Heritage Vancouver - Bulletin

Release: 2011 Top Ten Endangered Sites

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Our 11th Annual Heritage Vancouver Society
Top Ten Endangered Sites

The situation with our historic schools has become so serious that our entire list could have been made up of landmark heritage schools. Heritage Vancouver fully supports seismic upgrading and is at a loss to understand why other provincial School Boards and the University of British Columbia are able to carry out seismic upgrading while still retaining the heritage character of the buildings under their stewardship.

The Vancouver School Board has not yet delivered on a promised plan regarding the future of our schools, and continues to implement the seismic upgrading process in a random manner. The Board has stated that heritage is not high on their list of priorities and have demonstrated this through the demolition of Sir Charles Dickens School, the plan to demolish the interior of Kitsilano Secondary, and the potential demolition of General Gordon and one of the heritage buildings that make up Lord Kitchener School. There is no end in sight to this process, with potentially dozens of heritage schools on the chopping block.

Our other Top Ten sites for this year demonstrate a variety of issues, including ongoing difficulties associated with the Heritage Density Bank – frozen since August 2007 – as well as outdated City plans in many neighbourhoods that do not recognize current development pressures. Some heritage sites are also threatened by current city policies that try to wring maximum public benefits out of many sites through extra density – raising the question of 'how much is too much?' These ten sites represent the many challenges that we have in building a future for heritage in Vancouver..

You can also view our previous Top Ten sites from 2001 to 2010.

View our overview brochure from our 2011 Top Ten Bus Tour here.

Carleton School  

1. Vancouver Schools: Carleton (1896/1908/1912)

Carleton School was in the news last year for all the wrong reasons. It was on the Closure hit lit, and just narrowly dodged that threat. The Vancouver School Board has temporarily kept it open, but there is no guarantee of the future of this iconic neighbourhood landmark. Meanwhile, Carleton Hall, our oldest school building, sits deteriorating while there is a valid proposal for its re-use.

> see full details


Kitchener School  

2. Vancouver Schools: Kitchener (1914/1924)

It appears that the decision has already been made to demolish the 1924 brick portion of Kitchener School. While the highly significant 1914 portion will be retained, it will be moved and there is no information on the proposed level of building code upgrading, which could seriously compromise its heritage integrity. This wasteful and intrusive projects demonstrates what is wrong with the Vancouver School Board's approach to its historic structures. Is this demolition necessary?

> see full details


Sexsmith School  

3. Vancouver Schools: Sexsmith (1912/1913)

Sexsmith School illustrates another threat to historic Vancouver Schools – redundancy. A new school will be being constructed beside the old one, with no guarantee of the future of the original building. This is exactly what happened at Charles Dickens School, which was eventually demolished. Sir James Douglas Elementary School is in exactly the same situation.

> see full details


Shannon Estate  

4. Shannon Estate (1915-1925)

Shannon Estate is one of Vancouver's premier heritage sites. The proposal to provide bonus density for additional heritage protection is highly supportable. Current City policies, however, try to wring out a maximum amount of public benefit from some development sites including open space and rental housing. This can distort the form of development so that it is out of character with the very qualities that are intended to be preserved. How much is too much?

> see full details


Strathcona North  

5. Strathcona North of Hastings

Strathcona north of Hastings Street continues to fall into neglect and no steps have been taken to protect the heritage of Vancouver's oldest neighbourhood in the past year. The major threat to the historic context of the neighbourhood may turn out to be the replacement of heritage homes with high-rise towers for social housing, due to the urgent need for affordable housing.

> see full details


Legg Residence  

6. Gordon T. Legg Residence (1899)

This very significant late Victorian-era estate house will be demolished unless the City of Vancouver approves an onsite density bonus of 26,000 square feet. The density cannot be transferred offsite as the Heritage Density Bank has been frozen since August 2007. Heritage Vancouver supports this proposal, but there is significant neighbourhood opposition.

> see full details


Collingwood LIbrary  

7. Collingwood Library (1951)

This was the first example of Modernist architecture in the Vancouver Public Library system and has been serving the Collingwood community for 60 years. Too many tasteless exterior and interior changes as well as poor maintenance, have marred the open and inviting character of this unique architectural landmark. Its long-term future is uncertain.

> see full details


Lower Mt. Pleasant  

8. Lower Mount Pleasant

This historic neighbourhood, rich in residential, commercial and industrial heritage, continues to deteriorate. In the past year, two more of its heritage homes – 302 and 304 West 6th Avenue – were demolished. It will take swift action on the part of the City of Vancouver if anything significant is to be saved of this historic area's early history.

> see full details


Granville Street  

9. Granville Street (1888-forward)

The historic character of Granville Street continues to be threatened, and there is a distinct possibility that the older, smaller heritage buildings, which are unique to the area, will be destroyed in the name of "progress" and a desire to "clean up" the area. A number of these buildings are up for sale or are under redevelopment pressure.

> see full details


2400 Motel  

10. 2400 Motel (1946)

City Council has voted to redevelop the 2400 Motel – Kingsway's iconic landmark – is demolition inevitable or can we retain some of the site's character within a new development?

> see full details



Other Upcoming Events:

Full info at heritagevancouver.org

Heritage Vancouver Society & the Vancouver Heritage Foundation:
A Conversation about new Strategic Alliances

Thursday, March 17, 2011 | 7pm to 9pm
Vancouver Museum, 1100 Chestnut Street (Vanier Park)
$5.00 Non-members; Heritage Vancouver members free
Join Donald Luxton, President Heritage Vancouver Society and Diane Switzer, Executive Director of the Vancouver Heritage Foundation for a conversation about potential new strategic alliances.

Full info

An Evening of Tiki at the Waldorf
Wednesday, March 23, 2011 | 6pm doors
Full info + Tickets

Evening at the Art Deco Marine Building Penthouse (1930)
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 | 6pm
Full info + Tickets


Thank you for your support!

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Heritage Vancouver Society
PO Box 3336, Main Post Office, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3Y3
604 254-9411 info@heritagevancouver.org

Creating a Future for Heritage – Heritage Vancouver encourages the community to preserve, restore, and appreciate Vancouver’s heritage structures.