My Artwork

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Brockton Point - 1986, "Grace's Pearls" (thumbnail) Lions Gate Bridge - 1939 (thumbnail) Chinatown 1960, East Pender St. (thumbnail) Abbotsford - 1922 (thumbnail) Capitol Theatre, Granville S. - 1956; Love me Tender (thumbnail) Theatre Row, Granville St. - 1962 (thumbnail) Stanley Park Junction (thumbnail) Bon Voyage, Vancouver Harbour - 1938 (thumbnail) A Capital Christmas (thumbnail) Wigwam Inn, Indian Arm - 1913 (thumbnail) Theatre Row, Granville St. - 1950 (thumbnail) Marine Building on Hastings  - 1945 (thumbnail) Columbia Street - New Westminster - 1924 (thumbnail) Ten Years of Art (thumbnail) The Sunshine Coast Collection (thumbnail) The Langleys Collection (thumbnail) Canadian Skies Collection (thumbnail) Vancouver Collection (thumbnail) BC Airways at Vancouver Airport - 1928 (thumbnail) Boat and Plane at Pender Harbour (thumbnail) Boat in Boathouse (thumbnail) Cannery Worker's Shack (thumbnail) Egmont Post Office (thumbnail) Final Berth on Fraser (thumbnail) May Queen's Ball, Fort Langley - 1941 (thumbnail) Steveston Collection (thumbnail) Saturday Night at the Langley Hotel (thumbnail) Snug Haven - Finn Slough (thumbnail) Porter's Coffee and Tea House (thumbnail) Molly's Reach (thumbnail) Steveston Quay (thumbnail) Theatre Row, Hastings St. - 1926 (thumbnail) Out to Pasture, Street car # 153 (thumbnail) Pacific Gateway, Vancouver - 1912 (thumbnail) Top of Granville Street - 1912 (thumbnail) Passing Woodwards-1939 (thumbnail) Christmas Windows - Woodwards on Hasting (thumbnail) Lonsdale Quay-1919 (thumbnail) The Old Street Car Barn - 1894 (thumbnail) A Christmas Reunion-1914 (thumbnail) Stanley Park-1900 (thumbnail) Vancouver Exhibition - 1910 (thumbnail) Vancouver Public Market-1908 (thumbnail) Blackburn's Service, Seymour Street-1928 (thumbnail) Theatre Row, Granville Street-1948 (thumbnail) New Westminster BCER Depot - 1926 (thumbnail) Park Row, New Westminster - 1909 (thumbnail) Car #101 on Hastings-1949 (thumbnail) Red Racer Diner, Penticton-1960's (thumbnail) On the Rocks at the Garden Bay Pub (thumbnail) Starfighter Pilot (thumbnail) First Flight in Western Canada (thumbnail) Brookswood Barn (thumbnail) Halfway Between Yesterday and Tomorrow (thumbnail) Christmas in Milner, Langley - 1915 (thumbnail) White Spot No1, Granville Street - 1958 (thumbnail) Granville Street Bridge - 1921 (thumbnail) Christmas Shoppers, Hastings St. - 1913 (thumbnail) North Vancouver Ferry Dock - 1916 (thumbnail) Murrayville Cash Grocery - Christmas (thumbnail) Vancouver Bus Terminal - 1939 (thumbnail) Chilliwack - 1915 (thumbnail) Bathhouse on English Bay - 1931 (thumbnail) Cloverdale - 1913 (thumbnail) Aristocratic Drive-in - 1958 (thumbnail) English Bay, Vancouver, Canada (thumbnail) Granville and Hastings Streets in Vancouver (thumbnail) Crossroads at Langley Prairie - 1928 (thumbnail) White Rock Beach - 1929 (thumbnail) Christmas at Home - 1929 (thumbnail) Open Late, Otter Farmer's Institute, Winter (thumbnail) Otter Co-op (thumbnail) Murrayville Cash Grocery - Christmas Eve (thumbnail) Fort Langley Station (thumbnail) Drive-in Heaven (thumbnail) Danceland on Robson Street on September 7, 1963 with the Ike and Tina Turner Review performing a one night gig. (thumbnail)
Danceland on Robson Street on September 7, 1963 with the Ike and Tina Turner Review performing a one night gig. (large view)
Danceland - 1963, Robson St.
Limited Edition giclee print on canvas of Danceland on Robson Street in Vancouver, B.C.

For young people, in the late 50’s and 60‘s, Vancouver’s Danceland was the place to go for live music and a superlative dance floor. Located on the second floor of the Clements building situated on the south east corner of Robson and Hornby, Danceland was just two blocks west of Granville Street’s theatre row.

The Clements building was built in 1922. Within a year, a dance academy called the Alexandra Ballroom occupied the entire second floor. “The Alex” as it was more popularly called had its entry on the north end of the building at 804 Hornby Street. It was a stylish room featuring draped windows, a stage, a small lounge and kitchen. The secret to the wooden, sprung dance floor was bags of horsehair that were laid under the floor. In later years, overhead fanning boards were added. All this made for a very classy venue and more than a few famous personalities performed on stage at the Alex.

Next door, to the east, stood the Courthouse Block. There, in 1922, the Sprott-Shaw Schools of Commerce & Wireless Telegraphy, and Radio Specialties, started an early radio station, CJCE . In 1924 Sprott-Shaw assumed control of CFCQ and in1929, occupied its first real studio on the third floor above The Alex. Much later, In May 1954, Bill Rea, owner of CKNW moved his operations into the same space. Soon after, Rea, suffering from medical problems, sold CKNW and took over The Alex, downstairs. He changed the name to Danceland and created a new upbeat venue. Adorned with oversized neon signs, Danceland began to attract some of the big names of the day: Del Shannon, Ike and Tina Turner, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Bobby Darin. Jim Wisby later took over Danceland and continued to promote this leading edge Rock and Roll dance hall. Danceland could accommodate up to 600 dancers and it was quite normal to see a half dozen busses and coaches parked outside having brought dancers up from the USA. Bouncers did routine patrols looking for booze under the chairs.

I created my painting Danceland - 1963 from a City of Vancouver Archives photograph credited to, photographer, Walter Edwin Frost. To get the background that I needed to do the painting, I asked my friend Red Robinson for help. He connected me with long time producer Les Vogt who was a great help in finding band members who had played at Danceland. Ed Senft, a Danceland bouncer in the 60’s was particularly helpful with vivid memories of his days at Danceland. I scoured the Vancouver Sun entertainment pages to find a special event at Danceland for my painting and found a small ad on Saturday, Sept 7, 1963; it was The Ike and Tina Turner Review, playing for one night only at Danceland from 9-12 and that’s what I put up on Danceland’s backlit marquee. The Ike and Tina Review was a hot act indeed and Danceland packed them in; but this was to be one of the last big shows.

Popular to the end, Danceland’s final year featured the ViCounts as its regular band. Danceland fell to the wreckers hammer in the summer of 1965. The happy times, the music and dancing are but memories. But with the help of many who were regulars at Danceland, I feel privileged to be able to propel my paintbrush and bring some of the Danceland excitement back to life. If you find your toe tapping or feel the urge to walk into the painting and make a bee-line across Robson Street and into the entry door of Danceland, then I think that’s exactly why I painted this. My name is Brian Croft. I paint the history of Vancouver and British Columbia; Danceland-1963 is part of my artistic journey.
20"H x 32"W   
Price: CA $ 700.00