Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

Andrew Koenig, 41, found dead in Stanley Park

I’m breaking with the Olympic post titling – what was an alarming story, but one where everyone was hoping for the best, has turned out as feared, and the funny post title just doesn’t suit.

Andrew Koenig, who went missing in Vancouver over a week ago, was found dead today in Stanley Park.

The CBC has the full story – no word yet on how those who wish to show their support of the Koenig family can do so, but we will watch for that.

Pixar looking for first hires for Vancouver studio

There has been talk for awhile now that Pixar was looking to open a studio here in town. It’s not a bad idea at all, given the high concentration of local tech and art talent. And it’s looking like those burbles are turning into action, as Pixar has apparently begun looking for some of their first hires – so far, these listings are through third-party job sites, and haven’t yet been confirmed or reflected by Pixar’s own job site, but Pixar watchers are saying it’s all for reals.

The first job listings for Pixar’s future studio in Vancouver, British Columbia have appeared on the web (here and here) at two independent websites (they’re not yet posted on the careers page at

The positions Pixar is seeking to fill are Manager of Information Systems, Production Manager, and Layout Artist. The Production Manager will report to the general manager of the Vancouver studio and their producer in Emeryille.

Each of the listings term the satellite studio Pixar Canada, a “wholly-owned subsidiary of Pixar Animation Studios”. As we’ve known since the project was announced, “the Vancouver studio will produce short-form animation focusing on legacy Pixar characters from films such as Toy Story and Cars”.

A well-placed source confirms that the new campus will be up and running “sometime in 2010”.

[VIA Pixar Blog and Facebook (thx Roger)]

Smile, you’re on Google camera!

Google Street View Canada went live today, which means that if you live in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Halifax, Calgary, Vancouver, you can now spend countless hours looking online at all the places you can go look at first hand.

This is one of the better views of the Google camera car that trundled around Vancouver this past Spring (judging by the cheery blossoms), popping 360 vistas of city streets (and a few alleys). It hasn’t been a perfect launch however, as David Loukidelis, BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner has already launched a number of complaints regarding Google’s privacy measures not working as promised (I caught a shot at Thurlow and Robson, where a cab license plate is visible. Nearby, a city bus’ plate is clear, but the automated blurring system incorrectly blurred the turn signal light.) It doesn’t sound like he’s looking to pull the plug however, rather he’s just pushing for people’s protection.

“We acknowledge that this tool may be of interest to people, but at the same time under the privacy law in B.C. there are issues that have to be addressed.”

See anything cool? Anything touristy? Google maps has a link tool that will create a link for exactly the view you’re looking at – just use a link shrinker. Google map links are huge!

100.5 The Peak challenges listeners to find their $5

100.5 FM has an interesting idea for promoting their station – take a five dollar bill and then drop it. As people pick it up and spend it, it moves around the city. Now, if someone were aware that there’s a special bill out there and knew what to look far (say, they were to watch The Peak’s YouTube video on the matter) and was diligent in checking their pockets every time they got a new fiver, they might win $5000.

I’m wondering, how likely is it that someone will find the bill – certainly if everyone in the city knew about the contest, someone would find it quick, but I’m betting there’s a very good chance this bill will just wander off.


1 – Banks pull notes all the time. This may only temporarily remove the bill from circulation, but it could freeze it indefinitely, or even move it to another city where The Peak isn’t heard. And the longer this bill is out there, the more likely the maximum audience will be reached and passed before it’s found.

2 – Even more likely is the bill leaves the city on a person, headed on a flight to Toronto, a car-ride to Prince George, or traded in for American South of the Border.

3 – Fire. OK, I admit this is very very unlikely. I just wanted more than two ways the contest could end in nothing (and while I understand the purpose is to get the name of the station out, not for someone to actually win the five grand, it’s more interesting is someone does win.)

Fireworks saved by food.

After it looked like the end of the road for Vancouver’s better-than-the-rest-of-the-world fireworks display, The Celebration of Fire Lights Festival, The Keg has stepped in to save the day. Details aren’t known, but apparently the old sponsors have signed back on as well, making it look a lot like they were previously willing to pay some, but not all of the pricetag, and the addition of The Keg’s support made it more feasible for all sponsors. So, get out your beach blanket, and fire up the police helicopters, the fireworks will be back this August!

Ever had lunch on the City Hall lawn?

Yeah, me either.

And yet Mayor Gregor Robertson is in trouble for proposing to turn some of the municipal HQ’s lawn space, which is currently lined up for improvement, into a community garden.

It might be just me, but isn’t turning it into a garden an improvement, and a good one at that? And also, it seems a little hair-up-the-nose to pick a procedural slapfight over a chunk of land none of us have ever really considered let alone enjoyed.

Photo by Dave Ho

Photo by Dave Ho

Coming on the thematic heels of Herb’s recent post, in a town filled with community gardens, isn’t it a good idea to promote the idea on the most high profile lawn around? And do we really want the mayor spending even a half hour debating this in council session, all things considered? Which is to say, isn’t this a non-issue?

Hey, if you’re digging one big hole, why not two?

Remember last year, when the power substation blew up, leaving a large chunk of the downtown core without power for days and a few parts for nearly a week? Then refresh your memory. With that in mind, you’ll be happy to note that the addition of a third transformer (presumably to help avoid future problems), which wasn’t due to be completed until June of this year, is done.

And now, the BC Transmission Corporation is looking to upgrade the central Vancouver area in general. Does this affect you? Let me answer your question with a question; are you on the following map?

The blue lines represent the proposed route of new underground tranmission lines, leading to a new substation at Alberta and 6th. That’s not a bad area for a substation, being mostly offices and light industrial, but one look at the map shows a lot more dug up roads in the future.

If you’d like to read up on the proposed project, but didn’t get a notice in the mail (and most everyone should have) you can check the corporation’s project website. And if you’d like to be more direct in your learning, there are two open houses this month, related to the project proposal;

Wednesday, Feb. 18th
4-8PM (drop-in anytime)
Holiday Inn – Vancouver Centre
Arbutus Ballroom
711 West Broadway

Wednesday, Feb. 25th
4-8PM (drop-in anytime)
Central Vancouver Public Library
Alice MacKay Room, Lower Level
Library Square
350 West Georgia Street
(don’t forgot to wear pink – it’s Pink Shirt Day)

Vancouver’s new newspaper boxes


Maybe I’m just a giant newspaper nerd, but I can’t help but think that the new distribution boxes that have been put out around some of Vancouver’s busiest streets are a great idea.  

So call me a distribution dork if you will but having one central box instead of a collection of run down boxes is a nice change.  The boxes have space for the free newspapers such as the free dailies like 24Hours and Metro which essentially just run wire service copy, The Georgia Straight and others with two pay slots for The Province and The Vancouver Sun.  The fact that there’s a space to put newspapers in for recycling is a great thing as well.

Ideally the project could be used as a reason to get rid of the free dailies street hawkers who stand around busy sidewalks blocking people’s way and trying to shove terribly typed tripe into people’s hands.  Ideally.  

Vancity Buzz (which looks less like vomit than it used to) had a post on the new boxes earlier this month [vcb].  The city apparently plans to deploy about fifty of the boxes around town, which is good news if it manages to cut down on litter and the wasted space of four or five newspaper boxes vying for attention on each and every corner.

Hammer Head

Photo Cred: Kyle May

Talk about bizarre crimes and assaults in the news lately! Imagine any ordinary night out on the town, you’re enjoying a nice dinner at a restaurant when boink! You’re hit over the head with a hammer and left unconscious.  That’s apparently what happened last night when a man with a history of mental illness went on a little hammering rampage.

He injured 9 people with his hammering and luckily has been arrested by police.  Anyone else think the news is just getting stranger and stranger?

Transformers… and not the cool robot kind

After my complainy comment in Jeffery’s earlier post that nobody had news on what’s happening downtown, details are starting to come together. But first, some downtown geography secrets – if you’re familiar with Richards and Pender, you know the park across from the Holy Rosary Cathedral? OK, how about, one block East of The Railway Club? Weird park, with concrete structures with locked doors? Right, well, that a substation in Vancouver’s downtown power system. Rumour, and possibly hyperbole, has it that the structure is 8 stories deep. And, according to the news, one of the power transformers contained therein went blooey. That’s science talk for “kerpow.” This in turn saw smoke escape up through manholes, vents, and envelope a couple of nearby buildings – which, considering the toxic nature of transformers, seems like a design flaw.

The BC Hydro website is saying the outage is due to a switch that failed at 9AM this morning. Which seems a little underwhelming an answer, given the, you know, smoke. For a look at the area affected, check out BC Hydro’s outage map.

As, as you’d imagine, they’re not something you can replace with a wrench – as such, it appears downtown may be without power tomorrow as well.

No word yet on if this affects the SeaBus service (which is right on the edge of the outage) or the SkyTrain (which runs underneath the affect area.) If anybody can confirm that they’re fine or not, maybe comment on the matter.

And all this comes one day after Burnaby and a chunk of East Vancouver lost power for 20 minutes yesterday (I was sitting in Metrotown Silvercity – last ten minutes of Hancock. Can you believe that?)

– Apparently SeaBus and Skytrain are running. The West Coast Express is operating too.
– Officials are asking motorists to stay out of downtown. With so many lights out, it’s just causing havok – no need to get in the middle of it.
– The Vancouver Sun’s newsroom was affected, so… they’re off the hook! For now…

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