Cloud Pillows Made By An Awesome Strathcona 10 Year Old

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The very best thing about this year’s Strathcona Christmas Fair has to be the these pillows which are made by a 10 year old Lord Strathcona Elementary student named Sabine. The cloud-shaped cozies are white canvas on their front with faux fur or patterned material on the back. They come in small ($6), medium ($10) and large ($17). Not only do we appreciate their function and form (everyone needs something soft to lay their head upon) and think a kid-made product will score points with other kids this holiday season, but we’re also hugely impressed by the fact that Sabine plans to donate some of her profits to buy books for her school’s library. She’s a neighbourhood hero of ours and we’re super stoked to introduce her work to you. Hit the Strathcona Community Centre Craft Fair this Saturday between 10am-4pm. Check out the pillows along with 50+ other local vendors (most of them grown-ups ).

Sat, Nov. 26 | 10am-4pm | Strathcona Community Centre (601 Keefer St.) | DETAILS

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EXPLORE THIS NEIGHBOURHOOD

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  • Strathcona  | EAST SIDE
    Strathcona | EAST SIDE
  • Strathcona Harvest Festival
    Strathcona Harvest Festival
  • Strathcona fire hydrant love on a hot day
    Strathcona fire hydrant love on a hot day
  • Strathcona overpass
    Strathcona overpass
  • The Wilder Snail - Crawl Weekend 2
    The Wilder Snail - Crawl Weekend 2
  • Great drape
    Great drape
  • Parker Street Studios
    Parker Street Studios

Strathcona is Scout’s home base and Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood. Before it was called Strathcona (a later honorific) it was known as The East End. And for centuries before that it was a seasonal camp called Kumkumalay (“big leaf maple trees”) that was regularly employed by Coast Salish First Nations. Today, it is the easternmost slice of the Downtown Eastside (DTES), bordered on the west and east by Gore and Clark, and on the north and south by Powell and Venables/Prior. Though the 200 block of Union St. is technically part of Chinatown, its redevelopment and the flow of its bike route have made it more a piece of Strathcona. Though today it is widely considered a hip hotbed of artistic creativity (witness the annual Eastside Culture Crawl, etc.), the cozy quarters of roughly 10,000 people nevertheless remains on the sedate side of urban.

Strathcona’s residential, my-garden’s-got-its-shit-together community feel might surprise outsiders, especially considering its proximity to the city’s heart and its umbilical connection to the oft-demonized DTES. But the people hereabouts – mostly low income, working class – are fierce in their affections for their home turf; not possessive of property so much or excessively house proud, just firmly rooted. The neighbourhood’s ethnic diversity is as much its strong suit as its tough, activist spirit. It is the only neighbourhood in Vancouver where English is not the mother tongue of the majority of the inhabitants (Chinese languages predominate), but when pushed by the City with ill-considered plans – whether it be a freeway or a rushed amendment to a bike lane – its population has a habit of quickly coalescing to fight back, differences be damned.

Strathcona is anchored by a green space called MacLean Park, which plays host to all manner of community events, from casual Sunday pick-up games of soccer and on-the-fly weddings to harvest festivals and multi-family get-togethers. In the summer, the aromatic smoke of BBQs hangs low over the field, with leisure supplies replenished from the area’s four chief corner groceries (The Wilder Snail, Wayne Grocery, Union Market, Benny’s) and the nearby Astoria Pub’s off-sales shop. Strathcona Park (on the south side of Prior St.), though considerably larger than MacLean, is less of a community hub, but it does offer a fun little skatepark, tennis courts, and multiple baseball fields (there’s a great Spring/Summer/Fall beer game every Saturday afternoon).

the-colour-palettestrathconapalette

Strathcona Elementary School brick (the older buildings); alleyway sofa standard orange; the summer green grass of McLean Park; loud and aggressive crow black; the glass-like tar/asphalt of the 500 block of Keefer St.; Pilsener label tri-colour; La Casa Gelato exterior; needle plunger blue; Benny’s Market burgundy; Strathcona Community Gardens; sketchy 1/2 naked drunk guy in the park.

here-you-will-find

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PEDAL POWERED ELECTRICITY AT THE WILDER SNAIL
OFF SALES OF COLD BEER AT THE ASTORIA
THOUSANDS OF CROWS MARSHALLING FOR THEIR NIGHTLY BURNABY ROOST
THE BEST CHEESE STORE IN THE WEST
SMEAGOL & DEAGOL THE EAGLES
HOUSES THAT ARE STRANGELY SET HIGH ABOVE OR BELOW THE SIDEWALK
LOUD COOPER’S HAWKS HUNTING FOR PIGEONS
A FANTASTIC LITTLE VINYL SHOP
ARTIST STUDIO VISITS DURING THE EASTSIDE CULTURE CRAWL
THE SMELL OF INCENSE FROM THE PTT BHUDDIST TEMPLE ON KEEFER ST.

what-to-eat-and-drink

ramen

SHOCKINGLY GOOD RAMEN AT HARVEST
CAPPUCCINO AT THE WILDER SNAIL
INNOVATIVE VEGETARIAN FARE & KILLER COCKTAILS AT THE PARKER
CHICKEN CURRY POCKETS AT UNION MARKET
LEMON FUDGE SORBET AT LA CASA GELATO
CAPICOLLO SANDWICHES AT BENNY’S MARKET
BLUE BRIE AND PROSCIUTTO SANDWICHES AT FINCH’S

current-poll

  • Rear and west side view of building [219 - 221 Prior Street]  copy
    Rear and west side view of building [219 - 221 Prior Street] copy
  • hogansalley2 copy
    hogansalley2 copy
  • Fielding William Spotts copy
    Fielding William Spotts copy
  • 830 Dunlevy Avenue [and] 844 Dunlevy Avenue  copy
    830 Dunlevy Avenue 844 Dunlevy Avenue copy
  • 800 - 804 Main Street [at Union Street]  copy
    800 - 804 Main Street [at Union Street] copy
  • 259 Prior Street [Chou Doely Gam cabins back]  copy
    259 Prior Street copy
  • 251 Prior Street [front]  copy
    251 Prior Street copy
  • 249 Prior Street copy
    249 Prior Street copy
  • 248 - 250 Union Street [front]  copy
    248 - 250 Union Street copy
  • 232 - 240 Union Street [front]  copy
    232 - 240 Union Street copy
  • 218 Union Street [front]  copy
    218 Union Street copy
  • Sun July 19, 1952 2 of 2
    Sun July 19, 1952 2 of 2

Like most cosmopolitan cities around the world, Vancouver is known for its distinct neighbourhoods, each with their own character, landscape, and history. But what happens when an entire neighbourhood is razed to the ground and its community is displaced? The historic Hogan’s Alley in Strathcona is a unique example of how a neighbourhood can come to define the history of a group of people, and the intricacies of cultural identity in an urban space.

The name “Hogan’s Alley” is often explained as being the colloquial term for Park Lane, an alley that spanned from Main Street to Jackson Avenue between Union Street and Prior Street, and the surrounding area. The lane, which ran parallel to Main Street, did originally border the sides, backs, and gardens of homes, but to consider the whole neighbourhood as simply an “alley” would be a disservice to the businesses, residences, and cultural centres that developed around it.

Hogan’s Alley was not marked on the city map in any particular fashion, and its precise boundaries are not entirely clear. City archivist J.S. Matthews noted on a photo from 1891 that the lane adjacent to the home at 209 Harris Street (now East Georgia) was known as Hogan’s Alley; from where exactly he learned the nickname is unknown.

While the definitive nomenclature is still up for debate, what is clear it that multiple generations of families and workers, predominantly of African-Canadian descent, called this area home for decades. Ultimately, many of these families were displaced when the City demolished a number of homes and businesses in Hogan’s Alley to build the second version of the Georgia Viaduct.

The black community which came to define Hogan’s Alley came to the area shortly after the turn of the century. Many individuals had come from Vancouver Island, likely in search of work in local resource industries, and this section of Strathcona (then known simply as the East End) quickly developed into a mecca for those of African-American and African-Canadian heritage. Many had also migrated to Vancouver from California and Louisiana. At this time, Vancouver was seen as having limitless economic potential.

Prior to his political defeat in 1934, Mayor L.D. Taylor had a unique and often controversial perspective of how Vancouver should mitigate the growing crime rates in the city. In particular, his “open town policy” on vice crimes such as prostitution, gambling, and illegal drinking meant that areas such as Hogan’s Alley were ripe for these types of “victimless” crimes to continue unchecked. Moreover, his ties to corruption in the police department further frustrated those who recognized the fragile state of the city’s lower-income neighbourhoods. Given Hogan’s Alley’s proximity to transportation centres and the commercial hub of Hastings Street (the very same reasons residents were drawn to the area in the first place), it attracted a wide variety of legal and illegal activities for locals and visitors in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Park Lane itself was only 8 feet wide and spanned only a couple of blocks, but the area was filled with a variety of after-hours entertainments, including bootlegger establishments, cheap eateries, and popular brothels. These businesses, popular with loggers, sailors, and other resource industry workers, included Buddy’s on Union for booze, the Scat Inn on Park Lane for music and food, and even a back-alley wine merchant called Lungo. All this – including stories of a blind prostitute known as the “Queen of Hogan’s Alley” – led to a rough-and-tumble reputation that scared many folks off and intrigued even more.

While Hogan’s Alley was a predominantly black community (Vancouver’s first), there were other cultures and ethnicities prevalent in the area as well. Several Jewish families and business were well established and an Italian consular office was located in the Bingarra Block at Union and Main. Some of the houses on the 200-block of Union Street, which became vacant during World War I, later became home to Chinese families.

It is important to note, however, that this area was once a comfortable community for Vancouver’s black population. Indeed, while other ethnically defined areas are historically common in Vancouver (Little Italy, Chinatown, Japantown, etc), this was the first – and only – example of a cultural enclave for African-Canadians. It is also the site of Vancouver’s first black church, the African Methodist Episcopal Fountain Chapel (823 Jackson Avenue), which was purchased by the community in 1918.

During its heyday in the 1930s and 40s, Hogan’s Alley featured a number of black-owned businesses that added a distinct southern flavour to the neighbourhood. One of these black-owned businesses was Emma Alexander’s Mother’s Tamale and Chili Parlour at 250 Union Street. Emma’s niece, Viva Moore, later opened the famous Vie’s Chicken and Steak House at 209 Main Street, which operated from 1948 until 1976. Run by Viva and her husband Rob, the restaurant was a popular spot for locals and even a few famous faces, including Nat King Cole and Louis Armstrong. Sadly, the unique culture and popularity of businesses like these, and the fact that a growing community was thriving in the area, wasn’t enough to protect the neighbourhood from “progress”. Eventually, Hogan’s Alley’s reputation as a red light district gave Mayor Tom Campbell’s government the justification to approve the $11.2 million Georgia Viaduct Replacement project.

Since its destruction in the early 1970s, the surrounding area has evolved from a primarily residential neighbourhood into a growing commercial sector, with a number of shops, cafes, and restaurants along Union Street catering to a new generation of Vancouverites. Modern civic and cultural organizations, such as the Hogan’s Alley Memorial Project, help memorialize and educate people on the experiences of black individuals in Vancouver, as well as the history of Hogan’s Alley.

The Jimi Hendrix Shrine at the corner of Main and Union (adjacent to the former site of Vie’s Chicken and Steak House) pays homage to the musician and his grandmother, Nora Hendrix, who migrated to Vancouver from Tennessee in 1911 and worked at Vie’s restaurant. Nora’s home at 827 East Georgia still stands today, where she raised three children with her husband Ross. In 2013, the Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s Places That Matter program installed a plaque near the Hogan’s Alley Cafe in conjunction with Black History Month. While most tangible remnants of this historic neighbourhood are long gone, the legacy of its community and its place in the story of Vancouver is, thankfully, still remembered and celebrated.

cool-things-of-note

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– Union Street used to be called Bernard Street – it was renamed in 1911 to avoid confusion with Burrard Street

– In the late 50s and 60s city planners stopped public works maintenance in Strathcona, denied redevelopment permits, and bulldozed 15 blocks of homes as part of an “urban renewal” project for this supposed “slum”.

– Vancouver’s only neighbourhood with a concentrated Black population, Park Lane (known colloquially as Hogan’s Alley), was demolished in 1972 to construct the Georgia Viaduct.

– In 1985 the Strathcona Community Gardens were established at Campbell Avenue and Prior Street, an area that in Vancouver’s early years had served as the City Dump.

– Strathcona used to simply be called the East End; the new name was adopted in the 1960s.

– Jackson Garden apartments on East Pender echo the compound/alley style of Hutong residences once popular in China, and were specifically designed to accommodate Chinese residents in Strathcona.

the-things-weve-seen

  • Welcome
    Welcome
  • Board of Trade, Strathcona
    Board of Trade, Strathcona
  • U Go To Store | A piece of Strathcona History
    U Go To Store | A piece of Strathcona History
  • Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Strathcona
    Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Strathcona
  • Strathcona Spring Sky
    Strathcona Spring Sky
  • Pub With No Beer? Vintage vinyl score at Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Strathcona
    Pub With No Beer? Vintage vinyl score at Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Strathcona
  • Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Strathcona
    Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Strathcona
  • Lisa Ochowycz | Mergatroid Building | Eastside Culture Crawl
    Lisa Ochowycz | Mergatroid Building | Eastside Culture Crawl
  • Ladies at the Strathcona Harvest Festival
    Ladies at the Strathcona Harvest Festival
  • 1000 Parker Street
    1000 Parker Street
  • Strathcona Puddle
    Strathcona Puddle
  • Blurry Strathcona
    Blurry Strathcona
  • Strathcona Community Gardens Piano
    Strathcona Community Gardens Piano
  • Strathcona Labyrinth
    Strathcona Labyrinth
  • Finch's tea house Strathcona
    Finch's tea house Strathcona
  • Strathcona
    Strathcona
  • Nothing Else Mattress
    Nothing Else Mattress
  • Strathcona Kid
    Strathcona Kid
  • The Empire Strikes Back Curtains in Strathcona
    The Empire Strikes Back Curtains in Strathcona
  • Lilacs | Strathcona
    Lilacs | Strathcona
  • Birdie | Strathcona Mascot
    Birdie | Strathcona Mascot
  • Russian Treats at the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church Open House & Food Fair
    Russian Treats at the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church Open House & Food Fair
  • Strathcona Houses all in a row
    Strathcona Houses all in a row
  • MacLean Park, Strathocna
    MacLean Park, Strathocna
  • House Made Dan Dan Noodles - spinach, tofu croutons, chiles, sichuan peppercorn sauce | The Parker
    House Made Dan Dan Noodles - spinach, tofu croutons, chiles, sichuan peppercorn sauce | The Parker
  • Flatbush - Alberta Premium Rye, Saltspring balckberry, Punt e Mes Saline  | The Parker
    Flatbush - Alberta Premium Rye, Saltspring balckberry, Punt e Mes Saline | The Parker
  • Strathcona T
    Strathcona T
  • Strathcona Treasures
    Strathcona Treasures
  • Gore Street Houses, Strathcona
    Gore Street Houses, Strathcona
  • Strathcona Dragons
    Strathcona Dragons
  • Skating through Strath
    Skating through Strath
  • The Union
    The Union
  • Lord Strathcona School
    Lord Strathcona School
  • Puddle day | Strathcona
    Puddle day | Strathcona
  • IMG_0439
  • Strathcona Harvest Festival
    Strathcona Harvest Festival
  • Tracks
    Tracks
  • Finch's Tea & Coffee House
    Finch's Tea & Coffee House
  • Strathcona Heritage Hosue
    Strathcona Heritage Hosue
  • Strathcona Soccer Club
    Strathcona Soccer Club
  • Ramen at Harvest
    Ramen at Harvest
  • Hawk
    Hawk
  • Grab-a-book
    Grab-a-book
  • Harvest Community Foods
    Harvest Community Foods
  • Jamie at Finch's during construction
    Jamie at Finch's during construction
  • Union Street | Strathcona | Scout Magazine
    Union Street | Strathcona | Scout Magazine
  • Dunlevy Snackbar
    Dunlevy Snackbar
  • Strathcona Door
    Strathcona Door
  • Strathcona family
    Strathcona family
  • Spring street drain
    Spring street drain
  • McLean Park, Strathcona
    McLean Park, Strathcona
  • Maclean Park, Strathcona
    Maclean Park, Strathcona
  • Enjoying a jacked fire hydrant on a hot day in Strathcona
    Enjoying a jacked fire hydrant on a hot day in Strathcona
  • Gentrification
    Gentrification
  • Strathcona Houses at sunset
    Strathcona Houses at sunset
  • IMG_0285
  • Strathcona East Side Culture Crawl 2 154©Scout 2009
    Strathcona East Side Culture Crawl 2 154©Scout 2009
  • Hazel in the park | Summertime | Strathcona
    Hazel in the park | Summertime | Strathcona
  • Strathcona Soccer Club
    Strathcona Soccer Club
  • Pies Pies Pies Pies at the Strathcona Harvest Festival
    Pies Pies Pies Pies at the Strathcona Harvest Festival
  • Eastside Culture Crawl | Strathcona
    Eastside Culture Crawl | Strathcona
  • Dunlevy Snackbar | 433 Dunlevy
    Dunlevy Snackbar | 433 Dunlevy
  • Strathcona Harvest Festival
    Strathcona Harvest Festival
  • Strathcona Harvest Festival
    Strathcona Harvest Festival
  • Dean dekes out Kim | Strathcona Soccer Club
    Dean dekes out Kim | Strathcona Soccer Club
  • IMG_3787
  • Dunlevy Snackbar
    Dunlevy Snackbar
  • McClean Park waterpark
    McClean Park waterpark
  • Dunlevy Snackbar
    Dunlevy Snackbar
  • Strathcona
    Strathcona
  • Strathcona  | EAST SIDE
    Strathcona | EAST SIDE
  • Strathcona Harvest
    Strathcona Harvest
  • A beautiful vintage Volvo that lives in Strathcona
    A beautiful vintage Volvo that lives in Strathcona
  • Along the way, East Side Culture Crawl
    Along the way, East Side Culture Crawl
  • Well used pole - East Side Culture Crawl
    Well used pole - East Side Culture Crawl
  • Along the way, East Side Culture Crawl
    Along the way, East Side Culture Crawl
  • House in Strathcona and approaching storm
    House in Strathcona and approaching storm
  • MacLean Park
    MacLean Park
  • IMG_2778
  • Spring in Strathcona
    Spring in Strathcona
  • IMG_1307
  • IMG_0420
  • IMG_0008
  • 9712484473_df29ee21db_z
  • IMG_4776
  • IMG_5772
  • Strathcona 2
    Strathcona 2
  • IMG_5642
  • S for Strathcona
    S for Strathcona
  • Water Fight, McLean Park, Strathcona
    Water Fight, McLean Park, Strathcona
  • Tracks in summer
    Tracks in summer
  • IMG_7065
  • Andrea at Harvest Community Foods
    Andrea at Harvest Community Foods
  • Artists live in Strathcona
    Artists live in Strathcona
  • Adanac Bike Path Building
    Adanac Bike Path Building
  • Adanac Bike Route
    Adanac Bike Route
  • Tracks near Casa Gelato
    Tracks near Casa Gelato
  • Fancy Shoes from telephone wires
    Fancy Shoes from telephone wires
  • IMG_2709
  • Ribbons Strathcona
    Ribbons Strathcona
  • Parker Street Studio of Klee Larsen
    Parker Street Studio of Klee Larsen
  • Strath Laneway
    Strath Laneway
  • IMG_7369
  • Gailan Ngan, Ceramics Artist, Strathcona
    Gailan Ngan, Ceramics Artist, Strathcona
  • Strath fence in summer
    Strath fence in summer
  • Union Street | Strathcona | Scout Magazine
    Union Street | Strathcona | Scout Magazine
  • Strathcona stairway
    Strathcona stairway
  • Outside the Borshch and Bike Sale in Strathcona
    Outside the Borshch and Bike Sale in Strathcona
  • Boyd from The Wilder Snail
    Boyd from The Wilder Snail
  • Strathcona yard decoration
    Strathcona yard decoration
  • Harvest Community Foods Ramen bowl
    Harvest Community Foods Ramen bowl
  • Laundry drying old-school in Strathcona
    Laundry drying old-school in Strathcona
  • Janet at Benny's
    Janet at Benny's
  • GAILAN NGAN
    GAILAN NGAN
  • Ian |  Strathcona Harvest Festival
    Ian | Strathcona Harvest Festival
  • Jonathan |  Strathcona Harvest Festival
    Jonathan | Strathcona Harvest Festival
  • Katie and Hazel at the Strathcona Harvest Festival
    Katie and Hazel at the Strathcona Harvest Festival
  • Strathcona Harvest Festival
    Strathcona Harvest Festival
  • Pink Grapefruit at Casa Gelato
    Pink Grapefruit at Casa Gelato
  • Strathcona paste-up
    Strathcona paste-up
  • Blue Bus, Strathcona
    Blue Bus, Strathcona
  • Pies at the Strathcona Harvest Festival
    Pies at the Strathcona Harvest Festival
  • Finch's famed baguette sandwich with pear, blue brie, walnuts, proscuitto sandwich at the original Finch's
    Finch's famed baguette sandwich with pear, blue brie, walnuts, proscuitto sandwich at the original Finch's
  • Fire hydrant shenanigans in Strathcona
    Fire hydrant shenanigans in Strathcona
  • Strathcona
    Strathcona

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