Archive for August, 2006

Portobello West

Tomorrow is the launch of a new monthly market at the Edgewater Stage at the Plaza of Nations,called Portobello West. There is a list of 92 exhibitors for tomorrow’s event that brings together a variety of designers and artists. And as their website states, “It provides a place for people to support the local fashion industry, purchase unique designs and express their distinctive style.”

Portobello West is launching August 27, 2006 and will be open year round on the last Sunday of every month from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. I’m very interested in visiting the market but will have to wait until next month because I’ll be out of town for the day tomorrow. Please leave a comment if you check it out.

The Generation X City?

SK8 Park

Having read jPod this week, and seeing in it a reference to “Generation K”, I found myself on wikipedia reading the articles on various generations (lamentably nothing about any “Generation K”), and revisiting the ever-growing article on Generation X.

In reference to Coupland’s seminal novel on the topic, the article now has a section which mentions that Generation X is a particularly relevant concept in Vancouver, where the incomprehensible real estate prices and sudden flood of foreign labour made the gap between the lives of Baby Boomers and those who came along afterward especially obvious.

Milling about the night market’s just a little time left to check out the Richmond Night Market, for those Vancouverites who have procrastinated through the summer. It’s definitely worth seeing.

I mostly come to sample the dim sum, curry fish balls and red bean waffles, since I’m not really in the market for cheap DVDs, packages of socks and samurai swords. Mind you, lots of people are, so if you do need those kinds of things, or a service to allow your foreign-purchased cell phone to work in Canada, this is the place to check out.

I also checked out the Chinatown Night Market. At first, I thought the Chinatown one was superior, despite being much smaller, since there were all the old buildings attesting to Vancouver’s Asian heritage. But some have pointed out to me that the hustle and bustle of the crowd amongst the stalls at the Richmond market gives a real sense of being in an Asian city (even though it’s actually a big parking lot).

VAML Plays Bocce (and other activities)

VAMLers play bocce
VAMLers play bocce
(social mixer/beach party of Tue 15 Aug 2006)

VAML plays bocce. Because bocce is the new World of Warcraft. This photo was taken at a VAML social mixer/beach party on Kits Beach about a week and a half ago.

VAML (usually pronounced as a word: /vam-ell/) is the Vancouver Activities Mailing List. It’s…a mailing list. For activities. In the Vancouver area. There’s no parent organization, no board of directors, newsletters; it’s just the list. Anyone can subscribe. Any subscriber can post. Amazingly, there’s next to no spam (knock on wood); most posts that comes in are on topic. No for-sale ads, little chit-chat. Actual announcements of coming activities is the norm.

‘Go’ Anywhere

toilet.jpgIn the last few days (usually while eating dinner) a topic has come up that sparks much interest: self-cleaning, automated, public washrooms being introduced to the streets of Vancouver.

… a batch of self-cleaning, electronically monitored, fully automatic toilets are now on their way to downtown Vancouver, and Toronto is next in the lineup….The so-called automatic public toilets, or APTs, not only flush automatically but also are fully disinfected and blown dry after each use. Each standalone unit houses one toilet, with a self-locking door and a timer that lets you know when the allotted time (usually 10 to 15 minutes) is about to end….And if you’re not done when the time expires? Start waving to passersby, because the door will spring open anyway [globe and mail].


Downtown Historic Railway


Ever notice how many old photos of cities have street cars in them? Where are all these street cars now? A few weeks back the Straight had an interesting article about role street cars played in early 20th century urban development. A freind of mine who worked for the city of Seattle explained to me how automobile and oil interests worked very hard to get cities to rip up the tracks and mothball street cars projects in favour of freeways and parking lots.

Well we’ve managed to keep a little piece of functional nostalgia here in Vancouver with an old street car that currently runs between Granville Island and Science World. Its fun in kind of a tourity way. But their website says that there are plans to extend this little train to Enlish Bay, Stanley Park and downtown, through Chinatown. Has anyone else heard of these plans?

Common Sense Rules of Vancouver #0002 – Skytrain Platform Etiquette

Common Sense rules of Vancouver #0002 – Skytrain Platform Etiquette

There are two types of Skytrain riders in this city. Those who take the skytrain because there is nothing to do, so they wander in and out of the trains, seeing all there is to see, and indulging in their eccentricities (or mental illnesses, as it were).

The other type comprises about 98% of the rest of the Skytrain user population….

A sweet treat at the Hamilton Street Grill

Is it wrong to have a blog entry about food and not have a picture of it? My excuse is that I almost never photograph the things I eat and besides, it was really dark in the restaurant… Anyway, I’m here to tell you about a delectable dessert at the Hamilton Street Grill in Yaletown, and hopefully have you drooling over the description rather than a picture.

For weeks a good friend of mine had been highly recommending I try the warm gingerbread pudding at the Hamilton Street Grill, as it was one of her favourite foods in all of Vancouver. I was treated to the experience as a belated birthday present, and oh was it good! It’s a moist bread pudding that is dark and sort of chocolatey looking, with a subtle gingery flavour. The pudding is accompanied by a small dish of killer caramel sauce, and one scoop each of both ginger and pumpkin gelato. The flavours mix well together and the gelato is an nice counterpoint to the super sweetness of the caramel. Definately make sure you have something to drink with this because it’s a very rich treat.

Hamilton Street Grill
1009 Hamilton Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 5T4


More Viral Marketing?

As much as I resent feeling tricked when realizing that something interesting on the street is actually a well (or not so well) disguised advertisement, I have to admit that I still like the idea of marketing by means of people talking about what they want to talk about, rather than paying someone to represent an artifical opinion. Not to mention, these campaigns spice things up a little.

I saw these wanted posters glued onto the now defunct Capitol 6 Theatre’s plywood exoskeleton. It actually took me a minute to convince myself they’re not real, I was so excited at the thought of seeing real wanted posters. I know. Don’t tease me.

The posters are for the new Fox Monday night program “Prison Break.” I don’t watch much television, so I hadn’t heard of it before, but the networks found a clever way to reach me nevertheless.

I do have to wonder, however, how far the trend can go? At what point does viral marketing cross the line and simply become virulent? Anyone notice how reality is starting to become the advertisement for the media, rather than the other way around?

“Did you hear those recently release 911 call recordings from the September 11 on the radio yesterday? That was pretty hardcore, wasn’t it?”

“No doubt. Are you planning to see the World Trade Center movie?”

“I am now. . . .”

Young Eagles over Pitt Meadows


I had heard somewhere that the Pitt Meadows Airport was having an open house so I showed up early Saturday morning to find, well, nothing.

Not to be deterred, I went home and checked the website, found out it was actually on Sunday, and having nothing better to do, made a second trip out there the next day.

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