Heritage News

New Updates: General Gordon Schoolhouse Outbuilding

Keeping up with all of the heritage related projects in Vancouver can be difficult, which is why we’ve created this page as a resource. Here we will post news about heritage projects including public meetings and online campaigns to offer feedback to proposals, or opportunities to get involved. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates.

Chinatown Development (105 Keefer Street)

A proposed development in Vancouver's Chinatown was the centre of controversy as stakeholders from both the pro and con side registered to speak at a scheduled public hearing on May 23, 2017. Over 200 people registered to speak on the rezoning proposal resulting in four additional public hearing dates. Concern from those against the proposal cited incompatible scale and form of the proposed building with the historic character of the neighbourhood, as the site is adjacent to the Monument to Chinese Canadian Veterans, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and the Chinese Cultural Centre. It is also adjacent to the National Historic Site and Chinatown Historic Area. Those for the project were supportive of the promised social housing units and community space. On June 13th, 2017, City Council voted on whether to approve rezoning that would permit the project to move forward. After a vote of 8-against and 3-for, the rezoning was not approved.

General Gordon Schoolhouse: UPDATE

gordonOn Wednesday, February 22nd, the Vancouver School Board heard a recommendation to demolish the building as four proposals to retain and reuse have fallen through. It was decided at that meeting that more consultation with the heritage community was required, so the decision was delayed until that consultation process has concluded. One of the resources to be utilized is the Heritage Consultation Committee, of which VHF is a member. We will update when more news is announced.

The Vancouver School Board District No.39 (Vancouver), recently requested expressions of interest and proposals to retain, lease and restore the General Gordon Elementary Yellow Schoolhouse Outbuilding located at the Southeast corner of the General Gordon Elementary school property (2268 Bayswater Street). Built in 1913, the General Gordon Schoolhouse is a small wood frame building located near the intersection of 2800 block of West 7th Avenue and the lane forming the east edge of the school property.

The General Gordon Schoolhouse is significant for it's cultural value both as a potential community space as well as its history as one of a few remaining single-room schoolhouses in Vancouver.

It was wonderful to see a reported 40 - 50 interested people attend the mandatory site visit on March 23rd. With so much interest expressed from the public, we are hopeful a successful proposal will be selected and General Gordon Schoolhouse can remain an asset to the neighbourhood. Proposals were accepted until April 20th.

Character Home Zoning Review

1893-1895-w-3rd-ricThe next phase of the Heritage Action Plan involves a review of character home zoning to look at options for the retention of heritage and character homes in single-family zoning districts. Geographic and zoning options are being explored that could result in changes to regulations for both pre-1940 character homes and new home development in older single-family neighbourhoods. There are several upcoming opportunities listed below where you can offer feedback. An online survey will also be available here as of November 21st.

Urbanarium is hosting their 8th Smart City Debate, this one on the Character Home Zoning Review on March 8th. You can find out more information or sign up to attend here.


Arbutus Corridor Greenway

The Arbutus Corridor was originally the site of an important rail line through Vancouver's west side beginning in the 1900s, seeing both industrial and passenger use through a century of service. Unused for transport since the early 2000s, the community gardens and subsequent green space that grew over time came to have significance for the community. The City recently concluded it's ask for ideas and feedback on design of the new Arbutus Greenway, however you can follow project updates by registering here.



Proposal to designate Mole Hill a Heritage Conservation Area

MoleHill-17On June 14th, 2016 City Council considered a motion to designate the heritage-rich neighbourhood of Mole Hill in the West End a Heritage Conservation Area. If approved, the HCA would offer significant resources for the protection of this unique group of homes. If the motion moves forward there will be opportunities for public input, which we will list here.

About Mole Hill: At one time threatened with demolition, Mole Hill has become a landmark example of heritage restoration and retention. With many of the homes dating back to the 1880s, Mole Hill was saved by a dedicated group who fought for over 10 years to preserve it. Due to the perseverance of the Mole Hill Living Heritage Society, the buildings were restored to their original state, with the highest possible environmental standard available at the time. The restoration also included the addition of public spaces, community gardens and native plant wildlife habitat areas. A combination of low to moderate income accommodations was also part of the community design, owned by the City of Vancouver and run by the Mole Hill Community Housing Society.  Mole Hill was also one of the original sites used to create the True Colours palette of historically accurate paint colours and several homes have recently been repainted through a True Colours grant. You can find out more about the individual buildings that make up Mole Hill by searching our Heritage Site Finder (Mole Hill lies between Thurlow and Bute, Comox and Pendrell).

UPDATE: At the June 14th Council meeting, the motion to designate Mole Hill as a heritage conservation area was referred to June 15th in order to hear from speakers regarding the potential impact and a suggested process for moving forward. At the June 15th meeting, after hearing from several speakers, the motion moved forward and city staff were asked to report back in a year or less. Once the report comes back to Council, a decision will be made on whether to designate the area as an HCA and to discuss what that documentation may look like. You can read the updated motion.

Vancouver Board of Education Heritage Consultation Committee

2b - 1936W10thAve LordTennysonSchool detail BIGGSPublic concern over recent demolition of several significant heritage schools, including interest in the General Gordon Schoolhouse, has alerted the Vancouver Board of Education (VBE) to a growing need to consider heritage more fully in their long-term planning. A Heritage Consultation Committee has been created to assist the VBE with the management, development and preservation of heritage buildings. While the VBE works through important seismic upgrading of schools, the effect on the many significant heritage resources owned by the VBE needs to be considered. The Consultation Committee was established by the VBE to strengthen communication between the heritage community and the VBE so that conservation goals and methods are considered throughout the process. The Committee consists of representatives from the VBE as well as key members of the heritage community including VHF's Executive Director Judith Mosley and VHF Board Member Karen Russell, as well as representatives from Heritage Vancouver Society, The City of Vancouver Heritage Commission, City staff and Heritage BC.

Vancouver School Board Interim Long-Range Facilities Plan

TVSB-event-poster-1he Vancouver School Board (VSB) recently completed a series of public consultation initiatives to gain community input for their Interim Long-Range Facilities Plan which could affect the future of several heritage schools. There was a series of public meetings along with an online feedback form to gauge public priorities, ideas and values in regards to the facilities owned and operated by the VSB.

The updated VSB Engagement Program includes details of the creation of the Heritage Consultation Committee.

The poster to the left detailed all upcoming open houses. Click the image to enlarge.