Vancouver Heritage Foundation Weekly: First Sikh Temple, Mountain View Cemetery and The Chicken Coop, Oh My!


The Vancouver Heritage Foundation is a registered charity supporting the conservation of heritage buildings and structures in recognition of their contribution to the city’s economy, sustainability and culture.

There are endless wonderful events happening around the city this weekend (in glorious sunshine, no less!), and if you are in the mood for some real first-hand Vancouver historic celebrations, join us at three free commemorations that will be making history…

Gurdwara Front Steps, 1866 West 2nd Ave, Kitsilano c. 1950s. Photo courtesy of the Kohaly Collection at Simon Fraser University.

If you don’t recognize this beautiful structure or know much about its history, Saturday at 1pm is an amazing chance to celebrate the First Sikh Gurdwara (Temple) that stood here at 1866 W. 2nd (now 1860 W. 2nd).  Serious history with seriously cool stories.  Come and hear some, and meet those who remember a Kits different from the one we know today…

#32  Saturday September 15th: First Sikh Temple in North America
1pm sharp plaque presentation at the front entrance of 1860 W. 2nd Ave near Cypress followed by a reception at East India Carpets, 1606 W. 2nd, two blocks away. Limited Parking. Please carpool, walk or transit.


“Built in 1908 by the Khalsa Diwan Society, the 2nd Avenue Gurdwara was the first Sikh Temple in North America. It was the center for spiritual, political, and social life for Indians of all faiths and stood at the forefront of social justice campaigns for immigration reform and regaining the right to vote in 1947. The nearby blocks were home to many in the community and close to the False Creek sawmills where they worked. Sold in 1970, after many years of fundraising to build the Ross Street Temple, the 2nd Avenue Gurdwara lives on in the stories of the community pioneers.”

From 1-1:30pm, expect  pioneer families in attendance,  City officials, a prayer, short speeches and maybe a little dancing and music!

Arial view of Mountain View Cemetery, west of Fraser St, between 31st Ave and 43rd Ave. 106 acres. Image submitted by Nominator.

If you can’t make the 1pm Sikh Temple presentation, head on over to Mountain View Cemetery  for a sure to be busy bicycle tour (1:15pm-3:15pm). The end point will be the start of  our short plaque presentation located near Caradoc Evans’ gravesite, in the first burials area of the cemetery starting at 3:30pm.

#33  Saturday September 15th: Mountain View Cemetery 3:30-3:45pm plaque presentation at the South corner of 33rd & Fraser within the cemetery grounds.  Feel free to bike or wander 106 acres afterward!

“The 43 hectare Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver’s only cemetery, saw its first burial in February 1887 and is the resting place of more than 145,000 souls. Significant events are commemorated through the burial of victims from shipping disasters, railway crashes, avalanches and two world wars. The cemetery is the resting place for a number of Vancouver mayors, city firemen, police officers and ordinary citizens and from the beginning has been open to all Vancouverites.”

Loretta Lynn of "Honky Tonk Girl" fame c. 1959.Taken in her home in Custer, Washington.

And if you’re up for more, there’s a Coopenanny block party taking place Sunday 12-4pm (12pm plaque presentation), sharing history at Riverfront Park about Loretta Lynn’s time in a South Vancouver Chicken Coop in 1959 (now a private residence)! Don a cowboy hat for this country theme celebration and hear musical guests, Viper Central.

#34 Sunday September 16th: The Chicken Coop 12:15pm presentation, 12-4pm “Coopenanny”,  Riverfront Park, 2750 SE Kent Ave. near Jellicoe at the covered picnic area. See map here.

“Country music legend Loretta Lynn was discovered in 1959 singing at a jam session in a large chicken coop in the 2500-block East Kent Avenue that Ernest Clare ‘Mac’ McGregor and his wife Irene Loranger had converted to a dance hall. Local promoter Johnny ‘Zapp’ Zaplotynsky invited Lynn, who was living across the border in Custer, Washington, to attend. Zero Records president Don Grashey and his business partner Chuck Williams attended and thought the gal had potential. By the summer of 1960, her first single, I’m a Honky Tonk Girl, was climbing the charts.”

More information about Loretta Lynn’s history in Vancouver and more, check out:

If you attend a plaque celebration and want to share photos with us, we’d love to hear from you! Please email, as we’d love to add your images to our Places That Matter facebook page.

Check out all VHF happenings on  twitter and facebook ! Have a great weekend!