City of Vancouver Planning Department photograph, from the Vancouver Archives CVA 780-7 (with speculative colour restoration). This view of the downtown shows Robson Square, effectively before Arthur Erickson’s vision took root. The original photograph online was a scanned transparency, and it appears to have lost its colour over time (either that or it was an intentional colour effect) so I’ve taken the liberty here to simulate what it may have looked like. From the Archives description:

Photograph also shows the Richmond Apartments, Vancouver Public Library (750 Burrard Street), Irwinton Apartments (777 Burrard Street), Burrard Building (1030 West Georgia Street), Georgia Medical Dental Building, and the Hotel Vancouver (900 West Georgia Street). The rendering shows proposed development for the areas bounded by Hornby Street, West Georgia Street, Howe Street and Smithe Street. 

I thought this image would be a good illustration to coincide with the upcoming Drawing Party at the MOV on Thursday, March 27, 6-8pm! Details about the event are here.

I am very curious to see what wild visions attendees will be drafting up! The above illustration also got me thinking about a possible exercise. Take a photograph, Google Streetview, or Google Earth, frame a scene from your neighbourhood, and completely revision a block or two of the city! You can always just superimpose your drawing overtop of the scene on a separate sheet of paper, cutting out the edges of your vision when you are done. This is actually a practical way to obtain proper references for vanishing points and perspective, so the technique has real merit! Attached are a few suggested scenes I’ve always enjoyed pondering. Happy sketching!

Perhaps the greatest undersold development proposal in the history of Vancouver, here we have uncovered the plans that may have been pitched to the CNR suggesting what they could do with block 52 and the former CPR Hotel Vancouver. I’m reblogging this via pasttensevancouver, with additional images showing a detail of both the old Hotel Vancouver and this proposed perspective drawing from the Library and Archives Canada:

Perspective sketch of remodelling of the old Hotel Vancouver, Wednesday 12 July 1939

Nineteen thirty-nine was the year the current Hotel Vancouver opened and the fate of the much cooler old one would be undecided until after the war when Eaton’s ripped it down for a parking lot where they built their flag ship store a couple of decades later. Had it gone ahead, I believe this building would have consisted of retail stores below a parking garage.

UPDATE: This and other proposed structures that never materialized in Vancouver are part of a show opening today at the Museum of Vancouver called Vancouver Imagined: The Way We Weren’t, curated by Jason Vanderhill of Illustrated Vancouver fame.

Source: Watercolor by P Henderson for the Canadian National Railway, Library and Archives Canada #2963055

I was very interested to include this particular drawing for a number of reasons. It highlighted some key themes in my show; it delves into the question of attribution, it adds detail to the story of the unbuilt city where documentation is often scarce, and it tells the tale of a single drawing which found its way into the National Library and Archives.

First and foremost, I had been searching for any and all information regarding P. Henderson who sketched another one of the presentation drawings in my show. This drew me to the collectionscanada.gc.ca URL which described the drawing, but it had not yet been scanned. I commissioned a scan of the drawing through the Archives website, and was quite surprised to see the result. I’m not sure if the city has ever seen such an uninspiring proposition. The drawing may have been forgotten as quickly as it was drawn, but I’m glad it found its way into our National Archives through a donation from the Canadian National Railways collection.

Though I encountered very little additional information regarding P. Henderson, I was able to determine his first name. Peter Henderson is listed as an architect in both the 1939 Montreal directory and in the book Dear Nan: Letters of Emily Carr, Nan Cheney, and Humphrey Toms by Doreen Walker. I can’t provide extensive biographical details regarding his career (beyond the fact that he was working for the CNR’s architect at the time, John Schofield), but I did learn he was also in charge of art commissions and purchases for the CNR hotel. It seems he had some good taste, as he intended to purchase at least one of Emily Carr’s paintings!

My biggest regret with respect to these drawings is the fate of the original H.C. Wilkinson watercolour retouched by architect Francis S. Swales, which I have featured here before. Where has this original drawing gone? I don’t know if it has been seen since it appeared in the September 1930 issue of Pencil Points, but I hope one day it is rediscovered and properly preserved. Special thanks to the Library and Archives Canada and the Canadian Architecture Collection at McGill University for their contributions to this post.

And so, you now have the back story to one of the featured drawings in my new show at the Museum of Vancouver. There are lots more stories to uncover with respect to Vancouver Imagined; I hope you get to see the show in person!

Cross-posted to Vancouverisawesome.com with alternate text.

Special announcement!

Vancouver Imagined: the Way We Weren’t, a guest curated exhibit (by myself, Jason Vanderhill) officially opens in the studio gallery at the Museum of Vancouver today, Friday, February 7, 2014. The display will feature a collection of reproduction architectural illustrations, as well as a 3-dimensional architectural model from the museum’s permanent collection.

I encourage all to attend; those who are interested in the architectural profession, veterans of the history of the city, and visitors alike should appreciate seeing this alternate history of the city. I’ll have more to say about the show in future posts, and it looks like there will be a curator tour on May the first; here’s the link!

Also take note, the excellent show Play House: The architecture of Daniel Evan White at the MoV has been held over until March 23, 2014! This is now your perfect opportunity to catch two great architecture shows at once!

Very special thanks to all of the illustrators and contributors, to Viviane Gosselin with the Museum of Vancouver, to Matt Heximer of 10four Design Group who designed the show, and everyone else who assisted with its production. I hope you enjoy the exhibit; it was a lot of fun to put together!

Hotel Grosvenor by Edward Goodall. I had featured almost this exact view of the hotel way back in the beginning of this blog with this 1936 advertisement. As I also mentioned previously, he began “Goodall’s Pencil Postcard Series” in 1942, and although the vintage of the vehicles in the front of this hotel look decidedly older, Citroën, MG, and AC all produced cars which resemble these well into the 1950s. Thanks for the postcard Tom!

Hotel Grosvenor by Edward Goodall. I had featured almost this exact view of the hotel way back in the beginning of this blog with this 1936 advertisement. As I also mentioned previously, he began “Goodall’s Pencil Postcard Series” in 1942, and although the vintage of the vehicles in the front of this hotel look decidedly older, Citroën, MG, and AC all produced cars which resemble these well into the 1950s. Thanks for the postcard Tom!

Rob Roy Meats, Toban Shoes Columbia Street New West circa 1980’s by Won Kang. 

Rob Roy Meats, Toban Shoes Columbia Street New West circa 1980’s by Won Kang

Alliance Grain Terminal (formerly United Grain Growers) watercolour and graphite by Dan Parke, 1989.

Alliance Grain Terminal (formerly United Grain Growers) watercolour and graphite by Dan Parke, 1989.

The Marine Building by McCarter & Nairne, Architects and Structural Engineers. Created for client Stimpson’s Canadian Development Co. Ltd., February, 1929. These most excellent drawings are from the University of Calgary, part of the Canadian Architecture Collection. They also have an outstanding promotional booklet from 1930 drawn and designed by Ronald Jackson, whom I have featured here many times.

In related news, VanHeritage’s repeat event Sunday Morning at the Marine once again sold out, but coffee at the Marine Building any other day sounds like a great way to start your morning!

Vancouver Convention Center, submitted by Delphie Côté-Lacroix. Thanks, Delphie!

Vancouver Convention Center, submitted by Delphie Côté-Lacroix. Thanks, Delphie!

Granville and Robson Lines by Urban Sketcher, Won Kang.

Granville and Robson Lines by Urban Sketcher, Won Kang.

Brian Hebb writes: 

The 24th season of The Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival in Vancouver BC. This year we saw Hamlet, Twelfth Night and Measure for Measure. 

There’s a few more performances remaining in this year’s season, before the closing performance Saturday, September 14th! Thanks for the submission, Brian!

Brian Hebb writes:

The 24th season of The Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival in Vancouver BC. This year we saw Hamlet, Twelfth Night and Measure for Measure. 

There’s a few more performances remaining in this year’s season, before the closing performance Saturday, September 14th! Thanks for the submission, Brian!

Vancouver Art Gallery patio by Jeckenzibbel on Flickr.

The Vancouver Public Library Strategic Plan 2013 - 2015, via Youtube. Cue the video to 0:42 for a quick sketch of Library Square! Thanks, Richard!

urbansketcher:

Powell Street Facade

urbansketcher:

Powell Street Facade

The Waldorf Hotel by Ash Tanasiychuk, from a series of Vancouver venues and galleries participating in the Olio Festival last year. 2012 was the last year of the Olio Festival, as the programmers are moving on. From the Georgia Straight:

After four years as one of Vancouver’s more colourful and certainly hipper cultural events, Olio is calling it quits…
…Color Magazine is still holding JAMCOUVER this summer, the one-day skate fest it pioneered with Olio in 2011, while he’s teaming with some of his festival partners to launch a smaller “no-filler version of Olio” later in the year called CULt.R. “It’ll be more focused,” he said. “Not skate-fashion-film at a thousand different venues; it’s going to be one party at one venue.”
Co-founder Dani Vachon, meanwhile, is concentrating on her new project; a group of “talented marketing, design, and arts-based individuals” offering their navigation services to local businesses called The Beacon Collective.
Since its inception in August 2009, the Olio Festival hosted over 30 thousand visitors and a remarkable roster of local and international talent, including such varied musical fare as Teen Daze, Cave Singers, Father John Misty, Chad VanGaalen and J. Mascis.

I loved the Olio Festival, so hats off to all the organizers who created the institution in such short order. And thanks for the submission, Ash!

The Waldorf Hotel by Ash Tanasiychuk, from a series of Vancouver venues and galleries participating in the Olio Festival last year. 2012 was the last year of the Olio Festival, as the programmers are moving on. From the Georgia Straight:

After four years as one of Vancouver’s more colourful and certainly hipper cultural events, Olio is calling it quits…

Color Magazine is still holding JAMCOUVER this summer, the one-day skate fest it pioneered with Olio in 2011, while he’s teaming with some of his festival partners to launch a smaller “no-filler version of Olio” later in the year called CULt.R. “It’ll be more focused,” he said. “Not skate-fashion-film at a thousand different venues; it’s going to be one party at one venue.”

Co-founder Dani Vachon, meanwhile, is concentrating on her new project; a group of “talented marketing, design, and arts-based individuals” offering their navigation services to local businesses called The Beacon Collective.

Since its inception in August 2009, the Olio Festival hosted over 30 thousand visitors and a remarkable roster of local and international talent, including such varied musical fare as Teen Daze, Cave Singers, Father John Misty, Chad VanGaalen and J. Mascis.

I loved the Olio Festival, so hats off to all the organizers who created the institution in such short order. And thanks for the submission, Ash!

Sketches of Vancouver by Jo Scott-B, a sketchbook, revisiting Neighbourhoods walked with John Atkin.

Sketches of Vancouver by Jo Scott-B, a sketchbook, revisiting Neighbourhoods walked with John Atkin.