Image: Red Tulips #4

May 31, 2017

Night Music: Flash Mob Ode To Joy

May 30, 2017

Urgent: Potential Commercial & Broadway Sellout!

May 30, 2017

As part of City Planning’s “lipstick on a pig” policy to allow huge towers at Commercial & Broadway, the approved Grandview-Woodland Community Plan required a large and attractive public plaza as part of a redeveloped Safeway site. This was supposed to assuage the aesthetic and social dissonance the massive towers would bring to the area.

Safeway doesn’t like that idea, never has. It doesn’t fit in with what one critic calls their “archaic retail requirement” for a “large suburban store footprint”. In other words, an attractive public plaza would somehow get in the way of their profit-making potential. They are suggesting that any public plaza should be someplace else.  It is not clear to me at this point where the alternative plaza is supposed to be, but I suspect it is north of Broadway, toward the Cut, rather than south.

City Planning has decided to have a meeting about this new proposal on Thursday 8th June at 7:00pm at the Croatian Cultural Centre. The meeting is free, but you need to register via Eventbrite.

Even though this meeting is now only nine days away there is no mention of it on the GW Plan website and no notification has been sent to those of us signed up to the GWPlan email list. I know about it merely by chance.

Grandview-Woodland is already famously deficient in public space such as parks and plazas compared to the rest of Vancouver, and the Community Plan as approved does almost nothing to improve the situation. What little we do gain — such as a public plaza at Commercial & Broadway — needs to be protected and indeed enhanced not thrown over for the benefit of a developer.

Register to come to the meeting and let’s make our voices heard!

Update:  Some three hours after I posted this, I received an email notification from GWPlan about the meeting.


Renters Unite in Grandview-Woodand!

May 30, 2017

The next GWAC meeting, at 7:00pm on Monday 5th June, will feature a joint presentation by the Grandview-Woodland Renters Action Group and the Vancouver Tenants Union on:

Uniting Renters in Grandview-Woodland and Vancouver.

We have a clear majority of renters in our community, so this is an important topic, especially in a time of rapidly increasing rents accompanying a rampant gentrification of the neighbourhood.

There will be a discussion after the presentation, so come to the Learning Resource Centre (under Britannia Library on Napier) and have your say.


The Grandview Database

May 29, 2017

The Grandview Heritage Group has today published the June 2017 update to their Grandview Database. This now includes, amongst much else, the entire collection of 1911 households as enumerated in the Canada Census of that year (or at least as many as are still readable in the records).

The database is designed to provide a history of every house and household in the core of Grandview, including the nearly 2,000 that have been demolished and/or replaced over time.  It is published in pdf format allowing readers to perform easy searches on addresses, family names, businesses and, indeed, on any text component. The amount of material still to be entered is immense and the database is continually updated and published at the beginning of every month.

If you have a household or a historical connection in Grandview (in the area within the bounds of Clark, Hastings, Nanaimo, and Broadway) take a look at the database and see what we have found for your house.  We eagerly encourage corrections, additions, and suggestions.

Poem: Alphabetizing Two Worlds

May 29, 2017



It was easy to place History before Politics,

Medicine before Physicians; and

“Snow Fell on Cedars”

had to come after

“Escape From Alcatraz”.

But how was he to choose

Literature over Culture

or Astronomy over Alchemy?

And Asimov could go anywhere,

With his reflections about water

On the half-moons of Venus.

With bookcases brushing the ceilings,

And more volumes stacked halfway up walls,

melding the books, shuffling the pages,

was turning out to be the hardest part

of moving in together.


Amid the piles of unsorted memoirs he halted,

His unpacking abandoned.

He remembered the dancing, the dinners,

The walking.

It was easy to place Love before Duty.


Dinner Tonight #23

May 28, 2017

If you love olives, you’ll love this!  Simple to make, but really complex in taste.  Of course, if you don’t care for olives then there isn’t much I can say.

Select image for a larger view.

Night Music: Blue

May 28, 2017

Image: Fleet In Fog

May 27, 2017

Night Music: Read My Mind

May 26, 2017

Ramadan Mubarak

May 26, 2017

Image: City Abstract #11

May 25, 2017

Night Music: A Night In Tunisia

May 24, 2017

Image: Philadelphia Market Street Bank

May 23, 2017

History Re-Remembered

May 22, 2017

It is said that history is written by the victors, but that is not always true. In the American south, the myth of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy has dominated text books and streetscapes for well over a hundred years. Now, in 2017, as the monuments in praise of the racists are being removed from their prominent public spaces, the mayor of New Orleans Mitch Landrieu has given a most inspiring speech that destroys the myth and validates the clearing away of the old monuments.

But there are also other truths about our city that we must confront. New Orleans was America’s largest slave market: a port where hundreds of thousands of souls were brought, sold and shipped up the Mississippi River to lives of forced labor of misery of rape, of torture.

America was the place where nearly 4,000 of our fellow citizens were lynched, 540 alone in Louisiana; where the courts enshrined ‘separate but equal’; where Freedom riders coming to New Orleans were beaten to a bloody pulp.

So when people say to me that the monuments in question are history, well what I just described is real history as well, and it is the searing truth. And it immediately begs the questions: why there are no slave ship monuments, no prominent markers on public land to remember the lynchings or the slave blocks; nothing to remember this long chapter of our lives; the pain, the sacrifice, the shame …”

[The statues that are being removed] are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for.

After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city …

So relocating these Confederate monuments is not about taking something away from someone else. This is not about politics, this is not about blame or retaliation. This is not a naïve quest to solve all our problems at once.

This is, however, about showing the whole world that we as a city and as a people are able to acknowledge, understand, reconcile and, most importantly, choose a better future for ourselves, making straight what has been crooked and making right what was wrong.”

It is a marvelous recitation of doing the right thing for the right reasons, and it is well worth reading in full.

Night Music: Nessun Dorma

May 22, 2017

Wise Words

May 22, 2017

Poem: Another Sunday Morning

May 22, 2017


the air

after all that rain

had the texture of twilight fireworks



gently above the ground

then bursting into a sun-splashed grey.


the chill

had gone while those

of faith pondered greater mysteries


and those

who preferred a faster tempo

drew other conclusions from the game.


Important Dates for the Calendar

May 21, 2017

The Britannia Renewal project is moving ahead rapidly with a regular schedule of meetings and workshops. The next three are the following:

  • May 23, 7:00pm to 8:30pm:  Designing Safe Spaces.  Meeting in the Britannia Ice Rink Mezzanine. Speakers will discuss the design of spaces with two spirit, trans and gender variant, and women’s safety in mind.
  • May 27th, noon to 3:00pm: Public Outdoor Spaces Workshop.  Meeting in Gym D. Help imagine the kinds of public outdoor spaces the new Britannia could include.
  • May 29th, 5:00pm to 7:00pm. Housing on the Britannia Site. Meeting in B-Lab, Info Centre, Napier Street. There is a suggestion (perhaps even a requirement) that housing be included on the renewed site. What do you think about that?  Come along and debate the issues.


Image: Bacon

May 21, 2017