The Dales House at 414 Alexander Street circa 1890 CVA Photo SGN 490

Monday, June 24, 2013


Photo courtesy of Adrian Zator
More than two and a half years ago I wrote a post about a letter I wrote to Mayor and Council with a cc. to the Library Board in which I thanked them for their plans to go ahead with the long awaited East End Library Branch on the 700 block of East Hastings. The people in Strathcona have been lobbying and working for a new East End Branch for over 15 years. This full service neighbourhood branch is long overdue.

In that letter I suggested that the name of this new East End Branch should be called the Mary Lee Chan Branch Library in honour of the founder of the Strathcona Property Owners & Tenants Association (SPOTA). It is a result of the leadership, community building skills and tenacity of Mary Lee Chan and the people of all backgrounds living in the East End who worked with her that we even have our old historic East End neighbourhood today--not to mention large swaths of Chinatown. See Chuck Davis' overview of the story.

A while back I attended an Open House put on by the Library at the Strathcona Community Centre. The architectural plans for the new library and much heralded housing component for single moms and their kids in the upper floors was being introduced for feed back. I talked to the architect Bruce Haden who is a Strathcona neighbour about the layout. It is a bright, modern looking building with a white brick and glass fa├žade


Though it does not necessarily give a nod to its heritage neighbourhood context (a cornice would have been nice) I can live with that. It looks like everyone has come up with a plan that will provide a long awaited and much needed amenity to my East End neighbourhood, both in the library and housing component. The Library's white bricks and glass, its books, programmes, and bright lights, and the healthy traffic they will generate, will be a welcome change on a section of East Hastings that has been missing its former glory days.

In these coming months while the plans for the library are being finalized I would like to again urge everyone to support the naming of our new East End library the Mary Lee Chan Branch in honour of the woman who spearheaded the movement to save Strathcona in the 60s.

Please, please, please take a moment from your time and use this link to support naming the new East End Library Branch to be built on the 700-block of East Hastings the Mary Lee Chan Branch Library. 

Recognition of Mary Lee Chan and SPOTA's roll in saving and preserving Vancouver's oldest neighbourhood is long overdue

Thank you!

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