Image: Peach Ice Cream

October 1, 2018

Changes On The Drive #86

October 1, 2018

Concerned by forecasts of bad weather this last weekend, I decided to complete the walk last Friday. It was a gorgeously warm day; hot, even, if you rested in the sun for too long.

We’ll begin this month with an overall item for the Drive.  As a PR thank you to the community from Fortis BC for their closing of First Avenue this summer, they are paying for four of our intersections to be repainted in the colours of the Italian flag.  There are no dates fixed for this work, so far as I can tell, but the intersection at Commercial & First will be the first to be painted.  Looking forward to it!

At 2080 Commercial — the first of the four new storefronts built last winter to be occupied — has opened as expected as Elephant Creamery, which comes highly recommended. I was hoping to give it a try as the reward for my walk, but it doesn’t open until noon and I got there too early.


Wash Out, the reno’ed laundromat at 2058 Commercial has a great marketing sign:


Other than that, I didn’t find any changes south of First, including a continued bleakness at both Falcone and Wonderbucks former locations.

I came across this pre-opening promo for Bench Bakehouse in Il Mercato mall.  But when will it open? There are no signs or indications that I could spot.

The new Ugly Dumpling, 1590 Commercial, is now open, turning the space around in just one month.  As the first promo piece in the Hive says: ”

With seasonal eats, dumplings, and share plates, Ugly Dumpling emphasizes that their menu was inspired by “staff meal” aka “The food that us cooks make for each other before and after service every day. It’s not pretty, it’s not fancy, probably not authentic, and definitely not meant for photos.” There’s eats like roasted new potato and farm eggs, tomato and shiso salad, cucumber noodles and Xo sauce, grilled saba and Takana tartar, morel mushroom and rice, and of course, daily dumplings up for order.

The Everloving and I decided to have lunch there yesterday, only to be disappointed to discover that it is an evening only place, opening at 6:00pm.

Sopra Sotto at 1510 Commercial gets decent reviews in Vancouver magazine’s (very) quick look at east-side restaurants. and another in the Straight.

Soly’s Pizza has opened up at the reno’ed 1417 Commercial.


The storefront at 1268 Commercial has not been the site of a successful business for the last few years, and it has sat vacant for the last 12 months. However, I hear that a new Pacific Poke is moving in there soon.

Havana, 1212 Commercial, got a good review as one of Vancouver’s restaurants that make you think you are on vacation. I am guessing the article was written before the recent fire.  They are now talking about a reopening in the first week of October. Fingers crossed for them.

Dandelion Kids at 1206 is moving away.  I would guess from the sale signs they will be closing toward the end of this month.


The previously vacant shopfront in the REACH building at 1151 has been rented to the OneCity Party for use duing this month’s municipal elections.


Behind Moja’s at 1102 Commercial, work has begun on the Parking Space Tower. I’ll say no more about that here.

The trials and tribulations of the East End Food Co-op at 1034 Commercial continue. The Toronto Star has covered the latest discussions.

The Downlow Chicken Shack at 905 Commercial and Kin Kao Thai Kitchen at 903 are both well reviewed in the Straight.


Vacancies/closures/renovations on the Drive this month2240 Commercial (7 months vacant), 2082 (9 months), 2284 (9 months), 2288 (9 months), 1810 (7 months), 1812 (7 months), 1801 (21 months), Strawberry Bakery site (45 months), 1409 (1 month), 1408 (6 months), 1399 (2 months), 1303 (22 months), 1268 (13 months)


Previous Changes On The Drive editions.

Poem: Canada

October 1, 2018


Big in size

but with a squeaky little voice,

Canada is like

an effeminate linebacker

facing the south-of-49ers

across the goal line of an undefended border.


We have steroids without strength

mass without muscle.

We are

a huge collapsable shell of a country.

We survive

because the Americans cannot be bothered

to deal with the

PR flak

that would inevitably follow

the easy pushover.


Could Celine Dion save us?

Or Bryan Adams or Margaret Atwood?

Or even Douglas Coupland, Tony Onley and the Bare Naked Ladies linking arms?


Not even the whole mess

of Canadian culture

— bilingual and multicultural —

could save us

if the Americans put their minds to it.


The manifest destiny

of globalization

ensures that it will happen

one day, some day.

And then many of us will become

marginalized Americans

like Idahoans or Puerto Ricans.

Maybe we’ll qualify for grants

and affirmative action

as the third largest minority


blacks and hispanics.

Maybe we’d alter American politics

for ever

with our semi-socialists

and our semi-fascists

and our quaint idea that government can occasionally

be a good thing.


More likely, we’ll become

a minor market for Wal Mart

an inconvenience for weather forecasters

and a fiscal drain

on southwestern startups

and other entrepreneurs.

If there’s a futures market for snow, native land

claims and Gallic intransigence,

Maybe they could sell us

to Norway

where benefits are better.


October 1, 2018