Category Archives: Culture

Metro column: Sad end for Japantown’s field of memories

15 June 2009 05:27

Later this week, the Vancouver Canadians baseball team will play its much-anticipated season opener at Nat Bailey Stadium.

Expect the scene to be an upbeat one — from the singing of Take Me Out To The Ball Game to Little Leaguers cheerfully chasing foul balls in the bleachers.

But not far away, in the Downtown Eastside, a far less happy baseball story is being played out.

At Oppenheimer Park, in Vancouver’s old Japantown neighbourhood, the historic playing field of the Asahi baseball team is being demolished. The City of Vancouver is removing the ball diamond as part of its renovation of the park. Continue reading

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Filed under Culture, Environment, Green Space, Heritage, Immigration, Japan, Neighbourhoods, Parks, Politics, Protest, Sports, Vancouver

Trailer parks for the homeless?

Gregory Henriquez, the Vancouver-based architect, isn’t afraid of challenging local defenders of the status quo.

Last year, the principal of Henriquez Partners Architects felt the wrath of some vocal North Vancouver residents, who railed against his proposal for an iconic 40-storey highrise on the sleepy Lower Lonsdale waterfront.

The boobirds eventually got their way, and Henriquez’ design was chased away. Continue reading

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Filed under British Columbia, Culture, Environment, Events, Gentrification, Green Space, Heritage, Immigration, Japan, Neighbourhoods, Nimbies, Parks, Urban Planning

Metro column: Maritime Centre story turns political

Kevin Falcon, B.C.’s Transportation and Infrastructure Minister, will meet with federal counterpart John Baird in Ottawa this week to iron out funding details for a number of stimulus projects slated for British Columbia.

While transportation programs have garnered much of the attention and promised cash to date from senior levels of government, municipalities in Metro Vancouver are putting forth other shovel-ready projects, from housing to hospitals to water treatment facilities.

And then there’s the National Maritime Centre for the Pacific and the Arctic, slated for construction near Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver.

The centre promises to be a major cultural attraction, complete with historic artifacts, nautical exhibits, and boat festivals. And it is considered key in revitalizing the historic Lower Lonsdale waterfront area. It also has the potential to become a tourism showpiece for the region. Continue reading

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Filed under Culture, Heritage, Neighbourhoods, Politics, Tourism, Transportation

Metro column: Pinning hopes on Granville makeover

12 January 2009

Love it or loathe it, Granville Street is a Vancouver original.

The downtown district for public intoxication, peep shows and post-pub pushing matches is quite the spectacle on a Friday evening — or a Saturday morning, for that matter.

But while Granville is a magnet for the young, the restless and the seekers of cheap pizza slices — it has yet to be universally embraced. Continue reading

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Filed under 2010 Winter Olympics, Crime, Culture, Entertainment, Food and Dining, Gentrification, Law and Order, Neighbourhoods, Nightlife, Tourism, Transportation, Urban Planning, Vancouver

It lives: Construction resumes on North Vancouver waterfront

Some positive news for those following the progress of the waterfront revitalization project at the foot of Lonsdale Avenue in North Vancouver.

The $100 million mixed-use development is back in business after coming to a troubling halt this past fall — in the wake of the Wall Street meltdown and ensuing economic uncertainty. Continue reading

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Filed under 2010 Winter Olympics, Architecture, Culture, Heritage, Neighbourhoods, Politics

Vancouver Province column: If meltdown hikes Olympic price taxpayers deserve a greater say

October 12, 2008

It’s been a turbulent couple of weeks for the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee.

Last week, at a Toronto forum on amateur sport, federal politicians scrapped over the long-simmering issue of including women’s ski jumping at the 2010 Games. This comes on top of Canadian ski jumper Zoya Lynch joining a lawsuit aimed at forcing VANOC to bring the women’s event into the Olympics mix.

But it doesn’t end there.

Many British Columbians were left shaking their heads in the wake of the recent decision to ban the charity Right To Play from the athletes village in 2010.

And now folks in Vancouver are coming to grips with the impact of the global financial crunch on the construction of that same athletes village — raising the grim spectre of taxpayers bailing out the project if funding dries up. Continue reading

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Filed under 2010 Winter Olympics, Architecture, British Columbia, Commuting, Culture, Gentrification, Neighbourhoods, Politics, Protest, Real Estate, Sports, Transportation, Vancouver, Vancouver Province Columns

Mercer Consulting: Best cities for… wait for it… quality of living

The cities rankings continues — this one from Mercer Consulting.
It’s a bit more serious-minded that Monocle’s, and geared for those who are uprooting for work.

Some survey highlights:

“European cities dominate the rankings of locations with the best quality of living, according to Mercer’s 2008 Quality of Living survey. Zurich retains its 2007 title as the highest ranked city, followed jointly by Vienna (2), Geneva (2), then Vancouver (4) and Auckland (5).

The highest entry for the United States is Honolulu, appearing at number 28. The cities with the lowest quality of living ranking are Ndjamena (211), Khartoum (212), Brazzaville (213), and Bangui (214). Baghdad, ranking 215, retains its position at the bottom of the table.

The survey also identified those cities with the highest personal safety ranking based on internal stability, effectiveness of law enforcement and relationships with other countries. Luxembourg was top, followed by Bern, Geneva, Helsinki and Zurich, all equally placed at number 2. Chicago, Houston and San Francisco are noted amongst the safest cities in the US, all ranking at 53. Baghdad (215) was the world’s least safe city followed by Kinshasa (214), Karachi (213), Nairobi (212) and Bangui (211).

The rankings are based on a point scoring index, which sees Zurich scoring 108, while Baghdad scores 13.5. Cities are ranked against New York as the base city which has an index score of 100.”

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