Bike to Work Week is winding down in Vancouver, while June is also Bike Month. Coincidentally or not, a video of a bike ride from 1974 has surfaced. It started in East Vancouver, goes over the Ironworkers’ Memorial (2nd Narrows) Bridge, through North Vancouver, over the Lions Gate Bridge, through Stanley Park, on the Burrard Bridge, on the seawall path still under construction, and along Terminal and 1st Avenue back to the start point.
The first video is a sped-up version; the second one slows it down, adds comparative photos from a repeat trip done in 2011, and throws in contemporary radio promos and a news piece. It’s a great way to see Vancouver and North Vancouver in a very different time. Very well done!
(Hat tip to Price Tags)
I’m an East Vancouver boy, through and through. I’ve lived here since 1991, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. After attending the latest #EastVanLove tweetup, I thought about my running in East Vancouver, particularly the long runs. Even within those, I’m thinking of the really long runs that are at least 20 km long. For those runs that start from and finish near my home, most of them extend beyond what’s considered East Vancouver. But I hadn’t thought about creating a long run entirely within East Vancouver. This route, which I ran this weekend, is almost 30 km, and is a decent cross-section of the entire Eastside.
I started here, at Crab Park. From here, I made my way along the industrial area and eventually on to Commercial Drive. It was nice to see the produce shops setting up and resisted the temptation to partake some coffee from many of the caffeine dens that line the Drive. After 8 kilometres, I ended up here at one of my favourite running places, John Hendry Park and Trout Lake.
I also ran next to the SkyTrain line, which itself was built over the route of the old interurbans that went from Vancouver to New Westminster and beyond. And after passing through Collingwood, Champlain Heights, and Everett Crowley Park, I made my way down to the riverfront. This is as far from Crab Park as you can get and still be in East Vancouver.
This one’s a real revelation, as I discovered there is a riverside trail for about 3 km. I’d previously run on a bike route that was placed further away from the river. I finished my Eastside tour by going through the Punjabi Market neighbourhood, Mountain View Cemetery, and finishing along Main Street to where it meets with Kingsway.
Running this made me realize how diverse East Vancouver is in terms of running terrain. It may not have the uninterrupted trails of the seawall, but for long runs, there is a lot to see. I’ll be glad to give a tour!
I took a picture of this umbrella earlier today, while I was waiting for a bus. As we were boarding, I complemented the umbrella’s owner, telling her that it brings some brightness on a dreary day such as today. More impressively, it looks like a bouquet when closed; I wish I took a picture of that. She told me that she has sewn the flowers on the umbrella, and that she’s made one with roses, and another with daisies.
She also told me that she got the idea from a crafts market in Seattle. Why hasn’t this caught on? As long as the umbrellas are of good quality, they would make great gift ideas, and can really stand out on a rainy day.
The floral umbrella’s owner was even considering adoring umbrellas with disco balls, bingo balls, or even miniature lights. I’d definitely buy one of those!
The Museum of Vancouver has taken out of storage the various neon signs in its collection, and put them all on display, buzzing noises and all. These signs are mere glimpses of the golden age of neon signs in Vancouver, primarily during the 1950s and 1960s. Neon was practically everywhere in the city in the mid-20th century.
The museum’s information blurbs include a scientific background of the noble gases (not just neon) that were used to create the colourful signs, as well as the companies that manufactured them.
Besides all the glorious neon on display, what also struck me was the displays on the movement to tone down the proliferation of neon. One of the groups that led the charge was the Community Arts Council of Vancouver. This intrigued me because, as a current board member and treasurer to the Council, the name recognition was apparent. But when I dug deeper into the CACV’s role in the days afterward, there are clearly two sides to every story.
I took the above picture of the first panel of the museum’s display on the anti-neon crusade. There was even a reproduction of a letter explaining the Council’s position with a postcard-style form letter that can be mailed to the mayor. Further along in the display, the CACV is said to have continued the fight throughout the 1960s, until a sign by-law in 1974 limited the use of neon displays in Vancouver.
Just looking at these displays, one could come to the conclusion that the CACV was fighting tooth and nail for the end to neon signs. But the CACV has provided its own side of the story, in a 50th-anniversary retrospective published in 1996 (Elizabeth O’Kiely, The Arts and Our Town). There is one chapter in this book dedicated to the Council’s Civic Arts Committee. The committee was concerned with neon proliferation, true, but also billboards, painted advertisements on walls, and other items that have become a blight on Vancouver’s visual landscape. The text goes on to mention that the CACV encouraged the use of neon in commercial areas such as Granville Street or Kingsway.
If it weren’t for my connection with CACV, I would have taken the “purity crusade”, as the MoV has described the anti-neon movement in its promotional material, at face value. As a student of history, I feel that it’s important to view an event from as many perspectives as possible, in order to form a better opinion on the causes, circumstances and outcomes of that event. It turns out that the fight against neon is one of those events, and it formed part of the colourful history of Vancouver.
The Neon Vancouver | Ugly Vancouver exhibition is at the Museum of Vancouver through August 12, 2012.
Additional reading: an interview with Civic Arts Committee member Elizabeth Lane. The interview was conducted as part of CACV’s 65th-anniversary celebrations.
This has been a long day, possibly the longest day I am going to endure during this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival. Two separate double features, separated by a volunteer shift in the late afternoon. Four movies in a day? That can rank up there in terms of hard-core festival-goers, but I can’t count myself among that group; some people are so dedicated they book their holidays around the festival.
I’ve been attending films at VIFF for a number of years now; scheduling issues around work have limited the number I could watch. The last couple of years, however, I’ve decided to volunteer at the festival; it adds to the resume, and gives me something else to do while not looking for work. The bonus with volunteering is a festival pass that gives me access to most of the films. It allows me to watch far more movies than I otherwise would, given my current financial constraints.
My personal favourites of the films I’ve seen so far include Burma Soldier, People of a Feather, Take This Waltz, and Here I Am (links to VIFF’s descriptions and any remaining showtimes). With a few more days to go, I’m sure to add to this list.
Have you been to VIFF this year? Do you have any favourites?
(Image credit: Miss604)
This past weekend, I participated in the 3rd annual Vancouver Photo Marathon. Its 12×12 logo means that participants receive a 12-exposure roll of film at the start. Each hour for the next 12 hours, a theme is revealed, and participants have to use a single shot from that roll that represents that theme. There’s no real time limit to complete a single shot, but the completed roll of film has to be handed in by the time the 12 hours have elapsed.
As a runner, the use of the word “marathon” in the event name seems fitting, and that was my mindset throughout the day. The mental aspect of finding an appropriate photo is compounded with the physical in terms of all the walking I did (14 kilometres is a reasonable estimate). There were “water stops” when I had to return to home base in the West End to retrieve the newest theme. Given all the walking I did, the need to stay hydrated and fed was essential (especially on such a warm day).
And like in an actual marathon, I encountered an equivalent to a “wall” in the late afternoon, when I fell a theme behind amid flagging energy. A quick dinner before the 11th theme was revealed gave me a boost; the disappearing sunlight gave me more reason to get one more decent shot. The last shot was a bit fortuitous in that I didn’t have to go far, and took it within 20 minutes of the theme being revealed. That could be compared to the final sprint at the end of a race.
I think that finish made it a great experience overall; there is a certain level of endurance required to complete this marathon, not to mention the ability to think on the fly when finding a photo for the theme. It certainly invigorated my interest in photography; I’m already looking at a local project that will soon be accepting submissions. For now, I’m just hoping the prints come out OK. All the participants’ photos will be displayed on September 25. That should be fun!
(Speaking of running, the time has come to start training for real. As I mentioned last week, I am aiming to run in the Fall Classic. I’ve given myself 15 weeks, which should be enough time.)
I may have been crushed by the Canucks’ loss in Wednesday’s Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, but it’s what happened afterward that angered and disappointed me more.
It was 1994 all over again, but with an intensity and severity that was totally unexpected, considering the lessons that were supposedly learned after the last time a riot broke out after the Canucks lost a Cup Final game 7. For me, the experience was made worse because I was seeing it unfold live, on TV. Among the atrocities I saw were police cars flipped over, then set ablaze, and one agitated taunter of police, who clearly had enough after he threw a woman to the ground. It was overwhelming, and I had to keep the TV off when I got home to avoid getting more emotional. (This post by Tijana Martina has been featured on WP.com’s front page, showing some of her photos of the mayhem that night.)
But I went to sleep last night with a glimmer of hope. A spontaneous clean-up effort, organized on Facebook, happened throughout the day today, as ordinary citizens reclaimed Vancouver from the previous night’s hooliganism. At the same time, other Facebook pages and a tumblr have been set up to post pictures of rioters, and where possible, identify them. (Also send photos directly to the Vancouver police.)
It’s a start, but given that the riot footage has been replayed by major news organizations worldwide, Vancouver has been given a black eye by, let’s face it, a very small minority of troublemakers who were going to cause chaos, regardless of whether the Canucks won or not. They did not represent Canucks fans (if, indeed, they are even fans), and they certainly did not represent Vancouver. And I’m sure almost everyone in the city agrees with me.
One year ago today, Vancouver welcomed the world as the 2010 Winter Olympics began. On February 12, 2010, I took the day off from work. By sheer coincidence, an appointment at the bank happened to be on the route of the final day of the torch relay. I took a few photos, some of which I’ve posted on my Flickr:
I did my bank appointment soon after the relay passed through, but I hustled down the street afterward to see it again; this was taken about 90 minutes and 24 torchbearers later:
A few days later, I headed to work a little early to catch a glimpse of the lit cauldron; this might be the best shot I took. If you recall, the emptiness sort of belies the fact that I took the picture from behind a fence, but it’s interesting all the same.
(I wanted to link my flickr with my blog, which I’ve done, but can only post a single photo as a blog post. Since I’m trying to insert multiple photos, I’ll leave that for another time.)
Monday was a lull in an unusually snowy December in Vancouver. And it’s set up for the first Canada-wide white Christmas since 1971. These were taken from Friday:
Going to an appointment on Monday, I decided to bring my camera with me. In terms of travel time, it wasn’t bad. It was just waiting for long-delayed buses that had many people frustrated.
By the time I was on the way home, the sun was shining, and the slush was everywhere. And that’s when I got pelted by a truck driving too close to the curb; thanks to the driver for honking after splashing me.
In Vancouver at least: Last two A&B stores in Vancouver have closed (News 1130)
Photo: “A&B Sound Closed” by Eric Eggertson
For most of the 1990s, I have bought a lot of my CDs, and even a stereo, from A&B Sound. It has been a local institution, mainly through its “legendary” Boxing Day sales. But it really hasn’t been the same since it filed for protection from creditors and was subsequently purchased by Seanix Computers earlier this decade. The last time I went there was to its flagship store on Seymour Street last month. I knew it was the beginning of the end when they started to sell everything at a 50% discount.
Even though there are still five stores in operation, A&B will likely go the way of Sam the Record Man and Music World – hit by a double-whammy of being unable to compete with big-box outlets and the advent of music downloads, they just weren’t able to make the transition.
All is not lost in Vancouver, however: Zulu, Scratch, Red Cat, and many other fine independent outlets provide great selections for the discerning music fan, and hopes are that they will continue to thrive despite the dramatic changes in music retail.