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This page last updated February 27, 2012

© Michael Kluckner

Original sketchbook image from about 2000 and ...

... what it looked like in 2010, tarped after a fire and awaiting demolition
(this image is reproduced in Vanishing Vancouver: The Last 25 Years)

Written in 2001: This house, facing across the corner of 4th and Scotia in Vancouver's Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, is one of a group of 3 or 4 that has so far defied the march of progress. All around it are new  apartment buildings that are revitalizing the area with "artists' lofts" and cafes, including one that pitches the  name SOMA (South Main, a knockoff of New York's Soho "south of Houston" district) in an attempt to make the area hip. It puts me into a COMA. Anyway, it's hip enough as it is, attracting young people with cash flow into an area more traditionally marked by young people on welfare. Whether any of them are artists in their lofts, or whether there are any patrons for all the art, is moot.

I don't as yet know anything specific about the house, although it will no doubt respond to research at the Vancouver City Archives when the time comes available. As for the area, it is the oldest settled neighbourhood south of False Creek, having been opened up in the late 1880s when the False Creek bridge opened on Main Street (replaced eventually by dry land when the flats were drained and filled during the railway building spree of the 1910s. The local employer of note was the Doering and Marstrand brewery, which used Brewery Creek as its water source. The watercourse for the creek ran just east of Main Street before emptying into False Creek, and has been marked in recent years by a series of cairns. The last of the old brewery buildings, on 6th, has been converted into more artists' live-work spaces.

On a personal note, I spent a couple of years in the early 1970s in the neighbourhood, managing and producing a newspaper called the Mount Pleasant Mouthpiece, later the Mount Pleasant News. At that time, the neighbourhood was dotted with buildings like this one, rented out for next to nothing to constantly changing groups of hippies/anarchists/layabouts. A few of the key people in the community at that time were Ernst Snijders, an architect who had imaginatively converted a house on 5th Avenue (and subsequently, I heard, moved to Hornby Island) which had a rabbit hutch and splendid marijuana patch in its back yard; Don Fairbrother, also an architect; and Charlie Christopherson, who lived in an apartment building on 5th and passionately promoted and researched local history. Charlie, together with historian Bruce Macdonald, did most of the work on the Brewery Creek commemoration. Other people who were involved with the Mouthpiece while it was running on LIP (Local Initiatives Program, a federal government make-work initiative of the early 1970s) funding were Ken Lester, co-organizer of the demonstration that became the "Gastown Riot", editor of the Georgia Straight and the Terminal City Express and later manager of punk band DOA; Bob Mercer, band member, designer and later editor of Vancouver Magazine; and Allan Earle, also briefly an editor of the Straight, who moved to New York and . . . I wonder what happened to him?

Any stories about this house? Or of other houses in the neighbourhood?

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Artwork and text ©Michael Kluckner, 2001