Monthly Archives: October 2005

Vancouver Chinatown recieves two new “gates”: Jade Abacus and white marble gate

Vancouver Chinatown recieves two new “gates”: Jade Abacus and white marble gate

Two new “Gates” were revealed in Vancouver's Chinatown on Oct 22 and Oct 29th.

The first was the gift from Vancouver's sister city of Guangzhou. 
White marble panels set on the original chinese gate from Expo 86, in
front of the Chinese Cultural Centre on Pender St.

The second is a public art commission by artist Gwen Boyle, a green
jade abacus, at the Keefer St. entrance to “historic” Shanghai Alley.

My friend Larry Wong was there and he took some pictures.  
It was a very good turnout.  Dr. Wally Chung and his wife Dr.
Madeline Chung (who delivered me!) were there as were city officials
involved in the project.

Larry writes:
For those who haven't been to Chinatown for awhile and those living outside of Vancouver, I wanted to show you two new gates.

Today I was at an unveiling of a
large jade abacus in a form of a sculptured gate by Gwen Boyle. 
Gwen's family lived in Chinatown, her father being Dong Jam Lung, a
jeweller and goldsmith.  The Gate is located at the end of
Shanghai Alley on Keefer Street as you can see in the photograph of
Gwen and her jade abacus.

At today's ceremony, Gwen mother,
Mrs.Daisy Dong, who is 104 years old unveiled the sculpture.  The
other gate was unveiled at a ceremony attended by representatives of
the cities of Vancouver and Guangzhou Saturday October 22 as a gift
from Vancouver's twin city.

Larry is President of the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC.  Check out their website at
E-mail them at

Artist Gwen Boyle – photo Larry Wong

Gwen's mother did the unveiling of Suan Phan :Jade Abacus – photo Larry Wong

New white marble “gate” in front of Chinese Cultural Centre in
Vancouver.  The “gate” is a replacement for the original “Chinese
Gate” from Expo 86.  The concrete pillars were created to blend in
with the concrete design of the Chinese Cultural Centre, originally
designed by architect James Cheng – photo Larry Wong

Vancouver Heritage Foundation accepting donations for Kogawa House

Vancouver Heritage Foundation accepting donations for Kogawa House

A Donations page for Kogawa House has now been set up through the Vancouver Heritage Foundation.

A short story about the history of the house and the efforts to save it is listed

Vancouver Heritage Foundation
844 West Hastings Street Vancouver BC V6C


Joy Kogawa House Facing Bulldozer – Press Release Oct 27, 2005

Joy Kogawa House Facing Bulldozer – Press Release Oct 27, 2005

The residence at 1450
West 64th Avenue, former childhood home of author Joy Kogawa, now
marked for demolition plans. – photo by Don Montgomery

– For immediate release    –

 “Joy Kogawa House Facing Bulldozer”

October 28, 2005

Only a week after writers from across Canada and around the world were
celebrated at the Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival,
the childhood home of Vancouver- born Joy Kogawa, one of Canada’s most
eminent authors, is in increased danger of being bulldozed into the

Gerry McGeough, Senior Heritage Planner in the City of Vancouver
Planning Department, has confirmed that the current owner of Kogawa's
former childhood home on 1450 West 64th Avenue has drawn up
architectural plans for the redevelopment of the site including
demolition of the Kogawa house. Processing a development and demolition
application by the City takes less than four weeks.

McGeough will recommend to the Vancouver City Council Standing
Committee on Planning and Environment on November 3 that City Council
recognize the heritage value of the Marpole property and issue a
120-day demolition delay order as allowed by section 591 of the City
Charter. The meeting is open to the public. The Save Kogawa House
Committee, formed when the home first went up for sale in September of
2003, will also ask the Planning and Environment Committee to urge City
Council to pass the 120-day demolition delay order.

The Committee has contacted professional writers organizations across
Canada to support the drive to save Kogawa's childhood home as a
Vancouver literary landmark and convert it into a major
writers-in-residence centre for Canadian and international writers.
This support from eight associations, representing several thousand
professional writers, will be released shortly. For Kogawa, the 1450
West 64th Avenue property became a symbol of lost hope and happiness
after she, at age six, and her family were removed from their home in
1942 as part of the forced evacuations and internment of over 20,000
Japanese-Canadians during World War II. The house is featured in the
award-winning novel Obasan and the children’s story Naomi's Road, which
premiered on September 30 as Vancouver Opera's second-ever commissioned
original work and is now touring to 140 schools and community centres
throughout B.C.

“The destruction of the Kogawa home would be a great loss of cultural
heritage for Vancouver, for British Columbia, and for Canada,” Margaret
Atwood declared at the Vancouver International Writers Festival on
October 13. “Although Canada scored high on the recent all-nations
report card, it scored low on culture, history and heritage. Why
destroy more of this precious asset?”

The Save Kogawa House Committee reactivated when it was alerted on
September 21st that a demolition application was expected.  Two
years ago the committee tried to raise funds to buy the house and
persuade the federal government to protect the cultural landmark, but
became dormant when the owner made no plans for demolition at the
time.  The committee seeks to preserve the Kogawa House as a
Canadian and international writer’s centre, similar to the Pierre
Berton House in Dawson City and the Margaret Laurence House in Neepawa,
for the cultural heritage of future generations.

“There is only one literary monument erected in Vancouver for a
Canadian author,” says BC Bookworld publisher Alan Twigg, “It is the
Pauline Johnson memorial in Stanley Park.” Johnson died in 1913.

Kogawa is the recipient of many awards including the Order of Canada in
1986. Roy Miki, Simon Fraser University Professor and 2003 Governor
General's Award Winner for Poetry, has called Obasan the most important
literary work of the past 30 years for understanding Canadian
history.  In 2005 Obasan was selected by the Vancouver Public
Library for its One Book One Vancouver program, encouraging all
Vancouverites to read this single book. 

Mayor Larry Campbell and members of Vancouver City Council will plant a
cutting from Joy Kogawa’s cherry tree from the childhood home featured
in Obasan in the garden of City Hall November 1 to commemorate the
experience of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. Paul
Whitney, City Librarian of the Vancouver Public Library, James Wright,
General Director of Vancouver Opera, and Joy Kogawa will also
participate. The public tree planting ceremony takes place in the City
Hall garden, north of City Hall, 453 West 12th Avenue.

If City Council passes the demolition delay order, the Save Kogawa
House Committee will raise funds to purchase the property.  The
Vancouver Heritage Foundation has set up a fund to save the Kogawa
house and will issue charitable receipts for donations. All donations
to the Joy Kogawa house rescue receive a tax receipt for the full
amount of the donation. Cheques should be made out to “Vancouver
Heritage Foundation” and mailed to the Vancouver Heritage Foundation,
844 West Hastings St., Vancouver, B.C. V6C 1C8. Donors are asked to
indicate on the cheque memo line: “Save Kogawa House.” Donations can
also be made on-line on the Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s website
If the Vancouver City Council does not vote to delay demolition, the
house may be demolished within weeks.  It then becomes the latest
casualty of Vancouver's short-term memory in a climate where arts,
history and culture are left to fend for themselves. 

To prevent demolition, the Save the Kogawa House Committee is seeking
community support and volunteers in Vancouver and across Canada in its
drive to convert the house into a major writers centre. The Committee
is also asking supporters to email the Vancouver City Council at urging Mayor Campbell and City Councillors
to prevent the demolition of the Kogawa House.



Photo credits:

The attached Dan Toulgoet Kogawa House_1519 Vancouver Courier 9 28
05.jpg of Joy Kogawa in front of her childhood home can be used by both
non-profit organizations and commercial media. The photo credit must
be: “Photo-Dan Toulgoet, Vancouver Courier”.
The photographer can be contacted at 604-630 3514 or at
The Don Montgomery 3.jpg can be used by non-profit organizations. The
photo credit must be “Photo: © 2005 Don Montgomery”. Commercial media
are asked to contact Don Montgomery at 604-878 6888 or

For further information contact:

Ann-Marie Metten, Vancouver Co-ordinator, Save Kogawa House Committee 
604-263 6586;

Todd Wong, Vancouver Committee spokesperson
Anton Wagner, Committee Chair

Gerry McGeough, Senior Heritage Planner, Planning Department, City of  Vancouver

Diane Switzer, Executive Director, Vancouver Heritage Foundation 604-264-9642;

Heartbeat: Action-Musical returns to the Centre for another run

Heartbeat: Action-Musical at The Centre in Vancouver for Peforming Arts

Oct 25th to 30th.
Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts
777 Hornby St
Vancouver BC

Dennis Law's latest action-musical is an exciting fantasia of a show
combining Chinese dance, music, martial arts and gymnastics. The story
presents the history of Chinese drums as seen through a sequence of
dream events by a young girl named Jade.  Dances from different
Chinese dynasties and regions are matched with the drumming sequences.

 It returns to Vancouver following performances in Toronto and
Calgary.  It is an exciting show, and I always look forward to
seeing the next action-musical. 

Check out my August 25th review
and some more pictures