Wise Words

December 14, 2022

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“Not everything that can be faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

– James Baldwin


Changes On The Drive #127

December 1, 2022

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Yes, we’re back! Thanks once again to Steve and Penny who actually did the walk this week.

First, a correction or rather an addition. In the previous post, we inadvertently omitted the Harbour Oyster + Bar at 1408 Commercial from our comprehensive listing. Our apologies!

The Cashmart store at 2245 Commercial has closed.

Pacific Ink & Toner at 2115 is closing at the end of the month. They share a double storefront with National Massage Chairs at 2125 but it is unclear if that, too, is about to cease operations.

The former Cafe Deux Soleils at 2096 Commercial is still vacant. However, there seems to be some renovation work going on there. A sign mentioned a company called Ceridian which is a human relations and payroll outfit. Not sure yet how they are connected to the space.

At 1858 Commercial, we are still awaiting the opening of Fior De Latte.

Vancouver Magazine has a quick bright paean to Persia Foods, which it describes as the most affordable grocery in Vancouver. Our version on the Drive is at 1730 Commercial.

At First & Commercial, it is disappointing to see that Il Mercato Mall has fallen victim to the city’s current fetish of window breaking.

Image: Kerry Smith

There have been rumours about the ownership and possible closing of SuperValu. Ownership is still unclear, but I am told they have been assured that they will have another ten years on their lease before that entire corner is re-developed.

The former Black Dog Video storefront at 1470 Commercial has been taken over by Soulessentials Records. And Marsala Marinated Meats has opened at 1458 Commercial.

Cafe du Soleil at 1393 Commercial was the victim of an armed robbery at brunch last Sunday. Two men with guns stole money and cell phones from staff and customers before escaping in a car.

The iconic grocery and deli, Santa Barbara at 1322 Commercial, is still the subject of rumours that they will close this year. They have been sorely challenged by the big-money competition such as Choices, and there have been problems hiring staff. The result is still not clear, but it will be a major disappointment to many of us if they are forced to close.

No longer a rumour; Fets Whisky Kitchen at 1230 Commercial — on the Drive in various guises since the 1980s — will close at the end of December; Allura and Eric are retiring. They will be greatly missed.

At 1124 Commercial, Lotus Barber and Tattooing is renovating.

At 935 Commercial, we are still awaiting the opening of Nicli Pronto, while the new building at 928 Commercial no longer has a STOP WORK order on it and heavy equipment is in operation every day.

Finally, the Kin Kao restaurant at 903 Commercial is basking in the glory of its second spot — Kin Kao Song at 317 E. Broadway — which has won a coveted Michelin Bib Gourmand award.

Vacancies on the Drive this month: 

2245 Commercial, 2111 Commercial, 2096 Commercial, 2058 Commercial, 1858 Commercial, 1851 Commercial, 1733 Commercial, 1670 Commercial, 1428 Commercial, 1340 Commercial, 1124 Commercial, 1020 Commercial, 935 Commercial

Previous editions of Changes on the Drive


Night Music: Hey Joe

November 28, 2022

Finding The Boy King

November 26, 2022

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It was 100 years ago today, that Howard Carter first sighted the antechamber to the tomb of Pharoah Tutankhamun, who had died very young in about 1325 BC.

Excavations had begun at the beginning of the month, and it would not be until 1925 that the Pharoah’s tomb would be cleared; but today, the anniversary of when the antechamber revealed its rich secrets, is generally considered the date of discovery.

The discovery and subsequent publicity made both King Tut and Howard Carter global celebrities.


Image: Street Art #3B

October 13, 2022

September

September 22, 2022

Oh, Canada!

July 23, 2022
Ripped from Twitter

Leisure on the Drive, 1930-1965

May 27, 2022

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I have today published a new research essay called: Lawn Bowling to Rock ‘n’ Roll: Leisure on the Drive, 1930 to 1965.

It can be found at https://grandviewheritagegroup.ca/blog/

I hope you find it of interest.


Night Music: Smokestack Lightning

May 26, 2022

Night Music: Rivers of Babylon

May 24, 2022

Night Music: What Becomes of the Broken Hearted

May 12, 2022

Image: Street Art #2

April 29, 2022

GWAC AGM with Andy Yan — Today!

April 2, 2022

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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.


GWAC AGM with Andy Yan!

March 29, 2022

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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.


Night Music: In Dreams

March 8, 2022

B.C. Transit — Public Webinar

March 3, 2022

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The West Coast Climate Action Network is planning four monthly webinars on the theme of Transportation in a Time of Climate Crisis which “will explore the best policies and practices for transportation in BC, propose a policy platform, and mobilize political action.”

The first of these — Great Public Transit – Urban and Rural — is on March 9th at 4:00pm. Speakers will include Kukpi7 Chief Judy Wilson, BC Union of Indian chiefs, and Eric Doherty, a Victoria-based transportation planner. 

Anyone interested in virtually attending can get tickets at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/great-public-transit-urban-and-rural-tickets-271858103907.

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[h/t to Nathan for the notice]


Local Improvements?

February 6, 2022

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It’s an election year in Vancouver, so we can expect a steady stream of announcements from City Hall showing how well the administration is managing your tax dollars. These are usually delivered in the form of small local improvements or planning exercises. And sometimes they are used to take peoples’ minds off more important matters such as housing affordability, the opioid crisis, money laundering, and the developers’ hold over City business.

So, it was in this rather cynical frame of mind that I read two such announcements from this week.

The first was about the distribution of $2 million in grants to groups — such as the BIA and the Kettle — to help with street cleaning functions using homeless folks. Hard to argue with the utility of that, and it helps employ some of the Kettle’s neediest clients.

The second item involves the beginning of a four-year plan to upgrade the City’s 44,000 street lights, many of which are old and faulty. There is now an app you can use to report lights that are not working.

Much of the talk among my local group when this was announced was about replacing the current lights with ones that dim or switch off when not needed. It was noted that the energy savings alone should be enough to cover the costs of the relevant sensors.

Your tax dollars at work.


R.I.P. Ronnie Spector

January 12, 2022

Pyotr Kropotkin (1842-1921)

December 9, 2021

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Peter Kropotkin quotes (141 quotes) | Quotes of famous people

Today we celebrate the birthday in 1842 of Peter Kropotkin, founder of modern anarchism, and author of the book “Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution” which has influenced important thinkers such as Murray Bookchin, and Emma Goldman. In the book he developed a scientific view of the communitarian anarchism that he favoured.


Book Talk: Scot Hein & Jak King

December 9, 2021

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In March 2021, CityHallWatch hosted an online conversation between Jak King and veteran architect/urban designer Scot Hein. The conversation, just over an hour in length, can be viewed on YouTube.

The big news today is that we’ve also produced a transcript, below, and added some links for further background and information.

The book and conversation are all very relevant right now. Many of the same players and processes persist to this day in 2021. Vancouver City Hall is going through several major planning exercises (the citywide Vancouver Plan, Broadway Plan, etc.) that are likely to replace or be superimposed upon all previous plans. Planners hope to have this deemed as Vancouver’s Official Development Plan prior to the next civic election (October 2022). The provincial government has already adopted changes to the Local Government Act, now allowing the public hearings to be waived if a development fits with a municipality’s official community plan. There may already be a scheme even to apply this change to the Vancouver Charter, which governs Vancouver. So, besides Vancouver having flawed consultation processes, the public’s last tool to influence development and the future of the city could be effectively eliminated.

We hope that this interview and transcript will be of benefit not only for the general public, but also students of urban planning, current and aspiring planners, reporters, politicians. Basically, it is important for anyone who has a stake in urban planning, particularly in the Vancouver context.

The transcript is now available here.