Monday, 31 March 2014

New Westminster: the haunting maw of an old stream valley that carried salmon and run-off well before a penitentiary masking as a hospital absorbed the space into its grounds. Collectively we were each reminded of the horrific silences we individually experienced visiting concentration camps throughout Europe.

The grim history of Woodlands has an incredibly vacuous write-up on the wiki site leading us to suspect the administrators seek erasure. A more exhaustive inventory of facts and figures can be found via an art project undertaken by Vancouver photographer Michael de Courcy.

Philip Timms took this photo of the grounds circa 1905. The government had the structures built on the site of an old cricket pitch. (VPL)

A series of fires (four in four days) destroyed various structures in 2008 after Woodlands was closed. Former inmates insisted the remaining parts of the complex be destroyed. The entire area is now carpeted with condominium developments.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Philip Timms could have walked from his nearby home to set his photograph of the corner of Main/ Kingsway (nee Westminster Ave/ Westminster Road) in 1908. A dry goods grocer has given away to a cafe in the prow of the triangle. (VPL)

From here the grid erupts into a vast sequence of acute, obtuse and reflex orientations with varying degrees of uniformity.

Between Fraser and Clark the Kingsway grid supports a 30°/60° diagonal, producing unique wedge conditions along the lanes.

Self-guided we begin our 30° Inventory at 16th East behind the John Howard Society building (née Miller Block).

Moving eastward a blanketed tree emerges from laurel layering mid-lane behind luxury auto repair.

St Catherines St (née Martha) and 17th East behind the ICBC edifice. Hobby gardening and fence.

Moving eastward a treated fence encloses a maximum allowable fsr development mid-lane.

Windsor St (née Katheen) and 18th East behind the Korean Restaurant. Low hedging and box.

Moving eastward frost fencing shelters a young cherry tree in bloom near mattress mid-lane.

Glen Drive (née James) and 19th East behind Stan's Transmission. Extremely tight wedging.

Inverness St (née Thomas) and 20th East before the grounds of the seniors compound.

Clark Drive (née Percival) and 21st East marks a shift as the diagonal turns acutely to 40°. An expanse of exposed lawn and an old shed behind the pub.

Moving eastward frost fencing shelters a shaggy cypress behind old theatre mid-lane.

South of Kingsway at Clark the finest expression of diagonal can be found at the Triangle Market. The previously surveyed 40° is complemented here with a sharpened 50°.

(n.b. Euclid via Oliver Byrne; all measurements approximate; option shift 8 = °)

Friday, 28 March 2014

One hundred years ago Mary Anderson lived at 3741 Knight Street. This was not such a busy road at the time. Gibby's Field would have marched eastward in the distance. She may have mused over her vastly shrunken world as a new widow.

It is possible that she had planted what appears to be a beautiful Camelia in her back yard. It is exquisite amidst the transitional nature of the nearby structures.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

A most excellent essay on bottle-dash stucco on the blog of local archivist C. Hagemoen. While the example above lacks brilliance the black specks are pleasing when identified to be crushed obsidian.
"In May 1909, Grace Methodist Church was opened on the corner of 16th and Prince Albert... A church hall and gymnasium... added in 1923... A new church building... dedicated in 1959...  burned down... July of 1983... rebuilt in 1984." (Memory BC)

A harvest table laid out in the 1925 version of the church: flowers, squash, a cornucopia. Philip Timms took the picture. He was a prolific photographer and lived well. (VPL)

This is the house where Philip Timms lived with his family. We can see them sitting on the front porch. The house was at 442 East 6th Avenue. The neighboring house at 429 East 6th is standing and equally intriguing. It is possible that he walked to the church to take the harvest photograph. It takes fifteen minutes along modern routes. Must walk through Dude Chilling Park. (VPL)

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Among the more austere shelters for devotion to be found in Mount Pleasant, we come across the Chinese Tabernacle Baptist Church adjacent to the Prince Albert Greenway. Membership is admissible by letter, by profession, by faith, by baptism and by the rear door.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Three views of an aggressive yet tolerant relationship. The tree is magnificent in its quiet determination; the house, stubborn and unyielding as spring flowers look on.

Near the Van East Cross we find a camper peeking through the fence aside an unusual piece of architecture that resembles seating but may read as a piece of shelter. It sits regally facing the morning light to the east.

Dim Sum and Truck Stop signage compete with Today's Special Menu at Joe's Cafe. 

The graffiti was unacceptable and so Big Dick Rumi appears to have moved on for the moment. This may be a mere pause in the removal schedule.

We marvel at the tenacity of old back lane structures. They persist beyond the makeovers and tear down fates of the houses they serve. Without question they harbor repressed memories and notions of sentiment.

To the right the butchery is almost complete. Burning rituals are in order. Accent of phloem was evident above the crushed vacuoles and wheezing cytoplasm.

Removal is carrying on three blocks east in preparation of a new lane house. It is unclear how the bagster option functions or what method is used for disposal, nor do we understand how items are to be sorted if separation or recycling is required. It is green after all.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

North shore mountains under cloud cover. One house down while another awaits. There is charring along the south west soffit. Bottle glass stucco may be rare in the future but we will always have memories and description.

The demolition has been complete aside from a few boxwoods that resist removal. Destruction has a narrow agenda up to this point. In time there will be replacement and refusal.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Here razor wire maintains the preservation of a burned out shell, perfectly sited in the middle of an enclosure. Distance elevates the value. The investigation is still underway.
The Ides of March reveals razor wire trimming atop triangulated light wells. A parkour playground. Clear skies.
The value of food in the post-industrial era insists that we seek out the new old. Heirloom and fresh; local with artisan; found, rescued or fried.

The uncertainty of spring remains a blur. We walk along the waterfront reeling in wintery wane.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The concern is to avoid reading significance into an event that is ultimately banal or devoid of meaning. It is what is experienced or related in the event where meaning lies. 1568 is stenciled on a piece of sheathing under black paper and near an edge that separates the house from a porch that was clearly added later on. The number is not an address nor is it a date. But it speaks out for a moment.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Further down the street and a block north there is food aplenty. The animals appear bewildered and exposed as they are in the jelly green pool all cold and slippery.
Even at this angle as our eyes meet it isn't clear whether they see what they are looking at or comprehend finality.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Two fine examples of Strathcona shed elements. Above, a staircase is all that remains on a lot awaiting future development. Below, rusted corrugation provides secure enclosure for valuables and privacy.