BC Bigleaf Maple Books is a Vancouver, Canada based self-publishing house dedicated to historical, coastal, prarie and ornamental gardens; public park and institutional landscapes chaired by Clive L. Justice, a Landscape Historian from the BC coast. Dr. Justice has travelled around the world researching his passion of plants, people, and places in botanical and ornamental Gardens and natural landscapes.
Dr. Justice is a fellow of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects – CSLA/AAPQ Association Paysages de Quebec; a life member of the BCSLA and the International Dendrology Society IDS. He holds life membership in the American Rhododrendron Society ARS and was awarded its gold medal in 2005.
Why BC Bigleaf Maple Books, You Say!?
In the last decades of our practice of Landscape Architecture & Park Planning, our firm Justice Webb & Vincent (JW&V) terminated from basement offices at 6435 west Boulevard, self-owned suites of buildings built in the late 1940s by Little & Madock, a local Kerrisdale developer & builder of Mock Tudor 3-storey apartments. 6425 – 6455 used a concrete building process called Hydraulic Lift Slab. It was originally from the Midwest Chicago area. Its first use in Canada was in the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Sadly, the lift slab apartments are now gone, along with the McGee drugstore on the corner at 49th and west Boulevard, and the McGee grocery next door, with butcher store where we used to get our Christmas turkeys just before we closed the offices for 2 weeks over the holidays. Now you can see a whole new development, a block long 4-story building, 5 luxury suites with penthouse& roof gardens above, street-side glass store fronts for selling high-end goods & services at downtown ‘high-density’ rents.
Justice Webb & Vincent basement offices were quite to Maple Grove Park, southwest at Marine Drive and Yew, a 2-city block sized neighbourhood park, with paddling pool and red cedars and native acer macrophyllum, bigleaf maples. Both cedars and maples had been left when the site was cleared in the 1920s by the municipality of Point Grey. Point Grey amalgamated with the City of Vancouver in 1929. Maple Grove was the very first neighbourhood park in suburban Point Grey.
At the JW&V offices anyone who had a birthday come, on that day, she or he was entitled to a half day off, an afternoon picnic at Maple Grove Park. In the winter or when inclement weather occurred, it was high tea at 3 pm with a short day for all. On my birthday, on August 14th, it never rained so we were able to celebrate my birthday with a picnic at Maple Grove over many successive years, assuming an important landscape in memory so it came to pass that when I took up my passion of starting a book publishing business, I chose the name of my favorite memory, for BC Bigleaf Maple Books, distinguishing it from the California, Oregon or Washington states where the Bigleaf Maple also is native. So named the Oregon maple, that name could not do for a maple in Canada. Of the 125 or so of the genus Acer in the world, BC Bigleaf Maple has both the largest leaf and the largest samaras (seeds) in the world. It had to be!
photo by Elisabeth Whitelaw