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Vancouverites have a hot list of favoured night-time haunts, from craft beer charmers and under-the-radar dive bars to tiny live stages and steaming dance floors. All are within easy reach, as long as you know where to go. Growlers at the Brassneck Brewery. Click to view gallery. But despite the frothy clamour, one ale-maker stands out from the crowd. Arrive early for a seat in the tasting bar — holes punched in the wood-plank walls reveal the brewery beyond — and couple your sampler flight with cured sausage from the jars on the counter.
A banquet for leading citizens at the Vancouver Club, ca. The unthinkable had happened: a man had walked into the lobby of the Vancouver Club without a necktie. George, the portly hall porter, and myself, the boy on duty, immediately sprang into action.
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We followed standard procedure for dealing with such emergencies. On other occasions, I did have to lend cravat-challenged male visitors to the club neckties that had apparently been bought in bulk by a colour-blind Dadaist.
They were then able to enter the club and experience its unique Athenaeum-on-Coal Harbour atmosphere. For people of a certain age, the Vancouver Club represents a time when the city was insular, more laid-back, and very white—much like the club itself. I was a bundle of nerves when I crossed its forbidding threshold to be interviewed for a part-time job as a boy when I was in Grade 9.
The original Vancouver Club building on Hastings Street, which was replaced by the current building in But of course. The club was a kind of shrine to the lingering association with the Old Country. A huge aspidistra in a clay pot completed the effect. After some more pleasantries, I got the job.
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It was the ideal after-school gig. As a boy, I worked from 4 p. It is severely Scotch.
Its beauties lie in its surroundings. It was a comfortably smug backwater. A generation ago, Vancouver was a greyer, blander place, an impression accentuated by the grimly sterile architecture in vogue at the time.
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I would arrive at 4 p. I would then perform my first duty of the day: taking the afternoon mail to the post office at the corner of Hastings and Granville the club, then as now, was located at West Hastings, an address forever etched in my mind. Members of the Vancouver Club taking part in the Vancouver ant, Then it was back to the club to man the switchboard and occasionally take phone messages on a silver salver, naturally upstairs to members ensconced in Bar 3, the Card Room, or the Billiard Room. Mustard in the card room with the monkey wrench, it was more likely to be Judge McCormack under the billiard table with a Canadian Club.
It was a fascinating introduction to a world of wealth and power of which I was only dimly aware. I realized that there was such a thing as a class system even in supposedly egalitarian Canada.
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My main impression of these captains of industry and finance was that they drank alcohol as if Prohibition were to be reintroduced the next day. On more than one occasion, the hall porter and I had to carry a hopelessly inebriated member out the front door and pour him into a waiting taxi. The staff included characters such as Louie the dishwasher, a manic, bug-eyed little chap who suggested a cross between Peter Lorre and a cockroach.
Down on the first floor, Mr. Denham, the head hall porter, was in charge of the hall porters and boys. He was a no-nonsense, spit-and-polish martinet. Vancouver Club members, ca. No place in the club epitomized its ossified Edwardian ambiance more than the first-floor Reading Room. With its fireplace, overstuffed leather armchairs, Persian carpets, old-fashioned writing desks which members actually usedand bookshelves bearing dusty volumes of Kipling and other clubland literary staples, the reading room was straight out of an old Norris cartoon—the kind of place where members checked the obituaries each day to see whether they were still alive.
I was a boy at vancouver’s den of the rich and powerful, the vancouver club
A couple of summers back, I was walking along West Hastings and found myself looking at the imposing neo-classical facade of the club. On a whim, I decided to go in and check out the old place. A pleasant young man named Ryan listened to me as I told him of my past employment at the club.
He emphasized how much it had changed since I worked there in the millennium. Long-departed members must be rolling in their graves. Ryan kindly took me on a guided tour of the old place.
It was nostalgic, to be sure, but I was impressed by how the club had managed to preserve much of its old-school vibe while keeping up with the times. The club looks anachronistic and out of place among the brutalist towers of steel and glass that have sprouted up around it. But it has successfully evolved into an institution that reflects what Vancouver has become in the 21st century: a vibrant place with an Asia Pacific identity.
The membership is now refreshingly diverse—like the city itself. boys, however, have gone the way of the dodo, which is just as well; I doubt whether I could squeeze back into my uniform.
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: Community Essay. Tags: Vancouver Club Vancouver history.