Photo Credit: Christine Leviczky Riek
Photo Source: VHF
A 2019 redevelopment application has been made for this mixed use upper level residential unit and ground floor commercial space.
4392-4394 Main St, Vancouver BC
The ground level store at 4392-4394 Main Street was built around 1913-1914 and the first occupant was Donald McLean’s grocery store, which remained here until 1917. The house on the upper level was added in 1923, when the building was owned by J.R. Novell. A redevelopment application has been made in 2019 by Joe Muego of Hearth Architectural Inc. In 2020 an antique shop occupies the main floor and Joe’s Bottle and Paint depot operates at the back of the property.
By the “Art Queen” Susi Milne: Local Artists, some practicing, others rebels (& famous today!) had lived up the steps here, secretly passing the lease on to other Artists over many years! We all grooved on the suite, originally purpose built to be a VERY swanky art deco residence; with beautiful glazed French doors, spacious rooms, and the signature fine cherry wood wainscoting popular then in Vancouver.
Positioned kitty-corner to the local liquor store, and fitted out with huge oversized windows to lean out of, it had a view of Main Street “activity” like no other.
I had the pleasure and privilege to live in the glorious rooms upstairs here for over a decade. It became ‘action central’ for the thriving and boisterous Vancouver Art scene! Over time, it was aptly designated the Party Palace …my own eon or so there can be characterized as a thoroughly intemperate, but highly creative decade. Community artistic celebrations abounded! An entire social scene grew up around my UBC citr radio show “Cocktails w MC900 ft SUSI” – people would regularly tune in on Friday nights and then head over to the Party Palace for a wild weekend of fun and creativity!
Mega dance parties, performance art parties, poetry readings, spontaneous analog & sound art making… and every daytime whomever was there was a obligated to join in with the joyful drawing and painting around the big table, along with our “serious 90″s cocktails”, cigarettes, and of course good old Mary Jane!
The DJ station was the only piece of furniture actually grounded or earthed in the apartment. State of the art turntables were anchored to their center by strong beams that stabilized a huge wood-burning fireplace constantly lit with roaring Twinkie logs. Above it he mantelpiece a most beautiful feature of the suite – antique stained glass windows that twinkled and beckoned in the northern light.
When we had our great parties the elegant old building rocked for city blocks; the boards bouncing up and down like it was the Commodore Ballroom’s horsehair under-flooring! We were rarely tapped by naysayers – even with the constant boom of techno and trance and all other pop music thrown in…! We had no residential neighbours! Just commercial businesses on either side…and it was FABULOUS for sound.
The upstairs suite at McLean Grocery Store was central to a lot of the splendid analogue creativity that happened in the last decade before the internet. I’m grateful and proud to have been the resident Art Queen during the 80s and 90s at this beautiful heritage building in Vancouver.