Wednesday, June 30, 2010


More mosaics - more things you don't notice when you're driving. When I was looking up information on the last mosaic I stumbled across, google told me about another mosaic project in downtown Vancouver, this one instigated by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association. There are 18 of these mosaics in total, each one approximately one square metre. They were created by mosaic artists Liz Calvin and Bruce Walther. This one's called Transported Through Time, and is situated near the corner of Burrard Street and Smithe Street.

Post title from this song by DJ Alexis Freites.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


When I took this photo this morning on Cordova Street near Abbott (across the street from this photo), I had no idea what Vandal Team Supreme was, I just thought the sticker looked odd and interesting next to the fire department connection on the side of a building. Google tells me it's a group of graffiti artists. There is a tag on one of the connections - maybe it has to do with that.

I just thought it looked kind of cool.

Post title from this song by YUNYU.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lost in the Supermarket

The weather for the last several days here has been dismal. People have taken to calling it Junuary, what with all the rain and gloom. So I look for other ways to put a smile on my face, and one of the things I love most about Vancouver, especially living downtown, is being in the midst of such a multi-cultural environment. On any given day I hear about a dozen languages spoken around me in my neighbourhood, and today I passed by this sign on Seymour Street. I don't know what the Arabic says, but I love that it's paired with a shout-out for Mexican products in the same store. (Foodness Supermarket)

Post title from this song by The Clash.

On a Bicycle Built For Two

Was biking around the downtown business district today and came upon a happening at the Vancouver Art Gallery. This immense, solar powered tricycle, (called Daisy, apparently) a part of, was giving people rides around the plaza on the Georgia Street side of the Gallery. Also there were the Gramorail and a DJ tent blasting fun dance tunes - powered by people pedaling stationary bicycles. It was delightfully unexpected - the carnival atmosphere put a smile on my face for the rest of the day.

Post title from this song by Nat King Cole.

Also, this post was supposed to go up yesterday (Sunday) but I neglected to hit Publish. I've been a little busy with my new business venture, and things have slipped through the cracks here and there. My apologies. This week will be better!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Waffle House

This brutalist building, once the home of MacMillan Bloedel, at one time a powerhouse company in Vancouver's economy, is one of Arthur Erickson's early buildings at 1075 Georgia Street (at Thurlow Street). The concrete structure, opened in 1968, looks to me like the setting for a fascist overlord's empire in a futuristic movie. Stark, solid, and unapologetic - and starting to show a few cracks in the facade.

It's locally referred to as the concrete waffle or the waffle building.

Post title from this song by David Wilcox.

Tea Ceremony

Met a friend at her office near Granville Island yesterday, and we walked to a nearby Japanese spot, Sawa, for lunch. I'd never been there before. Sawa is located in a concrete building and looks like just another hole in the wall lunch counter sort of place, until you venture in past the menu board and down the stairs into a simply but beautifully decorated back room. Around the centrepiece here is a square seating area - a communal table for people who come in alone to sit together. Lovely.

Post title from this song by Shan Di Orchestra.

Note: this was supposed to be Friday's post. Clearly I'm not very good at typing in the date when I'm scheduling a post.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

When I'm Cleaning Windows

Another photo from my wanderings around the Central Branch neighbourhood downtown, this one's the Westin Grand Hotel on Robson Street at Homer St. I liked the almost sinuous lines of the building's curves, with the tiny dangling window-washer to give it the human element.

Post title from this song by George Formby.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


While I was near the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library the other day, I pointed my lens upward and got a shot of a bit of its rooftop garden peeking over the side. Opened in 1995 and designed by architect Moshe Safdie, the building is a downtown landmark. I love the way it looks as though a modern concrete and glass construction is trying to break through and muscle its way out of an older style of building.

Post title from this song by Swing Out Sister.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


At the foot of Robson Street where it intersects with Beatty Street, on Terry Fox Plaza adjacent to BC Place, is one of the most phenomenally hideous monuments in Vancouver (or that I've seen anywhere, for that matter). In my opinion it demonstrates everything that was wrong with early 80s architecture and public art: pastel colours, incongrous building materials, classico-roman pretensions. According to, the design by Franklin Allen was chosen by a nine-person jury that included architect Arthur Erickson, and generated considerable negative public reaction upon its unveiling in 1984. I personally activate a mental detonator every time I pass by.

Having said that, the man the monument and the plaza are dedicated to, Terry Fox, is a Canadian national hero. His Marathon of Hope inspired a nation and raised millions of dollars for cancer research. Annual runs in his name continue to raise money every year (to date $500 million) in dozens of countries around the world. Terry's mother, Betty Fox, was one of the Olympic flag-bearers at the 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies here in Vancouver, and she and Terry's father, Rolly, participated in the lighting of the torch at the Paralympic Opening Ceremonies, which also featured a video tribute to Terry himself. I cannot see the iconic image of Terry Fox running on his artificial leg without wiping instant tears from my eyes.

Post title from this song by Jack Johnson.

Sit Down Young Stranger

***Ack! Due to a typo on my part, the post that was supposed to go up yesterday did not. First day I've missed since I started the blog! Here it is - there will be two posts today, to catch up.***

On the plaza outside the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch at the corner of Georgia Street and Homer Street, there's an art installation called Walk In/Here You Are by Christian Kliegel and Cate Rimmer. It's part of a larger collection of art commissioned by the City of Vancouver's Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program for 2010. According to the "listen to the artist" phone number (604.998.8038, press 2) on the sign accompanying the piece, it's a collage of street furniture arranged in front of a projection screen. Through the year, six different curated video selections will be projected for public viewing. Christian Kliegel is responsible for the seating arrangement, Cate Rimmer for the video curation.

Why the benches and picnic tables are half-sunk into a wooden deck escapes me. But it's possible I'm just not very sophisticated about art.

Post title from this song by Gordon Lightfoot.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Face in the Crowd

I got a few strange looks yesterday as I crouched down on the seawall in English Bay to take photos of this nondescript bit of coastline. But if you look closely, you can see what piqued my attention: someone has subtly painted faces onto a few of the rocks. I have no idea when this was done - I walk this stretch of seawall a couple of times a week and have never noticed it before. Likewise, I have no idea who the artist is.

Post title from this song by Brownie McGhee.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Today was a beautiful day: perfect for a stop at the West End Farmer's Market this morning, and then I wandered a few blocks to check out the Davie Village Community Garden - a lovely little oasis at the corner of one of the busiest intersections in downtown Vancouver: Davie and Burrard Streets. In the midst of all the bustle is this chunk of land, formerly the site of a gas station, now a community garden where people grow flowers and vegetables in assigned mini plots. I'm tempted to put my name on the waiting list to get my own $10/year spot - my balconies on the 21st floor are too windy and don't get enough sun to grow much of anything.

The glass towers in the background are The Wall Centre - including until recently Vancouver's tallest building.

Post title from this song by Pearl Jam.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Glass Ceiling

I was wandering down West Hastings this morning and happened upon the new-ish Coast Coal Harbour Hotel. The entrance off the street is fairly nondescript - until you look up. I took some black and white shots of the ceiling, but in the end the jewel tones won out and I'm posting a picture in colour.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Post title from this song by Metric.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Most manhole covers I've come across on Vancouver streets are pretty dull; just a metal grid within a round frame. But lately, as I've been paying more attention, I've noticed that there are some that are quite decorative. Snapped this quick picture today in the middle of an intersection on Robson Street. Had to point, click, and get out of the way of oncoming traffic. Nothing like a little dodge-the-bus to get your heart rate going in the morning!

Post title from this song by Ani Difranco.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lipstick Sunset

Sunset, yesterday evening. I love the way the red light reflects off the clouds and onto the surface of Second Beach Pool in Stanley Park. I took this photo through my living room window.

Post title from this song by John Hiatt.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pink Moon

In West Vancouver near Bellevue Avenue and 22nd Street is this vaguely Dr. Seussian and decidedly pink building. It was built in the mid-1960's. I imagine if I lived here I would avoid a lot of bold colours in the interior design of my personal space!

Post title from this song by Nick Drake.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I literally stumbled across this mosaic embedded in the sidewalk near the corner of Hastings and Cambie Streets the other day. After doing some poking around on the web, I've discovered that this is one of 17 distinct mosaic tile art pieces placed in sidewalks around the Downtown Eastside.  A project called "The Footprints Community Art Project", it was undertaken in 2001 as a joint effort by Western Economic Diversification Canada, The Carnegie Community Centre, the federal government, and residents of the downtown eastside. Now that I know these mosaics exist, I'm looking forward to finding and photographing the rest of them.

Post title from this song by Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


This one's not, strictly speaking, Vancouver. It's in Tsawassen, a suburb to the south of Vancouver. This is the BC Ferries terminal that services the Vancouver to Vancouver Island routes, among others. I spent the weekend in Victoria (the capital of British Columbia) and took this quick photo of the dock as we approached this evening on my way home. The ramp that seems to end in the middle of nowhere (centre of frame) allows cars to drive off the upper vehicle deck. The ramp and walkway on the right is for foot passengers. It was a lovely weekend away, but it's good to be home!

Post title from this song by Jayface.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


More black and white, more seawall, more Coal Harbour. This is taken looking straight up a concrete lamp standard close to Cardero's, a restaurant on the seawall at the foot of Cardero Street.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Black Crow

A few days ago I was cycling around the Stanley Park section of the seawall and came across the recently rebuilt pedestrian access to the Brockton Point lighthouse.The lighthouse was built in 1914, replacing the original one that had been in operation at this site since 1890. It served as navigational aid until as recently as 2005, when it was determined that it was no longer needed. Just as I pointed my lens at it, a crow landed on the drainage pipe to have a drink of what was left from the recent rain.

Post title from this Joni Mitchell song.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gimme Shelter

On the edge of David Lam Park on the seawall are four of these concrete and glass creations. They look like a cross between a tree and an oversized patio umbrella. I'm not sure if they're meant to be public art, actual shelter from the elements, or some combination of the two, but I liked the geometric feel as I pointed my camera up through them to the sky.

Post title, of course, from the iconic Rolling Stones song.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dim Sum

One of the best things about living in Vancouver is the plentiful, delicious, and inexpensive (comparatively speaking) variety of food in our restaurants. (I once got take-out Thai food in Zurich for about $65. The same meal in Vancouver would be closer to $35.) From hole-in-the-wall greasy spoons to upmarket tasting menus with wine pairings, we've got food covered; especially Asian food. One of my favourites is dim sum - I took this quick photo the last time I was at Sun Sui Wah, one of the best places for it in the city.

Post title from this song by Jeroenski & Jorn.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


There's been an excess of black and white photos here lately. I can't help it, I'm enamoured of the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone. But to balance things a little, today I thought I'd share a photo that, between water, sky, and glass highrises, is mostly blue in tone. This shot was taken this morning from near Hallelujah Point in Stanley Park, looks across Coal Harbour at the downtown core, features the five sails of Vancouver's skyline, and a look at the Convention Centre and its green roof (where I took this photo).

Post title from this song by Joni Mitchell.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Submarine

The Coal Harbour Community Centre is built into the slope from West Hastings Street down to the seawall. Its roof, level with the street, is home to paths, lawns, and a children's playground, as well as this windowed structure. If you look in the windows, you can see straight down into the Community Centre's public area. It looks (to me) a little like the sail of a submarine, in keeping with the building's overall vaguely nautical-themed architecture.

Post title from this song by Whitley.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pillow Talk

It's been a while since I posted a Biennale piece. This one is called Pillows, by Liu Jianhua of China. It's located in Harbour Green Park as well - not far from this and this. The sight of oversized white fiberglass pillows strewn across the lawn is definitely incongruous - I suppose that's the point of the piece!

Post title from this song by Sylvia.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Scene at the Open Air Market

Vancouver has a thriving network of farmers' markets. There is fecund agricultural land surrounding Metro Vancouver and throughout parts of southern British Columbia. As spring is upon us and summer beckons, over the past few weeks the regular weekly markets have been opening one by one, the last one opening today in my neighbourhood, downtown's West End. The market gets better as the season progresses, but this morning I was able to pick up locally and organically grown new potatoes, bell peppers, heritage tomatoes, a basil plant, dried apple chips, some phenomenal smoked canned tuna, and delicious baked goods.

The highrise in the background is the Wall Centre, once Vancouver's tallest building until it was surpassed by the Shangri La.

 Post title from this Thievery Corporation song.

Friday, June 4, 2010


The Robert Lee YMCA building on Burrard Street was recently rebuilt. After a couple of years of construction, it re-opened in the last few weeks. This shot was taken from the elevator lobby on the 5th floor, looking across a large atrium. The whole building is filled with natural light. It's quite stunning.

Post title from the famous Village People song.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Downtown Train

A quick snapshot taken from a window of the pedestrian walkway from Waterfront Station to the SeaBus, a public transit ferry that crosses Burrard Inlet from downtown Vancouver to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. The commuter trains are another part of Vancouver's public transit network: the West Coast Express. The buildings on the left in the background are the neighbourhood of Gastown. On the right, the red brick building is the back side of the building in this shot.

Post title from this Tom Waits song.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Took this picture standing on the corner of Hastings Street and Jervis Street, looking up at the Evergreen Building, an office building designed by renowned Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson in 1978.

Post title, of course, from this iconic Barbra Streisand song.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Gimme A Sign

I took this photo quite a while ago outside a church on Cambie Street near West 20th Avenue. It seemed to fit in with this month's City Daily Photo theme: Funny Signs. I'm guessing that this was a fundraiser for a Boy Scout troop who were selling animal manure for people's gardens, and not actually a sale of Boy Scout poop!

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

Post title from this song by Ryan Adams.