Meet me at The Sincere Fountain

The Heatley Block, a heritage building in the 600 block of East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC


This great building (and its two attached houses, one dating from 1889) is just two blocks from my studio. This funny quote is from the Heatley Block Preservation Society:  “Where the hardware store is now was originally Ms. Vera E. Jones Drug Store. It soon became a Japanese butcher shop run by a man named Harry Fujiwara, then became a Chinese run soda bar named The Sincere Fountain.” The Heatley Block is now owned by the City of Vancouver, which wants to tear it down to build a library instead of putting the library in the obvious location – the 1921 Strathcona School building, which is also in need of saving. See also newspaper articles from The Globe and Mail and The Vancouver Sun.

I would love to meet someone for lunch at “The Sincere Fountain.” Can’t someone re-open it? Regardless I hope the City doesn’t tear down all the best low-rise buildings in our neighbourhood and replace them with the bad towers or even six-storey institutional architecture they seem to be so fond of. If they were going to build something as beautiful and friendly as a Rem Koolhaas library, the way Seattle did, then that might be a different story. But in any case, of the hundreds of commercial buildings that line Vancouver’s infamous Hastings Street, there are only 20 of any value. And this is one of them.


The Heatley Block, shop interior, Hastings Street, Vancouver BC


The historic Heatley Block in Vancouver's Strathcona district


The Strathcona School building from 1921, also in need of saving, and the ideal location for the new Strathcona library:

Lord Strathcona Elementary School, 1921, Vancouver, BC, Canada, home of a Vancouver Public Library branch


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