Changes On The Drive #45

May 1, 2015

When I got up this morning and looked out at the weather I was sure I would have to do my monthly walk in the rain for the first time in a long while.  However, by the time I got out the door it was a splendid day and I was able to amble along comfortably in shirt sleeves.

Down at the south end, the space at 2290 in the Marquee Building is still vacant (10 months). However, there is a sign saying that a new burger restaurant called Relish is about to open.  Sure haven’t got enough places on the Drive already to get a decent burger :-)


Across the street, the old Kingdom Beauty Supplies spaces at 2245-2247 are still vacant (6 months).

On the east side of the 2000-block, the old Russell house and lawn sold last month for $3.05m.  I heard a rumour that the new owner has made an offer to the owner of the Cafe Deux Soleils and VAP properties next door for $6m but the present owner of those is looking for another couple of million above that.  Love those rumours; keep ’em coming!

The JNZ store at 1735 Commercial is still closed (10 months) but I heard that interior framing has begun and they hope to reopen in a couple of months.  That will be great news to all their loyal customers.

The old Strawberry Bakery place in Il Mercato Mall is still vacant after 3 months.

Vera’s Burgers, under new management at 1438, has not yet re-opened (closed for 2 months).  Next door at 1458, the long-promised Bonvista Wellness Bar is also still not open (9 months vacant/closed).

Across the street, there is some major work going on at 1401-1411 Commercial.  Hopefully it is just a paint job or some such.

1400 block CD

At 1340 Commercial, the Scandalicious store is still closed after three months but all the equipment still seems to be in there.  Much more happily, it was wonderful to see that Bonnie Beckwoman has reopened her store at 1314 after the disastrous fire some weeks ago.  I had a brief chat with her this morning and she is just as happy as Larry to be back in business.

The Prairie Cottage Perogies store around the corner at 1704 Charles got a nice little puff piece in the Georgia Straight earlier in the month.

The store at 1268 Commercial is still closed (24 months) and although the sign saying City Bistro coming soon is prominently displayed, there is no obvious evidence of work being carried out.

The old Urban Empire store at 1108 is still vacant (13 months), and Moja still has not opened at 1102. Whatever the problem is, I am sure it is a very expensive delay.

As anticipated, the Dream Design store at 956 closed in mid-April. That is one big space to fill.

Dream Design

Next door at 952, Shibuya is still closed after four months.  The sign still says “closed for renovation,” but there is no sign of that happening.  I did notice that mail, which had piled up at the door, had been picked up this week.

Also, on the corner of Venables, the Money Mart at 902 Commercial has closed and been stripped down to the concrete walls.

Finally, after my last Changes post, one of my regular correspondents disagreed with my praise for the new planters that have appeared in the Drive’s central blocks, saying they were in the way.  Well, I took another good look today and I still think they are a good addition.  They are placed in the area of the sidewalk that is already set aside for lamp posts, bus stops, bicycle racks, and garbage cans, so they are no more inconvenient than any of those. I like them.

Previous Changes On The Drive posts

Image: Canoe I

May 1, 2015


Hijacking Pioneer

May 1, 2015

We rarely hear about plane hijackings these days; for a time there they were a bit of a fad.  But today is the 54th anniversary of the very first US hijacking.

On 1st May 1961, Puerto Rican Antuilo Ramierez Ortiz hijacked a National Airlines plane at pistol-point and ordered it to fly to Cuba where he received asylum. He started quite a craze.