|Vincent Fodera, owner and operator of Jimi Hendrix Shrine in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, July 11, 2012. (CARMINE MARINELLI/QMI AGENCY)
VANCOUVER -- Behind Creekside Student Residence on Main Street, passersby can “hear the ghost of Jimi playing in the night,” Hendrix-costumed Vincent Fodera claims.
Fodera owns a Vancouver shrine that bears the famed artist’s name, a public display celebrating its second year, and pays tribute to the famous ‘60s American guitar player, singer and composer widely credited as the pioneer of modern electric guitar playing.
“Jimi deserves to be remembered in Vancouver because he spent so much time here,” said Fodera, who explained the small shed was the famous musician’s summertime childhood hangout.
An avid music enthusiast, the 63-year-old said he made the discovery on a visit to the Hendrix exhibit in Seattle’s Experience Music Project Museum.
Once there, he saw an old postcard the musician addressed to his grandmother, Nora Hendrix, at 209 Union St. in Vancouver’s Chinatown.
He tracked the now-defunct address and found it was coincidentally right behind the residence he owns and operates.
Talking with elderly neighbours, he learned the address belonged to what he considered a worthless shed on his property.
The building was in fact the former kitchen of Vie’s Chicken Inn from the late 1920s to the early ‘70s — a place where Hendrix’s parents dropped him off in the summer to be babysat by his grandmother, who served as a cook.
Older members of the Chinatown community told Fodera that a younger Hendrix was often found busking outside the restaurant.
It was then the longtime Hendrix fan decided, “OK, I’m going to preserve this.”
He emptied the shed and began decorating it with photographs, psychedelic tapestries and imitation paraphernalia of the famous artist.
He then constructed an outdoor display imitating Hendrix’s Seattle burial ground.
Fodera encourages people to hang out and pay respects while listening to the artist’s tunes over the audio system, which cycles through songs at the push of a button.
The shrine is open until Sept. 15, 1-6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.