1960 World Figure Skating Championships poster illustrated by John MacKillop, up for auction at Philip Weiss Auctions in NY on February 26, 2014. According to Gary Sim’s British Columbia Artists index, “John M. MacKillop exhibited his work in the B.C. Artists annuals at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1943, 1944, 1945, and from 1951 to 1953. He also had work in the 1952 and 1953 annual exhibitions of the B.C. Society of Fine Arts.”

The Polar Bear Club by Ken Pattern, the January image in the 1985 Vancity Calendar. Given the annual tradition, this print is a fitting image for the first day of the year. The swim has been taking place since 1920; it begins at noon-2:30pm. A few tips from the City of Vancouver website:

If you have a heart problem - just watch!
Children must swim and stay with an adult 
Please leave your dog at home
Do not drink - alcohol does not warm you up - it accelerates hypothermia.
Do not stay in the water longer than 15 minutes. Body heat is lost 25 times faster in water than in air.
Do not remove your clothing until swim time. The swim will be started by a flag and siren.
Entrants in the 100 yard race - meet in the front line on the north side (Stanley Park side) of the enclosure.
First 3 swimmers to touch the marker buoy by the lifeguard boat - give your names to the lifeguard.
After you swim, pick up your commemorative button at the large polar bear or at the registration table.
Warm up with coffee or hot chocolate.

The Polar Bear Club by Ken Pattern, the January image in the 1985 Vancity Calendar. Given the annual tradition, this print is a fitting image for the first day of the year. The swim has been taking place since 1920; it begins at noon-2:30pm. A few tips from the City of Vancouver website:

  • If you have a heart problem - just watch!
  • Children must swim and stay with an adult 
  • Please leave your dog at home
  • Do not drink - alcohol does not warm you up - it accelerates hypothermia.
  • Do not stay in the water longer than 15 minutes. Body heat is lost 25 times faster in water than in air.
  • Do not remove your clothing until swim time. The swim will be started by a flag and siren.
  • Entrants in the 100 yard race - meet in the front line on the north side (Stanley Park side) of the enclosure.
  • First 3 swimmers to touch the marker buoy by the lifeguard boat - give your names to the lifeguard.
  • After you swim, pick up your commemorative button at the large polar bear or at the registration table.
  • Warm up with coffee or hot chocolate.

Vancouver sky-line 1995: before the wall! by Roger Kemble.

Apartments, English Bay in Evening by Irene Hoffar Reid (Mrs. Neville). From her bio at the Canadian Women Artists History Initiative:

Irene Hoffar Reid studied at the Vancouver School of Art under F. H. Varley and C. H. Scott (1925-29), later pursuing post-graduate studies at the same institution. In 1930, she journeyed to study under Monnington and Russell at the Royal Academy, where she remained for one year. Upon her return to British Columbia, Reid set up a studio and also became a teacher of drawing and painting at her alma mater (1933-1937). She was a member of both the British Columbia Society of Artists (from 1940-1967, serving as president from 1965-1967) and the Canadian Group of Painters (from 1959-1967, serving as president in 1958, 1960, and from 1966-1967), and exhibited extensively in group exhibitions in central and western Canada (at London, Windsor, Hamilton, Toronto, Montreal, Victoria, Vancouver) and once in the United States (at Seattle)…

This painting is currently for sale on ebay from westcoastart2.

Cinderella Stamps from Vancouver’s Jubilee celebrations in 1936. These images came via Ron Lafreniere in Montreal, who has compiled a remarkable reference book dedicated to Canadian Cinderellas (stamp collector’s term for make-believe stamps). His book launched in May 2012 and it looks to be an amazing resource. You can learn more via his website, including the book’s index, galleries of sample pages, and a free checklist of all the Canadian Cinderellas he knows of. His book is available in Vancouver at All Nations Stamp & Coin, a great resource for collectibles on Dunbar.

Higher resolution stamp images updated to be more philatelically correct!

Proposed English Bay Pavilion, from the Sea Shore, for the City of Vancouver, by Parr and Fee, Architects. Seen posted in a collage of historical articles at the VPL, unknown source, perhaps City Council minutes. The plans for the Pavilion are dated 1905 with an addition dated 1906, according to dictionaryofarchitectsincanada.org.

As stated by the buildingvancouver blog, “…in terms of the number of buildings erected at the turn of the 20th Century they were the architects in town.”

Frank Gowen’s Vancouver: 1914-1931 describes the English Bay Pavilion;

In 1906 a frame bathing pavilion had been built at a cost of $6,000, but by 1909, additional facilities were needed, and an attractive bathhouse was opened. The earlier building was torn down in 1931, and the present bathhouse occupies the site. From 1939 until 1955 when it was torn down, the 1909 concrete building housed Ivar Haglund’s popular aquarium.

A unique attraction at English Bay was its pier and landing stage. Designed by Parr and Fee, one of the city’s leading architectural firms, it was completed at a cost of $21,000 in the fall of 1907. Unfortunately it was poorly maintained over the years and had to be torn down in 1939. Given the pier’s popularity, one wonders why it was never replaced…

I’m not quite certain of the dates in the quote above, and I don’t always trust the dates I see in the photo descriptions either; for example, Vancouver Archives photo SGN 302 says 1901? which is a bit premature. In spite of this error, the photo does an excellent job showing what the actual wooden frame pavilion looked like, and photo CVA 1376-80.32 gives a closeup view of some bathing beauties reclining in front of the building, circa 1910.

Dine in the Sky overlooking English Bay atop the Sylvia Hotel. This souvenir menu features an insert with the daily specials for September 19, 1953. Look at the back cover of the menu closely, and you’ll notice a small dark building just beyond the English Bay pier. This is actually supposed to be the Englesea Lodge, belittled to give prominence to the Sylvia, and perhaps to provide some foreshadowing. Thanks again to Neil for the menu!

Here’s a picture of the Sylvia and Englesea Lodge in 1913 from the Vancouver Archives; depicted again in 1959 via flickr, and once more in 1972. The Englesea Lodge was demolished in the 1980s after it suffered from a suspicious fire, as mentioned by Gordon Price here.

English Bay Hotel by architect Macey & Osborn Assoc. Architects, Edward Thomas Osborn, illustrator, circa 1910-1930. The building style is Tudor Revival, and as you can guess, it was never built. I speculate this was to be located at the foot of Denman and Davie, right in front of the steps to the beach (see below). From the University of Washington library website:


Born and educated in England, Edward Osborn arrived in Seattle about 1910 and worked as a delineator for several well-known architectural firms. From 1920-1930, he occasionally worked as an independent designer. Osborn was known especially for his watercolor renderings. While design specifications exist for commercial projects that Osborn was either commissioned to design or those that he put out for speculative bids, the name English Bay Hotel does not appear among them. This hotel was possibly [definitely] not built.


My friend & colleague Neil Whaley writes:


You’ll recall that when the Sylvia Hotel was built in 1912, the operators wanted it to be a hotel but the city forbade it—it started as the Sylvia Court Apartments available by the month/week and became a hotel in 1936. So the E.B. Hotel proposal could have been doomed just because it would have been a hotel.


I’ve already shown his concept for the Natatorium he planned for Vancouver. The entire Edward Thomas Osborn Collection is filled with amazing work, much of it appears to be unrealized.
Update: I thought I should add this quote about the Sylvia Hotel from page 42 of The Unknown City by John Mackie & Sarah Reeder (of which I have an autographed copy!):


Abraham Goldstein named the building after his daughter, who died in 2002 at the age of 102. Construction of the Sylvia started in 1912. Her father’s original idea was to build a hotel, but the city would only give him a permit for an apartment block, so it opened as the Sylvia Court Apartments on May 3, 1913. 


Update! A large scale reproduction of this drawing appears in my 2014 show at the Museum of Vancouver, Vancouver Imagined: the way we weren’t. I estimate this drawing to be circa 1923 based on similarities to other drawings from that period.I now believe this hotel was slated not for the foot of Davie and Denman, but rather it appeared to be planned for the 1600 block of Beach Avenue. The address 1662 Beach Avenue  was the 1917 residence of ET Osborn’s consulting engineer Taggart Aston, with whom Osborn had created his grand scheme for a Free Port of Kitsilano dated March, 1917. Fortunately for everyone in Kitsilano, a large scale port was not ultimately located in Vanier Park!

English Bay Hotel by architect Macey & Osborn Assoc. Architects, Edward Thomas Osborn, illustrator, circa 1910-1930. The building style is Tudor Revival, and as you can guess, it was never built. I speculate this was to be located at the foot of Denman and Davie, right in front of the steps to the beach (see below). From the University of Washington library website:

Born and educated in England, Edward Osborn arrived in Seattle about 1910 and worked as a delineator for several well-known architectural firms. From 1920-1930, he occasionally worked as an independent designer. Osborn was known especially for his watercolor renderings. While design specifications exist for commercial projects that Osborn was either commissioned to design or those that he put out for speculative bids, the name English Bay Hotel does not appear among them. This hotel was possibly [definitely] not built.

My friend & colleague Neil Whaley writes:

You’ll recall that when the Sylvia Hotel was built in 1912, the operators wanted it to be a hotel but the city forbade it—it started as the Sylvia Court Apartments available by the month/week and became a hotel in 1936. So the E.B. Hotel proposal could have been doomed just because it would have been a hotel.

I’ve already shown his concept for the Natatorium he planned for Vancouver. The entire Edward Thomas Osborn Collection is filled with amazing work, much of it appears to be unrealized.

Update: I thought I should add this quote about the Sylvia Hotel from page 42 of The Unknown City by John Mackie & Sarah Reeder (of which I have an autographed copy!):

Abraham Goldstein named the building after his daughter, who died in 2002 at the age of 102. Construction of the Sylvia started in 1912. Her father’s original idea was to build a hotel, but the city would only give him a permit for an apartment block, so it opened as the Sylvia Court Apartments on May 3, 1913.

Update! A large scale reproduction of this drawing appears in my 2014 show at the Museum of Vancouver, Vancouver Imagined: the way we weren’t. I estimate this drawing to be circa 1923 based on similarities to other drawings from that period.I now believe this hotel was slated not for the foot of Davie and Denman, but rather it appeared to be planned for the 1600 block of Beach Avenue. The address 1662 Beach Avenue was the 1917 residence of ET Osborn’s consulting engineer Taggart Aston, with whom Osborn had created his grand scheme for a Free Port of Kitsilano dated March, 1917. Fortunately for everyone in Kitsilano, a large scale port was not ultimately located in Vanier Park!

Fireworks Over English Bay, another tile mosaic by Bruce Walther. This particular mosaic at Pacific and Burrard was created in 2008 and was a Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association initiative, with funding assistance provided by the 2010 Cultural Olympiad. From the DVBIA pamphlet:

The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association’s public art project beautifies downtown streets with 18 original tile mosaics, each measuring nine square feet and permanently installed in city sidewalks throughout the DVBIA’s 90-block area. The mosaics celebrate the diversity of Vancouver’s culture, sports, architecture, natural beauty and personalities. Accomplished local mosaic artists Liz Calvin and Bruce Walther designed, produced and installed all the tiles.

Fireworks Over English Bay, another tile mosaic by Bruce Walther. This particular mosaic at Pacific and Burrard was created in 2008 and was a Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association initiative, with funding assistance provided by the 2010 Cultural Olympiad. From the DVBIA pamphlet:

The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association’s public art project beautifies downtown streets with 18 original tile mosaics, each measuring nine square feet and permanently installed in city sidewalks throughout the DVBIA’s 90-block area. The mosaics celebrate the diversity of Vancouver’s culture, sports, architecture, natural beauty and personalities. Accomplished local mosaic artists Liz Calvin and Bruce Walther designed, produced and installed all the tiles.

English Bay Hotel by Dave Fletcher, dated 6 November, 2011, via flickr. Dave writes:

A further  sketch in the “Vancouver West-end Sketchbook”. This one is of the  English Bay Hotel on the corner of Denman Street at Pendrell Street.  This appears to be a 1950’s style concrete building (ugly and similar to  construction to “The Residency”) … in the 12  or so years I have lived in the area, I do not recall every seeing  anyone enter or exit this building (strange because it is not only a  Hotel in a high tourist area but also because it has appeared to be  open).

English Bay Hotel does appear to have a good number of reviews here, so I think they’re legit!

English Bay Hotel by Dave Fletcher, dated 6 November, 2011, via flickr. Dave writes:

A further sketch in the “Vancouver West-end Sketchbook”. This one is of the English Bay Hotel on the corner of Denman Street at Pendrell Street. This appears to be a 1950’s style concrete building (ugly and similar to construction to “The Residency”) … in the 12 or so years I have lived in the area, I do not recall every seeing anyone enter or exit this building (strange because it is not only a Hotel in a high tourist area but also because it has appeared to be open).

English Bay Hotel does appear to have a good number of reviews here, so I think they’re legit!

Seawall Coastal Curves I by Tim Fraser, 2011. Tim is having a show at the Ian Tan Gallery September 10 - 29, 2011, with an opening reception Saturday, September 10; 2-4pm. From the Ian Tan website:

Tim Fraser is a member of the Federation of Canadian  		Artists and a Fine Arts graduate of Surrey’s Kwantlen College with a  		background in commercial art.  He has exhibited with Ian Tan since  		2005 and has become well-known for his dreamy and curvaceous paintings  		of the Vancouver Seawall, with lollipop trees in luminous colours.   		Fraser regularly visits Stanley Park to capture new vistas of the  		seawall.
Mia Johnson

Seawall Coastal Curves I by Tim Fraser, 2011. Tim is having a show at the Ian Tan Gallery September 10 - 29, 2011, with an opening reception Saturday, September 10; 2-4pm. From the Ian Tan website:

Tim Fraser is a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists and a Fine Arts graduate of Surrey’s Kwantlen College with a background in commercial art.  He has exhibited with Ian Tan since 2005 and has become well-known for his dreamy and curvaceous paintings of the Vancouver Seawall, with lollipop trees in luminous colours.  Fraser regularly visits Stanley Park to capture new vistas of the seawall.

Mia Johnson

Cityscape in Paper, a collage created for the Papergirl Vancouver project by Penelope Harris. Penelope discusses the process involved from start to finish on her blog, providing insights into her innovative recycling of security envelopes.

The PaperGirl Van show exhibited at the Roundhouse this past week, and on Saturday, all the works were secretly distributed throughout the city. Well done, PaperGirls! You can see more photos of their show on their Facebook page.

Vancouver cover page, by S P (Spencer Perceval/Percival) Judge, dated 1906, and published by the Vancouver Tourist Association, from the VPL Special Collections. Produced a couple years after this image, seen this past week.VPL Special Collections SPE-NW-REF 971.133 V22vva.

Vancouver cover page, by S P (Spencer Perceval/Percival) Judge, dated 1906, and published by the Vancouver Tourist Association, from the VPL Special Collections. Produced a couple years after this image, seen this past week.

VPL Special Collections SPE-NW-REF 971.133 V22vva.

Vancouver, the Sunset Doorway of the Dominion, by S P (Spencer Perceval/Percival) Judge, dated 1904, and published by the Vancouver Tourist Association, from the VPL  Special Collections. According to Gary Sim’s “Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890 - 1950”, Spencer Perceval Judge emigrated to Canada around 1900 and was a major  influence on the growth of art in Vancouver; Judge exhibited in a group  exhibition with T.W. Fripp and James Blomfield in 1903, and he painted a series of watercolours of the early Union Steamship fleet in 1905.   VPL Special Collections SPE-NW-REF 971.133 V22t.

Vancouver, the Sunset Doorway of the Dominion, by S P (Spencer Perceval/Percival) Judge, dated 1904, and published by the Vancouver Tourist Association, from the VPL Special Collections. According to Gary Sim’s “Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890 - 1950”, Spencer Perceval Judge emigrated to Canada around 1900 and was a major influence on the growth of art in Vancouver; Judge exhibited in a group exhibition with T.W. Fripp and James Blomfield in 1903, and he painted a series of watercolours of the early Union Steamship fleet in 1905.

VPL Special Collections SPE-NW-REF 971.133 V22t.

 Bathhouse on English Bay in Vancouver Canada circa 1931, by Brian Croft.

As late as 1911, much of the beachfront was privately owned. Maps  dating back to 1887 clearly show subdivided lots extending onto the  beach and these, of course, had become prime sites for private cottages,  bathing and boathouses.  Such was the popularity of English Bay that in  1898 the BCER, introduced the Davie Streetcar service, connecting  downtown with the beachfront.  Fortuitously, in1905, the beach had come under Parks Board’s influence…  [more] - by Brian Croft

Bathhouse on English Bay in Vancouver Canada circa 1931, by Brian Croft.

As late as 1911, much of the beachfront was privately owned. Maps dating back to 1887 clearly show subdivided lots extending onto the beach and these, of course, had become prime sites for private cottages, bathing and boathouses. Such was the popularity of English Bay that in 1898 the BCER, introduced the Davie Streetcar service, connecting downtown with the beachfront. Fortuitously, in1905, the beach had come under Parks Board’s influence…  [more] - by Brian Croft