Heritage Week offers a chance to explore heritage across BC and Canada and take part in programming that provides opportunities to learn and share about Vancouver’s history, diverse cultural heritage and historic places.
From February 15th-21st, we explored the theme “Where do you find heritage?” Gathering virtually with our community, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Places that Matter program, discovered some of Vancouver’s lesser known heritage spots and got inspired to go outside and sketch our favourite local heritage buildings and places.
Tuesday, February 16th, 7pm – 8pm
We launched Heritage Week 2021 with an evening of storytelling and a look at the first 10 years of the Places That Matter project. The program included: Musqueam Welcome with Alec Guerin and the story of Musqueam with Mack Paul, Heritage Proclamation by Deputy Mayor, Councillor Carr, stories directly from Collingwood Neighbourhood House, the family of Nellie Yip Quong and family-owned East India Carpets about the First Sikh Gurdwara on West 2nd Avenue.
Places That Matter launched with a plaque project in 2011 to recognize community-nominated sites that highlight some of the lesser-known people, places and events that have shaped Vancouver. A decade later, with 88 plaques installed, the online Community History Resource continues to grow with community contributions of personal stories and photographs for the 125 sites.
Thursday, February 18th, 12pm – 1pm
Author and illustrator of Hand Drawn Vancouver, Emma FitzGerald, led participants in learning how to sketch with confidence. We explored how drawings can be a prompt for storytelling and got inspired to go outside to sketch favourite neighbourhood spots or local heritage buildings and places. Emma also shared tips for drawing on location, including intimidating architecture.
Saturday, February 20th, 10am – 11am
Heritage is all around us – sometimes you just need to look closely! Local historian, author and seasoned walking tour guide, John Atkin, explored some of Vancouver’s lesser-known heritage spots and shared the history of some of the buildings that make our neighbourhoods unique on this virtual walk.
In 2020, the theme of Heritage Week was “2020 Vision: Bringing the Past into the Future”. The restoration and adaptation of heritage buildings is key to a sustainable future, preserving community and cultural spaces, retaining affordable retail and residential spaces and keeping usable building materials from landfills, all while enriching our streetscapes and neighbourhoods. The future also includes reconciliation with Indigenous communities and a more inclusive telling of the stories of the past for all communities. Across three events, we explored the role of heritage in our future throughout Heritage Week, February 17th – 23rd.
We created a short video with some highlights from the week. You can view other VHF videos on our YouTube channel.
Wednesday, February 19th
Heritage Hall, 3102 Main St
During the evening, we learnt about the special places recognized in the Places That Matter plaque project, and heard about them from the people and organizations involved in bringing their history forward. This free celebration included displays from a variety of organizations, institutions and individuals related to Places That Matter sites and local history, a short program of storytelling with our emcee author Michael Kluckner and refreshments. There was also music from members of bluegrass band Viper Central: Steven John Charles (musical director, composer and musician) and Kathleen Nesbit (Metis fiddler and singer).
Thank you to event sponsor Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Association and community sponsors Charles and Lucile Flavelle, and BC Golf House Society. Thank you also for in-kind donations from All India Sweets and Restaurant, Cartems Donuterie, Choices Markets, COBS Bread and Starbucks Reserve.
Territorial Welcome with Alec Guerin, Self-Governance Community Coordinator, Musqueam First Nation
Heritage Consultant Donald Luxton on the conservation and history of Vancouver bridges
Historian Rob Howatson on the history of South Vancouver including the legacy of Loretta Lynn
BC Heritage Fairs Alumni Coordinator and Grade 9 student Leona Lam
Families of the pre-WWII Celtic Cannery Japanese Canadian community, and current resident
Jan Tollefsen from Heritage Hall, Erika and Kate Gerson
Asian Canadian Asian Migration Studies UBC & INSTRCC (Initiative for Student Teaching and Research in Chinese Canadian Studies at UBC), African Descent Festival Society, BC Golf House Society, BC Heritage Fairs Society, BC Labour History Society, BC Sports Hall of Fame, Celtic Cannery and Shipyards Communities, Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC, City of Vancouver Archives, Don Luxton (Heritage Bridges), Dr. Sun-Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden, False Creek Watershed Society, Friends of the Vancouver City Archives, Gerson Family (Unitarian Church), Heather Heritage Society & VGH School of Nursing Alumnae Association, Heritage Hall Preservation Society, Jason Vanderhill (Future History Endeavors), Jewish Museum and Archives of BC, John Oliver Legacy Society, Kits Neighbourhood House, Loretta Lynn Chicken Coop & South Vancouver History (Rob Howatson), MAU Collective (Nellie Yip Quong), Mount Pleasant Heritage Group, Nikkei National Museum and Archives, Punjabi Market Renegeration Society,Stanley Park Rock Garden, Talking Stick Festival, United Players of Vancouver, Vancouver Historical Society.
Friday, February 21st
St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church, 1018 Nelson St
St. Andrew’s-Wesley is a historic landmark church in downtown Vancouver, designed and constructed 1930-33. It is currently undergoing a full seismic upgrade and heritage restoration during a two-year closure. During Heritage Week, we offered a special opportunity to tour inside the church and see the work in progress with project consultants, Donald Luxton FRAIC CAHP and Michael MacLean BSc, P.Eng., LEED AP O+M, CCCA.
Thank you to St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church, Mike Maclean and Julia Halipchuck of RJC Engineers, Donald Luxton and Heatherbrae Builders.
Sunday, February 23rd
Early Mount Pleasant saw residential development spurred on by the opening of the streetcar line up Main Street and west along Broadway, while industry was attracted to the shoreline of False Creek which brought sawmills and shipyards. Up the hill, the neighbourhood’s numerous creeks helped spur on smaller operations including an emerging brewing industry. Today much of that early legacy of development can be found with these former industrial sites adapted to new uses. Historian John Atkin explored the challenges and benefits of adaptive reuse with examples found in this historic neighbourhood.