May 21, 2018

Changing Vancouver, Seen Through the Eyes of Andy Coupland and John Atkin


Historian John Atkin and former planner Andy Coupland have been publishing a blog called Changing Vancouver for the past 15 years, on which they document Vancouver’s startling changes and growth over the past century or so.
Changing Vancouver was previously documented by Price Tags, and others have taken note; John and Andy have created an extraordinary resource. Changing Vancouver features historical photos of Vancouver buildings and streets, which are compared against contemporary images of the same location, and sometimes the very same building.
Both Andy and John worked at the City of Vancouver where, at one point about 30 years ago, they prepared a wall map of “old” Vancouver with new development superimposed upon it.
The wall map became a point of conversation, and led to the development of the blog with its extraordinary juxtaposed imagery, demonstrated these changes. The immediate interest and success of the blog led to their book The Changing City. The book’s website is an absolute treasure trove of curated information, current projects and photographs.
John’s background and interests as a historian and story-teller fits in well with Andy’s photographic eye and keen vision for recording the city’s changes. And in their work, they have come up with a philosophy of Vancouver’s constant reshaping, noting that some downtown intersections have already witnessed four or five building changes. “We tear stuff down and we have always torn stuff down. There’s no difference to what was happening back then.”
John also provides detailed and interesting walking tours of Vancouver, and you can also explore YouTube for videos of John exploring and speaking about Vancouver’s historical places and buildings. Here’s one with John in the fascinating early mansion, Casa Mia on Southwest Marine Drive.
screen20shot202016-06-2820at204-12-3720pmSource: Changing City and JohnAtkin.com

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