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My family’s deep roots in Vancouver provide me with a profound respect and a personal nostalgia for the heritage architecture reflected in the city’s many older houses, particularly on the West Side where heritage preservation has become such a divisive real estate topic.
I am a third-generation Vancouverite and proud of my working-class background and of how, while employed at the post office, my grandfather was able to buy a house on English Bay around the turn of 20th century. My Aunt Carrie, a dressmaker, bought a house on West 22nd Avenue shortly after World War II. My dad (who was also a workingman) and our family lived on West 2nd Avenue near Balsalm in Kitsilano.
My grandparent’s English Bay house is long gone, purchased by the City when it established the public beach many decades ago. Aunt Carrie’s house, now painted a bright blue, is still standing and in fact recently sold. My dad’s Kitsilano neighbourhood now sprouts condominium buildings.
At lot has changed in Vancouver since my grandparents’ time, but if they were alive today, I think they would share my pragmatic views on preserving older architecture. I believe heritage preservation must be balanced with the rights of owners to do what they choose with their property, following municipal zoning and provincial laws. It was a shame, for example, that Grandpa’s English Bay house was lost, but how many thousands of Vancouverites have enjoyed the public beach since?
I remember my dad telling us how polluted False Creek was years ago, how the Vancouver sky would be grey with smoke from coal and wood burning fires. Today, after virtually all the old industrial buildings have disappeared, high-density False Creek supports sea life, even the rare whale, and the city’s air and water is cleaner now than when my dad was a kid.
Change can be wrenching, but it is also inevitable and, oftentimes, for the good of the city and all its citizens. I am still a working-class woman and I aspire to live in a hometown that embraces the future while respecting the vision and traditions of those who built it.
I applaud the City of Vancouver’s heritage preservation actions, including the First Shaughnessy heritage district and its heritage registry, which celebrate and protect the architecture of the past.
It is only at the local political level, where future steps can be taken to preserve the past. Participation in local politics produces the greatest impact on our daily lives, and is the right place to be active to actually affect change in heritage preservation.
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4566 NW Marine Drive,Vancouver West
1098 Wolfe Avenue,Vancouver West
5476 Angus Drive,Vancouver West
4745 West 6th Avenue,Vancouver West
4176 Crown Crescent,Vancouver West
1657 W King Edward Avenue,Vancouver West
1075 Douglas Crescent,Vancouver West
4327 Locarno Crescent,Vancouver West
4584 West 1st Avenue,Vancouver West
3690 East Boulevard,Vancouver West
4335 Rockridge Road,West Vancouver
6640 Mang Road,Richmond
2421 Eddington Drive,Vancouver West
2336 West 20th Avenue,Vancouver West
9911 Bates Road,Richmond
611 Shaw Avenue,Coquitlam
2349 Lawson Avenue,West Vancouver
2714 West 32nd Avenue,Vancouver West
2817 138th Street,South Surrey White Rock
3676 West 50th Avenue,Vancouver West
11220 Seaton Road,Richmond
229 Fourth Street,New Westminster
2-2838 Birch Street,Vancouver West
4629 Ross Street,Vancouver East
10180 Finlayson Drive, Richmond,Richmond
615 Shaw Avenue,Coquitlam
1101 – 535 Nicola Street,Vancouver West
1552 129A Street,South Surrey White Rock
803 – 175 Victory Ship Way,North Vancouver
10640 Anglesea Drive,Richmond
203 – 1024 West 7th Avenue,Vancouver West
2415 West 1st Avenue,Vancouver West
1837 West 12th Avenue,Vancouver West
2885 Woodsia Place,Coquitlam
202-2065 West 12th Avenue,Vancouver West
903 – 112 East 13th Street,North Vancouver
217-10780 No 5 Road,Richmond
210-5629 Dunbar Street,Vancouver West
2204 Portside Court,Vancouver East
206-4080 Yukon Street,Vancouver West
538 – 1515 West 2nd Avenue,Vancouver West
140-15230 Guildford Drive,Surrey
202 – 14100 Riverport Way,Richmond
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