City Abstract XI

August 22, 2013

city abstract XI_plus

UnShaw About Email

August 22, 2013

Like thousands of others in the Lower Mainland, my ISP is Shaw, and I have generally been quite content with the service I get from them.  However, I have had an issue this week that has really made me wonder.

I send a lot of emails and I am used to getting most of them answered pretty quickly. So it was a surprise earlier this week when I seemed to get no replies from anything I had sent for a couple of days.  For a while I put it down to people being busy or being mad at me for something.  However, I happened to speak to one of my correspondents by phone early yesterday afternoon and I mentioned one of the more important emails I had sent him a couple of days before. He checked and found he had not received anything from me.

I checked with a few other people and they said the same thing. So I called Shaw.

At first, the helpful service technician was bemused, not seeing any reason why my emails were not getting through (even though, as I should say, I was still receiving emails normally).  Eventually they discovered that the Shaw system had decided on Monday evening that my email signature (that I have used for quite a while) was spam and had refused to send any of my emails.

They did this without informing me and so for nearly three days I was blithely unaware that nothing I wrote was going anywhere.  And, moreover, the system had destroyed my emails and so they couldn’t just flip a switch and release from a cache somewhere.  Again without telling me.

I was left to scramble about and try to recreate as best I could the important emails I had sent for the last few days.  Annoying and, I think, an intolerable imposition on someone who has been a Shaw client for well over a decade.  Why the hell couldn’t they have let me know what they were doing so that I could have deleted my signature (or whatever was needed)?  I am righteously pissed about this.

Modern Life

August 22, 2013

One of the people I was speaking with last night was a young man who works on the docks and who owns a small place downtown.

He noted that his father was a longshoreman who managed to comfortably raise four children on the back of his single salary. However, the son noted that while he (the son) has a decent-paying steady job, he wakes up every day feeling flat broke.

How can this be considered progress?

Viaducts, Heritage and Beer

August 22, 2013

Had a marvelous time last night, wandering (certainly not aimlessly) around the Georgia Viaduct and neighbouring areas under the guidance of historian John Atkin and former Councilor Gordon Price.  The pair of them presented a walk for the Vancouver Heritage Foundation and about sixteen or so of us heard John tell some fascinating stories about the history of the viaducts, while Gordon filled in with semi-political, semi-urbanist context.

I had absolutely no idea, for example, that the car park on Georgia on the west side of  Main, is the very last surviving half-block section of what was once the original Georgia Street Viaduct from the 1910s. And that the half-arches you can see when looking east from the lower part of the car park were part of the City’s water system.


This is the last masonry remnant of that old viaduct and, as someone on the tour said, it is almost like our version of Roman ruins.

There was much talk of the pros and cons of demolishing the “new” Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, of whether of not they should be replaced with the new Pacific Street “highway”; and much discussion about the aesthetics of the viaducts, their landscaping (with lodgepole pines — vert unusual for Vancouver) and their relationship to the history of the automobile.

There was even more talk when, after two hours of walking, we headed to a Chinatown pub.  Gordon Price apparently drew the short straw and had to endure an hour of argument with me about ward systems, eastside development, and the (dis)functioning of the municipal party system,

It was a grand night and I thank the Vancouver Heritage Foundation for setting it up.



A lot of Gordon Price’s pieces last night were to put the Viaducts into the context of post-war Motordom as he likes to describe it.  That is fair enough, but there was an earlier attempt to link autos across Vancouver in the mid-1930s as I describe at “The First Avenue Viaduct“. Just as the 1960s push left us with free-standing viaducts, so to did Smith’s Grand Plan in 1938.