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MOVments: Being on (the Cutting) Edge

Sometimes there's a fine line between being on the cutting edge and just plain being on edge. This week we bring you two lovely stories of Vancouver's willingness to push boundaries and embrace new, fresh ideas. And for good measure: one story of a divisive new bike plan that has excited some and induced anxiety in others.

Beach Biking. We start with the story that's put some Vancouverites on edge: the freshly approved Kitsilano bike route that will see a one-kilometre stretch of Point Grey Road closed to commuter traffic. Many cyclists are loving the idea of biking directly between the Burrard Bridge and Jericho Beach, while some local residents fear the impact of 10,000 motorists being diverted onto their streets. Meanwhile The Tyee asks: Why was this such a controversial topic in the first place? And Gordon Price tells us to relax.

One Little Free Art Exchange. As the Globe and Mail reports, "It is believed Metro Vancouver has between five and 10 “little free libraries.” And now, one little free art exchange." Cheryl Cheeks' brain-child, the aptly named Dude Chilling Art Exchange, located in Mount Pleasant's Guelph Park (also known as Dude Chilling Park) was unveiled this weekend. We're pretty excited to check out the first public spot in Vancouver where you can swap anything from sculpture and paintings to poetry and photos.

Sunshine, Pride Week, and Rainbows. In other very exciting news: Davie Street Village unveiled Canada's first permanent rainbow crosswalk on Monday to kick off Vancouver's Pride Week celebrations. According to Spencer Chandra Herbert, NDP MLA for the West End, the colourful crosswalk symbolizes the city's unique contribution to gay rights across the country. Check it out at the corner of Davie and Bute.

At the MOVeum:
October 2 - Legacy Dinner
 
[Image: Rainbow Crosswalk on Davie Street. Photo courtesy of Sean Neild via Flickr]

MOVments: Putting Maps to Work & Subverting Expectations

 
This week, an interactive map of Vancouver occupations got us thinking about patterns and socio-economic trends in the city. As the map reveals, doctors are seemingly more likely to live in Shaughnessy and musicians on Bowen Island. But elsewhere in the city people are defying expectations and reworking conventional wisdom. Unexpected donations to the arts, innovative art and architectural interventions, and shifting ideas surrounding homeownership are forcing us to reconsider what we thought we knew about the city.
 
Funding Win. While the arts and culture sector is generally facing funding cuts, one unique Vancouver program recently got a big break from an anonymous donor. Vancouver Coastal Health's The Art Studio Program received more than $208,000 allowing it to stay open another year and provide people with mental health and addiction problems therapeutic access to art classes. A longterm financial solution will still need to be put in place for the program to continue.
 
Taking Art & Architecture to the Street. This Saturday, July 13 saw Granville Street come alive with MOV’s long-awaited public design and build event, Upcycled Urbanism. Hundreds of Vancouverites and passersby took part in the re-imagining of one of Vancouver’s busiest streets to build beautiful, hallucinatory, and playful structures out of re-purposed polystyrene. Stay tuned for the official wrap-up, but in the meantime, here are photos to relive the day, posted on Xinhua, Flickr, and Facebook.
 
And a hat tip to our neighbors for their massively successful Khatsahlano! Festival, for bringing Kitsilano streets to life with vibrant musical acts and innovative art works, including a POD container gallery where MOV shared its new mobile app and virtual exhibit, The Visible City with the Festival’s estimated 100,000 attendees.
 
Getting Real with Vancouver Real Estate. For many of us the dream of buying real estate in the city is just that, a dream. As this Globe and Mail article explains, as of last year over half of all single-family detached homes in Vancouver were valued at one million dollars or higher. This has caused a major shift in how young people are viewing homeownership and the Canadian dream: "Young, well-educated wage earners, who for decades have regarded a detached home as a natural aspiration, are now revising their expectations, ratcheting down their hopes." Great take on the cultural ramifications of Vancouver's real estate market.
 
At the MOVeum:

August 15 - Redacted Readings
October 2 - Legacy Dinner

[Image: Khatsahlano! Festival 2013. Photo by Christopher Porter via Flickr]

MOVments: So Close and So Far

 
This week in MOVments we look at the ideas of proximity and distance in relation to transportation, services, tourist attractions, and more. We explore some stats on how Vancouverites are getting from point A to point B, funding community-specific services in the DTES, how a beach is benefiting from being close to the MOV, and a venue that at least one person feels is a little too close to its neighbours. 
 
Getting There. recent report to City Council revealed a dramatic increase in walking and cycling as modes of transportation in the city, with driving trips on a slight decline. Significantly, the proportion of women and girls walking and biking has also grown, which is "seen to be an indicator of the quality and safety of a city’s infrastructure." All of this is so good that some think we should actually be doing a little more braggingAnd speaking of sustainable transportation, check out these neat side-by-side videos of the same Skytrain route: one from today and one from 1986.
 
DTES Services. Two organizations that work closely with the DTES community are receiving funding from the City for continuing and expanded servicesWISH will receive a grant for expanded work with survival sex trade workers and the Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS) will receive money for their ongoing Residential Tenancy Branch. 
 
Kits Beach Hits the Big Time. Kitsilano Beach made it on to Reuters Top 10 City Beaches Around the World list. One of its selling points? Its proximity to this museum and other cultural attractions; the listing recommends hitting the beach as a stop on a jam-packed day of Vancouver sightseeing. 
 
Keep the WISE Alive. East Vancouver's WISE Hall has received a number of noise complaints in the past few months. While the complaints seem to be coming from one newcomer to the neighbourhood, Metro News reports that the event and live music venue is not taking any chances and has started a campaign to raise funds for additional soundproofing of the building. 
 
At the MOVeum:

June 19 - From Here to There: Stories of Food, Energy, and Transitioning to Resilient Communities
June 26 - Upcycled Urbanism Volunteer Orientation night
July 6 - Curator’s Talk & Tour Foncie's Fotos w/ Joan Seidl
July 13 - Upcycled Urbanism: A Design+Build Project for Everyone - Granville Street Build Day

[Image: Kits Beach, 1920s. Photo courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 770-92]

MOVments: Making a Mark

MOVments: current events in Vancouver by the Museum of Vancouver

Vancouver bike laneThis week's MOVments has us thinking about what it means to make a mark (both literally and figuratively) on the city and beyond. From neighbourhood banners, landmark treaties, and public infrastructure we are exploring the ways that Vancouver is being marked, shaped, and influenced by the people who live here.

Kits Pride. In Kitsilano, residents are marking their streets with signs that proclaim their love for the neighbourhood. The Kitsilano Neighbourhood House started the 'Kits Me-Love the hood you're in!' project to give locals the opportunity to share what makes the area special to them. Each banner features a photograph of the contributor and a quote, with people talking about everything from Kitsilano's walkability to its famous farmers' market.

Treaty Approved. After some hiccups, the Sliammon First Nation has approved a treaty with the federal and provincial governments. The agreement will give the Sunshine Coast group 8,300 hectares of land and $30 million over 10 years. Chief Clint Williams takes a practical view of the milestone event, saying "Now the real hard work starts."

Vancouver: Richest Canadian City (For Now). Nationally, Vancouver has set a record by coming in as the country's richest city for 2011 according to Environics Analytics WealthScapes. But there's speculation about how long this will last given the level of debt financing happening in Vancouver. And there's also the little matter of the declining housing market.

Velo City. As Luke Brocki reports, Vancouver is a long way off from being the benchmark in cycling infrastructure and bike-ability. In this case, it looks like we'll need to take cues from cities like Amsterdam, Berlin, New York, and Portland. Global experts at last month's Velo-city bike planning conference challenged Vancouver to move beyond helmet issues to creating more separated bike lanes and increasing the total number of trips taken by bikes.

Seawall Politics. Controversy continues to swirl around what would be a new line drawn on the city: a proposed continuation of the seawall linking Kitsilano Beach to Jericho Beach. Critics have been quick to point out the cost involved and the problems associated with private funding of public works. As OpenFile reports, Vancouverites have historically been pretty outspoken about what happens with our public spaces, and the seawall is no exception.

At the MOVeum:
August 18 - MEMBERS ONLY Art Deco Chic: Talk & Tour with Ivan Sayers

[Image: Vancouver bike path. Photo by Charles Lamoureux]

Museum Monday: Art Deco on the Burrard Bridge

It’s Museum Monday!  This week we’re celebrating the historic art deco landmark which connects Kitsilano (and the MOV) to the heart of Vancouver’s downtown: the Burrard Street Bridge.

The Burrard Bridge opened ‘with a snip of golden scissors’ on Canada Day, July 1, 1932. The MOV has several items which capture this opening day, including theBurrard Bridge Rose Bowl presented to assistant City Engineer William Brand Young in 1932. No pictures are posted yet, but you can just imagine its shining splendor: Victorian, silver plate, decorated with an ornate fruit and vine border and finely engraved with “Souvenir of the Opening of the Burrard Bridge July 1st 1932”.

I love this photo from the Vancouver Archives, which seems to capture the excitement of the day – a gathering throng out to test the new bridge and parade their Sunday best. Gentlemen in suits, caps, and fedoras; Ladies in frocks and cloche hats; Couples arm in arm; A lad on his bike…perhaps one of the first cyclist to cross?
 
Head engineer John R. Grant and Architect George Lister Thornton Sharp designed the bridge so that boats could get through safely while cars passed overhead. Preserving an unobstructed view was another key concern. According to the Burrard Bridge Heritage Study (Donald Luxton, 2001), the handrails were structured so that vehicles driving between 40 and 64 kilometers an hour could still enjoy the beautiful bay thanks to a “stroboscopic” visual effect.

The decorative bridge towers have inspired speculation and urban myth over the years. Is there a hidden gallery or office space up there in the middle of the bridge? What about the mysterious spaces arching in between the towers and those small windows peering onto the traffic below? It’s tempting to imagine…but apparently nothing much is going on there. In fact, it’s an elegant way to conceal some necessary steel support structures.

Photo by cmh2315fl on Flickr

Those special art deco details on the surface do have a story to tell. The boats jutting out at each side are crowned with the busts of Captain George Vancouver and Sir Harry Burrard. The large pylons at each entrance emulate a flaming torch. Bridge engineer John Grant designed these torches as a tribute to Canadian prisoners of war (from World War I), imagining them huddled around open fires in their prison camps.

Thanks to an avid Vancouver collector (Doreen Margaret “Peggy” Imredy), MOV hosts a fascinating assortment of over 3,500 pieces relating to Stanley Park. This extensive collection includes post card views of the Burrard Bridge from 1932, 1978, and 1999. By comparing these images, you can see how our natural and urban landscapes have changed. It’s also striking to see how camera technology and visual taste trends have changed. Today you can catch an almost live view of bridge and sea (updated every 5 minutes) on the Katcam.

Follow the Bright Burrard Banners to MOV! If you’re a Kits commuter, you’ll notice new MOV street banners decorating your route from the Burrard Bridge south to Broadway. Why not take a refreshing pause and follow that trail to the MOV? We’re in the distinctive ‘building that looks like a spaceship / Haida hat’ [find it in the images to the right] with the famous crab fountain out front.

We’re also right in the midst of beautiful Vanier Park, so you can make a day of it… Fly a kite, plan a picnic or just enjoy the city views and sea breeze. Then pop into MOV for a fun event or peruse our Art Deco Chic exhibition and see if you can appreciate the stunning links between art deco fashion and architecture.
 

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