A blast from the past that has some relevancy today-from February 1987 here is Jack Webster a journalist who was once called “The King of the Vancouver Airwaves”.
Mr. Webster has a distinct Scottish accent and was punishingly direct in any of his conversations with locals politicians or international superstars. There is one famous clip where Mr. Webster supposedly off-camera meets then Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Elliott Trudeau and asks “on good form this morning sir?”. Mr. Trudeau responds “No. No not when I see you”.
In this clip below that has been digitized by the B.C Museum you can view Mr. Webster discussing the Granville Street Mall area with Jonathan Baker who had been a school trustee and was a City Councillor at the time. That clip starts at 40:20 in the video.
The interview with Mr. Webster and Councillor Baker was a response to an absolutely blistering review of the functionality of the Granville Street Mall written in the Vancouver Sun by Brad Croome. Obviously not a mall lover, Mr. Croome posted half a page of scathing verbiage at the city’s Granville Mall, which he pointed out wasn’t even a mall by any definition. Mr. Baker was on a Council appointed committee in charge of the work on the Granville Street Mall, and this interview was a response to Mr. Croome’s half page of mudslinging about the mall, which was published on January 31, 1978. A small exerpt is below:
In the video Mr. Webster expresses his disgust for the underground Pacific Centre Shopping Mall and then discusses what is wrong with the Granville Street Mall, which is still open to all vehicular traffic south of the shopping precinct of Granville and Robson Streets.
There’s a view out the window of Mr. Baker’s 16th floor law office that shows Granville Street’s low elevation profile with only the Chateau Granville having any height.
There is a Granville street walkabout where Mr Baker discusses the fact that the 75 foot height limit on Granville Street is too low, and that the still newly designed bus mall installed in 1973-1974 needs new pavement.
There’s no discussion of street furniture or amenities, no discussion of the bus routes, the bus stops, the comfort of street users or the way the street works for pedestrians. The purpose of the Granville mall’s installation appears to be giving bus access and priority.
Both Mr. Webster and Mr. Baker discuss why the street surface has cracked, and interview two shopkeepers that want the vehicles back on the street to improve their business.
In the 34 years since, how much has changed?
Images: royalmuseum of BC, VancouverSun