2008, 38:00 minutes, colour, English
Barb and Dennis McDonald are empty nesters from the suburbs. On this day they get legal possession of their new investment house. They have privately purchased the burned out house directly from its owner. This is what one can buy for half a million dollars in east Vancouver. Both the buyers and the seller are retired millionaires.
The wood frame structure is a typical working class family home built 90 years ago. John Jeffries (age 60) grew up in this house, his mother died on the premises two years previously. John has been camping out/living in/on the property since the fire destroyed the house a year ago.
John is the last of the old families with deep roots still on the street. He is now surrounded by recent neighbours who are more interested in retrofitting character homes than the people who live in them. Gentrification/displacement.
John is overwhelmed by his own history, ties to the old neigbourhood and finding himself at this crossroad of change. Once considered a brilliant man and still very smart - perhaps too smart for his own good. John is a retired social worker and parole officer. A closeted homosexual. his life has been a spiral of loss amplified by addictions to alcohol and drugs, most recently crack cocaine.
This is one in a series of portraits of a neighbourhood and its people in rapid transition. East Van/Main Street is where Paul Wong grew up and continues to live and work.
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