Freezing in Jericho: a wintry photo of Vancouver’s historic hostel

Winter at Jericho, Vancouver, BC

Hostel, Jericho, Vancouver, 1985

The world-renowned Jericho Hostel, situated near one of Vancouver’s most beautiful beaches, arose in 1971 from derelict military barracks, following a battle between regressive city administrators and hippy squatters. When I moved to Point Grey, in 1984, Jericho Beach became my favourite hangout … next to clothing-optional Wreck Beach, on the southwest side of the point.

Clothing, and plenty of it, was essential during November ’85, as temperatures dipped to a record-breaking -15℃. I found myself shivering in a cold studio with no idea how I would pay the rent.

At the last moment, Rabbits Design hired me to do some darkroom work, printing images for an advertising campaign promoting paper mill machinery.

My journal records that several nights were “spent freezing my ass off in Gordon Pritchard’s basement darkroom. Luckily, the printing … does not require permanence [it was impossible to keep chemicals warm] .”

That brought in $115 — enough to buy more film, some of which I blew on the shoot that produced the snowy Jericho image, looking across Locarno Park to the former military barracks. Another one of my entrepreneurial sidelines — distributing hair-care products — saved me from eviction at the end of the month.

Prints of the snowy Jericho image are available in the Eighties Vancouver Sales Gallery.

As if that wasn’t adventure enough, the frigid temperatures lured me out into the North Shore Mountains, on the 24th of the month, with fellow climber Dave Harris of Acheson-Harris Design (who shared space with Rabbits on Beatty Street) to pioneer an ice-climb on the north side of the Lions peaks, ascending a great drool of ice, cascading down the vertical north wall of the West Lion, in the shadowed amphitheatre at the head of Harvey Creek.

We named our route “Advertising Executives in Space.”


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