Cook Street Village Paintings

I moved with my family to the Cook Street Village in 1984 and lived there until 2010. Change was - and is - relentless in the village, with virtually every building being renovated or replaced. Even so, the towering horse chestnut trees wrap this little block of shops in a homey embrace. Over the years I painted it in all weather and from many points of view. 
 

Oxford Foods 

Oxford Foods is at the corner of Oxford and Cook Streets. This painting shows it as it was in about 1982, with the IDA drugstore across the way (later to become The Beagle pub) and the Tudor Rose Tearoom (now Rosie’s Diner) and the Social Credit Party’s constituency office (now Surroundings interior furnishings). At that time Cook Street Village really was a village.
acrylic on wooden panel, 16 x 20 inches. $950.
 
 

acrylic on wooden panel, 16 x 20 inches. $950.

Cook Street Sidewalk

Looking south on the east side of Cook Street, I was standing on the sidewalk in front of Kay’s Korner, a second-hand furniture shop which has been there for about 30 years. Karen, the proprietor, grew up in the store when her parents began it. Over the years a substantial amount of our furniture was carried home from Kay’s Korner.
On the left side of this view is the hairdresser’s, and then the fruit and flowers of the Cook Street Marketplace take over the sidewalk.
acrylic on wooden panel, 12 x 16 inches. $750
 
 

acrylic on wooden panel, 12 x 16 inches. $750

Cook Street Marketplace

The Cook Street Marketplace is a local legend. Most of the activity takes place not in the building but in a roofed-over outdoor space, with buckets and bins of produce moved out onto the sidewalk each day. The convenience was a great factor but it was the presence of John de Jong, a guitar-playing Dutchman, which really made the place. He was there just about every day of the week, encouraging passers-by with his “nice potatoes”.
acrylic on wooden panel, 18 x 20 inches. $1200

acrylic on wooden panel, 18 x 20 inches. $1200

The Sunbrite Laundromat 

The Sunbrite Laundromat was another Cook Street Institution. It was a personal project of the Greek man who owned the restaurant next door, and this was a laundromat with heart. His able staff kept an eye on things, and the place was clean and open long hours. People came from all over the city to wash their clothes here. One day I photographed a wedding party having their picture taken at the front door.
acrylic on wooden panel, 18 x 24 inches. $1400
 

acrylic on wooden panel, 18 x 24 inches. $1400

Food  Country

When I first lived in the Cook Street Village there were two grocery stores facing one another across the street. Oxford Foods on the east side has remained, but Food Country, which was formerly known as Shop Easy, was built over by the Pharmasave project. Those stores kept each other on their toes and we were well served. 
acrylic on wooden panel, 18 x 24 inches. $1400
 

acrylic on wooden panel, 18 x 24 inches. $1400

The Fish and Chips Shop

In the 1980s I painted a number of shops in a strip along the west side of Cook between Sutlej and Oliphant - Cofield’s Meats and Grace Wilson Clothiers. When they closed up shop a fish and chips store opened on the corner, and eventually spread through the store next door. It was a basic cafe, and because the coffee was so much cheaper than Starbucks up the street it had the guaranteed patronage of the seniors of the neighbourhood.
interior view: acrylic on wooden panel, 18 x 24 inches. $2400
on the sidewalk: acrylic on wooden panel, 9 x 12 inches. $475

acrylic on wooden panel, 9 x 12 inches. $475

Rosie’s Diner

This little two-storey building is next to Oxford Foods. Over the years many businesses have come and gone. The book store at the right end was a television repair shop, Telev-Wauthy. Rozie’s Diner was years before The Tudor Rose Tea Room, and then some young restaurateurs tried a top-end dining establishment. When neither of those worked out, the lady from the fish and chips shop moved in when she was expropriated across the street. She’s really made it work.
acrylic on wooden panel, 12 x 16 inches. $725

acrylic on wooden panel, 12 x 16 inches. $725

Bubby Rose’s Bakery - the Interior

This is where it all began. From these modest beginnings the owners expanded into larger and newer surroundings, and their success has been continual. This was painted on location in the shop.
acrylic on wooden panel, 12 x 16 inches. $725

acrylic on wooden panel, 12 x 16 inches. $725

The Oxford Arms Pub in Snow

The old IDA Pharmacy and much else was demolished and the neighbourhood was canvassed regarding the opening of a neighbourhood pub. This was a fairly new idea, and the neighbours were not pleased. The battle went on for a couple of years, but eventually it opened as The Oxford Arms. A lovely clock was contributed as a community asset. As far as I know the clock has never been right more than twice a day. When the original owners moved on, it became The Flying Beagle, and since then has been The Beagle. Despite our fears, it did not ruin the neighbourhood.
acrylic on wooden panel, 12 x 16 inches. $750

acrylic on wooden panel, 12 x 16 inches. $750

Starbucks and Pic-a-Flic in Blossom Time

The first Starbucks on Vancouver Island opened at Cook and Pendergast in the former offices of the Workman’s Compensation Board. I couldn’t believe a coffee shop would need so much space. It’s been a solid hit since the doors opened. Next to it was Pic-a-Flic, a proudly independent video rental shop. I recall back in the old days when I rented a player as well as a tape - VCR or Betamax? The collection of films was outstanding then and got moreso every week.
acrylic on wooden panel, 12 x 16 inches. $750

acrylic on wooden panel, 12 x 16 inches. $750