Kevin Dale McKeown recalls a recent visit with his parents to see the Great White Way for the first time. But not everyone has the same immediate affection for the new light installation. Civic historian John Atkin has mixed feelings about it.

Museum of Vancouver

© 2012, Museum of Vancouver. All Rights Reserved.


Transcript

NARRATOR
Kevin Dale McKeown recalls a recent visit with his parents to see the Great
White Way for the first time.

KEVIN DALE MCKEOWN
My parents are in their nineties.

We had occasion a few weeks ago to come downtown at night. So we decided
to come down across the Granville Street Bridge, ‘cause Mom and Dad had not
seen those new vertical lights.

And so we wanted them to see that. It makes quite an impression as you come
over the bridge and head down Granville Street. And Mom, oh they were both
very impressed, and Mom said, “My gosh, it’s just like it used to be.”

You know, it has that, that feeling of being you know, the main drag, the heart of
the city that we lost for so many years and it’s back again.

NARRATOR
We’ve just heard from Kevin Dale McKeown on his appreciation for the return
of light and life to Granville Street through the 2010 installation of the Great
White Way. Not everyone has the same immediate affection for the new light
installation. Civic historian John Atkin has mixed feelings about it.

JOHN ATKIN
The Great White Way was sort of an accident because all of the light on the
street combined to create, from a distance, that white strip of light. I’m not totally
sold on the literal sort of idea of white light making the Great White Way. I have
a minor concern that that much light blocks the ability of new signs to actually
stand on the street to contribute to things.

I think I would have taken every second one out and not had such a strong piece
because I think that overrules some of the ideas around sort of the, sort of the
randomness of signs on buildings and that sort of idea of just a more sort of
organic construction of things.


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