The pace of construction is pretty rapid around here. From the balcony, we watch every day as a little more highrise gets built in front of us. It’s actually pretty cool to watch a building being built. There is also a lot of progress being made on the grounds – a new sign just went in at the entrance, and they have planted all sorts of shrubbery that I have to be vigilant about keeping Levi out of.
As I wrote before, the place where we live has a lot of history – the building next door was built as the province’s first Insane Asylum. Even though that building and the Nurse’s Lodge, as well as a couple of others on the site have to be preserved in some fashion, they are nonetheless being altered as the new community is being redeveloped.
Because we have the dog, we walk around the grounds at least a couple times a day. So, I bring you the photo tour of the current state of the former Woodlands grounds.
Centre Building of Woodlands
This is the wall of the Centre Building that is closest to my building, right there as you go down the stairs to the paths. Workers are already clearing out the inside, so some windows have been broken and/or boarded up. Graffiti from people breaking in and exploring the interior is visible. At night, I can’t help but look for ghosts within.
Centre Building, Woodlands
If you walk right around to the front of the old building, you can see the original part of the Centre Building from Woodlands. They are keeping a lot of construction and landscaping equipment there too. Workers, for whatever reason, have begun to remove the stucco exterior, revealing the solid brick walls beneath.
Trees and pathways at Victoria Hill
Even the trees – gorgeous old chestnuts and various conifers – are protected by heritage preservation laws. Cut one of these babies down and the developer would be facing some hefty fines. Woodlands was named for its stately grounds with lots of lawns and trees. Behind our building at least, that character remains. Here you can see the lacy pattern the bare tree branches make. We can’t wait to see these trees in bloom.
Old and New
The Nurses’ Lodge sits on the other side of our building. Right now, it’s being gutted in preparation for renovation into apartments. I wish they had stuck with the plan to turn it into an arts centre. My old apartment was next to a theatre/gallery/museum. James is right- I do like old things. I’m turning into my mother! Somebody turn off the Antiques Roadshow!
Fraser River
I think I’ve always lived near water. Some people might not think it so pretty, but I love the view of the Fraser River with its log booms and tug boats. The mountains, too. A classmate commented that this picture would be better without the cars, but they’re a constant in this scene, too. Below the road, trains thump and screech along at odd hours.
Heritage Trees
The old trees are amazing, aren’t they?
Nurse's Lodge - Detail
This is a detail of the front porches of the Nurses’ Lodge at Woodlands. This the front facade of the house; the other sides look rather plain, almost industrial, in comparison. When the workers are taking materials out of the house, they do it via the back and side doors.
So that’s where we are right now. I’m curious to know what these old buildings will look like 1, 2, 5 years from now. Back to watching the highrise, then.

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