What’s with All the Stone Animals in Fairview?

It must be some sort of sign that there are multiple buildings featuring Union Jack flags and stone animals...but what does it mean?

June 5, 2019

By Stacey McLachlan / Photo: Byron Eggenschwiler

My morning routine isn’t so different from that of any other millennial(esque) Vancouverite: I smear a combination of serums on my face and whisper, “What’s my brand?” into the mirror over and over again until it’s time for lunch (avocado toast with serum). It’s 2019, after all, and your brand is everything, whether you’re an Instagramfluencer, a fresh-faced young(esque) magazine editor who coined the term  “Instagramfluencer,” or a landlord for a variety of Fairview residences. 

Prime example: the bold branding of a quartet of historical walk-ups between Granville and Oak. Each is topped with a Union Jack flag and features three to 15 animal statues on the front lawn—one unified look for all the properties of a local real estate mogul. That’s branding, baby!

It’s also a veritable safari. At Linden Hall (2845 Hemlock St., valued at $3.6 million), not one but four golden lions guard the doors, while a dopey bear squats on the perimeter. All are chained up, which I would argue adds an interesting urban grit to an otherwise pastoral scene, and provides peace of mind in the event that these animals come to life at any point, Night at the Museum–style. The Queen Elizabeth (1395 W 13th Ave., valued at $8.7 million), across the street, is slightly more restrained in its decor, with long-necked kittens, a surprisingly lifelike golden retriever and a bear with a mysterious plaque that reads like a veiled threat (“For all of us forever”). The Queen Mary (1465 W 14th, worth $6.7 million) on the next block is downright minimalist, featuring just a single lion chilling by the doorway, while at 1285 W 11th (valued at $4.9 million), a concrete elephant is accented by a sprinkling of stained-glass artworks, a daring balance of heavy and light. 

The only problem with the bold branding of this real estate empire? There’s no sign of the mastermind behind it all. But through some impressive investigative research (specifically, paying $24.99 to the Land Title Registry), I have deduced that the owner of these properties is real estate appraiser William V. Falcus. Falcus was raised in Seattle before heading to Canada during the Vietnam draft, but his father was a British soldier. (Union Jack mystery solved!) After studying real estate and appraisal at UBC, he’s been running his own business for four decades. Landlording is the side hustle, presumably to support his extreme statue habit, but he’s so good at it that he was featured in THE Leasehold Estate magazine recently. 

I called to ask what the animal obsession is about, but he didn’t respond. So I faxed him. And sent him a letter. And called again. Daily (and I’m millennialesque, so you know it’s painful to pick up a phone). No luck as of press time, but while I may not have solved this particular mystery, I have found a new, burning question to investigate: is it stranger to cover your properties with stone animals or to commit phone harassment against a kindly local landlord? 

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