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.
The Mount Pleasant Heritage Group celebrates heritage in our community 365 days a year…but we always join the rest of the Province the third week of February to celebrate Heritage Week in BC. Every year, organizations in the heritage sector participate in Heritage Week by organizing events that showcase local heritage and involve the public. The theme for 2018 is “Heritage Stands the Test of Time.”
This year we have created a banner that merges a historical image of Mount Pleasant with a modern day one and our theme is: Heritage Stands the Test of Time: And Stays Affordable!
The historical photo, from the City of Vancouver Archives (Major Matthews Collection -AM54-S4-: SGN 1026), looks north along Main Street from 8th Avenue and shows the west side of the 2300 block. This Heritage Week we would like to promote the affordability of heritage buildings for both housing and businesses.
The banner is in the window of Rath Art Supplies, located in the Triangle Building at 2412 Main Street, right in the centre of Mount Pleasant’s Heritage Heart.
It will be up until the end of February, 2018.
This Heritage Week 2018 project brought to you by Jennifer Chernecki (artistic production), Christine Hagemoen (research) and the rest of the MPHG team.
Our banner from last year, which explains why Mount Pleasant’s streets are named after the Canadian provinces/territories & why Ontario Street is the centre/000 block of Vancouver, is up in the lobby display case of the Mount Pleasant Community Centre.
Mount Pleasant Heritage Lives!
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.
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).
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.
Each year since the Mount Pleasant Heritage Group’s inception we have had a Heritage Lounge (at the Autumn Shift Festival 2013-2015 and at the Vancouver Mural Festival 2016). We have created display boards on different topics including this one on Mount Pleasant’s historical themes. To access the City of Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant Community Plan document, on which this display board is based, click here.
Please join us Monday, June 6th, at 7 pm for our next regular meeting.
The agenda will include:
a presentation by Lauren Lee, a grade five resident of the neighbourhood, entitled “My Mount Pleasant: A History of Vancouver’s First Suburb.” Lauren put this together for the BC Heritage Fairs
-a warm up to the next Heritage Vancouver’s Shaping Vancouver Conversation, What Do I Want From My Street? Change Is Coming To Cambie, Main, Fraser. We will feature an in-depth presentation on Old Mount Pleasant Village (many of its buildings still exist) as well as consider Main Street’s central role in the neighbourhood’s vibrant street life and gathering spaces
Everyone is welcome to attend and to bring forth any topic of interest to Mount Pleasant heritage. Hope to see you there!
Our meetings take place at grunt gallery – 350 East 2nd Avenue/Unit 116.