Category Archives: History

Talks at the Opening of Pennsylvania Hotel

Speakers included: Liz Evans, Executive Director of Portland Hotel Society, Hon. Rich Coleman, Minister of Housing and Social Services, Tom Siems, CMHC, Mayor Gregor Robertson, Wayne Wright, Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation, Peter Webb, Concord Pacific Group, Earl Crowe, Pennsylvania Hotel Resident. Blessing song from Dalannah Gail Bowen.

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Pennsylvania Hotel Opening

At the opening of the Pennsylvania Hotel this morning, I took some quick videos of the event:

Portland Hotel Society opened the Pennsylvania Hotel today with a pancake breakfast, gospel choir, speeches and official sign-lighting. Spot the local activists, developers, and politicians in the crowd. Opening of the Pennsylvania Hotel for housing in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. 412 Carrall Street.

The historic neon sign lights up

Performance on Carrall Street this Tuesday

Art on Carrall – literally about Carrall Street. This is the kind of thing I’ve been thinking about for years, and now it looks like Althea Thauberger is making art about this street and its complexities.

Can’t wait to walk out my door and see what she has put together.

ARTSPEAK | CARRALL STREET | ALTHEA THAUBERGER | SEP 30
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CARRALL STREET | ALTHEA THAUBERGER

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
8-11pm in the 200 block of Carrall Street, Vancouver

Carrall Street Public Forum
Thursday, October 2, 2008
7pm at 33 West Cordova Street

Althea Thauberger’s one-night performance, Carrall Street, will present the
street (brightly lit like a film set at nighttime) as a stage, or zone of
illumination where the roles of performer and spectator blur. The
interweaving of organized performers, passers-by and audience members will
allow for unforeseen interactions to take place that reveal something of
the street’s history, its current issues, as well as its future. Carrall
Street is planned in collaboration with local directors, performers and
community members.

Carrall Street is one of the oldest streets in Vancouver. It can be argued
that the entire history (and pre-history) of the city can be mapped along
its six blocks. Caught between urban gentrification and decay, the street
marks transitions from the most touristic parts of the city to what is
often described as the poorest neighbourhood in Canada. In ways that are
both unique and similar to other inner cities, it has been affected by
development, public policy neglect and polarized politics.

A publication accompanying the project will be available in 2009.

Althea Thauberger is an artist based in Vancouver. Her work involves
research and collaboration that result in performances, films, photographs,
audio recordings and books.

The performance and forum are free and open to the public.

This project has been supported by Arts Partners in Creative Development,
The Canada Council for the Arts, the City of Vancouver and the Portland
Hotel Society.

What Next for the Boulder Hotel?

This afternoon Vancouver City Council will be addressing the situation of the Boulder Hotel development proposal, which has been in the works for some time now. Incorporating the old Pig and Whistle one-story building into an innovative residential/commercial project, the developers are looking for more support from the city to bring life back into this building that hasn’t seen use on its upper floors for over 28 years. From the street it doesn’t look abandoned, as there have always been restaurants on its main floor, notably the new Boneta has been making a bit of a splash. But two floors above the restaurant have been empty for all this time.

The project has been brought by the developers twice to the civic Gastown Heritage and Planning Committee for consultation and approval of plans, particularly for heritage facade considerations. It definitely is a pity that this building which had been in the original centre of Vancouver should have been left to languish for so many years. Archival photos show this building in its heyday surrounded by bustling crowds, active and well-used. As Gastown changes, this building is in a prime location for redevelopment. There have been many delays in this project going past the planning stage, due to its need for more city support – which for some has been a contentious issue. The result of closed-door meetings between city staff and committees and the developers will be brought to Council today.

On the corner of Carrall and Cordova both the Ranier Hotel and the Boulder Hotel buildings have been unused for some time. They face each other across the intersection at Cordova. The Ranier appears to be undergoing some minor changes, but the main floor, boarded up and inactive at this time, faces the new upscale Boneta restaurant at the Boulder Hotel. It is a picture of the rate of change and the current transformation of this area.

Carrall and Hastings 1907

City Reflections is a historical film project that follows the early footage shot in 1907 from the front of a streetcar in Vancouver, and recreates that same route today.

Click on this image of Hastings and Carrall from 1907 to get to their site.

Hastings and Carrall 1907

Hastings and Carrall

Another part of the City’s Carrall Street Greenway site that is definitely worth a peek is their great interactive buildings inventory page. Mousing over the map reveals a photo of the building along with some current and historical information on it. Click on this page image to explore it for yourself.

buildings inventory

History of Carrall Street

The City of Vancouver has made a truly comprehensive site on the Carrall Street Greenway initiative. The first page of their History section has wonderful nuggets of information that anyone interested in this part of Vancouver will be fascinated to read. To go there, just click on the page image below:

Carrall History Page