Writing The “Birth”

OK, so today is the official start date for the writing of “The Birth of Grandview: 1890-1921“.  I am aiming to have it ready for publication in October 2015.

Wish me luck!

Update:  I managed to get about 4 hours of work done on the book today, blocking the chapters, setting formats, that kind of stuff.  Real writing starts tomorrow!

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The Birth of Our Community

At 3pm on Saturday 8th December, the Grandview Heritage Group (GHG) will sponsor an illustrated talk by me on “The Birth of Our Community: Grandview 1890-1915.” It was this quarter-century that turned Commercial Drive and Grandview from a raw forest into one of Vancouver’s primary residential and shopping centres.

The talk will take place at the CFEC Room upstairs at Family Place at the south end of Britannia Community Centre facing Grandview Park (1655 William Street.)

Seats are limited and GHG would welcome a note in advance to grandviewheritage@gmail.com to let them know you will be coming. We will be asking for a $10 donation to assist the work of the GHG.

I look forward to seeing you there!

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Review in BC Studies

The prestigious BC Studies has printed a review of “The Encyclopedia of Commercial Drive“, and it is rather good:

“… between both of King’s books, particularly the Encyclopedia, one can easily see a valuable research source for creating feature articles, documentaries, or even historical fiction or film treatments. This is an all-purpose resource that will benefit many in the years to come.”

That the Encyclopedia be a valuable resource for others is exactly the reason I compiled it, so I am happy to see that recognized.

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More History ….

In case you don’t know, Jak King writes a lot of local history at the website of the Grandview Heritage Group.

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The Drive Part Two …

I am beginning to prepare the sequel to my earlier book, “The Drive … To 1956” which will bring the history up to 1999.  If you lived or worked or played on or near Commercial Drive in those years, I’d like to interview you for the new book.

I am scheduling interviews between the end of July and the end of September. Contact me at jakking@shaw.ca and we’ll make arrangements.

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Prepping A Walking Tour

I’m planning to conduct a walking tour of Commercial Drive later this Spring for the benefit of the Grandview Heritage Group; I’m having fun putting it together. 

Please keep in touch with the GHG website for further details.

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New Interview

Spacing Vancouver has today published an interview with me about the books and the history of the Drive.


Hope you enjoy it!

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Commercial Drive, 1936-1940

I have had a number of requests to make available the text of my presentation to the Vancouver Historical Society in January this year.  It seemed easiest to post it here as a downloadable PDF called Commercial Drive to 1940.

The talk gives a brief history of the Drive to the mid-1930s. It then covers in some detail the propaganda campaign that led to the building of the First Avenue Viaduct, which I believe laid the foundations for the modern Drive. The talk concludes with the introduction of self-service and supermarkets to the Drive and their affects on the local stores.

It doesn’t have the images I used for the presentation, but I hope you find the text interesting and useful.

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Interview With The Courier

I was contacted yesterday to do a brief interview with The Courier newspaper — and here it is already!


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“The Encyclopedia of Commercial Drive” is Released!

The physical environment, the streets and buildings, are important elements of the Drive’s neighbourhood, but they cannot compete in importance with the people and the companies that have lived their lives on the Drive.  This Encyclopedia is dedicated to the memory of all those who went before to make the Drive the joy it is today.

Collected from every available public directory and with additional material from multiple newspaper accounts and memoirs, there are more than 10,500 entries in the Encyclopedia covering about 15,000 people and businesses.

The Encyclopedia has been designed as a handy resource for historians, heritage enthusiasts, genealogists, and everyone who loves Commercial Drive. We hope it encourages further exploration, and that it is used for more detailed research into the lives and work of those whose Commercial Drive as their home.

“The Encyclopedia of Commercial Drive to 1999” runs to 558 pages and is available direct from me via PayPal (see link on right sidebar), from Amazon, and from the People’s Co-op Bookstore on Commercial Drive. Retail price is $40.00.

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