April 2, 2014

West End Memories – 1

Price Tags did a series on Gary Pennington’s “West End Memories Project” back in June, 2013.

The project continues, with this invitation from Gary:


WEST END MEMORIES:  Growing Up in Vancouver’s West End

A project telling what it was like to grow up in the West End of Vancouver has been initiated recently by three old classmates from the area.

This project will result in a book about living and growing up in the West End and also an archive and website of stories and information about the area for researchers and the public.  Essentially, it is about growing up in Vancouver’s West End through stories and letters from old West Enders.  It will be a history of the people and by the people rather than a more traditional historical piece.

We invite people who grew up in the West End to contact us by email at gazpen@gmail.com.

Gary Pennington, EdD, Grad of Lord Roberts Elementary & KGHS (1955)

T: 604-886-5746  E: gazpen@gmail.com  2838 Hwy 101, Roberts Creek, BC, V0N2W3


Many themes are evident including colourful stories about bootlegging, gambling, sports, hangouts, school days, and the risks and adventure of living in and around the downtown core.   Here are some examples:


Excerpts from West End Stories

Contained on two sides by water and anchored in the west by Stanley Park, it was a magical square mile, a geography unmatched in any other neighbourhood in the city, a safe environment that offered kids a range of opportunities for fun and adventure limited only by our imaginations.  – Bob Adamson, 1953

West End 1950s

West End 1952


Zoo monkeysWe’d roller skate to the Stanley Park Zoo through the tunnel and tease the monkeys (right).  Then we’d skate along the seawall past the Rowing Club and back to the streetcar loop by Lost Lagoon and take the streetcar home of skate up Alberni Street and snitch carrots out of the gardens just east of Denman.  – Erkisson


Heavy cannons were mounted in concrete emplacments in Stanley Park and Point Grey facing the sea to defend the city from attack by enemy war ships.  Also, smaller artillery pieces were located under the new Lions Gate Bridge on the north side to defend the harbour from torpedo boats.  There was even talk of a submarine net being needed in the First Narrows.  – Farnsworth


Also, check out WEST END VANCOUVER for history block by block, address by address – here.

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