Picking On The East Side’s Schools

April 1, 2019

In 2011, I published “The Drive: A Retail, Social, and Political History of Commercial Drive.” It covered the period of our history from 1935 to 1955, and the political story that it told was that Vancouver’s east side in general, and Grandview in particular, were treated by the Vancouver powers like unwanted step-kids; and that whatever advances we made here were entirely the result of our own efforts.

I was vividly reminded of this today as I read Aaron Leung’s excellent opinion piece in the Tyee entitled “A Rigged Game: School Closures in Vancouver.

Leung’s article discusses the Vancouver School Board’s long range facilities plan.

“[T]he report evaluates the feasibility of consolidating schools to remove “surplus capacity.” It identifies 16 elementary schools, three annexes and six secondary schools that could theoretically be closed, and their population moved to neighbouring facilities. All but two of them (Point Grey and Prince of Wales) are on the east side.”

In other words, virtually all the suggested closures are of east side schools.

We went through this same exercise in 2016 and the communities affected pulled together to complain and to stop — or, it seems, just delay — the unbalanced closures then proposed.  Clearly, the School Board has not learned anything of value from that previous attempt to damage the east side.

Not only does the VSB propose disrupting and damaging our communities in general (for these schools are important neighbourhood centres), more specifically they are aiming at special needs students who are clustered in large part on the east side of Vancouver.


Leung concludes his cri de coeur with the following:

“The Vancouver School Board needs to take an equity-based approach to its long-range facilities plan. Instead of a simplistic “surplus space” model, the board needs to look at many socioeconomic metrics, the needs of school populations and the role of communities — and its mission.  Consolidating — closing — schools where there is a higher population of students who need additional support does not uphold the board’s education goals. If the Vancouver School Board trustees are committed to reconciliation and social justice, they should go back to the drawing board.”

I would go much further and reverse Christy Clark’s decision when she was Education Minister to allow elitist parents to register their children in any school, regardless of where they live. That is one of the primary causes of the inequity we find in Vancouver schools today.  If you live in a neighbourhood, you should help support that neighbourhood by sending your kids to the neighbourhood schools.

Image: Fleet In Fog

April 1, 2019

Poem: Aromamore

April 1, 2019


was it the jitterbug perfume

she poured on my soul

— the fragrance of an everlasting kiss —

that keeps me staring

into the dark?

my neglected work

— lying angry like an abandoned maiden

scattered across my desk —

shivers with jealousy

as I part the curtains once more

and stare into that scented slice

of memory


Changes On The Drive #92

April 1, 2019

I took advantage of Saturday’s gorgeous spring weather to do the walk. The Drive was busy, noisy, revelling in the sleeveless warmth, every patio seat filled.

It is all change in the Marquee storefronts.  Relish Burgers at 2990 Commercial has closed. The lease has been picked up by Fadi Eid, owner of the Jamjar restaurant currently at 2280 Commercial.  Jamjar will close at 2280 on April 30th and reopen at 2290 the following day.  Later in May, 2280 will become the new location for Sushi Loku which is currently located on East Broadway.


Across the street, after 5 months sitting vacant, 2235 Commercial is now Vape Street …


… while 2223 Commercial is closed “for renovations until further notice.”


The Saloniki Restaurant, long resident at 1815 Commercial has morphed into the Park Drive.

There is work being done at the Falcone storefronts at 1810 and 1812 Commercial. They look far from ready to re-open, but it is good to see some activity there after more than a full year’s closure..

Fortunato Bruzzese’s glorious La Grotta del Formaggio at 1791 Commercial has been selected as the place to get the Best Sandwich in Metro Vancouver by the Vancouver Sun.

Source: Vancouver Sun


Meanwhile, Pulp Fiction bookstore has completed its move from 1830 Commercial to 1744 Commercial, a much bigger space.


At 1622, La Mezcaleria is the only Commercial Drive joint in Scout’s list of Best Brunches in the City. I happen to think there are some decent brunches available all up and down the Drive, but this one is pretty good.

The former Bao Down at 1408 Commercial is still not open, but they have a new awning that announces the imminent arrival of Harbour Oyster Bar.

The new Livia Bakery & Cafe at 1395 Commercial continues to attract good press. It was packed from end to end when I walked by on Saturday.

The northern four blocks of Commercial to Venables were unchanged this month.


Vacancies on the Drive this month:  2290 Commercial (1 month vacant), 2086 (vacant 15 months), 2088 (15 months), 1840 (2 months), 1830 (1 month), 1812 (13 months), 1810 (13 months), 1801 (27 months), 1735 (6 months), 1706 (2 months), 1409 (7 months), 1408 (12 months), 952 (6 months).


Previous Changes on the Drive editions.