The housing stock in the Dunbar area of Vancouver has undergone significant change in the past five years. Originally a working class neighbourhood with many quite modest homes surrounded by lovely gardens, it is now a neighbourhood that 99% of the people working in Vancouver cannot afford because the replacement homes are built to the maximum footprint and cost millions. Greenspace has been reduced. Included on this website are photos of many (not all) of the disappeared houses.
View Teardowns in the Dunbar area of Vancouver, BC in a larger map

Demolitions West of the Dunbar Community Centre

Thursday, December 22, 2011

On My Way to Stongs...

On my way back from Stongs...

The house as it was in July 2011:
Torn down on December 20, 2011.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Holidays in Dunbar

The door with 4028 no longer leads to anything, and there's no need to decorate for Christmas. The 1938 house (same year as mine) situated on a 33 foot lot was sold in May 2011, had survey markers sunk in July, and was torn down December 8, 2011. Do you remember what it looked like?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Why Dunbar has Homes Sitting Empty and East Side Homes are Split up into Small Rented Rooms

Sandy Garossino has written an interesting article about our real estate situation in Vancouver. A phrase in the article describes us as the "safety-deposit box for the world". People using our area of the city as a place for investment are not interested in thoughtfully-renovated 1920's cottages, 1930's character homes with lovely gardens and large trees, solidly-built 1950's bungalows, or roomy 1980's Vancouver specials. That is why we see so many of these pre-demolition stakes in our Dunbar area (and other areas). Here's the link to the article:

Unaffordable (That’s What You Are)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Three Demolitions on West 27th Avenue

Although this house was large and attractive, it was demolished in September 2011. By October, the foundation was under construction, and by November 21, the style of the replacement house is evident.

A few blocks east of the above house, stood this more modest house, with an interesting roof line, until February 2011. It is on a narrow lot, but a taller house was constructed and appears to be finished by October. One wonders if the chafer beetles survived!

The third house borders the east lane behind Dunbar Street, the first house situated on the north side of West 27th Avenue. But it was not the first house on this piece of land. The lot and the one next to it comprised one large lot, and there was a house built on it in 1914. It was torn down and the lot divided into two, and this house was constructed in 1951. This house is not full of character, but if you walk on that block, you will see several of the "first" houses, probably from the 1920's that still retain some original charming character. Let's hope that they remain and are maintained as they are irreplaceable assets to our community. A deforestation project was followed by an asbestos removal project.
I happened to be at the demolition on February 28.

By May, the new house was taking shape, and by October, there is more progress on this large house.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Little Stone Cottage

I came across this charming stone cottage on a block just east of Dunbar. It is unusual architecture for our area--likely it is quite old. The vegetation around it is a bit out of control, so I doubt it is currently inhabited. The question: will it be demolished and replaced by a new house with less character?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Two Blocks--Three Demolitions

These three houses on the 3800 block of West 24th Avenue are not identical but share enough characteristics that one can assume that they may have been built within a short time of each other, perhaps in the early 1930's. With a storey-and-a-half, they were a typical, modest, and efficient build on the 33 foot lots for families of the time. But even these narrow 33 foot lots are being re-developed now.
By late July, the above house was gone.

In October, the new construction indicated a contemporary style house. There are two nice touches, the little round window above the entrance and the roof style that keeps the height down (and no third storey to tower over neighbouring houses).

Now on to the block to the west, which borders the Camosun Bog. The date engraved on the sidewalk of the 3900 block is 1943; these two demolished houses were built in 1944 and 1948 respectively. The 1944 house was built on a larger lot of 47 feet, and this one-storey house is being replaced by a much larger one. The demolition took place during the second half of July 2011.

The 1948 house has some "new" design features of the day--a centre front chimney and a side entrance. It was demolished in August or September 2011.
Here are the two replacement houses as they appeared on October 16, 2011.It appears that West 24th Avenue may be slated for a few more demolitions.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

History Disappears

This unassuming but charming house has seen a lot of local history. Not only is the house from the 1920's, but it is the place where much of the planning for Dunbar's famous Salmonberry Days took place. In addition, parts of The Story of Dunbar were written here. But the house was built on two legal lots; note the surveyor's stake sunk next to the walkway, dividing the lot into two parts.

March brought crocuses and garlic (lower right) in the sunny back garden of this vacant house. Plants were required to remain despite what we know will be the fate of the house and its surrounding extensive garden.
It was torn down on September 29, 2011. Angus McIntyre, a Dunbar resident, made a video of eight agonizing minutes.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Demolition Lane

The City has paved some lanes this summer; here is one that is one day old. It is a deceiving bucolic scene.
The lane replaced a plethora of pot holes and is now great for biking and kids' street hockey. It is also good for demolition equipment. The first demolition with the new lane took place on September 1. Here is a photo of the 1940 house in January 2011:

This last photo shows a vignette of 3 demolitions. To the left is the new house, from the demolition described in my first blog, of January 3. Between the two houses is new construction replacing a house torn down on July 18.

It is possible that the lane has or will see 10 demolitions within a relatively short period of time.

1. Torn down prior to September 2010, now a recently occupied new house.
2. Torn down October 2010, new house nearly finished, my first blog, January 3.
3. Torn down July 18, 2011, my blog of July 20.
4. Partially torn down July 2011; the family is doing an extreme renovation (this is good!)
5. Torn down September 1, 2011, this blog.
6. Due to be torn down soon, quite derelict.
7. Sold May 2011, and neighbourhood talk is that it is to be torn down because of the survey markers and red marks on the sidewalk, but people just moved in.
8. Sold August 2011 as "fabulous opportunity to build or hold".
9. Sold in 2010 and rented out, house could use some work.
10. Sold January 2011 and rented out; a very nice renovated house.

Renting is a concern because the owner/developer obviously lives elsewhere and may be "holding" to teardown later. A couple of these properties appeared to be sold twice.

These are 33 foot lots, except for no. 9 which is wider.

To be continued...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Three Large Houses, Now Gone

This was a luxurious home in 1929, built on a 60 by 140 foot lot, with no lane in the rear. It has been replaced by a larger house, but will more people live there?
A wet scene from January:
Houses on corners are vulnerable to demolition, and that happened to this house, which appeared to be in good condition. The lot is 50 feet wide, but the new house has a larger footprint than the previous one.
The demolition had an asbestos issue:

Although this third house was on a corner bordering 41st Avenue, it was effectively shielded from the busy street by a screen of trees, now removed. The wide lot was recently subdivided, so there could be two houses constructed here. Zoning does not allow for a more energy-efficient duplex or triplex (which could still allow decent green space due to the size of the lot), but the location would be a candidate for more density since it is near commercial buildings and an express bus stop.

The Vancouver Courier columnist, Sandra Thomas wrote about her house being for sale and likely being torn down. In response, Peter Ladner wrote a letter to the Vancouver Courier, stating that the City should "require any teardown to be replaced with a duplex or triplex". The latest Vancouver Courier has a followup letter, pointing out that demolishing houses produces a lot of garbage and does not get us closer to providing affordable housing.

Usually, getting more density requires a trade-off with green space. But in the Dunbar area, with our current zoning regulations, there are numerous lots where we are losing double--we are losing both green space and density.