Archive for May, 2008

The Griffiths Way

There are many families with deep-rooted histories in Vancouver but none other has represented hockey since the Patrick brothers like the Griffiths.

The patriarch of the family was Frank Griffths who was a media mogul in BC being associated with and acquiring radio and TV stations around Vancouver over several decades. In 1974 he bought the Vancouver Canucks, which the family held on to dearly until 1997. After being inducted into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992, Frank Griffiths passed away during the 1994 hockey season. In his honor, the Canucks wore patches on their jerseys for the remainder of the season, “2Pts FG” which meant “two points for Frank Griffiths,” a term he liked to use instead of calling a win.

Photo Credit: squeakymarmot on Flickr

Frank’s son Arthur was involved with the team since 1988 and financed GM Place in 1995, moving the team from the Pacific Coliseum to its new home. He eventually sold the team in 1996 but remained involved in Vancouver’s business and sporting scene, being a supporter of an Olympic bid for years.

Tomorrow it is reported that Arthur will announce he’ll be running as a candidate for the BC Liberal Party.

Griffiths is expected to run in the newly created Vancouver West End Riding. The official announcement is set for Tuesday morning in the West End of Vancouver. [News1130]

Although deals made throughout the years may not have been crowd favourites, and our NBA team failed miserably, I still like to share stories about families that helped build business and hockey dreams in this city. Hopefully anyone now driving down near GM Place or BC Place will note Griffiths Way and know of its significance.

Anthony Bourdain’s Vancouver visit


Former chef Anthony Bourdain is famous around foodie circles both for his books, the most notable being Kitchen Confidential, and the niche he’s carved for himself as a travel food journalist with his show No Reservations which is shown on the Travel Channel down in the States. The most talked about shtick on the show is when Bourdain will eat something stomach turning, presenting audiences with a reality television version of the monkey brains scene from Temple of Doom.

Vancouver seems an odd destination for the show, since it’s neither one of the major food capitals of the world nor a place where one is likely to find something quite so unusual as a cobra heart like he ate in Vietnam. Still our city was one of the destinations for the show on this season, and while you won’t find it on Canadian television thanks to YouTube we can watch the episode online (for now).

I’ve said before that having outsiders come to Vancouver is a great way to get a new perspective on the city, and see just how much other people appreciate what we have there. Granted some of the eating that he does in the episode is way beyond a lot of people’s pocket books (mine included) but it’s still a great indication of what we have in our city.

The first three parts of the episode after the jump.


A Vancouver blogging meetup: Metblogs is drinking so why won’t you?

The Library Pub

It’s meetup time again, and after months and months of no getting together the Metroblogging Vancouver crew want you to come on out.  All of our bloggers and you the readers are invited, as we come together to drink, chat and drink. 

Will our adventures be blogable?  Will we have Flickr ready poses all worked out?  I say yes and again yes.  Our special guest for the evening will be Metroblogging co-founder Sean Bonner whose in Vancouver for a few days.

This Tuesday May 20th come down to the Library Square Pub at 7:30 pm and partake in the fun.  If you can please RSVP in the comments.  Metbloggers please check the authors’ forums or email me to confirm that you can make it.

Canada is perfect

From John Hodgman’s blog [taome]:

I CAN UNDERSTAND how I might forget that Vancouver will be the site of the Winter Olympics (a sporting event) in 2010.

BUT TO FORGET that its mascot is a Sasquatch? SHAME ON ME.

ACTUALLY, “QUATCHI” is one of three mascots for the Vancouver Olympics, all of which are either MYTHOLOGICAL or CRYPTOZOOLOGICAL, because


That is all.

(AND, PLUS: even the mascots have a mascot. FINALLY)

Since John Hodgman is well regarded as an expert on everything, including all things crypto-zoological and hobo matters, it could well be true that he is right and Canada is perfect. 

Walking around the seawall last night after work I remembered how much I really love living in Vancouver.  Sure there are problems, but I think for the most part we have it good here and we’re too quick to be cynical about what we do have.  It’s easy to make a list of thing of things wrong with Vancouver, but working with tourists and new arrivals to Canada every day has been reminding me just how much we take for granted here.

Quite possibly the best Chinese food in Metro Vancouver

Here’s the quick recap: NY Times reporter Jennifer 8. Lee wrote a book about Chinese food, and picked Zen Cuisine in Richmond as the best Chinese restaurant outside of China.

Jellyfish with a vinegar foam and fruit

The reviews have been fast and furious since then, and so has the business. Along with some friends, we went there to try things out.

We had Tasting Menu A. I shall not review each dish, except to say that the meal started with a mango ravioli amuse-bouche, and ended with a red bean mousse as the dessert. The dishes in between ranged from perfectly-prepared straight takes on traditional dishes (salted chicken) to revelatory dishes (double boiled soup in young coconut) I had never imagined.

pork on rice

The service was trying hard, and had high-class moments (our server was very good about explaining each of the dishes, and I for one like that sort of thing), but on the other hand two different people at our table had drink-order problems. I was still happy. You’ll have to ask Ron and Ernie if they agree.

It’s not cheap, but it’s good enough that I will be back, and as often as I can justify the price. And I plan to come up with some pretty ludicrous justifications.

Aakk pubs

Lamplighter Pub re-opens today, originally uploaded by bmann.

In response to my complaint at having spent last night at a hotel bar in Seattle I was challenged on Metroblogging Seattle to name three pubs that I’d take people in downtown Vancouver [mbs]. I panicked and listed off The Mill, The Dover Arms and The Library Square Public House.

Did I fuck up and forget something? There’s got to be something in Gastown I missed.

Going to the Emerald City with Tony Stark

Iron Man, originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

Any comic book fan worth their weight in refried beans is heading down to Seattle for the Emerald City Comic Convention [eccc] this weekend. Though Vancouver has yet to get a decent convention that attracts mainstream talent, Seattle’s convention has been getting better every year.

Since it’s not Vancouver related you won’t see me blogging about it here, though if you head over to our Seattle sister site Metroblogging Seattle [mbs] you’ll find that I’ll be doing some posting while I’m down there.

Anyone one else going down for the show?

The Mystery Garden on Hastings Street

Does anyone know who is creating this garden?

I noticed the garden in progress (shown above) on Hastings Street about a block down from Main Street on my way into work this week ala the SFU 135 bus. Last night after work, I decided to head down there to see if there was any information explaining this garden. Once I got to the garden area, I realized this was not really a good plan. I was alone next to an awful hotel and surrounded by people smoking crack and ranting. I continued walking as though I knew what I was doing, walked around the block and peaked down the alley behind the garden. It seemed mostly clear, so I walked down to the fenced off area and took pictures through the fence. There were people coming down the alley and a few people huddled behind a dumpster. I packed up my camera and headed off, my heart beating fast and feeling rather unsafe.

Nothing happened to me. I made it out of the area and I’m fine. Nobody even said anything to me. But that part of town is sad and scary.

This is what makes this garden interesting to me. As far as I could tell, there was no explanation about what was going on there. It’s a full lot and someone is building a winding path with bricks in there. There were wooden barrels planted in the ground and some plants. I saw a couple of wheelbarrows and even a hard hat. I think this may be a permanent garden, right in the middle of skid row. Who is creating this? I’m very interested to know who it is. I’d love to go back to the garden (with some friends. My decision to go alone was not a good one.) and take pictures of the garden as it progresses.

If anyone has any information about this, I’d love to hear about it. I did a quick search online and didn’t find anything.

My favorite restaurant in Vancouver is Toshi Sushi

Toshi's sushi

Toshi Sushi
181 16th Avenue East,
Vancouver, BC
V5T 4R2, Canada
(604) 874-5173

Growing up in the interior I learned to love decent sushi. Maybe you’ve had decent sushi, it’s good stuff, fresh and generally tasty. Like having a good steak at The Keg, or a good hamburger at Fatburger you eat it and enjoy it but don’t really ever crave it. There’s loads of good sushi places in Vancouver, and when I moved down town I ate at quite a few.

Toshi’s is not good sushi. Toshi’s is not even great sushi. Toshi’s is fucking great sushi.

Away from the downtown core it does not get much of the tourist traffic that downtown places get, and yet it’s always busy. The fact that locals flock to it, line up for it and keep coming back is a sign of a great resturant. Any resturant can get tourists to pack themselves into seats during the summer, but a place that can get the locals to wait in line outside during the rain and snow of the winter months is truely special.

I don’t know what to say about Toshi’s other than it’s probably my favorite restaurant in Vancouver. It’s also not just a once in awhile place, saved only for special occasions and birthdays because of the price. Though not cheap, if you define cheap as what you’d spend at a McDonald’s or all-you-can-eat-sushi places, it’s not so much that you’ll need to take out a second mortage for the night, my fiancee and I tend to be able to eat there for around $40 and still have a bit to take home.

Now the thing to know about Toshi’s if you haven’t been, is that unless you’re there at opening there’s going to be a wait. Don’t bring a large group, anything over 6 people will probably get turned away unless you’re willing to split up. If there’s a line at the door send someone in and up to the front to put your name on the wait list. Don’t wait for someone to address you, just go to the front and fill it in yourself. Then wait to be called. Trust me, it’s worth the wait.

Don’t bother phoning in for reservations. Actually don’t bother phoning in at all during dinner hours.


Martime Museum Closing

Maritime MuseumCome 2009, the museum that’s been situated at the water’s edge of Vanier Park at Kitsilano Point will be closing. This museum has been around for ages and it’s sad that another Vancouver cultural landmark is disappearing.

Right now they’re fighting to find a way to preserve the vast collection and safely transition it to a new location, which looks like it may make its way over to North Vancouver.

The biggest piece would be the St Roch which itself is actually a National Heritage Site.  The boat has been here since 1958 and I hope they find a safe way to move and keep it so many others can enjoy its history.  More information on the situation between the city and the Maritime Museum Society here.

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