Monday, 25 March 2013

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Gabriola Mansion Craves Sweeter Outlook

GABRIOLA MANSION in Vancouver is a solidly built work of art that was once home to founder of BC Sugar Benjamin Rogers. I was compelled to stop and give this faded beauty a second look when I went by there recently.

The building designed by Samuel Maclure was constructed in 1900. Its sandstone exterior was quarried on Gabriola Island in BC. The Rogers family moved to a newer prestigious area of the city and the mansion was sold when Rogers died in 1918. The roomy building became known as Angus Apartments for a time taking on the maiden name of Rogers' wife.

Nowadays the abandoned mansion stands forlorn on Davie Street in the West End of Vancouver in need of repair. Windows are boarded up and there are disturbing signs of graffiti on some outer walls.

The residence reflects Victorian and Edwardian styles of architecture.

It is rumored that there was once a rum-running tunnel in the house to a so-called entertainment establishment across the street that has since been torn down. The building has had several transformations.

Since the 70s it has been the site of various restaurants. A local told me the home was also a popular spot for movie makers over the years and most recently the building was being considered as a bed and breakfast.

Busy pedestrians, cars and buses go by without giving a moment's notice to the intricacies chiseled into the stone.

According to a touring company, there could even be a ghost in the house. It seems that despite wealth and privilege life was not always rosy. Although I hesitate to say it here because I could not find independent corroboration, they say a son of Rogers’ committed suicide by jumping from an upper story window. Rogers had seven children and, if true, that son would have been one of four brothers.

Structures belonging to the mansion no longer occupy the entire block and the lone house is surrounded by a steady flow of traffic, modern buildings and fast food restaurants.

This monument to the lifestyles of the industrious and powerful is an infant compared to ancient structures around the globe. But in my relatively young world the mansion was designated a heritage site so, thankfully, will not be demolished as other historic buildings have been in Vancouver. I was also glad to see security measures on site to protect against vandalism.

I was both charmed and puzzled by the state of the house as well as by a face hidden by a muddle of twigs. Do I see horns growing out of that head?

Next time I spoon Rogers Sugar into my tea I will give special thought to the character home and hope that it soon gets the care and attention, and perhaps the warmth of family and visitors, it so richly deserves.

To explore sights from around the globe, link to Our World at the sidebar.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

See more BC scenes at Penelope Puddlisms: BC Life Is A Whale Of A Ride.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Monday, 11 March 2013

Life Imitates A Work Of Art

THIS GIFT by an anonymous donor in 1984 is a large tapestry by Barbara Heller that hangs at the entrance way of the Eye Care Centre in Vancouver where I visited recently. The similarity of the branches in the tapestry and the live tree (pictured below) outside the front doors had me wondering: does art imitate life or is it the other way around?

The tree was no doubt just a little sprout 29 years ago when the tapestry was first presented to the centre. It seems farfetched to say that art influenced how the tree grew to be envisioned. But if life is made up of vibrating energy connected to everything, it is fluid, changing and open to all manner of interpretation. We know that nothing is the way it appears to be at a glance. The world is not flat and the stars are not twinkling lights small enough to wrap around a Christmas tree.

Some philosophers carry these ideas further by suggesting that life is an illusive transforming entity that requires the foresight and imagination of artists and writers to show us how to perceive it. The images they create shape what we come to know as reality. The name for this thought provoking theory is anti-mimesis. It is explained in detail at Wikipedia here and makes interesting reading for a rainy day.

To explore sights from around the globe, link to Our World at the sidebar.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

See more BC scenes at Penelope Puddlisms: BC Life Is A Whale Of A Ride.