Astoria Motor Hotel
This one-of-a-kind home to the respected Astoria Boxing Club from '77 ' '98 in the basement, Hawks and Hastings 'Palace of Pirates,' is situated in the heart of Vancouver's oldest neighbourhood of Strathcona. Turn-of-the-century houses, original industrial warehouses, rooming houses and the container ship dockyards perimeter this 1910, hallmark Motor Hotel with classic neon signature signage featuring the vigorous seven flashing stars. A long history as a workingman's destination; longshoremen, merchant marines, loggers, miners, fishermen. Today a slumlord syndicate tenement, infamous for an ongoing record of lodger bullying, dilapidated rooms and plumbing, maintenance bylaw violations, infestations of rodents, cockroaches and bedbugs. Reputed to be a shill for drug-dealing, welfare fraud, and fencing of stolen goods. In an ironic twist of events a recent regime of surface restoration is in motion. The ruptured neon sign has undergone a complete remake and revival, as has the 60's canopy box-sign over the sidewalk. A newly applied smile has been painted upon Astoria's peeling face. The sunken parking-lot, through tangled wire gate at the side, long taken for granted as trick turning turf in vehicles, has leapt into community service as a full-on organic urban vegetable garden plot called 'Astoria Garden'. Run by 'United We Can' non-profit SOLE food program, to train and feed residents of the neighbourhood. This neon resurrection is a shining light on Vancouver's urbane renaissance.