Our Community Library Thrives

December 1, 2018

Image: Tyee

Almost  four years ago we were delighted to be at the opening of the Salsbury Garden Book House conceived and constructed by our friends Penny Street and Steven Holmes, two of the most active and intelligent neighbourhood activists. Since then, the community library and resting space has thrived, lovingly maintained.

Now it is the subject of an excellent feature article this week in the Tyee.  Well worth the read.

 

 

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Changes on The Drive #88

December 1, 2018

It has been a weird week for weather, with terrific rainfalls and spring-like temperatures. I managed to dodge most of the raindrops doing the walk yesterday morning.

The storefront at 2240 Commercial is still vacant, but there is at least a notice that Pet Pantry will be opening soon.

The new-ish storefront at 2082 Commercial is also still vacant, but is now signed to be La Pacche Pizza soon.

Image: Cannibal Cafe, Instagram

Both the Cannibal Cafe at 1818 Commercial and the Storm Crow Tavern at 1305 Commercial get rave reviews for their boozy milkshakes of all things!

As foreshadowed last month, Escents at 1744 Commercial has closed and the space is vacant. The shop had been open on the Drive for almost two decades.

At 1714 Commercial, Mintage gets a great review (“one of the best places you’ll find vintage clothing in East Vancouver”) in a list of the best thrift stores in the city.

The new-to-be bakery in Il Mercarto continues to scream from posters that it is opening soon but, from cracks in the paper that cover the windows, it looks like they are still down to the concrete inside.

Also at Il Mercato, the Tim Hortons has been closed for a week or so while it gets a full-on renovation.  The counterspace seems to have stayed in the same place, but the seating has been rearranged and all the back splashes have been replaced.

 

The Libra Room at 1608 Commercial gets a good call out in The Daily Hive as “the only place in Vancouver where you’ll find live music seven nights a week.”

The christmas trees have arrived at Home Hardware on the corner of Commercial & Graveley, filling the air with their festival aroma. I look forward to that every year.

Sopra Sotto at 1510 Commercial gets an interesting review of its charcuterie offerings in Vancouver Weekly.

The former Al Basho and Elizabeth Bakery space at 1399 Commercial is still undergoing a major renovation to become Livia, opening soon.

The storefront at 1303 Commercial has been listed as vacant for almost two years. The owner told me a long time ago that they were looking for an arts-based renter. For much of the past year, the space has been used by a friend of the owner to store some items. Now it seems to have been cleaned up, though barely filled, and there is a sign for Canucks Auctions.

As suggested a couple of months ago (in Changes #86), Dandelion Kids at 1206 Commercial has now closed and the space is vacant.

As mentioned last month, My Sister’s Closet has taken over the REACH storefront at 1151 Commercial.  I think it is a short-run thing, so we’ll have to see what happen after Christmas.

The renovation at Joe’s Grill at 952 Commercial is obviously more extensive than originally thought as they are still not open.

The thoroughly dependable, rarely mentioned, and definitely non-trendy Sunrise Pizza & Steak House at 949 Commercial gets a good review in an article on late-night pizza joints.

Kin Kao, at 903 Commercial, gets a good review in the Daily Hive’s list of the best Thai noodle houses.

 

Vacancies on the Drive this month:  2235 Commercial (2 months vacant), 2240 (9 months), 2082 (11 months), 2086 (11  months), 2088 (11 months), 1812 (9 months), 1810 (9 months), 1801 (23 months), 1744 (1 month), 1745 (2 months), the bakery space in Il Mercato (47 months), 1409 (3 months), 1408 (8 months), 1399 (4 months), 1268 (15 months), 1206 (1 month).

 

For those interested in the future of retail, here is an interesting article about how certain large corporations who make much of their living from impulse buyers are hoping to deal with the growth of online shopping.

 

Previous editions of the Changes.


Calendar Date: Aboriginal Arts & Crafts Fair

November 27, 2018


Tonight: Patrick Condon on the Broadway Corridor

November 5, 2018

The next monthly Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC) meeting is tonight at 7:00pm, in the Learning Resources Centre under Britannia Public Library on Napier Street.

PATRICK CONDON — whom many would have chosen as first choice for Vancouver’s Mayor had he not had to withdraw for medical reasons — will be speaking on The Broadway Corridor: Transit Options and Affordable Housing.

Professor Condon has written and talked extensively on this subject. His knowledgeable urban planning insights go against the Vision Vancouver plan for Broadway and, I believe, against the new Mayor’s ideas too.

For the moment I am sticking to my anti-subway stance and I am hoping he provides even more evidence to support that position.

This will be too good to miss and I wonder if the space will be big enough for the anticipated audience.  Everyone is welcome!


The Value Of A Picture

November 3, 2018

I have on occasion made posts here requesting anyone with early pictures of Commercial Drive and Grandview to make them available for study by historians and those interested in heritage issues.

I’m not talking about art studies by famous photographers, either, but rather snapshots by locals.  If your Aunt Gertrude was visiting in 1940 to see cousin Billy’s hardware store and a picture was taken, that would be great.  Historians may not be so interested in Gertrude and Billy themselves, but what we might get to see behind them and beside them can add vital historical information not otherwise available. I’ll give you an example:

At the very beginning of 1936, the former Odlum property on the east side of the 1500-block Commercial, to the intersection with Grant, was being developed as a gas station for Signal Oil. On the other side of Commercial, local developer Angus Campbell had bought the two lots on the corner with Grant. On pages 86-87 of “The Drive” I described these building projects which were completed by May 1936.   And I included a current photograph of the Campbell properties:

I had no reason to think the building had been altered since 1936.  However, we now have a wonderful image previously unseen from November 1937 that shows both the layout of the Signal Station on the east side (lower half of the image) but also, at the very right edge, a slice of the Blue Bird Beauty Salon on the west side:

This photograph shows that those stores were originally built as single-storey structures and the building was modified and enlarged sometime later: something I might not have known without this image. I’m sure that when Edward Odlum took the picture he was primarily interested in the development of the Odlum lots on the east side, but his snapshot has also helped illuminate the history of the west side.

So, do you or your family have a collection of pictures that might be of interest to the Grandview Heritage Group?   If you do, please email me.  Thanks in advance!


Changes on The Drive #87

November 1, 2018

I managed to get the walk done on Tuesday lunchtime, in that dry patch between the downpours when the cool weather was just perfect for me.

Eggs Canna Dispensary at 2235 Commercial has closed until, it hopes, it can be licensed under the new legalized regulations.  It shut down after a massive closeout sale at the beginning of October.

 

Tangent Cafe, 2095 Commercial, celebrated its 6th anniversary this past month.

The exotic flavours at the new Elephant Garden Creamery ice cream place at 2080 Commercial get a rave review at Vancouver Is Awesome.

Prado, 1938 Commercial, makes it onto the Hive‘s list of best coffee shops in Vancouver, as does Spade at 1858.

Ar 1818 Commercial, Cannibal Cafe‘s Beast Burger gets a heart-stopping review in the Georgia Straight.

The two lots comprising the old Wonderbucks building at 1801 Commercial was sold on 17th October for $8.61 million.  As I passed by, there was a chap working diligently on papering over the windows.

 

I’ll have to do some digging and find out who purchased it.  It has been vacant now for 22 months and it wold be good to see some activity there.  I doubt the old building will survive, though.

There is a For Lease sign on the window of Escents aromatherapy store at 1744 Commercial.

 

Closed, apparently for legal/PR reasons while the new legalized cannabis licensing regime takes shape, is the fairly new KushKlub at 1745 Commercial.

 

Mintage, the second-hand store de luxe at 1714 Commercial, gets a mention in Vancouver Is Awesome’s list of the city’s best thrift stores AND in their list of Halloween suppliers.

I notice that the upper floor offices of 1448 Commercial are vacant and for lease. That used to be Spartano’s Notary office, I am sure.  Their realty company started doing business on the Drive in the 1960s.

The former Al-Basha space at 1399 Commercial has been taken over for a new bakery and restaurant called Livia. It is undergoinf major renovation and is expected to open sometime this winter.

Image: Scout

Sascha Thompson, owner of The FlowerBox at 1319 Commercial, was interviewed about the cost of property taxes which, in her case, she says, have risen to about $700 a month and which has forced her to cut down on business.

It is good to see that Havana has reopened at 1212 Commercial after their fire.

Sula, the Indian restaurant at 1128 Commercial, receives a good review at 604 Now.

The election is over and One City has moved away, so the REACH storefront at 1151 was vacant once again. However, I hear that My Sister’s Closet thrift store is moving into the space for the next few months, perhaps as soon as today!

Joe’s Grill at 952 Commercial is closed for renovations until early this month. I guess they can see a decent future for the place now that the wellness clinic next door is attracting clients.

At 931 Commercial, Little Miss Vintage gets a good mention in Vancouver Is Awesome’s list of thrift stores.

 

Vacancies on the Drive this month:  2235 Commercial (1 month vacant), 2240 (8 months), 2082 (10  months), 2086 (10 months), 2088 (10 months), 1812 (8 months), 1810 (8 months), 1801 (22 months), 1745 (1 month), Strawberry Bakery site in Il Mercado (46 months), 1409 (2 months), 1408 (7 months), 1399 (3 months), 1303 (23 months), 1268 (14 months), 1151 (1 month)

 

For those interested in the potential future of retail shopping, here is a fascinating view from the World Economic Forum. Well worth the 1:44.

 

Previous editions of Changes on the Drive.

 


Important Date For Calendar: Condon On The Broadway Corridor

October 30, 2018

The next monthly Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC) meeting is on Monday 5th November at 7:00pm, in the Learning Resources Centre under Britannia Public Library on Napier Street.  (Note that the GWAC email says 6:00p,m, but this is an error and will be corrected, I understand.)

PATRICK CONDON — whom many would have chosen as first choice for Vancouver’s Mayor had he not had to withdraw for medical reasons — will be speaking on The Broadway Corridor: Transit Options and Affordable Housing.

Professor Condon has written and talked extensively on this subject. His knowledgeable urban planning insights go against the Vision Vancouver plan for Broadway and, I believe, against the new Mayor’s ideas too.

For the moment I am sticking to my anti-subway stance and I am hoping he provides even more evidence to support that position.

This will be too good to miss and I wonder if the space will be big enough for the anticipated audience.  Everyone is welcome!