Category Archives: Housing

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.

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

City Strike Grinds On

Carrall Street has been kept relatively clean by volunteers, the United We Can folks, and as a result the whole place doesn’t look too bad, or seem too terribly unhealthy, despite the city strike.

However, the Carrall Street Greenway has been very affected by the strike, and no work has been done on the whole thing for much of the summer. Tall grass and weeds are growing in the square areas that had been left for tree planting on the one area that had been constructed so far. The whole schedule for this improvement has been suspended, and this could have serious repercussions in the timeline. Hopefully there will be a resolution to the strike soon.

Meanwhile, September brings new exhibitions in the galleries, ACCESS, ArtSpeak, InterUrban and Centre A.

The New York Times Style Magazine this Sunday featured the designer at Richard Kidd, and positive mention of Carrall Street’s Irish Heather and Hunt and Gather.

Now equinox is past, we will see earlier nights, and that also means colder nights for the homeless. People are seriously nested in under the awning on Cordova Street just west of the old Pig and Whistle, and also in any nook to be found in doorways of the old Ranier Hotel. That place has been increasingly covered in graffiti through the summer, with more coming along through the month of August and early September. Almost every brick in the doorway to the former chicken place has a tag of some kind.

That’s the September wrap-up for this street of high contrast!

Just a Guy in a Shopping Cart

Cart Guy on Carrall Street

Did someone push this guy and leave him here in front of the methadone pharmacy or did he decide to just take a rest in the cart?

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.

Behind the Pennsylvania Hotel

Construction and restoration are going on inside the Pennsylvania Hotel right now.

Behind the Pennsylvania Hotel

A worker in the alley behind the hotel

Just across from the action, one of the boxes for used needles blends in with graffiti now that it has been bent over. The city has placed these needle boxes throughout the alleys in the Downtown Eastside.

Needle box in alley

Needle box in laneway off Carrall, between Pender and Hastings

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