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Vancouver Public Library Main Branch Building on Robson and Burrard

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019 — 11:50am PDT
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On April 19th, 1956 construction began on the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library. Today there’s a heritage marker on the building, that sits at the northeast corner of Robson and Burrard, next to the window displays full of lingerie and the latest PINK products at Victoria’s Secret.

Vancouver Public Library Main Branch at 750 Burrard Street, designed by architect Doug Simpson of Semmens & Simpson. Photo ran April 2, 1955. Vancouver Sun [PNG Merlin Archive]

Vancouver Public Library Main Branch

1945: VPL board chair, G. Stanley Miller, requested $1.5 million from the city, which would include a $1 million main library “in keeping with Vancouver’s civic dignity.” The remaining $500,000 would be spent on branches throughout the city. Miller noted that when the Carnegie Library at Hastings and Main was built in 1903, the population was only 40,000. The population in 1945 was 320,000. [Source: Vancouver Sun]

Robson and Hornby (Robson Square), Pender and Homer, and Pender and Cambie were all proposed sites for the Main Branch in the 1940s. Read more and see some renderings for buildings, that included civic theatres, in the Vancouver Sun article here »

A Vancouver Sun editorial called the city’s continued “stalling” on the library site “ridiculous.” In September 1954, the city decided to give up on the idea of a new Downtown hotel and to proceed with the library on the Robson and Burrard site.

1981 – Robson at Burrard. Vancouver Archives #CVA 779-W07.01

1952: The City of Vancouver purchased the property at 750 Burrard.
April 1956: Construction began.
November 1957: The Main Branch opened. Chuck Davis writes: “The location was criticized by some at the time because “there isn’t enough foot traffic.” The sleek, modernist structure was Vancouver’s first glass curtain building, designed by architects H.N. Semmens and D.C. Simpson. It was awarded the Massey Medal, Canada’s highest architectural honour.”

Top Left: 1974 – Vancouver Archives #CVA 778-315. Top Right: (No Date) VPL #85972 Photographer Harold Kalman. Bottom Left & Right: Google Maps.

August 1988: A water main broke and flooded a wide area of the branch. It forced a one-day closure, badly damaged many books (some rare), and ruined a big collection of newspapers.

“There was never any serious question that a new central library was in order for Canada’s most literate city,” Sandra McKenzie wrote. “The old facility, built in 1957 at Robson and Burrard, was designed to accommodate 750,000 volumes, with seating for 300 patrons. In the intervening years the VPL’s collection, which numbers over 1.4 million items, and public demand for the library’s services, swelled well past this capacity. Despite seconding the auditorium, several meeting rooms and much of the seating space to shelf space, nearly a third of the collection was stored in the basement, while more than 5,000 patrons a day scrambled for scarce chairs.”

Sandra McKenzie wrote in The Greater Vancouver Book via Chuck Davis’ History of Metropolitan Vancouver

November 1990: Vancouver voters endorsed capital funds for a new central library. The City then bought the site at 350 West Georgia Street from the federal government. The provincial government agreed to a twenty-year lease of two floors in the proposed new building, with the expectation that the library would then acquire the space. [Source: VPL]

1995 – Photo by Mike on Flickr

1995: The Main Branch moved to the Vancouver Public Library’s Central Branch we have today at 350 West Georgia Street.
1996: A multi-level Virgin Megastore moved in and Planet Hollywood restaurant was upstairs from 1997 to 1999.
2005: HMV took over the Virgin Megastore space until 2012.
2013: Victoria’s Secret opened in May of 2013. A Shoppers Drug Mart is also currently at street level.

2005 – Photo by Mike on Flickr

Vancouver Television (VTV) also occupied several floors from 1997 to 2001 before CTV Globemedia took over the space.

Victoria's Secret

Floors 4-6 are currently occupied by Bell Media (CTV Vancouver and radio stations QMFM, TSN Radio, BNN Bloomberg, and Virgin Radio Vancouver), above Victoria’s Secret. The radio stations moved in with the company’s television station in 2013.

Read about more public art and architecture in Vancouver in the Vancouver Icons series here »

9th Annual Verses Festival of Words

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019 — 10:19am PDT
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The 9th annual Verses Festival of Words (April 25 to May 4, 2019) celebrates the transformative power of words – written, spoken or sung. As Canada’s largest alternative literary festival, Verses is one of the most diverse and exciting literary events of the season.

Verses Festival 2019

Verses Festival of Words

  • When: April 25 to May 4, 2019
  • Where: Various venues, East Vancouver (C-Lab, Café Deux Soleils, WISE Hall, Havana Theatre, Rio Theatre, Storm Crow, Vancouver Public Library Central Branch, WISE Hall, York Theatre)
  • Tickets: Verses Festival Passes are available online now for $75 and include access to 30+ Verses Festival of Words spoken word events. Passes can be picked up at any festival event. Individual event tickets are available at the door.

This year’s line-up is filled with ground-breaking artists who encapsulate the vibrant future of Canadian culture. Featured events include the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam championship (“CIPS”) and Hullaballoo: BC’s Youth Spoken Word Festival.

Featured Events

Cultivate: A Showcase of 2 Spirit, Queer and Trans Artists
April 28, 2019 from 3:00pm to 5:00pm (WISE Hall)

“Cultivate: Artist Support Circles for Indigi- and other Queers” springs from Shane Sable’s attempt to disrupt art-in-isolation mythologies. The talking circles meet monthly at the Queer Art Festival’s SUM Gallery to connect, collaborate, and offer support to queer artists across disciplines. This showcase spotlights Cultivate artists Shane Sable, Tawahum, Raven John & Laura Fukumoto.

Sounds Like Fire: Vivek Shraya’s Death Threat Book Launch
April 28, 2019 from 8:00pm to 10:00pm

Artists: Vivek Shraya, Christie Lee Charles, Tawahum & Youth All Stars A showcase of resistance, resilience and empowerment – and the Vancouver launch of Vivek Shraya and Ness Lee’s new book! Death Threat perfectly expresses the feeling of being exposed to the hurtful and threatening presumptions of strangers, transforming a hideous and constrictive mindset into beauty and love. Features performances from Vancouver Poet Laureate Christie Lee Charles and local favorite Tawahum, as well as highlighting the emerging power of local youth artists.

Van Slam and Youth Slam Showcase
April 29, 2019 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm (WISE Hall)

A display of some of the best local veteran and emerging slam poets! Members of the newly minted 2019 Vancouver Poetry Slam and Youth Slam teams showcase the work that pushed them to the top.

Word Circus
April 30, 2019 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm (WISE Hall)

A whirlwind of words occurs as Emily Crocker, Brandon Wint, Chelsea D.E. Johnson & a mystery guest perform acrobatic feats of wordsmithery and music. A round robin format allows the artists to respond to one another in a spontaneous way. See artists performing in a relaxed, informal, yet electric atmosphere where anything can happen.

Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Championship Round 1
May 1, 2019 from 8:00pm to 10:00pm (Cafe Deux Soleils)
Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Championship Round 2
May 3, 2019 from 8:00pm to 10:00pm (Havana Theatre)
Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Championship FINALS
May 4, 2019 from 8:00pm to 10:00pm (York Theatre)

Canada’s best slam poets show us their strongest 4- and 1-minute poems in a competition destined to crown 2019’s national slam champion.

Talk the Talk: Decolonizing the Arts
May 2, 2019 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm (Havana Theatre)

Guided by two qualified facilitators, this community dialogue asks artists, organizers and audiences to participate in anti-oppression dialogue around the topic of “Decolonizing the Arts.” Come prepared with questions, thoughts and a respectful voice.

Follow #VSfestival19 on Facebook and Twitter for more info.

What’s On at Science World This Spring: Win a Family Pass

Monday, April 15th, 2019 — 4:50pm PDT
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Escape the rain and explore the Rainforest this season! It’s always a good time to visit the Science World, and if you’re visiting this spring, you can check out the new A Mirror Maze: Numbers in Nature exhibition, and the new OMNIMAX film Great Bear Rainforest, narrated by Ryan Reynolds.

Mirror Maze Science World

A Mirror Maze: Numbers in Nature

Featuring an 1,800-square-foot elaborate mirror maze and hands-on interactive elements, A Mirror Maze: Numbers in Nature is an engaging and immersive exhibition that highlights the mathematical patterns that abound in the natural world.

Enveloping guests within what appears to be an endless pattern of triangles that repeat in a dizzying array of mirrors in all directions, the maze features challenging dead ends and hidden within the centre is a secret room that rewards visitors with bonus puzzles, imagery and artifacts.

Draw patterns on a digital screen—like connecting dots to draw spirals and create Fibonacci rectangles—and see real-world objects that show that same pattern. Learn how fractal patterns are used to make computer-generated landscapes, such as intricate mountain ranges, in movies, compose a piece of music using symmetry and much more.

Great Bear Rainforest Film

Great Bear Rainforest

On the remote Pacific shores of Canada lies earth’s largest coastal temperate rainforest, an almost fairy-tale-like chain of granite domes and thickly forested islands, spiked with ancient red cedar trees, carved through by crystal-clear, salmon-rich rivers and bursting with one-of-a-kind natural phenomena.

This primeval land hosts not only some of the world’s most enchanting animals, but also a rare white bear that is neither polar bear nor albino but a “spirit bear,” a black bear with a vanilla coat so mystically beautiful it is revered by the First Nations people who have lived among the bears and protected them for millennia.

Win a Family Pass

I have a family pass to give away that includes entry for 4 to Science World, the Mirror Maze exhibition, and the Great Bear Rainforest film. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Click below to post an entry on Twitter
Click to enter via TwitterClick To Tweet

I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Monday, April 22, 2019. The prize is 4 Ultimate Passes for Science World valid for one day. Follow Science World on Twitter and Facebook for the latest event information.

Honda Celebration of Light Fireworks Teams for 2019

Monday, April 15th, 2019 — 10:12am PDT
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Spring has just started but some of Vancouver’s summer traditions are already drumming up some buzz, including the Honda Celebration of Light. Teams and dates have recently been announced for this season’s offshore fireworks competition.

Celebration of Light Fireworks by Claude Martin

July 27, 2019 INDIA

India’s first family of fireworks, their founder began in 1937 establishing a continued legacy of excellence. The Morani’s live and breath fireworks – and look forward to sharing this passion with locals and visitors alike.

July 31, 2019 CANADA

The producers of over 100 displays across Canada and Internationally each year. Their passion for custom soundtracks and high-quality products are sure to leave you in wonder.

August 3, 2019 CROTIA

Founded in 1993, “Mirnovec” is a synonym for
fireworks and special effect. This European team manufactures their own fireworks and are excited to put on a show to remember this summer in Vancouver.

While the fireworks are the main attraction, you’ll want to make an afternoon and evening out of every event day by stopping by the Park Stage at Second Beach and Z Fest. There will be three days of music featuring a diverse set of BC-based multi-cultural music and arts programming at Second Beach and Z Fest, on Bathhouse Roof at English Bay each night of the fireworks will feature: Vidya Vox, Khanvict, Scott Helman, Famba, Kardinal Offishall and Maestro Fresh Wes.

Follow the Honda Celebration of Light on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram for more info leading up to one of the highlights of summer in Vancouver.

Related: Honda Celebration of Light Barge Tour

26th Annual JCC Sports Dinner Raises $1.5m for Community Programs

Monday, April 15th, 2019 — 9:12am PDT
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Try your best to throw a football like Jerry Rice and Joe Montana to win prizes, then walk over and meet the legends themselves. The atmosphere at the 26th annual JCC Sports Dinner was festive and fun, even before the doors to the dining room opened for the evening’s dinner and program.

JCC Sports Dinner

It was a record year at the event, held March 5th at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver, which ended up raising $1.5 million for community programs. Over 900 of the city’s top executives and sports enthusiasts also heard from keynote speakers Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, along with Jack Diamond Award recipient: Greg Douglas a.k.a. ‘Dr. Sport’.

JCC Sports Dinner

Through a raffle, wine draw, live and silent auctions, guests raised much-needed funds to provide scholarships and programs for members of the community who wouldn’t otherwise have access to these services. The crowd was so generous in fact, $150,000 was raised for the Fund-A-Need initiative and a lucky bidder walked away with a brand new Cadillac from Dueck GM for $37,000.

Everyone is welcome at the Jewish Community Centre (“JCC”), which provides exceptional cultural, educational, recreational and social programs and services. The JCC offers daily activities, services, and programs including fitness offerings and award-winning early childhood education, and more.

Miss604 is the proud 2019 social media sponsor of the JCC Sports Dinner, follow along on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram for more info about next year’s event.

White Spot is Giving Away Avocado Beyond Burgers Today

Monday, April 15th, 2019 — 8:12am PDT
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Starting at 11:00am at the EasyPark parking lot at the corner of Cambie and West Georgia (688 Cambie St), White Spot will be handing out 300 of their Avocado Beyond Burgers today from their food truck. This 100%-plant-based Beyond Burger® patty is new to its menu and they want Vancouverites to give it a try.

White Spot’s Avocado Beyond Burger
White Spot’s Avocado Beyond Burger

Available at all full-service White Spot restaurants in BC and Alberta beginning Monday, April 15, White Spot’s Avocado Beyond Burger features a hearty four-ounce chargrilled Beyond Burger patty, fresh avocado, pickled onions, roasted corn, crisp lettuce, vine-ripened tomatoes, jalapeño ranch and edamame hummus.

The Avocado Beyond Burger is joined on the White Spot menu by the new Southwest Power Bowl, which features a Beyond Burger patty complemented by fresh avocado, cherry tomatoes, radish, roasted corn and cabbage and served with quinoa and jasmine rice with greens, jalapeño ranch and edamame hummus.

Both the Avocado Beyond Burger and Southwest Power Bowl are available in a vegan-friendly format when ordered on a gluten-free bun and without jalapeño ranch. Guests can also substitute the Beyond Burger patty in any of White Spot’s signature burgers for $1.99, make it a lettuce wrap at no additional charge or substitute a gluten-free bun for only $1.

Starting Monday, May 6, the Beyond Burger patty will also be added to the menu at White Spot’s quick-service brand Triple O’s in a new Beyond Original signature burger as well as a limited-edition Mushroom Avocado Beyond Burger™.

Join the conversation about White Spot’s new Avocado Beyond Burger on social media by using the hashtag #beyondlegendary.