Vancouver’s Treasured (And Threatened) Old Mount Pleasant Village – A Video Story

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.


What Does The Mount Pleasant Community Plan Say About The Historic Old Mount Pleasant Village?

Main Street and 8th Avenue looking north 1922 VPL 5279 Philip Timms

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.

1897-1901 Goad Fire Insurance Map showing Old Mount Pleasant Village/Heritage Heart when Main Street was named Westminster Avenue, Kingsway was Westminster Road and Broadway was 9th Avenue – map courtesy of Library and Archives Canada Online MIKAN no. 3807867                                                                                                       

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)

Calladines Grocery Trucks on Main Street Between 7th and 8th 1918 CVA 99-5163 Stuart Thomson


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.

NW Corner of Main Street and 10th Avenue looking north 1920 VPL 7434 Philip Timms






You can access the Mount Pleasant Community Plan and Implementation Package documents here.


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.


Notes From Michael Kluckner’s ‘Brief Overview of Heritage Policy’

We had a good turnout for Michael’s presentation, there was lively discussion along the way and lots of questions at the end.

Michael touched on the development of heritage policy with its beginnings in 1974, when the Barrett provincial government enacted legislation amending the Vancouver Charter and allowing the city council to designate heritage buildings. This was in response to the outcry over the demolition of the Birks Building and is when buildings like the Hotel Vancouver, Marine Building and HBC Store were designated. He mentioned how the Bennett provincial government that followed enacted new legislation that suggested owners of buildings might be entitled to compensation if a heritage designation reduced the value of their properties. It has been under this constraint that the city’s Heritage Management Plan (first adopted in 1986) has needed to operate and develop its system of incentives and protective measures.

Michael explained the scoring system that is used to give buildings an A, B or C on the Vancouver Heritage Register and that being on the register is not a guarantee of protection. But it is the first step to becoming eligible to receiving a designation and he detailed the process of creating a Statement of Significance which is needed to get on the register.

He referred to the city’s current Heritage Action Plan, which is a review of how heritage conservation is managed and its recent public nomination process for new additions to the Vancouver Heritage Register.  Anyone can nominate a site and the deadline is Monday, September 14, 2015. For more information about the Heritage Action Plan check out the Vancouver Heritage Foundation and for a more detailed but immensely readable discussion of heritage policy see the Introduction of Michael’s 2012 book Vanishing Vancouver: The Last 25 Years.

A big thank you to Michael for volunteering his time to make this presentation at our June 1st monthly meeting; everyone found it very interesting and informative.