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.
Former residence, 3800 Block, W. 11th Ave.
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.
Author's former postal route, Fraser & E. 49th Ave.
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.
Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby St.
Active as a painter almost as much as a poet, bill bissett supported himself since the 1960s by selling his paintings and reading poetry.
Former location, Cecil Hotel, 1336 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.
Former location, Press Gang, 603 Powell St.
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.
Former studio, 500 Granville St
After moving to Vancouver in 1906, Emily Carr taught art classes at this address in a rented studio until 1910.
Former headquarters, Jin Wah Sing Musical Assn., 15 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.
Pacific Central Station, 1150 Station St.
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.
Former headquarters, Vancouver Magazine, 1205 Richards 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.
Former residence, 3000 block, Victoria Dr.
Here Ivan Coyote lived for fourteen years in an attic apartment during the rise of an unparalleled literary career.
Vancouver City Hall, 453 W. 12th Ave.
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.
Gaslight Square, 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.
Former residence, 4394 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).
Former residence, 1900 Block, Commercial Dr.
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.
Former Arts Club location, 1181 Seymour St.
Growing up near Bombay’s red-light district, Anosh Irani was intrigued by its theatricality, which inspired him to write his first full-length play.
Former residence, 1117 Howe St.
Pauline Johnson or Tekahionwake, Canada’s most famous First Nations poet of the early 20th Century, decided to establish herself in Vancouver in 1909.
Former residence, 1188 Howe St.
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.
Former residence, 600 Block, Keefer St.
Roy Kiyooka and his then-partner Daphne Marlatt moved into this address soon after he published his first book, transcanadaletters (Talonbooks) in 1975.
Hastings St. & Renfrew St., Hastings Park
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.
Quayside Marina, Davie St. & Marinaside Cres.
Evelyn Lau walks this stretch of seawall several times a week, often composing poems, including “Quayside”.
Former residence, 3500 Block, W. 21st Ave.
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.
Bathhouse, English Bay
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!”
Haywood Bandstand, 1755 Beach Ave.
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.”
False Creek (Snauq), beneath 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.
Burrard Bridge, Kitsilano Side
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.
Former residence, 1100 Block, Arbutus St.
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.
Kitsilano Public Library, 2425 Macdonald St.
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.
Former location, The Cellar, 222 E. Broadway
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.
Walk Of Fame, North Plaza, Library Square, 350 W. 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.
InSite Supervised Injection Site, 139 E. Hastings St.
Downtown Eastside activist Bud Osborn was an originator of North America’s first supervised injection site here, near Hastings and Main.
Former location, Buddy’s Bar, 1018 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.
Metro Theatre, 1370 S.W. Marine Dr.
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.
Former location, Muckamuck Restaurant, 1724 Davie Street
Helen Potrebenko marked the second anniversary of her participation in a lawful strike at English Bay to earn a contract for SORWUC workers at Davie Street’s Muckamuck restaurant with the publication of Two Years on the Muckamuck Line (1981).
Former residence, 4500 Block, W. 8th Ave.
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.
Former residence, 900 Block, W. 7th Ave.
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.
David Suzuki Foundation, 2211 West 4th Ave.
A British Columbian who for decades needed no introduction, David Suzuki, as a geneticist-turned-broadcaster-turned-environmentalist, wrote or co-wrote more than 50 books.
Former office, Ricepaper Magazine, 245 East Broadway
Before Ricepaper went digital-only in 2016, this was the main editorial address of the publication for which Madeleine Thien briefly served as editor during the mid-1990s.
Former location, Alcazar Hotel, Dunsmuir & Homer St.
Peter Trower, one of B.C.’s finest poets, drank here often in the 1960s with poets Milton Acorn and John Newlove when the Alcazar Hotel was a favoured hangout of writers and students from the nearby Vancouver School of Art.
Former Location, Gladstone Inn, 2211 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.
Former meeting place, VIWU, 1111 Commercial Dr.
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.
Former location, Vancouver School of Art, 249 Dunsmuir 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.
Former residence, 1386 Nicola St.
Born in 1888, Ethel Wilson was Vancouver’s most respected novelist for several decades.
Former residence, 6400 Block, McCleery St.
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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