from Ships Log, while sailing on the Spirit in 2002
All and all, I was having a rather nice day wandering aimlessly through downtown Vancouver. That is, until I came to Grandville and Smith; that is when I saw, her.
She had obviously seen better days, but I could still see the beauty that was hidden beneath the age and neglect.
People walked by without seeing her, without so much as a glance in her direction. She had become invisible, to tourists and locals alike. But not to me. Of course, I have always been attracted to her kind.
I wonder if the youth of today even know of her kind. A theater with only one screen?
The Paradise was built in 1954. I know this because a homeless man saw me staring at her.
“The year of our lord nineteen hundred and fifty four. That’s when she opened.” His voice was scratchy and full of phlegm. He wandered away, still talking and coughing.
I looked back at the old theater; she had made it through the millennium celebration, but just barely. Her ornate golden doors were shut last year, again the old homeless man.
Now workers were “gutting” her. They tore chairs, cabinets and walls with reckless abandon. It seemed as if they enjoyed what there were doing. Or maybe, just maybe, they did not. Maybe they worked with such, fervor, because they wanted to put her out of her misery as fast as they could. Maybe they too had fond memories of her…Wishful thinking I suppose.
The last movie she played was ‘The Green Mile’. What incredible irony. As this once grand lady walks down her last mile, I wonder will she be renovated. Will they ‘remake’ her? Or, will they tear her down, completely?
Either way this is sadly, another Paradise lost.