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          Reading the National Narrative

          Blog

          Blue Cabin Launches

          August 28, 2019

          The Blue Cabin project launched last weekend in False Creek so I went along to have a look.

          I've written before about the project but now it is up and running, welcoming its first artist-in-residence this autumn. In the photo above, the rebuilt?squatter's cabin is on the right, the modern living quarters on the left.

          The reason I am such a fan is that it?is the sort of heritage preservation that doesn't just display the past but recycles it for contemporary use. And it?focusses on a humble, marginal structure instead of the?residences of the well-to-do?that too often have come to represent what heritage is.

          You can find out more about the Blue Cabin here and here.

          August 24, 2019

          Last weekend I joined a walking tour of historic Mount Pleasant led by Christine Hagemoen of the Mount Pleasant Heritage Group.

          Basically the tour followed part of the route of historic Brewery Creek as it used to wind its way from the old Tea Swamp at 16th and Main down to False Creek. The creek is gone now, or at least buried, but there is lots to see in the area, which was the...

          August 11, 2019

          Someone asked as we motored through the Fraser Canyon: "Where did the Cariboo Road start?"

          At Yale, sez I, authoritatively. The steamships could only come up the river from the coast as far as Yale before the canyon got too nasty. From there on, everyone and everything had to continue by land. So they built the wagon road all the way to Barkerville.

          Sounded logical, but in that case...

          June 30, 2019

          A sad start to the summer. Another BC writer passes on.

          Rolf Knight, who died on June 22 at the age of 83, wrote a couple of essential books about the province and the city. I am thinking of Indians at Work, his 1978 history of Indigenous peoples' contribution to the BC economy, and Along the No. 20 Line, his entirely original 1980 memoir/history of the Vancouver waterfront. The fact that both books have been reissued over the years speaks to their continued...

          June 26, 2019

          I am very sorry to learn of the death of Bob McDonald on June 19 at the age of 76. Vancouver has lost one of its preeminent historians.

          Bob's book on the city's early years, Making Vancouver, 1863-1913 (UBC Press, 1996), is a subtle and groundbreaking study which I return to again and again for my own work. A longtime professor of history at UBC, he was?past president of the Vancouver Historical Society and a fixture at its monthly meetings, which is where I used to run into...

          May 26, 2019

          Speaking of Vancouver in the Fifties, as I was last time, I was struck recently by this photograph from the archives (Vancouver Public Library 81817). It shows the city's West End looking north across Burrard Inlet to the mountains. You can see that there are pretty well no tall buildings?west of Burrard Street, which is the main thoroughfare running north from the bridge.

          The...

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