Stone Path – The History of Andesite - Vancouver
Saturday, May 1, 2010 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM (PDT)
Tour Host: Rob Brownie and Annabel Vaughan
If the forgotten spaces in the city are worthy of our collective notice it is necessary that we re-inhabit them.
This walk will take us along Main Street, through Chinatown, into the financial district and up to the Vancouver Art Gallery while tracing the history of a fascinating local building material - Haddington Island andesite.
When Sir Francis Rattenbury chose Haddington Island andesite over a shipment of Koksilah sandstone to construct the exterior walls of the Provincial Legislature Buildings in Victoria, it represented the first significant use of Haddington Island stone in B.C. Andesite became the favored dimension stone among local architects from the 1890’s until the late 1930’s.
Mapping the andesite buildings of Vancouver provides us with an interesting representation of the city. This stone layer allows us to think whether other insightful patterns can emerge from a new reading of the city. The orientation of the Vancouver street system consists of three intersecting grids that radiate southward from the original shoreline of Gastown along the Burrard Inlet. Almost exclusively, the buildings featuring andesite are concentrated within the banking and office corridors of each of these grids as the economic and administrative centre of the city shifted over time.
While most buildings on the andesite map have retained their original roles as banks, office towers and civic institutions an even more interesting trend in urban rehabilitation has emerged as many have been modified as venues for art and culture. It is as though the solidity that andesite lent to these former financial and civic buildings is now reflected in what has become a more vital cultural and social core of the city.
This walk is based on an article in Vancouver Matters [Blueimprint, 2008] co-authored by Annabel Vaughan and Rob Brownie.
Tour Host Bios
Annabel Vaughan is an intern architect working in Vancouver. She is an adjunct Professor in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia and has been an active voice in shaping the direction of her neighbourhood, Mount Pleasant. She is passionate about understanding how Vancouver has come to be the city it is, where it is headed in the future and how citizen engagement can affect the outcome.
Rob Brownie is a Vancouver educator and writer, with a degree in Urban Geography and Philosophy. He has written articles on art and architecture for Artspeak, West Coast Line and Vancouver Matters. He is a cycling advocate and dabbles in psychogeography.
This tour is wheelchair accessible.
More Information and Other Walks
Please visit the Think City website.
When & Where
Jane's Walk is held simultaneously in cities across Canada and other countries around the world. Inspired by Jane Jacob's and her belief that in order to know your city "you have to get out and walk," Jane's Walk is a simple idea. It is free, it connects people and builds communities by promoting urban literacy and citizen engagement.