Developed from a graffiti symbol that has circulated for several decades, the Monument for East Vancouver sculpture (known also as the East Van Cross) was created by Ken Lum as an expression of hope and defiance. Installed in 2010 at the corner of Clark and East 6th Avenue, Lum once told the Vancouver Sun that he recalled seeing the phrase while growing up on the eastside. He also talked to someone almost 80 who recalls seeing it as far back as the 1940s and 1950s.
The East Van Cross
The East Van Cross has its own following and whether you’re just settling into the neighbourhood or your family has deep roots in the community, everyone has an opinion of what the sculpture means to them. One Yelp user even says: “Brooklyn has their bridge — East Van has our cross.”
Sarah Milroy said in the Globe and Mail: Drive by [Ken Lum’s] cross at night and the letters reassemble themselves in the mind in a fleeting double take: Is it East Van or Evangelist that we see glowing against the night sky? “I liked that people might experience that momentary misrecognition,” Lum says. It’s complex, like the city itself. “People say Vancouver is such a beautiful place, and obviously that’s true. But I have always thought Vancouver is very complicated. There’s a lot of layers to it.”
Last year designer Susan Fiedler conceived a fundraising initiative called the East Van Cross Project to benefit Pivot Legal Society. Inspired by this meaningful piece of public art, Fiedler was the first individual to be granted a license from the City of Vancouver to reproduce the iconic East Van Cross in the form of jewelry, beginning with two sterling silver pendants. You can follow the East Van Cross Project on Twitter and Facebook for more information.
Previous Vancouver Icons posts: Robert Burns Statue in Stanley Park, Vancouver Maritime Museum, Flack Block, The Drop, Prospect Point Lighthouse, Engagement, Ovaltine Cafe, The English Bay Slide, Freezing Water #7, Cleveland Dam, Heritage Hall, School of Theology Building at UBC, Gate to the Northwest Passage, St Paul’s Hospital, Capilano Lake, Stawamus Chief, Nine O’Clock Gun, Malkin Bowl, Search, Vancouver Rowing Club, Echoes, Point Atkinson Lighthouse, English Bay Inukshuk, Hollow Tree, Hotel Europe, Lions Gate Bridge Lions, LightShed, Granville Bridge, 217.5 Arc x 13′, Canoe Bridge, Vancouver Block, Bloedel Conservatory, Centennial Rocket, Canada Place, Old Courthouse/Vancouver Art Gallery, Dominion Building, Science World, Gastown Steam Clock, SFU Burnaby, Commodore Lanes, Siwash Rock, Kitsilano Pool, White Rock Pier, Main Post Office, Planetarium Building, Lord Stanley Statue, Vancouver Library Central Branch, Victory Square, Digital Orca, The Crab Sculpture, Girl in Wetsuit, The Sun Tower, The Hotel Vancouver, The Gassy Jack Statue, The Marine Building, and The Angel of Victory. Should you have a suggestion for the Vancouver Icons series please feel free to leave a note in the comments. It should be a thing, statue, or place that is very visible and recognizable to the public.