Kitsilano and Downtown from above

This 1968 Vancouver Archives image lines up pretty well with Trish Jewison’s June 2021 helicopter view. By 1968 quite a few towers had been built in the West End, especially closer to English Bay, but there are many more today. In 1971, the census after the ‘before’ image was taken, there were 37,000 residents in the West End, 2,000 of them aged 14 or under. In 2016 that had risen to 47,000, and there were still 2,000 aged under 15. In the foreground Kitsilano has added 9,000 over those 45 years, going from 34,000 in 1971 to 43,000 in 2016. The number of children has also hardly changed; falling slightly from 4,500 in 1971 to 4,300.

The greatest density change, and population rise is in Downtown, running east from Burrard (which can be see cutting north from the Burrard Bridge in 1968). The BC Electric headquarters of the day can be seen on Nelson Street at Burrard; in 1968 it was an office building with old houses nearby. in 1971 Downtown only had 6,500 residents, and only 175 of them aged under 15. In 2016 that had risen to 62,000 residents, 4,000 of them aged 0-14. The renamed ‘Electra’ is now a mostly residential condo building.

Vanier Park, the green area behind the Museum of Vancouver (with its Haida hat roof) looks a bit bigger today. That’s because it is (although the slightly different angles and elevations of the two images may exaggerate the difference a little). In an era before DFO permits, and concerns for riparian habitat, Park Board supervisor William Livingstone accepted the fill from the excavation for the Macmillan Bloedel tower that was being built Downtown in 1968, and had it bulldozed into False Creek to create a larger park.

Then, as now, the biggest building in the Kits Point neighbourhood was developer (and mayor in 1968) Tom Campbell’s ‘Parkview Towers’, designed by Peter Kaffka and completed in 1961. That’s likely to change a lot soon, as the Squamish nation are planning on developing Sen̓áḵw, an 11-tower, predominantly rental project with 6,000 units on the relatively newly-confirmed Indian Reserve. Concord Pacific have acquired the former Molson brewery across the street, and are no doubt ho[ping to build a lot more than a replacement industrial development.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 215-31 and Trish Jewison, Global BC traffic helicopter.

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Posted 11 November 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered

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