BEP or Bruce Eriksen Place is named after you guessed it: Mr. Bruce Eriksen
This website and BEPRA are in honor of his work and in recognition of the 20th Year Anniversary of BEP.
Some History and Background:
Created By: © John McILwraith Founder and Coordinator of B.E.P. Residents Association 2018
About Bruce Ericksen and B.E.P.
The late Bruce Eriksen, a Vancouver downtown eastside community activist, organizer, community leader and six time City Of Vancouver Alderman .
He was involved with fellow DERA ( Downtown Eastside Residents’ Association ) activist Libby Davies, who went on to become NDP member of Parliament for Vancouver-East from 1997 to 2015, House Leader for the New Democratic Party (NDP) from 2003 to 2011, and the Deputy Leader of the party from 2007 until 2015
Bruce ran for City Council and was elected in 1980 on his fifth try. He remained on Council as a member of the Committee of Progressive Electors (COPE) team until his retirement in 1993. He died March 16, 1997.
A short video biography on Bruce Ericksen featuring Libby Davies.
Tribute to Bruce Eriksen, Pt. 1 of 3
Tribute to Bruce Eriksen, Pt. 2 of 3
Tribute to Bruce Eriksen, Pt. 3 of 3
More than any other individual, Bruce Eriksen was responsible for the rebirth of the neighborhood now known as the Downtown Eastside and its recognition as a residential community eclipsing the neighborhood’s old image as ‘Skid Road.’ Bruce ran away from Winnipeg’s Knowles School for Boys at the age of twelve, riding the freight trains to the West Coast. He worked in the resource industries of British Columbia until injuring his back on the Knight Street Bridge. He painted pictures and murals for hotels in the Downtown Eastside. By the age of thirty he was an alcoholic. After putting himself into rehab, he got a chance to see what he was doing to himself.
As the founder and first president of the Downtown Eastside Residents Association (DERA) in the early 1970s, Bruce’s fight to improve conditions in the hotels, especially fire safety, saved innumerable lives, and he was instrumental in the establishment of the Carnegie Community Centre.
April 1, 1997, Carnegie Newsletter https://issuu.com/carnegienewsletter/docs/april_1__1997__carnegie_newsletter
Part of Mr Eriksen’s legacy is an 8 Story Building in the heart of downtown Vancouver (380 Main Street) it bears the name of Bruce Eriksen and is know as Bruce Eriksen Place.
2018 is it’s 20th Anniversary year!
Completed in 1998 within a year of Bruce’s death. Sadly Bruce did not get to see the final product. Currently B.E.P. is part of NHS a non profit housing society. Providing clean safe affordable housing.
BEP was constructed on City of Vancouver owned land and granted a 50 year land lease.
Jim Green: Up until his death in February of 2012, Jim tenaciously promoted the inclusion of the marginalized poor, the homeless, artists, and others. His socially innovative projects included: BladeRunners, the Portland Hotel Society, Four Corners Community Savings, the expansion of the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, and the Woodward’s redevelopment. Much of his work continues to benefit Vancouver. Jim’s work has impacted thousands of Vancouver residents and continues to alter the fabric of the city to this day.
You can see that listed among his accomplishments on his foundation page is Bruce Erikson Place. http://jimgreenfoundation.com/jims-work/
Before Jenny was elected to public office she championed for and helped secured the creation of Bruce
Eriksen Place. Jenny was the BC government’s lead in developing the Vancouver Agreement, a ground-breaking initiative promoting health, safety and well-being in the Downtown Eastside. Re-elected as an MLA in 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2013, Jenny’s work on behalf of our community has consistently been recognized by East Vancouver voters.
” Tonight in Metro Vancouver, 3,605 people will be spending the night homeless. A substantial number of these individuals reside in my riding of Vancouver East.”
Her tireless efforts were recognized once again in 2015, when Van East residents voted overwhelmingly to send her to Ottawa, to continue the fight for a Canada where no one is left behind. She currently serves as the NDP’s Critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, as well as Critic for Multiculturalism. She serves as Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.
Gregory Henriquez – Architect
Gregory’s work has been honoured with numerous design awards, including BC Lieutenant Governor’s Medals in Architecture for the Coal Harbour Community Centre and Bruce Eriksen Place, and a Governor General’s Medal in Architecture for the Lore Krill Housing Co-op. A member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Gregory holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Distinction from Carleton University. He studied at McGill University’s Master of Architecture Program in History and Theory and has taught at the University of British Columbia and the Emily Carr University of Art + Design.
“Design is the mortar in social housing that works.” By: Trevor Boddy
“Gregory Henriquez, the Vancouver architect at the forefront of social housing innovation as a partner at the design firm founded by his father, Richard. Henriquez Jr. is the key designer for three highly original designs at the leading edge of social housing thinking — not just for this city, but continent-wide: Bruce Eriksen Place; the Lore Krill Co-op; and the massive Woodwards mixed-use redevelopment.
All three projects are found in a handsome new book on the young architect’s work to date, an amply-illustrated volume with the somewhat ponderous title of Towards An Ethical Architecture: Issues Within the Work of Gregory Henriquez.
Mr. Henriquez got thoroughly grounded in the tough realities of inner-city social housing with his first major project, Bruce Eriksen Place, on Main St. near Hastings St.
This eight-storey block contains 35 studio apartments, each 430 square feet each, and is named after a pioneering advocate for housing for the poor and community improvement in the Downtown Eastside. At the architect’s insistence, a large mural and conceptual art piece featuring painted words associated with the activist’s causes covers portions of Bruce Eriksen Place’s Main Street façade, its extended concrete frame a good neighbour to the 1950s Modernism of the police headquarters next door.
Bruce Eriksen died two decades* ago, but he set the template for Vancouver’s subsequent advocates for our poorest of the poor — ex-councillor Jim Green, the Portland Hotel Society and its offshoots…”
As you can see Bruce Ericsken Place is a shining example of long term success in affordable housing in Vancouver. Something the above mentioned champions made possible in what now is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live.
At the time of this writing a man living on the 4th floor has lived here for 20 years an original applicant and tenant. Many residents have been here for more than 10 years, a number still over 15 years some 18 years.
In a neighborhood abundant in less than ideal housing and socioeconomic conditions BEP has survived amazingly well. 20 years in there are the usual things here and there that need attention but all in all she is a solid building in deed.
In honour of BEP’s 20th Year Anniversary BEPRA has come to be to look after and keep the spirit of good will and positive community as was Bruce’s anf Jim’s vision. They would have wanted BEPRA to be thriving and productive.