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

Friday, December 27, 2013

Torn Down in One Brief Morning

When I drove to my volunteer work on the morning of December 19, I saw an excavator in front of 3775 West 36th Avenue. When I returned home for lunch, the house was in smithereens. Here is what it looked like in June 2013 when it went up for sale. If you click to enlarge the photo, you will see special leaded glass windows in the second storey.

In November, it was obvious that the house was slated for demolition because the two special windows had been ripped out. Were they salvaged?

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Modern House, Demolished

Do you remember these creative sculptures? An artist must have lived here.

I couldn't get a good view of this secluded modern (1960's?) house, likely very nice in its time but not so well maintained in its later years.
The place was sold for over $2,500,000. As of December 15, there is a huge foundation underway on this 66x130 lot. A neighbour told me that the proposal was for 6 bedrooms and baths in the basement, but it is unclear if this was approved, although neighbours responded disapproving of aspects of the proposal. A landmark locust tree was to be saved in the front, but it was then ruined (sorry...) by an excavator. Probably torn down in November 2013.

PS from December 2015: Caroline Anderson has written a chapter about this house in her book, Vancouver Vanishes: Narratives of Demolition and Revival, published in November. The chapter includes intriguing photos of the interior, which she found intact with the 1960's furniture. The house was built in 1953 and belonged to G. Desmond Muirhead, a renown landscape designer. So, I was correct about an artist living there!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Historic Mayfair Avenue

Mayfair Avenue, squeezed in between 38th and 39th Avenues and probably there before they were created, lies between the heritage 1906 Morisette Farmhouse on Blenheim Street and Dunbar Street. It is only two blocks long. I always get on edge when there is the potential of a  house being demolished on Mayfair because it is a section of Dunbar with houses so old that they are not typical to the Dunbar area. This  house was not there  on December 6--I assume that it was torn down in November. The real estate ad said "needing a major renovation or build  your dream home". Well, it's going to be a dream...and if we want to remember how Mayfair Avenue used to be, we'll have to use our imagination. Vancouver Vanishes reports that this house at 3349 Mayfair was built in 1913.

I missed getting a photo of the wide Vancouver Special at 3421 that was replaced in 2011 by this  house:

What I would really want is a photo of what was there before the Vancouver Special was built!

What if...the north side of Mayfair Avenue had years ago been designated a "heritage block" and the old houses had been retained and maintained? It would be a charming and special street to celebrate. There are still two old originals near Dunbar Street--I've been inside one of them, and it retains its original charm. Here is a link to June Binkert's description of some of the older houses in the area. The Mount Pleasant area is ahead of the Dunbar area in appreciating its history; a heritage zone was inspired by the "painted ladies" on the 100 block of West 10th Avenue. Here's a link to more information on that endeavour.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Another One on West 33rd Avenue

I last posted information on two demolitions on West 33rd Avenue, and, sadly, here is yet another one. It was torn down during the last week of November or the first week of December. The large, beautiful homes along West 33rd Avenue are not going to be around for any heritage designations in the future. I realize they would never get  an "A" designation, but their concentrated grouping in a neighbourhood did provide a lovely historic character to the area that future generations will never see.
The house at 3357 West 33rd Avenue stood high on the hill, like many others  on that street. The above photo was taken in March 2013. On November 26, 2013, I spotted this swing. Will this tree be saved?

Yes, the tree was saved, along with the swing, but the  house is gone for good.