The Triangle Building: ‘Aorta’ of Mount Pleasant’s ‘Heritage Heart’

Christine Hagemoen – 2017

The Triangle Building at 2402-2422 Main St/44, 46 Kingsway is a key building in what has become affectionately known as Mount Pleasant’s ‘Heritage Heart’, the area around the triangle block. Created by Broadway and the historic intersection of Kingsway, Main Street and 7th Avenue and referred to by this name in the Mount Pleasant Community Plan (2010), the ‘Heritage Heart’ was the hub from which ‘Old Mount Pleasant Village’ developed and it has remained the hub of the neighbourhood ever since.

The Triangle Building was built by merchant, developer and philanthropist Ben Wosk in 1947.  Beneath the grey stuccoed skin of this unique Streamlined Art Moderne building still exists the original vitrolite exterior finish.  This pigmented structural glass was a product of mid-century developments in material science.  Also indicative of the period’s affinity for slick shiny surfaces are the stainless steel window and door frames which surround the building front and back.

VPL-78025B – Robert O. Bentley 1972 Dominion Photo Co.

Mount Pleasant’s vibrant mix of small businesses is one of its characteristics most valued by both its residents and the city at large. Since it was built, the Wosk Block/Triangle Building has provided more small, accessible storefronts and offices for the neighbourhood’s countless prized independent businesses than any other building in the area. One locally owned shop especially cherished by the community was Bain’s Candies and Fine Chocolates (established in 1938), which was housed in the tip of the building from the time the Wosk Block opened in 1948 until the turn of the 21st century. People still remember Campbell Munro who made candies for Bain’s for more than 66 years. The building is currently home to an eclectic group of businesses much loved by the community and provides some of the most affordable commercial rents in the area, as was highlighted in the recent article in the MetroNews, ‘Landlord helps keep block ‘alive’ (Thursday, February 21st, 2017).

aa-1404-CBC – Alvin Armstrong – 1956 – Night Shot for Almanac

The building’s upstairs offices have continually been used by businesses, community groups and non-profit associations emblematic of the neighbourhood and important to the community’s social and cultural cohesion. In the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s there was a high concentration of industrial workers associations and credit unions mixed among various professionals as well as community groups like the Viet Nam Action Committee and Canadian Jewish Outlook Magazine. Since the late 1980’s the offices have been home to many arts organizations and artists studios along with other groups and businesses. The building tells the story of the neighbourhood’s evolution and changing identity and its present popularity as a social gathering place, both inside its shops, cafe and eateries and outside along the sidewalk, reflects how much the building and its tenants are held dear by the people of Vancouver.

As the Mount Pleasant Heritage Group it is our goal to identify, celebrate and preserve heritage buildings that are not only of architectural interest and importance but that have a history of contributing to the social/cultural identity and fabric of the community.  It is our hope to open up a conversation about the future of this treasured and vital building that might be characterized as the ‘aorta’ of the ‘Heritage Heart’.

Addendum to original post:  This photo shows the Triangle Building with its new mural by Bracken Hanuse Corlett, painted for the Vancouver Mural Festival 2017.

Mural by Bracken Hanuse Corlett

Mural by Bracken Hanuse Corlett

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You Are Invited To Our Heritage Lounge This Saturday, August 20th, 12 – 6

The Heritage Lounge will be a part of the Vancouver Mural Festival‘s street festival being sponsored by the Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Area (MPBIA).

It will be located in front of Rath Art Supplies at 2412 Main Street, just up from the intersection of Main, Kingsway and 7th Avenue.
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A feature display this year will be ‘My Mount Pleasant: Vancouver’s First Suburb’, a project put together by the neighbourhood’s grade five heritage ambassador Lauren Lee for BC Heritage Fairs.

We will have materials about Sean MacPherson’s ‘Remembering Brewery Creek’ project. He has received a grant from the Chapman & Innovations Fund at UBC to create a website and walking app which will remember historical Brewery Creek.

Our Treasured Buildings 2015/2016 Walking Tour pamphlet will be available to take away and we will also have our Mount Pleasantries of the Arts Realm about the neighbourhood’s rich history of the arts.

Hope you can join us. Mount Pleasant’s Heritage Lives!

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Mount Pleasant Is Like A Time Machine

“A walk through Mount Pleasant is like going into a time machine. The past is still around us.” So says Lauren L., a grade five resident who presented her project “My Mount Pleasant: Vancouver’s First Suburb” at our June meeting. She put the project together for the BC Heritage Fairs and we were mightily impressed with her engaging storytelling of our historic neighbourhood and her own heritage home.

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Lauren also made a video for the Young Citizens program which is a complementary component to Heritage Fairs. The videos are posted online and students have a chance to win a trip to Ottawa to attend the Canada’s History Youth Forum. Public voting is open until midnight(EDT) July 6, 2016, and the result will make up 50% of a student’s final score.

Please watch Lauren’s lively and personal account of Mount Pleasant’s past and vote for her here. As she says, “We all have something to give, and Mount Pleasant has given Canada a beautiful, historical neighbourhood… and a lot of us Canadians need to know that.”

Thank you Lauren for being such a compelling Mount Pleasant heritage ambassador.

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Treasured Buildings 2015-2016

TB Map 2015-16

TB Profiles 2015-16

Thanks to John Atkin, Christine Hagemoen and Robert Lemon for information and to Bruce Macdonald for all of his support.

Sources:

B.C. City Directories – Vancouver Public Library

Celebrating 100 Years of Learning – Florence Nightingale Elementary, 2012

Grandview Heritage Group– Centenary Signs

James Johnstone – When An Old House Whispers…

Mount Pleasant Historic Context Statement – written by Bruce Macdonald for Donald Luxton & Associates and the City of Vancouver

Street Names of Vancouver – Elizabeth Walker, Vancouver Historical Society, 1999

Vancouver Archives (Water Service Records) and VanMap – City of Vancouver

Vancouver Building Permits – 1901 to 1921 – Heritage Vancouver

Vancouver Daily World

Vancouver House Styles – Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Vancouver Schools  Establishing Their Heritage Value – Commonwealth Historic Resource Management Ltd. for the City of Vancouver & Vancouver School Board, 2007 – pp. 29-31, 80

Vanishing Vancouver The Last 25 Years – Michael Kluckner

 

 

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Upcoming MPHG Meeting December 7th, 2015

Please join us Monday, December 7th at 7 pm for our first meeting since September’s Heritage Lounge at the Autumn Shift Festival.

The agenda will include a presentation of the Heritage Register Upgrade Package we sent to the City’s Heritage Action Plan Team, in addition to the full list of recipients of our 2015 Treasured Buildings signs.

Everyone is welcome to attend and to bring forth any topic of interest to Mount Pleasant heritage and history. Hope to see you there!

Our meetings take place at grunt gallery – 350 East 2nd Avenue/Unit 116.

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Upcoming Projects

At our May meeting we announced that we have received a Neighbourhood Small Grant to help us cover the costs of our 3rd Heritage Lounge and 2nd Treasured Buildings Signs Project. The Heritage Lounge will again take place at the Autumn Shift Festival sponsored by the MPBIA. The date is Sunday, September 13th and that’s when we will reveal this year’s recipients of our Treasured Buildings signs.

We are working on these projects over the summer. If you would like more information or to get involved please contact us at mountpleasantheritage@gmail.com and you can follow us on twitter @mpheritagegroup.

The Mount Pleasant Heritage Group extends a big thank you to the Vancouver Foundation for supporting us with a NSG. NSG Wordmark 2014_ladybug

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