End near for historic building with a naughty past
A 100-year-old building with a storied - and sometimes naughty - history could soon be torn down in Vancouver's West End to make way for a 20-storey rental and market housing tower.
The building, at 1215 Bidwell Street, is currently occupied by a cabaret, Maxine's Hideaway.
The cabaret's name is a nod to Scottish immigrant Maxine McGillvary, who opened a beauty school at the location in the early 1900s.
The beauty school then became a brothel, complete with secret underground tunnels that would run clients and liquor to the brothel.
Today, Maxine's ghost is known to haunt the building.
"You cannot recreate this. This place has over a hundred years of being a focal point of the West End community. This place has touched so many lives," said owner J.D. Henderson, owner of the Broadway-style cabaret.
Henderson pointed out remnants of the Edwardian house that McGillvary built on the site, including a century-old banister and archways.
"It's held up very well. This place is solid," he said.
Henderson's wife, Leigh Torlage, a choreographer, acknowledges that the building has "a bit of a sketchy history," but "it's history nevertheless, it is a part of Vancouver."
"It's always sad to see something go that's been around for a long time," she said.
If the city approves a new development on the site, only the fa�ade of Maxine's will be preserved.
The proposed development goes to a public hearing Thursday night.
Henderson expects that it will be approved.
"I will walk away from this knowing I have done more than I think anybody would have expected and we will re-create another venue," he said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Shannon Paterson