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 27, 2016

A 1919 House on Dunbar Street

The corner of West 32nd Avenue and Dunbar Street directly across from the Dunbar Community Centre has been a derelict site for years. The heavy vegetation obscured the 1919 cottage and the debris that had collected. Typical for its time, it had a front porch, which faced 32nd Avenue, but it was later enclosed, and a deck with satellite dishes was installed above it. The front yard was large because the house was set back very close to the lane.

The steps to the deck on the Dunbar Street side had long ago rotted away.

This is the east side, facing the lane.

The house was sold in May 2015, but it also appeared to be for sale again in August. The lot has a 50.85 foot frontage on Dunbar Street, and for some reason, surveyor stakes appear to indicate that it could be divided into two 25 foot lots. The intrepid photographer of Vancouver Vanishes took photos of the demolition and of the interior of this one of the older houses in the area. Demolished middle of January 2016.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

How to Wreck a Neighbourhood

How many demolitions does it take to wreck a neighbourhood? There have been 6 demolitions on the north side of the 3500 block of West 23rd and 2 on the south side. The 8 demolitions in recent years of the 36 houses on this block amounts to a 22% change. These are all 33 foot lots. The situation is probably not unique in Vancouver.
Four houses have already been included in this blog: 3541, 3553, 3563, and 3575. 

In addition, 3571, 3548, and 3556 have been demolished, but I do not have photos of the original houses. Fortunately for the eighth one, 3535, I do have photos. It was sold in September 2013 and torn down the following year. The last Halloween display at the house!

In February 2014, there was melting snow.

Some musings...It is a bit strong to state that just because houses are demolished, a neighbourhood is destroyed. However, if the residents have formed long-term friendships by living near one another, moving away destroys or at least reduces both the quality and quantity of their interactions, perhaps just when neighbourly contact becomes more necessary as people "age-in-place". As new and younger families move in, change will happen and it should, but the rate of change of 22% is significant. In addition, new houses seem to change hands quite often because they are rarely "forever" homes for the new occupants, although houses on 33 foot lots perhaps have more stable occupancy than those more luxurious homes on larger lots. Is community one of Dunbar's values?

Friday, January 1, 2016

Gnome Still Smiling

Behind St. George's Senior School is a suburban-like development carved out of the forest in the 1970's. Apparently, walkability and traffic concerns were not a priority then as sidewalks were not provided. The increase in traffic along 29th Avenue due in part to the St. George's schools, led eventually to a sidewalk being installed along 29th Avenue. Many of the lots are odd shapes because the streets go to cul-de-sacs. Some of these 70's houses are now being demolished. This one was sold in June 2014 and demolished in November 2015. A large tree, original to the site, was cut down. Why is the gnome still smiling?