Vancouver Heritage Foundation Weekly: The Modern City c.1950s-60s


Vancouver Heritage Foundation is a registered charity supporting the conservation of heritage buildings and structures in recognition of their contribution to the city’s economy, sustainability and culture.
Photo by John Roaf 1967; Rhodri Windsor-Liscomb 1997

VHF is gearing up for the second screening in our Gritty City  film series,  ‘Coast Modern’ at the historic Hollywood Theatre next Tuesday, Feb 12th, 7:30pm (featuring  Q&A with the directors, entry and concession are both by donation). So to help get you excited about West Coast Modernism,  here’s a look at two modernist structures celebrated as part of  Places That Matter, plus a peek at VHF’s Mid-Century Modern House Tour coming up in August. Mid-century modern lovers, rejoice!

The Unitarian Church 1964 Architect: Wolfgang Gerson @949 W. 49th

Designed by architect Wolfgang Gerson, this Modernist church was the first post-1940s building added to the City of Vancouver heritage register. Its form reflects the separation of the Unitarian church from traditional Christian practices. We celebrated its design, and the congregation’s continued good work, plus the history of Greenpeace. Vancouver’s Unitarian members held their first service in 1909 in a downtown theatre. By 1913 members had built a church at 10th and Granville which served the congregation for over 50 years before the 49th and Oak property was purchased. At a February 1970 meeting held at the Unitarian Church, activists of the “Don’t Make A Wave Committee” renamed itself “Greenpeace”; with this name, the work of the environmental organization Greenpeace began.

Collingwood Library 1951: Architects Harold Semmens & Douglas Simpson 2985 Kingsway St.

In July 1951, Vancouver Public Library’s Collingwood Branch opened its doors. Reflecting contemporary ideas of openness and accessibility, the striking modern building was part of the push to expand Vancouver Public Library beyond its seven branches at a time of rapid city growth. For many years, the Collingwood Branch was home of the popular bookmobile, providing mobile book service to outlying neighbourhoods.

Check out the facebook album from the presentation.

Previously a bus tour only, the 2013 Mid-Century Modern House Tour on August 17th from 1-5pm, will be for the first time  accessible also by private vehicle. Tour the homes at your own pace (just like the Heritage House Tour) and then join us for a post tour reception to discuss your impressions. Alternatively, as previous years, let us do the driving! Join a small group and relax as our tour bus safely escorts you to each home. All attendees are invited to attend the post tour Wine and Cheese Reception. Bus meet-up point and reception address will be provided to you in early August. Tickets are $100 + tax by bus, or $85 + tax drive-yourself. All ticket holders receive a $50 tax receipt.

Hope to see you at the Hollywood, at a plaque presentation or at the house tour!