Image: Across English Bay

March 31, 2022

Catherine Bufton of Commercial Drive

March 31, 2022


In a belated honour of International Women’s History Month, I thought I’d write a short piece on one of the most dynamic women ever to grace Grandview and Commercial Drive.

Catherine Bufton (nee Drake) was born in Gloucester, England, in 1881.  She emigrated to Manitoba where she met and married Hubert Bufton.  After Hubert’s service in World War One, the couple moved to Vancouver in 1919. Hubert had been seriously injured during the war and during recuperation, he and Catherine learned floral basket weaving.  They put this to use by opening Bufton Florists at 1520 Commercial in 1923, living in an apartment upstairs. The company would be a fixture on the Drive until 1982.

In the late 1920s, Catherine pushed the Grandview Chamber of Commerce to create a Women’s Auxillary branch of the Chamber and she became the Auxillary’s first President. The Auxillary’s first project, devised and organized by Mrs. Bufton, was the War Memorial in Grandview Park which was dedicated in November 1930.  Their next project was the creation of the Grandview Lawn Bowling Association’s greens which took over Victoria Park and the building of a large clubhouse on the Salsbury side of the park. It was opened for the first season in the spring of 1933.  Catherine Bufton helped persuaded the necessary authorities to make this a works relief project and many local artisans suffering in the Depression received useful paychecks while preparing the ground.

Catherine and Hubert had been founding members of the CCF in the early 1930s, and in the 1937 Provincial election, Catherine ran unsuccessfully for the Reconstruction Party.  They were also active in veterans’ issues and helped lead Victory Bond fundraising during the Second World War.

When Hubert died in 1944, Catherine continued with the business, being joined by their son Frank. However, in early 1950 she retired to her new home and garden in West Vancouver.  She returned briefly when Bufton’s Florists moved to the new Bentholme Building on the corner of First and Commercial, but spent much of her retirement traveling the world with her daughter.  She died in West Vancouver in May 1967.

The image is taken from the Highland Echo of May 27, 1937.

Night Music: Vincent

March 30, 2022

Antigen Tests at LifeLabs

March 30, 2022


I may have mentioned before that I am certain I am suffering from long covid. I can barely walk half a block without resting and even the simplest of tasks leave me breathless. This situation began soon after the everloving and I both suffered from a week-long bout of terrible flu-like symptoms in January 2020 — just before covid was announced as a public thing.

Since then, I have had several lung tests and two detailed heart examinations, all of which were clear, leaving both me and my various medical specialists in the dark as to the underlying cause of my problems, though none of the professionals was willing to speculate on long covid.

I just noticed that LifeLabs offer an antigen test that will show whether or not one has ever had covid. Great idea, I thought, even though it costs $75 which is a stretch. I am willing to pay the price to know, but the other conditions add a significant burden to Provincial expenses.

You can only get the test by having your GP sign the requisition, and only the GP gets the results. That means two visits to the doctor’s office (one to get the form signed, and another to get the results), and therefore two payments by BC Med to the doctor. I don’t begrudge the doctor their payments in any way, but surely there must be a more cost-efficient way of dealing with this.

Surely, if I am willing to stump up the fee for this test I should be able to put the order in myself (at least once) and receive the results directly (as I do with all my other blood work).

GWAC AGM with Andy Yan!

March 29, 2022


In an uncertain era of rapidly rising land values and a dramatic loss of affordability, where is Vancouver headed? How do we house our people and keep our vibrant neighborhoods intact? And what is in store for Grandview Woodland? 

For his insights into our present and future, join our special AGM keynote speaker Andy Yan.

Born and raised in Vancouver, Andy is the director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University and has a long and noted history as an analyst and commentator on urban regeneration, neighborhood development, public outreach and more.

Image: Paella

March 29, 2022

Night Music: Funky Kingston

March 28, 2022


Poem: Creme Brulee

March 28, 2022


To make a crème brulee

take a luscious creamy custard

and a butane torch

and burn the bugger to bits


cocaine and speed were her butane

her body and brain the custard.

That was her life she was burning

though she thought they were just desserts


Image: Sumo

March 27, 2022

Night Music: Seya

March 26, 2022

Image: Leaves and Tree

March 25, 2022

How Bloated IS Vancouver City Hall?

March 24, 2022


The always excellent CityHallWatch has published the latest “sunshine” list of Vancouver City staffers. Almost 1,800 of them make more than $100,000 a year, and 19 make more than $200,000 a year. It is no wonder they seem tone-deaf to the needs of residents for whom the median income is closer to $50,000.

The publication of the list prompted me to compare Vancouver’s civic staff and costs against those of Toronto which has a population of almost 2.8 million, many times larger than the 663,000 in Vancouver.

  • Toronto’s staff costs for 2021 were $883,546,834 or about $317 per resident.
  • Vancouver’s staff costs for 2021 were $586,049,613 or about $885 per resident.

Toronto’s civic staff totals 7,239 employees, while Vancouver is budgeting to employ 8,798 in 2022.

Who do you think is getting a more efficient service for your tax dollars?

Night Music: Why

March 24, 2022

A Record for Chardin

March 24, 2022


When I was a boy, one of the first artists who’s work I fell in love with was Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin, master of still life and portraiture. I saw his work in the National Gallery in London and the Louvre and was enchanted by his style.

However, to be honest, I haven’t thought of him in years. So a flood of great memories overtook me when reading today that his wonderful 1761 painting of a basket of strawberries …

…. had sold this month for €24 million: a record price for a Chardin or, indeed, for any 18th century French artist, and way above the €15 million pre-sale estimate.

It is good to know that such splendid workmanship never goes out of style.

Image: Garden Gate

March 23, 2022

Snacks Tonight #49

March 23, 2022


I’m not sure what call these — apple slices? — but they were so easy to make that I got it done before 8 this morning.

Night Music: Under Pressure

March 22, 2022

Translink is Tone Deaf

March 22, 2022


I’ll state my position right up front: public transit should be a free service.

I’m certainly not alone in that belief. There are hundreds of transit systems around the world that operate without fares because the benefits are so obvious: increased ridership, reduced dependence on fossil fuels , faster and more efficient service, reduction in operating costs, decreased congestion on city streets, decreased air and noise pollution, and the social benefits that low income accessibility gives to those seeking work. The list goes on and on.

There are several free transit systems in Canada, particularly in Quebec and Alberta. And larger systems, such as the TTC in Ontario, have frozen their fares for a second year. Transit systems in Ireland, New Zealand, and elsewhere have significantly cut fares in recent times to encourage greater usage.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Translink in the Lower Mainland. Rather than follow the global and environmentally sound global trend, Translink increased fares last year and propose to increase them once again this year, while maintaining the unfair three-zone system that has Vancouver commuters subsidizing those from the suburbs.

Not only that: more than 50 bus routes have had their services reduced or eliminated completely in the last two years while all other big city systems in Canada have returned to pre-pandemic levels of service.

The unelected Board of Translink is well aware that living costs in Vancouver are sky-rocketing and they choose to do nothing but add to the burdens faced especially by lower income workers. They are tone-deaf to the needs of Vancouver’s residents, preferring to spend our money on hugely-expensive and unnecessary Sky Train extensions to nowhere rather than fixing the bus system.

What can we do? We can let them know in no uncertain terms our concern with their lack of proper focus. Call Brad Monette at ( 775) 375-6784 or ( 604)306-7182, or send an email to and/or with your comments.

Image: Diner #1

March 21, 2022

Poem: Birth

March 21, 2022



We begin our passage

by passing

through a passage,

the passing through of which

seems like a lifetime

to both passenger

and bearer