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HomeCanadian NewsBalmoral Lodge's historic neon signal to be trashed by Metropolis of Vancouver

Balmoral Lodge’s historic neon signal to be trashed by Metropolis of Vancouver

The historic neon signal featured a chic design and a clock

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The Metropolis of Vancouver has determined to trash the enduring neon signal from the Balmoral Lodge.

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The flowery signal had been a fixture at 159 East Hastings for the reason that Nineteen Thirties, and was one of many final survivors of the golden age of Vancouver’s neon.

However the Balmoral Lodge fell into such disrepair it was closed down by the Metropolis in 2017. The constructing is now owned by the Metropolis, which has determined to tear it down.

The four-storey excessive signal was kind of left to the weather the previous few years and was wanting weathered. The Metropolis took it down in three sections June 26 and despatched it to Knight Indicators in Delta.

“A number of assessments had been carried out to establish the signal’s situation pre and submit removing,” stated an announcement from the Metropolis. “These assessments confirmed that it isn’t attainable to salvage or restore the signal.”

Neon skilled John Atkin strongly disagrees.

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“It’s full and utter BS,” stated Atkin.

“The signal was standing. Yeah the signal most likely had a whole lot of points however when you actually wished to avoid wasting the signal, as they acknowledged initially once they purchased the Balmoral, then it’s attainable to do.

“As a result of nothing is in that unhealthy situation. It’d imply utilizing the metalwork as a template, it would imply salvaging parts of it to be included within the factor. However nothing, nothing, is unsalvageable.”

Atkin has labored on a number of initiatives the place previous neon indicators have been efficiently restored or replicated. Not too long ago he labored with Knight Indicators to make a reproduction of a neon signal for Barclay Grocery within the West Finish.

“There the signal was rusted and corroded very badly,” he stated.

“However it was taken down, and the signal store used the prevailing signal because the sample to recreate a brand new signal which is an identical to the unique. We reused a number of the glass.

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“You probably have the intent of protecting, restoring and rebuilding, then you are able to do it. In case your intent is simply to do away with it, and say (one thing) to justify your choice, then that’s what you do as nicely. Mainly it’s BS.”

The Balmoral sign had a neon clock at the bottom.
The Balmoral signal had a neon clock on the backside. Picture by jon murray /PROVINCE

Vancouver councillor Pete Fry has a poster that includes the Balmoral check in his kitchen. He was stunned on the choice to throw out such a novel piece of Vancouver’s cultural historical past.

“That appears wasteful and missing in creativity — absolutely we will simply give it away for somebody (not Metropolis) to take/restore,” he stated in an e mail. “Is there anybody inquisitive about that?”

In truth there may be. David Ferguson of Low Tide Properties has made inquiries about shopping for the signal from the Metropolis.

“We wished to probably purchase it after which restore it,” he stated. “I haven’t heard again from anybody.”

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Ferguson stated Low Tide would nonetheless have an interest within the signal if the Metropolis wished to promote the signal, moderately than throw it out.

“We’re inquisitive about any cool neon check in Vancouver or the Decrease Mainland,” he stated.

The Metropolis might not wish to see the signal go into personal arms due to the latest historical past of the Balmoral, one among Vancouver’s most controversial SROs.

“The Balmoral, previous to its closure, was a web site of hurt and trauma to many former residents and their households, mates, and group,” stated a Metropolis assertion.

“The signal is symbolic of the constructing and The Metropolis is delicate to additional re-traumatizing former residents and their households, mates, and group.”

The signal can also be symbolic of an imaginative period in Vancouver’s industrial signage.

“It begins on the prime and flips out in a little bit of a curve away from the constructing, comes into the constructing after which curls up and across the clock (on the backside),” stated Atkin.

“It’s only a very nice piece of graphic design. This was designed within the early Nineteen Thirties, and also you’re proper in that interval of artwork deco with these kinds of curvy motifs.”

Exterior of the Hotel Balmoral, between 1940 and 1948. (Photo: Jack Lindsay/Vancouver Archives)
Exterior of the Lodge Balmoral, between 1940 and 1948. (Picture: Jack Lindsay/Vancouver Archives)

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