“Famously liveable and famously unaffordable.”
“For nearly 40 years from his vantage point at the top of the Empire Landmark Hotel, Yunus Khan has watched Vancouver grow up. “You would barely recognise it,” he says of the city as it looked when he took his first job at the hotel, doing maintenance. Beyond the 42nd-storey window, the jagged silhouette of the North Shore mountains, the lush surprise of Stanley Park, and the cobalt passage of Burrard Inlet are just about the only landmarks that remain unchanged.
“These are all new,” Khan says, indicating a cluster of condo towers and the ultra-modern Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre further south. Construction cranes rise around them. “Any older building you see now, it’s going. They break it down, make a high rise.”
What the view from the Empire Landmark offers is perspective: on the Canadian city’s past, present, and future. But not for much longer. The hotel, a downtown Brutalist icon from the 1970s, closes for good on 30 September. It will be demolished to make way for a proposed luxury condo development.
Khan plans to retire. He won’t miss the 60-mile round trip commute from the outer suburbs, or the frantic pace of life downtown. “Vancouver used to be a small town, easy,” he says. Now, you see all these tall buildings with the glass, it looks a bit more beautiful. But it is very difficult to live here.”
– image and text from ”We stand to wipe out a whole era’: how the 1970s could vanish from Vancouver’, Tyler Stiem, The Guardian, 27 Sept 2017 [hat-tip The (indestructible) Auteur]
And from the comments below the same piece:
‘I have visited Vancouver at least every decade and loved the place up until last year when I found that the downtown/Gastown area was being overtaken by gold-plated glass festooned high end shops a la Rodeo Drive. FFS. Oh, and there is a new Trump Tower as well. The Seattle waterfront area is going the same way, albeit without the Trump Tower. I see a pattern of homogenization of our cities. Screw that. Vive le difference. – TeeJayzed Addy