While California's water shortage continues, Cascadia has been suffering its own drought conditions, to the extent that expanding wildfires have lent the skies of Vancouver, B.C. a Mars-like orange hue.
lululemon athletica, the "yoga-inspired athletic apparel company", has rapidly become a brand fixture in the Pacific Northwest since its founding by Chip Wilson in 1998. Recently, a strange ode to Ayn Rand appeared on their website, and a "Who Is John Galt?" advertising campaign has adorned company packaging this November. Meanwhile, one of their employees has been convicted in the bizarre murder of a co-worker, in which the employees of a neighbouring Apple Store ignored the victim's cries for help.
Vancouver aims to "end homelessness by 2015". Officials have been working over the years to reduce the city’s homelessness, and in July passed an ambitious plan that targets eliminating street homelessness by 2015 and creating nearly 40,000 new units of social, rental, and condo housing by 2021. The plan is aimed at building multiple types of housing to address shortages, but the first three years focus mainly on supportive and social housing. It calls for 3,650 units of such housing, 1,700 of which are already funded and in either the planning or construction phase. According to city councilor Kerry Jang, the need for this type of supportive housing has skyrocketed in recent years.
SCC approves safe injection sites. The Supreme Court of Canada today ordered the federal government to stop its efforts to shut down a safe injection clinic in Vancouver, opening the door to more clinics opening across the country. [more inside]
Human foot washes up on beach near Vancouver for 11th time in four years Previously - The DNA matchup - previously again
Realtors in Cars is one of the strangest sites I've seen in some time. I have no idea how these agencies got their realtors wedged into their cars, or why.
Despite the federal election focus on BC ridings, Vancouverites are having a hard time looking past the municipal. Things are quite dramatic in the urban planning scene. The city's regional growth plan was recently paralyzed by disagreement from Coquitlam. TransLink announced permanent cuts to bus service during Earth Week, describing it as "service optimization," highlighting its own chronic funding issues. The city successfully stopped a "megacasino" project after community backlash, but the $3 billion freeway Gateway Project continues despite ongoing protests. As the city struggles to find its way to the goal of Greenest City 2020, it's a good time to look at the paths not taken, via this excellent podcast on Vancouver's relationship with roadways. Part of a series called "Moving Through" from the Museum of Vancouver. [more inside]
Vancouver comedian Guy Earle and the restaurant he was performing at were fined a combined C$22,500 by the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal after a 2007 incident where Earle mocked a member of the audience. [more inside]
Survival, Strength, Sisterhood: Power of Women in the Downtown Eastside (Vimeo link; possibly triggering) is a 2011 short film by Alejandro Zuluaga and Harsha Walia, based on a concept by the Downtown Eastside Power of Women Group (TRT 32:00). [more inside]
The Complaints Choir phenomenon, started by the Finnish artists Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, has spread all over the world since last we paid it any attention, from Birmingham to Helsinki, Hamburg, St. Petersburg, Poikkilaakso, Bodø, Penn State, Canada, Juneau, Gabriola Island, Sointula, Jerusalem, Melbourne, Budapest, Malmö, Chicago, Florence, Copenhagen, Vancouver (2), Philadelphia, Sundbyberg, Milano, Åland, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Rotterdam, Basel, Umeå, Ljubljana, Gdansk, Arizona State University, Washington, DC, Horace Mann School, Durham-Chapel Hill, Auckland, Toronto theatre students, Kortrijk, Cairo (2), St. Pölten, Maribor, Port Coquitlam, Ústí nad Labem, Columbus & Kauhajoki (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). For more information, including a 9 step guide to forming your own complaints choir, go to the Complaints Choir website. Finally, here's the Singapore Complaints Choir, whose performance was banned by the Singapore government.
Vancouver has long struggled with a reputation as a "No Fun City", largely due to draconian BC liquor laws. Many prohibition-era laws were not repealed until 1999 or later. The struggle to bring fun to the city culminated in the 2010 Olympics; but on Saturday, the fun proved too much for city officials, and police ordered all downtown liquor stores to close at 7pm. [more inside]
City Farmer is a Vancouver-based organization that's been promoting urban agriculture since 1978. If you dig around their sprawling website, you can find everything from this feel-good news story, to a series of links leading to a nice deep free book. Alternatively, their new blog has cool pictures.
This morning in Vancouver, volunteers handed out hundreds of disposable cameras, available free to any low-income resident of the city's Downtown Eastside (DTES) neighbourhood. Pictures in the returned cameras will be entered in this year's "Hope in Shadows" competition, with winners getting prizes and one of 12 spots in next year's calendar. (It will be sold by specially-trained low-income folks, who keep half their profits.) Run by Pivot, a local legal activism group, "Hope in Shadows" is a succesful and "innovative empowerment through art" project and a chance for the residents of the DTES to define their community -- one most often defined by its poverty, addictions, violence and disease.
Previous winners: 2004, 2005  , 2006
Previous winners: 2004, 2005  , 2006
On one side: Jim Green, the Alabama-born, opera-loving Vietnam draft-dodger, a hard-nosed community activist and the choice of the local tabloid and the outgoing mayor (himself the inspiration for not one but two Canadian television series) who together fought to bring harm-reduction (i.e. sanity) to Vancouver's drug-plagued downtown eastside; on the other: Sam Sullivan, the surprising underdog, a paraplegic -- and former lead singer in the "Spinal Chords" -- who, he's proud to say, was flat on his back and on welfare 20 years ago, then taught himself Cantonese and is the longest-serving member of city council. Who will be the next mayor of Vancouver? (It'll be close.)
Despite our predominantly post-modern society in Canada, there are still pockets of ignorance and intolerance. The City of Surrey a very suburban suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, is pretty much the capital of Canada when it comes to this. A high school (ages 13-18) was rehearsing to perform "The Laramie Project" - a play about the murder of an American student Matthew Shephard (who was gay) and tolerance when the Surrey School Board pulled the plug on it. The play had recently been performed in a high school in a smaller, but less rednecky suburb, Mission. This is the same school board that tried to ban two excellent books teaching children tolerance for their friends that may have two dads or two mums. The ban was overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada. Perhaps a play of this nature is appropriate for high school students? Whaddya think?
Dear Sex Addict, Is Osama Hot or Not? (Sunday Magazine, Vancouver) I think OBL is totally hot, but my friends think I’ve lost my sense of judgement. What do you think? Do you think Osama is hot or not? Some people find Osama sexy. He is tall and aristocratic looking. Personally, I could do without the beard. I imagine people find him sexy because he is an outlaw. Some people say they find Osama sexy just to be outrageous. I think he looked much sexier when he was younger (don’t we all?); lately he looks tired, old, not vibrant. One thing you can be certain of, though, is that Osama doesn’t find you sexy.
This metafilter thread about the Golden Bridge suicide documentary stayed in my mind for weeks after I read it. It was haunting. Yesterday the Langara Journalism review from Vancouver published a very interesting article about responsible coverage of suicide in the media, notably after a mediatic chaos ensuing the suicidal attempts of two persons wanting to jump off one of Vancouver's bridges last fall. An excellent read for anyone tired of sensationalist horror stories, the consequences they can trigger, and the lack of taste they are treated with.
"Vancouver has opened North America's first legal shooting gallery for drug addicts." -for all you poor saps where guns are a part of your everyday vocabulary, NO that's not a place where drug addicts shoot guns.- this is a pilot program supported by all levels of government in BC and in Canada, where addicts can inject drugs in a supervised, clean environment. The purpose of which ultimately I think is to bridge the huge gap between "them" and "us" and possibly shrink the distance addicts have to reach through for help. Does my heart bleed for "them"? Absolutely not. You choose your weapon, you suffer the consequences. But what this could lead to is less addicts and therefore less reason for addicts to commit crimes to support their addictions...
Life is Simple I'm not even going to pretend to understand this. On the other hand, I really like the styling, beyond the images.