April 25, 2022

“The Decade When Vancouver Grew Up”: The 1970’s

Take a look  fifty years ago at arguably the most important decade in Vancouver. The 1970’s came in at a time of international protest against the Vietnam War. In Vancouver  4th Avenue in Kitsilano became a “hippie” area where young people hung out.

The practice of  youth taking up space annoyed the Mayor of Vancouver Tom (Terrific) Campbell so much that he would actively go to the press talking about the difference between “working” on the street and “loitering”. He makes that clear in commentary at the time . Here’s a YouTube video from 1968 where Mr. Campbell complains about young people hanging out around what is today the Vancouver Art Gallery. The young people respond by reading a poem.



Secret Vancouver’s video below features Kate Bird, the late journalist Shelley Fralic, author Aaron Chapman, photographer Glen Baglo and writer and artist Michael Kluckner talking about what made the 1970’s so special.

By the end of 1972  Mayor Tom Campbell of the civic NPA party was no longer the mayor and  a much more progressive mayor, Art Phillips with the TEAM party comes to office.

Mayor Phillips’ mayorship commenced after the  Gastown Riot which was a marijuana protest quelled by police. Mayor Phillips’ leadership  issued in a new phase of city building and recognition. This was the decade that the South Shore of False Creek was planned, the redevelopment of Granville Island from an industrial to a more market based concept, and also brought in the Robson Courthouse, the Eatons’ Building on Granville Street as well as the seabus into Vancouveer.

The 1970’s became an era of progressive thought and initiative, with many locally based programs such as the Local Improvement Initiative Program available to spark development and change at the neighbourhood level.

You can take a look at the YouTube video below which discusses the 1970’s, and how that period of progressivism and change inordinately shaped city policy and development well into this century.




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