Opinion Column

Vancouver rapidly losing its heritage 0

Bill Tieleman

By Bill Tieleman, News, Views, and Attitude – 24 hours

Protesters march to Vancouver City Hall in hopes of saving the Varsity Ridge Bowling Alley in Vancouver, British Columbia, Tuesday October 9, 2012. (FILE PHOTO CARMINE MARINELLI/24 HOURS)

Protesters march to Vancouver City Hall in hopes of saving the Varsity Ridge Bowling Alley in Vancouver, British Columbia, Tuesday October 9, 2012. (FILE PHOTO CARMINE MARINELLI/24 HOURS)

His soul swooned softly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead — James Joyce, The Dead

 

As the snow fell on Vancouver last week, it landed on a city losing parts of its past and unsure about its future.

The Vancouver of my youth has mostly disappeared in a constant swirl of change that obliterates old landmarks and creates new ones that may or may not last as long.

The Hollywood Theatre in Kitsilano, where I saw movies as both a child and adult, is all but gone; its trademark neon sign and marquee are recently both bare of the name that generations knew so well.

While the city passed a Heritage Action Plan and talks with its owner, it will likely never screen movies again – housing trumps Hollywood.

Across the street, The Toybox store has swiftly altered this year from bubbling with kids and parents buying toys to demolition dust and a construction site for new rental housing.

Further down Broadway at Trutch was my favourite childhood place – Peter’s Ice Cream – where my grandparents took me for cones.

It opened in 1945 and was a Vancouver institution – but now it is a Swiss Chalet chain restaurant and only a small plaque indicates Peter’s ever even existed.

Up Arbutus Street at 16th Avenue the Varsity Ridge Bowling Alley, where the pins were endlessly set up and knocked down for decades, has been completely swept away for condominium construction.

Anyone who has lived in Vancouver for even a few years knows that this is a changing city whose citizens place more emphasis on nostalgia than history, on development over preservation and on the future, not the past.

Some of that is good. The city is infinitely more diverse, tolerant and cosmopolitan than when I was a child. And we cannot freeze Vancouver in time, immune to market forces, rising land prices and a dramatically different economy.

But part of me still wishes to be back in 1965 Vancouver having a snowy Merry Christmas, opening gift packages from relatives in Holland and England full of Droste chocolate letters and Blackpool rock candy before going to the movies at the Hollywood with my parents.

Happy holidays to all my readers!

Bill Tieleman is a former NDP strategist. Read more at billtieleman.blogspot.com Email: weststar@telus.net Twitter: @BillTieleman

 

Read more at http://billtieleman.blogspot.com/http://billtieleman.blogspot.com/ Email: mailto:weststar@telus.netweststar@telus.net Twitter: @BillTieleman

 

 

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