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Cambie apartment building sale is half-hearted

The Elaine, it’s plain, is for sale in the main.

The Elaine Apartments, a three-storey, stucco walk-up, located at 3819 and 3821 Cambie Street, which has occupied the truncated southwest corner of Cambie Street and 22nd Avenue for 72 years, is up for sale, after a fashion.

The red and black sign staked in the front lawn says “For Sale” but it does not list anything like a price for what it describes as a 22-unit apartment building on a 13,000 square foot corner lot.

But I was told on Wednesday (July 13), by the Elaine’s retired live-in caretaker, who still like to putter around the property, that the owners are asking around $5 million.

The Cambie Street address of the Elaine is either 3821 or 3819, depending which entrance on 22nd Avenue you use.

Five million is quite low for a building with a current total property assessment (land and improvement) of $7,454,000. But—said the former manager—only half of the building is actually being sold.

“How do you sell only half of an apartment building?” I asked the old duffer (I have never inquired after the fellow’s name in 12 years of both binning bottles from his building and chatting with him and I didn’t on Wednesday either.)

He explained that the owners are two business partners and that the sale is of one partner’s 50 percent equity in the property.

The property at 3819 Cambie Street, seen from another angle.—Vanmap

The superannuated building super also told me that the partners had recently changed realty companies in their search to fund a buyer.

This explains why there are search result traces for many deleted MLS listings for the sale of 3819 Cambie street, dating from July of 2016 through to March of 2017 but only one currently active listing with JLL—the realty company named on the For Sale sign stuck in the front lawn of the building.

There is no immediate danger of the property being knocked down for redevelopment says the ex-caretaker. In his opinion, the Elaine and its many neighbouring postwar walk-ups have at least four or five years to go yet.


According to Chuck Davis, a lot happened in 1945—the year that the Elaine was built:

Among other things, B.C. painter Emily Carr died March 2nd in Victoria at age 73; the freighter Greenhill Park exploded in Vancouver Harbour on March 6; beer froth in B.C. beer parlors was legally limited to half-an-inch, as of August 4th; the Second World War finally ended on August 14th and, on November 6th, Vancouver City Council did away with segregated swimming days at Crystal Pool for “whites, negroes, and Orientals”. Click the images  to enlarge them.

Talk about “snail’s pace”—I started this post in May!

I’m finally running this post two months late, which suggests three things: that I don’t like to waste photos; that I have nothing better at hand and that I wasn’t kidding about how sluggish I felt at the beginning of May.

*  *  *

Wednesday, May 3, I still had a bit of the flu which had overtaken me two day earlier on Monday and I was inclined to think that I was moving through my back alley bottle collecting at a snail’s pace. But seeing a real snail in action convinced me otherwise.

I found the snail quite quickly—in the third blue bin set of the first alley that I chose to hunt through for returnable beverage containers. Read more…

Why South Granville needs a new drinking fountain

Nothing much has changed on the Vancouver drinking fountain front since June of 2015, when I blogged about the need for a fountain in the South Granville area. The map of drinking fountains and bottle-filling stations across Vancouver’s 22 neighbourhoods still has a huge hole in it—centred over South Granville and the Fairview neighbourhood.

I would dearly like to see that hole filled by at least one drinking fountain near South Granville Street and West Broadway Avenue. Read more…

Bloody needles and the bloody idiots who leave them lying around!

An insulin syringe, the syringe cap, the wrapper and a clear plastic vial with a threaded end.

It’s amazing to me how blasé I have become about the sight of discarded needles.

On Saturday, July 8, I spent the hottest part of the day sheltered in the cool embrace of the covered parkade where I sleep. Which is to say that I didn’t bother getting up until the hot sun was going down, alongside the temperature.

What I did mostly was read Neal Stephenson’s novel The Diamond Age, on a circa 2013 Kobo Aura e-reader that I pulled out of a dumpster last week—while slowly working my way through a box of honey graham wafers.

And, for something over an hour during the afternoon, I kept half an eye on a visitor.

This was a fellow who sauntered in out of the sun and sat down, with his back against a wall, on the floor of the parkade. In doing so, he picked a spot just far enough inside the entrance to be in the shade but as far from me as possible, which was good etiquette if nothing else.

He was a stocky lad, cleanly dressed in black—black shorts, black sleeveless shirt, black ball cap and he was carrying a black backpack. So, I thought, he was overheated. No surprise.

As the minutes ticked by and the fellow just sat there, doing nothing to alarm or annoy me, I soon relaxed and paid him only scant attention.

Within a half hour I noted absentmindedly that he appeared to have fallen asleep where he was sitting, with his knees slightly splayed, his shoulders hunched forward and his chin resting on his chest. Read more…

Friday night lights (you really had to be there)

An “impressionistic” photo of the moon rising over a condo (and the CIBC at 13th Avenue).

Here is a trio of terribly attractive (and terribly photographed) light sights from the evening of Friday, July 7th.

The first sight was at the corner of South Granville Street and 13th Avenue, where I stopped to buy something and ended up marveling at the waxing moon in the southern sky.

The time was about 10:16 p.m. and the moon was just straddling the top of a condo. The white of the lunar disk was edged with prismatic highlights and projecting around it was a rainbow-like halo, only made visible where it intersected a clotty sheet of clouds.

The moon in July, without rhythm or reason

Wow! Why do I even bother taking photos at night with a point and shoot camera?

I have seen and photographed similar moon halos on winter nights. And on one autumn afternoon in October 2015 I photographed cloud iridescence—what the Mail Online refers to as a “fire rainbow”. Personally I have never before noticed such a halo around the moon during the summer.

In all instances I understand the optical effect to be the result of light interacting with either ice crystals or water vapour. Although I see that there is now an obligatory “chem trail” explanation to be found on the Internet, involving artificial fibres, sprayed high overhead to induce the formation of clouds.

My little adventure camera is almost always at a loss in the dark and could not do any justice to the meteorological effect that I saw Friday evening.

The best that can be said for my attempts to photograph the moon are that they caused several passers-by to stop as they tried to navigate around me and look up from their smartphones to see what the fuss was about.

The Brite Lites of the big city

The Granville Street Bridge at night—a bit of order in the confusion.

The second awfully attractive sight that I saw on Friday night was photographed at 10:37 p.m. from the intersection of Alder Street and 8th Avenue, looking north towards False Creek and downtown Vancouver.

What caught my eye—beyond the overall, glittering, Lite-Brite-quality of the skyline—was the span over False Creek of the Granville Street Bridge.

The bridge was only visible as a bright horizontal line, or necklace, of unmoving red automobile brake lights, as if there was some sort of blockage at the northern end of the bridge that was stopping traffic.

I confess that many’s the time I have whiled away the minutes at this same spot, watching and thinking about the distant winking lights of emergency response vehicles as they zip to and fro across the bridge, accompanied by the thin, wailing sound of their sirens.

The Aurora Bore-ialis, to coin a phrase

One hundred and fifty years of Canadian history and all I got was this stupid coin!

Last but not least, I have a truly woeful photograph of one the rarest of sights to be seen in the Fairview neighbourhood, namely the Northern Lights, or the Aurora Borialis, or just the Aurora, if you want to sound especially Canadian.

According to Vancouver Media, the last honest-to-goodness local sighting of the Northern Lights was less than two months ago, on May 28.

Unfortunately I missed that one. My sighting on Friday night was pale and flat by comparison.

In fact, my photo was of the Canadian Mint’s new $2 coin, one side of which depicts the Northern Lights in glow-in-the-dark colours—a world’s first apparently.

This special toonie is part of the Mint’s Canada 150 coin collection, in case you are a collector.

Being a none-too-choosy Canadian, I have to say that it does my heart good to see my country leading in a field again—any field—even something as cheesy as glow-in-the dark coins.

To photograph this “lumismatic” marvel, I exposed the glow-in-the-dark side to bright light for 15 minutes and then photographed it in my sleeping bag, which allowed me fairly fine control over the light level.

Unfortunately my Pentax point-and-shoot WG-3 simply cannot focus in the dark, or in anything approaching darkness—or even at dusk for that matter—as the three photos illustrating this post show, or do not show, as the case may be. Click the images to enlarge them.

Are we tired of this heat yet?

Even automobile and bicycle tires were hot and sticky by 5 p.m. today!

At 6:13 p.m. today (July 5) The CBC News website listed the temperature here in Vancouver, B.C., as 23° Celsius but allowed that it could feel more like 26°.

Actually, at 5 p.m., with the sun in a cloudless blue sky beating down relentlessly on my thick black hardshell bike helmet, it felt to me like the temperature was somewhere in the low to mid Hades, if you know what I mean. Read more…