Downtown Eastside area plans, False Creek Flats, North East False Creek area plans... these are places where change is happening. Meetings and public gatherings can be attended to learn about what is going to take place in Vancouver. All these developments affect our neighbourhood: a place where 300 children come to my door at Halloween. There are many Senior citizens here as well. It's an amazing pocket of diversity.
This is what I love about this community. Lately, there have been grumblings by individuals that may well have the ear of city staff and counsel. I've heard and have been told of non-residence representatives saying things like "oh, those people in Strathcona think that area is so special" or "well if you don't support this plan we'll just leave it and your community will not get funds that can improve your park or area". Hmmm, that's kind of disheartening, don't you think?
It's disheartening because Strathcona is SPECIAL. Is it that fewer Vancouverites get it and that's why they aren't happy and proud to share that knowledge. It made me think, perhaps people who haven't grown up here don't really know about this "hood" and they just need to learn.
So let's do just that. Let's help others understand, truly understand, who has contributed to the glory of Strathcona. Anyone who wants to write a section for PEOPLE, PLACES, THINGS, to share in this section, is very welcome. I will be happy to post on his or her behalf (of course credit to the author is a given).
Perhaps when Project 851 is done this can be something that continues on... (BIG SMILE)
For now, I'm happy to start. There's a pretty large gem collection here -- gems of people who have made up the community. The few gems shared here are part of a larger collection that has come my way during my lifetime in this city and my residency in Strathcona.
People are what makes a community, and that's what most of us believe in and identify with, so that's the focus. Who are the people that have a deep connection to Strathcona?
Francis Stillman Barnard - This is the dude that Union St. was named after, as it was actually Barnard St. before it was Union St.
Nora Hendrix - Grandma of Jimi Hendrix, lived in Strathcona on Georgia St. and Jimmy came up from Seattle to hang out with his family over the years. The Black community that was part of Strathcona as were many other communities; the Chinese, Italians, Croatians, Russians, Japanese, Serbs, Maritimers, Portuguese...
Joe Wai - As one walks around the neighbourhood and looks closely he/she can see many homes designed by Joe Wai. What I love about these houses in the community is that they may look the same but are all structured differently: ie. co-op, strata, sole ownership etc. (p.s. the houses shown in the link are right next door to 851 Union) Same, same but different.
Bing Thom - Another amazing human being was Bing Thom and I recall hearing him speak at a SFU Woodwards downtown panel discussion, some years ago. It was very impressive to hear his insight and professionalism. His compassion crossed societal boarders through common sense with dignity. Bing referred to our community as "the cultural farm team" that if not protected would be lost to citizens and the city.
Ken Lum - Here is a world renowned artist who's roots are connected to our neighbourhood; Union St to be accurate. I met Ken at a Centre A auction a few years ago, where he and I were looking a a work by David Khang , discussing the technical know-how of mounting photography on aluminum. Ken shared his warm thoughts and memories of Strathcona with me and also how he went to Chinese school in what is now the Rennie Gallery on Pender Street. I believe it was the 700 block union he lived on -- the same street as Nick Milkovich and K.D. Lang .
Richard Tetrault - Here is the artist I call "the Diego Rivera of Vancouver"; the wall muralist of many truly collaborative projects ie. The Russian Hall, Firehall theatre, Through the Eye of the Raven to name a few. Richard is a muralist, painter, printmaker and magic man of art. He has lived in the neighbourhood for over 30 years.
Stan Douglas - Here is another international artist who also has made a home in the hood for many years. My understanding is that Stan's roots go deep into our BC history and I've found him to be generous when reaching out for a project I did for the Eastside Culture Crawl -- 77 Vancouver Artists.
Esther Rausenberg -- What can I share about this dynamite woman, friend of Carole Itter and the community? She presently is the Executive Director of the Eastside Culture Crawl Society, sits on the Board of Trustees for the Vancouver Art Gallery, is an artist in her own right and a generous soul.
Ewan McNiel -- What another artist? haha (smile) yes, we have a few of those people living here. Ewan too has lived in the hood for many years and recently had a show at the pendulum gallery.
I love the story he tells about a woman his wife met while working at the Vancouver Art Gallery who described their home to a t. That was after his wife had said oh, you won't know where I live it's a place in Strathcona. Apparently, their home had been the woman's Godmother's and she had spent much time there. The beauty of our community.
As the oldest neighbourhood in the city, we have seen a lot of change and also welcome it. The key is listening to the people who live here and welcoming others in, those who understand and appreciate the gem we have in this community.
This week's blog only touches ever so fleetingly, not even a breath, on the wonderful people who live here, have lived here and are connected to here.
When it came to deciding to move forward with this project, Marianne Amodio was chosen as the architect and Reece Terris as the contractor. The reason was felt that adding their voices here in Strathcona would fit beautifully with our community; my family all agreed and so far I'd have to say we hit the nail on the head!