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Thursday, September 27, 2007

HERITAGE BUILDINGS IN THE DOWNTOWN EAST SIDE


These are some of the heritage buildings that are in the Downtown East Side of Vancouver where we went on the "Sins of the City" walk. It's a shame more of them haven't been restored and kept. The unfortunate thing about this city(which is still a 'young city') is that they haven't taken care with these old treasures and especially in the Downtown East Side, many of them have been let go to ruin.


This is one of the lovely old buildings in Chinatown dating to the turn of the century. Fortunately several of these buildings in Chinatown have been or are being restored as they are part of the city's heritage.

This old building has special memories for me. This building is in the Guiness World Book of Records as the 'narrowest building in the world'. Back in the '50's when my ex husband used to do painting and decorating he was doing work for Jimmy Wong, the jeweller who owned and lived in this building. These bay windows jutting over the street is where the living quarters were. (The jewellry shop was downstairs). When you sat on the couch your knees almost reached the window, that's how narrow it is! We were invited to share Chinese New Years with Mr. Wong and his French-Canadian wife. I was amazed to find that right under Pender St. in front of the shop was where the basement 'rec' room was located. It was all set up with mah-jong tables and on each table was an expensive bottle of whiskey. We sat down there and I was completely entranced as I watched the players move the tiles around 'click-click-click' as they gambled the night away.

Now the shop is a real estate office. I like going by there and remembering the time I celebrated the Chinese New Years under the street with the Wongs and their friends.

This building is in Gastown, which was the original site of the city back in the 1800's. This is a flat-iron building and it is the old Europe Hotel, once a very elegant hotel. I'm always fascinated by these flat-iron buildings which apparantly were popular at the turn of the century.
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