Heritage Dates For The Calendar

February 12, 2020

The Vancouver Heritage Foundation celebrates Heritage Week. The following details are from the VHF website:

Heritage Week 2020


Celebrating our cultural heritage and historic places

February 17 – 23, 2020

Heritage Week offers a chance to explore heritage across BC and Canada. In 2020 the theme is “2020 Vision: Bringing the Past into the Future”. The restoration and adaptation of heritage buildings is key to a sustainable future, preserving community and cultural spaces, retaining affordable retail and residential spaces and keeping usable building materials from landfills, all while enriching our streetscapes and neighbourhoods. The future also includes reconciliation with Indigenous communities and a more inclusive telling of the stories of the past for all communities. Join us as we explore the role of heritage in our future throughout Heritage Week, February 17th – 23rd.

Places That Matter Community Celebration
Wednesday, February 19th
6pm – 8:30pm
Heritage Hall, 3102 Main Street
Free, and open to the public

Join us for a free evening of storytelling and community history along with community organization displays and refreshments.

Snow Day In Salsbury Park

January 15, 2020


Even with the snow falling at its most intense, the kids are having fun in the Park!

St. Paul’s Could Be Our Saviour

September 23, 2019

The wonderful old St Paul’s Hospital is now for sale.  It was announced some while ago that a new St Paul’s will be built on the False Creek Flats, and so the current 6.6 acre site in the West End has been put on the market.

I am sure any number of major developers are salivating at the prospect. However, what we don’t need are more high-end condo towers designed for foreign speculators and other 1%ers. In fact, the sales agent’s release itself notes that already “there are 11 active and 23 upcoming high-density condo projects in the Vancouver downtown core, delivering a total of 6,766 units.  The average price of these units are reaching up to $2,154 PSF.” That’s more than $2 million for a 1,000 sq.ft condo.

What we do need are a lot of low-income and lower-income rentals, and the old St. Paul’s offers a tremendous opportunity to supply those in the medium term by renovating the current structures.  Not only could this site supply a huge amount of affordable housing, it will save vast amounts of landfill space from any proposed redevelopment and, I am sure, will be cheaper to renovate than to demolish and rebuild.

The only question I have is whether we have any politicians, at any level of government, with the guts and the foresight to grab this opportunity and make it work for the working people of Vancouver?

Mount Pleasant Without Cars!

June 15, 2019

If any of my readers are planning on going to Main Street tomorrow for the Car Free Day event, I would urge them to look out for the Mount Pleasant Heritage Group Heritage Lounge which will  be in front of Heritage Hall.

They have a lot of interesting things to say about how that neighbourhood should recognize and integrate its heritage and history into the ongoing City Plan process.  Stop by and take a look.


More On Dogs, People, and Parks

September 13, 2016

I understand that the GWAC meeting last night regarding the potential new Parks Board policy about dogs in city parks was well-attended and polite in its questioning.

If you missed it (as I was obliged to), you have another chance tonight at an open house at Trout Lake Community Centre from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.

Parks Board says: “The goal of this round of consultation is to find out what is important to park users about dogs in Vancouver’s parks and beaches, including opportunities and challenges. Feedback from this round will inform preliminary design and policy recommendations that will be presented in a second round of consultation in early 2017. “

People, Parks, and Dogs

September 8, 2016

The Vancouver Parks Board has hired some whizz kids to develop a new policy for dogs in our city’s park system. They discuss this briefly on their website.  The Parks Board is keen to involve the public in the decision-making for this new Strategy and their site gives a number of ways in which you can contribute.

If this is of interest to you, you have a chance to say your piece at the next monthly Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC) meeting on Monday night, September 12th. Meeting starts at 7:00pm and takes place at the Learning Resource Centre under Britannia Library. If you are not sure where this is, just visit the Britannia Info Centre at Napier and Commercial and they will happily direct you.

The Library in 2020

April 16, 2016

I use the Vancouver Public Library system a great deal, and I think it is a fine organization.  However, the management of VPL are wondering what it should look like in 2020, and they are asking the public to give their opinions and ideas.

“Your voice is a key part of how we’re developing the library’s next strategic plan, VPL 2020, which will guide us in meeting the future needs of the community and the city …

Two ways to participate

If you are concerned about this vital public resource, please take the time to have your say.

Calendar Date: Putting Up The Fallen Walls

November 4, 2015

At noon on 12th November, at the CBC  Vancouver Broadcaster Centre Plaza, the new exhibit at the public art installation named The Wall will be officially unveiled.  The Wall is an initiative of the Vancouver Heritage Foundation in cooperation with the CBC, JJ Bean, and the City of Vancouver.

The new installation called down.town by artist Faith Moosang is of particular interest to all of us concerned with development issues, history, and neighbourhood change:

“down. town. is a large-scale composite photograph created from 164 individual film frames, video stills and digital photographs gleaned from the CBC Archives and Wikimedia Commons. There were three questions behind the work – how many buildings have been demolished in downtown Vancouver between 1954 and 2015, how many of these demolitions were considered newsworthy and how does one represent the notion of absence or missing? … The high number of buildings that have gone missing from our collective landscape is indicative that humans are notorious for forgetting, and that what is normal is always shifting. Vancouver has a (short) long history of development in the pursuit of density and profit.”


Happy 20th Birthday to VPL

May 26, 2015

Library Exterior V copy

Our glorious Central Library was opened twenty years ago today!  It has been a joy to view and visit ever since.

[thanks to Eve Lazarus for the reminder]

Our Library Is The Very Best!

December 19, 2013


Our fabulous downtown library has been declared the very best in the world in a study compiled by the Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf, Germany.  The study “analyzed the services and spaces, both digital and physical, of 31 libraries around the world and how they support learning and creativity in their respective cities.”

Good for the Vancouver Public Library and good for us all!

Save The Hollywood Theatre!

November 12, 2013

STH Rally poster letter size copy

A Double Disappointment

November 4, 2012

For the last couple of days we have been looking forward to Sunday morning dim sum at the Western Lake.  So, this morning we got ready and headed out on the bus, only to discover that they were so busy (no real surprise) that a table for two would be more than an hour’s wait.  disappointment one.

We decided, therefore, to get back on the bus and go down to the Pink Pearl, which in the old days used to be our favourite.  But whether the long hiatus in business there has changed things, or whether we are now just so used to the superior food at Western Lake, I found the dim sum today to be the second disappointment.

The Pearl’s mixed menu-ordering-plus-foodcarts system is confusing, I thought, and meant that we didn’t get everything we thought we ordered.  And what we did get just didn’t cut it when compared to the Lake. The service was excellent, though, I have to say.  But that’s not enough to keep me coming back.  I just have to remember that making a reservation at Western Lake is a good idea.

Pink Pearl Resurrection

May 25, 2012

We just came back after dim sum with some friends at the newly re-opened Pink Pearl on Hastings.  What a pleasure to be back.  The place has been closed for about 2 years, since the fire, and they have rebuilt the interior almost exactly the way it was.  The floor is new, and their “special orders” serving table is gone, but everything else was so — familiar.  One of the servers we recognized, Sandy, ran up and hugged my wife.

There were still a few trolleys being pushed around, but the Pearl seems to have gone over almost completely to a list service, where you mark your selection on a menu form and hand it in.  I miss the trolley service, to be honest; it is the best way to discover new things that look good.  But the food was as good as ever I remember. Smaller portions, still, than Western Lake, but wonderfully tasty.

The problem now is that I have two favourite dim sum places that I have to choose from.  I guess we’ll keep going to both.

Western Lake Dim Sum

October 31, 2010

The friends that we usually go to dim sim with have been away for a few weeks, so it was especially good to go out with them this morning.  With the Pink Pearl now seemingly lost forever, we are on a mission to find our next favourite dim sum place.  Our landlord, Chinese, strongly recommended Western Lake on Victoria at 34th, and so off we went.

It is an unprepossesing building, and not very large inside. But even as we got there, a whole gaggle of people were already crowding the tiny front door, either waiting their turn to collect a number from the desk or eagerly expecting to hear their number.  We waited about half an hour — not like us really to be that patient — but we were well rewarded.

The Western Lake is too small for roving carts of food and so they use a menu ticket system, which is easy enough so long as you have a pretty good idea what it is you want.  We didn’t notice anything special to the house on the menu but all the regular items were there and we had shu-mi, har-gao, squid, char sui bau, gai lan and a couple of other plates.  Each was wonderful, and the individual portions were noticeably larger than many of the other places we’ve tried. The tea was great, the service was excellent, and what with all the catching up with each others’ lives, we had a fine old time there.  $33 for four very satisfied appetites.  Hard to beat.

Apart from us four, there were virtually no Caucasians in the place.  It was packed with Chinese; always a good sign! As we were leaving, some of the people who had arrived just after us were only just being seated, but everyone seemed happy enough.  They do take reservations and I would recommend that  for the future.  We will certainly be going back pretty soon, I am sure of that.

Chinatown Night Market

August 20, 2010

We visited the Chinatown Night Market on Keefer Street tonight for the first time in a number of years. It was a huge disappointment. As I recall it from before, the Market stretched the two blocks on Keefer from Gore down to Columbia, with a break for Main Street. Tonight the entire action was on the single block from Columbia to Main, and the booths were not squashed together either. I guess the night market in Richmond has drawn away some traffic, but still we were surprised.

It looks fairly busy, but in all honesty it wasn’t. Probably half the stalls were food vendors, and not all of them were Chinese. There was the potato tornado, for example:

The bra stall was still there, as were the cheap jewelry stands. And I did find some pretty Chinese umbrellas, but there was not much else.

The Keefer block between Main and Gore was dead at 7:00pm. Very sad as it used to be so lively on Market nights. We couldn’t even buy custard tarts because the bakeries were already closed. I read that Hon’s Restaurants, the main branch of which is in that block, is in serious difficulties and I can imagine that to be so. In the old days, the Market must have brought them a lot of business. But not now. It was all rather sad.

Good Taste In Vancouver

May 25, 2008

Vancouver magazine’s May edition contains the “19th Annual Restaurant Awards” — the best in Vancouver eateries for 2008.  It is the only edition of the magazine I ever buy.  There are 179 winners and, as usual, only about three of them are east of Cambie.

I was triggered to write this because we went to the Pink Pearl this morning.  We were privileged to enjoy the freshest dim sum either of us could ever remember.  The tastes were subtle, different, clean and delicious.  The Pearl is always wonderful, but this morning was beyond that. And the Pearl was not even acknowledged in the awards.

Three restaurants on the Drive were mentioned.   Rinconcito Salvadoreno received the Silver award in the Best of the Americas category, while Lombardo’s garnered an Honorable Mention for Casual Italian.  Me & Julio’s also received an Honourable Mention in the Americas category, which is odd — it can hardly have been open when the voting took place for this edition.  But good luck to it!

Pink Pearl

February 24, 2008

I have to give a plug here to the always wonderful Pink Pearl on Hastings at Glen. It never fails to produce something new for dim sum while maintaining the quality of our favourite standbys. The Pearl seats 700 and is full for dim sum every weekend, with lineups if you get there after about 11.

We enjoyed time there this morning with three friends and each of them ordered something we might not ordinarily eat, as we did for them in return. The result was a great eating experience — one of many we have enjoyed at the Pearl. The new things for me today were a curried squid, a vegetarian dumpling, and a deeply baked tapioca pudding. These plus the ha gao, fried squid, su mai, hot and sour soup, vegetarian bean curd, and a few other items I don’t recall just filled us right up.

A great start to a Sunday.