Between Richards and Homer streets, our Vancouver Heritage Foundation‘s Historic Walking Tour of Hastings West stopped in front of a small one-storey building. Large windows fronted the building. Signs with the name Academie Duello were splashed above the entrance.
Maurice pointed out that this small building may not be very outstanding, but the pillars contain some interesting architectural features. He pointed out the crumbling sandstone. Sandstone was a common material used in buildings along Hastings Street. In the Hastings East tour, there were a few buildings that also used sandstone. Given our weather in Vancouver, though, the sandstone doesn’t last very long. The wet weather wears out the material quickly.
Next, Maurice prepared us to enter another building. I would have thought a business wouldn’t be as welcoming of a group of two dozen suddenly descending upon the premises, but they were okay. Academie Duello is part school and part museum. Their business involves swords and swordplay. In the front is their store that sells all things related to medieval times ranging from toys to weapons and from armour to books. Just behind the retail section of the building is the museum. They have antique weapons and armour on display. A donation is appreciated whenever visiting.
Off to the side of the museum and store area is an open area for lessons. Classes are held regularly in this area. Lessons are not limited to medieval sword and shield play. There’s also Bartitsu, which is a mixed martial art described as Victoria Self-Defense. Think of how Sherlock Holmes would fend off hooligans. There are also archery classes available. All along the side are people’s swords that they leave on site for when they want to come in and practice. It’s a very neat set up and very much worth a visit.