal history aside, this page of newspaper also had precious advertisements from the day. I was particularly delighted to find the references to South Granville and particularly my beloved Boboli. 

 Vancouver Sun clipping - December 3, 1949

Vancouver Sun clipping - December 3, 1949

2776 Granville St. Edith A Carrothers - Her eponymous shop with Distinctive Styles to Fit sat in the location where Boboli is today. One of the few stores to have been going strong in the neighborhood for over 20 years, Boboli will celebrate its 30th anniversary this September.

2623 Granville has had a few incarnations in the past 10 years. Most recently JNBY (sadly missed) and most recently High Street Fashion. Back in 1949 it was Adele Beauty Salon. Still the place to beautify yourself we have salons galore on our stretch of Granville - some things never change.

Doing some minor research on the internets I found a few more addresses that could be accounted for. 2127 Granville and 2906 Granville

A portrait studio called  the Whitefoot Studio stood at 13th and Granville. What I think was an interior decorating or upholstery store - The Chelsea Shop Ltd stood at 2127 Granville where Guild House Antiques is (or is it?) Jule Ann Wellband Beauty Salon stood at 2906 (which doesn't seem to exist anymore?) 

Purdy's Chocolates used to be at 2843 and still happily sits on South Granville just a block away. The list of what used to be and what is goes on. Images are limited but our imagination can fill in the blanks

Do you have any old advertisements or photos of the neighborhood? We'd love to see. 

Posted on June 7, 2015 and filed under The Way We Were, Neighborhood Observations.

Almost Famous


It has come to our attention: Fair SG plays a starring role in Bryan Adams 80's video, Heaven. Actually there are two videos - the one people know about and this one. Naturally this little gem is our favorite as it features not only the Stanley Theatre, but it features the theatre when it was a Famous Players cinema.  Also the dreaded #10 bus makes an appearance. Not as noteworthy an appearance as in the credits of 21 Jump Street, but a claim to almost fame none the less.

Some fun facts:

  • The director of the video, Steve Barron, directed such classics as Take on me and Billie Jean. 
  • Garwin Sanford (the actor portraying the unconvincing drunk) similar to the #10 bus, appeared in 21 Jump Street - just in a lot less episodes. 
  • 20 years later none of the shops appearing in the video are still there. Correct me if I'm wrong. 
  • Interesting fact for me personally: The disgusted girlfriend is played by Lysette Anthony who played a duplicitous damsel in distress in the underrated comedy Without a Clue.