Jane’s Walk 2009 and Vancouver Storiesby
There’s a reason why I have a history category on my site, I love sharing about where I live and how it’s changed, re-shaped and grown over the years.
I think I’ve turned into a decent resource for West End history (although I’m constantly exploring and learning) but with over 20 other neighbourhoods in the city, there’s so much more to explore — this is where Jane’s Walk comes in.
Last May, Think City, along with 600-plus Vancouverites celebrated the legacy of urban activist and writer Jane Jacobs with a series of free walking tours called Jane’s Walks. Over 30 Jane’s Walks were held in neighbourhoods all over the city â€“ from Strathcona to the West End, Commercial Drive to Kitsilano, the Renfrew Ravine to False Creek and including famed Vancouver landmarks such as Nat Bailey Stadium and Wreck Beach.
Each walk was hosted by a citizen who donated their time to bring stories, history and awareness to their place in our city. These hosts included such Vancouver notables as John Atkin, Gordon Price, Wendy Pederson and Ned Jacobs. The result was overwhelming enthusiasm on the part of Vancouverites, with many people attending multiple walks over the two days, despite the rain. Jane’s Walk is held simultaneously in 11 cities across the country and this past year was a first for Vancouver
This year citizen volunteers will have the opportunity to lead a walk in their community, sharing their personal history tidbits or where you can find the best cup of coffee or even explaining the differences between Kerrisdale and Marpole, or the Downtown Eastside and the Downtown Lower Eastside. The walks will take place the first weekend in May, and you can find all the details here.
Leading up to the walks there will be a fundraiser called “Vancouver Stories” at Heritage Hall on Main Street March 19th at 7:00pm, tickets are $50 each and can be purchased through Think City.
It’s a cocktail party and silent auction hosted by Bill Richardson of the CBC and will also feature Andreas Schroeder, Shirley Chan and Vancouver history guru John Atkin.
If you would like to attend this party please leave a comment below including a small note about your own neighbourhood or perhaps if you lead a walk, where you would go. I’ll select a winner who will get a ticket to the cocktail party and I’ll also try and expand on their note in a dedicated blog post about their neighbourhood.
Update March 12, 2009 – the winner of the ticket to Vancouver Stories is Jen B
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My neighbourhood, Dunbar, is tucked into the corner of Vancouver, surrounded by Pacific Spirit Park (a gorgeous forest where you can see owls, eagles, people riding their horse in the trails and coyotes plus get away from the hustle of the city: http://www.greatervancouverparks.com/PacificSpirit.html ). The shops on Dunbar include all you really need, from the independent grocer Stongs Market (which has been around since 1931) to Dunbar Theatre and the cutest bakery that makes the most delicious cupcakes, peanut butter marshmallow bars and home made marshmallows, Butter Baked Goods http://butterbakedgoods.com/. Dunbar is a great part of Vancouver, where you can be in nature and have all the conveniences of a big city at the same time! 🙂
Hastings Sunrise, to the north of East Vancouver, abounds in history, plenty of nature to appreciate, up-and-coming hipster haunts, and a multicultural mix of everything to boot. Every block has at least one old time character house with a city plaque out front that explains its origins from the turn of the last century. What I love about reading these little histories of cigar industry moguls or ice delivery men is that they root you in the nitty gritty of history. You also have to sometimes actually step onto somebody’s yard, giving you a sense of how history becomes the present. (And only once has a drunk person yelled at me from their deck.)
A great many of the houses in Hastings Sunrise are surrounded by small paradises of gardens and greenery. Each block is lined by gorgeous stretches of trees and at the northernmost end of each north-south road there’s a small park. There are occasional dumps that hide something suspect behind dirty drapes and doors but these are the exceptions and as long as you don’t knock on their door to do a survey of gang violence or grow-ops in the city, you’ll be as safe as a vault on the streets of Hastings Sunrise.
Hastings street between Nanaimo and Renfrew is also lined with an awesome variety of stores, with a great second hand clothing store, Tiger Tiger, the Roundel Cafe and of course everybody’s favorite market, Donald’s, where you’ll find one of Vancouver’s friendliest cashiers who knows the names of over three thousand customers. There are also lots of restaurants that reflect the multicultural make up of a neighborhood where you’ll hear Italian, Chinese, Arabic, French, English, Vietnamese and Spanish. I’ve lived here for three years and there are still lots of little nooks and crannies to explore (apart for that meth lab looking house).
What’s best of all is that you are a mere ten minutes away from downtown or fifteen minutes from the north shore.
I am new to Vancouver and am definately going to take part in this walk to learn more about my new neighbourhood, Kitsilano.
After being born in St. Pauls’ Hospital (the old wing, no less!) in Vancouver, I’ve lived in Burnaby for my entire life. Up until a year ago, I lived in the Cascade Heights area, and now I live in the Brentwood / Burnaby Lake area. I remember when the Oakhalla prison was still in Deer Lake Regional park, and when Metrotown was simply the Sears department store, minus the lights, skytrain, and stores of today.
I’m from the Dunbar area, too. There was a great book about the neighbourhood published a few years ago — “The Story of Dunbar” by Ronsdale Press. I still see copies of it around at Carson Books at about 27th and Dunbar. It’s full of terrific stories about the neighbourhood.
And with respect to Jen B’s comment above, Butter Baked Goods opened about a year ago, but for about 50 years before that, it was called Ideal Bakery, run by the same woman, Mrs. Picket. Butter has the same old bake shop feel, but products are more up-market, rich!
Number 16 on that map is ALL MINE! I’ll be doing a Downtown Eastside walk, probably focusing on restaurants and food, and Kris Krug will be doing a photowalk on the DTES waterfront as well (it’s his first gig for raincoaster media!). There are so many layers to the old part of the city, we could do a dozen different walks and hardly scratch the surface.
I talked to a woman today who used to do a Gassy Jackie Chan walk, showing all the locations of Rumble in the Bronx that were in Gastown; it was very popular!