The Hobbit House or Witches House, as it’s variously been known to many local North Shore residents, and its one-time showcase gardens at 1384 Hope Road, represent a much beloved architecturally and historically unique whimsical English-style cottage of another distant time and place.
Builder Gordon Edwards, or ‘Uncle Gordon’ as he was fondly known to those close to him, was one of the North Shore’s imaginative early-day architect-builders, who created similar cottages of whimsy from one end of the North Shore to the other, most of which are all long gone now to the memories of most, if not all, local residents. The cottage’s slow demise over the vagaries of time represents the way important anchors of modern Canadian culture, and cultures worldwide, so quickly and silently continue to slip away forever, in today’s money-driven, cultureless, transitory, free-fall world in which we all find ourselves.
For those on the North Shore who prize such memories, its beauty and whimsy is the embodiment of life’s intangibles that, over the years, gives substance, sustenance and meaning to life for the collective benefit of all concerned wherever they may be, especially in the communities of Hope Road, Lower Capilano, the North Shore, if not the whole of Canada and posterity itself.
For the record, 1384 Hope Road was the original home of Coad Canada Puppets, whose workshop, on the property’s grounds, once was widely recognized in puppetry circles throughout the world, and especially in Canada, as one of the most acclaimed puppetry theatre companies of its day. Its worldwide reputation for puppetry artistry led to Coad Puppets becoming a recipient of no less than eight UNIMA-USA Citations of Excellence, and its Charlamagne Press, still in operation on the Sunshine Coast, continues to specialize in books of advanced level puppetry and puppetry theatre.
The fate of the cottage’s old bones is currently up in the air, as it is currently up for sale. There will be open house showings this weekend, if you want to check it out. I hope it remains a happy Hobbit House for years to come.