TEA & TWO SLICES | On The City’s Biggest Eyesores And Quantifying Our Own Racism


by Sean Orr | B.C. NDP’s Jenny Kwan, who represents one of Canada’s poorest neighbourhoods, buys $1.9M home in another riding. This is the same sort of petty indignation as when a climate change denier points out that an environmentalist drove a car (god forbid). Also, $1.9 million in Vancouver means absolutely nothing. It’s not like she represents the the new aristocracy.

Besides, Vancouver’s cheapest house already got sold…for $643,000.

Meanwhile, speculation runs rampant: Absence of data on Vancouver real estate market ‘mind boggling’. It makes life especially hard when we don’t know how many foreign buyers there because we don’t know how racist to be. Clearly, capitalism isn’t working.

Renoviction isn’t a word. Thanks to Scout’s own Vancouver Lexicon, it most definitely will be! Also, fuck the poor, right?

A constant desire to continually re-invent ourselves: Vancouver’s 10 biggest eyesores. Note the Vancouver Sun’s strange, classist overtones on this list as they include the beloved, working class Vancouver Special. Meanwhile the gaudy, green glass condos of Concord Pacific get a pass, as does the newspaper’s own ugly, ominous headquarters at 200 Granville.

Laureen Harper interrupted by protester at Internet cat video festival. “That’s a great cause but that’s another night.” Really? Can we circle the date when Conservatives will raise money for missing and murdered aboriginal women in our calendars? Or was this just an attempt to leverage her popularity?

Meanwhile, in the Guardian: Aboriginal rights a threat to Canada’s resource agenda, documents reveal. You just know that somewhere an greedy oil executive is wishing he could buy their silence for blankets and beads. Also in the Guardian: Canada becoming launch-pad of a global tar sands and oil shale frenzy. Oh great, now we’re role models for Israel? How bad can it get?

Possibly worse: Yellowknife is sitting on enough arsenic to kill every human on Earth. Yeah, but who’s got all the old lace?

The following story is just really very quite amazing, literally: Ten words to cut from your writing.

A special kind of pain to those who steal a band’s gear: Thieves steal $20,000 worth of equipment from 4 Vancouver bands.

SCOUT LIST | Ten Things That You Should Absolutely Do Between Now And Next Week

April 15, 2014 


by Michelle Sproule | The main objective of this website is to scout out and promote the things that make Vancouver such a sweet place to be. We do this with an emphasis on the city’s independent spirit to foster a sense of connectedness within and between our communities, and to introduce our readers to the people who grow and cook our food, play the raddest tunes in our better venues, create our most interesting art, and design everything from what we wear to the spaces we inhabit. The Scout List is our carefully considered, first rate agenda of super awesome things that we’re either doing, wishing that we could do, or conspiring to do this week. You can also check it out in the Globe & Mail, from our calendar to theirs…and yours!

NERD OUT | If you’re walking around downtown this weekend and you notice an increase in the number of adults cruising around in full-on superhero / anime costume, that’s probably because Fan Expo Vancouver is on. The day will include special celebrity guests, panels, comic dealers, workshops, and lots and lots of really awesome costumes.
Apr. 18 – 20 | Various times | Vancouver Convention Centre (1055 Canada Place) | $20-$69

FOUNDATIONS | The Emily Carr University of Art + Design Foundation Show will line the walls of the ECUAD Concourse Gallery with works by first year students. Sure the show is an opportunity for new students to bring their family and friends down to see what’s been keeping them so busy over the past eight months, but it’s also an opportunity for the general public to size up the next wave of emerging art, design and media makers, and even place bets on their futures by purchasing their work. Pop down to Granville Island for the opening reception on Thursday night. This show continues until April 27.
Opening night | Thu, Apr. 17 | 7 – 10pm | Emily Carr University of Art & Design 
Ongoing |  Apr. 19 – 26 |  10am -6pm daily | Emily Carr University of Art & Design | DETAILS

RECORD STORE DAY | It’s Record Store Day on Saturday so independently run record stores across the city are fixin’ to help you celebrate. Expect in-store performances, record releases, sales and the coming together of people who love music. Hit Red Cat Records, Neptoon and Dandelion on Main, Zulu Records on 4th Avenue, plus Vinyl, Noize, Beat Street, and Highlife for all sorts of record-related fun. Oh, and let’s not forget the classical grooves at Sikora downtown! Tip: Neptoon Records in particular has a full roster of performances planned, so skip over to their website to see their impressive line-up (running from 11am through until 7pm).
Sat, Apr. 19 | All Day | Various Locations Around Town | Free | DETAILS

CREATE | Looking for some artistic inspiration? There’s a Gastown gig going this Friday called ‘Late Nite Art’ that might be just the ticket. It’s not your basic “still life” class, but rather an evening of creativity and collaborative art-making lubricated by music, food and discussion. For this edition of Late Nite Art, “a facilitator, a chef, an artist, and a photographer combine forces to create an intimate, socially conducive environment and produce an engaging and entertaining night.” No previous experience needed. Just bring your imagination. Ticket price includes workshop, dinner, tax, and a tip.
Fri, Apr. 18 | 7:30pm | Archive at Revolver (325 Cambie St) | $35 | DETAILS

FILM | The David Cronenberg retrospective continues at Pacific Cinematheque. From early experimental features like Crimes of the Future and Stereo to well known blockbusters like Crash, the selection of 13 full length films and four shorts was curated by the Toronto Film Festival and will be presented over the next few weeks on the big screen. Dark, smart and tense, Cronenberg films are consistently provocative, so spreading a retrospective out over time is probably better for everyone! You can catch films in this series at various times and dates over the next month. This long weekend, for example, you can catch The Dead Zone, The Fly, Naked Lunch and M. Butterfly.
Now – May 2 | Various times | Pacific Cinematheque (1131 Howe St) | DETAILS

EXPLORE | The Vancouver Natural History Society is leading a walk through the shoreline of Stanley Park this Friday. As Nature Vancouver explains, “Spring often yields seasonal finds such as barnacle-eating nudibranchs, or their eggs, and bryozoans on kelp. The seaweed should not be too extensive yet, allowing a good look at the cobbled areas. We will also be looking for the presence/absence of seastars after 2013′s devastating seastar wasting syndrome.” Sounds fascinating, right? So pull on some sensible footwear, pack a rain slicker just in case, and head to Stanley Park to stuff your brain full of all sorts of science.
Fri, Apr. 18 | 12noon | Children’s water park at the north end of Stanley Park | DETAILS

BRUNCH | What are long weekends for if not lazy brunches? Our suggestions: gather some friends and hit Lynn Canyon for an early morning hike and then stop in at North Vancouver’s Tomahawk Restaurant for Yukon-style bacon and eggs or fluffy french toast. Over on the East Side, Yolks (in the old Brave Bull site at Hastings and Clark) is the perfect Easter brunch venue with its easy pastel blue and yellow colour palette and, well, eggs. Try a build-your-own poached free-range egg sandwich and a manmosa (fresh squeezed orange juice and Parallel 49′s Hayfever beer). At Railtown’s Ask For Luigi, Chef J.C. Poirier has transported the simple Italian spirit of their evening service to a brunch menu that includes house-made bread with jam and taleggio cheese, frittata with pancetta and potatoes or tomatoes and mozzarella, and waffles with apples, hazelnuts and tiramisu crema.
Tomahawk | 1550 Philip Ave | Sun-Thurs 8am-on, Fri-Sun from 9am | DETAILS
Yolks | 1298 East Hastings St | Mon-Fri (8-3pm); Sat-Sun (9-4) | DETAILS
Ask For Luigi | 305 Alexander St | Sat-Sun 9:30 – 2:30pm | DETAILS

4:20 | On the 20th day of the 4th month (that would be this Sunday), thousands of people gather in, on, and around the Vancouver Art Gallery to celebrate one of BC’s strongest industries: marijuana. Pot cookies, smoking tents, bongo drums, naked people and dreadlocks…expect it all. The first reefers are lit early in the day and the cloud of blue love gathers all day, reaching it’s zenith in a storm at 4:20pm. If you’re driving through downtown, take caution around the VAG parameter, as there may be a few slow moving pedestrians to avoid.
Sun, Apr. 20 | 4:20pm | Vancouver Art Gallery | Free (or $5 a joint)

EAT LOCAL | Pick up provisions for the long week at the Farmer’s Market this Saturday. Locally grown fruits and veggies, fresh eggs and artisan cheese, baked goods and preserves, picked, coffee, honey and wild salmon – it’s all at Nat Bailey Framers Market. Get over there and buy local! These are the last days of the Winter Farmer’s Markets. After next Saturday’s market (April 26) we wait for the first of the regular spring/summer season farmers markets to start up. Yaletown starts May 1st and Trout Lake and Kits open May 10th + 11th respectively.
Saturday, March 19 | Parking Lot – Nat Bailey | Free | DETAILS

TOTALLY BAKED | The Bakers Market is on this weekend. Load up with artisanal breads, scones, cookies and cakes out at the Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre. We’re guessing this weekend will see all manner of Easter-themed goodies like pastel coloured macaroons, madeleines, cupcakes and marshmallows, plus lots of gluten free and vegan options – the whole shebang. It’s like a dreamy dessert buffet or the biggest bakery you’ve ever set foot in.
Sun, Apr. 20 | 11am–3pm | Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre, 7646 Prince Albert | DETAILS

Check the Globe & Mail every Thursday for our Special Weekend Edition of the Scout List


late-may-2009-169Michelle Sproule grew up in Kitsilano and attended University in Australia and the University of Victoria before receiving her graduate degree in Library Sciences from The University of Toronto. She lives in beautiful Strathcona and enjoys wandering aimlessly through the city’s streets with her best friend – a beat up, sticky, grimy (but faithful) camera.


TEA & TWO SLICES | On Fear Mongering & Avoiding All Culture To Afford An Urban Life

April 15, 2014 


by Sean Orr | This is what plutocracy looks like: Elections Canada In Conflict Of Interest For Promoting Voter Turnout. Right, because consulting the electorate = manipulation. Because championing democracy = partisanship. Best reply: “Actually, the problem is who we let run for office, not the people who vote.” - Pearce

Guaranteed livable income plan possible, Ghiz confirms. I seem to remember something similar when I was a wee lad. It was called welfare.

But who needs a guaranteed income plan when you can just be a cheap SOB: How To Live In Vancouver For Cheap. Contribute nothing to local culture; do not buy art or attend live music shows or theatre performances. Tip poorly, if at all, order hot water and lemon, and eat all the free bread you can. You won’t have any friends but hey, friends are expensive and you have to buy the draining bastards birthday presents.

My frenemy Nicholas Ellan is doing a good thing: Portland Hotel Society Staff Spring into Action. I hope the dentist will be OK because I have about 230 cavities that need filling.

CBC to cut 657 jobs, will no longer compete for professional sports rights. Can we make it 658 and fire O’Leary?

Looks like the VSB is slashing the alternative City School program. That’s bad news for local weirdoes. So, to recap so far: Save PHS, save CBC, Save City School, and most of all, SAVE THE ORPHANAGE!

OREganized crime: Mining exec’s North Vancouver home sprayed by gunfire. There goes the neighbourhood.

Thousands of ‘illegal’ Chinese motorists could be driving in Richmond. And cue the indignation of a thousand racist rednecks…

Vancouver is so flighty: City Bird competition. Just don’t tell the crazy Swan Lady in Lost Lagoon that her beloveds weren’t even nominated.

SCOUT LIST: 10 Things That You Should Absolutely Do Between Now & Next Week


by Michelle Sproule | The main objective of this website is to scout out and promote the things that make Vancouver such a sweet place to be. We do this with an emphasis on the city’s independent spirit to foster a sense of connectedness within and between our communities, and to introduce our readers to the people who grow and cook our food, play the raddest tunes in our better venues, create our most interesting art, and design everything from what we wear to the spaces we inhabit. The Scout List is our carefully considered, first rate agenda of super awesome things that we’re either doing, wishing that we could do, or conspiring to do this week. You can also check it out in the Globe & Mail, from our calendar to theirs…and yours!

PUBLIC ART | Poodle sculptures, 16 ft sparrows, murals, installations – does public art add to the texture of the urban landscape? When well planned and genuinely considered, of course it can contribute not only to the beauty of a neighbourhood but to the dialogue within and between communities. At the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library this Wednesday night, there’s a talk focusing on not only the purpose and benefit of public art, but also “the process behind the management and production of public-art commissions”. See you there.
Wed, April 9 | 6:30-8:30 pm | Alice MacKay Room, VPL Main Branch | Free | DETAILS

FILM FEAST | There’s an imaginative pairing of film and food taking place at Lost & Found Cafe this Thursday night. Get this: the Winner Winner team of Chen-Wei Lee (Wildebeest, Blacktail Florist), Stanley Yung (Dirty Apron), and Alain Chow (Bao Bei) are cooking a pop-up dinner that takes inspiration from Tampopo, the mid-80′s Japanese flick that was a (back then) strange hybrid foodie/comedy that focused on the quest for a perfect bowl of ramen. For $35 (when was the last time you had a meal and a movie for that price) expect Nori Popcorn, Ahirun (duck) ramen with nukazuke pickles, and a butter mochi cake to finish. This event will sell out, so don’t wait!
Thurs, April 10 | 7pm | Lost & Found Cafe (33 W Hastings St) | $35 | DETAILS

SHOP HOP |  The Gastown Spring Shop Hop happens this Thursday night. The one-night-only event offers Vancouverites the opportunity to cruise 44 of Gastown’s best shops, check out all of the new spring wares, and be treated to great deals, in-store specials and the occasional cupcake or glass of bubbly. And get this, the kind people of Gastown want to make sure that you don’t get weighed down by the trying on of clothes and the carrying of bags, so with every purchase you make you’ll receive a food or drink voucher to one of your favourite nearby participating restaurants (think Nicli Antica Pizzeria, Salt, Peckinpah, Pourhouse). Even if you’re not looking to spend, the vibe is good and the business owners are friendly. Bonus: The Block is unpacking fresh boxes of A.P.C.’s spring collection this week!
Thurs, April 10 | 5pm–9pm | Various very cool locations | FREE to browse | DETAILS

EAT THIS | Ever heard of the Hult Prize For Social Enterprise? No? Neither had I. It’s a start-up accelerator that annually sees over 10,000 international college and MBA student teams compete to be awarded one million dollar dollars toward establishing their business. So it’s not small potatoes. The 2013 winners were a group of McGill University students who devised a system for insect farming that aims to address issues of hunger and malnutrition by providing protein through bugs. This team will be at The Four Seasons to conduct a panel discussion about food security and sustainability that will undoubtedly be fascinating and informative from both a food security and business perspective. Bonus: there will be a cash bar and, I kid you not,  grasshoppers to munch on. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required (register HERE)
Thurs, April 10 | 6pm | Arbutus Room, Four Seasons (791 W Georgia St) | Free | DETAILS

RUMBLE TIME | The Warriors is on at the Rio this week. Can you dig it? Recall, if you will, The Riffs, The Rogues, The Orphans, The Lizzies, The Baseball Furies. Man, those Furies still freak me out! Made in 1979, it’s a ”highly stylized action classic set in New York. A messianic crime lord calls a meeting of all the city’s gangs with plans to unite them against the cops. He gets assassinated and The Warriors are set up by a rival gang to take the fall. The Warriors then find themselves fighting for their lives on their way across the city to their home turf of Coney Island.” But it’s waaaay creepy. Particularly those Baseball Furies. Warriors…come out to play-ay-ay!
Fri, Apr. 11 | 11:30pm | Rio Theatre (1660 E Broadway) | $8 ($6 in film-related costume) | DETAILS

NATURE | Although the city and people of Vancouver demonstrate a respect and connection to nature that is at the core of our civic identity, we also know that this city, like any city, has dramatically altered the natural environment around it. The Museum of Vancouver is currently showing Rewilding Vancouver, an exhibition that does it’s best (using everything from taxidermy specimens and clever dioramas to video installations and soundscapes) to get us thinking about ways in which we (as humans and Vancouverites) shape nature, as well as the ways in which nature shapes us. This show is curated by author J.B. MacKinnon (The Once and Future World; co-author of The 100-Mile Diet) who will be at the MOV on Friday night to lead a discussion of “how the past can teach us about what a healthy ecological world looks like, and delve into how we’re learning here in Vancouver, and beyond, how to raise the bar on what we see as the ‘normal’ state of nature.”
Friday, April 11 | Doors 6pm | Talk at 7pm | MoV, 1100 Chestnut | $14 | DETAILS

EXPLORE | The Great Bear Rainforest, the temperate coastal forest of Northern BC, is said to be one of the most stunningly beautiful and pristine ecosystems on earth. By all accounts, time spent in this region will effect you profoundly, but it’s a bit of a trek and not everyone has the experience, funds or time to make the journey. Now you don’t have to travel to get a sense of the place. The Beaty Biodiversity Museum out at UBC will launch the Wondrous: The Forest and Sea of the Great Bear exhibition this month. It invites Vancouverites to wander a series of photographs and sound recordings aimed at transporting us to the region to illustrate “the relationship between the land and the ocean, forest and river, economy and ecology.” All events related to Wondrous are free with entry to the museum.
Saturday, April 12 | 10:30am | Beaty Biodiversity Museum (2212 Main Mall, UBC) | DETAILS

PARK WALK | Get to know a little bit about the wildlife of Stanley Park this Sunday evening with a special twilight stroll along the shores of Lost Lagoon and into the trails around Beaver Lake. As you wander, the knowledgeable Stanley Park Ecology Society volunteer leaders will explain the habitats of the otter and beaver populations of the park. You’ll learn to  listen for the sound of a beaver tail slap across the water and will hear all about the sneaky ways of the otter.
April 13 | 6-7:30pm | Stanley Park Nature House on Lost Lagoon | $10 | DETAILS

SPRING | Along with daffodil-studded boulevards, cherry blossoms, and occasional blue skies, the annual Spring perogy lunch at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Strathcona is a sure indicator of the true arrival of the most welcome of seasons. In addition to the shining linoleum-floored basement lined with communal lunch tables ready for plates of home-made borscht, perogies and kielbasa sausage, there will be a bazaar to pick though upstairs. Leave with a full belly and a few treasures from the sale, grab a cup of tea at The Wilder Snail and then park your bum in MacLean Park for a hang out session (weather permitting).
Sunday, April 13 | 11am-3:30pm | Ukrainian Cultural Centre (805 E Pender) Street | DETAILS

LAUGH | Vancouverites love Portland. It’s a magical land that celebrates all we hold dear (good food, craft beer, artisanal cheese, unpretentious wine and casual fashion) but without the astronomical real-estate prices, stifling bylaws, or heavy taxes that are so pervasive here. It’s our sexier and adventurous big sister. Even so, the ‘independent’ mantra that coats (like locally-sourced honey) every little detail of life and sometimes (like an over-waxed moustache) it makes us want giggle. Enter Portlandiapalooza! Yup, hit The Rio Theatre this Sunday for a daylong ‘bingefest’ of seasons 1-3 of Portlandia! Indulge in the guilty pleasure of laughing at the city that we long to be. From The Rio: “There will be birds on things. Pickled popcorn. Artisanal grilled cheese sandwiches. A selection of some of Portland’s very best craft beer courtesy of the fine folks at Copper & Theory. Official Portlandia swag signed by stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. and…series co-creator and star Fred Armisen (Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Seth Meyers) will be joining us for a live Skype Q&A!”
Sunday, April 13 | 1pm | The Rio Theatre (1660 E Broadway) | $15 | DETAILS

Check the Globe & Mail every Thursday for our Special Weekend Edition of the Scout List


late-may-2009-169Michelle Sproule grew up in Kitsilano and attended University in Australia and the University of Victoria before receiving her graduate degree in Library Sciences from The University of Toronto. She lives in beautiful Strathcona and enjoys wandering aimlessly through the city’s streets with her best friend – a beat up, sticky, grimy (but faithful) camera.


TEA & TWO SLICES | On Art Poodles And Gastown’s Permanent State Of Transition

by Sean OrrChristy Clark partnered in Enbridge lobbying firm before becoming BC premier. No surprises there. Frankly, I was more outraged that she was a CKNW host.

Eve Adams’s fight over $6 car wash drew PMO involvement. As Derrick O’Keefe points out: “Conservative MP shows that direct action protest works, as she stands up for her inalienable right to take $6 back from a small businessperson”.

B.C. Premier’s office defends $475K credit card bill. Please listen to this entire track as you read the above article. Thnx.

Top 10 TransLink fare evaders owe more than $73,000 in fines. ROUND THEM UP!

Gastown renewal project fuses heritage with hip. As awfully as that headline is worded, what about the part where it’s true? I was at a Gastown eatery recently and heard the owner bum on a neighbour, saying “I can’t wait for them to be gone.” I was floored. Was he not attracted to this area because it was exciting? Because there’s an element of (perceived) danger? Gastown might reek of pee, but hating on it reeks of insecurity. As Gordon Price points out “Gastown, Vancouver’s first downtown, has always been a neighbourhood in transition”.

At least we have a sense of humour about it: The story behind kale-centric Gastown shop Brassica & Co.. Reminds me of the cheeky “Live Bait and Coffee Coming Soon” and “Plus Size Men’s Lingerie Coming Soon” banners across from Woodwards.

You decide on public art on Robson Street. Ok, whatever the opposite of a poodle is, and one hundred of them.

Confessions of an Unfriendly Vancouverite. Part of me is like, yeah, but part of me is like, Vancouverites aren’t rude, you are.

A video game for Vancouver: That’s not a flappy bird, its Nimby Dog! (I apologize for this in advance).

Pair accused of sex mid-flight plead not guilty. I show you this because it has the best last-sentence of a news article I’ve ever read: “Lander lives in the tiny community of West Porters Lake, N.S., though QMI Agency could find nobody who would admit knowing her”. Snap.

TEA & TWO SLICES | On Market Demand & The Man With The Hardest Sales Job In BC


by Sean Orr | A Kinder, gentler Morgan: The long road to earning the public’s trust over pipelines. Earning the trust just means showing videos of the BC coastline with some softly spoken platitudes over top, or doing propaganda interviews in the Vancouver Sun. “And our view would be that ships have been sailing in these waters for decades without incident”. Again, complete and utter amnesia regarding Exxon. Also, this: 50 years ago today – the Port Alberni tsunami.

But yeah, that guy probably has the single most difficult job in BC. I mean, how else do you answer questions regarding greenhouse emissions in light of the most recent UN climate report with such ease as “some of them in my control, and some not” and “It’s about market demand”.

I’m not saying the following news piece is related to the above-mentioned climate report, except that I totally am: RCMP descend on native community on central coast to keep the peace in herring fishery row.

Again, it’s all about market demand: B.C. Interior’s farmland opened to development under ALR changes. As much as I want to say things like “Christy Clark has mortgaged our food security future in a blatant sellout to Alberta and the Feds”, a lot of that land just sort of sits there unused. Not that we make any money on oil and gas, either. Maybe we could put together some sort of goat ride.

Ottawa to cut healing program for residential school survivors. But that’s just because “we have no history of colonialism”, and other shit settlers said.

Vancity Buzz: Why is Skytrain breaking down so frequently. If you guys were as old as the Skytrain you wouldn’t be complaining. Oh, snap! But, yeah…if you’re going to write a lengthy opinion piece – and good on you guys for trying to do so – maybe link to a source other than one from your own blog and maybe do that more than once. If you can’t, just stick to clickbait.

Flip of the Coyne: Andrew Coyne: Fair Elections Act proof the Conservatives are no normal government. I don’t always agree with Andrew Coyne, but this is great: “This is how you get to 28% in the polls: when every criticism is only further proof that you’re right”.

The moral police have spoken: Underage drinking is wrong, mom and dad. That’s funny, because this is the exact same argument as as the one against harm reduction. Also, there’s this place called Europe…but yeah, you can choose the leaders of our government, contribute to the economy, drive a car; but you can’t have a beer. “The evidence is clear”, wherein there is no actual evidence provided. I will, however, agree with one thing: “quit trying to be your kids’ friends and start doing your jobs”. Yup. Let your kids make their own mistakes, including underage drinking. Related: Hey parents, leave those kids alone.

Canadian Cities Where An Average Income Will No Longer Buy You A House. Related: #25KLunch winners announced.

Felinies and misdemeanours: Vandals seriously damage iconic lion statues next to Lions Gate Bridge. Yeah, I’d be lion if I said I wasn’t upset by this.

Bonus: A Complete Ranking Of (Almost) Every Single Mitch Hedberg Joke. Tea & Two Slices will forever be indebted to Mitch.

TEA & TWO SLICES | On Speaker Safaris And The Hubris Of Housing The Homeless


by Sean OrrHousing staff on spending spree. No, this is not an article about the PHS. It’s from 2012. “According to a shocking and secret audit of company credit cards, B.C. Housing workers blew taxpayers’ dollars on flowers, booze and celebratory restaurant meals.” At the risk of providing ammo for free-market fundamentalists to decry the poverty industry, this highlights the hypocrisy and hubris inherent in the current PHS debate witch-hunt.

Oh, and speaking of the free-market: Business, real-estate ventures – not fraud – caused deficit at PHS. But Coleman will keep the real estate and axe all the social enterprise. How telling. Only pure capitalism allowed.

And speaking of corruption: Taxpayers charged ‘thousands’ by B.C. MLA Linda Reid for husband’s flight. I don’t want to stick my neck out here, but that picture of him with the giraffe is super adorbs.

More old news: Kevin O’Leary: He’s not a billionaire, he just plays one on TV. “The stranger told O’Leary he was a ‘total asshole.’ This is an anecdote that O’Leary relishes. It shows he’d arrived”. Only a total asshole would think getting called a total asshole means that “you’ve arrived”. I mean, what a total asshole.

White flight: Top 15 cities and towns to move away from in Canada. This reads more like a list of places to move to. Powell River is bad because only 8% of cars on the road are made after 2010?

Hmm, did The Province forget the tragedy of Johnson’s Landing already? Massive mudslide that rocked Washington State can happen here, says expert. So wait, you’re telling me that we have mountains AND rain? What are we doing about this?

Vancouver mural artist furious after Commercial Drive artwork covered in anti-pipeline graffiti again. “I’m a pacifist at heart, but there’s a part of me that would like to disable the hand that uses the spray can.” So, in other words, you are not a pacifist at heart. Best comment: “Seems like a win-win to me. The Oil Spill graffiti artist gets noticed, Basic’s mural gets noticed, and the Province gets to write another inane article on oil-spill politics.”

The serval cat’s pajamas: Criminal mastermind who calls Vancouver home draws attention of writers, filmmakers. Maybe John Malkovich could play him. I loved him in that other jewel thief movie

The closest thing to critical writing to ever appear on Vancouver Is Awesome: The problem of the beach. That’s why sometimes you gotta make your own.

Recycling regs could force a beer price hike. Recycling sucks. It’s only growlers from now on, I guess.

TEA & TWO SLICES | On Hyenas Hounding The Portland Hotel Society And TED Elitism


by Sean Orr | For all the hyenas like Pete McMartin and developer Michael Geller foaming at the mouth in light of the Portland Hotel Society’s spending details, remember that not a dollar of public money was misspent. How do I know this? Because that’s what Mark Townsend said. If anything, it looks like they need more administrative funding, not less.

Did any of the people currently jumping down the throat of the PHS even bother to ask what their former clients think? Did they think to tie this into the new Local Area Plan? Because you gotta know that the developers aren’t gonna throw in a couple of million dollars while the PHS still have their tentacles spread throughout the DTES. Also, “no community members or PHS residents on the new board”. No surprises there.

So, as McMartin asks cynically “Where was the government all this time?”, I say, exactly. Where the hell were they? And why did they show up late to the party with (might as well be) guns blazing?

An eerie parallel: All That Is Solid Melts into Condos. “As one housing activist likes to note, real estate is to New York City as oil is to Texas. No matter how big of a liberal sits in City Hall, it seems, those titans are going to call the economic shots”.

Related: Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson to be torn down, replaced with condos.

Related part two: Do We Need to Force People to Live in the Homes They Own? I seem to remember Gregor talking about imposing a new speculation tax on empty condos, before he was the mayor.

Development porn: Top 7 Downtown Vancouver buildings under construction (photos). Only in Vancouver would this NOT be mistaken as satire.

#25KLunch memes make mockery of Gregor Robertson’s private meeting. I really regret not making that Bob “Renny” parody twitter account 4 years ago.

If you don’t have 25k, how about a 7.5k TED talk? Vancouver a perfect home for TED-style elitism.

Some good news: St. Paul’s gets mental health emergency unit. Oh, thank God. I had probably the worst night of my life there after they locked me in solitary confinement (because there were no beds available).

Not sure how this guy actually has a blog at the Vancouver Sun, but it’s pretty entertaining: Brutal press release from Health Canada shows their disdain for cannabis medicines and patients in need. Which then leads to the Craigslist of the Day: Medical Marijuana Disposal Services.

BC Ferries’ Discovery Coast debacle turns into pure farce. Let’s hear it for Beautiful BC! Come for the scenery. Stay for the incompetence.

B.C. waters show no increase in radiation after tsunami, says head of Vancouver Aquarium. Time for fear mongers to shut the Fukushima up?

And finally, the best news story ever: Fast-moving emu on the loose in Nanaimo area.

Bonus: Bottle-dash stucco.

TEA & TWO SLICES | On Letting The Market Do Its Work And Poverty Pimps Gettin’ Gnar

March 19, 2014 


by Sean Orr | LAPping it up: City’s plan gets most things right, but market should be allowed to do its work. “I arrived in Vancouver in 1968 and the DTES was an issue then,” writes Michael A. Goldberg, a professor and dean emeritus at UBC’s Sauder School of Business. Hmm, was the issue then that the market was not allowed to do its work? Why did the market abandon the area in the first place? This was before crack cocaine, right, and before the de-institutionalization of Riverview. Was the “issue” simply that poor people lived there? Maybe they should have just stopped being poor, right?

Meanwhile, what happens when a snowboarder bro armed with (self-admitted) ignorance and a fish-eye lens starts managing a 35 unit SRO? Kickstarter – The Last Two Weeks. OMG, you poor bastard! You had to live in the DTES for a whole SIX MONTHS! How very “gnar”! I imagine the following will be absent from their “unbiased perspective from every angle, especially on the gentrification issue”: Manager Assaults Community Activists. The fact that they paint themselves as unwilling victims is laughable, but that anyone can just walk into a building and start managing it with no experience underscores a much bigger problem. And that they think filming this misadventure would achieve some lofty goal is even worse. But what about using it as a Kickstarter campaign to fund a national tour to promote a snowboarding website? That’s entertainment.

We don’t need more debate or awareness. We just need action. Also: 20 ways to not be a gentrifier.

We shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Insight into Insite (scroll down). “PHS may not be faultless. But it has stepped up to house the hardest to house, many in 100-year-old buildings with failing infrastructure, often with inadequate funding for support staff”. Again, when there is a vacuum, created in part by market forces, you can’t blame the people who fill it or the organizations that represent them.

Speaking of people who are supposed to represent us: Peter MacKay apologizes for throwing documents about murdered, missing Aboriginal women.

Citizens will gather around former Downtown Eastside cop shop to campaign for public meeting. Somehow, astroturfing comes to mind. Why? The spokesperson is a planner with ties to the Jim Green Foundation.

Why can’t they be more like us? Chinese international students aren’t bringing democracy home. “Record numbers of Chinese students are studying in the West, but they aren’t proving a political threat to the authoritarian regime when they return”. Total number of current Chinese international students interviewed: 1. Also, if you can afford to go to school in a foreign country, you’re probably an elite.

This week in inculcation: Oilsands companies could get a say in new Alberta curriculum. I believe this is the appropriate reaction.

100 measles cases reported in Fraser Valley outbreak. “We respect the beliefs of religious groups”. Well, maybe it’s time you stopped that.

Bonus: In five years’ time, all news articles will be a single coloured icon that fires out info-nuggets.

TEA & TWO SLICES | On Condo NIMBYs And Sanitizing “Exotic” Chinatown For The Rich

March 14, 2014 


by Sean Orr | Stuck in the middle with you: City proposal ignores ‘deplorable’ reality of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The anti-poverty activists say this doesn’t go far enough, and the free-marketers think it goes too far. Hmm, perhaps the correct route forward lies somewhere in between? Or is that just my naive liberal rationalism talking?

Speaking of naivety: How does all this density improve the lives of citizens? “Not all of us love the endless bustle of huge cities, which is why we made our lives in Vancouver”. Romantic bullshit. Vancouver has always been a boom-city. From the very first real-estate deal that lured the CPR to extend its terminus from Port Moody to some small mill-town called Granville Townsite, to Rails to Rubber, to Expo, and to the 2010 Olympics. What did you think was going to happen?

Vancouver condo owners upset neighbourhood is going to the dogs. I mean, is it any wonder that you’re called NIMBYs? And just for the record, there’s nowhere for humans to pee, either. Best unintentional pun: “These guys have hounded everyone in the building”.

Newspaper article from 1978: Vancouver apartment owners pursue tenants. Ask and ye shall receive.

“A sanitized ethnic playground for the rich to satisfy their exotic appetite for a dim sum and fortune cookie fix”: Chinatown’s Difficult Evolution: Do working-class ethnic enclaves have a space in future cities? Maybe instead of “Ni hao” it should say “Han hai”* (get out of my way). *this is probably not correct.

Related: The Right to REMAIN in Vancouver’s Nihonmachi/Downtown Eastside. Man, my white guilt is in full overdrive right now.

Vancouver is a hollow tree: Douglas Coupland to create replica of Hollow Tree for development at Marine Drive and Cambie. “A lot of people will be arriving in Vancouver for the first time and they’ll see a big Golden Tree,” said Coupland. “A lot of things will go through their mind at once…” “Holy Crap what is that? Wow, it’s a tree. It’s gold. Oh, it’s a very Chinese place here.” Can someone please glue a copy of The Chinese Exclusion Act to it? Please?

You’re either pho us or against us: This week in f**k you: Pho. “I don’t need to willingly eat a bowl of hot rainwater poured over fish nightmares”.

“Garbage Buildings Shouldn’t be ‘Preserved’ in the Name of Culture”. RIP Juicy Fried Chicken.

Clearing cap space: Vancouver Canucks terminate contract with Rogers Arena concession staff.

TEA & TWO SLICES | On Misplacing Over 10,000 Jobs And How To Avoid Everything


by Sean Orr | BC Jobs Plan: BC lost 10,400 jobs in February. I’m sure they’ll show up somewhere.

Happy Woman’s Day! A ‘boring’ story: ‘Alice’ to start carving out Evergreen Line. Tunnel? But where are all the condos going to go?

Meanwhile, Metro’s “Urban Compass Vancouver” column is written by a guy who hasn’t taken the Canada Line or a bus for 3 years: Vancouver needs more rapid transit to be a world-class city. “I’m kind of ashamed to admit it, but I rode the Canada Line for the first time the other day”. I think alcoholics call that a “moment of clarity”.

Mayor Gregor Robertson blasts Hootsuite lawsuit in legal response. Seems like the only way to get a response out from Gregor these days is to sue him. Well, either that or ask him to DJ.

But wait! They’re not done yet! Cedar Party doesn’t think Vision Vancouver Is Awesome. “This is not a political ploy,” says Chernen, leader of a political party. “The new court action revolves around a lifestyle and entertainment website friendly to Vision Vancouver”. Um, have you ever even read VIA? They are friendly to everyone.

Vision Vancouver plans to eliminate the City’s definition of Social Housing. I have two books for you to read: Another Bullshit Night in Suck City and How To Avoid Everything — Irresponsibility Made Easy (via James Iranzad).

Despite all this, Strong polling numbers for Vancouver and Surrey mayors. “Don’t expect a change in City Hall anytime soon for the Lower Mainland’s two biggest municipalities.” Everyone give up. It’s a fait accompli. This is what democracy looks like. Move along, nothing to see here.

Light pollution: False Creek residents hope green light campaign puts pressure on city, developer to build long-promised park. Right, so nothing to do with preserving their precious views…

Why Gastown Bars Don’t Like You. Oh man, I was in Pourhouse once and this dude walked in and demanded 12 Jagerbombs lined up in a row. The bartender just slowly shook his head. “What do you mean, no?” “I mean, I don’t have any of the ingredients to make that.” “But it’s just Jagermeister and Red Bull.” “Exactly.”

Bonus: Frying pan to fire: The heat is on Top Chef Canada.

TEA & TWO SLICES | On Hungry Developers And Dressing Up The Homeless In Tuxedos


by Sean Orr | Coleman Country: BC Gov’t Poised to Move Against Portland Hotel Society. Behold the old standby of divide and conquer, and it’s really quite genius: federal and provincial government neglect creates a vacuum; organization steps in to do the work of government; organization is flawed (duh) but entrenched and stands in the way of government’s plans; government rides back in on high horse and “exposes” organization for profiting off poverty. The irony? If it was run like a bloated government bureaucracy it would get nothing done and have to pay three times as much to their employees.

And speaking of divide and conquer, Irwin Oostindle blames PHS for failure of W2 space: “If PHS had left even 1% on the table that could have seen the community amenity succeed, instead they strong-armed the process for their own benefit.”

Related: Downtown Eastside: ‘It’s just the Ovaltine’.

I’m developing an appetite. Lunch, anyone? Vancouver condo king invites $25,000-per-person donations to Vision Vancouver. Not sure how The Province can feign outrage when this is pretty par for the course.

Cone but not forgotten: City of Vancouver taken to court over view corridors. Best comment: “Sure housing prices are out of control because demand vastly exceeds supply, but MY views!!! MY VIEWS!!”

Illuminating: Stunning Rodney Graham chandelier to be installed under the Granville Bridge. I’m not sure if Graham is using the chandelier as a symbol of the aristocratization of housing in Vancouver, but if he is maybe Westbank [the property development company] could also dress the homeless people who sleep under the bridge in tuxedos. After all, they believe “the entire environment should be designed in the public interest.”

Or maybe they could just dangle this free rancher from the bridge instead to keep costs down (because tuxedos are expensive)…

Related: Infographic: Vancouver’s soaring home prices, 1977 to the present.

Schadenfreude of the day: Last call: Shark Club closing its iconic downtown Vancouver location on April 30. Iconic? No. Alas, it’s not a permanent closure either. It’s just a transition to new owners. Sorry.

Rat poison left in East Vancouver dog park, neighbourhood warned. Name change to Dog Illing Park?

Dave Grohl shocks local drummer, reveals he’s a big fan. Congrats on all the exposure, guys! This one’s for you: We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful.

Game of Homes: If B.C. Were Westeros From ‘Game Of Thrones’ It Would Look Like This. Winter complaints are coming.

Ladies and gentleman, this is your new Canucks goalie.

TEA & TWO SLICES | And Thirty Year Plans And Free Candy From Suspicious Blue Vans

February 28, 2014 


by Sean Orr | Gregor listened! The mayors from Canada’s largest cities gathered in Ottawa on Wednesday to call on the federal government to pony up more cash for housing. Ok, what else do you guys want me to tell him?

Campaign spending limits? Clearer conflict of interest rules? It’s a sad day when MLAs believe mayors and municipal councillors need longer terms in office. Got all that, Gregor? “Oakes will no doubt sing the praises of granting local politicians an extra year in office as some wonderful innovation that will lead to better government. Don’t believe it for a second”. Oh, I guess I won’t be holding my breath then…

…and exhale: Downtown Eastside’s $1-billion fix? “That good old Canadian compromise of coming down the middle”. Still holding on to the myth that Canada is some benevolent, liberal utopia? “Unlike other neighbourhood plans, this one doesn’t involve tall towers as it’s not on a rapid transit line, Coun. Andrea Reimer said”. I want to believe. I really do. “Still, Jackson believes the plan is truly achievable. He is confident the city will be able to partner with the province”. Or how about, you know, raising the fucking rates?

Related: Why is urbanism so white?

Just when you think the Harper Government can’t sink any lower, watch them weasel out of NDP’s demands for a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women. SHAME.

Bad segué alert: How about an inquiry into missing and murdered shellfish? Acid Ocean. I guess the term “happy as a clam” is now officially a contradiction in terms.

Tweet of the Day:

Some good news? New Prosperity Mine rejection a huge win for the environment and human rights. “There’s no right way to do what’s wrong”.

There’s no wrong way to do what’s right: Will a homeless bike-share program work? Because success is absolute and quantifiable? Because “recovering addict” is a substitute for “homeless”? Congrats to my brother Jonathan. There’s no way I would have been that calm.

Coping with higher fares: More Buses, Lower Fares: A community forum. “Transit fares have gone up 10% in each of the past two years while service worsened”. But I thought we had to build a subway to UBC?

Honour Bound: CiTR Fun Drive.

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