Here is Jon-Paul Walden, former theatre manager of the Vogue, reflecting on his experiences with the contemporary era Vogue Theatre.

Museum of Vancouver

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Sixty years after the Vogue first opened its doors, Jon-Paul Walden became
the theatre manager, a job he kept from 2001 to 2006. He spent many hours
maintaining the Vogue’s neon sign. Here is Jon-Paul Walden reflecting on his experiences with the contemporary era Vogue Theatre.

When I was running the Vogue I had to dabble with the neon constantly. It was
sort of my pet project. I love the effect it had turning it on at night. And so I would
work with it the best I could because it’s a very expensive project.

Granville Street has changed dramatically in the years since Jon-Paul left his
post at the Vogue in 2006. Thinking back to his time working there in the early
2000s, Jon-Paul recalls a very different downtown core.

I remember working at the Vogue and Seymour was dicey then. I mean, I know
that, unfortunately the prostitution ring had sort of moved into Seymour Street, so
I remember walking down Seymour and it was a little sketchy. Now it’s the
complete opposite.

Life on the street has changed since the days Jon-Paul worked at the Vogue,
too. Here, he recalls his relationships with people who lived in the alleys behind
the theatre.

There were a number of street people that lived in that alley. So you’d have
to learn to deal with that and work with that and work with them. Because
essentially, they’re the caretakers of the street at night, however they wanted to.
So you, particularly with the Vogue, which opened its doors in the alley, half of
its traffic came in from the backdoor, so I would try and work with these people
because they had an understanding of what was going on and they became the
stewards of the streets and my protectors at times and would be warning me
of certain things. Because they knew the streets better than I did, or anybody,

We now experience a more cleaned-up Granville Street than the one Jon-Paul
remembers from the early 2000s. He has mixed feelings about the change.

Whether it’s shifted for the better? I suppose so. Is it more interesting? I wouldn’t
say so. ‘Cause I do find that street life and that organic kind of existence very
real. And we have this ability in Vancouver, I suppose, to just to wipe it clean and
push it away and, as opposed to really working with it and understanding it and
sort of, taking on the responsibility of what we’ve created as a society instead of
sweeping it underneath to the next street to the next street.

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