Saturday, 9 November 2013

Nooooooo ..... not this one too!

A pox on short-sighted development! Last month I posted about the sad demise of the Ridge Theatre. Yesterday I learned (via our good friend Bruce) that its partner in repertory cinema, the Hollywood (operating lately as a church, of all things), is also slated for "development" — read: demolition, or gutting, in preparation for — ready? — a fitness centre. Sigh. It's not that there's anything inherently wrong with fitness centres, or condos, or shopping plazas (actually, wait, there is something wrong with shopping plazas, but that's material for another post). It's just that Vancouver has so many of those things — not to mention the great honking fitness centre that is our natural setting — and so precious little of what counts as historical or heritage architecture. The Hollywood, built in 1935, is one of our own little pieces of art deco grooviness. It has a neon sign! [Edit: had a neon sign :-(]

The glimmer of good news in this story is that a few thousand people (so far) have signed a petition, asking City Council to reconsider. Freddie and I have signed. And, in honour of heritage buildings everywhere, our walk this morning took us on a pilgrimage, all the way down Broadway, past Balaclava, to the skeletal but still-standing Hollywood Theatre ...

First a stop at the Tennyson School dog park, where we met Kirby the sheepdog puppy ...

"Yoo hoo! Hey, mudface — over here!" says Kirby.

West Broadway hosts many groovy businesses. This is one of them.

Good ol' Tanglewood Books! Great to see you've found a new home ...

Speaking of homes, I wonder if this Aussie (or Kiwi? I get the flags mixed up!) is missing his/hers?

Apartment buildings need names in addition to numerical addresses. Ours got named the Prince Charles because it was built the year Chas Windsor was born. I wonder how this place got its name?
Pretty pretty, n'est-ce pas?

Another long-lost (to me) commercial pal. This is the David Hunter Garden Centre, which used to be at Arbutus and Broadway. If we ever move into our new place, we shall have a balcony, which shall likely be kitted out with greenery from here!
Not quite a "heritage" site, but I have plenty of happy childhood memories involving the DQ. Not to be relived, as it turns out. Paul and I went out for DQ sundaes sometime last year. I thought it would be such a treat, but I couldn't finish mine. I remember thinking: Wow, this stuff's actually kinda gross, and I just wasted four units of insulin on it? But I guess I'd be sad if the DQ barn disappeared.
Cheery wall mural outside the Bellisima shop at Broadway and Trafalgar ...
The sign says it all.
Another used book store! With nifty tiles! So many used/independent book stores have disappeared from Vancouver ... so sad. But West Broadway continues to support a few of them.

Used books make great gifts, folks!
This is a very groovy little shop/museum, which I discovered through Bruce's very groovy daughter, Anna. It's called Stepback, and it carries a sizeable and quirky collection of vintage items.

Another great location for gifts!
And now, at last, folks, here we are. 
The neon sign is gone, but the fa├žade is still intact — for now.

Here's the development application. Freddie's face says it all.
The familiar old box office and red doors ... sigh.

A bar I used to frequent in my younger days — I was surprised to find it still here!

Ugh. The wrecking of heritage buildings gives me high blood sugar.

Thriving garden out front ... wood stacked on the porch ... country livin' on the edge of the city!
Freddie's first winter (2012/13) had no snow. These zamboni drifts outside the Kits ice rink are his first encounter with the stuff. As you can see from the blur of his tail, he was stoked. Let it snow!

Wrought iron is up there with bricks in my list of favourite construction materials.
And here, to conclude, we have Freddie posing in front of another Vancouver Deco building, completed roughly the same year as the Hollywood. Can you identify it? Will it survive?

Watch for the next Walking With Freddie poll, inspired by the plight of the Hollywood!


  1. Answer to Quiz:
    Seaforth Armoury, next to the Big Brewery. I'd bet on beer surviving guns.
    Question to Quizzer: What of the Stanley... I presume it's gone?
    Jorge del Desierto

    1. Good answer, Jorge, but it's a *different* armoury — not Seaforth.

      The Stanley is still alive and well and appears in a couple of my recent posts!


What say you?