Thursday, October 24, 2013

Turner's/Ian's - Loss of another old building in Victoria

A photo I took one evening in 1988 of Turner's
The building that housed Turner's and Ian's Coffee Stop is now slated to be demolished because it has become too run down to allow it to remain standing.   I understand why it has to happen, but it makes me sad because it figured large in my daily landscape in my early 20s.

For three and a half years in the late 80s I lived a few blocks from this building in an apartment on Duchess Street.   I caught the #14 across the street from Ian's everyday I went up to UVic.   I rarely stopped at Ian's for a coffee in the morning because most days I woke up just in time to catch the bus.

My time there was mainly in the mid afternoons for a late lunch of early dinner.    The place was diner from the 50s without any updating.   It was hip long before anyone of us youth really understood what hip was.

The current street view of the building
I grew up in a non-descrip bland suburb of a large North American city.  My parents bought their house when the suburb was just being built so I grew up in a neighbourhood without character, soul or heritage.  Ian was a character and one my first real introductions to people that were not "suburban".  Ian made the place what it was.  Without it him it would have been a bland run down greasy spoon.

The dated is what people would have called the decor in the 80s, now it would be retro.   The seats were old but this did not stop Ian giving you his card offering protectors for shoes if you ever put a shoe on a seat.
The walls of Ian's were lined with his annual Golden Cup Awards.  He had one special one that was a plaque and a cup on it for 25 straight years of getting the Golden Cup.

The most common person I went to Ian's with was Catherine Novak, she actually went there a lot more than I ever did and once we were dating we often met there for coffee.

Where I live in Duchess Street in the 80s
The store Turner's was nothing great in the 1980s - the major product seemed to be porn magazines.  They had a better selection than almost anywhere else in town at the time.  There was a much better corner store/small grocery on the south east corner so I rarely went in there.

The building had clean lines but was not without ornamentation.   When the tiles along the bottom were clean and complete it gave the building a strong contrasting black line.    The clean lines worked well with the street.   The apartment windows make the building more but I can not explain what I mean by that or how they do it.

The building is of a style that is rare in Victoria, but very reminiscent of parts of Vancouver for me, areas within five to ten blocks of Broadway between Main and Macdonald.   The look and shape of the building takes me back to my childhood and those areas of Vancouver.

As a building it was the right size and shape for the property.  It fits really well there but within a few weeks it will be gone
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