Events

Home in an Evolving City

In February the Friends hosted Home in an Evolving City via Zoom

Vancouver has always been a city of real estate speculation and high rate of home ownership. The history of housing in Vancouver has focused on architect-designed houses of the upper class. This talk presents a different view of housing in the city’s settler history that focuses on the resilience, creativity, and agency of those attempting to create homes for themselves amidst changing municipal landscapes.

Our Speakers:

John Atkin is a civic historian, and heritage consultant. John offers interesting and offbeat insight to the city’s architecture, history and neighbourhoods through his walking tours, books, and blog. As a heritage consultant, John regularly consults on heritage buildings, writing Statements of Significance, Conservation Plans and Heritage Assessments. John is past chair of the City of Vancouver’s Civic Asset Naming Committee, former chair of the Dr Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden and currently sits on the board of the Friends of the Vancouver Archives, and is a vice president the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC.

Jennifer Chutter is a PhD Candidate in Interdisciplinary Studies at SFU. Her current research examines how SPOTA challenged the city narratives of what it means to create a home in the city during the the 1960s and 1970s. Her previous work was on the Vancouver Special and its significance in meeting the city’s housing needs.

Judy Graves worked with the homeless from 1974 at the Pine Free Clinic, until she retired from her position as the City of Vancouver’s Advocate for the Homeless in 2013. She spent years walking the streets and alleys overnight, listening to the homeless, learning from them, housing them. Her work also involved years exploring the DTES SROs, rooming houses, rooms in basements, cars on the side of the road, small boats in the harbour, tent cities and abandoned houses and many other places the very poor make their home. Although she did not finish high school, she has honorary degrees from four universities, and the Freedom of the City Award. 

Lani Russwurm is a Vancouver historian. He is the author of Vancouver Was Awesome (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2013) and the blog Past Tense Vancouver, and a contributing blogger and researcher for Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours.

Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom turned 91 years old on December 3, 2021.

We celebrated with author/historian Aaron Chapman with this online fundraising event for the Friends of the City of Vancouver Archives

Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom turned 91 years old on December 3rd. To celebrate, the Friends of the Vancouver Archives joined Live at The Commodore Ballroom author/historian Aaron Chapman for a special virtual presentation of the history of the Commodore. 

The Commodore has seen generations of Vancouverites pass through its doors since it opened in 1930. In its time it has seen just about everything, with its legendary floor seeing everything from waltzing to slam-dancing. In this Zoom presentation, Chapman will take you through a visual tour of the history of the Commodore, present many previously unpublished photographs, and talk about the trends in history that have made the Commodore come to be. He’ll talk about how, while so many other nightclubs have come and gone, The Commodore has survived and come to be perhaps the one of most valued and beloved venues not only in Vancouver but across the continent—named by Billboard Magazine one of the top ten most influential venues in North America. Chapman will also speak to the comprehensive “800 Granville” development project recently presented by developers Bonnis Properties that perhaps suggests the future of where the Commodore and that part of Granville Street is headed.

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