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Place Detective: Investigating BC’s Most Mysterious Spaces

Place Detective: Investigating BC’s Most Mysterious Spaces

Got an empty lot near you? A crumbling building? A bridge to nowhere? Have no fear, The Tyee's Place Detective is here! Our monthly series will explore mysteries of uncommon places and common places with mysterious pasts.

We'll take a magnifying glass to powerful forces in B.C. — from colonialism to resource extraction to real estate speculation — and how they manifest in your corner of the province.

If you have an idea for a place you think we should explore in a future story, get in touch via email.

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In This Series

On East Hastings, the Case of the Empty Temple

On East Hastings, the Case of the Empty Temple

A government entity has owned 301 E. Hastings since 2001. Why is it still vacant?

Jen St. Denis / 13 Mar 2023


In Gastown, the Case of the Misunderstood Clock

In Gastown, the Case of the Misunderstood Clock

Tourists flock to appreciate a past that never was. But the kitschy attraction nonetheless holds the story of the neighbourhood.

Jen St. Denis / 14 Apr 2023


In Powell River, the Case of the ‘White Tower’

In Powell River, the Case of the ‘White Tower’

What is this weird building? Does it feel lonely, huddling between the highway and the sea walk?

andrea bennett / 16 May 2023


The Case of the Nearly Lost Mural that Lionizes Workers

The Case of the Nearly Lost Mural that Lionizes Workers

Fraser Wilson’s Maritime Labour Centre painting is a 1947 ode to what union members have accomplished.

Zak Vescera / 19 Jun 2023


At Metrotown, the Case of the Bridge to Nowhere

At Metrotown, the Case of the Bridge to Nowhere

The end of the mall is nigh, but the building of a new pedestrian walkway is not.

Christopher Cheung / 13 Jul 2023


In Northwest BC, the Case of the Missing Nuke

In Northwest BC, the Case of the Missing Nuke

Secrecy hangs around the site of a 1950 plane crash in the Kispiox Mountains. Who is it protecting?

Amanda Follett Hosgood / 25 Aug 2023


In False Creek, the Case of the Leg in the Boot

In False Creek, the Case of the Leg in the Boot

How did the popular square get its unique name? The answer bobs to the surface.

Katie Hyslop / 19 Sep 2023


In Northern BC, the Case of the Mummified Mining Town

In Northern BC, the Case of the Mummified Mining Town

Why was the town of Kitsault suddenly abandoned, then preserved as a 1980s time capsule?

Amanda Follett Hosgood / 26 Oct 2023


A Peek Inside the Mysterious Glass House on Deer Lake

A Peek Inside the Mysterious Glass House on Deer Lake

How did this modernist gem end up on a public body of water in Burnaby?

Christopher Cheung / 22 Nov 2023


The Case of the Ghostly Trestle

The Case of the Ghostly Trestle

On the northern Sunshine Coast, a popular lake preserves the remnants of early settler history.

andrea bennett / 15 Dec 2023


In Downtown Vancouver, the Case of the Vacant Hotel

In Downtown Vancouver, the Case of the Vacant Hotel

Dunsmuir House was a fancy hotel, then housed low-income people. Now it sits empty.

Jen St. Denis / 17 Jan 2024


Uncovering the Bitter History of Vancouver’s Sugar Refinery

Uncovering the Bitter History of Vancouver’s Sugar Refinery

This 134-year-old waterfront factory, still in use, has a dark past. Latest in our ‘Place Detective’ series.

Zak Vescera / 16 Feb 2024