—by Matthew Lindley
The unfortunate thing about history, getting older, evolution, and all those other things your parents warned you about, is that they were right. Things are going to change, get perverted into to a lesser version of what you remember or — in the worst case — die away completely. As was the case Wednesday, when the famous Railway Club in Vancouver, BC, long the home for traveling Timbers Army to the Great White North, announced it was closing, effective immediately.
Green Flag. Photo courtesy of Lucky McGillicuddy
A quick back story: Opened in 1931, first as an exclusive club for local railroad workers from a nearby station, it was eventually opened to the public. In 1980, the club started booking live music and eventually became a stop for major acts. The venue hosted widely known acts such as Barenaked Ladies, k.d. lang, and Los Lobos, as well Canadian favorites The Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo, and Great Big Sea. All this was memorialized by the number of signed 8x10s and other memorabilia that adorned the walls of the club.
The club eventually became the main Van Away hangout for the TA as well, hosting ticket pick-up, pre- and post-show pints, and, of course, the yearly night of music from Victoria’s The McGillicuddys and our very own Green Flag. The club ingrained itself as a part of the experience of “Poutine Away.” The pre-match meet-ups and marches through the streets of Vancouver to “Our House.” Last year’s post-playoff talk of “Maybe this is the year” filling both sides of the bar. The night Capt. Jack kicked a hole right through the hearts of the Whitecaps faithful and brought home the Cascadia Cup, the chalice had a course to be filled from the taps of the Railway.
On a personal note, I got the honor of a lifetime just over a year ago when I had the opportunity to take that hallowed stage with Greenhorn. There is no feeling quite like standing on a stage that has not only housed so many acts that have inspired you, but also meant so very much to the supporters group you call family.
A supporters group can consider it very lucky to have and keep a specified pub to call home. For a little while, the TA was lucky enough to have two: home and away. Obviously everything is up in the air now. Will a new owner buy the place? Will they allow us to continue our shenanigans, or will the place be converted into the world’s fanciest Tim Hortons?
Vancouver Away will live on, one way or another… There is just a chance it may be a little less epic.
LONG LIVE THE RAILWAY!!!
Matthew Lindley is a musician and hopeless Canadaphile. He even owns a BC Lions toque. No foolin’, eh?