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Old 08-31-2009, 09:05 PM   #1
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Vancouver History

As seen through our eyes.................

I'm not the oldest member here, but old enough to remember what Vancouver was like in the 50's and 60's. Some of this stuff is not in the history books, because it is nothing major, but to guys like me, it's the little things that made the neighbourhood what it is/was.

Please contribute with stories of your old neighbourhood, whether it be Chinatown, Marpole, Killarney, Point Grey, North Van, etc. Oh, and correct me if I get stuff mixed up. It's hard to remember shit that far back.

My neck of the woods, for the first 16 years of my life, was the Downtown Eastside. Main and Hastings. It's nothing like it is today. The area back then was flooded with kids. So many kids. Most of them were children of poor immigrants with a sprinkling of the odd First Nations kid. Actually, I think most of the FN ones I saw on the streets never went to school. Anyway, Chinatown and Japantown were very busy places. London Drugs got its first start on Main Street. Did you know there was a Safeway on Hastings and Gore? On the southwest side. Parking lot and all. On the other side of Hastings was a post office. A fairly big one. Carnegy Hall on Main and Hastings was actually the Vancouver Museum. Really cool place from what I recall. On the other corner, kitty corner to Safeway was the Salvation Army Temple. These places are nowhere to be seen today, of course. The United Church on the southeast corner of Hastings and Gore was not there. I cannot remember what was there, but it was an open area of some sort. The firehall on Gore and Cordova was a real firehall. It was Firehall No 2. The biggest and best back then.

On the northwest corner of Hastings and Dunlevy, there was a huge ass car wash and gas station. The car wash was one of those state of the art (back then) pull-the-car-through types. I think it was a 76 gas station. Purves Ritchie had a foundry just up the block and businesses in general were bustling with activity. The big news back then was the building of the Chinese School on Pender Street. Kitty corner to Strathcona Elementary.

Strathcona Elementary. What a great school. I think the population hit nearly 1500+ back in the day. Three buildings. One was the junior building - four stories high, the primary building - two stories and the senior building - three stories high. We had our own dentist. Mrs. Cunninham. Boy, was she scary. Made many a children hate dentists for the rest of their lives. Because the people in the area were so poor, we had great subsidized lunch programmes, too. Cafeteria with hot food for dirt cheap. The school had basement play areas. Great on rainy days. I suppose all Vancouver schools were like that. I knew all the connecting secret passageways between the buildings in the dungeons. As long as my friends and I didn't get caught by any teachers or the engineers who lurked in the basements, we ventured into the girls play area. So cool......... Oh, back then, we were not horny little boys. Girls were like evil little monsters, LOL. Strathcona was by far the best school to be a teacher or a principal at. I heard this from many former teachers and principals. the children who went there ate out of the teachers' hand. Hung on every word. Discipline was not an issue. Even though, and probably more so, because we were so poor, we were taught by our parents that education was the only way out of that miserable existence. Even a happy go lucky guy like me took school seriously. I'm sure the Asian way of life had a lot to do with it, but academics at Strathcona was second to none. Problem was, most of the children were disadvantaged by lack of money, resources, and of course, the language barrier. Still, I look back at what my friends and people I hung out with have accomplished in their lives and boy, I don't know of one single kid who didn't make it out of there (the neighbourhood) to make something out of themselves.

Around the early to mid 60's, the government decide to create low income housing in the form of huge complexes. Enter the Raymur <sp?> projects. That's when all of a sudden, we started to see more and more caucasian kids. Most of them were losers and very few were nice to us and even to each other. I think so many families moved into the projects that they had to reconfigure the catchment area for the schools. Most of them went to Seymour Elementary, which made sense. Why mix Caucasians with Asians, right?

Because the Strathcona / Chinatown area was so full of young children, it had an effect on the rest of Vancouver's downtown. Just the other day, when I was driving over the Georgia Viaduct I noticed that the downtown core is totally void of any children. Man, back in the day, kids were everywhere downtown. We walked to the main library, which used to be on the corner of Burrard and Georgia, to study and do homework on the weekends. We took side trips to our favourite record store, Kelly's (Kelly Dejong). CKLG 73 was the biggest radio station by far. I went every Saturday to get me the top 40 hits flyer for the week at Kelly's. Kelly's then turned into A & B Sound, and we know what happened to them recently.

Oh, the Georgia Viaduct never existed back then. They built it when I was in grade 7, I think.

I remember favourite places, like Jong Wah. It's still there today. Got firecrackers and all kinds of goodies there. Anyway, nuff for now.........
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:20 PM   #2
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I love history, and look forward to reading this post (don't have time right now). Thanks!
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:35 PM   #3
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Read it, and the background description of the area was deep considering I'm from a few generations up. The DTES must have been relatively decent back then from what you described, it seems like it was a fairly standard neighborhood given the family backgrounds in the area.

This should be going into textbooks, despite not being that kind of material, it's much better than the crap they have in Social Studies textbooks regarding Vancouver during that era. If anyone remembers anything about their neighborhoods in the Cold War era, please share, I'd like to hear about the goings on, my Social Studies teacher said that there were regular drills going on at the time.
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:37 PM   #4
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thats pretty awesome to read
its sorta like the same thing Richmond was 15 years ago

btw, I thought you were white LOL
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:44 PM   #5
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I thought you were white as well.
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:49 PM   #6
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i still remember when the train, that ran from fraser river docks, through the entire west side of the city to the granville island, was there. i lived on 45th and e boulevard and every morning the train would remind me that it was time to leave for school.

good times.
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:09 PM   #7
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nice read!
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:09 PM   #8
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i still remember when the train, that ran from fraser river docks, through the entire west side of the city to the granville island, was there. i lived on 45th and e boulevard and every morning the train would remind me that it was time to leave for school.

good times.
That's so cool. I never knew trains actually ran through the city like that. OK, so you must be pretty old, then. When we were kids, we were stuck in the neighbourhood - talk about bubble. Nobody owned a car. We didn't even ride the busses, because it cost money. We walked. Nobody went past Burrard Street, Terminal, and Clarke Drive. Hell, south of Strathcona was nothing but marshland and railway tracks. False Creek was like some far off land.

Seriously, dude. How old are you? I'm slightly over 50.
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:23 PM   #9
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That's so cool. I never knew trains actually ran through the city like that. OK, so you must be pretty old, then. When we were kids, we were stuck in the neighbourhood - talk about bubble. Nobody owned a car. We didn't even ride the busses, because it cost money. We walked. Nobody went past Burrard Street, Terminal, and Clarke Drive. Hell, south of Strathcona was nothing but marshland and railway tracks. False Creek was like some far off land.

Seriously, dude. How old are you? I'm slightly over 50.
dude, wtf, im 24. this was like 2002, when they stopped the train.
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:36 PM   #10
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dude, wtf, im 24. this was like 2002, when they stopped the train.
WTF? Is this like some bunny train?

Here I'm thinking you're like 100+ years old when they had horse and buggies. The old train that went up and down Boulevard. A real steam engine train........ not some cutesy throw back tourist train.

Wow, I've been away from Vancouver that long, eh? Seriously, there was a bona fide train that ran from Fraser River to Granville Island up until recently? I kind of heard about it. Man, I'm such an East Ender.
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:39 PM   #11
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tourist train???

like you said, it might be the fact that you're oblivious to the west side. (which is ok, im oblivious to the east side)

this was a commercial train that brought pulp or cement or what not from fraser river.. 71st and granville area to granville island. that's why there are tracks in between arbutus and 41st all the way from fraser river to granville island.
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:45 PM   #12
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tourist train???

like you said, it might be the fact that you're oblivious to the west side. (which is ok, im oblivious to the east side)

this was a commercial train that brought pulp or cement or what not from fraser river.. 71st and granville area to granville island. that's why there are tracks in between arbutus and 41st all the way from fraser river to granville island.
Just messin with you............. I drive over those tracks all the time. Believe it or not, I'm a UBC alumni. My father was a commercial fisherman and his boat was docked at the foot of Blenheim. Celtic Shipyards/BC Packers/Cassiar Fishing Company.
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:49 PM   #13
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I remember Woodwards had a kick ass toy department, complete with a Lego display.

There used to be a Safeway on Nanaimo and Charles.

The PNE was way better before they added the greenspaces. I miss the various buildings and pavilions. I hope they bring back the Demolition Derby, and the real fireworks.
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:49 PM   #14
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the conductors would always get off on 45th and e blvd to get their lattes at the coffee shop taht used to be there, just as id walk out of my house. funny, cause the train rolled slowly and they were getting their coffee
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:49 PM   #15
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Wait, so 89blkcivic is Asian?
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:50 PM   #16
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Talk about another part of Vancouver's history. Fish Canneries and the mighty Fraser River salmon. All but gone. So sad.

The last time I went to Celtic Shipards, it was all filled in and nothing but condos and developement. Much like Steveston. I wish I had taken photos of the way Celtic Shipyards looked. It was so beautiful. Boats coming in after a salmon opening. The smell of the air....... cannot recreate that.
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:51 PM   #17
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ohh dude... Eatons!!!!!

they had all the euro imported kitchen and bath stuff

they also had MAJORETTE diecast cars which were the best quality money could buy.

and MAJORETTE race track, garages etc. all made in germany or italy, dont member. i still have the race track with those electric cars, one big ass garage with a few streets and close to 200 cars from majorette.

they were like 3 bucks a car while the disgusting hot wheels were 1.99

the cars had opening doors, glass headlights and they were tiny.. 1/64 i think.

the car i loved most, before i even knew the brands of cars.. was a green 4 door sedan, which turned out to be a 1995 bmw 325i

i fell in love with it and took it everywhere with me and said to my mom one day il have it.. and I DID!! 3 times. (not green or the 2.5 liter but still)
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:51 PM   #18
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i know im gonna like this when i read it tomorrow morning, so heres an early thanks
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:58 PM   #19
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I remember Woodwards had a kick ass toy department, complete with a Lego display.

There used to be a Safeway on Nanaimo and Charles.

The PNE was way better before they added the greenspaces. I miss the various buildings and pavilions. I hope they bring back the Demolition Derby, and the real fireworks.
Woodward's..... oh my god. The sixth floor. Nothing but toys, toys, and more freaking toys. Christmas time was unreal. The displays. The food floor of Woodwards........ nothing can describe it.

Does anyone remember Dominion Food Store at Woodwards? Some eastern based company thought it could take over mighty Woodwards. Who the hell were they kidding? They went bust. Just like Sam the Record Man tried to take over A & B Sound. That didn't take long, either. Not that A&B Sound is stil around, LOL.

PNE? Wow, have any of you been around when Empire Stadium was the home of the BC Lions? Boy, did they ever let that place die a slow death. I went to a car audio competition that was held at the old Empire Stadium. The place was a disaster. I believe it was the last event ever held at Empire Stadium before it was finally demolished.

Yes, I remember that Safeway, too.

Hard to believe it wasn't that long ago that T&T was a Safeway.
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Old 08-31-2009, 11:06 PM   #20
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ohh dude... Eatons!!!!!

they had all the euro imported kitchen and bath stuff

they also had MAJORETTE diecast cars which were the best quality money could buy.

and MAJORETTE race track, garages etc. all made in germany or italy, dont member. i still have the race track with those electric cars, one big ass garage with a few streets and close to 200 cars from majorette.

they were like 3 bucks a car while the disgusting hot wheels were 1.99

the cars had opening doors, glass headlights and they were tiny.. 1/64 i think.

the car i loved most, before i even knew the brands of cars.. was a green 4 door sedan, which turned out to be a 1995 bmw 325i

i fell in love with it and took it everywhere with me and said to my mom one day il have it.. and I DID!! 3 times. (not green or the 2.5 liter but still)
Holy fuck you just brought back memories of 1989. I remember the underground foodcourt below woodwards and I remember I got a 1:24 scale red Majorette convertible sports car.. didn't know what it was but I fucken loved it and played with it all the time. It turned out to be a porsche 944S2 cabriolet.. and lo and behold 13 years later I bought a real 944. I also remember the Batman movie and playing with that huge batmobile car. And army navy..

edit: I also remember, once when I was about 6 or 7, in the foodcourt basement of Eaton's, there was a breakfast bar area, with brass stools.. and I was playing around on the floor and found a $100 bill under the stool. Back then that was a big deal. Upon asking, nobody admitted to losing any bills, so my mom let me keep it. I bought $100 worth of Lego with it!!!!!
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Old 08-31-2009, 11:07 PM   #21
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and MAJORETTE race track, garages etc. all made in germany or italy, dont member. i still have the race track with those electric cars, one big ass garage with a few streets and close to 200 cars from majorette.
Oh, don't get me going on Hot Wheels cars. Of the entire neighbourhood, my family was the poorest of the poor. All I could do was play with other people's Hot Wheel cars. I did manage to get a few from playing cards, which I was pretty good at.

This is when Hot Wheels first came out. Those original cars are like collectors items. Some of them are simply not around anymore. Beatnik Bandit, the Deadora<sp?>, and my all time favourite, the special edition, all chrome, Boss Mustang. I still have that. You should have seen the little bugger's face when I doubled my bet playing topsies and won that car. Eat that, you little shit, wherever you are! Knowing the way things turn out, he's probably some CEO of a major corporation with a dozen or so Chromed Boss Mustangs in mint condition.
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Old 08-31-2009, 11:10 PM   #22
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Wait, so 89blkcivic is Asian?
What's so strange? I was told 99.997% of Revscene memers were Asian. I'm just complying with the stats.
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Old 08-31-2009, 11:22 PM   #23
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89blkcivic, how do you not have a custom title? This guy totally deserves one.
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Old 08-31-2009, 11:43 PM   #24
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Still, I look back at what my friends and people I hung out with have accomplished in their lives and boy, I don't know of one single kid who didn't make it out of there (the neighbourhood) to make something out of themselves.
Sad to see the contrast in today's generation. So many kids growing up in 800K+ houses and are complete failures in life.
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Old 08-31-2009, 11:49 PM   #25
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I remember Woodwards had a kick ass toy department, complete with a Lego display.

There used to be a Safeway on Nanaimo and Charles.

The PNE was way better before they added the greenspaces. I miss the various buildings and pavilions. I hope they bring back the Demolition Derby, and the real fireworks.
are you sure it was nanaimo and charles and not 1st and renfrew for safeway?
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