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)
Bathhouse on English Bay - 1931 (large view)
Bathhouse on English Bay - 1931
Limited edition giclee print on canvas of the Bathhouse on English Bay in Vancouver Canada circa 1931

Vancouvers English Bay or First Beach as it was once known is a beautiful waterfront. As late as 1911, much of the beachfront was privately owned. Maps dating back to 1887 clearly show subdivided lots extending onto the beach and these, of course, had become prime sites for private cottages, bathing and boathouses. Such was the popularity of English Bay that in 1898 the BCER, introduced the Davie Streetcar service, connecting downtown with the beachfront.

Fortuitously, in1905, the beach had come under Parks Boards influence. Initial work included the clearing of rocks and expanding beach accessibility. Over the ensuing years, the privately held lots on Beach Avenue were gradually acquired and returned to public use and the result is the magnificent beach that we enjoy today.

My painting, Bathhouse on English Bay 1931 captures the beachfront at a time of growing popularity and public pride. Let me walk you through the painting. Dominating the beach is the white-concrete bathhouse built in 1909, a grand replacement for the original private boathouses. After 30 years of use, the bathhouse was eventually converted, in 1939, into a public Aquarium and eventually torn down in 1955. Behind the bathhouse, on the left, Turret Cigarettes, originally produced by Ogdens of Liverpool advertises out into the bay. Next door, on the corner of Denman and Davie is the impressive Simpson Apartment Block with its intricate brickwork and architectural accents. It was built in 1919 to accommodate both apartments and commercial outlets, and by 1931 its sidewalk tenants included Safeway and English Bay Drugs. The two BCER streetcars negotiating the corner at Denman and Davie both sport #2 route signs which operated to capacity on sunny weekends. Rocky Roads ice cream can be found at the popular Dreyers. The eclectic jumble of restaurants and cafes lining Denman and Beach Avenue add a beach-promenade atmosphere. At the far right, The Princess Pat Tea Rooms advertises meals at all hours and pacific skinless wieners used, a fine beachside eatery indeed.

The horizon is interrupted twice; the spire of St Johns Presbyterian Church is on the northwest corner of Broughten and Comox and further away appears the roof of the new Hotel Vancouver. The hotels roof has just been completed but paradoxically most construction will be halted for the next 7 years while the Great Depression runs its course.

I populated the scene with Vancouverites, sun seekers, young and old. I painted folks sunning, swimming, playing and gawking. I included a local Mafia dude, one of many that frequented the location, catering to the smuggling and business opportunities arising from Prohibition in the USA. To clothe them correctly, I researched ladies beach wear in 1931 and this revealed surprisingly modern swimwear, much of which was produced by Jantzen Knitting Mills of Canada. Some men actually appear on the beach in full business suits but most were dressed in the new topless trunk style.

Despite the depression, English Bay was a great place to be in 1931. A short streetcar ride from the city, this picture-perfect day-retreat could be afforded and enjoyed by most and for a day at least the worries of the times could be forgotten. After all, thats why we have beaches, isnt it?
-Brian Croft
20" H x 32" W
Price: CA $700.00