A gal born and raised in Vancouver, just like her mother, remembers family connections to old buildings.
Heritage Week runs from February 18th to 24th and offers a chance to explore heritage across BC and Canada. Heritage can bring people together and create a sense of belonging. A regular old building can connect us to history and serve us as a base for the engaged community of Kitsilano. Here are a few selections I remember fondly.
The Coca Cola Plant is now the Lululemon building at 1818 Cornwall. The building was built in May 1941 and Lululemon purchased the building in 2011. It was a landmark for us kids coming home from downtown on the Macdonald bus.
Plimley Dodge Chrysler was a car dealership at West 4th and Vine and is now Whole Foods Market. You can see the stylized hubcaps on the Vine Street side of the building. My dad, Ken McCuaig, always went to see the new cars in September each year, trying to decide if he should buy another Dodge. About 1965 he bought a beautiful Valiant convertible with red upholstery. Now we see many luxury car dealerships in the neighbourhood.
The previous location of the Kitsilano Branch of the Vancouver Public Library was 2375 West 4th Avenue – now the Safeway parking lot. My aunt, Mabel Blair, worked as a clerk there for many years and loved serving all the readers.
The Salvation Army Thrift Store, at the SW corner of West 4th and Cypress used to be the CFUN radio station. My teenage friends and I were great fans of the popular DJ, Fred Latremouille. The building is now slated for a new development of rental units and commercial spaces.
Jersey Farms, “Collecting Milk in the Fraser Valley”, 2256 West Broadway, is the current location of IGA and London Drugs. I remember going to the dairy to pick up outdated cottage cheese which was good food for our Scottish terrier, Jocko. Our family friend, “Uncle Frank” Bradley started working for Jersey Farms handling the horses and rose up through the ranks of the company to become the General Manager.
The red brick building at the NW corner of Burrard and West 16th was where I went to Sunday School. There were so many kids in the burgeoning Kitsilano area that Canadian Memorial United Church had a bus to travel around the neighbourhood to pick us up on Sunday mornings. The building was a type of community centre with a gym and swimming pool.
Of course, the building is now a condo. The church itself at the SW corner of West 15th and Burrard, was built in 1927 as a memorial to those who served and died in World War I. It was born in peace. Ten large windows celebrate two significant historical events in each province: 20 scenes including figures like, John Cabot, Jacques Cartier, Captain Vancouver, Tecumseh and Louis Riel. It’s another way to view Canadian history.
For further information on the history of Kitsilano, check out the Historic Kitsilano – Northeast Map Guide published by the Vancouver heritage Foundation in 2014.
Last modified: February 21, 2019