Heritage Vancouver Top Ten Endangered Sites 2014

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Heritage Vancouver Society has released their 14th annual list of the Top Ten Endangered Sites in Vancouver.

Hollywood Theatre (1935) sign

#1 Hollywood Theatre
Community cultural spaces
The Art Deco Hollywood Theatre is a precious community landmark built in 1935-36, and one of our last intact neighborhood theatres. The current owner has not expressed interest in retaining the interior of this significant theatre and has not found a buyer who would maintain its public assembly use. The only proposal so far would retain the facade, make significant changes to the interior and end the building’s use as a cultural community space.

#3/ Kerrisdale Baptist Church
Our heritage churches
With declining attendance at many Vancouver churches, potential church closures are rampant, and threaten the loss of many significant heritage buildings. When these buildings close, Vancouver communities lose more than Sunday worship space; they lose space for the countless social and cultural activities that churches accommodate seven days a week.

#5/ South Vancouver High School
A memory in the community
The history of South Vancouver High School is associated with four generations of school buildings. John Oliver High School is slated for demolition, the ‘Barn’, already vacant, could be demolished, as could Sandford Fleming. Once the Vancouver School Board is finished with its current demolition program, these three South Vancouver High School buildings may be nothing but a fading memory.

#2/ First Shaughnessy
The push is on!
With the upcoming review of the effectiveness of the 1982 First Shaughnessy Overall Development Plan, requests for demolitions are piling up at City Hall. Architects are targeting the pre-date (1940) revered and treasured houses, in an attempt to get demolition approvals before any real constraints are enacted. The Fleck Mansion (1924), as well as houses at 1288 The Crescent, 1263 Balfour and 3990 Marguerite, are imminently threatened.

#4/ Morrisette Farm House
Historic Vancouver farms
There is an immediate threat to two identified historic farmhouses, the Morrisette Farm house (1912) in Dunbar, a designated heritage building, and the Avalon Dairy in Killarney. The threat to these two early farm buildings, and the continuing demolition of others, demonstrates the necessity of identifying historic farmhouses that still survive.

#6/ Firehall No. 5
Modernist firehalls
The City’s current plan is to replace Firehall No. 5 (1952) at 3090 East 54th & Kerr with a new facility incorporating social housing. This is symptomatic of a general lack of consideration for the heritage value of postwar modernist architecture. It is important to give consideration to adapting No. 5 and other modernist fireballs to modern use or repurposing for another use rather than demolishing them.

#7/ World War One Memorials
Lest we forget
2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the ‘Great War’. After Armistice in 1918, monuments commemorating the lives of Canadians killed in overseas conflict have occupied a prominent place in our urban cultural landscape, rooting us to our history and reminding us of these monumental events. There are also memorials that commemorate others lost in World War Two and Korea. Unfortunately, some of these significant memorials are neglected, deteriorating or are at danger of being lost.

#9/ East Hastings Street
Heatley to Campbell
In 1996, Vancouver City Council approved a policy to “let go” of the industrial frontages along East Hastings from Heatley Ave to Victoria Drive. The draft Local Area Plan proposes the creation of a ‘high-street’ along East Hastings from Heatley to Clark as a part of the renewal of the area. Ill-considered development along this corridor could impact critical heritage and cultural landmarks at an accelerating rate. Unrecognized but important heritage assets remain unprotected and could be lost.

#8/ Arthur Erickson House & Garden
Arthur Erickson is considered Canada’s greatest architect of all time. His house and garden was his inspiration, his haven, and one of his most delicate design accomplishments. It is a work of art, it is unique, and it is intact. Without being designated a heritage site and receiving appropriate funds and City-controlled entitlements for retiring outstanding debts, preserving and restoring the house and garden, the Arthur Erickson Foundation’s broad missions and objectives of fostering Arthur Erickson’s legacy, will be severely compromised by the loss of this unique iconic and historical site.

#10/ Commercial Drive
Grandview’s main street
Commercial Drive has evolved over the years into a street that is an interesting mixture of textures, tastes, cultures and activities. It is outstanding not only for its significant heritage buildings but also for its sense of place, experience and uniqueness. As Vancouver continues to grow eastward, the pressures to develop this site to its allowable four-storey height limit could create a dreary blandness that would destroy what is important about ‘The Drive.’

Public awareness plays a huge role in preserving our local history. Follow Heritage Vancouver Society on Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr for more information and the latest heritage updates.

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