TED2014 masthead, via TED.com. Coming next year.
As mentioned yesterday, here is the cover of that brochure from 1956, 971.133 V224co PAM in the VPL Special Collections, “Produced by the Community Arts Council of Vancouver for the enjoyment of discerning visitors”. The cover image is unfortunately unsigned, so we may never know who it was who penned this, But it is nice to see the Hotel Vancouver and the Vancouver Block towering above the jazzy little city…
I was looking at the stand of totems in Stanley park and was reminded again of my Native heritage. This caused me to reflect on an incident told to me by Chief Dan George. As a young man he had just lost a finger in an accident and had to row across Burrard Inlet, then hike up a trail through trees to St. Paul’s Hospital for treatment. He remembered looking West from the hospital balcony towards the Burrard Street Bridge and seeing the sun set on nothing but more trees. From my vantage point, I turned and looked across the harbour at a different kind of forest - one of skyscrapers - towers of glass and steel. So many changes. Today hundreds of thousands of people live here having settled from all over the world. One family who moved to this thriving metropolis were my grandparents, John and Sophia Freeman and their eight daughters. It is to the Freeman family that I dedicate this work, entitled Vancouver.
A Vancouver Appliqué by Joan Statz of Joan’s Own Creations, 1999. This is the kind of folk/fabric art I was looking for when I held my contest to win this souvenir pillowcase. Now that I have these plans, I’ll have to see if I can recruit my mom or her army of needlepoint associates to complete this. And maybe it’s time for someone to release an update the city skyline?
A Birks pin, 2.5” long, showing a key to the city of Vancouver, inscribed with the words Vancouver & Dist. LBA (Lawn Bowling Association, apparently). Courtesy of Neil Whaley.
Part 2 of the Cinderella Stamp collection of Ron Lafreniere in Montreal, this time celebrating Vancouver’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1946. His book titled A Field Guide to the Cinderella Stamps of Canada is available in Vancouver at All Nations Stamp & Coin at 5630 Dunbar, a shop which happens to have a great early Vancouver postcard collection, some of which have been featured here!
Sculpted souvenir plate of Vancouver, undated, signed “S:C” just above the BC. Initially carved in wood, this item is made from faux wood known as “Syroco”, a term applied to a molded material resembling carved wood. This process was invented and first implemented by the Syracuse Ornamental Company. Via Syracuse University:
Founded in Syracuse, New York in 1890 by immigrant Adolph Holstein, the Syracuse Ornamental Company (Syroco) specialized in decorative wood carving, especially for the local residential market. Products included fireplace mantelpieces and other types of interior decoration popular in late Victorian homes. To meet increasing market demand and sales opportunities Holstein developed a material looked and felt like wood but that which could be shaped, allowing multiple pieces to be produced through a molding process. The new product, which combined wood pulp brought from the Adirondacks with flour as a binder and other materials to give it strength, was extruded and then cut to fit compression molds, which had were made from original carvings in real wood…
In 1965 the company was bought by Rexall Drug and Chemical Company (which soon changed its name to Dart Industries). Dart owned Tupperware, from which Syroco gained more knowledge of injection molding. Syroco was purchased by the Syratech Corporation of Boston in 1986 which expanded its patio furniture production. In 1995 Syratech sold Syroco to Marley PLC of Sevenoaks, England, and in 2004 Syroco was purchased by Vassallo Industries of Puerto Rico which closed the plant in 2007…
In addition to showing the Bloedel Conservatory, the Gastown Clock, a Kwakiutl Totem Pole, Lions Gate Bridge, and a BC Ferry, it also features the Royal Hudson steam locomotive. From wikipedia:
The locomotive was restored by Robert E. Swanson’s Railway Appliance Research Ltd. team and the staff of the CPR Drake Street roundhouse shops beginning on 25 November 1973 and then operated by the British Columbia Department of Travel Industry with the cooperation of the British Columbia Railway. The BCR commenced a Royal Hudson excursion service between North Vancouver and Squamish on 20 June 1974. By the end of the 1974 tourist season, 47,295 passengers had been carried and the excursion was deemed successful. It was the only regularly scheduled steam excursion over mainline trackage in North America. The excursion operated between May and October, from Wednesday through Saturday. It also traveled North America in the late 1970s as a promotion for BC tourism. It quickly became one of British Columbia’s main tourist attractions and an icon of Canadian steam power.
The buildings in the city skyline probably give us the best clues when this souvenir plate was created. The three tallest buildings appear to be depicting the Royal Bank Tower (1973), the TD Tower (1972), and the Scotia Tower (1977). By lining up the Hotel Vancouver with the towers and zooming out in Google Earth, it would appear this view was taken from one of the higher floors in the Frank Stanzl Building (1974) on Broadway, a brutalist building designed by Vladimir Plavsic. As an aside, Lindsay Brown’s post on the Stanzl Building is highly recommended.
After all this, I still can’t be certain when this thing was made, but it was probably some time post-1977; possibly even post-1986 if the S:C stands for Syratech Corporation. Who knew you could learn all this from an old souvenir!
Vintage Shell decal from Vancouver, BC, via ebay. The seller road_trip_magnets has done a remarkable job compiling this series of travel decals from all across the USA, and just ONE from Canada! Even he doesn’t know how many they produced, but he’s found at least 65 of them so far. He is dating them from the 1920s, as one commemorates San Francisco’s Diamond Jubilee September 5-12, 1925; another celebrates the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, New Years Day, 1928.
Shell has a history of strong advertising campaigns, with many of their early posters seen as works of fine art today. The National Motor Museum in the UK has it’s own Shell Art Collection, and I wonder if this decal campaign was following in the footsteps of similar promotions overseas. Some of the leading artists that Shell used in the UK in the 1930s included John Armstrong, Ben Nicholson, Graham Sutherland, Tristram Hillier, Edward McKnight Kauffer and Charles Mozley. I’m not sure if we’ll ever learn who was responsible for these decals, but they’re all quite charming. It would be great if we could learn more about this series!
Mural from inside the Vancouver Police Museum from 1996 by O.C. (Doby) Dobrostanski. I contacted Doby on Texada Island and asked him for a few details about the work, which he has graciously supplied. The title of the mural is “Together, it Happens”, and it was commissioned by Eudon Rhymer, the curator of the museum at the time. Doby writes:
The mural was fairly painful to complete because of the rough surface it was painted on. It took nearly two months of work, including the sketches and scaled down test painting. The subjects of the collage format were varied and we used my photos and some from the archives. There were old news articles and bits of historic collections used as references. The group of people in the centre area of the painting include my wife, Eudon Rhymer’s partner at the time, several Vancouver Police personnel and a few fictitious people I dreamed up for balance. It was to show that people from all walks of life and the police members worked together in Vancouver.
A limited edition lithographic print was produced of the mural, and the Museum was able to raise additional funds from these sales.
Doby was also responsible for up-sizing the original blueprint of the old Birks building facade in the Museum of Vancouver, a mural which measures approximately 11 feet tall and 20 feet wide and features the original masonry archway installed over top. Other examples of his work can be found in hotels and restaurants in Whistler and Squamish and across the USA and Mexico. He recently completed a mural depicting the Fraser Blues flying formation demonstration team at the Langley Airport administration building. If you have a mural to paint, Doby may still take on the commission in his semi-retirement in Gillies Bay on Texada Island.
In honour of Remembrance Day, I present to you a Vancouver Peace Celebration souvenir program with cover illustration by Paul Page. This program was printed very shortly after the Treaty of Versailles was signed (June 28, 1919), though fighting in WWI ceased the year prior at 11 am on November 11, 1918, when Germany signed the Armistice of Compiègne.
The fact that there is not just one but four dates printed on this program seems to convey a great desire to celebrate the end of the war. These dates were July 6 & 19 and August 3-4, 1919. You might recall that WWI began with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on June 28, 1914; August 3, 1914 was the day that Germany declared war on France and Belgium, and August 4, 1914 was the day that Britain declared war on Germany. November 11 was specifically dedicated as Remembrance Day by King George V on November 7, 1919.
The winged angel descending from heaven in this illustration might remind you of the bronze Angel of Victory by sculptor Coeur de Lion MacCarthy, as seen in front of Waterfront Station. However, this drawing came as early as two years before the monument. From the City of Vancouver public art registry:
A heritage monument, this bronze figurative sculpture depicts an angel carrying a dead soldier and commemorates those who lost their lives in World War I. This is one of three identical statues commissioned by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1921 to honour their workers who answered the call of “king and country” and made the ultimate sacrifice. The others are in Winnipeg and Montreal. The angel originally held a full wreath in her upraised hand. After WW II, the dates of that war were also added to the plaque.
Artist Statement: The artist won the CPR commission from a nation-wide competition.
This classical bronze monument made the Heritage Vancouver Society’s Top 10 Endangered List in 2009. I don’t know if there are imminent plans to restore the angel’s crown, though I think the monument in Winnipeg is also missing a crown. By contrast, the monument in Montreal is in remarkable condition, as it is stored indoors at Windsor Station.
While the angel in the sculpture carries a dead soldier, in the drawing, the angel carries a shield which reads, “DECVS ET TVTAMEN”, or rather, “decus et tutamen”. Again thanks to wikipedia, I can provide the Latin translation/explanation:
DECUS ET TUTAMEN is the motto of a British Army cavalry regiment, later artillery - The Essex Yeomanry, established in 1794. The motto was confirmed by King Edward VII in 1909 when it was added to a regimental guidon (or colours) presented to the Essex Yeomanry regiment by the King. The definitions are: “decus” - shield, virtue, honour or glory; and “tutamen” - defence or protection, thus the meaning is said to be: “shield and protection” or “honour and defence”, etc.
Paul Page’s distinctive signature with the circled P (much like the ® character) can be seen in the bottom right. His name doesn’t ring any immediate bells with me, but I am very curious if anyone has ever seen this signature before.
Page has captured a city skyline with the following recognizable rooftops: Wesley Methodist Church at the corner of Burrard and Georgia (demolished), the Hotel Vancouver #2 (demolished), the Sinclair Centre, the Vancouver Block, the Dominion Building, and the Sun Tower, then known as the World Building.
The next time you walk past the Angel of Victory at Waterfront Station, pause for a moment to reflect on those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for peace.
I’d like to thank Neil Whaley for sharing the souvenir peace program, pkdon50 for the CC photo, and Jeremy Hood for permission to reprint his photo montage.
Cross-posted to VancouverIsAwesome.
Let’s go hiking: take a bus to the North Shore, a rare original BCER transit ad from the 1950s or early 1960s designed by Jack Grundle, who was art director there from 1947 to around 1965. This is one of a series of ads recently sent to me by Lia Grundle after I posted some of his work over at Translinked.com. Jack passed away on February 22, 2004, but his wife carries on his artistic legacy and administers his website jackgrundle.ca. I look forward to posting more of these ads at Translinked.com in the near future! This one is my favourite, as it combines everything I love most about the city in one great ad!
There is so much BCER nostalgia waiting to be celebrated at the moment. The CentreA exhibit TO | FROM BC ELECTRIC RAILWAY, Angus McIntyre at the Baron Gallery, Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s Sept 25 Hycroft lecture, and the Burnaby Museum’s Sept 29 event. Don’t miss out!
White Lunch Limited, Vancouver, BC, an advertising decal recently seen on eBay. The decal shows four locations on the back; 806 Granville, 439 Granville, 124 West Hastings, and 65 East Hastings. The 806 Granville location is shown in this Fred Herzog photograph, April Smith blogs about the rediscovery of the entrance tiles at 124 West Hastings here while Lani Russwurm cultivated a good deal of comments with this flickr photo. And yes, the name White Lunch Limited bears some cultural shame; it originally reflected a policy of serving and hiring only white people. But this is not the first time we have seen this, if you recall the Peerless Dry Cleaning Slogan.
Knit City promotional artwork by Ginger Ngo; Vancouver’s very own fibre festival is presented by Knit Social, slated for October 13-14, 2012 at the Croatian Culture Centre. I’m hoping there will be lots more local fabric arts on display!
There is a kickoff party on October 12, with lectures by two exceptional women scheduled. Sylvia Olsen will be presenting “The women whose knitting made and saved their lives: a Coast Salish legacy and the Cowichan Sweater”, and Kim Werker will be presenting “Crochet! (Even for knitters.)”