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Literary Landmarks
February 252016

 

Literary Landmarks…the intersection of notable authors, their compelling stories and the unique geography of our communities. As of March 2015, there are 26 permanent Literary Landmark plaques installed on lampposts across Vancouver. Explore this interactive map to learn about our rich literary landscape, and to connect with the published work of these exceptional writers.

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Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood

Former residence, 3800 Block, W. 11th Ave.

January 152016
Margaret Atwood

Photo credit: Jean Malek


Location: Plaque is on lamppost on south side of 3800 block of W. 11th Ave., at west end of the block.

One of Canada’s foremost authors, Margaret Atwood, lived near here in 1964-1965 while working as a lecturer at UBC. “It was a wonderful breakthrough year for me,” she has recalled.

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Sadhu Binning

Sadhu Binning

Author's former postal route, Fraser & E. 49th Ave.

January 12016

Sadhu Binning

Photo credit: Jagdish Binning


Location: Plaque is on lamppost at southeast corner of 49th Ave. and Fraser St.

Sadhu Binning’s fiction collection in English, Fauji Banta Singh & Other Stories (2014), examines the private lives in B.C.’s Sikh community during the late 20th century against a backdrop of racial animosity and economic insecurity.

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George Bowering

George Bowering

Former location, Cecil Hotel, 1336 Granville St.

December 152015

George Bowering

Photo credit: Thea Bowering


Location: Plaque is on lamppost in front of 1332 Granville St.

UBC TISH poet Dan McLeod devised the name for the newspaper he now owns, Georgia Straight, over beers at the Cecil with Michael Morris and Glen Lewis in 1967. As the closest pub to UBC, the Cecil Hotel attracted a literary crowd in the Sixties, many of whom were associated with the TISH poetry movement. Most noteworthy was George Bowering, who later became the first Poet Laureate of Canada.

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Anne Cameron

Anne Cameron

Former location, Press Gang, 603 Powell St.

December 12015

Anne Cameron

Photo credit: Peter A. Robson


Location: Plaque is on lamppost in front of the above address.

The best-selling book of B.C. fiction from a B.C. publishing house is Anne Cameron’s much-reprinted Daughters of Copper Woman (1981), first issued from this location by the feminist collective called Press Gang.

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Emily Carr

Emily Carr

Former studio, 500 Granville St

November 152015
Downtown-Carr-Emily

Photo credit: City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 136-34


Location: Plaque is on lamppost in front of 570 Granville St.

After moving to Vancouver in 1906, Emily Carr taught art classes at this address in a rented studio until 1910.

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Wayson Choy

Wayson Choy

Former headquarters, Jin Wah Sing Musical Assn., 15 E. Pender St.

November 12015

Wayson Choy

Photo credit: Gary Gellert


Location: Plaque is on lamppost in front of 1 E. Pender St.

Wayson Choy emerged foremost among Chinese Canadian fiction writers for his novel The Jade Peony (1995), an inter-generational saga about an immigrant family, the Chens, during the Depression.

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Wayde Compton

Wayde Compton

Pacific Central Station, 1150 Station St.

October 152015

Wayde Compton

Photo credit: Ayelet Tsabari


Location: Plaque is on lamppost across from the main entrance of the above address.

As the foremost proponent of black literature in Vancouver, poet, historian and turntablist Wayde Compton edited Bluesprint: Black British Columbian Literature & Orature (2001) and he remains acutely aware that this bustling CN train station (that gave rise to the nickname Terminal City) is where most immigrants arrived in B.C. up until the 1950s.

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Douglas Coupland

Douglas Coupland

Former headquarters, Vancouver Magazine, 1205 Richards St.

October 12015

Douglas Coupland

Photo credit: BC BookWorld


Location: Plaque is on lamppost at southwest corner of Richards St. and Davie St.

In 1987, Douglas Coupland had a solo sculpture show at the Vancouver Art Gallery called Floating World and he began describing his own ‘twentysomething’ generation for Vancouver magazine, an urban lifestyles magazine edited by Malcolm Parry, at this location.

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Chuck Davis

Chuck Davis

Vancouver City Hall, 453 W. 12th Ave.

September 152015
West-Davis-Chuck

Photo credit: BC BookWorld


Location: Plaque is on the northeast corner of 12th Ave and Cambie St., beside Vancouver City Hall.

The ultimate expert on all historical matters pertaining to Vancouver, Chuck Davis routinely asked students in Vancouver area schools to name the person who the statue behind City Hall represents.

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Mona Fertig

Mona Fertig

Gaslight Square, 131 Water St.

September 12015
Downtown-Fertig-Mona

Photo credit: Janet Dwyer


Location: Plaque is on lamppost in front of 131 Water St.

At age 24, Vancouver poet Mona Fertig established her first Literary Storefront operation at this location, in a vacant upstairs dress shop, suite #213.

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D.M. Fraser

D.M. Fraser

Former residence, 4394 Main St.

August 152015

D.M. Fraser

Photo credit: John Reeves


Location: Plaque is on lamppost in front of 4360 Main St.

D.M. Fraser lived above Morris’s Second Hand Store near this location in an apartment dubbed the Vancouver Least Cultural Centre (a parody of the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, a popular venue for theatre and music).

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Gary Geddes

Gary Geddes

Former residence, 1900 Block, Commercial Dr.

August 102015
East-Geddes-Gary


Location: Plaque is on lamppost on the east side of 1900 block of Commercial Dr., mid-block.

Born in Vancouver in 1940 and raised in the Commercial Drive area, Gary Geddes was once described as Canada’s best political poet by George Woodcock.

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Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake)

Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake)

Former residence, 1117 Howe St.

August 52015
Downtown-Johnson-Pauline

Photo credit: The William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections, McMaster University Library


Location: Plaque is on lamppost on the west side of 1100 block of Howe St., near north end of the block.

Pauline Johnson or Tekahionwake, Canada’s most famous First Nations poet of the early 20th Century, decided to establish herself in Vancouver in 1909.

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W.P. Kinsella

W.P. Kinsella

Former residence, 1188 Howe St.

August 12015

W.P. Kinsella

Photo credit: Barbara Turner Kinsella


Location: Plaque is on lamppost in front of the above address.

W.P. (Bill) Kinsella lived here in a condominium in the late-1990s. His short story called Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa was the basis for his novel, Shoeless Joe, which, in turn, became the basis for the 1989 Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams.

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Roy Kiyooka

Roy Kiyooka

Former residence, 600 Block, Keefer St.

July 152015

Roy Kiyooka

Photo credit: Kiyo Kiyooka


Location: Plaque is on lamppost on north side of 600 block of Keefer St., near east end of the block.

Roy Kiyooka and his then-partner Daphne Marlatt moved into this address soon after he published his first book, transcanadaletters (Talonbooks) in 1975.

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Joy Kogawa

Joy Kogawa

Hastings St. & Renfrew St., Hastings Park

July 12015
Joy Kogawa

Photo credit: Province of B.C.


Location: Plaque is on lamppost at northeast corner of Renfrew St. & Hastings St.

Joy Nozomi Kogawa, (nee Nakayama) was born in Vancouver in 1935. She chronicles the internment experience of her family and other Japanese Canadians in Obasan (1981). The novel recalls how the resolute endurance of the narrator’s aunt, Obasan, protected the little girl during the internment years.

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Evelyn Lau

Evelyn Lau

Quayside Marina, Davie St. & Marinaside Cres.

June 152015

Evelyn Lau

Photo credit: Barry Peterson and Blaise Enright


Location: Plaque is on lamppost along the seawall at the end of Davie St. at Marinaside, at the south end of the traffic circle.

Evelyn Lau walks this stretch of seawall several times a week, often composing poems, including “Quayside”.

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Margaret Laurence

Margaret Laurence

Former residence, 3500 Block, W. 21st Ave.

June 102015
West-Laurence-Margeret

Photo credit: University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections


Location: Plaque is on lamppost on the south side of 3500 of West 21st Ave., near the center of the block.

Award-winning and beloved writer Margaret Laurence wrote the first draft of one of this country’s greatest novels, The Stone Angel, while living here from 1958 to 1962.

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Dorothy Livesay

Dorothy Livesay

Bathhouse, English Bay

June 12015
Dorothy Livesay

Photo credit: BC BookWorld


Location: Plaque is on lamppost at west side of intersection of Beach Ave. and Burnaby St.

Few locales have evoked more poetic response than English Bay. In his poem Vancouver (1931), Bliss Carman wrote ‘Where is the trade of Carthage now? / Here is Vancouver on English Bay, / With tomorrow’s light on her brow!”

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Malcolm Lowry

Malcolm Lowry

Haywood Bandstand, 1755 Beach Ave.

May 152015

Malcolm Lowry

Photo credit: Special Collections, UBC Library


Location: Plaque is on lamppost near north side of intersection of Beach Ave. and Burnaby St.

Malcolm Lowry was an alcoholic novelist whose relationship to Vancouver – and much else – was uncertain, though there is no doubt that he did his best work here. In Under the Volcano, arguably the most famous novel ever written in British Columbia, he offhandedly refers to Vancouver as a place “where they eat sausage meals from which you expect the Union Jack to appear at any minute.”

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Lee Maracle

Lee Maracle

False Creek (Snauq), beneath Burrard Bridge

May 12015

Lee Maracle

Photo credit: Columpa Bobb


Location: Plaque is on lamppost on the bike route / pedestrian walkway underneath the south end of the Burrard Bridge.

In her story ‘Goodbye Snauq’ which appeared in West Coast Line in 2008, Lee Maracle recalls the area that is now mis-identified as False Creek in Vancouver.

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Daphne Marlatt

Daphne Marlatt

Burrard Bridge, Kitsilano Side

April 152015
Daphne Marlatt

Photo credit: Roy Miki


Location: Plaque is on lamppost at the northwest corner of Burrard St. and Cornwall Ave.

Daphne Marlatt was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2006 and became the 19th recipient of the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. Born in Australia, she immigrated to Vancouver in 1951.

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Major Matthews

Major Matthews

Former residence, 1100 Block, Arbutus St.

April 132015
West-Matthews-Major

Photo credit: City of Vancouver Archives, AM54-S4-: Port P1713, Steffens-Colmer Studios Ltd.


Location: Plaque is on lamppost on the east side of 1100 block of Arbutus St., near the center of the block.

Major J.S. Matthews, who was Vancouver’s foremost documentarian and collector, lived at this address for nearly 50 years, flying the Union Jack on Sundays and holidays.

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Alice Munro

Alice Munro

Kitsilano Public Library, 2425 Macdonald St.

April 102015
West-Munro-Alice

Photo credit: Sheila Munro


The first Canadian woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature and one of the world’s most insightful and skilled short story writers, Alice Munro worked at the Vancouver Public Library prior to her worldwide literary acclaim.

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Al Neil

Al Neil

Former location, The Cellar, 222 E. Broadway

April 12015

Al Neil

Photo credit: Michael de Courcy / The Intermedia Catalogue


Location: Plaque is on lamppost on the on the south side of Broadway just east of Watson St.

This was the location of The Cellar, founded in 1956, as Vancouver’s foremost jazz venue, where be-bop legend Al Neil fronted the house band, meeting and playing with some of North America’s top jazz musicians. His best-known book, Changes (1975), recalls four years as a musician, artist and junkie on the mean streets of town from 1958 to 1962.

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Eric Nicol

Eric Nicol

Walk Of Fame, North Plaza, Library Square, 350 W. Georgia St.

March 152015

Eric Nicol

Photo credit: Barry Peterson and Blaise Enright


Location: Plaque is on lamppost near southeast corner of Homer St. & Georgia St.

In 1995, humourist Eric Nicol fittingly became the first writer to have a plaque of B.C. marble installed in the Walk of Fame to commemorate winners of the annual George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in B.C.

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Bud Osborn

Bud Osborn

InSite Supervised Injection Site, 139 E. Hastings St.

March 12015

Bud Osborn

Photo credit: Barry Peterson and Blaise Enright


Location: Plaque is on lamppost in front of the above address.

Downtown Eastside activist Bud Osborn was an originator of North America’s first supervised injection site here, near Hastings and Main.

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Stan Persky

Stan Persky

Former location, Buddy’s Bar, 1018 Burnaby St.

February 252015
WestEnd-Persky-Stan

Photo credit: Daniel Collins


Location: Plaque is on lamppost on the southwest corner of Burrard and Burnaby St.

Born in Chicago in 1941, Stan Persky was easily one of the most significant figures in the rise of British Columbian writing and publishing during the 1970s and 1980s.

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Laurence J. Peter  & Raymond Hull

Laurence J. Peter & Raymond Hull

Metro Theatre, 1370 S.W. Marine Dr.

February 202015

Laurence J. Peter & Raymond Hull

Photo credits: (left) Laurence J. Peter estate (right) CBC Still Photo Collection


Location: Plaque is on lamppost in front of the above address.

One of the most famous non-fiction books written in British Columbia, The Peter Principle (1969), was co-authored by Raymond Hull and Laurence J. Peter after the pair met as strangers while attending an amateur production at the Metro Theatre.

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Jane Rule

Jane Rule

Former residence, 4500 Block, W. 8th Ave.

February 152015

Margaret Atwood

Photo credit: Barry Peterson and Blaise Enright


Location: Plaque is on lamppost on south side of 4000 block of W. 8th Ave., near east end of the block.

Jane Rule wrote her first, best-known novel, Desert of the Heart (1964), while living here with her long-time partner Helen Sonthoff. Rule’s compassionate and unsentimental account of two women who meet and fall in love in Reno, Nevada, made her an international figure.

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Andreas Schroeder

Andreas Schroeder

Former residence, 900 Block, W. 7th Ave.

February 102015

Andreas Schroeder

Photo credit: Laura Sawchuck


Location: Plaque is on lamppost on south side of 900 block of W. 7th Ave., slightly west of mid-block.

Long before Andreas Schroeder led Canada to adopt Public Lending Right and helped found both the League of Canadian Poets and the Writers Union of Canada, the prolific UBC Creative Writing professor was an avant-garde, ex-Mennonite motorcyclist and surrealist who lived in a four-storey, ramshackle, communal house, just east of Oak St.

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Michael Turner

Michael Turner

Former Location, Gladstone Inn, 2211 Kingsway

February 82015
East-Turner-Michael

Photo credit: Shyla Seller


Location: Plaque is on lamppost on the north side of 2200 block of Commercial Dr., near the corner of Gladstone St. and Kingsway.

Michael Turner, author of edgy Vancouver-based prose and poetry like The Pornographer’s Poem and Hard Core Logo, has a long and fond relationship with Kingsway.

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Tom Wayman

Tom Wayman

Former meeting place, VIWU, 1111 Commercial Dr.

February 52015

Tom Wayman

Photo credit: Jude Dillon


Location: Plaque is on lamppost in front of 1145 Commercial Drive.

The Vancouver Industrial Writers’ Union (1979-1993) staged many readings throughout the 1980s at La Quena Coffee House at this address. After Tom Wayman had emerged with his poetry collections Waiting for Wayman (1973), For and Against the Moon (1974), and Money and Rain (1975), plus the work poems anthologies A Government Job at Last (1976) and Going for Coffee (1981), as well as Inside Job: Essays on the New Work Writing (1983), he became the most widely known exponent of literature about daily work: blue- and white-collar, paid and unpaid.

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Jim Willer

Jim Willer

Former location, Vancouver School of Art, 249 Dunsmuir St.

February 12015

Jim Willer

Photo credit: Jim Willer estate


Location: Plaque is on lamppost near northeast corner of Dunsmuir St. and Hamilton St.

When professional painter Jim Willer wrote a rare, dystopian novel about “electric government,” Paramind (1973), he became one of three co-recipients of an unprecedented $100,000 literary prize offered by the Imperial Tobacco Company for Canada’s centennial. The prize money was evenly split three ways, enabling him to build a house.

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Ethel Wilson

Ethel Wilson

Former residence, 1386 Nicola St.

January 252015

Ethel Wilson

Photo credit: Vancouver Public Library,Special Collections


Location: Plaque is on lamppost on south side of Beach Ave., across the road from 1386 Nicola St.

Born in 1888, Ethel Wilson was Vancouver’s most respected novelist for several decades.

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George Woodcock

George Woodcock

Former residence, 6400 Block, McCleery St.

January 202015

George Woodcock

Photo credit: Queen’s University Archives


Location: Plaque is on lamppost on east side of 6000 block of McCleery St., near the south end of the block.

Self-described as “a British Columbian by choice, a Canadian by birth,” the England educated anarchist George Woodcock was B.C.’s most prodigious man of letters.

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