Robberies on the Drive

January 9, 2018

As many of you will know, Mary Jean “Watermelon” Dunsdon operates the Licorice Parlour at 1002 Commercial Drive. The following is quoted from Watermelon’s recent post on Facebook:

“Dear Fellow Commercial Drivers: Commercial Drive Licorice Parlour got broken into last night by a seriously professional thief. He has now hit up at least 4 businesses that I know of just in our block alone . Sometime between 1 and 2 AM. He is packing all sorts of tools in his back pack for any type of lock. Caucasian male, approx 5 foot 8. He was wearing a lighter colour hooded rain coat with a hat as well and of course his back pack. He has a really long nose and pale complexion.

Please be on the look out. Also please tell all your friends and neighbours who work or live in the area. Together we are stronger.

I only found out about all the other robberies after mine got broken into. He tried breaking the front lock too said the lock smith tonight, which would explain why our door has been a bit off the hinges for two weeks. Which means he tried to get in a week before Christmas, then kept coming back. Last night he sawed off some of the metal lip on the back door and must have picked the other locks or used magnets to get in. It is a mystery. A few nights ago he smashed the window on a store two doors down and when no cops came he went in and robbed the joint with the alarm going. Across the street he got through two security doors and tripped up the alarm somehow. This guy is bold. We all have him on camera.

Tomorrow I will campaign all business to put up signage and fortify themselves. It is already a disgrace how hard small business need to work to survive in this city. The cost of a break-in could make or break any one of us.”


It is an unfortunate reality that these bad things happen even our wonderful neighbourhood. If you know anything about this or recognise the guy, please contact the store or the police.

The Future of our Coop Book Store

January 9, 2018

A couple of weeks ago, the People’s Coop Book Store at 1391 Commercial issued a notice stating that they would be going out of business at the end of this month. Founded in 1945, the bookstore moved to Commercial Drive in 1983 and has been an important part of the Drive’s cultural heritage for thirty-five years. To see it close would be a terrible shame.  Last night the Coop held a Special General Meeting to discuss the situation.

The Coop now has more than 800 members and had perhaps its busiest Christmas season ever last month. However, like many small businesses, the Coop has always been short of capital. In the Coop’s case, this has meant a smaller than required operating line of credit leading to problems with ordering books from publishers. And, of course, without new books, a bookstore has less and less to offer.  Recently, the finances have been bought to a crisis position due to some unexpected but unavoidable expenses and this has created a shortage of funds with which to pay the rent, leading to the decision to close.

At the meeting last night there was a definite desire from the members attending to see the store keep operating and enough money was raised at the meeting to pay the rent and operating expenses for February. A few new Board members were added (including me) and we will work hard to set in place a more secure financing plan for the future.

This has always been a co-operative venture rather than a for profit corporation and I hope some of the members who have a little spare cash can come forward with donations to see the Bookstore through this difficult period. If you can assist financially, please contact the store and we’ll make the necessary arrangements.


Image: City Abstract #4

January 9, 2018