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CITY REFLECTIONS: VANCOUVER 1907 - 2007
Churches hidden in plain sight: Downtown Vancouver then and now
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What Will You Read Next? Subscribe Subscribe by Email. Vancouver Then and Now juxtaposes seventy archival images of buildings and scenes with the same place as it is today, along with descriptive text for each photograph which includes historical and other details.
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As soon as a search of the City of Vancouver Archives turned up this photograph, I was captivated by its symbolism. The photo actually two photos combined to give a panoramic effect looks south from the intersection of Hastings and Seymour streets toward Pender Street in What is immediately noticeable is the visible Christian presence, including four churches. Every building in this photo is now long gone. Stand at Hastings and Seymour today and there is absolutely nothing left from this earlier time.
To live in Vancouver right now is to accommodate yourself to the slightly uncanny feeling that your future here depends less on anything you do than on the invisible hand of the global market. Or not so invisible: from the pretty west-side neighbourhoods where Teslas practically outnumber Toyotas, to the humbler precincts where a crappy bungalow will still set you back a million and a half dollars, just about every corner of Vancouver bears the imprint of global capital. The flood of foreign investment since the late s — mainly in the form of property speculation, first from nervous Hong Kong residents, pre-handover, and, much more intensively over the past few years, from newly prosperous China — has transformed the city. Nobel laureate Alice Munro, arriving in the s, found a sober provincial town that little resembled the shiny not-quite-metropolis of luxury condos and esoteric sports cars we know today. Some of that chilly perspective can be found in the beautiful and melancholy stories of The Love of a Good Woman and Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage
Davie Street has seen a significant change since this image, when it was basically a row of houses, with, on this block, one exception, the store at Davie. Remarkably, one of those houses is still standing today, which was all we had to line up the picture. They were the only two houses on this side of the block in , although there were three more to the east, off the edge of the picture. A Davis, an engineer was in that year, joined by Captain Frank B Turner at , later that year. Archibald Davis was originally from New Brunswick, was aged 53, and married to Alice, who was 15 years younger, and they had three children.