2009Jun21- Elaine B.G.

As we walked in our Kitsilano neighbourhood yesterday, some new bronze sidewalk medallions with Aboriginal art made me think of Chief Khatsahlano—whom I would not have known gave his name to our area, had I not been in a hilly North Shore road race years ago named for the Chief.



from: http://indigenousaction.blogspot.com/search?q=khatsalano


       “August Jack (Khatsahlano, Xats'alanexw) (Born July 16, 1867 – June 5, 1971)” “was an Indigenous/
       Aboriginal chief of the S
wxwú7mesh. He was born in the village of Xwayxway on the peninsula
       that is now Stanley Park, Vancouver.” 
“He became famous for recording his people's
       oral history, and working closely with many of Vancouver's first settlers. The neighbourhood of
       Kitsilano in Vancouver was named after this man, coming from his name of Xats'alanexw.”




          “The Squamish Indians were forced from about 600 hectares of land in the heart of what is
       now Vancouver in the 1920s.”





I think I recognize the shape of Kitsilano Beach’s swimming area in the photo of the evacuation above—the salt water pool with its sea wall would be at the top right of the photo, the swimming beach in the foreground.


Living in a World War I era apartment and getting out a lot on foot and on bike, we mark the remnants of earlier days of constructed Kitsilano: a number of late 19th century vacation cottages scattered here and there on the slopes between Burrard and Alma, the relics of the streetcar tracks hub splayed like fossil bones beneath the south span of Granville Bridge. There are the sidewalk impressions reminding us that Burrard Street near the bridge used to be Cedar Avenue, that some of these sidewalks were poured in 1912, 1913, or 1922. A pub at 4th Avenue near Alma records that “Jericho Beach” is not biblically named but a degraded form of “Jerry’s Cove.” There are of course, the street names, occasionally set out in clusters such as the battle streets at our corner and to the west: Trafalgar, Balaclava, Blenheim, Waterloo, Dunbar, Alma.


On our walk last night, we were admiring one of the newer additions to the neighbourhood, a bench art piece on a small plaza at Broadway and Vine that pays tribute to the tree streets in Kitsilano. Plaques in the pavement describe the trees that gave the surrounding streets their names: Fir, Pine, Cypress, Maple, Arbutus, Yew, Larch. The sinuous bench which echoes the curves of the building at this corner has welded bands of these woods into a glazed richness.


Across the street from this plaza, someone has done a fine restoration/refurbishment of an early building, the Connaught Apartments (Connaught Park is close by, adjacent to Kitsilano High School, with its cricket grounds, old oaks and catalpas.)



Since the building was redone, we’ve been meaning to visit the corner coffee bar, with its high studio windows and oak tables and chairs: after last night’s reconnoitering, The Connaught has joined the small list of heritage buildings in Vancouver I would choose to purchase a home in (if we were rich!) The shops and apartments are obviously designer stuff, and such a celebration of early 20th century architecture, combining shops and living spaces.




Rounding out our stroll, Gord took photos of several newer establishments side by side and just a few blocks further west on Broadway which we patronize for their unique style as well as their food: Benny’s (for their bagels) and Moderne Burger (for their burgers, hand-cut fries and owner Peter Kokinis’ loving tribute to the North American diner, in which he has ensconced vintage pieces including some salvaged from the old train station.)



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