About the Living History Series

The Hastings Crossing BIA (HxBIA) Living History Series celebrates people, places and moments in time experienced in the HxBIA area throughout its rich history through;

STORY TELLERS:  These are the people who are our living historians, intimately connected to the past and able to share their lived experiences through spoken words and music.

ARTIFACTS:  These are the living photographs, books, newspaper articles, drawings, painting and sculpture, films and videos that exist to document those iconic people, places and moments in time.

SPACES:  These are the buildings, windows and spaces in between, which are our living gallery spaces across the HxBIA where stories can be told and artifacts are displayed.

Most, if not all of these have shaped the social, political, economic and cultural history of the area and our city. This year we are focused on the Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret, which has had a notorious reputation that can be traced back to the 1950’s. 

Chapter 1 - A Living History Series - An Introduction

As an introduction to this special project created by the HXBIA, we hear from former chair Heather O'Hara and Vice Chair Wes Regan on how the project came together and the signifigance of the vision that is the Living History Series. 

Chapter 2 - Origins of the Buddha

The Smilin’ Buddha in the post war 50’s was initially built as a miniature copy of the Shang Hai supper club in a flourishing downtown east side. The venue was originally owned by adored international Yo-Yo Champion ‘Harvey Lowe’, ..!  We interview historian Faye Leung ,Red Robinson, Henry Young, Jayson Hoover and others on their personal memories of this special era. 

Chapter 3 - Hendrix at the Buddha..?

This segment will focus on the Buddha through the sixties era.   This also includes the many rumors that guitar legend ‘Jimi Hendrix’ may of graced the stage in the late sixties…and then some! We interview Lenny Seimens, Ray Fulbar and the owner of infamous Hendrix shrine!

Chapter 4 - A Punk Rock Family!

The Buddha became a notorious hang-out for the bloody and embowed during a brief time in the late seventies and early eighties. Nowhere else could a scene such as this existed in Vancouver...Punk rock was in full swing at the Smilin’ Buddha ..!! We interview Joe Keithley of DOA, Neil Osborne and Brad Merrit of 54•40, Art Bergman and many, many others!! 



Chapter 5 - A New Chapter for the Buddha!

The Smilin' Buddha rises from the ashes as the SBC Cafe in 2014. We talk to a number of characters at ceremony for the building's induction as an official heritage site. Owers Malcom and Andrew explain the vision for the Buddha!  We interview Scott Beadle and April Porter, Bev Davies, Michael Whilmore and many others!

Purpose: To remind people, in and outside of the HxBIA, of the area’s deep history and influence while encouraging people to explore the area, its businesses, and to learn more about it. This cross town neighbourhood, considered the “edgy part of the city” is a home to inspire and hone artists, artisans, musicians and chef’s alike.