Joyce-Collingwood Precinct – a brief history

Welcome to my hood. This is Joyce-Collingwood. I’m still not used to the long version of the Skytrain station name. I still just call it Joyce Station. However, Collingwood is the official name of the neighbourhood, hence the hyphenated name.

Joyce Collingwood 3D model capture

Well before I was ever around, this area of Collingwood was a lake where the Musqueam nation used to hunt and gather food. When colonial settlement happened, European settlers found that they could drain the lake and use the fertile soil for farming. In 1891, the Interurban tram opened along the very same alignment as today’s SkyTrain. The Interurban brought people, housing and businesses into the area.

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Goodbye Ormidale Street

Ormidale Street is a little known street just one block west of Boundary Road. That makes it the last street before eastern edge of Vancouver. A new project is about to go up at Kingsway and Boundary. The giant wooden signs proclaiming the upcoming Wall Centre Central Park.

But back in February this year, I had a chance to walk up and down Ormidale Street after a rare dusting of Vancouver snow. Almost all the homes along Ormidale between Vanness Avenue and Kingsway were boarded up. The snow and boards added to the mood of the impending deconstruction.

All of these homes in the mashup above are gone except for the ambulance station. The station is just too essential to get rid of just yet. It makes me wonder what will happen to the ambulance service for the neighbourhood when construction starts.

A few weeks later with all the snow gone, I walked past the now demolished homes. Huge white garbage bags could be found on some lots. It looked like they were left for the Green Giant to pick up and take to the landfill. I must say I loved how they left the stairs of one home. Even that is gone now. Almost all the homes on the Boundary side are also gone. The next step for the giant piece of land will be excavation.

Closing 3 schools in one neighbourhood can’t be a good thing

March and rally to start at corner of Joyce and Kingsway, under the Collingwood clock in front of Carleton school VANCOUVER: SEPTEMBER 6, 2010 --At least one hundred people showed up on the corner of Kingsway and Joyce St. in Vancouver Monday morning, September, 6, 2010 to protest the potential closure of 3 nearby schools; Graham Bruce Elementary, Sir Guy Carleton Elementary, and Collingwood Neighbourhood School.

Parents, teachers mobilize to protest against possible school closures — Vancouver Sun.

How on earth did three schools all within a few blocks of each other land on the same chopping block?  Sir Guy Carleton Elementary, Collingwood Neighbourhood School, and Graham Bruce Elementary are all in the Collingwood neighbourhood in East Vancouver.  Carleton is home to one of the oldest surviving schoolhouses in the city.  Collingwood is on the other end of the spectrum as being one the newest schools in the system.  I’m not sure what’s going on there and how they came to this decision, but take a look how close these schools are on this map.

These schools are literally 1.5 kilometres apart.  With up to 375 students per school, there are potentially up to 1,000 students (I think that’s a worst case scenario assuming all three schools have equal enrolment) that will have to spill over into other schools in the neighbourhood.  There’s Grenfelt on Rupert and Wellington and Maccorkindale on Battison south of East 45th being the closest elementary schools that will have to take in the overflow.

It’ll be interesting to see how this all pans out.  I’m not sure what the end result will be for Collingwood, but will this predominantly immigrant neighbourhood suffer from fewer schools.  It couldn’t possibly be a good thing in the long run.

Summer Spaces – Car-free Sundays across Vancouver

Car-free Sundays get green light from Vancouver >>

The city of Vancouver has recently approved four car free Sundays this summer.  The new initiative is part of the Summer Spaces proposal by the city of Vancouver.   (The official PDF report can be found at the city website).

The neighbourhoods which will be holding these Summer Spaces are Commercial Drive, Collingwood, Gastown, and Mount Pleasant.  Mount Pleasant and Commercial Drive have been the sites of very successful Car-Free Vancouver days for at least the past two years.  Gastown has seen its share of street shutdowns for cycling races or other special events.  Collingwood, however, is a first.  They have celebrated Collingwood Days (which is really only one day) in the past few years which involves a parade.  The parade doesn’t last very long, so the street closure is short-lived.

The following is an excerpt from the Administrative Report from the City of Vancouver.  The excerpt is a blurb about what each Summer Space is about.  I’ve also taken the details from Appendix C of the report and placed them with the corresponding blurbs.

1. Open Streets – Commercial Drive

Car Free Vancouver (CFV), with the support and participation of the Commercial Drive BIA pending ongoing consultation with members, has proposed a series of up to eight recurring community ‘street openings’ along Commercial Drive. CFV would serve as the primary coordinating body for the un-programmed street space by encouraging and, when needed, scheduling community use of the street. This approach allows community use and programming of the street to occur in a way that is ongoing and organic.

Site: Commercial Dr. between Venables St. & E. 1st Ave. (possibly expanding south to N. Grandview Hwy.)
Dates: up to 8 Sundays starting in early July
Time: 12pm-6pm

2. Building Welcoming and Vibrant Communities through Public Gathering Spaces

Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH) has proposed a series of up to five recurring open-air market events, along Vanness Avenue near the Joyce SkyTrain station, showcasing local performers and artisans and produce from multi-ethnic farmers. The Summer Spaces proposal is aimed at addressing concerns from neighbourhood residents, many of whom are recent immigrants, around feelings of social isolation and a lack of public meeting places.

Site: Approximately 100 metres on Vanness Ave. between Joyce St. & Rupert St.
Dates: up to 5 Sundays from late July to early August
Time: 10am-2pm

3. Gastown Farmers Market
Working in partnership, Vancouver Farmers Markets and Gastown BIA have proposed a new farmers market for August and September, having up to nine recurrences, along the Carrall Street Greenway between Cordova Street and Maple Tree Square, with the possibility of minor extension north along Carrall into a parking lot. This Summer Spaces proposal provides an opportunity to further support the local food system in an area with a growing residential population.

Site: 200 block Carral St. between Cordova St. & Maple Tree Square (with a minor extension north along Carrall into a parking lot, if needed)
Dates: Aug 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; Sept 6, 13, 20, 27
Time: 11am-3pm

4. Market 1886 – Our Past Is Our Future

The Mount Pleasant BIA (MPBIA) has put forward a proposal for a series of up to six street events, rotated on a weekly basis along three different sections of Main Street. The MPBIA aims to draw merchants, residents, youth, local community groups and visitors to participate in uniquely themed, minimally programmed, weekly events on the street. The series is built on the concept that the re-articulation of certain aspects of a life more simply lived, in a bygone era, will be key to our city’s future.

Site #1: Main St. between E. Broadway & E. 7th Ave.
Site #2: Main St. between E. 16th Ave. & E. 12th Ave.
Site #3: Main St. between E. 12th Ave & E. Broadway
Dates:  July 5, 12, & 19; August 9, 16 & 23
Time: 12pm-5pm

So if you enjoyed Car Free Vancouver or any of the other great festivals around town, then these additional Summer Spaces will fill your craving to take over the pavement.