Archive for the ‘Vancouver Life’ Category

Welcome to Vancouver


Originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

The view coming into Vancouver from a cruise ship is absolutely amazing. I know I take the city for granted, but it’s a beautiful town and I can see why people allow themselves to be so caught up by the unique mixture of nature and modern life that Vancouver has to offer. We can complain that it’s not as friendly as it used to be, that it’s not the city it used to be but it’s still damn pretty.

And that’s not to make light of the issues of social inequality, of the large homeless problems that we have that remain misdealt with. However after spending a week on the other side of the border it’s good to be home. Vancouver’s the city for me, even if the Canucks will never replace the Oilers in my heart or make it past the second round.

Having declared my love for the town I’ll be away for month, I’m heading to Europe to study how dragons are raised in European zoos. No wait, sorry I always get Europe and Harry Potter novels mixed-up. I’m going to Europe to drink beer and take pictures. I’ll be back, and while I’m gone the other fine women and men of Metroblogging Vancouver are going to keep this site ticking along like a fine watch.

Enjoy the city while I’m gone. It’s a keeper.

Not everyone wants the Canucks to stay in the playoffs


The CBC and other media outlets have been picking up the story of how local bars, restaurants and pretty much every business with a television and cable is seeing an increase in business thanks to the Canucks playoff run. The Province is reporting business is up over 23% during the Canucks playoff games [vp]. From The Province:

Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association, said fans’ hunger for playoff hockey is only matched by their hunger for munchies.

“The Vancouver Canucks not only drive our hearts, but they are also driving the wallet of the consumer, and that is great for our industry,” he said. “We thank the Canucks for their commitment, because their success is directly linked to the incremental success of the restaurant industry.”

Which is good for the food service industry but not really for other forms of entertainment. The Vancouver Whitecaps home opener fell on the same night as a Canucks game and Swangard Stadium was far emptier than usual. Movie theatres nearly always see a downturn in business during playoff runs as well. Though nobody is going to come out and say it, a lot of businesses probably would not mind if the Canucks got dumped out of the playoffs in the second round.

Anyone willing to brave the scorn of the internet and come out against the Canucks? Do so in the comments and I’ll give you a no-prize.

The passport office, maybe?

I’ve seen this long line-up in front of the Sinclair Centre every morning on my way to work for the last two weeks. I get to work between 8:15 and 8:30 am. I’m surprised that this many people still need to get a passport. Where are they all going?

The line-up starts at the green Sinclair Centre awning and – I checked this morning to make sure I’m not exaggerating – but the line up goes right up to the end of the block to Granville Street and around the side of the building towards Cordova Street. Every morning it’s like this. How many people work at the passport office? Four?

On my way home from work, I eavesdropped in on a conversation about this very topic. One person mentioned to the other person that she heard that people were starting to line up at 3:30 am. This is how rumors get started.

Now seems a good time to refer to Ghosty’s post about the passport application process. I think I’ll just keep waiting to get mine. No rush.

Citizen Sam

Citizen Sam, the documentary of our own Mayor Sam Sullivan and his successful 2005 electoral run, is still getting a lot of attention, with a recent screening at the Toronto’s Hot Docs documentary film festival.

As a politically opinionated Vancouverite, I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t yet got around to watching it, but this trailer has certainly piqued my interest.

Director Joe Moulins: “He’s really an interesting character. What I like best about the film now when I watch it is how complicated everything is. Nothing is black and white in his life, even the love story between he and his wife.”

Stop! Thief! You forgot your change.

In another inspiring tale of Canadian justice, a shopflifter in Vancouver won $12,300 in damages for losing a tooth while he struggled with store security.

This story is making the rounds on the Odd News sections of online news daily roundups, so all the world gets to see what a civilized bunch of dorks we’ve become.

Vancouver’s worst handyman would be me.

I’ve been seeing these posters all around the city advertising this Canada’s Worst Handyman show. I don’t recall anyone contacting me.

I guess they’re looking for guys who claim to do this kind of work for a living. Still, I think my total shredding of some $150 Home Depot (I couldn’t do it, they couldn’t help) blinds on my first effort ought to at least put me in the running. I’ve also been known to leave my thumb a swollen, throbbing wreck after any effort at hammering nails into wood.

I blame my upbringing. Note to new parents everywhere: “Hold this, no, you’re not holding it right, aw crap, hold it even, why can’t you do anything, just watch me, you’re completely useless, just stand over there and don’t touch anything” is not a good way to instruct kids in the ways of building and fixing stuff.

I should be finishing therapy any day now.

Post office changing mailing address

The downtown Canada Post building on 349 West Georgia Street is up for sale.

I really hope they don’t just tear it down and then put up more condos and street-level boutique stores. So unimaginative.

So many possibilities: a new museum (Storyeum 2, anyone?), disco bowling lanes, a giant bronze statue of Prime Minister Stephen Harper with his mighty hand outstretched to show us the way forward to a new era of Conservative glory…

Dare to dream.

Toys R Bowmac

Vancouver had its neon hayday over 50 years ago, and with all the effort that went into dimming the glow, decades later there are those that are fighting to preserve some of the city’s urban history. One look up and down Granville Street downtown and you can see hints of its flashy past. I’m constantly reminded of such when I head to work these days, down Granville and along Broadway. One sign that I pass daily, aside from the Orpheum or Vogue, is the Bowmac.

Photo is Property of Photocat62 on FlickrIn 1958, the Bowmac car dealership on West Broadway erected a 29-meter-high orange sign, replete with red neon, over 1,200 incandescent light bulbs, and a kinetic Las Vegas-style marquee base. The decision was a response to heavy competition on what was then Vancouver’s Auto Row. Car dealerships battled for attention with signs expressing capitalist prowess through size and complexity. The Bowmac sign was, at its time, the largest freestanding sign in North America. It could be seen 18 miles away, and was a culmination for Vancouver’s thriving neon light industry, a brilliant display of technology, artisanship and commercial spirit. [Read Arcade Journal for more information]


Free Geek Vancouver – Community Technology Centre

Did you know that the GVRD buries approximately 20,000 tonnes of computer and electronic waste each year? Yesterday I attended the Massive Vancouver Technology Conference at the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre. I met David Repa, startup coordinator for Free Geek Vancouver. Free Geek Vancouver is a non profit community organization that recycles used technology to provide computers, education, internet access and job skills training to those in need in exchange for community service. Their business model is patterned after the highly successful Free Geek model in Portland Oregon.

He pointed out that much the computers that we donate overseas doesn’t go to the needy people that we though would receive them. Much of it winds up in waste dumps where the poor scrounge around looking for copper and spare parts in highly unsafe and often toxic conditions. Free Geek Vancouver specializes in recycling computer parts in a safe manner and ensures that the computer parts that they donate get to those who need them.

Check out his article on the technology waste situation in Vancouver:

The View from the Alley

They’re motto is:
Helping the needy get nerdy since the beginning of the 3rd millenium”

So if you’re interested in helping the needy get nerdy and to reduce the amount of recycled technology waste in Vancouver, contact David Repa at

Lynn Canyon Park still almost 100% hobo free


Originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

About two weeks ago, back when I wasn’t blogging, Lydia and I decided that instead of sitting around my apartment and playing FIFA on the XBox 360 we should go outside and do something active. Rather Lydia decided that and I went along with the idea. So we went to Lynn Canyon Park to see the locally famous Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge [lcp].

The bridge is… well it’s a suspension bridge. It’s interesting and yes nature is magical. The walk around the park, aside from nearly making my chest explode thanks to one particularly hilly section, it was nice. However maybe being from the rural area of the interior and living like a five minute walk from the woods spoiled me to the wonders of nature. Still if you’re looking for a nice hobo free walk through nature in and around the Vancouver area Lynn Canyon Park is a good place to check out.

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