In Toronto’s Globe and Mail, a William Gibson elegy (probably to vanish behind the paywall), lamenting cities’ crushing their history and our memories without even noticing. Right here in Vancouver we’re seeing it happen in real time, in months not decades. The Canada Line project is digging a seven-storey-deep ditch down the middle of what once was a thriving commercial street that runs more or less up and down the city’s prime meridian. While we crack bitter jokes about speciation setting in among the rodents either side of the Big Ditch, and mutually-incomprehensible dialects among the humans, the merchants aren’t laughing at all. Read The Village a Train Ate in The Tyee (an excellent publication). That’s my village, and we’ve been regulars at the restaurant in the picture; Simon has cleaned up more than one bowl of miso soup spilled by our kids. The locals say nobody told us what we were letting ourselves in for, and that’s true, but it seems irrelevant now. So sad.
Comment feed for ongoing:
From: Mark (May 31 2007, at 23:34)
How many previous residents, businesses, and pieces of infrastructure were one-after-another displaced, over the past decades and centuries, in the process that resulted in that street/village/noodle shop being built?
From: David Smith (Jun 01 2007, at 12:56)
It's the "baby duck syndrome" IMHO. My crack yesterday about Sweeney Cooperage is the same sort of thing...that's what Van was like when I got there in '72 and that's how it was supposed to stay.
In '74 my wife-to-be and I lived on 7th just off Main, and we have a picture of her grandmother as a young woman outside her house not far from there, surrounded by old-growth timber and wooden sidewalks. Van is that young...imagine how much "crushed history" is in the psychic atmosphere in London or Marseilles?
From: Matt (Jun 02 2007, at 09:58)
In addition to the short-term suffering of the merchants along the street is the long term consequences for merchants and residents of the street. When the dust settles, those living along this street will have to suffer rumbling, polluting diesel buses rather than the quiet clean trolleys they once had thanks to a short sighted decision by Translink.
What was the first trolley route in the system, another piece of history, is being trampled.