Story and Photos by Dianne Maguire
Click images to enlarge

The megaphone at Jim Deva Plaza.

There is a colourful spot on Davie Street that draws citizens of many ages and cultures. You just can’t ignore it as you walk by on your way to grocery shop, or your favourite place to eat. The first signs are the rainbow crosswalks, and then the megaphone in bright pink and turquoise and the message inside it draws you in.

This is Jim Deva Plaza, a safe place, inspired by a man honoured for his “life-long passion for freedom of sexuality, gender diversity, and the fight against censorship.” The inscription inside the megaphone goes on to say: “Where LGBTQ people and allies can meet and share ideas freely, dare to dream and love unapologetically.”

The Band on Bute Street.

Jim, who died tragically in a fall in 2014, was co-founder of Little Sisters’ Book and Art Emporium – the business Canada Customs decided was importing inappropriate “obscene” books. The battle lasted two decades, until the Supreme Court ruled that Canada Customs had unfairly targeted the store. Alas, that wasn’t the end of the story. The Plaza was created to honour Jim Deva’s valiant fight for inclusion.

Cross the street to the next part of Bute and try to name all the classic jazz greats that Elizabeth Hollick painted into her mural – The Band. She included such famous musicians as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Benny Goodman, Dave Brubeck and vocalist Ella Fitzgerald. It has been referred to as the Ultimate Virtuoso Jazz Band. Artist Hollick now lives in White Rock, where her colourful murals decorate the town.

The electric meter box jamming with “The Band”.

In front of The Band is what would normally be an eyesore – an electricity meter box. Someone got a good idea when they persuaded the powers that be that such large necessary items should feature designs that fit into the location. Design artist, David Pacholko took on the task of making this meter box an extension of The Band. Among the musicians are performing acrobats and dancers in bright colours – and very little evidence of the meters.

Floral mural at The Red Umbrella.

The Stream of Dreams at Lord Roberts School.

Pendrell Street runs parallel to Davie and a stroll downhill from Bute will take you past the Guardian Angels Catholic Church and then St. Paul’s Anglican Church, before you reach Cardero Street and a “stream” full of fish created by school children from the Lord Roberts Elementary School. The fish adorn the wire fence that separates the playground from the street corner. There is a colourful notice to tell you about The Stream of Dreams. It explains that each artist learned about local watersheds and how to keep them healthy as a project to engage the public interest in sustaining watersheds and fisheries This project was run by the Fraser Salmon and Watershed Project from 2006 to 2012.

The fish on the fence are still brightly coloured and a reminder that watersheds and fish are important to us all.

Colourful electrical box at Bidwell and Davie.

Further down Pendrell is Lord Roberts Elementary School. The outer walls of the playground recently got a professional spruce up of the Dizzy Dancers that have pranced around the corner of Bidwell Street since they were painted there by Lord Roberts students some years ago.

Turning left from Pendrell into Bidwell Street brings you to a mural that doesn’t seem to get much notice. It’s on the back wall of The Red Umbrella restaurant and features spring cherry blossoms and dark oriental-style leaves. Sadly, the email address didn’t lead me to the artist.

I must have passed the small electrical box at the corner of Bidwell and Davie many times on my way to and from Davie Street. Someone told me that these small boxes are for the controlling of the frequency of traffic lights. The musicians play a fiddle, an accordion or a flute for dancing children. The top of the box features old fashioned wooden houses, much like those that used to be common in the area.

The Dizzy Dancers on Bidwell.