Changes On the Drive #34

June 1, 2014

A real summer’s day for the walk this morning, and it made the Drive just fill up with folks having fun; great to see!

Down south, the storefronts in the renovated and rebuilt Far East Building are just about ready.  In fact, the CCEC Credit Union is already back in operation in their once-and-future premises.


That means, of course that the CCEC’s temporary home at 2223 Commercial is once again vacant. I would be surprised to see this building reoccupied until the development connected to the Community Plan is forced through next spring.

Down at the Hi-Light Auto Body shop on the SW corner with E. 3rd there was a pleasant surprise — a sort of Thunderbird head statue made of auto parts.  There were other “heads” lying against the wall.


Not sure what’s going on there, but it was fun to find.

Roma signThere are new owners at the Sureno Grocery at 1730 Commercial, and they have renovated the interior to make it more attractive to shoppers. This is a good example of renovation rather than gentrification.

As is the extensive rebuilding going on at Caffe Roma Lounge (so says the new sign), 1510 Commercial.  They are aiming to be open for the World Cup in the next few weeks.

Scandalicious, that rather odd waffle joint at 1340, now has a second location at 25 Victoria Drive.  Congratulations to them on their success.

Far less successful are the vacant storefronts around the corner on Charles.  I just cannot understand the economics of forcing Flowerbox and the Little Nest to close by raising the rents just to see the revenue properties sit vacant month after month.  Bizarre economic behaviour, I think.

1268 and 1250 Commercial are still currently vacant.  However, there is a sign in 1250 suggesting a mortgage broker is moving in.

mortgage store

Right across the street from there is Grandview Park which has become, on Sundays at least, a de facto public market.

GV Park market

Has anyone seen the tarot card guy outside Tio Pepe’s recently?  As I walked by today it seemed like an age since I had seen him at his daily haunt.

The former Urban Empire at 1108 Commercial is still “vacant” although stuffed with the old store’s merchandise.   The old Florida (1102) is also vacant, as is 903 Commercial where sadly Bocadillo didn’t manage to make a go of it.

At the beginning of the month, the space upstairs at Penelope’s, 1009-1011 Commercial, was being renovated. I assume these are still offices.


Finally, Adeline’s at 950 Commercial has re-opened after a week or so of renovations.  The food and coffee has stayed the same (thank goodness!) while the space has been repainted and furnished with more comfortable armchairs.


See here for previous Changes on the Drive posts.



And That Was The Giro

June 1, 2014

The first of each year’s three cycling grand tours — each of which involves three weeks of hell and glory — is always the Giro d’Italia, or tour of Italy, which this year finished this morning with a run into Trieste.  The winner turned out to be the guy I have been cheering all race — the young Colombian, Naira Quintana.

Giro d'Italia 2014 - 17a tappa - Sarnonico - Vittorio Veneto

He didn’t just win — he crushed his opponents by a full three minutes.  He is still young enough to qualify for the “youngest rider” category of prizes, and I expect him to win more GCs over the next few years.  On this point, it is well worth pointing out the wonderful third place for the very young rider, Fabio Aru who could easily become the new poster boy for Italian cycling.

Another Columbian, veteran Rigoberto Uran Uran, came in second.  This one-two finish for the South Americans has finally established the overall strength of the Colombian squads for all to see.

It was also marvelous to watch local Canadian rider Ryder Hesjedal challenge on a couple of the most difficult mountain stages.  He finished the Tour in ninth place which was creditable at least.

For many years I have considered the Giro to be my favourite of the three Grand Tours, not sure if I can explain why, but it has always been that way.  This year the Giro started very slowly (which had nothing to do with the first three days being staged in Ireland) due to bad weather, cold and wet. The first week was a rather sorry parade.  However, once the riders got out of the rain and wind, things picked up nicely, with the final week dominated by the Zoncolan and Stelvio climbs, along with a grueling individual time trial that was pure uphill pain.

Of course, the Giro doesn’t give any genuine clues to the Tour de France in a few weeks as the main GC contenders (Contador, Froome, etc.) for the Tour did not ride the Giro.  What we are witnessing , however, is the increasing and improved depth of World Tour teams that now have the funding and the riders to spread across the Giro, the Tour and the Vuelta during the summer. This, combined with virtually all teams now running zero-tolerance programs for performance drugs, has straightened out the sport and, in my opinion, we are heading for a new golden age of road racing.


June 1, 2014

If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance.

~Bern Williams