A Last Conversation
The sunlight was icy blue in its clarity last Thursday afternoon, one of those days in Vancouver when the wet curtain pulls back and if you’ve chosen the right spot to be, you will be vastly rewarded. Jim Green’s voice on the telephone described the panorama before him. “I have these beautiful views of our beautiful, beautiful city. My apartment overlooks right down Cordova Street. I can see the Lions. It’s just glorious.” All of this was visible to Green because he lived on the 12th floor of the Woodward’s Building. Jim Green, of course, was the reason there was a Woodward’s building. For 10 years, the Downtown Eastside’s iconic department store sat boarded up until Green led the city’s effort to purchase it from the provincial government for $5 million, hold community consultations and design competitions, and get built the eccentric amalgam of social housing, higher education, arts spaces, retail, and swish digs that Woodward’s is today.