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Downtown parkade to be added to heritage list

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – You probably won’t find it in any tourist guidebook, but the EasyPark parkade on West Pender is about to be added to a list of “Places That Matter” in Vancouver.

“[It’s] really probably what is one of the ugliest… Well, parkades are maybe never all that pretty, but this one is a particularly mean and nasty one,” says local author Michael Kluckner.

But it’s not the parkade itself that is important — it’s what used to be there that counts.

The parkade takes up the corner at Pender, Beatty, and Cambie, the site of the city’s first hospital, which opened in 1888 when Vancouver itself was just two years old.

“For a tiny little city of just a few hundred or a thousand people, this was really the beginning of organized medical care in the city, ” explains Kluckner. “So, just from that point of view I think it’s pretty significant.”

Less than 20 years later, Vancouver had outgrown the 50-bed facility that formed the first city hospital, but the three buildings had a useful life, even after the 1906 opening of VGH. During the Great Depression, Kluckner points out they served as the City Relief Office, where many destitute Vancouverites would seek assistance.

“In that era, it wasn’t that you would be handed a cheque. You would be handed a sack of potatoes and a piece of meat to carry home!”

This afternoon, the Vancouver Heritage Foundation will hold a plaque presentation ceremony, making it number 70 on its list of 125 Places That Matter in the city.

The project began in 2011 to mark Vancouver’s 125th birthday.

(Courtesy City of Vancouver Archives)
(Courtesy City of Vancouver Archives)