Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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Collingwood Corner: Joyce Station before and after

1950 Collingwood West Station Rupert And Vanness

Collingwood West Station, 1950, at Rupert and Vanness. Photo by Ted Clark, Richmond Archives

BY LORETTA HOUBEN

Many things have changed since the long-ago days when British Columbia Electric Railway (BCER) first ran a track through the Collingwood neighbourhood in 1891, travelling from New Westminster through to downtown Vancouver. Collingwood was built up along the track for homeowners who worked downtown, but because of the new streetcar system, could commute quickly while living in a lower-priced and quiet area.

There were originally two stations in Collingwood: Collingwood West at the corner of Rupert
Street and Vanness, high up near the bridge which crossed Rupert, and Collingwood East, located near the Joyce Station at Vanness and Joyce, on the west side of Joyce.

Today, the Skytrain runs through the East station, and it recently has been drastically renovated.

Collingwood East Station By Phillip Timms

Collingwood East Station. Photo by Philip Timms, Vancouver Archives, CVA 677-386

Translink has been working on enlarging the East Joyce Station since January 2016, and I noticed one gate on the south side, facing Vanness, was opened the first week in October 2017. The north gate is still closed as the work isn’t quite finished.

The newly renovated station has a set of escalators, an elevator, a place to safely store bikes and a building for commercial use. It’s very modern looking with beautiful artwork that resembles stained glass in the window near the escalators. It’s quite a remarkable improvement from 100 years ago!

To read more about the BCER and interurban history, please visit this Translink post online: http://buzzer.translink.ca/2009/03/a-short-history-of-interurbans-in-the-lower-mainland/

Joyce Station by Loretta Houben

New Collingwood East Station. Photo by Loretta Houben, Oct. 2017

Loretta Houben is a long-time resident of Collingwood and is completely enthralled with the new Joyce station on the east side.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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Collingwood Corner: Joyce Street in 1914

BY LORETTA HOUBEN

joyce-1914-map

If you live in the Joyce-Collingwood area you will have noticed the recent upgrades to the Skytrain station, and will be aware that big changes are coming over the next 20 years. I recently filled out a survey from the city asking what sort of shops and amenities I’d like to see along Joyce Street in the near future. I put down my suggestions and then I wondered what used to be here way back in 1914, when Joyce Street was first mentioned in Henderson’s Directory.

henderson-directoryJoyce Street was named after Abraham Joyce, a school trustee for Carleton Elementary from 1897 to 1898. I discovered a 1914 map of the Collingwood area in the Vancouver Archive website. By comparing the map with the 1914 directory of street names it’s interesting to note the changes and additions to the area.

For instance, the address for Collingwood Baptist Church is 617 Joyce near Price Road. But anyone familiar with this area knows it is located near Monmouth Avenue and the current address is 4847 Joyce, but in 1914 Monmouth Avenue didn’t exist.

By studying the BC Directories online (1860-1955) sponsored by the Vancouver Public Library, you will become something of a sleuth! The website is easy to navigate. Here is the link: http://www.vpl.ca/bccd/index.php

The 1914 directory lists residents and businesses with names of cross streets. There are names of the early settlers, along with many shops. A few are vacant, but there is a dry goods store near Archimedes, plus a Collingwood Electric Co., a grocer, and a Watson and Wood shoemakers.

Near Euclid there is a physician, three vacant stores, a shoemaker, a meat store, a barber and pool place, a dentist, a druggist and a dry goods store. Near Vanness there is an associated brokerage company, Fraser Brothers grocers, a postmaster, a Collingwood E. post office, a real estate agent, a bank of Vancouver Collingwood East branch, a restaurant, William H. and Son second hand dealer, a tailor, and even a Collingwood Theatre near Wellington Avenue.

Past Wellington there are homes plus Collingwood Baptist Church. I was amazed at the variety of businesses. Joyce Street had it all!

Near the west side of the Skytrain there was the Collingwood East station for the BCER tram that travelled from downtown Vancouver to New Westminster. Near Rupert Street the Collingwood West station was located, and near Boundary and Vanness the Park Street station was located.

These are shown on the 1914 map. There were also quite a few stations near Central Park, along the same track route that we now take on Skytrain to Metrotown Station in Burnaby.

Do you think the residents of Collingwood were better off in 1914? Or do you think that the future of Collingwood will compare to the variety of lifestyle once available here?

Loretta Houben is a long-time resident of Collingwood and coordinates the Seniors Connection section of the RCC News.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Harvey’s on Kingsway closing after 88 years

 

Harvey's on Kingsway

For decades, Harvey’s was the social hub of the community, especially on Saturdays. You could say Harvey’s was the Facebook of its time, at least here in Collingwood. Photos courtesy of Harvey’s

BY PAUL REID

Well folks, we’re at the end of an era with Harvey’s closing their doors after 88 years in business. I could be wrong, but I believe that would make them our community’s oldest surviving business. To everyone at Harvey’s – Way to go you guys. That is an amazing accomplishment!

Florence and Albert Harvey first opened Harvey’s on Kingsway in 1927 and started out selling wool and sewing notions. The store soon expanded and by 1936 they were selling their first appliances in the form of wooden coal and oil stoves.

Harvey’s grew over the years and added more and more stock: house wares, hardware, plumbing supplies, wood stoves, rifles, outboard motors. Later they would carry toys, bikes and the electric appliances and furniture that made them famous. Today, Harvey’s boasts over 38,000 square feet of showroom that is stocked with some of the most desired home décor and appliances available on the market today.

Richard Harvey

Richard Harvey (left) took over the business from his parents in the early 1960s.

Over the years, the business passed within the family from Albert to his son Richard. Richard took the helm in the 1960s up until his passing eight years ago. Now it is Richard’s son, Eric Harvey, who, after been born into the business some 60-odd years ago, has been working hard ever since. “It’s our work ethic that has kept us going,” says Eric. “That and a personal touch.”

It was also a place to meet up with your neighbours. Eric recalls how there was also a barber shop, a shoe store and a skate shop (for hockey) on the property. So it really was like Andy Griffith’s Mayberry with everyone meeting there to catch up and share the latest news and gossip. I guess, in a way, Harvey’s was the Facebook of its time, at least here in Collingwood.

Another employee who virtually grew up at Harvey’s was Wayne Elliot. Now in his 54th year of duty with Harvey’s, Wayne, Eric’s buddy, has worked there nearly all his life. They spent their youth working till closing at Harvey’s and then going next door to hang out at Wally’s Drive-In. Yup, those were the days. He did have one job prior to Harvey’s. It was across the street.

Walking by the store one day, Eric’s uncle, who was washing the front windows, asked Wayne if he wanted a job. He said no, he had a job across the street at Docksteader Drugs. How much you making there, asked the uncle. Fifty cents an hour, said Wayne. I’ll give you 55. And with that, Wayne took over washing the window and never looked back.

Working at Harvey’s even longer than Wayne is Jimmy Geekiy. Jimmy has been a plumber with Harvey’s now for 58 years. Jimmy remembers when there used to be line-ups down Earles Street to get in on. “In this area, we were it and it was busy.”

Eric’s wife Donna, who has 25 years working in Harvey’s offices, sees it as a natural progression. But the old customers have been coming back in droves to have maybe one last shop before closing day. For the first four days of the sale, again there were line-ups to get in.

“The response of our customers has been really heart warming. People who have heard about the closing have been coming by just to say hello or reminisce. People sometimes bring their children in to show them the place; others are phoning. For many, it’s kind of like if your family home was about to be torn down,” says Donna.

“These days shopping is seen as a chore, but back then shopping was an event,” says Donna. “People would come in and buy a new appliance or dining room set and it was a big deal for them. Some who come in remember the exact month and year that they bought something here. There is a woman who still comes in; she is 98 years old and she still has a hanky that she bought from Eric’s grandmother. That’s amazing!”

“Back then, nobody had credit, but Harvey’s, especially maybe around Christmas, when someone just didn’t quite have enough money, would trust them. And in this way, they built a rapport with the community and this is why Harvey’s lasted as long as it did. There are still many who patronize us because we were and still are a small family business. And all this time we have tried our best to keep that heart. People were loyal to Harvey’s. You just don’t get that kind of loyalty now with stores.”

How is Eric taking the closing out? “I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet,” he says. Eric is now just focused on what he needs to do to sell off approximately $3.5 million worth of stock. It’s been a lot of work closing the store. Lucky for us consumers out there, that means a great sale.

Have a look at the back page for more about Harvey’s big sale and then go check out Harvey’s, even if for old time’s sake.

The Collingwood Neighbourhood House and Renfrew-Collingwood Community News give a BIG thank you to Harvey’s for all of their support and service over the years.

Copyright (c) 2016 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

 


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Eating Out in RC: Romer’s Burger Bar, “great food, awesome waterfront location, cool atmosphere, excellent service”

BY PAUL REID

The view from the atrium is spectacular at Romer's Burger Bar

The view from the atrium is gorgeous at Romer’s Burger Bar. Photos by Paul Reid

Romer’s Burger Bar
8683 Kerr Street, Vancouver, BC
604-566-9545

Greetings food fans. How goes it? I had a fantastic day today. Today was the day that we (Canada’s men’s hockey squad) mopped the ice with our poor American friends to the South – a joyous occasion that never gets old. (Thanks, too, of course, to Canada’s dear women’s hockey unit who also socked it to the Yanks the day previous). Go Canada!

So that was in the morning, if you recall. What better way to celebrate such a magnificent victory than to have a brewski or two and lunch on some sun-drenched patio, say, overlooking a scenic river scene. “In Renfrew-Collingwood?” you query. Well, technically no, but if we were to dial back the hands of time to the days of historic Collingwood, then we could say yes. For in those days, reader, before there was a South Vancouver, everything between Collingwood and the Fraser river was considered Collingwood. And it’s there, overlooking that lovely river at the foot of Kerr, that we now have Romer’s Burger Bar.

My accomplice on this particular outing was not my sweetie, although he is a very nice man – our very own Robert F. Edwards, who as we all know, has been a contributing writer for the RCCNews on and off for nearly a decade. He also has the fine distinction of being my friend, of which I am proud.

So it’s now about 12:30 as we enter Romer’s and the place is packed – a good sign. Still, there is some room out in the atrium, which is the portion of the patio surrounded by glass to keep it nice and cozy year round. Apparently in the warmer months, the atrium opens up to join the rest of the patio which is a big hit all summer with the bevy-swilling, burger-munching, sitting-by-the-river-in-the-sun crowd. Until then, on a cold, windy, yet sunny day as this day was, the atrium was the perfect place to enjoy the river’s serenity in action.

The burgers at Romer's look like a work of art.

The burgers at Romer’s look like a work of art.

But let’s not forget the food. And people, I’m telling you – you will not be disappointed with your burger at Romer’s. We are talking gourmet burgers here.

Robert’s reaction upon his first bite was, and I quote: “Now that’s a good burger!” I myself will second that motion. And you may also agree with us, by checking out these pictures, that these burgers arrive looking like works of art.

Robert had the Wicked Deadly Cheeseburger: five cheeses, red onion, leafy greens and Russian tarragon dressing (11.95). I had the Chorizodor: chorizo-spiced pork and beef patty, cheddar, pepper jack, Boursin, vine-ripened tomato, sweet onion, avocado and diablo sauce (12.75). With sea salt fries (2.50).

And, of course, there was beer involved in such a situation – the Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale (5.50) for Bob and the Eastern Promises Pilsner (5.50) for myself. We cheers Canada’s hockey victories. We cheers USA’s hockey defeats. Now we just need to school those Swedes, which at the time of this writing – remains undone.*

Romer’s Burger Bar is the creation of executive chef Jim Romer. Born in Marin County, and trained at Culinary Institute of America, Jim has spent over 20 years preparing “mind-blowing” good food.

Jim believes that good food begins with fresh, locally sourced ingredients that include nothing that you can’t pronounce. Secondly, Jim’s all about the flavour: “unexpected, sublime, wonderful flavours like the melt-in-your-mouth Kobe beef in the Ultimate Kobe Classic that makes you say Holy $#!% is that a good burger.”

Romer’s philosophy is this: “Eat good food. Keep it fresh. Keep it simple. Be creative. Let seasons and farmers be our guide. Be good to the planet, and all who are on it. Laugh. Share. Do what you do best: with us, it’s burgers.”

Here, here. Mr. Romer and company – Romer’s Burger Bar rocks! In addition to the food, awesome location, cool atmosphere, the service was excellent and, everyone I talked to there, really nice. Thank you and keep up the fine work. I shall return and so should you my dear reader. Bon appetit.

*No doubt. 3-0. Way to Gold, Canada, in hockey at the Sochi Olympics!

Copyright (c) 2014 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News