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YOU SHOULD KNOW | All About The Lovely Art Deco Bathrooms On English Bay Beach

April 21, 2014 

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by Stevie Wilson | It’s no secret that Vancouverites love the beach, and despite our city’s proclivity for short-and-sweet summers, English Bay proves to be a popular spot even in the shoulder seasons, year after year. Since its establishment as a public recreational area in 1893, the beach has been a prime spot for locals and visitors alike. It’s known by many as First Beach, but the original First Nations inhabitants referred to it as “Ayyulshun” (soft under feet), and its official name commemorates the meeting of George Vancouver and captains Valdes and Galiano from Spain.

But more important than all that…what’s the story with those amazing art deco bathrooms?

When sand was added to the English Bay beach in 1898 it quickly became a magnet for rest, relaxation, and the occasional swim for locals. A bathhouse seemed a charming – and practical – addition to the landscape. However, like many landmarks in Vancouver (including the Georgia Street Viaduct, the Granville Street Bridge, and the Lumberman’s Arch in Stanley Park, to name a few), the bathhouse we see today is not the original design. The first Bathing Pavilion, completed in 1906, was built by the Parks Board at a cost of $6,000, and could boast the title of the city’s first bathhouse.

Other beachside attractions in the early 1900s included a long wooden pier, cottages, and a glassed-in dancehall known as “The Prom”.  The beach was also the home of the celebrated Joe Fortes, Vancouver’s first official lifeguard who is credited with saving at least 29 lives while on (volunteer) duty at English Bay.

The original frame bathhouse was a large brick and wooden structure, 3-storeys high, with long open verandas stretching out on either side. While it offered impressive views of the water (and a private place to change), its 1931 successor saw a stylish new design in keeping with the sensibilities of the times.  Earlier, in 1909, it was determined that additional facilities were needed at the beach, and a new building designed by E.E. Blackmore of Pantages Theatre and Jackson Apartments fame popped up on the northern side of the original bathhouse. This Bathing Pavilion closed in 1939 and the building became home to Vancouver’s first public aquarium until its closure in 1955. The attraction’s biggest draw? Oscar the Octopus. Word has it he had eight arms. Eight arms!

By 1913, beach-goers could rent lockers, towels, and even woolen bathing suits to enjoy their stay with. Circa 1938, a short 7 years after the new concrete art deco bathhouse was constructed, the wooden pier and The Prom were both torn down. Fortes, who had already seen so much come and go, passed away in 1922.

The current bathhouse has undergone significant renovations over the years, including several updates in 1986 and a complete interior restoration in 2002 that won the Parks Board an Award of Recognition from the City. In 2012, a beachfront Cactus Club location was opened adjacent to the historic site, proving that if there’s one thing this beach is used to (other than laughter, bare feet, waves, and cops pouring out perfectly good liquor), it’s change.

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OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS | “House Wine” On Hunt For A Full-Time Marketing Coordinator

April 21, 2014 

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House Wine is a wine consultancy company from trade vets Michaela Morris & Michelle Bouffard | housewine.ca

The GOODS from House Wine

Vancouver, BC | House Wine is looking for a full-time Marketing Coordinator, specifically an exceptionally organized individual who loves the art of coordinating: people, events, data, communications, etc. You are able to work both independently and collaboratively. You are a multi-tasker with an eye for details. You are able to navigate the proverbial forest while maintaining sight of the trees! You are outgoing, fun, curious, and enjoy a challenge. Read all about our values and get all the details about our company after the jump… [ Keep reading ]

SEEN IN VANCOUVER #494 | Scott & Scott Architecture Gets To Work Off Main Street

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(via Dezeen) It’s been over a year since David and Susan Scott launched their own firm, Scott & Scott Architects, but they’ve only recently completed their studio headquarters on the ground floor of their 1911 home off on 19th Ave off Main Street. They’ve clad the floor and walls with Douglas Fir planks which they’ve treated themselves with a mixture of Canadian whisky and beeswax (watch the video below). A rear workshop is divided from the main space by a functional storage hide/wall. David and Susan also designed the tables themselves using galvanised steel frames and hand-stitched leathers. Floor to ceiling window frontage invites the neighbours to look inside, but it also allows the architects to work with plenty of light (there are glass pendant lights hanging from the ceiling to add more in the evenings).

PS. If Scott & Scott sounds familiar, it could be because they helped with the design of Bestie and drew up this gorgeous off-grid cabin on Vancouver Island.

EVERYTHING SEEN IN VANCOUVER

WELCOME | The District Restaurant Group Has Joined The Growing Scout Community

April 21, 2014 

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We’ve invited The District Restaurant Group – specifically The District, El Matador, and The Little District – to join the Restaurant section of our GOODS program as a tasty triple threat on the North Shore. They are now proud members of Scout, and as such we will be sharing their news and employment needs on our front page in addition to hosting pages for them in our archive of local and independent goodness. We would like to thank them for their support and for making North Vancouver a more social and delicious place to be.

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ALL THE LOCAL “GOODS”

AWESOME THING WE ATE #923 | Doses Of Rainy Day Medicine At ‘Les Faux Bourgeois’

April 21, 2014 

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Have you heard? It’s supposed to be a pretty gloomy week. Not to worry, though, because France. Yup, for us, crap forecasts tend to conjure visions of (and desires for) restorative, old school French bistro fare. The last time it rained we fell for it hard in the form of properly gooey onion soup gratinee (the gruyere cap amplified by mozzarella); Alsatian tart flambee with crispy lardons and fat dollops of creme fraiche; and flavourful hanger steak (done to the rare side of medium-rare) prostrate in a deep puddle of green peppercorn cream next to a pile of salted frites. It was all washed down at Les Faux Bourgeois in the heart of The Fraserhood (where summer is for the weak and patios fear to tread) with winter-generous pours of 2011 Brumont Tannat-Merlot.

Les Faux Bourgeois | 663 East 15th Ave | Vancouver, BC | 604-873-9733

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GOODS | Pidgin Partners With Toronto’s Bar Isabel For “Visa Infinite” Supper On May 7th

April 18, 2014 

Pidgin is located at 350 Carrall Street in Vancouver’s Gastown | 604.620.9400 | www.PidginVancouver.com

Pidgin is located at 350 Carrall Street in Vancouver’s Gastown | 604.620.9400 | www.PidginVancouver.com

The GOODS from Pidgin

Vancouver, BC | On May 7, 2014 at 6:30pm, Visa Infinite cardholders are invited to Gastown’s Pidgin to experience an unforgettable menu inspired by global flavours from Japan, Korea, Spain, France and Canada with Vancouver’s chef Makoto Ono (Pidgin) and Toronto chef Grant van Gameren (Bar Isabel) sharpening their knives for an evening of culinary collaboration. Both chefs were included on enRoute magazine’s list of Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2013. For one night only, the duo presents a multi-course menu carefully matched with unique beer, wine, cocktail, and sake parings.

Celebrated for his attention to detail and flavour, chef Makoto Ono takes a delicate and playful approach, crafting highly composed dishes. Chef Grant van Gameren, known for his approachable, Spanish-inspired fare, creates unfussy plates bursting with imagination. Guests can expect a cutting-edge and inventive menu as these two nationally famous top chefs push one another to produce one-of-a-kind cuisine. Details after the jump… [ Keep reading ]

NEVER HEARD OF IT | “Sunny Spot” On Main St. For Biangbiang Noodles And Xianburgers

April 18, 2014 

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by Ken Tsui | For years, the Sunny Spot Cafe on Main Street has been a tiny, unremarkable greasy spoon cafe. But new management is flipping the script, embracing their culinary roots as Shaanxi province natives by introducing northern Chinese flavours to the menu. Originally hailing from a food stall at the Richmond Night Market as “Zhang’s World Famous Xian Burger and Terracotta Noodle”, Sunny Spot Cafe is now their home during the market’s off-season, and they are literally too legit to quit.

The new menu reflects the Shaanxi focus on hand-pulled noodles, breads and soups invigorated by aromatic chili oils and dark, tart vinegars. Get a taste of the region with their signature rou ji mou (house-made flatbread “xianburger” filled with braised beef shank, cilantro and cucumber) or handmade biangbiang noodles. Alternatively, get adventurous with their punchy, hot and sour soup with glass noodles and tripe.

Sunny Spot Cafe feels ad-hoc with a hodge podge of chairs and tablecloths reflecting the restaurant’s unique transition. The hot sauce for the fried eggs are in the same condiment holder as the vinegar for their fresh, house-made dumplings, but so what? As they get settled in, their new direction remains a delicious new option for Mount Pleasant food lovers.

Sunny Spot Cafe | 2543 Main St. | Vancouver, BC | 604-872-1816 | No Website

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OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: “Abigail’s Party” In Kitsilano Is Looking For Experienced Cooks

April 18, 2014 

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Kitsilano's Abigail's Party is located at 1685 Yew Street in Vancouver, BC | 604-739-4677 | www.abigailsparty.ca

The GOODS from Abigail’s Party

Vancouver, BC | Abigail’s is looking for a strong cook to join us this month on a full-time basis. We’d like someone confident and capable who’s going to get excited about preparing casual food at a high level, dealing with quality-driven independent suppliers, and working in a small, busy neighbourhood restaurant. Wages are competitive, tips are generous, and perks are plentiful. Apply in confidence to eat@abigailsparty.ca and we’ll be in touch. [ Keep reading ]

COOL THING WE WANT #430 | This Lovely Three-Storey Treehouse In Rural Wisconsin

April 18, 2014 

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(via) This three-storey treehouse at Camp Wandawega in Wisconsin was built around a tree as a tribute to the camp owners’ father, who had built a swing on the tree before he died (and the tree had fallen ill with Dutch Elm disease).

The tree comes through the house’s deck near the ground level, and it breaks through the upper floor in three spots. At two of those points, the arms of the tree are sawed even with the floor, while the third pierces it and extends out the window. Reclaimed wood was used for much of the construction and the interior features nearly all vintage and repurposed items. Stumps of the trees were fashioned as side tables, and a hanging antler chandelier was made from old shed found at the camp.

EVERY COOL THING WE WANT

GOODS | “Market” In The Shangri-La Set For All-Ages Easter Brunch Service This Sunday

April 18, 2014 

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Market by Jean-Georges is located at 1128 W. Georgia | 604-695-1115 | www.marketbyjgvancouver.com

The GOODS from Market by Jean-Georges

Vancouver, BC | On April 20, 2014, MARKET by Jean-Georges will be welcoming in Spring with an Easter Brunch fit for all ages. From an exclusive three-course brunch menu to a live jazz band and a Kids Zone hosted by Granville Island Toy Company, MARKET promises a fun, easy and sophisticated Easter for everyone.

The Easter Brunch menu prepared by Chef de Cuisine Montgomery Lau, highlights cuisine inspired by the classics of Jean-Georges’ “greatest hits” with fresh, locally produced ingredients emphasizing comfort and creativity–including new flavour combinations that explore spices from other regions, all while remaining close to home. The $45.00 brunch using locally sourced products, consists of a choice of appetizer, main and dessert with menu items such as Carpaccio of Beef and Smoked Mozzarella with Lime and Basil and Crunchy Roasted Halibut with Glazed Mushrooms with Green Chili.

A Children’s Menu will also be on hand with classic kid-friendly dishes such as Nutella Crepes ($8.00) and Scrambled Eggs with Bacon ($8.00). To ensure the children don’t miss out on the Easter fun, the Granville Island Toy Company will be setting up children’s tables and toys, a bouncy castle, and coordinating a visit from the Easter Bunny himself. [ Keep reading ]

DIG IT | Exploring The Artistic Institution That Is Mt. Pleasant’s Iconic Western Front

April 18, 2014 

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by Stevie Wilson | With the ink of my recent Ghost Hoods feature on Brewery Creek not yet dry, I took a look inside Mount Pleasant’s Western Front building at 303 East 8th Avenue to learn a little more about the history (as well as the current goings-on) of this neighbourhood landmark. After over 40 years as an artist-run centre and exhibition space, the building is full of distinct history and remains the oldest existing centre of its kind in the country. What’s more, it was once home to the Vancouver chapter of the Knights of Pythias, and they even have a few old ceremonial capes and spears to prove it.

One of the (many) unique features of Western Front is how the building’s original design has been preserved to accommodate and complement the needs of the staff and various exhibitions. Their Development Officer, Kristin Lim, explained how the address has transitioned quite seamlessly from a Pythian headquarters to an internationally renowned artist centre by simply utilizing the space’s existing structure. The various small rooms and cozy layout emphasize the centre’s differences from typical gallery sites.

The building was originally constructed in 1922 as a lodge for the Pythians to conduct, well, whatever it was that they did – secret meetings and such. When they sold the property in the early 1970s, they left behind various paraphernalia including their signature capes, a trophy, club signage, and a portrait of their fraternal leader. During my tour we ran into celebrated Canadian artist and co-founder of Western Front, Eric Metcalfe (formerly known as Dr. Brute, who regaled me with more amazing history and anecdotes than I could possibly fit into a short article. He mentioned that when the space was founded by himself and eight other artists in 1973, the place wasn’t in the most pristine condition, which happened to be ideal for this group of young people engaged in the contemporary Fluxus movement. Of the creativity and freedom of the early years, he observed simply, “It was a party time.”

Over the last several decades the space evolved into the professional, prestigious centre it is today, yet the building has undergone only a handful of minor repairs and changes, the most significant of which was the 2013 renovation of the Luxe Hall to uncover previously sealed windows. The original architecture remains, including the large windows, wooden wainscoting, traditional doorways (complete with Pythian peep-holes), a vintage telephone booth, and the awesome original fixed side seating in the performance hall. “One thing replaced the other,” said Metcalfe of the transition from lodge to artist haven. “The architecture informed our practice.”

For more information on this fantastic piece of Vancouver art history, visit their website, or better yet, pay them a visit! The space is open to the public – just buzz! – and offers plenty of (generally) free events and exhibits involving new music, contemporary art, media, and so much more. Who knows, you just might run into a legendary Canadian artist with a few stories to tell!

Archival photos courtesy of the Western Front Archives

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GOODS | “Chocolate Arts” In Kits Set For Easter With Deep Roster Of Special Treats

April 18, 2014 

Chocolate Arts is located at 1620 – West 3rd Ave in Vancouver, BC | V6J 1K2 | www.chocolatearts.com

Chocolate Arts is located at 1620 – West 3rd Avenue in Vancouver, BC | V6J 1K2 | www.chocolatearts.com

The GOODS from Chocolate Arts

Vancouver, BC | Vancouver’s Chocolate Arts chocolate shop and café is your one-stop shop for sweet surprises this Easter. Offering a tempting selection of edible artistry, from bite-sized confections to show stopping centerpieces, award-winning chocolatier Greg Hook lends the harried Easter Bunny a hand.

Chocolate purists will delight in Chocolate Arts’ high-quality cacao selection of solid, dark or milk chocolate eggs in a variety of sizes. Mini eggs are available in elegant 3-or-9-piece packages and optionally embossed with silly faces for the young at heart. For co-workers, friends and neighbours in need of a vacation, offer a tropical twist with limited-edition dark chocolate-coated Coconut Lime Eggs, filled with white chocolate, organic lime reduction and organic coconut milk ganache. For an element of surprise, let your Easter hunters crack open 40g and 240g chocolate eggs filled with either a single foiled solid chocolate or five mini chocolate figurines, and decorated with cocoa butter in your choice of several colourful designs.

For those who prefer hares over hens, Chocolate Arts provides the demure and decadent Fleur de Cao Bunny, made of silky single origin 72% dark chocolate. Also available from the rabbit warren is the charismatic Chocara Charlie, a handsome handcrafted chocolate bunny available in dark or milk chocolate, filled with five bestselling mini Chocara bars carefully crafted of house-made caramel, peanut butter and organic rice crisps. The adventurous chocoholic will enjoy the decidedly unconventional Pop Rocks Bunny made of rich milk chocolate and effervescent popping candy.

To complete the Easter menagerie, Chocolate Arts offers their aww-inducing chocolate Cheeps—dark chocolate eggs filled with a bright and playful house-made passionfruit marshmallow and decorated as plump chickadees—and the portly, wide-eyed chocolate Piggy, concealing a small fortune of foil-wrapped chocolate eggs in its generous potbelly. For the truly deserving, pick up a Chocolate Arts statement Signature Egg. Available in two sizes, in either dark or milk chocolate, they boast intricately decorated lids and are filled with a curated selection of assorted and seasonal chocolates and truffles. [ Keep reading ]

SEEN IN VANCOUVER #493 | A Look Inside The East Van Studio Of Artist Noah Bowman

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by Grady Mitchell | The East Van studio of painter Noah Bowman is stacked high with canvases of all sizes – some as small as a paperback book, a couple as large as a queen mattress. He’s arranged them into a sort of art fort, and it’s in here, surrounded by his previous work, that he creates new pieces.

Although his initial interest in art was sparked by the pencil portraits he sketched as a child, he’s since solidified his style as an abstract and conceptual artist with a vivid palette. His work floats in the space between the familiar and abstract, blending segments of reality with conceptual elements to find deeper meaning in the everyday.

Noah’s recent series Reverso explores corner spaces. While artwork is generally presented in the center of a room’s most prominent wall, Noah is creating paintings specifically for neglected corner spaces, angular two-panel pieces that either envelop protruding corners or slip into recessive ones. He strives to link or balance each half with the other, presenting a traditional pattern on one juxtaposed with an abstract image on the other.

Along with Reverso and the other series’ that Noah is working on, he also promotes the accessibility of abstract art through integrating it into everyday items such as clocks, purses and pillows. You can see more of Noah’s work on his website and on display at the Stewart Stephenson Gallery at 1300 Robson Street.

EVERYTHING SEEN IN VANCOUVER