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A 32 ft. statue to go with your meal? Vancouver’s Jimi Hendrix Shrine finds a temporary home

Thursday 06th, August 2015 / 02:02
By Olsy Sorokina
Fear not! The Jimi Hendrix Shrine will be back and better than ever. Photo: Olsy Sorokina

Fear not! The Jimi Hendrix Shrine will be back and better than ever.
Photo: Olsy Sorokina

VANCOUVER — Vancouver’s beloved musical landmark, the Jimi Hendrix Shrine, has moved to a temporary location while the Union Street building gets a major facelift—one that won’t leave Jimi fans disappointed.

The shrine used to be a part of what was once Vie’s Chicken and Steak House, a fried chicken restaurant in the heart of Hogan’s Alley. Jimi Hendrix’s grandmother, Nora, worked at Vie’s as a cook and Hendrix is said to have spent many nights helping out in the kitchen. Decades later, fans from all over the world travel to experience this part of the legendary guitarist’s story.

The site that housed the shrine was recently sold to condominium developers. But this isn’t your normal Vancouver renovation: according to Vincent Fodera, who owns the Jimi Hendrix Shrine and the student residences surrounding it, the site developers have agreed to preserve the historic building and even make some improvements.

“The way the developer is going to fit the shrine, it will have a restaurant facility,” Fodera explains. “Like a little take-out or sit-in small place for serving fried chicken, just like Vie’s Chicken used to be. We’re hoping to have the shrine equipped with food so it can be open all year round and serve food so it can support itself.”

If delicious provisions aren’t enough of an attraction, there are also plans to build a 32-foot-tall Hendrix statue in front of the shrine.

Fodera said the news of the developer’s plans helped alleviate many worries among Hendrix fans. “For so many years, there was word that I was going to sell the property and the shrine would be gone,” he continues. “Now, people are actually very supportive that I did sell the property so that it’s not disappearing from the history; it will come back alive and better.”

Development of the new site is expected to take up to three years. In the meantime, those looking to get experienced can visit the shrine’s temporary location on Homer Street. Like the original space, the new spot gives visitors a chance to jam to Hendrix covers and learn about Jimi’s life in Vancouver. Shrine volunteers are also planning a concert, as well as a Hendrix-inspired art show, later this summer.

Check out the Shrine’s temporary home at 432 Homer Street. It’s open from noon to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday.

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