• Plumbing upgrades move slowly towards Haro and Thurlow.

  • King George Secondary car-wash continues through September.

  • A fresh new art installation brightens Eihu Lane.

  • Hong Kong politics makes a brief West End appearance.

  • Design unveiled for old Denman Street gas station lot.

  • Plans afoot for the former Dover Arms.

  • Update on the Kids ‘N Queens protest.


Excavation and pipe-laying in late August on Gilford, between Rosemary Brown Lane and Robson. Once through the mini-park the project will turn east and head up Haro.

Heading Up Haro Soon

The water main and street improvement work that began in early July at Chilco and Alberni continues at what so far has been a snail’s pace.

Work will continue Mondays through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with the possibility of extended hours, up to 8 p.m. on weekdays, and weekends as needed. The project includes replacing the existing water main below Haro and Bute with a larger-capacity system. This new water main will have a life expectancy of about 100 years to help provide services to support growing demand due to extensive development in the neighbourhood, while also improving the system’s seismic resiliency. 

There will be detours and road closures, bus stops may be relocated, and there will be some parking restrictions. Some trees will be removed in the course of these upgrades, and new trees will be planted in the vicinity. There will be some water supply disruptions, but, except in emergencies, there will be advance notice. You may have noticed some tree-trimming along the routes, clearing the way for the needed heavy equipment.

The timeline is expected to run through to the late summer of 2020.

Access to residences and businesses will be maintained, the City assures us. Further details can be found here

And … there will be more to come. Future plans for West End streets will include design improvements to the Haro Street bikeway, which will be the subject of community consultation this fall, and upgrades to the Chilco and Robson intersection and cul-de-sac, which will be rebuilt with design upgrades to improve safety and accessibility. This may include adding curb ramps, normalizing the intersection, separating walking from cycling, and adding amenities such as greenery, a park bench, and a water fountain.

The King George Secondary School car-wash continues Saturdays through September.

Car Wash Continues Through September

Team members and supporters of sports programs at King George Secondary School, notably the popular King George Dragon’s basketball team, have been running a thrice-weekly car-wash fundraiser in the parking lot behind the school through the summer.

While the teens are heading back to school and will be hitting the books and taking part in other extracurricular activities through the fall, the car-wash will continue on Saturdays through the month of September — weather permitting, of course.

This is great way to get your vehicle cleaned up while supporting West End youth. Check it out!

A peek down Canvas Corridor.

A Colourful Art Walk In Eihu Lane

(click on images to enlarge)
Eihu Lane, between Alberni and Robson Streets, is the location of the latest laneway revitalization project, Canvas Corridor, which has created a colourful outdoor art walk for all to enjoy.

“The Royal Court” by Jag Nagra / 1042 Alberni.

The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA), in partnership with the Robson Street Business Association (RSBA), has transformed another drab laneway in the downtown core into a vibrant and inviting public space where forty-five laneway-facing doors and vents from Burrard to Bute Streets provided a blank canvas on which to showcase unique work from local artists.

In collaboration with the SFU School for the Contemporary Arts and Vancouver Mural Fest, hundreds of artist submissions were received for the Canvas Corridor Project. A total of 27 artists have their work featured in Eihu Lane, each piece contributing to the transformation of an under-utilized laneway into a bright, fun, pedestrian-friendly space. The project team worked closely with property owners and businesses to secure doors for the project, and the City of Vancouver played a key role in supporting the permitting process to make this public art project happen.

“As part of the DVBIA’s vision for the coming decade, we plan on revitalizing one laneway each year in order to ultimately create a connected series of activated laneways throughout the downtown core” said Charles Gauthier, president and CEO of the DVBIA. “These public art projects will not only make downtown more colourful and vibrant, but will also help to make public spaces feel safer and more inclusive.”

“I Hate Rain” by Nadio So / 1025 Robson.

Teri Smith, executive director of the RSBA, added that “public art adds so much life, character and culture to the urban fabric of a neighbourhood and we are pleased to have partnered with the Downtown Vancouver BIA to bring this idea to life in Eihu Lane.”

Canvas Corridor is the Downtown Vancouver BIA’s third laneway transformation. Previous projects included Alley-Oop, a bold, pink and yellow-hued and playful public space located just off of Hastings and Granville, and Ackery’s Alley, an outdoor performance space adjacent to the Orpheum Theatre, complete with an interactive light and sound installation in the heart of the entertainment district.

A counter-protest in a minor key in a West End storefront.

Hui Lau Shan Briefly Counter-Protests

So far West Enders have been spared the sort of noisy outbreaks that have broken out world-wide and in other Vancouver neighbourhoods supporting and opposing the protests ongoing in the streets of Hong Kong. But at least one new local business briefly showed its allegiance with a hand-made sign in its Denman Street window.

The Hong Kong based dessert chain Hui Lau Shan opened its second Vancouver location at 907 Denman last October. For about ten days in August the management showed its political colours, clearly stating that Honk Kong belongs to China.

The sign is down now and staff declined to comment on its appearance or disappearance.

An artist’s rendering of plans for the north-west corner of Denman

No Application Yet, But Plans Drawn …

It’s been a vacant lot for so long that only long-time West Enders can recall when it was a full-service gas station and convenience store, which closed more than ten years ago. Now a three-storey retail and office building is slated for the vacant lot at 1125 Denman, at the corner of Pendrell, next door to Delany’s Coffee House.

Wesgroup Properties is working with CBRE’s Urban Properties Group to lease the upper two floors of the upcoming building, while the ground floor is already leased to a “national pharmacy chain.” The chain has not yet been identified publicly.

There is also an opportunity for a rooftop patio on the top floor of the new building.

Campaign Headquarters, Then A Restaurant

It’s been two years since the beloved, lively Dover Arms closed its doors, pushed out by rising rents and taxes. The former My Liquor Store outlet next door was shuttered last year, leaving only the Royal Bank at the corner of Denman and Barclay to keep the lights on in that block.

Last month a “Leased” sign finally appeared in the old Dover Arms window, indicating that change was finally afoot.

According to Barb Burrows of Macdonald Commercial Real Estate, the agent of record, the next occupant of the venue will be the campaign headquarters of Vancouver Centre MP Dr. Hedy Fry as she seeks reelection in the upcoming October 21 federal election. That’s sure to liven the block up for a month or so anyway!

Following the election, plans are in the works for a December opening of a new “juice, coffee, and dining” establishment. Ms. Burrows was not free to reveal the name of the establishment, except to say that it was part of an established brand. More to be revealed soon. In the meantime, the My Liquor Store location remains available for lease.

RCMP Investigating Death Threats

As reported in The West End Journal (TWEJ) last month organizers and participants involved in a counter-protest on Saturday, July 27 at Gordon Neighbourhood House (GNH) may have been victims of a false alarm. 

Two days before the Kids ’N Queens event at that community centre word went out to the community, mostly through social media, that an anti-LGBTQ group calling themselves Culture Guard had contacted the venue to inform them that they would be staging a protest against the event. On the day of the event the courtyard in front of Gordon Neighbourhood House was filled with folks with colourful costumes, banners, placards, and flags all proclaiming some variation of the message “Love, Not Hate.”

No protestors from Culture Guard were in evidence.

When contacted by TWEJ shortly after the event Kari Simpson, the executive director of Culture Guard, stated that her organization did not contact anyone in connection with Kids ’N Queens, and went on to state “I only learned about this event when I started getting hate mail and death threats. But Gordon Neighbourhood House is definitely on our radar now, and we will be looking into their sources of funding. We only protest events of this sort when they take place in public venues that receive government funding.”

TWEJ also spoke with Vancouver Pride Society executive director Andrea Arnot, who confirmed that the society had not received a warning directly from Culture Guard, but had shared the information on social media after receiving a heads-up from the event’s organizer and lead drag artist, Mina Mercury. In turn, when contacted by TWEJ, Mercury stated that the warning posted on their social media was in response to a message from Gordon Neighbourhood House, saying that they had received a communication from Culture Guard, and shared the information widely out of concern for the children who would be present.

Two weeks after the event Gordon Neighbourhood House senior director Siobhan Powlowski responded to inquiries by stating “I am not in a position to comment on that at this time.”

On August 30 TWEJ again spoke to Simpson, who confirmed that Langley RCMP (where her organization is based) had been advised of the death threats, that a perpetrator had been identified, and that charges were being pursued. Simpson also noted that RCMP would likely want to see the original emails as received by GNH.