GOODS | La Buca, The Abbey, Pied-A-Terre, Sardine Can Prep For Game & Shroom Fest

September 30, 2014 


Andrey Durbach and Chris Stewart’s 9th annual Wild Game & Mushroom Festival runs October 15 to November 2

The GOODS from Pied-a-Terre, La Buca, Sardine CanThe Abbey

Vancouver, BC | Now in its ninth year, the Game and Wild Mushroom Festival takes place October 15th to November 2nd with three or four course prix fixe menus at La Buca and Pied a Terre, and daily chalkboard specials at Sardine Can and The Abbey.

Chef Andrey Durbach celebrates fall with special menus at all four restaurants featuring wild, local mushrooms, deliciously rich game meats, and other speciality foods. “This is my favourite season to cook,” Durbach says. “It’s the best time of the year for mushrooms and it’s also traditionally hunting season. It’s a time of year we turn our attention to foods that are deeply satisfying.”

The fest is a chance to taste the rich, earthy flavours of freshly picked in-season mushrooms—including chanterelle, matsutake, porcini, and black trumpet—and rarely featured game such as red deer, wild boar, and elk.

For the first time, the newly opened The Abbey joins La Buca, Pied a Terre, and Sardine Can in the annual foragers’ and food lovers’ extravaganza, with each restaurant offering unique menu items and wines to accompany them.

La Buca will feature a delectable three and four-course menu for $52 and $60 respectively. Highlights include mustard and black pepper crusted carpaccio of elk; taglierini with butter, sage, truffle, and porcini secchi; grilled venison, soft gorgonzola polenta, quince preserves, and marsala wine; and osso buco with wild mushroom risotto.

Diners at Pied a Terre, which offers a three-course menu for $52, can look forward to an assiette of red deer three ways: roast loin, grilled sausage, and braised cheeks; roast quail stuffed with foie gras and brioche; wild mushroom bouillon with quenelles of pheasant and oloroso sherry; and a frisée au lardons with wild boar bacon, poached duck egg, and mushroom crouton, among many other standout dishes. Sardine Can and The Abbey will feature extensive Game and Wild Mushroom fresh sheets. “B.C. is one of the best mushroom regions in the world,” Durbach says. “These foods also pair beautifully with intensely flavourful wines.” Read more

WELCOME | Gastown Charmer “Six Acres” Has Joined The Growing Scout Community

September 29, 2014 


We’ve invited Vancouver’s excellent Six Acres to join the Restaurants section of our GOODS program as a recommended place for a sip and a bite. They are now proud members of Scout, and as such we will be sharing their news and employment needs on our front page in addition to hosting a page for them in our archive of local and independent goodness. We thank them for their support and for making Vancouver a more delicious place to be.


GOODS | Underground Eatery “Farm 2 Fork” Gets Bigger & Launches New Autumn Menu

September 26, 2014 

Farm 2 Fork is an underground restaurant located in Vancouver's Gastown | 778-772-3037 |

Farm 2 Fork is an underground restaurant located in Vancouver’s Gastown | 778-772-3037 |

The GOODS from Farm 2 Fork

Vancouver, BC | It’s time to experience Farm 2 Fork again with new food, new ideas, and in the new space! In case you haven’t heard, we’ve moved into a new home It’s larger, brighter, and more stylish than before, pushing 1,500 sqft and featuring all brick walls, beautiful walnut flooring, and a very open kitchen.

And with the new season and space comes our new menu. Diners can look forward to new twists and interpretations of classics. Think local rabbit with wild mushrooms and apricots, smoked tomato soup with rich Ccèvre and Saltspring mussels, and charred rainbow trout with wild watercress and horseradish potato noodles. Full menu after the jump… Read more

GOODS | Special Fish Fry & Trivia Night At The Irish Heather In Gastown On October 2

September 26, 2014 

The Irish Heather is located at 210 Carrall St. in the heart of Gastown | 604-688-9779 |

The Irish Heather is located at 210 Carrall St. in the heart of Gastown | 604-688-9779 |

The GOODS from The Irish Heather

Vancouver, BC | Join us on Thursday, October 2nd and play some trivia between 6:30pm and 9pm. The night will see 10 teams with 4 players per team. Successful applicants will receive a free beer upon arrival and a complimentary meal (beer battered fish & chips). To apply, please e-mail reso [at] and request an application form. Applicants must be 19+ years of age and have valid ID. This will be a fun night with a competitive edge! Details after the jump… Read more

DRINKER | On Scoring The Most Elusive Of Gins, Beefeater “Crown Jewel”, In Gastown

September 23, 2014 


by Shaun Layton | Most things that are made primarily for duty-free shoppers are marketed for the quick sale. It’s not really the realm of the collector, especially in terms of booze. Purchasers of duty-free liquor tend to be people who want to hit their quota of how much Bailey’s or Smirnoff they can legally bring back into the country (in Canada, it’s a comical 1.14L per person, but only if you’ve been away for more than 48 hours). It’s not where rarities hide, but for a couple of fleeting decades, it was home to Beefeater Crown Jewel, which was first distilled in 1993.

Beefeater gin gets its name from the well-groomed men in the uniquely frilly red and gold get-ups who guard the Tower of London. They’re not just there for tourists and Instagrammers; they guard the Royal Family’s famous Crown Jewels (used in coronation ceremonies, et cetera). On the bottle are the names of the six ravens that – as legend has it – must stay within the walls of the Tower, lest it and the monarchy fall (their wings are clipped, natch). The Crown Jewel gin has the same botanicals as the classic Beefeater London Dry, only it can boast the addition of grapefruit peel. What also sets it apart is the fact that it’s steeped in the secret batch of botanicals for a day and a night before being triple distilled, hitting the bottle at a higher 50% ABV.

It might be the ideal size for Canadians (1L) and it comes in an eye-catching, sexy bottle that readily meets the needs of the forgetful duty-free customer (“Oh shit, we forgot to get ol’ Uncle George a gift!”), but the best thing about it is the liquor itself. It’s very rare to find something seemingly made for duty-free that’s also highly acclaimed in the spirit world. Crown Jewel is one of the best gins ever made.

To find it in Vancouver, your best bet is to go see “H”, the head barman at Notturno in Gastown and former Vancouver Magazine Bartender of the Year. He used to run the matchbox-sized Casita bar in London’s Shoreditch, and he remembers clearly the impact that Crown Jewel had when it arrived. “When it first came out in the UK, bartenders loved it. It’s full-bodied, and its great juniper and grapefruit peel flavours stay with your palate throughout.”

Have it in a dry Martini with a squeeze of grapefruit peel. Of course, you might want to ask how much it’ll cost before you commit. Since this spirit will likely never see the still or shelf again, despite having been honoured with numerous awards and many professional requests to bring it back, it won’t come cheap. Still, short of making me an obscene offer for the unopened bottle I have on my shelf, “H” is your man.


GOODS | Katherine Huie’s Handcrafted Foe & Dear Sapphire Collection Now At Cavalier

September 19, 2014 

Cavalier is located at #217-207 W. Hastings St. in Vancouver, BC | 604-681-0047 |

Cavalier is located at #217-207 W. Hastings St. in Vancouver, BC | 604-681-0047 |

The GOODS from Cavalier

Vancouver, BC | Ready or not, Fall is here! Sapphires are the birthstone for September as well as the traditional gift for 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries. While blue is the gemstone’s traditional colour, they also come in stunning hues of pink, yellow, orange, purple, and even green. So if you’re in the market for a memorable gift, or just want to treat yourself to a fall statement piece, stop on by Cavalier to check out offerings from our handcrafted, ethically sourced sapphire collections. We are also featuring an exclusive Foe and Dear Sapphire Collection. Featuring rough blue sapphire gemstones set in 14K gold fill. Not only is each piece affordable, they are also unique and handcrafted by Vancouver’s own Katherine Huie. Read more

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS | Gastown’s Rowan Sky On The Hunt For Dedicated Shoe Lover

September 18, 2014 

Gastown’s Rowan Sky is located at 334 Cordova Street West in Vancouver BC | 604.568.2075 |

The GOODS from Rowan Sky

Vancouver, BC | We’re looking for a fashion savvy part-time sales associate who is detail-focused and passionate about footwear, bags, and jewelry. The successful candidate will be a self-starter who is motivated to achieve sales goals and has the capacity to work one on one and successfully in a team. Dedication to being on time and working efficiently are musts, as is computer experience (Mac OS, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) and the ability to further our social media presence. You will also need to climb ladders and lift up to 25lbs. Extra languages spoken will be helpful. We can offer proper training to excel within our company and in the fashion business, sales incentives after probation period, employee discounts on all merchandise, and education on maintaining our blog and website. Pay negotiable based on experience. Send resumes to info [at] Read more

HOODS | On A Gastown Walk With The Duo Behind Local Design Firm “Falken Reynolds”

September 16, 2014 


by Luis Valdizon | Interior designers Chad Falkenberg and Kelly Reynolds, founders of local design house Falken Reynolds, recently took me on a leisurely Q&A walk through their Gastown neighbourhood…

Tell me about yourselves and your respective roles in your company? Kelly and I formed Falken Reynolds two years ago. We’ve been partners in life for almost nine years now and it was always part of the plan to work together. We both transitioned to being professional designers after having fairly colourful career paths. Kelly was a sailor in the Canadian Navy, a cop in the VPD, a flight attendant, and a hotel manager before making the shift almost ten years ago. I grew up spending summers on horse ranches in Texas and Arizona; studied finance and psychology; taught business at a university in Lithuania; and had an international marketing job before starting design school in Barcelona.

While one of us takes the lead on each project we rely heavily on each other for input, especially during the early conceptual phases. We share the same perspectives on design – that spaces should be relevant to both the people using them as well as the space’s context; that style is deeply personal and subjective and our role is to create a space that reflects what makes each client unique; and that design is constantly evolving and reacting to culture, which is why we travel to Milan each year for iSaloni, the most important event on the contemporary design calendar.

You work and live in Gastown. Why? We moved to Gastown eight years ago because we both craved the authenticity that comes from so many segments of society rubbing shoulders everyday. There is a freedom that comes from the diversity here. [It] stimulates creativity, collaboration, encouragement – all the ingredients that give entrepreneurs the support they need to be successful. Neighbourhoods and cities that aspire for too much homogeny can stifle creativity and draw a person’s focus more towards fitting in than finding their own way. So much of this atmosphere in Gastown stems from the architecture and urban planning of densely packed low-rise buildings with a mix of residential and commercial use. The streets are active and familiar because so many people live and work here – it feels really intimate and neighbourly because people are out and about doing their thing.

You’ve taken a role as an IDSWest ambassador. How has the experience been? Talking about design is pretty natural for us so taking on the role of ambassadors has been a great fit. After ten years, IDSwest has become the anchor event for a month of design activities in Vancouver. When we travel to Milan one of the things that is so inspiring is the critical mass of people (350,000 this year) who are talking about how design impacts our lives – and that same energy is alive in Vancouver over the month of September. Craftsmen and manufacturers are all showing their latest designs and products and from that collective showing we can see the trend line of how society will be living in the years to come. Design fairs are a bit like seeing into the future, just like fashion weeks are – eventually all the custom, high end design trickles down to price points that are more affordable and available. The most exciting thing about IDSwest is bringing so many creative minds under one roof – over the years we have met countless people who we end up working with. There has been a real shift to designers being more open and collaborative (helped by a relatively strong economy and the internet) that we are starting to see how much more we can do when we work together.

We’re designing Shed, the central bar for IDSwest, presented by Caesarstone, and we are working with some of Vancouver’s best design companies to bring it together: Benson, Inform Interiors, And Light, Object Outdoors, Synlawn and Moosehead Contracting. Our taking off point for the concept was a garden party in an abandoned west coast back yard. A lot of the materials that will be used for Shed will be repurposed in the restaurant we’re designing in Chinatown, Sai Woo. It’s true to our perspective on being “green” – build with better quality materials that last longer and can be reused and recycled.

We have a few other things going in the show this year too – we’re designing a couture chair we’ve named Dauphine, for William Switzer, which will be exhibited along with six other chairs designed by leading interior designers. We’re exploring youthful west coast luxury – if Marie Antoinette moved to Gastown this would be her chair… We’re also speaking on the Gray Conversation stage about our career transition to design, as well as sharing our story of being shortlisted for two categories for Western Living’s Designers of the Year.

Who is currently inspiring you in your neighbourhood? We’re lucky to call a lot of our Gastown neighbours and colleagues our friends – so many great people giving 110% everyday and having success in Vancouver as well as an international stage. Their vision and determination for their own businesses has collectively elevated the neighbourhood and gained international recognition as one of the best spots to live and work. We know how lucky we are to be here and experience this moment. There are too many people to name everyone but here are a few that really stand out:

Niels and Nancy Bendtsen from Inform were pioneers in Gastown and have been so supportive to us and so many emerging designers – we have watched them in action in Milan where they are just as comfortable and recognized as they are in Vancouver.

The crew from Roden Gray has been on the cutting edge of mens fashion. Rob Lo is always working on a new and exciting project – we are always inspired by how they run their business and Rob has become a great friend.

The same goes for Jonathon from Litchfield, Paul from L’Abattoir and the crew at Timbertrain – They all work so hard at being excellent at what they do and it shows in the success they have with their business.

When Michael and Charlie from Bailey Nelson approached us to work on their Canadian flagship shop we jumped at the opportunity because we could all see the potential for the rather derelict site on the corner of Cambie and Cordova. They were able to see past the decades of decay and the crumbling building and then trust us to turn it into something fresh and welcoming. We are super happy with the result and hope it inspires other entrepreneurs to set up shop in the neighbourhood.

Name three of your favourite architectural or design landmarks that your neighbourhood offers? The digital photo of the Gastown Riot by Stan Douglas [Abbott & Cordova]. The roof at Inform Interiors – it’s a private gem and one of the best examples of how to keep the heritage of a building on the street and redevelop it for contemporary use. Maple Tree Square – there is so much potential with this space. Even though there have been many failed attempts at improving it, the bones of the square are intact. When the city takes another crack at improving it we’d love to part of imagining how to make it a better public gathering place.


VANCOUVERITES | 4 Minutes With Nancy Bendtsen Of Gastown’s “Inform Interiors”

September 12, 2014 


by Grady Mitchell | In anticipation of the Interior Design Show West coming up September 25-28 at the Vancouver Convention Center, we met with Nancy Bendtsen from Inform Interiors to discuss the importance of design in everyday life.

Nancy’s husband, Niels, launched Inform half a century ago when he was just 19. At that time the Pacific Northwest was an epicentre for progressive design. Originally the store sold the handiwork of Niel’s father, who at 12 was pulled from school to apprentice as a Danish cabinet maker. Gradually Niels added other brands and designers, and now Inform, with its twin Gastown locations, is a touchstone of home design in Vancouver.

Like Niels, Nancy is genetically predisposed to be a design lover. When Allan Fleming updated the CN logo in 1960 – a long-overdue revamp that Marshall McLuhan declared iconic – Nancy’s mother found the sleek new lettering so alluring that she packed a young Nancy and herself into the car, drove to the nearest station, and took the shortest possible round trip, just to be on a train featuring the polished logo.

Later Nancy studied architecture at L’ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and at the University of Toronto. Architecture, she says, is less about schematics and flair than it is a general education. “You think over a lot of big things. It was more overall thinking; about humanity, about how people live.”

The things Nancy deems important are often small details that others overlook. “Everything you touch,” she says. “Door handles, cutlery.” Rather than a Dwell-ready house packed with curated spaces, it’s important to slowly collect pieces you truly enjoy, on both an aesthetic and functional level. “You don’t have to have a lot of stuff,” Nancy says, “just stuff you really love.”

As far as IDS West’s imminence is concerned, Nancy is excited for London-based lighting designer Michael Anastassiades, whose work she describes as “very architectural, geometric.” Rub shoulders with Nancy, Michael, and a host of other design aficionados at the Vancouver Conference Center from September 25-28 for IDS West.

Six Acres

September 10, 2014 




203 Carrall St. (right behind the Gassy Jack Statue)
Vancouver, BC | VJB 2J2 | Telephone: 604-488-0110
Web: | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Key People


Owners: Claire Hutchings, Tyler Quantz, Silas Straathof, Corben Winfield
General Manager – Colette Griffiths
Kitchen Manager – Joel Silva
Bar Manager – John Nagle

About the Business


Six Acres is a cozy brick lined nook to gather over tasty food and drink. We’ve been welcoming guests to our little spot for over 8 years, and we’ve loved being a part of the rebirth of Gastown.

We love welcoming old school regulars and those exploring Gastown for the first time to hang out in the oldest brick building in Vancouver. Enjoy the ever-changing beer taps offering the very best in local craft brew. Or sample a wide selection of bottled beer from near and far. We also have a delightful and thoughtful list of cocktails, whiskey and wine.

Our home-style comfort food is super delicious and made with local and sustainable ingredients whenever possible. From a comforting mac and cheese or poutine to seasonal salads and snacks for sharing, Six Acres is a great spot to enjoy food and drink in a friendly, laid back atmosphere.

Many folks wonder about our name and where it came from. Gastown is a six acre parcel of land, named after Gassy Jack who’s booze shack attracted many newcomers in the late 19th century. This little settlement that grew up around Gassy’s saloon eventually became Vancouver. We love being a part of the long tradition of eating, drinking and being merry in Gastown, a neighbourhood that has visible history and roots in a city that is ever changing.

GOODS | Gastown’s “L’Abattoir” Opens For Lunch, Launches New Private Dining Space

September 9, 2014 

L’Abattoir is located at 217 Carrall St in Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood | 604-568-1701 |

L’Abattoir is located at 217 Carrall St in Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood | 604-568-1701 |

The GOODS from L’Abattoir

Vancouver, BC | Originally offering an evenings-only menu, Gastown’s French inspired L’Abattoir restaurant will now be opening its doors earlier to include lunch during the week.

From Monday to Friday between 11:30 and 2:30 a simple and elegant menu has been crafted to please afternoon appetites. The classic and clean flavours that characterize L’Abattoir’s nightly fare have been carried onto their lunchtime menu. Highlights include Steelhead served with fried potatoes, dill and horseradish; a shrimp, tomato and potato frittata finished in creamy hollandaise and peppery arugula; and a beef dip with tongue, salad, thickly cut fries and jus gras for dipping. Diners can choose between a two or three course menu or select a meal a la carte.

Behind the bar, resident expert Shaun Layton has designed some new cocktail creations to compliment lunchtime dining. This includes the House Aperol Spritz, which bottles charged white wine with Aperol, seltzer and orange, as well as their daily feature Vermouth on the rocks served with a seasonal garnish. In homage to the power lunches of the past, a martini also graces the midday menu, made with Tanqueray 10, Dolin Dry and pickled onions. Non-alcoholic options include daily bottled house made iced teas and bottled cold brewed JJ Bean coffee.

Lunch aside; L’Abattoir is also pleased to announce the debut of their private dining room. This 1,200 sq ft. facility is situated just adjacent to the regular dining room and features historical architectural elements complimented by a contemporary design aesthetic. Exposed brick walls, beamed ceilings and steel framed windows speak to the history of the space while sleek glass, steel accents and custom chandeliers add a modern finish.

Entering through the kitchen the vintage Bonnet range oven takes center stage and denotes the quality dining experience awaiting guests. While large enough for 50 people seated or 80 standing, the room retains an intimate ambiance and a noise-reducing barrier blocks out the nightly hustle and bustle of the regular dining room. Basked in ample natural light, the private dining room at L’Abattoir is an elegant space with old world charm easily suited for any occasion, from private gatherings and celebrations to corporate functions and meetings. Read more

DIVE BARS | Sneaking Cheekies At “Gringo”, The Gastown Eatery That Can LOL At Itself

September 5, 2014 


by Shaun Layton | “I’ll be back in fifteen, going for a cheeky…” is what you’ll hear in Gastown bars whenever there’s a lull in the action. In this job, we don’t get one hour lunch or coffee breaks. Because I don’t smoke, the only time I have for quick refreshment is after the dinner rush ebbs. The spot where I used to end up was Boneta (RIP). Now it’s around the corner in Blood Alley at a place called Gringo.

Now one year old in the space formerly occupied by Sean Heather’s Judas Goat, Gringo is now bursting at the seams on most late nights. It was started by Vancouver service industry vet Shoel Davidson, and the “Queen of Gastown”, Christina Cottell.

From where I stood, it looked as if the little lighthearted Mexi-Cali hole-in-the-wall sort of stumbled out of the gate. I think it took people (including myself) some time to understand where they were coming from and what they were trying to do. They didn’t spend a cent on PR, so it’s been a word of mouth trade to date. Online and print reviews – some funny, others scathing – probably helped, too.

“I always believed that if good people came in and enjoyed themselves, then they would tell their friends and so on,” Shoel says. “Now, low and behold, we have an ever-increasing circle of incredible patrons. It’s they who’ve really given Gringo its fun and laid back vibe.”

Speaking personally, the thing that keeps bringing me back isn’t the nachos or the slim draft beer options ($3.50!), it’s the great staff that Shoel has put together. They always remember me by name, and they know what I like to drink. While it’s true that I know nearly everyone in the industry hereabouts (which is to say that I sometimes get extra special treatment), I’ve been in a few times when a new guy doesn’t know me yet, and I’m still greeted with an introduction, a handshake, and a warm welcome.

I think this comes from Mr. Davidson’s hospitality background; he manned the wood at The Irish Heather for several years. “Treat people like people, not like a number. Especially in Gastown, which has such a tight-knit community” he says. Shoel’s also a clean freak, which I respect. He once sat and watched us clean down the bar at L’Abattoir one night and was the only bar nerd not admiring our Amaro selection. Instead, he liked how we scrubbed our stainless.

I hope that didn’t sound too creepy…

The branding (Christina’s department) literally shines. I see the bright neon trucker hats stumbling all over Gastown, and the staff all wear them with pride. They also have coasters with bad reviews printed on them — I love it when a place can LOL at itself like that. The music they play can be anything from rock ‘n roll to old school stuff like A Tribe Called Quest. There’s also a TV set showing some seriously arbitrary shit (I walked in one night and Star Wars was on).

I’m not going to talk about the food (monster size tacos, beer-friendly bites, etc) or the simply made, easy-drinking cocktails. The truth of it is that I’m there to drink beers after the rush. It’s the leading spot in the hood for kitchen staff, so that tells me the food is good enough. One thing to take special note of is Gringo’s ever-increasing bar of “haute” hot sauces. It’s similar to our collection of exotic tall boy beer cans at L’Abattoir, so if you want to drop them a bottle of something rare or interesting they’d likely be appreciative.


IMG_6220Shaun Layton has helped to maintain a top notch bar scene in Vancouver for ten years, and since day one at Gastown’s L’Abattoir, where he is the Bar Manager. He also runs his own consulting company, designing bar programs and training staff locally and as far away as St.John’s, NFLD. Layton has competed and travelled throughout the USA and Europe, touring distilleries, breweries and bars. He was recognized in 2012 as the Bartender of The Year by Vancouver Magazine.

GOODS | Gastown’s Pourhouse To Celebrate “Aperitivo Hour” Specials Starting Sept. 8th

September 5, 2014 

Pourhouse is located at 162 Water Street in Vancouver, BC | 604-568-7022 |

The GOODS from Pourhouse

Vancouver, BC | Starting September 8, on Monday – Friday from 2pm – 5pm, Pourhouse will be featuring a special Aperitivo Hour featuring 3 different aperitifs for $4 each and 3 cocktails for $8 each. There will also be a trio of special menu items only available during this time. Details:

aperitivo m apéritif; n. an alcoholic drink taken as an appetizer before dinner. to open a meal [Late Latin apertus, past participle of Fr. apéritif, to open] | the name for both the ritual of going out for a pre-dinner drink, as well as the sort of drink that you would likely have at such a ritual.

Drink specials will include the “aperitivo” (cocchi americano, carpano bianco, dolin blanc – $4) and Negroni, Milano Torino, and Shrub cocktails for $8. Discounted food items include Oysters Rockefeller and brussel sprouts ($4) and Pourhouse Dogs ($8). Read more

YOU SHOULD KNOW | About The Kind Of City Vancouver Nearly Became In The 1960s

September 5, 2014 


by Stevie Wilson | The story of Vancouver is one of continuous development, and despite our city’s relatively short history it nonetheless features more than few unusual, unexpected, and straight-up odd chapters.

One fascinating example of what could have been is Project 200, an ominous-sounding urban plan from the 1960s that sought to wipe out much of the waterfront in present-day Gastown to make way for a re-imagined pedestrian plaza and, of course, a massive freeway.

Following WWII, many cities across the world began planning their reconstruction and rehabilitation with an optimistic eye towards the future. Despite not having endured the catastrophic physical destruction that took place in most European cities, Vancouver (and indeed Canada as a whole) was still very much in the throes of post-war redevelopment thought.

The aforementioned eight-lane freeway was one of numerous infrastructure proposals in the late 1950s intended to stimulate business and expedite traffic through the downtown area via large Autobahn-like trenches. The Georgia Viaduct – through the destruction of Hogan’s Alley – was built as part of this larger vision.

Freeway planning in Vancouver was nothing new; the 1928 Bartholomew Plan had also envisioned widening and expanding vehicle access to the downtown core. Project 200 – named for its initial $200-million price tag – was to span from the CPR Pier (near present-day Canada Place), across the waterfront to approximately Abbott St. and up towards Dunsmuir. The introduction to the proposal eloquently explains:

The citizens of Vancouver have long had a great love for their harbour and a desire to be at the water’s edge and part of the busy scene. The realization of this desire and at the same time the redevelopment and revitalization of the downtown business and retail centres is the challenge of Project 200.

Canadian Pacific Railway, department store giants Woodward’s and Simpsons-Sears, Marathon Realty, and Grosvenor-Laing Investments all championed the large blueprint, which was estimated to encompass around 8-million square feet. Big money, no doubt, but the project was ultimately tossed aside when financing became contentious and plans for the freeway were abandoned.


However, perhaps the most interesting bit about Project 200 is that a few of the proposed structures were actually built. Circa 1969, architect Francis Donaldson designed the Canadian Pacific Telecommunications Building at 175 West Cordova, a monolithic example of bold New Formalist architecture. And in 1973, Donaldson completed a second building proposed by Project 200: the nearby Granville Square at 200 Granville (home of The Vancouver Sun and The Province newspapers).

This towering concrete building was the tallest reinforced structure in the country at the time of its completion, and is the only skyscraper to have been realized from the plans. The large open design of the plaza demonstrates the post-war emphasis on accessible pedestrian/gathering spaces, while traffic was to be segregated to higher-volume thoroughfares out to the suburbs via the freeway(s). It planned to include “a large shopping centre […] parking for 7,000 auto-mobiles, and a residential high-rise and townhouse complex”. One could almost confuse it with a contemporary development proposal…

The Project 200 concept reveals much about the mid-century fascination with vehicles, efficiency, and the desire to connect, but it’s probably for the best that the plans never fully came to fruition. Take note of these neat structures on your next trip down to Gastown and around the waterfront, and try to imagine how different it all might have looked.

The Project 200 brochure and photos for this piece came courtesy of Tom Carter and Jason Vanderhill. You can view the rest of the document here.


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