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

Monday, January 31, 2011

Walk to Stongs

This little cottage on the east side of Dunbar was doomed for demolition due to its being on a 50 foot lot, just too much green space for the current market. Torn down in October or November, this typical cottage perhaps built in the 1920's and located near Stongs is gone, replaced by a much larger house.

The last photo is of the rear of the house. The developers have resisted the temptation (or perhaps were not allowed) to add a third story, over the high basement plus two storeys. Not evident in my photo is the fact that although the house is quite large, it does not overwhelmingly dwarf the neighbouring houses. It appears that there will be a garage, not a laneway house.

Friday, January 21, 2011

"Starter" Becomes Nonstarter

"Great starter home on Dunbar's most beautiful block!!" That is how the realtor described this 1912 lovingly upgraded and maintained house which still retains some of its old character. Unfortunately, the block will never get back the charm of this small and modest house, torn down in November 2010.

The speed of the new construction is remarkable as you see from these last two photos of January 21 (front) and January 23 (rear). However, it is too early to tell what this larger house will look like when finished, probably very similar to many built in the last several years in Vancouver. But how many 1912 houses do we still have in our city?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Upscale in Dunbar

There is a unique parcel of land in Dunbar. The area extends from Crown to Camosun and from 27th Avenue down through the north side of 31st Avenue. Nearby is extensive green space because the borders include the large playground of the Queen Elizabeth Annex, the athletic fields of St. George's Senior School, the Pacific Spirit Park, and a corner of Chaldecott Park. The area has uniform 52 feet wide lots; all the houses appear to originally have been bungalows built in the early 1950's, one storey plus full basement, with a single car garage at the lane. Several of them had a second storey. Although many have been renovated or replaced with large multi-storey houses, the originals are solidly-built homes, spacious enough for a small family, with 2-3 bedrooms on the main floor. The latest knockdown is this one:

On November 3, we see that the red plastic fencing has appeared--

By November 9, the house is gone--
The new structure emerges--
On January 16 the full height is evident, dwarfing both the original 2-storey house to the right and the newly-built multi-million dollar house to the left--

If you want to know more...
There is currently another teardown happening in the 4 1/2 block area, two houses are under construction, and another house is on my "suspect" list. Of the 117 houses, I estimate that 50% are in their original condition (more or less); 40% have been torn down and a new house constructed; 10% have been remodeled extensively, usually adding a second story. Teardowns are nothing new in this area, having occurred over the past 25 years or so, despite this area being more recently settled than most of Dunbar.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cottage with Front-Yard Veggie Garden--Gone

Scouting around in the fall of 2008 for front-yard vegetable gardens to feature on my other blog, I spotted this raised bed on the south side of an older "cottage" type house.

May 2009 the gardener planted good-sized tomato plants at the back of the plot, under wire "cages". This is probably the last veggie garden to ever exist on this spot of land.

By February 2010, along with the removal of some small trees, the fertile soil in the raised bed had been carted off, hopefully to a lucky garden somewhere else.

A modern structure began emerging--this photo is from September 2010.

The following are from January 9, 2011.

"Modern" has replaced "cottage", but will the front-yard veggie garden be replaced? Vegetables are unlikely to thrive in the north-facing back yard due to too much shade. Although taller, the laneway house takes up about the same footprint as a two-car garage would.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Farm House Destroyed

Quoting from page 58 in The Story of Dunbar:
Slowly residential development filled in the empty lots in Dunbar. Fred Crowhurst's family moved into a house at 4067 West 32nd Avenue in 1918, where for the next four decades they said they "watched the influx of new neighbours hem [them] in."

The house was situated at the rear of the lot, a sign that it was one of the first to be built in the area. This location results in a nonexistent back yard, but an expansive front yard. Likely remodeled several times and losing most of its farm house character, the house was demolished after it was sold in June 2010. Since this location is just down the lane from where I live, I have photos of more of the stages than I will have of other demolitions.

New construction as of January 3, 2011.