Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


Oh I know Mr. David Eby is a transplanted figure to my neighborhood and while he has made quite a name for himself around homelessness and the Olympics, he doesn't however, understand the historical significance or geography of the area.

Latest case in point is that Mr. Eby on his blog says the area he lives in-- Strathcona--has traditionally been known as a subsection of the DTES.

Sorry Mr. Eby you are wrong again. Strathcona has always traditionally been known as Strathcona. For as long as I remember Strathcona has had its own neighborhood identity.

The Downtown Eastsiide name came into being in the 70's to earmark an area along Hastings street which was traditionally known as Skid Row.

Former Alderman Mr. Eriksen, one of the co-founders of DERA thought it a demeaning name and the American, Jim Green, who hails from the South suggested the name Downtown Eastside which was a name that resembled the Lower Eastside of New York City where he previously lived.

To be clear here, the overall eastern part of the City was traditionally known as the East End of Vancouver. Those who lived in the East End were very proud of being from the East End. You wore the name like a badge of honour.

The Downtown Eastside Residents Association officially came into being around 1975 and I have a copy of the membership list which includes the early members. My parents actually joined the new organization in 1976 and before them there were perhaps a dozen members.

As DERA gained political power, especially after Mr. Eriksen became Alderman, the name Downtown Eastside kinda stuck.

Mr. Green, even promoted that DERA expand its geographic boundaries which he believed would increase the membership base and make the organization politically stronger.

So Mr. Eby, may I suggest you properly research before you present stuff that is factually incorrect.

For those of us who grew up in the area and are proud of our life-long roots here we find it offensive when a new-comer to the area such as yourself, who presents yourself as an expert in our historic Oldtown area but actually presents distortions of the area, this manifests as being ignorant of our community and sends the message that at times you don't know what the hell you are talking about.

Jamie Lee Hamilton