Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Les Feuilles Mortes

We had a terrible summer, weather wise, but autumn this year in Vancouver has been spectacular. Here's a sample of the fall colours taken from my apartment window looking over Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park in early morning light. Gorgeous.

Post title from this classic song.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Uncovering a Lie

Stumbled over what I thought was a manhole cover on Beatty Street near Robson Street, and then I noticed the words "Collected Memory Dispersed" in the glass centre. A bit of googling later, I discovered this is one of a four part public art project by Jill Anholt and Susan Ockwell called "Uncoverings" installed in 1998.

Post title from this song by Iris Aneas.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Last Marathon of Terry Fox

A while back I wrote about activating my mental detonator every time I walked past the Terry Fox memorial adjacent to BC Place. I know I wasn't alone, because recently the eyesore that was there has been replaced, and I have to say I like the new one much better. It was designed by Douglas Coupland, and to me is much more representative of the man and what he stood for.

Post title from this song by Group of Seven.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Happy Melted City

The last time I posted here, four months ago, was the day of the last 2011 Stanley Cup Finals game. If you follow hockey at all, you know that the Canucks did not win. And if you were following the news, or twitter, or know anyone who lives in Vancouver, you know that the city erupted in violence within minutes of the game's ending.

I was heartbroken. (I posted about it on my personal blog.) I was devastated by the damage done to businesses, to my neighbourhood, to my perception of my personal safety. The riots came within a dozen blocks of my apartment – at once a world away and far too close. I haven't been out taking photos for this blog since.

Until today.

This photo's from back in June, two days after the riots. It was a sunny day. Broken glass had all been swept up, broken windows boarded up or replaced, evidence of the riots quietly removed or covered over. I took this on Seymour St near W. Georgia, where a car had been set on fire outside The Bay. The heat was such that it melted this nearby parking meter. The burning car had been removed, but the parking meter bore a sort of silent witness.

Tomorrow, something more cheerful!

Post title from this song by Black Moth Super Rainbow.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Just about a year ago, I posted a shot of this same statue of Lord Stanley. This morning, I took this picture for a reason. In a few hours, the Vancouver Canucks will play the Boston Bruins for the Stanley Cup Championship. This is huge here in Vancouver. HUGE. The city's a sea of blue and green jerseys. Crowds of up to 100 000 people have filled the streets to watch the games leading up to tonight. Productivity in Vancouver has ground to a halt. For every Vancouverite I know, it's as big as, and more personal than, the Winter Olympics last year.

Some enterprising soul decorated this statue of Lord Stanley (for whom the Stanley Cup was named) with a Canucks jersey, hockey stick, and imitation trophy. Just a few minutes ago, I learned that the actual Stanley Cup (for many Canadians, the equivalent of the Holy Grail) is in the city, in Rogers Arena, where tonight's game will be played.

I live on the other side of downtown from the arena, and already, hours before game time, I can hear people in the streets below my apartment hooting and hollering, with air horns and cow bells. Several major streets in the downtown core have been closed since noon. Public transit is experiencing delays, and one local news outlet has described traffic levels as "epic." The city is basically at a standstill. Anxious. Nervous. Waiting. Hoping. Daring to believe.

The last time the Canucks made it to the final, in 1994, there were riots in the streets when they lost. For that reason, and many more, I hope they win it tonight.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Another grey day out today, so I thought this broody bit of black and white would be appropriate. Another Biennale piece, this one's called Eros Bendato Scrippolato by Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj. It's located in a cobblestone square in Yaletown. There's something Ozymandian about it, which appeals to my science-fiction post-apocalyptic sensibilities.

Post title from the poem (here recited by Ben Kingsley) by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

For the 'Nucks

Vancouver is a hockey-mad town. When Canada won the Olympic gold medal in men's hockey in this city last year, the streets immediately filled with jubilant people. Yesterday, our team, the Vancouver Canucks, won a hockey game against the San Jose Sharks, securing themselves a spot in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. If you're not Canadian, this likely means not much to you, but if you were in Vancouver last night when Kevin Bieksa scored the game winning goal in double overtime, you would have heard the screams of celebration all over the city. It went on for hours!

I can only imagine the joy this vehicle owner must have felt - snapped this quick picture last Wednesday with my iphone as I was walking past this car parked near Rogers Arena, the Canucks' home ice.

Post title from this song by Chris Penton and the Superfans.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


We've had a grim spring so far. Endless rain. Cool drizzly days. It's depressing. I even posted on flickr a shot taken from my apartment window of the murk and cloud, titled: This is what despair looks like.

However, on a rare sunny day last week, the first day I actually got out on my bicycle this year, I happened upon a couple of enterprising souls who had managed to string up a pair of hammocks on this piece of public art. I'd been meaning to get a photo of this sculpture for months, as it's near my neighbourhood, and very close to this and this. Glad I had my camera with me!

Post title from this song by Elevator Suite.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Building a Boat

Detail of a sculpture found in the International Departures area of Vancouver International Airport. Here's a shot of the whole sculpture. It's a quite remarkable piece, a twin of "Spirit of the Haida Gwai, The Black Canoe" that Bill Reid created for the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC. This one was commissioned by the Vancouver International Airport Authority, and is called "The Jade Canoe". The sculpture is featured on the back of the Canadian $20 bill. Pictured here is "...The Frog who sits partially in and partially out of the boat and above the gunwales: the ever-present intermediary between two of the worlds of the Haidas, the land the sea."

Post title from this song by Matt Mays & El Torpedo.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Billboard Song

A couple of weeks ago, I was taking the Canada Line out to the airport. Unexpectedly, there were no ads in the frames on the trackside wall. I wasn't sure if they were in the midst of changing them, ran out of time and had to clear off the track, or if it was some sort of Canada Line art installation I wasn't hip enough to understand. The ad-free frames did look a bit like mirrors - but non-reflective, so you couldn't actually see yourself in them. What the heck, if I say it's art, it's art. Right?

Title post from this song by Homer and Jethro.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Anyone for Tennis?

We had an unusual snowfall - unusual for this late in February - a couple of days ago. Yesterday morning I looked out my living room window to this accidental (or maybe not?) giant game of tic tac toe on the tennis courts in Stanley Park.

Post title from this song by Cream.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Poisoning Pigeons in the Park

A couple of weeks ago, I was near the corner of Granville & Georgia, and I happened to glance up and see these pigeons perched halfway up the glass wall of the Vancouver City Centre Canada Line station. Glad I had my iPhone handy.

Post title from this lovely song by Tom Lehrer. Mr. Lehrer's absurd melodies were very much a part of my childhood.

Monday, January 17, 2011

It Don't Mean a Thing

Another mosaic, this one on the sidewalk on Georgia Street outside the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. This one's called "The Swing of Things", and features Dal Richards - a well known bandleader in Vancouver for the past 60 odd years. His big band played regularly at the Hotel Vancouver for decades, and were featured weekly on CBC Radio. You can learn more about him at his website: www.dalrichards.com. But be aware, music auto-plays when you visit.

Post title from the swinging Duke Ellington tune.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Snapped this quick picture at the same location as this one, a warehouse complex near Venables and Clark. The graffiti is so over-the-top it almost looks like a movie set - but it isn't one.

Post title from this song by Digable Planets.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Horse and Rider

This sculpture, called, simply enough, "Equestrian Monument" by David Robinson, is part of the Canada Line Public Art Program. It's located outside the Yaletown-Roundhouse station. Rather than try and get a shot of the entire horse and rider, I was taken by the way the light was hitting only the rider's face, so I pointed my iPhone lens in that direction as I walked by.

Post title from this song by Share.

Honeysuckle Rose

What would possess someone to want, buy, or create a Pepto-Bismol coloured limosine is beyond me, but we all know by now that I am a philistine lacking the sophistication to understand these things, as is evidenced by my complete lack of comprehension as to why honeysuckle has been named the colour of the year for 2011. This bright pink limo is often parked in my neighbourhood. I took this photo back in late summer, but it was on my street again today. Given the scarcity of parking in this neighbourhood, I'm surprised they can find a spot to fit the length of the car.

Post title from this song by Fats Waller and Andy Razaf.

This post was supposed to go up yesterday but I'm an idiot and forgot to hit the "publish" button. Gah.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Conspiracy Theory

While waiting for a friend on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery the other day, I grabbed this quick shot of what seems to be a permanent fixture (don't let the temporary set up fool you) on the plaza on the Robson Street side of the gallery. These guys are always there trying to convince passersby that 9/11 was an inside job. Although I will admit I haven't looked very closely at their literature and I've never visited their website, I'm not one for conspiracy theories. On my personal baloney meter, this group sits right about the same place as these guys.

Post title from this song by Steve Earle.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Echo Beach

Grabbed this quick shot on Saturday while we were leaving brunch with some friends near Kits Beach. It'a another biennale piece, this one called "Echoes" by Canadian artist Michel Goulet. It's comprised of a line of chairs with phrases in English and French on the seats. It reminded me a little of the metal chairs you can find in the Tuileries in Paris. My own little homage to Paris Daily Photo.

Post title from this song by Martha and the Muffins.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Stumbled across this stenciled bit of protest graffiti about six months after the 2010 Olympics had come and gone. It was on a curb outside a warehouse where I was picking up my share of a local wheat harvest. (44 lbs of flour!) The website is no longer operating, but in one way they got their wish. It's not 2010 anymore.

Post title from this song by Ben LB.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Black Mark

On the 27th of December, there was an apartment fire in my part of town. Fortunately no one was hurt, and most of the damage was contained to one suite due to the building's concrete construction. It was an exciting evening in the neighbourhood! As I was out for a walk the next day, I grabbed this quick shot with my phone. Two weeks later, despite several restoration company vehicles parked in front every day, it looks almost exactly the same - there's now plywood in the window. I can't imagine what the inside must look like, and how hard it must be for the folks who live there to be suddenly homeless for a while.

Post title from this song by Samuel F. Scott & the B.O.P.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


About two blocks away from where I grabbed this photo, there was more graffiti on the same bike route. This one slightly more sinister in nature than the whimsical tone of the first one. Here the bicycle rider has a chicken on a leash, and the words "Slave Meat".

I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.

Post title from this song by Robyn Hitchcock.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Time Travel

Walking along the seawall near the Cambie Bridge recently, I stumbled across this bit of public art I'd never taken notice of before, despite the fact that it's been there for four years. It's called "Time Top" by Jerry Pethick. It's comprised of this vaguely spaceship-looking piece, combined with a 1930s comic-book strip by William Ritt (who at this time has no wikipedia page in English, but oddly, does in French) and Clarence Gray, carved right into the granite stone of the seawall's edge. A mad scientist type has invented a machine, the Time Top, designed to travel through time and space. Apparently, it's washed up here on the bank of False Creek.

Post title from this song by Behrouz.

Friday, January 7, 2011

For Making Art

Been a while since I posted a Biennale piece, called "Joe Sola Is Making Art". This one's suspended near the escalators at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Canada Line station at the corner of Davie St and Mainland St. The piece is by, obviously enough, American artist Joe Sola.

Post title from this song by Mal Blum.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Roaming Dragons

Beginning in the fall of last year, the City of Vancouver has allowed street food vendors to proliferate. We always had hot dog carts, but following the lead of other west coast cities like Los Angeles and Portland, Vancouver's street food scene is expanding. One of the leaders of the pack, and a personal favourite of mine is the Roaming Dragon. The guys at the truck, often found at farmers markets on the weekend and usually parked curbside on W. Georgia near Thurlow weekdays, have an infectious enthusiasm for food. Their menu is limited, but everything on it is delicious. Snapped this quick picture of the corner of their truck's awning as I waited for my order (Korean short rib tacos & lychee basil lemonade) one clear day back in October.

Even if I wasn't posting here regularly, I was still taking photos with the intention of using them for this blog. I'm so happy to be back at it - didn't realize how much I missed it!

Post title from this song by Full Service.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sign O' the Times

I've posted about the Woodward's building before, and its iconic W sign. The old sign that sat atop the Woodward's store for decades was removed before the original building was demolished, but it was too decrepit to return to service atop the new construction. A new sign, a replica of the old, was put there instead. I didn't realize until recently that the old sign has been installed as a public art piece on the ground adjacent to the new building. It's a relic, pockmarked with rust, red paint flaking, but I'm glad in a self-servingly nostalgic way that they kept it and have put it on display. I managed to find an angle, while walking through that area one day, that included both signs, the old one at ground level, and the new shiny one perched atop its tower. On the left is the new residential Woodwards development.

Post title from this song by Prince.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Apres Ski

Although yesterday started out with fog, by mid-morning it was gone, and I did get the chance to head up to the top of Grouse Mountain, one of three local ski hills on the North Shore. There are two ways to get to the top: hiking the Grouse Grind (closed in the winter) or taking the Skyride, a cabled aerial tramway.

Foreground is a run called The Cut, middle ground is the Burrard Inlet, with freighters on the water, background is the city of Vancouver. Deep background, and mostly obscured by cloud, is part of the Cascade Mountain Range.

Post title from this song by Cinerama.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Shadow on the Fog

Woke up to a foggy morning out my windows today. For a moment the fog was so substantial in one spot that my apartment building. lit from the rising sun on the other side, cast a shadow on it. I'd planned to go to the top of Grouse Mountain today. Hope the fog clears or there will be nothing to look at - and nowhere to point my lens!

Post title from this song by Saxmourtzoukos.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Market Fresh

In the past I've posted here a couple of shots from land-based vantage points that included the small ferry boats run by False Creek Ferries and Aquabus that transport people to and from Granville Island and other points around False Creek. Today, on a stellar sunny winter day, as I was touring around with some friends from out of town, I finally got a chance to take a picture from one of them. From the water, then, a shot of the Granville Island Public Market as we approached by boat.

Post title from this song by Broken Social Scene.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


An appropriate image, since this blog's been more or less frozen since last September. But I'm back, and plan to post regularly again. Took this picture on a walk today around Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park, not far from where I live. The surface of the lagoon was mostly covered in ice, with a few open spots where the few swans that overwinter here were huddled. I have no idea how this 2 metre long branch ended up on the surface of the ice far from shore. Perhaps some drunken New Year's Eve revelers were practicing their javelin tossing skills last night.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Post title from this song by Tegan and Sara.