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

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Overlooking Chaldecott Park

Most houses in Vancouver are on east-west streets, but this one and the one next door have a special setting, facing west over the long expanse of Chaldecott Park. The house appeared to be from the 50's and was not in as good condition as many houses that get torn down. My records indicate that it was listed for sale for $1,238,000, a price now unheard of in Dunbar, perhaps because the lot is small. Although it has a wide frontage, it is shallow. Note that the white stake is quite near the house, indicating that much of what appears to be a front lawn and plantings is in fact owned by the City.

The house was demolished a few days prior to March 15. A Dunbar resident, Robert Gordon, was on the spot shortly thereafter and took this photo. He reported that neighbours said that the house was demolished quickly.

On March 26, barely 2 weeks after it was torn down, the foundation was well underway. Most of the plantings at the front of the lot have disappeared under the typical mound of soil despite the initial protective red fencing. This half block lacks a sidewalk on both sides of the street, so perhaps the City will construct a sidewalk.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Demolition of 3793 West 23rd Avenue in Dunbar (with Video)

A Dunbar resident, Angus McIntyre, was present at the demolition of this house on September 29, 2010. (It is featured in my blog of February 7, 2011, and two houses are being constructed on the site.) These photos of the demolition itself are poignant, and I thank Angus for making them available for the blog.

Note the tree that got ripped out in its entirety.

Angus was able to take this interior shot on the day of the demolition. Obviously, this house contained many heritage features. Except for one bathtub, everything was trashed, including most of the major appliances.
If your heart and blood pressure are healthy, take a look at this YouTube video from Angus. Discretion is advised... VIDEO

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Collapse on Collingwood

I was not present at this demolition which took place on Saturday, March 5, but Jan Hers, a Dunbar resident, was there with his camera and kindly agreed to have his photos featured here. This house is probably from the 1920's, and as you will see, was a tough and strong house.

The excavator began working at the back of the house.
Despite much of the back of the house being torn down, the front of the house and the porch remain intact.

A view from the rear--note that the front part of the house still stands despite much of the house being down.
But the excavator won out. Returning to the lot on the corner of Collingwood and West 20th on March 10, this is what I saw:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Neighbourhood Changing on 4000 Block of West 28th Avenue

Do the following five houses deserve to be torn down?

They are all for sale on the 4000 block of West 28th Avenue. Four FOR SALE signs are visible on the following photo; a fifth FOR SALE cannot be seen. All were put on the market in February, and three sold quickly. Chances are that all five will be demolished, with the possible exception of the 2-storey house.
28th Avenue is part of the neighbourhood developed in the early 50's, spanning the north side of 27th Avenue to the north side of 31st Avenue, from Crown to Camosun. As mentioned in the blog of January 17, each lot is approximately 52 feet wide, and most of the houses were build as one-storey bungalows. The 50's were a different time in so many ways, and we cannot expect to return to those days. But one thing we don't want to give up in the 21st century is getting to know our neighbours and valuing our community. Many of the original residents of the new houses in this area were young families. Here is some of that history from May Brown who has lived in this 50's area from the beginning:

"We bought from the chap building 4 houses and we were the first family that moved into the block, April 1950. Couples had purchased lots, by auction, from the City and a number were building their own homes. Spring of 1950 - north side of 31st, both sides of 30th , south side of 29th were all under construction. Two years later, the other blocks going north, were opened up and construction started there, up to the school site. Just Crown to Camosun.

Interesting - a number of us, who are 'originals' are still here.

I see a great change taking place in the area and this will accelerate as we all get older and have to leave our homes. This part of Dunbar, and likely other parts also, will change from a middle-income population of community-minded people to folks who have more resources and can pay $1.6 million for our small Dunbar bungalows. These houses were well built, would last for another 60 years if allowed to stay but No --they are to be demolished and a BIG house built." Read more in The Story of Dunbar.

A parting observation--young people starting out today do not have a similar opportunity to become part of the Dunbar community. Will it lose anything because of this?