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

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Quiet Enclave Between Two Parks

According to neighbours walking a dog, this house was torn down today, January 28, 2015, and prior to the demolition, a worker spent several weeks removing things from the house to recycle. This may be due to the new regulations regarding demolitions.

The BC Assessment site reported that the house was sold in June 2014. In September I saw evidence of someone moving out; this photo is from September 2014.

The house was built in 1939 on a 49.5x130 foot lot. The house and garage were last assessed at $28,300 whereas the land value exceeded $2M. The location is on a quiet 2-block street stretching from Memorial West Park to Pacific Spirit Park.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Occupy Dunbar

This little 1925 gem had not been changed very much on the exterior, except perhaps the dormer on one side, so it remained small, as you can see from the front and rear views. It appeared to be a well-loved house, with interesting landscaping in the front. According to a neighbour, the family needed more room, so they are building a new and modest home for themselves on this 33x130 feet lot, not a large mansion. It was torn down on January 10, 2015.

Note the original windows and the trim above the doorway. The windows have great character, but unfortunately they are not very energy efficient when there's no nearly-free sawdust to burn in a sawdust furnace as what may have been the situation in 1925.

 This area has had a number of demolitions and is becoming a "Swiss cheese neighbourhood", so it is good news to hear that this house will be occupied! Let's hope that is truly the case.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Shall We Award a Prize?

The story began in 2011 when two neighbouring houses in the first block of King Edward west of Dunbar were put up for sale. Both were built in 1925, and each had had the same owner for the last 40 years. The lots are 50 feet wide, and one of the ads stated: "sub-divide with next-door property to make three 33 ft lots". This scheme has worked in the past. The price for each lot was initially set at nearly $2.4 million dollars, but eventually each was sold in May 2013 for $1.85 million.

Here are the two houses as they appeared when they were put up for sale in 2011, 3734 West King Edward in August and 3750 West King Edward in October.

Several years passed; for-sale signs came and went. I kept watching. When I saw this on August 16, 2013, I assumed a double demolition.

In early September, the house at 3734 was clearly in the process of demolition, but where was the excavator?

At 3750, the situation was even more puzzling. Why were they bringing in the concrete pieces and digging the big hole?

By October, it was clear that there was going to be a renovation, an extreme renovation, to the house on the right.

And less than a week later, the house on the left began to take on its new shape. A double renovation!!

Now for the progress of the renovations over the next year and more.

November 3, 2013
 November 11, 2013

 November 20, 2013

Taken from the side of 3734, this photo shows the difference in construction between the 1920's and now. The rebuilt part for the second storey uses plywood, in contrast to the retained main floor which reuses the original solid lumber.

December 15, 2013
December 15, 2013--Detail of 3750

January 1, 2014

February 2, 2014

March 30, 2014

July 14, 2014

August 31, 2014

August 31, 2014--3750
August 31, 2014--3734

The remaining photos are from January 1, 2015

I hope that you agree with me that these two houses are an asset in their neighbourhood. Although, neither one replicates any existing house in the Dunbar area built in the 1920's, 1930's, or 1940's, their designs fit very well into the street scape of their block. They are not overly large or overly "craftsman", which Dunbar rarely had anyway. I do not know if their interiors retain any heritage features, but they are likely quite up-to-date and comfortable. The renovations were expensive, maybe more so than building new structures. Some materials had to go to the landfill, but not everything. For all these reasons, I applaud these two renovations.