Thursday, October 05, 2006



Hi All,

I received an anonymous email today, complaining that I don't write about the Downtown Eastside. I thought that statement bizarre considering I have over 2 years of posts that folks can review. The reader of my blog stated that I didn't post anything about the implosion of Woodwards last week. Gee I wonder who this might be?

And since he wants to see his name in print again here goes.

Yes I was up to witness this spectacle at 8:30 am on September 30, 2006. I had the best seat in the Downtown Eastside and as I looked over at Woodwards for one final time, I observed, certain folks (ok all men) were up on the roofs of a few buildings on West Hastings, bearing witness to the bomb about to go off.

Watching the old grand dame of Hastings Street being brought down by tons of dynamite was terribly sad but inevitable. Woodwards was a landmark in Hastings Oldtown and now its gone, only to live on in the memories of those of us who cherished this Hastings landmark.

With the implosion of Woodwards, brought me an amazing view. I now look directly onto the mountains and at night, my view of the glittering lights of Gastown and the North Shore is pretty. I'm certain though this will piss off a certain American citizen, however, I'm sure he can find comfort knowing that my view only remains until sometime in 2007.

Later on Sunday, and passing on Colleen's invite to attend Church, I strolled over to Cordova and Abbott streets. I was concerned that windows of older buildings were probably blown out. Even in my building which is relatively new, I was certain the windows were about to pop. They rattled like no tomorrow. Looking up at the heritage buildings of Gastown, I could see many of the windows had cracked, burst and imploded. Shreds of glass everywhere. I counted at least 15 glass repair trucks lined up on Cordova and Hastings to begin the repair work. The story apparently is that a lowering cloud cover caused so many windows to break. Perhaps true, but my feeling is perhaps extra dynamite may have been used to fulfil the fantasies of a few men.

In any case, Woodwards Store is now gone except, the northwest facade of the majestic building where the Christmas scenery and displays, twinkling lights and animated characters, year after year, shone bright, bringing excitement, merriment and magic into the hearts of many little children.

Those children now grown, bear witness as the location where the Woodwards Department store sat, will begin anew. Its being touted as the district of Woodwards. All of the condos in the new towers have been sold and a few affordable housing units are going to be available to needy citizens.

However, make no mistake, Woodwards District will be an enclave fraught with many problems. The newer citizens will not appreciate their surrounding streets being a cesspool.

While Bob Rennie, the marketing guru promoted Woodwards District as an intellectual property, I suspect it will be anything but. In fact, Woodwards district sits right smack in the middle of a neighborhood known for its third world like conditions. I'm sure citizens are reminded of the Elvis hit--In the Ghetto--and this is exactly what many people have bought into.

How the powers that be will fix what will surely be escalating tensions and problems remains to be seen. One thing for certain though is this. Riots are going to be an aftermath of Woodwards and isn't it amazing how one American left the USA because he didn't believe in riots there. Ironic isn't it?

Mr Rennie, like his good American friend will be remembered as masterminds of the big hoax. They both sold bigtime. And of course lined their pockets bigtime. The losers in this tragedy are sadly, many ordinary citizens who got caught up in a marketing scam run amok. Of course, we know what will happen to the destitute and poor. While they were down and out, one big ole American bossman kicked them around one final time. Welcome to the big leagues as they say.

And that Mr Anonymous is all she wrote.

Jamie Lee Hamilton