Vancouver featured in Salon.com: a new mecca for literature


There’s nobody left

Originally uploaded by dooda.

There’s a really interesting look at Vancouver up on Salon.com [sc] (free but ad watching required) and it’s actually a very interesting read. It’s main focus is on the city’s literary nature, and it focuses a lot on Douglas Coupland and William Gibson, but it’s got a bit about the vibe of the city which I do think it hits nicely. If nothing else it’s probably one of the best non-Vancouver produced ads for visiting or moving to Vancouver that I’ve seen in a long time. In fact in a way reading it made me want to scrap my holiday plans and just stay home.

Consider the second paragraph:

Visiting Vancouver is like simultaneously taking a step forward and back. In its near-future, Vancouver boasts an uncharted, wet-lab urbanity that has inspired author and Vancouver resident Douglas Coupland to call it “the city of glass.” Its past, the deep native roots in the region, is also present, right from the international arrivals terminal. Air travelers are greeted by a dramatic installation, festooned with the First Nations iconography of totems, masks and canoes, echoing the aboriginal people’s distinct sense of place. Now the native Vancouverite’s reverence is for land value, the product of a generation-long development boom instigated by the transition of Hong Kong to China and the waxing of Asia’s economies. Vancouver is today among the select handful of world centers — think Geneva or Sydney — recognized solely by its livability: a happy accident of freeway-forbidding geography, Canadian social engineering and the best lessons of urban development.


So is our city as Salon puts it, “A blue-green lagoon perched on the San Andreas fault, Vancouver is Canada’s Los Angeles for its similar sense of mirage and cartoon inconsequentiality. But it is also inimitable and may be the millennial city par excellence. Picture the world’s best backwater, a cabin with a view. “? It’s a far more generous assesment of the city than we’ve heard from some locals [mbv][mg].

I suppose there are two Vancouvers, the very nice Vancouver we show off to everyone else and the one that everyone actually lives in which isn’t simply a literary masterwork waiting to happen. I find myself experiancing the Vancouver that’s more like the Salon version, though that’s not to say that I don’t see its faults. More needs to be done for the homeless, instead of just planning on pushing them all out of the downtown core starting in 2009. Though I do credit the city for trying things that other big cities would not have tried. Can you imagine an American city being the first to start a safe injection site?

1 Comment so far

  1. Gord (unregistered) on November 24th, 2006 @ 4:24 pm

    To note, while Salon is American, the author is Jeff Macintyre, who grew up here prior to moving off to NYC of late.



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