Back in the day, it was not unusual to catch a glimpse of future rock god Jimi Hendrix helping his Grandmother at Vie’s Chicken and Steak House or hear his guitar late at night, the best time to practice.
Vancouver’s Hogan Alley was an African-Canadian community that often enjoyed visits from greats such as Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole, who would come into Vie’s after shows to unwind and enjoy some soul food while the staff closed the building off to the public to give the stars some privacy. It is here that young Hendrix got the performing itch, busking in front of Vie’s and learning how to make his guitar wail into the darkness every evening.
Now, where Vie’s used to be is, among other things, a fire engine red shack with a glaringly yellow cage protecting its treasures. To find it, one must simply follow the brightly hued graffiti leading to what is one of Vancouver’s most treasured eccentricities–The Jimi Hendrix Shrine. Within the shack lies all things Jimi; photos, flyers, vinyl records, and copies of his infamous guitars. Letters from Jimi to his beloved grandmother offer an intimate glimpse into the star’s family life, and while technically it is little more than a shed filled with a bunch of random Hendrix crap, it’s an homage clearly built out of a sincere love and appreciation for the man and his music.
For awhile the shrine was shuttered, and local residents feared the worst, but shrine owner Vincent Fodera alleviates fears that the shrine is no more. In fact, he is planning to not only upgrade the memorial shanty but also introduce a game-changing addition–a 32-ft. statue of Hendrix to loom over this little corner of rock n’ roll history in the neighborhood where an undeniable legend was shaped.
Know Before You Go
It is small and a unassuming with small signage but it is on the corner of a major street (Main & Union) with a new location coming to Homer St.