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Does anyone have an idea that could help save some of Vancouver’s historic schools? Anyone?

January 19th, 2013 · 109 Comments

To some, Vancouver many historic schools are among the few remaining artifacts of the early city, visible and valuable mementoes that should be saved. To others, they are death-traps, likely to crumble instantly on top of the heads of students the next time there is even a mild earthquake here.

The Vancouver school board has been caught between those two views since the 1990s, when groups of parents successfully lobbied the board and the provincial government for money to restore or rebuild those schools.

Although the board has restored many schools, it has also taken down others after (or before) building new schools, notably Magee secondary, Dickens elementary, and Kitchener elementary. Up next: Hudson elementary, L’Ecole Bilingue, and Kitsilano secondary.

Now, given the chance to try something else due to the luck of working with a large lot, as I wrote in the Globe this week, the board is trying to find someone, anyone (except a private-school operation) to take on the about-to-be-abandoned Sexsmith elementary, 103 years old, and possibly Douglas elementary.

 

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  • http://www.chriskeam.com Chris Keam

    Oops, I clicked submit when I meant to highlight and delete the ‘however’. Sorry.

  • brilliant

    @Chris Keam 100-In a word: Bosh!

    Do you think millions travel to Europe to break down the door of Mr Smyth-Jones or Frau Wurtzmuller and insist to “hear their stories” They go for the historic atmosphere that built history provides. Imagine how exciting the streets of Prague would be if they featured nothing but Vancouver’s banal developer driven architecture.

  • http://www.chriskeam.com Chris Keam

    Let me reiterate:

    “Part of living in society is accepting that not everyone shares the same values or veneration of a particular artifact. Haranguing someone because they may not feel they need buildings as totems to the past isn’t helping find a solution. ”

    Now, do you have any constructive, solutions-based comments to add Brilliant, or just more criticism of one man’s opinion?

  • http://www.chriskeam.com Chris Keam

    BTW, how many schools on the Grand tour of Prague?

    Also, please point me to the Tourism Vancouver ‘come see our 100 year old buildings’ campaign. The reality, given our geography, is that most of these buildings will be earthquake rubble long before they are tourist attractions.

  • jenables

    yikes, that is some dark and fatalistic thinking. guess we’ll never be the greenest city by 2020 then. city’s just gonna get destroyed, so why bother trying… right? btw, have you seen what for example, st Paul’s in London has survived? it’s still standing somehow. maybe the big one will happen in the next hundred years. maybe it won’t. razing the city trying to be smart about it seems like a ridiculous, wasteful and scornful way to live. mind you, fear has always been the best tool for control.

  • http://www.chriskeam.com Chris Keam

    Jenables:

    You might want to consider the differences between seismic conditions in London and in Vancouver.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_earthquakes_in_the_British_Isles

    Nothing over 6.1 in recorded history.

    And again, can we realistically expect these schools will become tourist attractions?

    Nobody’s talking about razing the city. Geez, try to debate with a fair representation of the other person’s p.o.v. please.

  • jenables

    it survived the blitz, Chris. I know that’s not the same thing as an earthquake. I and many other people believe these old buildings have historical value to US, the people that live here, not as a tourist attraction. sometimes it is nice to look around and see something from the past that had lived through all kinds of fads and remained the same. the city would look like yaletown otherwise, it would be like living in an architect’s 3d model. (Sorry yaletown, I’m not really a fan of you, just my opinion) Chris, I’m not trying to misrepresent your opinion, it’s just that when the city is handing out three demolition permits a day it starts to feel like it is being razed, so pardon my hyperbole.

  • jenables

    it survived the blitz, Chris. I know that’s not the same thing as an earthquake. I and many other people believe these old buildings have historical value to US, the people that live here, not as a tourist attraction. sometimes it is nice to look around and see something from the past that had lived through all kinds of fads and remained the same. the city would look like yaletown otherwise, it would be like living in an architect’s 3d model. (Sorry yaletown, I’m not really a fan of you, just my opinion) Chris, I’m not trying to misrepresent your opinion, it’s just that when the city is handing out three demolition permits a day it starts to feel like it is being razed, so pardon my hyperbole.

  • jenables

    oops, sorry about that.