Powell Street Historical and Cultural Significance

Powell Street – Old Japantown: Evaluation of Historical & Cultural Significance Presentation

Presentation by Hugh McLean
City of Vancouver

City of Vancouver Planner Hugh McLean made this presentation at a Heritage Vancouver event on January 17, 2008, on the “Past, Present and Future of Vancouver’s Japantown.” Hugh presented information on the evolution of the area and its historical and cultural significance.

The Past, Present and Future of Vancouver’s Japantown

Buddhist Temple Heritage Plaque Local Houses

Local Street Scene Local Community Scene Grocery and Produce Corner Building

Click images to enlarge

Number ten on Heritage Vancouver’s 2007 Top Ten Endangered list, this neighbourhood, centred around the 300-400 blocks of Powell Street, was the heart of Vancouver’s Japanese community. Over the past two decades, the accelerating decline of the Downtown East Side has hit Japantown particularly hard. The years of neglect have taken their toll, businesses have moved from the area and there has been a noticeable deterioration of the building stock. Due to a lack of heritage incentives the rehabilitation of the buildings has been minimal. This is an opportunity to have a frank conversation regarding the future of this historic neighbourhood. The City of Vancouver issued a Request for Proposal in December 2007 for an Historical and Cultural Review of the Powell Street area known as Japantown.

Read the pdf presentation

Read the consultants report

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