local food

MOVments: Putting Ourselves on the Map

In the aftermath of the Waldorf closing the city is looking into mapping cultural resources like arts venues and spaces that resonate with city dwellers. Over at MOVments, this got us thinking about the other kinds of maps we're making and how they're helping to locate us and more importantly, guide us where we're going. Read on for details on a blueprint for a new food strategy, a development plan for a growing municipality, and how neighbourhood rebranding may (or may not) be helping East Vancouverites envision where they live.

Edible Streets. Imagine a city with more farmers markets, community gardens, rooftop plots, and edible landscaping. These are just a few of the actions outlined in the new food strategy being considered by city council. As the Vancouver Sun blog describes "City council intends the Vancouver of the near future to be a model system of just and sustainable locally-grown food, a city as pretty as it is delicious." This deliciously sustainable city would have at its centre a green economy which would incubate food businesses and create infrastructure for food processing and distribution.
City of Cities. And speaking of infrastructure, the City of Surrey has challenges of its own as its six, distinct town centres continue to grow. As the Vancouver Sun reports while the city offers (relatively) affordable housing and a myriad of parks and recreation opportunities, it still does not have a cultural infrastructure in the form of large-scale entertainment venues; for these, many still head to Vancouver. President of the Surrey Board of Trade, Anita Huberman, is looking forward to a city filled with "state-of-the-art elegant spaces for arts, events, [and] theatres" that would keep people working and playing there.
The Neighbourhood Formerly Known As...Hastings-Sunrise has recently been rebranded as Vancouver's East Village but residents have been slow to adopt the name, and some are not so sure the reference to the Manhattan neighbourhood is apt. Developers are quick to point out that the new name isn't meant to replace the old one but rather to help build a cohesive identity for businesses in the area. As executive director of the neighbourhood's Business Improvement Association, Patricia Barnes describes, "It’s a marketing and branding strategy for the business improvement area, within the Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood. Critics have their own opinions, but it is not a renaming of the whole neighbourhood.” 
Spotlight on Vancouver. And finally, if you didn't get a chance to see Marpole and downtown all lit up this weekend, check out these photos of the playful Limelight: Saturday Night art installation. 
At the MOVeum:
[Image: Plan of the City of Vancouver, 1910. Courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives, MAP 387]

MOVments: gathered for change

#occupyvancouver dominates the news this week. Thousands of people gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery for Occupy Vancouver's first General Assembly on Saturday. Many people are prepared to camp out for some time, though the ban on staking tents to the ground and cooking with propane makes this more difficult.

The Tyee asks people why they have chosen to take to the streets.

We Day. Meanwhile, another gathering for change: as 18,000 youth participate in We Day, where Mikhail Gorbachev and other speakers presented on the value of community service and youth engagement.

The Missing Women Inquiry is off to a rocky start with protests as several groups have chosen to not participate. Many groups are concerned that the lack of funding provided to advocacy groups for legal assistance for is a serious impediment to having their voices heard, and without their support for the process, it is uncertain whether the Inquiry will acheive its purpose.

Powwow. A huge powwow took place in the Downtown Eastside to honour First Nations elders.

Evelyn Lau was named Vancouver's next poet laureate in advance of the Vancouver 125 Poetry Conference later this week.

Re:CONNECT challenges Vancouverites to reinvision the city's eastern core and viaducts as a vibrant space.

No more pictures. Jeff Wall laments the loss of photogenic buildings in Vancouver.

Local food. A few months after being featured in MOV's Home Grown exhibit, the Home Grow-In Grocery closed suddenly, taking customers' deposits with it. Now the store has reopened with new owners, who are trying to regain the trust of their customers while building our local food infrastructure.

Ethnic enclaves. Is it time for Vancouver to have a Pinoytown?

Image: Ariane Colenbrander

MOVments: Keeping Insite, creating Stanley Park and too much of a good thing

Insite. Hastings Street erupted into a clebration and pancake breakfast as people gathered to hear the Supreme Court of Canada reject the federal government's appeal to close Insite. This is a landmark decision  - not only does it allow the facility to remain open but it signals a change in attitudes toward addicts and positions healthcare as a higher priority than law and order. The unanimous decision by the court opens up possibility of safe injection sites across the country. Kind of fitting that this happened in Vancouver, the birthplace of Canada's first drug laws.

Stanley Park. While it's now the uncontroversial crown jewel of our city, Stanley Park got off to a rocky start, as the land was not only expropriated from First Nations people but also others who made their homes on the land. The removal of these people took nearly 40 years.

Growing pains. You can never have too much of a good thing. Or can you? In some cities there is a glut of farmer's markets and not enough consumer demand, forcing them to compete with each other for customers. In Vancouver the tight control over the creation of new markets seems to ensure that this will not be the case but in the suburbs it's a different story.

Mural tour. The City of Vancouver has created a cool interactive map and audio tour of murals in the downtown core and East Van.

Places that matter. John Atkin shares more of his findings while researching materials for the Heritage Foundation's Places that Matter project. This week: the Louvre Hotel and Saloon.

Image via Bruce...


Cycling. Translink has released it's regional cycling strategy meant to encourage cycling and make it safer. Good thing, too, because safety is one of the major concerns that keep women in particular off the roads.

Evergreen line. Negotiations to build the Evergreen Line took a huge step forward when Metro Vancouver mayors voted in favour of increasing the gas tax to pay for it. Spacing explores other sources of funds for a cash-strapped Translink.

Shoebox living. A new development under construction features 270 square foot condos. Is that even livable? Well, Gordon Price made it work in the 90s. But in spite of their size, these units aren't as affordable as you'd think.

Status quo. While the city develops around it, the West End has remained more or less the same.

Olympic Village. While many of the housing units at the Olympic Village are still empty, businesses are slowly starting to open.

The dark side of 100 mile. An exhibit on right now at W2 Media Cafe shows the unsavoury side of local food - the exploitation of new immigrants and temporary foreign workers who work on farms in the Fraser Valley. It's an issue also covered in our exhibit on display right now at MOV. If you have the chance you should come down and check it out!

Public square. Gordon Price wants to get rid of the fountain in front of the art gallery to turn the space into a proper gathering area.

Crime. Did you know that Vancouver is the bank robbery capital of Canada?

Image: LastGreatRoadTrip, via flickr.


Just how bike-friendly is Vancouver? Researchers at UBC mapped data on several key factors that make streets accommodating to cyclists. The result is a series of 'Bikeability Index' maps.

Spacing Vancouver. Spacing Magazine has partnered with the staff at re:place to launch Spacing Vancouver. We're really excited to see what comes out of this partnership.

This week the magazine kicked off with a series about planning for schools in downtown Vancouver: Part 1 and Part 2.

Public space. Erin O'Melinn shares some thoughts about Spacing's list of the top ten public spaces in Vancouver and why they are nearly all in the downtown core.

Surveillance. It has come to light that some of the surveillance cameras purchased for the 2010 Olympics were repurposed and put into service during the Stanley Cup playoff games.

Public art. Many of the Vancouver Biennale's public art works will be heading home to their owners between now and the end of this year.

Phonebooth. In response to the disappearance of phone booths in the DTES, Spartacus Books set up their own.

Housing in the DTES. Tenants at the Wonder Rooms in the DTES filed a class-action suit against their landlord for the inhumane living conditions in their suites. City council discussed this week whether to file an injunction to force the landlord to make repairs.

"Old urbanism" on the Fraserlands. A huge new development for 20,000 residents is intended to be a modern Rome or Pompeii on the banks of the Fraser River. Seems an odd choice of comparison but there you go.

Local food. The Food Secure Vancouver Study and Foodtree's mobile app were both launched this week.

Image: Roland Tanglao, via flickr.


Post-riot therapy. Scout lists 101 awesome things about Vancouver. Glad to see we (and this blog) made the list!

Riot. An independent review of the police response to the riot is underway. The Vancouver Police Department has released a fact sheet.

The backlash continues. Employers of outed rioters are facing boycotts and negative press and in some cases are letting those employees go. Blenz has launched the first major lawsuit against as yet unnamed rioters.

The backlash highlights lines of cultural divide and prejudice between the city and suburbs. A lot of the blame for the riot has been leveled at the suburbs, but many suburbanites are disputing th

There is growing concern that some riot photos submitted to police have been photoshopped, and it's likely that this will be a popular defence in court.

Rebranding. In light of recent marketing campaigns by Vancouver and Calgary, how does a city go about changing it's image?

Gentrification. The Dependent looks at some of the people walking the fine line between gentrification and revitalization in Gastown and the Downtown East Side.

Language. There is now a dictionary for the Squamish language.

Local food. Turning a new page in the local food movement, the City of Vancouver funds a project to encourage people to replace their lawns with wheat.

Summer of our discontent. Past Tense remembers Vancouver's Yippie civil unrest.

Authentic sky. Appreciation for a local artist who paints Vancouver's sky like it is: usually cloudy.

An oddity from the history books: Police conclude that sounds of a man drowning that had been frightening visitors at Third Beach were actually coming from a bird.

Image via Past Tense.


Road safety. The Vancouver Sun reports on the most dangerous intersections for cyclist and vehicle collisions. But it’s not just motor vehicles that are in focus. The first pedestrian death resulting from a cyclist collision has been confirmed.

Local bounty. The Tyee continues it’s excellent coverage of local food. An article looks at the Southlands farm in Delta, a local site of conflict between the pressure to develop and the need to preserve farmland. Another article looks at the quota system for egg production and why the supply of organic and free-range eggs is not keeping pace with the demand.

Noise. The City is trying to mitigate the impact of increased noise from a new public plaza and the open roof of BC place in Northeast False Creek, considering more stringent soundproofing guidelines for developers and amending the noise bylaw to allow loud noise until 11pm.

Mapping transit. A very cool Google Maps app allows you to see how far you can get on transit from any location in Metro Vancouver within a given period of time. It’s fun to play around with, though the distances displayed in the suburbs seem a little optimistic.

Science park. A proposal went before the development permit board and advisory panel today that would see the installation of outdoor exhibits about sustainability in the park near Science World.

Millennium Development. The development company that built the Olympic Village is facing more financial difficulties this week after defaulting on a loan for another of it’s properties in West Vancouver.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Though not a Canadian creation, it was the illustrations of a Burnaby man that propelled Rudolph into international stardom.

Image credit: Burnaby NewsLeader


Processed food. An article in the Tyee tackles the problem of local food processing infrastructure. While a few companies are producing consumer products from BC grown produce, over the past 30 years the food processing industry has consolidated, leaving BC with a lack of capacity to process local food products locally.

Cultural capital. Vancouver was named a 2011 cultural capital of Canada by the Department of Canadian Heritage and is to receive funding to support celebrations for it’s 125th anniversary.

Office space. The recession seems to be driving companies back into the downtown core. Vacancy rates for office space downtown are dropping, while vacancies in other municipalities are climbing. Telus is constructing the first new office tower downtown in nearly a decade and other companies are relocating due to the proximity to transit and other amenities.

Jericho wharf. There is a debate raging as to what to do with Jericho wharf. It was originally built as part of a seaplane base for the RCAF but is now unused and is in bad disrepair. While there is a case to be made for it’s heritage value, it provides a poor environment for juvenile salmon and other marine life.

The price of development. A new report by the David Suzuki Foundation puts a price on farmland and undeveloped green spaces in Metro Vancouver. The report is intended to promote the densification of land that has already been developed by calculating the benefit to society that undeveloped land has.

Image source: Elizabeth Bruton via flickr


New City Market. Community groups are busy planning the creation of a new hub for local food. The New City Market is meant to to fill the gap between producers and consumers of local food in BC, and give farmers direct access to their markets, as well as provide facilities for cooking and learning for the public.

Buy BC. The BC Agriculture Council wants the government to spend more money on marketing local food and assisting farmers and retailers with information about organic standards. Several programs have been funded in the past, but have been cut.

Freedom of information. Earlier this week Paul Hancock, Vancouver’s freedom of information officer resigned from his position at the City, leaving the City to reconsider how to deal with it’s freedom of information requests.

Olympic Village. The City of Vancouver is trying hard to recoup nearly a billion dollars that are owed to it by the developer of the Olympic Village, but can’t guarantee that it will be able to collect the full amount.

The City has not yet approved a new marketing plan for the condos that would see the condos sold at substantially lower prices. The City has not come to an agreement with the developer as to how the shortfall will be made up.

Meanwhile, the City has chosen the Co-op Housing Federation of B.C. to manage the social housing in the Olympic Village, so those units may finally be occupied before the end of the year.

Rental housing. Construction began on a new market rental housing complex at Granville and Davie. The project has been made possible by the City’s Short Term Incentives for Rental Housing program.

Image credit: CityLab



Homes and books. Housing advocates are urging the city to consider including social housing in a new library branch that is to be constructed on East Hastings.

Opsal Steel. Two towers are planned for the Opsal Steel site south of False Creek. The 90 year old building is one of the best remaining examples of west coast early industrial architecture. The plan calls for portions of the original building to be saved. The building was listed as one of Heritage Vancouver’s Top Ten Endangered Sites in 2001 and 2002.
Viaducts. Anthony Perl, director of urban studies at SFU, wants to tear down Vancouver’s viaducts. He says the land is better suited for social housing and other projects and represents a huge unmet potential.

Bike lanes. City Caucus looks at why separated bike lanes are so controversial in Vancouver and elsewhere.

Salmon. Scientists now believe that the unusually large salmon run this year was caused by the eruption of the Katsatochi Volcano in 2008, which led to a greater amount of phytoplankton in the water for the fish to feed on.

Meanwhile, the Cohen commission is still looking for answers as to why last year’s salmon run was so small and debate continues regarding how best to promote biodiversity without harming the fishing industry.

Local food infrastructure. In their ongoing series searching for solutions for fostering a local sustainable food system, The Tyee looks at Mennonite produce cooperatives and auction houses in Ontario.

Image credit: Dan Toulgoet, Vancouver Courier


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