Thursday, May 22, 2003

Underneath the big W

Neon sign fans may be pleased to know that the old spinning W on the top of the old Woodward's building in Vancouver is going to be turned on again.

For those who you who don't hail from Vancouver, Woodward's was a small chain of B.C. department stores known for its one-price sales and an advertising jingle ("$1.49 day, Woodward's, $1.49 day, Tuesday."). The Woodward's store on Hastings St. was a local landmark because at the top of the store there was a small tower with a giant revolving W. When the W was turned on, you could see it halfway across the city.

Woodward's went bankrupt in 1993, and ever since then the old store building has been a source of wrangling for years as the activists living in the neighbourhood want the entire building to be turned into social housing (they have frustrated several efforts by private owners of the building--the city of Vancouver owns it now--to put in a mix of housing and office space).

Donors have paid $25,000 to have the W lit for a year, as a sign of hope for the neighbourhood (which is Vancouver's skid road). It's being relit for the first time tonight.