August 2010

Posted by: Erin Brown John on August 30, 2010 at 3:19 pm


Farmland in the city. A blog post on the Vancouver Sun provides a good overview of many of the challenges of farming in Richmond, where often farmland and residential or parkland are situated next to each other and where there is intense pressure to develop. One of the farmers featured is Harold Steves, whose farm is also featured in our Home Grown exhibit.

Housing first on Howe. Bosman’s Motor Hotel has reopened as part of a study of a ‘housing first’ approach to dealing with homelessness, mental illness and addiction. For the next three years the hotel will provide stable housing to 100 hard-to-house residents before the property is converted into condos.

One year on the Canada Line. An article in re:place magazine looks at ridership statistics and impacts of the construction of the Canada Line, one year after it’s completion.

Charting Change. A new online atlas of Burnaby links historical photos and stories with an interactive map of Burnaby. Very cool!

Salmon! Last year’s run was disappointing or frightening, depending on how you look at it, while this year it is inexplicably huge. 30 million, the largest run in 97 years. The only problem is that nobody seems to know why.

Image credit: Gord McKenna, via flickr

Posted by: Erin Brown John on August 28, 2010 at 11:12 am


Opening night of Home Grown was a huge success. Over 500 people came to view the exhibit and sample local organic foods. Thanks to everyone who came!


Home Grown is a photographic exploration of local food production and sustainable farming in Vancouver and the surrounding region, presented by MOV and FarmFolk/CityFolk.


In photo-journalistic style, 39 stunning images by photographer, Brian Harris, contain a call-to-action for individuals and communities to reclaim control of local food systems and to think carefully about the ethics of food consumption decisions that are made everyday.

It runs until January 2nd.

Posted by: Erin Brown John on August 25, 2010 at 2:56 pm


It’s a very busy week at MOV!

On Monday we presented a free screening of Eat Drink Man Woman on the lawn in Vanier Park. The weather cooperated and more than 300 people joined us to watch.

There was a lot of food and no one left hungry. The event was sponsored by Potluck Cafe and Catering, who graciously supplied all viewers with organic blueberries. Left Coast Naturals was also present to distribute a huge amount of free snacks.


Bicycle parking was organized by the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition who reported that it was their most successful bike valet ever.






Many thanks to all the organizations and individuals who helped make the event a success and thanks to everyone who came! It was a really enjoyable evening.


This morning was the media preview for the new Home Grown exhibit. We’ve seen many faces come through the door and have already heard a lot of really positive feedback in person and on twitter. We really hope you like it too!






The opening party for the exhibit is tonight. Doors open at 7:00 and admission is $15 or free for members and those with invites. Home Grown runs until January 2nd.

Image credit: E. Brown-John



Posted by: Erin Brown John on August 20, 2010 at 5:16 pm


So much fuss about the Hornby bike lane! This week the City of Vancouver announced its’ plans to create a new separated bike lane on Hornby Street by November. The proposed lane is part of a plan to increase cycling infrastructure downtown and improve safety for newer and less-experienced cyclists.

But businesses along the street are concerned that they will be negatively impacted by its’ construction and the resulting loss of parking. The City is currently engaged in consultation with the public and businesses along the proposed route but it seems likely to go ahead regardless of business owners’ concerns.

Safer in numbers. Coincidentally, the same week results from a study in Montreal were released that looked at the relationship between cycling infrastructure and safety. It found that safety for cyclists increased with the number of cyclists on the road.

Vacant. The Vancouver Courier reports that six months after the end of the Olympics, housing units in the Olympic Village earmarked for social housing still sit empty.

Chickens in the city. Also in the Courier, a feature on one of the 17 registered chicken owners in Vancouver.

Next week at MOV. Perhaps you’ve noticed that suddenly MOVments is being posted on Monday instead of Friday? We’ve got a busy week planned next week and we’re all working like mad to pull it off.

On Monday join us for a free outdoor screening of Eat Drink Man Woman in Vanier Park, presented by Potluck Cafe and Catering and Horizon Distributors.

Then on Wednesday we’re launching our brand new exhibit: Home Grown: Local Sustainable Food, co-presented by FarmFolkCityFolk. You can help out with the new exhibit by donating your home-canned goods to our wall of preserves.

Image credit: contessak via flickr.

Posted by: Kaylin Pearce on August 13, 2010 at 2:47 pm


For our Home Grown exhibit we’re building a shelf to hold dozens of jars of preserves. Think of it; glass vessels full of your raspberry jam, spicy green beans, dilly pickles all lit up. If you’re into canning and food preservation or know someone who is, this is an opportunity to have your work on display at the Museum of Vancouver as a part of a visual feast (opening August 26th) of local food production.

Jars should be labeled with the contents, where the food was grown, your name, and the date of canning.

You can drop off your donations (maximum size 11” or 28 cm high) at our front desk with attention to Joan Seidl (

Image credit: photogramma1, via flickr.

Posted by: Erin Brown John on August 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm


The other day my colleague Kaylin Pearce and I were discussing the difference between the car free experiment on Granville Street and other car-free events around Vancouver. We have both been to a couple of Car-Free Vancouver events around the city and are familiar with the vibrancy that a car-free event can bring to the street.

What we’ve seen over the past few weeks is that free activities such as yoga and dance classes do get a good turnout of people visiting Granville Street, but on days where there is no public programming, the number of people on the street can vary widely. Often the centre of the street is mostly empty.

Granville Street was last turned into a pedestrian mall between 1974 and 1988. Opponents of the current car-free trial are quick to point out that this previous car-free experiment did not produce the anticipated foot traffic and businesses suffered. However, the failure of the pedestrian mall could be attributed to the opening of Pacific Centre Mall around the same time and the fact that transit ridership and the number of people living downtown at that time was significantly lower. Times have changed and with increased transit and a greater population residing in the downtown core, presumably a pedestrian or transit mall on Granville Street could work.

So why do car-free days work elsewhere? Perhaps timing is an issue. Because Car-Free Vancouver is a day long event, it takes on a novel, festive atmosphere. Businesses, organizations and individuals put more effort into making the event a success. When the street is blocked off all the time there’s less incentive and less urgency.



But there seems to be more to it than the timing. The most successful car-free events are located in residential neighbourhoods and have a huge amount of community support and participation. They are largely the product of grassroots organization and the work of many, many volunteers from the communities where the events take place. Communities such as Commercial Drive, Main Street and Kitsilano have a well-established character and an active community and the organization for these events is comes from the communities themselves.


Granville Street in the downtown core is not embedded in a residential neighbourhood in the same way that some of these other streets are, which means that aside from the local business improvement association, there isn’t much of a population that actually inhabits it and feels invested in it in the same way. Because it is an entertainment district, Granville Street has a very different focus from a neighbourhood street. It has a lot of shopping, pubs and concert venues, but lacks a variety of other all-ages amenities and entertainment that would draw a wider crowd.

The impetus for this project has come from the top-down, which doesn’t make it any less worthwhile, but it does present certain challenges. While the City and local businesses are making the effort, the community doesn’t seem to be there yet to support it. Building that community where none is currently living is a challenge when there isn’t much else to do there other than shop and drink. But if the community wants Granville Street revitalized then they’re going to have to step up to the plate and contribute too.

Rediscovering Granville is a summer series on the MOV Blog about Granville Street. See the other posts in the serieshere.

Image credit: E. Brown-John

Posted by: Kaylin Pearce on August 10, 2010 at 3:42 pm


We’ve counted and re-counted and the results are finally here.

More than half our voters last week chose to see Ang Lee’s Eat Drink Man Woman .

Thanks to Potluck Cafe and Catering and Horizon Distributors, we will be presenting a free evening of big screen entertainment and a great way to spend a summer evening in Vancouver. So, on August 23rd, join us in the park as we gear up for the launch of our new exhibit withFarmFolkCityFolk.

Stay tuned for more details!

Posted by: Erin Brown John on August 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm


Fresh Choice Kitchens reports that the demand for home canning workshops has surpassed their capacity to deliver them. There has been a resurgence in interest in home canning and preserving in Vancouver due to people’s renewed interest in local food. The skills the workshops teach were once very commonly known but in many families has been lost due to the increased availability of imported and convenience foods. Fresh Choice is currently training new trainers to help meet the demand.

Chinatown has a new muse. The Chinatown Business Improvement Association unveiled Chinatown’s new mascot this week. The mascot, temporarily named ‘Muse’ is supposed to symbolize Chinese culture and help bridge the gap between generations, and is part of the ongoing effort to revitalize Chinatown. With the emergence of Richmond as a major centre for Chinese culture, Chinatown has struggled to remain relevant as an important historical and cultural hub.

Rethinking busking regulations. An article in the Tyee focuses on buskers challenging busking restrictions around the city and the relaxing of regulations along the Granville corridor. Some buskers complain that city bylaws are too restrictive and treat buskers more like panhandlers than an important part of the local atmosphere and arts community.

Fraser River parks. Metro Vancouver announced it’s plan to create a park system along the Fraser River. Municipalities along the river are planning new parks and trails in order to increase public access to the waterfront. Emphasis will be on creating continuity between the different parks and cultural activities along the river so that people can easily travel between them.

Image credit: ayngelina, via Flickr.

Posted by: Naveen Girn on August 3, 2010 at 1:13 pm


I love this picture.

I guess that’s an obvious statement to make but I strongly feel that it exemplifies the key themes that we want to emphasize with the Bhangra Project.

At the top of the picture is the skyline of Downtown Vancouver and this situates the “place” of our historical endeavour.  What is it about Vancouver (or the idea of Vancouver?) that has influenced Bhangra and made its performance and music different from other parts of the world? How has the city affected and been affected by the story of Bhangra?  What makes Bhangra in Vancouver unique?

This also sets a scope for the project.  It includes today’s Vancouver but our also speaks historically to the downtown area, East Vancouver, South Vancouver, Main Street, Gastown, Chinatown, Commercial Drive, Kerrisdale, Oakridge, UBC and past Boundary Road into Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby and beyond. It speaks to the diverse “soundscapes” and dance forms that are produced here and internationally.  Wherever the music and dance go, it takes Vancouver with it.

The second element is the gorgeous archival picture in the possession of Mr. Paul Binning of PAAR Club.  It features an image of Shaminder Grewal who was a dancer from the Sialkot region of Punjab, Pakistan.  There’s an element of youth and exuberance in his pose that evokes that iconic idea of Bhangra with which many of us are familiar.

As a historical artifact I can’t help but focus on unique elements: the curved stick decorated with various studs, the vest decorated with hearts, his hoop earring, and especially the half moon design that he’s drawn over his right eye.  There’s so many questions I have about this picture too: Why was it taken? Where was it taken? Was it for a competition? An ad? And some questions that are just fun to ask: what colour is his vest, turban and ring, for instance?

A part of me thinks these ambiguities allow our imagination to fill in the blanks and (more importantly) leave spaces for discussion and dialogue.

The lower third is something central to the way we’re researching our project.  The female hand seems to contemplate the picture and skyline together and rather than being voyeurs, it incorporates us (the viewer) into the discussion, too.  How do we situate ourselves with the past of Bhangra in Vancouver?  What parts of if do we highlight? What elements resonate with us?  A key facet of this exhibition is to include as many voices as possible in telling the story of Bhangra in Vancouver and female practitioners as well as DJ’s, singers, musicians & Bhangra lovers are integral to this story.

So that’s my opinion of the Project Image.  I guess I could talk for hours about it (does it seem like I have?) but what does it evoke for you?  Is it an engaging picture? Does it raise questions? Does it answer questions?

Naveen Girn is currently a cultural researcher on the Exhibit which looks at the history of Bhangra in Vancouver and opens May 2011. You can learn more about the project by following his blog and twitter.