“Robson” in Vancouver is synonymous with crowded sidewalks, tour buses, a block of stores that sell nothing but accessories, and a strip of restaurants with waitresses in little black skirts. However there is more history in this town than that when it comes down to the name.
Jim Robson: Much more than simply a broadcast gondola in GM Place, from 1970 until 1999 he was the voice of the Canucks on radio and television. Jim Robson started on CKNW and also did West coast coverage on Hockey Night in Canada. In 1994 he stepped down from radio work and did television – covering our infamous cup run with the Rangers. For Canuck fans over the last three decades, Jim Robson’s voice is as much a part of the team’s legacy as Roger Nielson’s towel waving.
Rob Robson: When CFOX had a home in a small building on the corner of Richards and Nelson it became the birthplace of many Vancouver bands. Chatting with our friend Rod Bruno the other day he said Rob (the program director at the time) was the man who launched your career if you were an artist in Vancouver. “I hear you guys are rehearsing across the street, why don’t you come by afterwards, bring your demo, we’ll chat with you for a bit and spin your tunes,” said Rod in Rob Robson fashion. Without him fan-favourite Vancouver artists like Matthew Good, Holly McNarland, and Bif Naked might have had a much harder time getting airplay (oh and he’s also responsible for Nickelback too but we won’t hold that against him).
In all fairness and to provide full Robson disclosure on this post I must supply some information about the street itself.
Robson Street: Named after John Robson who was the Premier of BC from 1889-1892. It began its commercial history early on with retail shops and restaurants springing up in 1985.
It also became known as Robsonstrasse which was “a reflection of the European shopkeepers who operated the many small delicatessens, patisseries, and chic boutiques that populated the street.” – [RobsonStreet]
There are many popular and legendary names in this city – some are streets, others have landmarks or events named after them. I think it’s equally important to explore all of these avenues when learning about our city and the great people who have helped form it over the years.