Created during grunt gallery’s 2018 Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen Digital Storytelling workshops with Mount Pleasant residents. Mount Pleasant Heritage Group’s video highlights our popular and historic area of Vancouver, also known as the “Heritage Heart.” Please enjoy! and share with friends and lovers of heritage.
Once again it was great to chat with so many heritage enthusiasts at the recent Main Street Car Free Festival. We had a steady stream of people from both Mount Pleasant and beyond dropping by and expressing their love of our historic neighbourhood. They also expressed concern about its future. Word is going around that a couple of developers have bought up many key buildings in the Heritage Heart, which is home to our distinctive neighbourhood high street, triangle block and many of our much loved small and independent businesses. This vibrant shopping and gathering spot is clearly cherished not only by the local community but by the city at large and folks want it protected.
We want to again express our appreciation for all of the encouragement we received to continue our work of celebrating and advocating on behalf of Mount Pleasant’s rich and cherished heritage. Mount Pleasant Heritage Lives!
Many thanks to Bruce Macdonald for the maps from his popular book Vancouver A Visual History, to Neil Wyles of the MPBIA for spot organization and to the Quebec Manor Co-op for the loan of furniture. Eric Phillips of Grandview Heritage Group not only lent us equipment and helped with set up and take down but he delivered everything in his 1947 vintage chevy truck.
The Heritage Lounge crew this year was Alyssa, Christine, Danielle, Flora and Jennifer.
Mount Pleasant is the oldest neighbourhood in Vancouver outside of the downtown peninsula and the city’s first suburb. The hub from which the historic Old Mount Pleasant Village developed in the late 1880s and early 1900s occupies the area on Main Street (between 6th and 12th Avenues) and the Triangle Block – formed by Kingsway, Main Street and Broadway. Many of the buildings from that era still exist and have consistently provided affordable housing and commercial spaces.
The Mount Pleasant Community Plan (MPCP) was adopted in November of 2010 after an extensive public planning process which began in March 2007. The subsequent Implementation Package (IP), which built upon the Plan, was adopted in October of 2013. Both documents contain principles and policies to address issues and guide development over 30 years. During the planning process the Triangle Block came to be affectionately referred to as the Heritage Heart.
So what do the Plan and Implementation Package say about this section of Mount Pleasant?
- This neighbourhood warrants ongoing promotion as a heritage area of the city (MPCP p. 9)
- Recognize and preserve all heritage buildings (MPCP p. 11)
- Apply the broader definition of ‘heritage’ that goes beyond buildings and includes streetscapes… (MPCP p. 21)
- Upgrade the heritage register recognizing buildings built since 1940, and other aspects of heritage (e.g. important working class homes…) ((MPCP p. 21)
- Retain the existing scale and character of Main Street (from 7th to 11th Avenue)…and older more affordable housing (e.g. 3 storey walk-ups)… (MPCP p. 23)
- Create a ‘Cultural District’ by preserving and enhancing the heritage ‘heart’ (triangle north of Broadway between Main Street and Kingsway) and the surrounding area at current scale (MPCP p. 24)
- Sustain and further encourage a wide variety of independent businesses…Develop without big box stores (MPCP p. 8)
- Mount Pleasant is one of Vancouver’s most historic and heritage-rich neighbourhoods. The community is incredibly proud of their heritage… (IP-Section 4/Public Realm p. 92)
- Celebrate the old Mount Pleasant village location with public art, paving and interpretive panels (IP-Section 4/Public Realm p. 96)
- Recognize and celebrate the “triangle block” as the historic heart of the community (IP- Section 4/Public Realm p. 51)
- Protect and enhance Mount Pleasant’s many and varied heritage resources (IP-Section 5/ Public Benefits Strategy p. 129)
- Mount Pleasant prospers as a community known for its wide variety of locally owned shops and restaurants, attracting shoppers and diners from across the city (IP Section 4/Public Realm p. 58)
In 2015 the city put out a call for public nominations as part of its Heritage Register upgrade. In keeping with the principles and policies of the Plan and Implementation Package, the Mount Pleasant Heritage Group (MPHG) put forth a nomination to create a Main Street Heritage Precinct in the Old Mount Pleasant Village/Heritage Heart area of the neighbourhood. The city is in the process of developing themes for the Heritage Register and reviewing nominations. A report is due later in the year.
Heritage has come to be defined more broadly and to include intangible heritage assets, assets that contribute to the cultural and social fabric of a healthy community. It is important that the city recognizes that this unique area – with its human scale heritage and older, modest buildings providing relatively affordable housing and spaces for the neighbourhood’s treasured small and independent businesses – is a distinctive neighbourhood high street cherished not only by the local community, but also by the entire city. The MPHG believes that this historic hub and vibrant shopping and gathering spot is worthy of preservation as it meets our collective needs for local identity, sense of place, and connection to our neighbourhood.
You can access the Mount Pleasant Community Plan and Implementation Package documents here.
It was great to again meet so many heritage enthusiasts at the recent Mural Festival/MPBIA Street Party and to have such keen interest in our displays and take away materials about Mount Pleasant’s history.
Our colouring station with pages created by local artists of key treasured buildings was non-stop busy and we also had one by Priscilla Yu of her mural done this year.
We very much appreciate all of the encouragement we received to continue our work of celebrating and advocating on behalf of Mount Pleasant’s rich and cherished heritage. Mount Pleasant’s heritage lives!
Many thanks to Bruce Macdonald for the loan of his maps and for being our in-house historian, Stan of Rath Art Supplies for the loan of an easel and his ongoing support, Charmaine Carpenter and Neil Wyles of the MPBIA for booth support and the loan of Neil’s tent, Pitt Meadows Museum for the loan of their tent and the Quebec Manor Co-op for the loan of furniture.
The Heritage Lounge crew this year was Christine, Colin, Danielle, Flora and Jennifer with lead-in support from Alyssa and take down help from Erin and Laura of the Quebec Manor.
The Heritage Lounge will again be located in front of Rath Art Supplies at 2412 Main Street, just up from the intersection of Main, Kingsway and 7th Avenue and a part of the Vancouver Mural Festival’s street party. The street party is sponsored by the Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Area (MPBIA) and Create Vancouver Society.
Along with displays and maps about Mount Pleasant’s history, including its long and rich tradition of being home to a vibrant arts community, we will have colouring pages celebrating the neighbourhood’s built, cultural, natural and industrial heritage created by local artists.
Jennifer Chernecki created the page of the 1889 James Black Residence at 144 E 6th representing the time when it housed the Gropp’s Gallery Collective (from 2008 until 2014). James Lloyd’s illustration of the 1889 Depencier House at 151 E 8th depicts the Victorian building when it was home to the legendary Bain’s Candies and Fine Chocolates.
This year we will have several new colouring pages as well as a colouring station sponsored by Rath Art Supplies. The pages are free for the taking and if you don’t have time to sit down and do a little colouring we encourage you to take one home.
We will also have some neighbourhood walking tour pamphlets and our Heritage Heart Look and Find to take away.
We look forward to you dropping by and sharing your stories of the neighbourhood. Mount Pleasant’s Heritage Lives!
Have you ever wondered why Mount Pleasant’s streets are named after the Canadian provinces/territories & why Ontario Street is the centre/000 block of Vancouver?
In 1869 Henry Valentine Edmonds, the clerk of the municipal council in New Westminster, acquired District Lot 200A – the wilderness south of False Creek and north of today’s Broadway that would later become Mount Pleasant. By 1888, a year after the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Dr. Israel Powell, who hailed from Ontario, was a co-owner of the land with Edmonds. In 1871 Dr. Powell had been one of the key people to negotiate the entry of the British colony of British Columbia into the country of Canada, which had been created in 1867.
Dr. Powell named all his streets in Mount Pleasant after the seven provinces that made up Canada in 1888, when the neighbourhood was established; thus creating a representation of the map of Canada. The centre street of Vancouver’s grid system is Powell’s Ontario Street, the 000 hundred block going east-west. He probably did this because Ontario is known as central Canada and it was Powell’s birthplace. The eastern province streets are east of Ontario Street with the western province streets west of it.
“The original map of Canada street name system in Mount Pleasant was later extended to include two new north-south streets after a new province and a new territory were formed: Alberta Street, in the 300 block west (Alberta was formed in 1905) and Yukon Street in the 400 block west (the Yukon territory was formed in 1898).”
Information, quotes and map from the ‘Mount Pleasant Historic Context Statement’ (pages 2-5) written by Bruce Macdonald in 2008 for Donald Luxton and Associates and the City of Vancouver.
This Heritage Week 2017 project brought to you by Alyssa, Danielle and Jennifer.
Thank you to everyone who dropped by the Heritage Lounge. It was lovely to meet so many heritage enthusiasts interested in Mount Pleasant’s history and be part of the Vancouver Mural Festival/ MPBIA street fest.
A feature display this year was ‘My Mount Pleasant: Vancouver’s First Suburb’, put together by the neighbourhood’s grade five heritage ambassador Lauren Lee for BC Heritage Fairs. Everyone was most impressed with her engaging storytelling about our historic neighbourhood and her own heritage home. Click here to see her companion video for Young Citizens.
Jen Chernecki is colouring James Lloyd‘s illustration of the 1889 Depencier House at 151 E 8th, which depicts the building when it was home to Bain’s Candies and Fine Chocolates. Bain’s was in Mount Pleasant for over sixty years. The Depencier House is currently home to eight 1/2 Restaurant. Jen’s illustration is of the 1889 James Black Residence when it housed the Gropp’s Gallery Collective between 2008 to 2014. The residence is currently home to the James Black Gallery.
Sean MacPherson was on hand to tell about his ‘Remembering Brewery Creek’ project. We are happy to report that he has received a grant from the Chapman & Innovations Fund at UBC to create a website and walking app about the historical creek. We look forward to this new documentation of a key aspect of Mount Pleasant’s history.
Great to have Josh and Finn pouring lemonade for thirsty visitors on a hot day.
Many thanks to Lauren Lee and her family, local artists James Lloyd and Jennifer Chernecki and to Sean MacPherson.
Big thanks as well to Bruce Macdonald for the loan of his maps and photos, Stan of Rath Art Supplies for the easels, the Quebec Manor Co-op for the Lounge furniture and the MPBIA for the canopy.
The Heritage Lounge crew this year was Alyssa, Danielle, Jen and James & Sally.