West End

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]


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.

MOVments of the week


A decidedly food-heavy round-up of things we’ve been following this week:

Food and rehabilitation. GOOD reports that the Soul Food Project in San Francisco prisons is helping women reconnect with the community, both behind bars and once they’ve been released. The program teaches cooking skills and healthy eating with a focus on affordable food and wellness. The life and job skills they learn are an important way of minimizing recidivism and encouraging inmates to seek lives outside of crime.

Meanwhile, protest continues over the closure of Canada’s prison farms. The farm program provided inmates with job skills while providing meat and dairy products for the local economy.

Social inclusion through food. Vivian Pan at Beyond Robson has started a series about food security and community gardening in Vancouver, with a focus on community building and social inclusion. The first two posts are here and here. It has been an interesting read so far. We’re looking forward to reading more!

Edible landscaping. The Vancouver Sun has an interesting article about the edible garden at the Teahouse Restaurant in Stanley Park. The garden provides decoration for the dining area while it also provides fresh herbs and greens for the restaurant. The fact that the garden is actively used for cutting makes maintenance a bit of a challenge. Still, it increases the visibility of urban agriculture and provides a great example of how food crops can be beautiful as well as edible.

STIR-up in the West End. Terry Lavender presents a useful primer of the issues, stakeholders and conflict surrounding two proposed Short Term Incentives for Rental Housing projects in the West End. The development pits the City against concerned residents over the issue of the construction of new purpose-built rental housing in order to provide more options for affordable housing in one of the most diverse and dense neighbourhoods in the city.

Bloedel Conservatory. Earlier this week the City of Vancouver announced that the Bloedel Conservatory will be saved, and jointly operated by the City, VanDusen Botanical Garden Association and Friends of the Bloedel. The Conservatory ran into financial difficulty due to city budget cuts, and was facing closure. It’s great to see that this local institution will be around for some time to come.

Image credit: Lars Hagberg/Canadian Press

“Vancouverism”: the concept, the export and now, the MOV cycling tour

This Saturday, the Museum begins an eight-week run of cycling tours that examine the term “Vancouverism”—that mixture of urban design, architecture, and city planning that this city has become known for globally. Vancouverism encompasses everything from the architectural vision of the late Arthur Erickson, to green-glass towers that dot the north shore of False Creek, to developer-funded public parks and schools.

Where did the term originate? Best guesses indicate it came from architects and city planners who visited Vancouver in the 1990s and were inspired by its success luring people back downtown. A decade or so later, Vancouverism has become a political ideology, a lifestyle, and an export (see Dubai, San Diego, Toronto, and Seattle). It has also become a success story: Vancouver has more than doubled its downtown population in the past two decades, bucking the trend of many other cities.

The MOV tours deconstruct “Vancouverism” by looking at the term in practice, and the people behind the major examples. It starts at the Museum, crosses over the Burrard Street Bridge into the West End, then wraps around False Creek to Yaletown, Southeast False Creek (the site of Vancouverism 2.0), False Creek South, and back to the Museum. Our Velo-City exhibit is a fitting conclusion, exploring similar themes of livability and progressive city planning.

We hope you can join the conversation. Click here to register.

Image credit: Kenny Louie

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