“A couple of days after I returned, still disoriented from jet lag, I walked through downtown, along Hastings and into Gastown. Woodward’s was gone, or most of it at any rate. Where its modest W had once punctuated the modest skyline, an enormous tower, like something dropped from outer space, loomed over the century-old brick and stone buildings that citizen activism and small-business investment had saved 40 years earlier. It was so out of scale—how had that happened?”
Award-winning author and artist Michael Kluckner takes another look at a city where the only thing that doesn’t seem to change is the rapid pace of development.
The original Vanishing Vancouver, published in 1990, explored Vancouver’s changing landscape by neighbourhood, from the earliest dwellings to the aftershocks of Expo ’86. Its light-filled watercolours and well-informed prose spoke to the concerns of rapid expansion versus historical conservation, and it won the accolades of the City of Vancouver book award and the Duthie prize for BC book publishing.
Now, on the 20th anniversary of that important book, Kluckner returns to tell the story of the last two and a half decades in this ever-developing city. Vanishing Vancouver: The Last 25 Years explores the origins of our landmark buildings and public spaces, our working harbour, our shops, houses, apartments, urban farms, and gardens, and bears witness to the recent dramatic changes that have taken place in them. Many of these changes are the result of city planning policy-initiatives that aim for “eco-density” and being “the greenest city”-and throughout the book Kluckner discusses the tensions that have arisen as a result and asks whether the price we are paying is too high.
Vanishing Vancouver: The Last 25 Years is a compelling mix of historical narrative, personal anecdote, and expert, local knowledge. Illustrated with more than 200 new images-the author’s own watercolours and brush-and-ink drawings as well as archival and private photographs, handrendered maps, vintage postcards, advertisements, and other ephemera-this beautiful volume is essential and enjoyable reading for anyone interested in Vancouver’s heritage, architecture, and history. Its focus on Vancouver’s architecture and current issues make it the perfect complement to Kluckner’s Vancouver Remembered, a complete history of the city.