If you love history and heritage buildings, you will be a heartbroken person in Vancouver, BC.
The charming old buildings and houses that are not protected with heritage plaques might soon disappear from the neighbourhoods. If you don’t have the money to purchase the house or building, or if you are too slow, you should quickly snap a photo of the structure before it is demolished. For when the house or building is reduced to rubble, a photo is all you will have as proof that it once existed. Even the protected buildings are hardly safe from modernisation. The facade remains but the interiors – and perhaps more – are renovated. There is no attempt at even recreating any of the beauty that once was. As for the stories? Perhaps you will run into a kind old granny who will tell you about the times she shopped at the boutique or how she spent many happy years in her childhood home.
In the past year, many small and older cinemas have been closed, unable to compete with Cineplex theatres. The newer cinemas have more comfortable seating and the ticket prices are sometimes cheaper than older cinemas. There is even a loyalty card (Scene) encouraging all ages to attend Cineplex theatres more regularly. If these old cinemas have not been turned into performance venues, they have been gated with rezoning permit signs. You wonder how it used to be like when these cinemas were first in use many decades ago. You see how the men and women once dressed as they entered the doors. You are dressed no differently but you are brought back to reality when a 21st Century person sees you, smiles, and says, “You dress like my Grandma did when she was younger.” Ah, harsh reality. You do not quite fit in with your peers.
And why? ‘Everyone’ wants NEW nowadays. MODERN. ADVANCED. FUTURISTIC. Something to make other cities envious of our glass-structured city and our avant-garde movement. Why waste it on one generation that will soon leave this earth and another minority of a different generation that lives from paycheck to paycheck?
So if you love history and heritage buildings, you must move to another city or country. Spare your eyes from seeing another rezoning application sign. Spare the heartache of seeing beauty shredded to smithereens. Spare the pain of being unable to do something without funding or municipal support.
Dare I say it now?
Rest in peace Historical Vancouver.