Know your Vancouver intersections!

Main & Hastings poster by Glasfurd & Walker for Intersections

Main & Hastings poster by Glasfurd & Walker. Photo courtesy Platform Gallery.

The Platform Gallery is taking street art to new levels.

The gallery has invited seven Vancouver-based graphic designers to each create a poster based on a famous intersection in the city. This got us thinking about our own take on these well-known crossroads…

The intersections include Fraser & Kingsway, Main & Hastings, SE Marine & Knight St., Davie & Denman, Water & Carrall, 4th & Vine, Broadway & Granville.

Now, if you’re from out of town and don’t know the city that well, these might not mean that much to you. That, obviously, is where the designers come in.

The contributors to Intersections include 10four DesignGlasfurd and WalkerPost ProjectsSeterah ShamdaniState CreativeWorking Format and Zach Bulick.

Each designer was asked to create a large 36″ x 54″ poster that considers the present realities of the place, but also “to interpret the past and future of those locations, honouring the diversity of the communities,” according to the press release.

We thought we’d try to put things into perspective with our own little free-association Vancouver history when it comes to each.

Fraser & Kingsway – Long-running ethnic restaurants compete for attention with newer signs of gentrification, such as the trendy French restaurant Les Faux Bourgeois and a cafe called Matchstick Coffee. The intersection is also famous for the Lions Den Cafe, a hole-in-the-wall that features both Jamiacan and Japanese dishes.  For heaven’s sake, don’t ask about the lion.

Kingsway & Fraser poster for Intersections

Kingsway & Fraser by Zach Bulick. Photo courtesy Platform Gallery.

Main & Hastings – Hmmm, what to say about this, the most notorious intersection in the city, besides “avoid if at all possible”? This intersection actually has a lot going for it – it’s near police headquarters, so it’s safer than it looks. There’s not a whole lot to do around these corners, although the Rickshaw Theatre regularly hosts punk, metal and other kinds of rock shows. The intersection is near Chinatown. Also, there are some interesting characters who hang out on the steps of Carnegie branch of the Vancouver Public Library. To say Main & Hastings is a good place for people watching is a bit of an understatement.

SE Marine & Knight St. – We wouldn’t want to be the designer looking for inspiration from this intersection, which is like something out of a novel by British science fiction author J.G. Ballard (Crash, Concrete). More utilitarian than scenic, SE Marine & Knight St. will get you to the airport, Ikea and, if you keep going south, Seattle.

Davie & Denman – One of the most prime pieces of Vancouver real estate, this intersection draws tourists and locals alike for its proximity to English Bay and Stanley Park. You won’t have a hard time finding a cappuccino or bellini nearby.

Water & Carrall – Gastown celebrates its history in three ways: the steam-clock; the cobblestone streets; and Gassy Jack. The latter is a statue of John Deighton, a bar owner and the man whose nickname gave the area its name. Also at this intersection: some of the city’s best bars, including Chill Winston, the Diamond Club and the Irish Heather.

4th & Vine – At one time, this intersection was home to one of Vancouver’s most notorious restaurants, a place where you could get away with more after hours than in most of the city’s other eating establishments. The corner has been tamed though, and now a Browns Social House franchise stands where The Vineyard once opened its doors to hungry club-goers.

Broadway & Granville – In case you haven’t noticed, Vancouver has a dual-personality when it comes to its landmarks. On one hand, the city’s attitude is “Destroy! Build more condos!” On the other hand, the city likes to pay lip-service to history. That’s why you’ll see a sign that says “BowMac” hugging the Toys ‘R Us sign outside the Broadway store (BowMac is an old Vancouver car dealership). It’s also why you’ll see a neon “Aristocratic Restaurant” sign in the window of the Chapters outlet that stands on the corner of Broadway and Granville; it’s to denote a restaurant which went up on that corner in 1938. And here’s the kicker: it’s not even the original sign, but a miniature replica.

Intersections will reveal all seven posters at an off-site opening reception Jan. 31, 2013 at the Chinatown Experiment (434 Columbia), from 6 – 9 p.m. The evening is free and open to the public.

As of Feb. 1, Intersections will be on exhibition at the Canada Line’s Platform Gallery, located underground at Waterfront Station.


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One Response to Know your Vancouver intersections!

  1. Fantastic article. Your website is a gem. Thank you.