Joe Average

Joe Average (born October 10, 1957)[1] is a Canadian artist who resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. Diagnosed HIV+ at age 27, Average made the decision to commit the rest of his life to art, and to challenge himself to live by his art.[2] He was born in VictoriaBritish Columbia, Canada.

Average frequently donates work to charitable causes, such as Vancouver's annual Art for Life auction.[3] His work has been used for such projects as A Loving Spoonful (a charity which provides meals to people with terminal illnesses) and the Davie Village.[4] Average has also been selected to judge submissions for Vancouver's AIDS memorial and anti-homophobia posters.

Average is known for his cheerful, colourful, cartoon-like work, including images of flowers, animals and insects, and people. He has received many awards and honors, including civic merit awards, the Caring Canadian Award (1998) and the Queen's Golden Jubilee Silver Medal for Outstanding Community Achievement (2002). Vancouver mayor Philip Owen issued a civic proclamation to designate November 3, 2002 as "Joe Average Day" in the city.[4]

Average was honored as one of two grand marshals of Vancouver's annual gay pride parade in August 2006. In 2011, he was suffering from lipodystrophy, a not-uncommon side effect of antiretroviral therapy.[5]

Born in Victoria in 1957, Joe began signing his artwork as Joe Average when he was 19 years old. His pop-art has captured the attention of international art critics, royalty, celebrities, and the public. His work is a visionary kaleidoscope of colour, creativity and compassion.

Living with HIV for the past 20 years, the self taught Joe Average has earned international recognition as an advocate for AIDS, an artist, and a noted philanthropist. His art was featured on a 1996 Canadian Stamp which was also the conference image for the 1996 XI International Conference on AIDS.

In 1998 Joe was recognized by the Governor General of Canada with the Caring Canadian Award. The City of Vancouver bestowed him with a Civic Merit Award in 1994. He was the recipient of a 1993 Jessie Award, and has been officially presented to Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana at Rideau Hall. Other honours include, The Canadian Institute of the Arts for Young Audiences Award, Xtra West Magazine’s Heroes of 1996 Award, and in 1997 the Friends for Life Society honored him with the Friend In Deed Award. Joe most recently won the Davie Street Banner Competition.

In recent years, Joe’s life has begun to reveal the illness that plagues him. To find out more about his extraordinary life use the following links:



Tuesday, July 3

A development application has been made for a four-storey info building at 1160 Broughton Street. This development would include six rental units, a roof deck, and retention of the existing ten-storey multiple dwelling structure. If you would like to comment, you must do so by Tuesday, July 3 for your input to be considered in the staff review. Details of the proposal and the comments contact information can be found here.




New towers are popping up on every other street corner in the West End these days, but it's all going according to plan. The West End Community Plan, that is. 

Not everyone was happy about the consultation process or the final Plan, but it does protect substantial parts of the West End from further high-rise development.

All West End developments, except for a few on West Georgia, are within the parameters of the Plan, which replaces the older West End Commercial Policy Plan of 1986 and the West End Residential Area Policy Plan of 1987. You can find and download the Plan here.

Here are updates on the current and proposed developments. This is a preliminary listing and we will have more detail, and information from the City and developers, in our August and September issues:

Alberni Street

1444 Nicola: Two towers of 43 and 48 storeys with approximately 491 units (358 strata units and 133 market rental residential). 

1550: A 43-storey tower with an average price tag of $2,000 per square foot, which means you can grab a studio apartment for something over 1 million. 

Davie Street

1345: Mirabel. Side-by-side 18 and 19-storey buildings with a total of 149 units; 36 studio/one-bedreom/one-bedroom and den, 105 two-bedroom, and eight three-bedroom homes, plus 68 social housing units that will be owned by the City of Vancouver.

1550 / Gabriola House: Sometimes mistakenly referred to as "Gabriola Mansion" since its years as Hy's Mansion restaurant, this West End icon is in the process of being converted into 16 market rental suites, with the addition of four three-story market rental townhouses on the northeast corner of the property. Find The West End Journal's coverage from last March here

1600 Block: Site of the old Safeway, along with numerous other longtime West End businesses. Apparently Safeway will re-open in the new building.

Robson Street

1435: Approved on March 20, 2017. 

1488: Proposal for a 31 and 32 storey mixed-use building with 63 units of social housing and 237 market units.

1500: Proposed 21-storey mixed-use building with 127 secured market rental units.

Georgia Street

1698 : Proposed 46-storey residential building with 128 market units. (Note: This project is outside of the designated West End Plan area). At the site of the former Chevron gas station.

Hastings Street

1250: Between Bute and Jervis. Terrace House. Touted as the world's tallest mostly-wood building, it will stand 19 stories tall behind, and designed as a tribute to, Arthur Erickson's decades old Evergreen.

Burrard Street

969 @ Nelson: First Baptist Church plans the restoration of the curhch, new church ancilliary spaces including a 37-space child daycare, a gymnasium, a counselling centre, and offices. A new 56-story tower will contain 294 market strata residential units and a new eight-story building will contain 66 housing units, owned by the church. 497 underground parking spaces. Bing Thom Architects.

Haro Street

1540: Interior and exterior alterations and an addition to the existing 27-unit multiple dwelling building will add four dwelling units on the main floor by enclosing a portion of the existing parking garage and reducing onsite parking to six spaces.


The 1100 Block West Georgia circa 1931. (Leonard Frank Photo / Vancouver Archives 99-4062)

The Vancouver Art Gallery

The 1100 Block West Georgia circa 2018.

The first Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG), an Art Deco beauty, was constructed in 1931,  demolished in 1985, and to add insult to injury the site is now home to Vancouver's Trump Tower.

The 1931 opening featured a modest collection of British historical paintings but only seven works by Canadian artists. Those humble beginnings laid the foundation for what was to become a collection of more than 10,000 pieces. 

The first VAG was constructed in 1931 on a 132-by-66-foot site donated by the City of Vancouver at 1145 Georgia Street, several blocks west of the current VAG location. Built at a cost of $40,000 it was erected in a lot between a row of houses and a service station in what was then a residential area at the edge of downtown. Designed by Vancouver architects Sharp and Thompson, the Art Deco structure was built as a single floor of gallery space. The façade featured a frieze on which the names of great painters were carved, and the entrance was flanked by busts of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.

The building was expanded in the early 1950s to three times its original size in order to accommodate 157 works by Emily Carr, which the artist willed to the province of British Columbia upon her death in 1945. Fundraising for the expansion was led by Carr’s close friend, Group of Seven artist Lauren Harris, who was instrumental in raising $300,000 toward the project, a sum matched by the City of Vancouver.

Removing the Art Deco façade, architect Ross A. Lort remodelled the gallery in accordance with the International Style popular in Vancouver at the time.

The Gallery remained at this site on West Georgia until 1983, when it moved to its present location in the old Courthouse building. 

And we have all seen the modern tower that has replaced this Art Deco treasure.