With pen in hand and camera strapped around his neck, Dave Doroghy has visited over 50 different countries. Unlike most of the city’s inhabitants, he was actually born in Vancouver and spent most of his life living and working downtown. Dave Doroghy is an International Sports Marketing Executive who has worked on two consecutive winning Olympic Bids – a unique distinction. Altogether, Dave has 25 years of experience in acquiring sponsors for major international sports initiatives and professional teams in Canada and around the world.
Prior to his career in Sports Marketing, Dave worked in the advertising agency business and in broadcasting, as a radio announcer. Dave now lives on a floating home just outside the city where he raises bees.
Presentation by coauthors Dave Doroghy and Graeme Menzies, introduced by Raymond Greenwood.
- Hendrix’s Grandma’s House
Many people aren’t aware that Jimi Hendrix’s Grandma, Nora, lived in the Strathcona neighbourhood, called Hogan’s Alley, at the time. Nora was involved in the African Canadian community. When African Canadian icons like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, or Sammy Davis Jr would pass through, they’d stop by at Vie’s Chicken and Steak House where Nora worked. Every summer, a young Jimi would come up from Seattle to busk young Jimi would come up from Seattle to busk in the city while staying with his grandma.
- The Billy
This Billy is an unsuspecting pub on a residential street. Step through the charming red door to travel back in time. Named after Billy Bishop, this hidden spot is full of WWI and WWII artifacts, including the largest privately held collection of regimental badges. Take on the challenge of finding the Royal Yacht Britannia’s plaque!
- H Tasting Lounge at the Westin Bayshore
This lounge isn’t just a nice spot for a drink. Back in 1972, Howard Hughes rented out an entire two floors at the attached hotel for six months while evading his taxes here in Canada. Now the lounge is dedicated to him, although they weren’t able to make a more direct tie due to licensing issues.
- Harbour Centre
In 1977, to promote the opening of the new restaurant at the top of the Harbour Centre building, Neil Armstrong stuck his Gucci loafer into a block of wet cement. At the time, the building was the tallest in Vancouver. The idea was that visitors could see his footprints where they’d be as close to the moon as possible in the city. At some point, the footprints disappeared, and no one knows where they are anymore. This gig fetched Mr. Armstrong a mere $5,000 – guess that astronaut pension isn’t that great!
- Hidden Seawall Symbols
Stanley Park is obviously a huge attraction, but there are some hidden treasures to discover. Forty years ago, Dave signed up for a bird-watching tour in Stanley Park with his mom. When no one else showed up, their tour guide showed them some fun symbols along the seawall. James Cunningham built the seawall over 35 years. While he mostly cobbled together any rocks he could find, there is a stretch where you can see stones carved into the shape of Clubs, Spades, Diamonds, and Hearts. There’s also a series of rocks carved to look like a maple leaf, a hockey stick, and a puck!
While shooting a promotional video for the book, two men approached Dave and Graeme to ask if they knew where the symbols were! Apparently, they had recently picked up the book themselves and were now on the hunt.
- Twin Urinals
There is a formula to the success of the 111 guidebooks. Every book needs to have at least one attraction in each of the following categories: a murder mystery, a shipwreck, a ghost story, and, most importantly, a story about a urinal. Dave was stressed trying to find a urinal story. One day, he decided to take a break from book writing to attend a friend’s wedding at Heritage Hall. During a bathroom break, he stumbled upon the only twinned urinal in Canada! He took out his camera and snapped a photo for the book – a risky move in a washroom!
Sure enough, this entry was the one that got the most attention. Since the book has come out, Dave and Graeme have seen people weave the guide into their other interests. For example a group now hosts walking tours of Stanley Park, stopping at all the park’s attractions listed in the book. The loop is 30 km in total! There’s also a bike loop inspired by the book that wraps up at The Billy. Others are on a mission to photograph all of the spots in the book.
Now that the book is out, Dave and Graeme have learned so much more about these attractions and other hidden gems by giving talks like this one. They already have lots of excellent materials for the book’s eventual update. In the meantime, the duo decided to start a podcast called Vancouver Places. A new 10-minute episode drops every Tuesday.
They enjoyed the process of writing the book so much so that they also published “111 Places in Whistler That You Must Not Miss,” which includes stories through the whole Sea to Sky corridor. Of course, with their Olympic involvement, there are many stories about the games to look out for in there. Next on the docket will be 111 Places in Victoria that you must not miss.
Peter Scott thanked the speakers for their excellent presentation.
Recommended Reading and Listening:.
While Dave and Graeme hope that you will grab one of their guidebooks for yourself, they were definitely more interested in encouraging everyone to explore the city and think about Vancouver’s history.
111 Places in Vancouver That You Must Not Miss
111 Places in Whistler That You Must Not Miss
Vancouver Places Podcast
Show Me The Honey: Adventures Of An Accidental Apiarist
Question/Comment from Raymond: Trump Hotel is now closed.
Answer – Dave: It is. It was a licensing deal with an Asian company that bought the license to use the name Trump. We thought we were going to get in trouble for using his image, and nobody seemed to care about it. Arthur Erickson, who designed that building, was going to be a Ritz Carlton.
Answer – Graeme: As a side note, in the Vancouver book, we did a piece on the Trump building. The picture in there isn’t actually Donald Trump. That’s Dave in a Trump mask. So, we had a little bit of fun with that one, and then we thought, you know, that was kind of cheeky fun. So, that’s part of the reason why, when we did the Whistler book, we thought, “well, you know we have to keep it up.” And so, this one we got at Moe Joe’s nightclub where Trudeau was a bouncer, and then again we got Dave in a mask!
Question from Peter Stigings: Have you considered doing a book on the Victoria area?
Answer: That’s the one that we’re considering doing. We’re going to pitch the publishers on Victoria. They came out with a book on Calgary, and they’ve got another one in the works now on Ottawa. Toronto was done too. It’s a really cool series. They’re really onto something. They’ve got a good formula. They print it on nice paper, the reproductions are nice, the cover is embossed. So, it’s almost like a coffee table book in your pocket.
Question from Bob Nash: Do you know John Tanner from CFUN?
Answer – Dave: Yeah, I know John, he’s still kicking around!
Question from Raymond: Dave, could you tell us about your bees.
Answer – Dave: I raise bees in a floating home, and I wrote another book. Graeme’s going to be mad at me for selflessly plugging it. It’s called “Show me the Honey.” Maybe I’ll come back and talk about that one on my own, but somebody said, tell us about your bees. I can’t; I had to write a book about it!
Question from Jon Collins: Have you had much feedback on the activity levels at your 111 sites?
Answer – Dave: Yeah, one of the sites that we have in the book is called City Farmer. There’s a one-acre plot of land at 5th Ave and Maple St. just by the CFUN building. It’s a place where you can go learn about composting and worms. There’s a bunch of plots. They’re right in the middle of the most expensive property in Canada, Kitsilano. There’s an acre where you can go and learn about gardening and composting. The gentleman there, Michael Levenston that runs this place, has become a friend. He gets a lot of people coming by on the weekends with the book that pop by and want to learn about City Farmer. So, it’s directed a lot of people his way, and he bought a bunch of boxes of the book, and he’s now selling them there. So, just anecdotally, yeah, people go to the places we write about, they come with the book, and Michael has counted them! Sometimes I get an email that says, “about four or five people came by this weekend with your book, and they want to see the composting that I do.”
Answer – Graeme: He’s so great, too. We actually had him on one of the episodes for the podcast, and he told us about all kinds of very interesting things, not least of which was human composting. So, if you want that story, listen to the podcast. He’s a really interesting guy, and he’s been a great supporter.
Question from Bill Hooker: Have you thought about writing a book on local architecture?
Answer – Dave: We did a chapter on Arthur Erickson, and then we did a podcast on it. We uncovered a dozen 1820 buildings that he had done in Vancouver. You probably could do a book on that that would be that would be interesting. It’s a very good idea.
Answer – Graeme: Yeah, the architecture is pretty interesting. One of my favourites, and it’s also an Arthur Erickson building, is the Museum of Anthropology. Peter Delaney would know all about this, but he’s not on the call today. One of the things I like about it is that it’s built on top of what used to be a set of three artillery guns that were built in 1939 to protect Vancouver harbour from attack-by-sea during WWII. If you go into the Museum of Anthropology, some of the foundation work is reusing that cement that was poured in the late 1930s. You might recall if you’ve been there, that very famous Bill Reid sculpture of the Raven and the Man in this circular room with a little bit of a dome. That’s actually where artillery shells would have been stored underneath a huge gun. So, the architecture is legitimate in its own right, but very often, there’s a hidden piece of history or another story behind it that’s really fun to look into. So yeah, the architecture angle is kind of neat.
Question from Raymond: Does BC have any chance of the 2030 Olympics?
Answer – Dave: I could bore you to tears. I don’t think I’ll go there because that’s not what this presentation is about, but I think we do have a chance of winning it. John Furlong is spearheading an initiative that got Kai-Bosched when COVID hit. I mean, had it not been for COVID, this would have been more advanced, but they got put to the side, and I am very interested in our chances for 2030, and I think we do have a good chance.
Answer: Graeme: Well, maybe just related to that. One of the challenges for the Whistler book was to not put in too much Olympic stuff in there. There’s just such a legacy of the Olympics there, and to the question about 2030, a lot of it is still serviceable. It’s working. So, yeah, we’ve got a biathlon site there, we’ve got a ski jump site, we’ve got lots of infrastructure and facilities there that can still be used. There’s also the Richmond Oval here and other places here like the curling rink that could be reused. There’s a lot of infrastructure that could just be reused.
Question from Hugh Robinson: What have you learned about book publishing from your new German colleagues (Emons)?
Answer – Dave: I’ll tell you a couple of things anecdotally. First of all, the city of Cologne is a real publishing city. Germany is a very literate country that is really into reading, I think more so than Canada. And then I went to visit, not far from Cologne, and there’s the city where Gutenberg invented the frickin’ press! So, they’ve got a museum dedicated to Gutenberg and the printing press, and then you’ve got the city of Cologne that has dozens of publishers and Germans love to travel. I coincidentally happen to be wearing the t-shirt that I bought when I was over there. I really enjoyed meeting Mrs. Emons (Mr. Emons was out of town) and discussed publishing. The worldwide book fair, the biggest book fair in the world with every single book seller and buyer in the world, takes place in Frankfurt every year. It’s a massive event, and Emons has a huge display where buyers and distributors come to place their orders for the following year. So, to me, Germany and book publishing go hand-in-hand. And they’ve been wonderful to work with it, and they’re very disciplined, very precise, they what they’re doing. We’re honoured to be two of their writers, and we want to do more work with them.
Answer – Graeme: Let me just add in on that. One of the things that’s been interesting to me about working on this project, and Dave sort of tongue-in-cheek saying its big publishing, but there is an established formula. When we’re writing, I think it’s 1865 characters per story, that’s including the spaces in between words, the target for how long your passages can be. And that’s a really interesting kind of challenge. Normally, when you’re writing your bee book, Dave, you can just go on and on and on and on, you know? They want as much as you can say. On this other book project, I’m working on as well. It means you can go pretty much as long as you want, so long as you’re not boring people to death. But, with a project like this, you’ve got that left-hand page, and it’s got to be this long, and when we get into the final strokes, you know we’re arguing over, should there be a carriage return here because that’s going to change the length of the page. You really need to thread the needle on your writing, and that is a different way of thinking about writing, and it was a fun challenge. You’re trying to get information in there, you’re also trying to be entertaining, but you’ve got to keep it within this little formula.
Question from Mark: Have you written about the Erikson Gardens on West 14th? It’s open for tours, and it’s quite amazing.
Answer – Dave: Now I grew up in Vancouver on 11th and Crown. I graduated from Lord Bing High School in 1976. So, when I was 12 or 13, we visited the Erickson House. We talked about it in the book in the chapter on Arthur Erickson. We talked about the house that he had that had a really cool design. I didn’t know the exact address, and I really want to thank Mark for saying that it’s on West 14th. I wasn’t sure exactly where it was. I don’t know if anybody knows anything about Arthur Erickson’s house and wants to pipe in. Is it still standing? Not knowing the exact address, I don’t know if it is standing, but Erickson lived in a cool house that I saw as a kid with a neat design. That was the host of this cool architect Arthur Erickson; he’s designing SFU! He’s going to build the MacBlo building, this guy, that’s his house! That’s my recollection of Arthur Erickson on West 14th. So that’s fantastic. I wish I had known that when I was writing the book because we just use that as a side note, the book was about his large commercial ventures, but that’s really cool to know. We always learned something about this and, and I’m going to do that and go visit the gardens. Very cool.
Answer – Graeme: I’ve made a note on that one because when we do the updated version, maybe that’s one that replaces CFUN.
We also have in there the VanDusen Botanical Gardens, but we took a different angle on that one. Instead of just saying, you know what you might expect, which is to go see these beautiful gardens, I found in there a very unique sculpture. It’s the only one by this particular gentleman, a botanist that sailed with Vancouver. It’s kind of hidden. Again, it wasn’t in a very prominent spot, so that was a really unique little find. So, we framed the chapter around that, but of course, you have to go to the Botanical Gardens in order to see it.
Question from Bob Nash: Have you considered writing a book about casinos and money laundering in Vancouver?
Answer – Dave: We have not considered doing a book on money laundering.
Answer – Graeme: Although we did do a book on the Reifel Bird Sanctuary, which is pretty much about birds but there’s an interesting angle in there about his rum-running and some of the other buildings and businesses that he was involved in. Yeah, that was one of those cases where I would have liked to Raymond Greenwood introduced our speakers, Dave Doroghy and Graeme Menzies.
Dave and Graeme were thanked by Raymond Greenwood