VHS has existed in 6 different spaces now.
We date back to August 20th, 2008, when the initial meeting happened at the Hackery. There is probably a list somewhere of the people who were at that meeting. It's thought we rented our first space in the summer of 2009.
VHS rented space from EHS in 2008, so technically that was the first rented space. VHS was there for several months, and moved out (some time in 2009). There was a server here for a little bit that Austin installed.
When VHS was originally founded in 2008 there were only 5 of us. We met in a small room above The Hackery once a week. We didn't have any tools or equipment but we got together and talk about the projects that we were currently working on. We collected monthly dues and when we had enough for three months of rent we moved to 45 west hastings (lower floor) .
45 west hastings was a small 500 sq wood floor studio where we were able to start collecting some small tools and equipment. At this location we grew from 5 members to 30 members. We quickly outgrew this location and when the slightly larger space on the top floor became available we moved. One of the major projects that we did at this space was found and launch a sister organization called Maker Foundation that ran the Vancouver mini maker faire for the last 5 years.
In May of 2013, VHS relocated to 270 East 1st Ave, The Bunker.
45 West Hastings (upper floor) was only 800 sq space but it gave us the opportunity to grow and collect even more tools and equipment. After 6 months at this location we grew to 75 members. Way too many people to fit into a small 800 sq studio and we started searching for a larger space. after a ~14 month search we found “The Bunker”.
The Bunker was formerly an auto shop and, more recently, warehouse, and as such had a much more industrial-workshop feel to it from our previous spaces. We existed there for about 18 months until our lease expired and we were forced to move to our next location.
In January of 2015, VHS relocated to 1715 Cook St, The Shoebox.
We named the next space “The Shoebox”, after its former shoe-warehouse tenants. This space move brought us back to a more comfortable and social feeling space, with brightly painted walls, hardwood flooring, and a mirror-wall that stretches nearly the entire length of the space. It felt much more like a lab then a shop.
VHS Workshop Area - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
In January of 2019, VHS relocated to 1601 Venables St, The Mullet.
Our latest space has been named “The Mullet” as it has a couple of offices in the front and the back is a workshop. Business in the front, party in the back! It's 4000 ft² and it's pretty much ours to do what we want with — we have the entire building, and a 10-year lease so investing money in long-term plans is finally possible.
The term “Hacker” means a lot of things to different people, and we tend to not get too hung-up on it because of that. There is a lot of cross-over in VHS’s case with that of the “Maker” community, and both share a common history with tinkerers, inventors, and artists.
Because of Vancouver’s very high population density, few people have access to more than the simplest of tools - a hammer, a few screwdrivers - and that’s often it, severely restricting what can be achieved even if you have the ideas and skills required, halting creativity and inventiveness before it can even start. VHS is a unique community resource, providing the space and tools required to share knowledge, learn, and create what’s needed to accomplish your goals, whatever they may be. We’re the community workshop for a community without workshops.