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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

TRAVEL BACK IN TIME WITH ME ON A HISTORY WALK THROUGH STRATHCONA, VANCOUVER'S OLD EAST END - September 10th at 10am

1890s era CVA photo of the East End taken from what is now Olympic Village. The bridge is Main Street
Vancouver's East End had an amazing history before it had hipsters! Come with me on a walk back in time and find out why this neighbourhood is so cool!

Departs: 696 East Hastings (at Heatley) Saturday, September 10 at 10am. Duration 2.5 to 3 hours depending on the size of the group.

Content: The humble East End was the first Vancouver home to thousands of people fresh off the boat or train arriving from all over the world. Street by street, block by block, the East End developed ethnic enclaves. This neighbourhood boasted the first Synagogue and first Jewish neighbourhood, Vancouver's first Little Italy, Japantown, and Vancouver's only Black identified neighbourhood, Hogan's Alley. Some blocks were dominated by Scandinavians, others by Yugoslavs, Russians and Ukrainians. Over the years the East End became Chinatown's residential district, home to renowned authors Wayson Choy (The Jade Peony/Paper Shadows) and Paul Yee (Salt Water City/Ghost Train). 

Home to three historic red light districts, an unsettling mix of non-British, mostly working class immigrants, three of Vancouver's four Depression era hobo camps, innumerable bootleg joints, even gangs, Vancouver's East End was often viewed by outsiders as an unsavoury, even dangerous place where "those people" lived.  


But it was also home to Angelo Branca, who went on to become Supreme Court Justice for British Columbia, Canada's "Amelia Earhart" Tosca Trasolini, 


boxing legends Jimmy McLarnin and Phil Palmer, NDP Premier Dave Barrett, media personality, musician, filmmaker and actress Sook Yin Lee, CBC programmer, poet and author Bill Richardson, Canadian singing legend k. d. lang, and the Montreal Bakery where the "royal buns" were baked for the 1939 visit to Vancouver by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. And that is just scratching the surface!


Every one of Strathcona's houses has a story to tell. Want to time travel? Come for a History Walk through Vancouver's oldest and most fascinating neighbourhood, the East End.

Cost: $20 per person

Parking: There is plenty of free parking along Heatley Avenue, Hastings Street, and Keefer Street further South.
  
E-mail: historywalks@gmail.com to reserve a space or for more information.  

This is the last History Walk along this particular route for the Autumn 2016 season. The final History Walk of this season is on September 17th and is a new 2.5 hour route through the Working/Wild Side of Strathcona and focuses on the area south of Prior Street, along Union Street and the Kiwassa section of Strathcona between the railway tracks and Clark Drive. 

See TripAdvisor Reviews. History Walks in Vancouver have received an Award of Excellence from TripAdvisor. Currently ranked 44 of 144 Tours and Activities in Vancouver, it is the top rated "one man show" of all these tours and activities. 

Monday, 29 August 2016

History Walk of the Working/Wild Side of Vancouver’s East End - September 17th - Last Tour of the 2016 Fall Season





This new East End Itinerary was developed recently as a photographer's Walking Tour of Strathcona. This route is a History Walk through what I call the Working/Wild Side of Vancouver’s East End.


The fascinating immigrant history and architectural charm of residential Strathcona, Vancouver’s old East End, have come to be appreciated by many through a diversity of tours escorted by civic historian John Atkin, the BC Jewish Museum & Archives, the Architectural Institute of BC, and the Vancouver Police Museum.

CVA 677-921 - Corner store 478 Union in 1972


On this tour I focus on the lesser known, but equally interesting and photogenic, southern and eastern peripheries of Strathcona, Kiwassa, 



Vancouver's East End in the 1890s. The bottom of the map is North and the top is South


and the old False Creek Flats. Highlights of the tour include a walk by the old Restmore Manufacturing Buildings, known today as the Artist Studios of 1000 Parker, the Cottonwood and Strathcona Community Gardens (once the sites of Vancouver’s city dump and home during the Great Depression of a sizeable hobo village), 


CVA Photo Re N8.2 Three unemployed men in the hobo jungles at the City Dump, September 1931

the birthplace of Venice Bakery, Malkin Avenue and Prior Street, the birthplace of character actor John Qualin, 



John Qualin from the Grapes of Wrath

and a walk down Union Street to see the home of Michael Bublé's maternal grandparents, the home of boxing legend Jimmy McLarnin, the Union Market (which started as a Chinese laundry and was once a bootlegging joint), the birthplace of BC Premier Dave Barrett, Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church, the apartments were music legend k.d. lang lived, the site of a short-lived pre-World War I era brothel, the site of the railway blockade by the Militant Mothers of Raymur, and the historic Admiral Seymour School.


Date: September 17th
Departs: 10am from the corner of Raymur Avenue and Malkin (near the Cottonwood community Gardens) and ends in front of 1000 Parker Street
Duration: Roughly 2.5 hours
Cost: $20


CVA 1376-238 - Admiral Seymour School class early 1900s

To reserve a space on this tour or ask any questions about my history walks, please contact me at

Monday, 11 July 2016

My EAST END VANCOUVER HISTORY WALKS Are Back For A Limited Late Summer Engagement. Book Now!

August/September 2016 Vancouver History Walk Schedule
My TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence-winning History Walks of Vancouver's heritage neighbourhoods are back Saturday mornings for a limited time in the late Summer of 2016. 
(Spring 2017 Schedule TBA). 

Tours start at 10am and usually last 2-2.5 hours depending on group size and pace. Tours that begin and end at or near the point of departure are noted as "Circle Tours". Except for my West End History Walk (not offered in the regular walk schedule this Fall) which has some hills, all the rest of my History Walks are relatively flat and easy to walk.  

For more information or to reserve a space please e-mail

Saturday August 27th 10am-12:30
East End/Strathcona History Walk
CVA Photo 808-18  -  Houses at 830 and 844 Dunlevy Avenue circa 1973
Departs from 696 East Hastings at Heatley Avenue (Circle Tour)
Cost: $20/person

Saturday, September 3rd 10am-12:30
History Walk of the Working/Wild Side of Vancouver’s East End
CVA Photo Re N8.2 - Three unemployed men of the jungle at the City Dump during the Great Depression
Departs corner of Raymur and Malkin Avenue (near Cottonwood Community Gardens) and ends in front of 1000 Parker Street close to point of departure.
Cost: $20/person

Saturday, September 10th,  10am-12:30pm
East End/Strathcona History Walk
CVA 371-891 - Mrs. Delia Gore and family in front of 427 Princess, now 459 East Pender
Departs from 696 East Hastings at Heatley Avenue (Circle Tour)

Cost: $20/person

Saturday, September 17th, 10am-12:30pm
History Walk of the Working/Wild Side of Vancouver’s East End
CVA Photo Re N4.3 - Rev. Andrew Roddan feeding the poor in the Hobo Jungles now Strathcona Gardens
Departs corner of Raymur and Malkin Avenue (near Cottonwood Community Gardens) and ends in front of 1000 Parker Street close to point of departure.
Cost: $20/person

Also, Private History Walks for groups of 5 people or more, or a minimum $100 charge for smaller groups, are available on Sunday mornings and afternoons August 29, September 5, 12 and 19, as well as during the weekdays from September 14 to 17 and from September 20 to 21. 

Choose from any of these neighbourhood History Walks:
     Strathcona/East End, 
     The East End's Working Wild Side, 
     The West End, and 
     Grandview. 

These private tours are available in English, Japanese and Italian. 

For more information or to book a private tour, e-mail me at:






Sunday, 20 March 2016

My Spring Season Tours are over - My First History Walk of the Fall 2016 will be August 27

Thank you for a great Spring 2016 Season for my History Walks. 

Photo of bootleggers' house on the 400-block of Union courtesy of Mira Malatestinic

The most popular tours continue to be those in Vancouver's old East End neighbourhood, now known as Strathcona. This year I added a new East End route that focusses on the "Working/Wild Side" of the neighbourhood that included walks through the Cottonwood and Strathcona community gardens, sites that were once Vancouver's city dumps and the location of a significant Hobo Jungle during the great depression, as well as significant sections of Prior and Union Streets and the portion of Strathcona known as Kiwassa east of the railway tracks. 

My Fall 2016 History Walk Season will start on August 27th. A schedule will be posted shortly. Also, an online booking and payment system will be in place at the time the schedule goes up. Thanks again for your interest in my TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence-awarded Vancouver neighbourhood History Walks.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

History Walk of the Working/Wild Side of Vancouver’s East End (New Route) March 19th at 10am




This new East End Itinerary was developed last year as a photographer's Walking Tour of Strathcona. This route is a History Walk through what I call the Working/Wild Side of Vancouver’s East End.


The fascinating immigrant history and architectural charm of residential Strathcona, Vancouver’s old East End, have come to be appreciated by many through a diversity of tours escorted by civic historian John Atkin, the BC Jewish Museum & Archives, the Architectural Institute of BC, and the Vancouver Police Museum.

CVA 677-921 - Corner store 478 Union in 1972

On this tour I focus on the lesser known, but equally interesting and photogenic, southern and eastern peripheries of Strathcona, Kiwassa, 



Vancouver's East End in the 1890s. The bottom of the map is North and the top is South

and the old False Creek Flats. Highlights of the tour include a walk by the old Restmore Manufacturing Buildings, known today as the Artist Studios of 1000 Parker, the Cottonwood and Strathcona Community Gardens (once the sites of Vancouver’s city dump and home during the Great Depression of a sizeable hobo village), 


CVA Photo Re N8.2 Three unemployed men in the hobo jungles at the City Dump, September 1931
the birthplace of Venice Bakery, Malkin Avenue and Prior Street, the birthplace of character actor John Qualin, 

John Qualen from the Grapes of Wrath
and a walk down Union Street to see the home of Michael Bublé's maternal grandparents, the home of boxing legend Jimmy McLarnin, the Union Market (which started as a Chinese laundry and was once a bootlegging joint), the birthplace of BC Premier Dave Barrett, Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church, the apartments were music legend k.d. lang lived, the site of a short-lived pre-World War I era brothel, the site of the railway blockade by the Militant Mothers of Raymur, and the historic Admiral Seymour School.


Date: March 19th
Departs: 10am from the corner of Raymur Avenue and Malkin (near the Cottonwood community Gardens) and ends in front of 1000 Parker Street
Duration: Roughly 2.5 hours
Cost: $20


CVA 1376-238 - Admiral Seymour School class early 1900s

To reserve a space on this tour or ask any questions about my history walks, please contact me at

Travel Back in Time With Me Through Vancouver's Wonderful WEST END - March 12th at 10am

CVA Photo M-11-12 Bird's Eye View of Vancouver in 1912
My interest in Vancouver neighbourhood history was born when I moved into my first apartment in the West End. Walking to and from my workplace downtown I would choose a slightly different route each time and I was fascinated by what I saw. 

CVA 780-410 - House at 1373 Barclay in 1970s
Back in the 1980s, the West End had many more of its original houses. Sadly, most but not all of the West End’s early buildings have been demolished, but you can still find some unexpected jewels hidden here and there among the high-rises and hidden behind storefronts.

Do you recognise these houses in CVA Photo Str N267.1? You can still find them on Denman Street
This tour, which lasts usually just over two and a half hours, snakes its way through the West End from Robson Street to English Bay. On the way you will see the site of an unusual roof-top airplane crash, the location of the mansions of two of Vancouver’s mayors, 

CVA Photo SGN 1080.1 - Mayor William Templeton's Residence on Barclay Street
the house in which the first English version of O Canada was written, the Gustav Roedde House and the beautifully restored houses of Barclay Heritage Square, the site of North America’s first Fire Hall designed for mechanical fire trucks, 

FD P11 - Firemen and the first motorised chemical engine at Firehall No. 6 Nelson at Nicola
the location of X-Files’ Agent Dana Scully’s apartment, the apartment building where actor Errol Flynn died, Sugar magnate Benjamin Tingley Roger’s magnificent stone mansion Gabriola, the home of one of the British Empire’s most renowned sharpshooters, 

Bu P111 - Joe Fortes in front of his cottage on English Bay at the foot of Bidwell
the location of English Bay’s first life guard Joe Fortes’ cabin, and much much more.

Pan 103 - View of 1900 and 2000 blocks of Nelson Street - Click photo to enlarge
As with all of my history walks, I supplement what we are able to see today with peeks back into time using archival images to help recreate the lost Victorian and Edwardian streetscapes of the West End.  

Departs: SE corner of Bute and Robson Streets at 

Time: 10am, and

Lasts: Approximately two and a half hours and

Finishes: At English Bay near Denman & Davie.

Costs: $20.00

Though it is not necessary, if you want to reserve a space on this tour, please contact me at historywalks@gmail.com. Please use this e-mail if you have any questions or concerns about the tour.

My History Walks in Vancouver are on TripAdvisor and have been awarded a Certificate of Excellence. 

For a sneak preview of my West End History Walk, take a look at this great video called "TIME TRAVELER" by Janelle Huopalainen.




  

Sunday, 28 February 2016

HISTORY WALK of GRANDVIEW: The Hood That Drives “The Drive” - MARCH 5th at 10am

CVA - LGN 1228 - Grandview Sheet Metal works beside what is now Uprising Bakery on Commercial & Venables c 1913
HISTORY, HORTICULTURE, HERITAGE & CAFFEINATED HIP - Come along on a History Walk through Vancouver's hippest, historic neighbourhood, “Grandview”. Vancouver’s Grandview is a neighbourhood unlike any other. Originally promoted as a middle class alternative to the West End and Shaughnessy, Grandview, which straddles both sides of Commercial Drive, is a fascinating mix of elegant Edwardian mansions, and edgy Bohemian chic, interspersed with interestingly repurposed  heritage churches, monasteries and former monasteries, beautiful gardens and some of the best affordable restaurants and hippest coffee shops in the city. 

SGN 422 - Family standing at fence of Professor Edward Odlum residence at 1710 Grant Street near today's Spartacus Gym
You will see the mansions of theologian, scientist, comparative ethnologist and British Israelite Professor Edward Odlum, 

SGN 421 - J.J. Miller residence at 1036 Salsbury and Napier
Kurrajong—the elegant turreted home of Australian-born realtor and PNE founder John James Miller; the former home of author Joy Kogawa; the one-time home of Canadian rockabilly legend Ray Condo; a pre-fabricated Presbyterian church building which was later converted into a Fijian Hindu Temple and is now strata apartments; the site of Jeff Walls “The Pine on the Corner”; as well as what have to be Vancouver’s shortest and cutest streets, Lily and Rose Streets, and much much more.

The tour departs from the SE corner of Commercial and Venables near the site of the neighbourhood’s first electric light and ends near Commercial and Gravely in front of the site of Grandview’s first house.

Date: Saturday March 5
Departure Time: 10am
Gather at: SE corner of Venables and Commercial
Duration: Roughly two hours
Cost: $20 per person

It is not necessary to pre-book a space. Just turn up at the right time at the right place and everything will be fine. 

For more information, or if you absolutely want to book a place on the tour, please e-mail  me at historywalks@gmail.com 


History Walks in Vancouver with James Johnstone have been awarded a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor.

SGN 962 - Family standing on front porch of house in Grandview-Cedar Cottage area