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2023 Speaker Series

The History of Hogan's Alley
with Wayde Compton and John Atkin

Saturday, February 18, 2023
4:30-6:00PM PST

Discover the incredible hidden histories of the DTES and the ongoing fight for recognition and justice.

Hogan's Alley Speaker Series Poster.png

The Downtown Eastside was one of the first places in Vancouver settled by European, African, and Asian people. This historic neighbourhood, which includes Gastown, Strathcona, and Chinatown, was once the thriving business and cultural centre of Vancouver. Over the decades, gentrification, a lack of affordable housing, and the forced displacement of people had a devastating effect on many communities. Join us for the first event of our "Hidden Histories" 2023 Speaker Series: The History of Hogan's Alley.

Hogan’s Alley was the unofficial name for an alley that ran through the Strathcona neighbourhood in Vancouver. It was home to Vancouver’s Black community, alongside a wider immigrant community. The alley was known for its famous musical guests, great food, gambling, and bootlegging joints, but it was also home to many hard-working families. The construction of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts ploughed through the community, displacing the families that called it home and obliterating any evidence that it ever existed.

The Vancouver Police Museum & Archives is pleased to be hosting author Wayde Compton and local historian John Atkin as they unravel some of the myths and histories of this neighbourhood and its importance to Black identity 50 years later.

Event Moderator - Elee Kraljii Gardiner

Elee Kraljii Gardiner is the author of two poetry books, Trauma Head, and serpentine loop, and the editor of the anthologies Against Death: 35 Essays on Living, and V6A: Writing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. She is active in community-based initiatives, such as her work as founder of Thursdays Writing Collective, a beloved non-profit organization based at Carnegie Community Centre, for which she edited and published nine anthologies. Originally from Boston, Elee lives on the traditional and unceded territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam Peoples, where she works at Vancouver Manuscript Intensive, a program pairing authors with mentors.


Guest Speaker - Wayde Compton

Wayde Compton has written five books and edited two literary anthologies. His collection of short stories, The Outer Harbour, won the City of Vancouver Book Award in 2015 and he won a National Magazine Award for Fiction in 2011. His work has been a finalist for two other City of Vancouver Book Awards as well as the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. In 2006, Compton co-founded Commodore Books, western Canada’s first Black Canadian literary press. Compton has been writer-in-residence at Simon Fraser University, Green College at the University of British Columbia, and the Vancouver Public Library. From 2012-18, he administrated the Creative Writing Program in Continuing Studies at SFU, including the award-winning Writer’s Studio. His latest book, The Blue Road, a fantasy graphic novel for young adults, illustrated by April dela Noche Milne, was called a “touching allegory of the unexpected and burdensome trials of migration” in a starred Kirkus review. He is currently working on a re-imagining of The Argonautika by Apollonius of Rhodes as a surrealist slave narrative set on the west coast of North America in the 18th century. Compton is currently the chair of Creative Writing at Douglas College in New Westminster, BC.


Guest Speaker - John Atkin

John Atkin is a civic historian and heritage consultant. He is a long-time board member of Vancouver Moving Theatre, producers of the annual Heart of the City Festival and a board member of the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC. He also leads a series of popular neighbourhood walking tours for the Vancouver Heritage Foundation and has worked on a wide range of heritage and neighbourhood-related projects in the Lower Mainland and in the Kootenays.


BCAHP | History | Research | Tours


Tickets for the event are $18 plus applicable booking fees.


50% of all ticket sales proceeds will be donated to the Hogan's Alley Society (HAS) in support of their meaningful community initiatives, including the Hogan's Alley Memorial Project. Visit the HAS website to learn more about the organization.

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