Travels Through East Vancouver

Archive for February, 2010|Monthly archive page


In East Van Institutions on February 22, 2010 at 3:30 pm

The posters are yellowing on the walls. Cracks in the ceiling seem to grow with every beer I finish. Someone is glued to the TV screen, watching Eddie Murphy in Beverley Hills Cop II. Darts are bouncing around the place, the players probably too drunk to have access to sharp pointy objects. At a table in the back a loud rant about the municipal election competes with a loud rant about organized labour and the need for a general strike. Just across from us a group of four huddles around drinks, their conversation a conspiratorial whisper about some upcoming political action. And at our table, people drop in and out of rambling discussions about books, and unions, and radical gossip about whoever and whatever.

It’s the WISE Club, and I’ve been coming here since the early 1990s when I discovered the spot after a folk music show in the upstairs hall. Meg’s been dropping in since she moved to the city in the mid-1990s. And though no doubt on countless occasions we’ve been at different tables here, engaged in different debates about exactly the same kinds of things, it’s only in this last couple of years that we’ve come together, the spot that was each of ours now the spot that is both of ours. Drinking-hole. Dank basement. Gathering place of communists, anarchists, writers, musicians, ne’er-do-wells, students, folkies and local drunks – and we’ve been all of these at various times in this place. It’s the WISE. It’s exactly what we want. But it sure as hell ain’t what it started out to be.

In 1957, Peggy Campbell, a Brit now living in Canada, contacted a Vancouver radio station with her name and information, hoping that she might track down others recently-immigrated from the UK for some social time and reminiscences of home. Responses came in, a little group was formed, and at Lochdale Hall on February 28, 1958, the WISE Club was officially founded. Taking its name from the acronym for Welsh, Irish, Scottish, English, the club based itself around regular gatherings for cards, darts, billiards and the like. Read the rest of this entry »


Heatley Block Saved by VPL Change in Direction

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Up with libraries! Down with heritage destruction. Kudos to the VPL for listening to the community on this one.

Vancouver Public Library Press Release: New Location for Downtown Eastside-Strathcona Branch

(Vancouver, British Columbia) – The City of Vancouver has purchased a new site for the future Downtown Eastside-Strathcona Library Branch, bringing one step closer the Library Board’s long-time vision for a full service library in the historic city centre to complement the Carnegie Reading Room.

The Downtown Eastside-Strathcona Branch, which will also provide library service to Chinatown, will be located at 720-730 East Hastings Street on the south side between Heatley Avenue and Hawks Avenue.

“This is truly a dream come true,” said Vancouver Public Library Board Chair Joan Andersen. “Providing full library service to these diverse neighbourhoods, some of which face significant economic and social challenges, has been a longstanding goal of the Vancouver Public Library Board of Trustees. We are delighted to announce that we are closer to making the branch a reality.”

The Library Board will request capital funding from the City for the design process, which is expected to begin this year. In the short term the Library will explore partnership opportunities for the development. The Board has contracted McClanaghan and Associates to consult with neighbourhoods to refine the vision for the library branch. This community input will help inform the library’s development plan. Read the rest of this entry »

Bike lane considered for viaduct

In Transportation on February 2, 2010 at 4:43 am

Plan would not affect traffic

Following in the track of its successful bike-lane trial on the Burrard Street Bridge, the city is now considering a dedicated bicycle lane on the Dunsmuir Viaduct.

The two-way bike lane, which would be separated from traffic by concrete barriers, would create a strong East-West connection between the downtown and the heavily used Adanac Street bikeway to East Vancouver, said Vision Vancouver Coun. Geoff Meggs.

The beauty of the plan, he added, is that it doesn’t negatively impact motorists.

One of the viaduct’s three traffic lanes was cordoned off several years ago to facilitate the construction of the Spectrum/Costco development near GM Place.

The staff recommendation, which comes before council Thursday, would see existing concrete barriers shifted to the viaduct’s northernmost lane from the southernmost lane —maintaining two traffic lanes into downtown. The cost of the project is $300,000.

The proposed configuration would result in a separated, four-metre-wide, bike-only lane as well as two narrow traffic lanes heading into downtown. The existing sidewalk would be unchanged.

The staff report is also looking at something that could have a large impact on traffic — how to implement separated bike lanes in the downtown peninsula.

Meggs warned that there are no easy answers downtown as separated bicycle lanes would have to come at the expense of parking spots or traffic lanes.