by Maya-Roisin Slater | Scout’s new Neighbourhooding series is part of our expanding HOODS project. It explores Vancouver’s myriad neighbourhoods through the eyes of the people who call them home. Jill Southern has lived in Chinatown for 5 years. She’s an art director by trade and the founder of Pender Keefer Georgia, a series of Chinatown guidebooks. We recently caught up with her on East Georgia Street, just a stone’s throw from her apartment…
What or who do you think is a defining fixture of your neighbourhood?
Chinatown streets, any given day from 9 to 6: produce bins are wheeled out to the sidewalk, trucks unload new pig carcasses and containers of fish, parking is near impossible, and the sidewalks are an obstacle course of tourists and old lady carts.
Where’s your favourite place to get breakfast?
Matchstick weekdays, Pazzo Chow Saturdays, Kam Gok Yuen on special occasions.
Tell us about your favourite hideaway…
New Mitzie’s Restaurant on Pender — a classic Chinese-Western diner with endless coffee refills, booth seating, and entertaining people-watching.
What’s the best mom and pop place in the area?
That’s the great thing about Chinatown, it’s full of mom and pop shops. Some of my favourites: Fresh Egg Mart, Golden Wheat Bakery, Chinatown Supermarket.
What sets your neighbourhood apart from other areas in Vancouver?
Chinatown looks and feels like no other neighbourhood in Vancouver. Its distinct culture and history are visible in its buildings, residents and community, while its changing identity makes it fun and fresh. This neighbourhood never bores me. I love how I can feel like a tourist in my own town.
If you could describe your neighbourhood in a haiku, how would it go?
If you were walking through your neighbourhood while courting a lady/gentleman where would you take them to set a romantic scene?
There are a couple of rooftop parkades where, if you know your way around, you can sneak a stellar view of the city.
What’s the scariest thing about your neighbourhood?
The constant fear of getting shat on by pigeons.
What’s your favourite piece of architecture in the neighbourhood?
It’s a tie: 1. Sun Yat Sen gardens (pay the admission fee to see the best of it). 2. [Bob] Rennie’s stunning re-do of the Wing Sang building.
How do you think your neighbourhood will change and develop in the next 5 years?
It will unfortunately become less unique. New businesses and condos will continue to flow into the neighbourhood while hip, modern spots replace unfashionable, old spots. There is a lot of new growth in Chinatown, which doesn’t strike me as entirely bad or good. Chinatown has a very resilient way of dealing with change.
Maya-Roisin Slater speaks English, and is doing her best to turn that into a career. Beyond Scout, her words and photos can be found in publications such as BeatRoute, Discorder, and Lotusland Mag. She also enjoys writing nauseating poetry, pretending that gluten-free-vegan slop is actually food, and bullying her customers at German sausage empire Bestie.
The GOODS from Mamie Taylor’s
Vancouver, BC | Mamie Taylor’s is searching for full-time and part-time front-of-house staff for both the dining room and lounge. About Us: Laid-back and casual regional American dining. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we’re very serious about what we do. About You: Fun and easy-going with a minimum of three-years serving experience. Some wine and cocktail knowledge a definite plus. Must love (or at least tolerate) taxidermy. Email us in confidence at info [at] mamietaylors.ca. More info after the jump… Read more
by Stevie Wilson | In 1931 the Shell Oil Company opened this auto garage at 231 East Pender St. – it’s 20th location in the province – as the Lion’s Gate Service Station. The tucked-away business was originally run by Thomas Chang, whose name will be recognized by Chinatown history buffs as the son of Chang Toy – more commonly known as Sam Kee. Chang passed away in 1953, and the business was transferred to H.H. Leong who renamed it Henry’s Service Station. In 1959, Max Goldberg Supply Ltd, a nearby business located at 424 Main St., bought the building and continued to operate it as Henry’s until it closed in the 1970s. The company continued to use it as a storage facility until 1989. The Goldberg family had significant ties to the Strathcona and Chinatown neighbourboods; in addition to their 50-year commercial tenure, Max’s son, Harry Goldberg, sat on the Chinatown Planning Committee for many years.
Today, the building is in extreme disrepair and is already slated for demolition to make way for a new condominium project, but under the filth and graffiti remains a long-forgotten piece of Downtown Eastside history. Look closely and you’ll notice the structure’s unique Chinese-inspired architectural elements, including a curved hip roof, carved brackets in the bay corners, and similarly rounded rafter details along the exterior. In 1933, an additional fifth bay was opened on the eastern side of the station; the slightly wider design and more intact construction is still discernible. The parking lot’s uneven plane indicates where a gas pump island once sat, which also explains why the structure is set so far back in the lot. Much of this area is quickly disappearing in the wake of the G-Word, so keep an eye out for this and other forgotten sites while you still can.
The GOODS from The Chinatown Experiment
Vancouver, BC | There are major changes underway with The Chinatown Experiment and this month is a preview of what’s ahead. See the line-up below for all the upcoming new pop-ups, starting off with free coworking for all. Stay on top of it all and receive updates by liking The Chinatown Experiment on Facebook. Drop in on any (or all) of the pop ups to support local entrepreneurs and creative thinkers. If you snap the action and have it up on Instagram, get their attention by tagging @chinatownexp.
August 5 – 14 | FREE COWORKING @thisopenspace | #thisopenspace
We’ve opened our doors for ten days of free coworking. You can sit with us all day and practice your GyShiDo, or just drop in to say hello. Bring your laptops, sketchbooks, painting easels, and whatever else you need to get s**t done – we’ll take care of the essentials – tables, chairs, and super quick WiFi. There’s coffee next door at The Shop and down the street at Musette Caffé. You can bring your own outside food or grab a bite at our friends Bestie and Pazzo Chow. We’re also working on something exciting launching on September 1. Come hang out with us to find out more about what’s going on at #thisopenspace. Open weekdays 9am – 5pm.
August 15 – 21 | platFORM PRESENTS: THE 1 SALE | #platFORMclass
This summer, students from the SFU’s Beedie School of Business and Emily Carr’s Design program have teamed up to create sustainable market-viable products in a six-week long collaborative program. The trans-disciplinary teams will be launching and showcasing products that address issues such as sustainable travel, social isolation, textile waste, cosmetics packaging, and food packaging. It all takes place in a one-week pop-up storefront. The opening night pitches start August 15 from 6pm – 10pm and the platFORM 1 Sale is open Saturday to Sunday 11am – 9pm and Monday to Thursday from 12pm – 8pm.
August 23 – 24 | CAROL KELLEY’s WOOD+WINE | #carolkelley
Carol Kelley’s designs are a reflection of a rural upbringing crossed with a modern lifestyle. The furniture pieces are a family collaboration. Her father, a self-taught log home builder (very cool) and a trained fine woodworker, sources and salvages trees from the land where the family was raised. Each pieces is the cut and dried locally in an adjacent mill. Kelley then brings them to Vancouver for finishing in a shared East Van studio. Opening night is August 23 from 7pm to late. Come thirsty, there will be a cash bar. The store is also open Sunday from 11am – 5pm.
August 25 – 27 | ALFONSO ARNOLD PHOTOGRAPHY | #alfonsoarnold
Local photographer Alfonso Arnold returns from a recent trip to Myanmar for a three-day photography exhibition. Alfonso is inspired by artistic, and social diversity. He shoots for commercial, and fine art clients with a strong passion for people and landscapes. Along with a full time studio, he is an instructor at Lasalle College Int., and the photo coordinator for the bi-annual, Eco Fashion Week.
August 28 – 31 | ROSE & LEA POP-UP SHOP | #roseandlea
Laura & Natasha are a mother-daughter blogging duo from Vancouver. They’re behind the lifestyle blog Rose & Lea – writing about art, baking, and beauty amongst their other passions. For four days only, they are taking their online blog and bringing it to life in a pop-up storefront. Expect them to share their passions by having gourmet-baked goods for sale, as well as their unique style of painting inspired by the beauty found in everyday surroundings. They paint whatever happens to inspire them at that moment in time – their designs are always feminine, and uniquely Rose & Lea.
Opening night party is on Thursday, August 28 from 7pm – 9pm. Weekend store hours are 11am – 7pm Friday to Saturday and to 6pm on Sunday.
by Andrew Morrison | As a summer project, my eldest son James and I have been walking around the city with a copy of Fred Herzog Photographs (Douglas & McIntyre, 2011) and trying to shoot the exact locations where the master framed up his most iconic shots. It’s a book that we both love because a lot of the pictures were taken really close to our house in Strathcona and all around the Downtown Eastside. Because of our familiarity with the territory, most of the locations have been easy to pick out. Others are proving far more difficult because much of what was once there is no more. Truly, working on this has really brought home how dramatic the changes to this city have been over the last 50-60 years. And yet, in some places, it’s uncanny how it has remained largely the same. There’s plenty of summer left and a lot more Herzog haunts to explore, so expect the gallery below – complete with higher resolution side-by-sides and descriptive captions – to expand.
Full-service pop-up production agency.
434 Columbia St., Chinatown | 778.839.2828 |
Yashar Nijati, Creative Director
thisopenspace is a full-service pop-up production agency. Their flagship storefront in Chinatown is an idea playground and a pop-up ready space. It’s where they have hosted over 70 pop-up concepts since 2012. But there is so much more…
POP-UP READY SPACES
Empty space sucks and space for short-term use is rare. We help clients find flexible space and open underutilized space for temporary use. We’ve done this around Vancouver neighbourhoods including Mount Pleasant, Gastown, South Granville, and Fraserhood. Do you have or need space for temporary use? Contact us.
PROMOTION AND PRESS RELATIONS
It ain’t a party if no one shows up. We provide promotion and press relations exclusively to short term pop-up shops, exhibitions, and events. Whether it’s happening at one of our spaces or not, we help clients connect with their audience. Here’s the proof.
AN ENGAGED AUDIENCE
A pop-up is a limited time offer and we make sure that clients get noticed by an engaged audience that we’ve built over the last two years. This includes over 1000+ subscribers to our monthlycoolkids newsletter, 3000+ Instagram, 1900+Facebook, and 1500+ Twitter followers. We leverage our audience and get clients noticed.
Over the past two years, we’ve seen the best and the less than stellar. We know the elements that make a pop-up event successful and those to avoid. Our team has a track record of producing successful retail, food, and entertainment events. We design unique and memorable experiences.
“The incredibly successful rotating pop-up shop that offers people the chance to try out a storefront” – Vancouver Sun, August 2014
Cheater Floor | Legend | Back in 2011, we told you about Chinatown’s many Cheater Floors: ”The story goes that during the construction boom in Chinatown at the beginning of the 20th century, property taxes were levied against building owners using a formula that multiplied the footprint of the building by the number of its floors. The stunted 2nd storeys didn’t count toward this total, and thus provided tax-free storage and ancillary space. The term emerged from the xenophobia of the 1950s and not-so-subtly suggested that Chinese property owners were deliberately hiding a secret floor. The appropriate nomenclature is ’2nd floor mezzanine’, and there is little to suggest that builders at the time could hide an entire floor from a building inspector, nor were there any discernible property tax incentives to do so.”
Usage: “I told my kids that the Cheater Floor was where they put kids who cheated on their homework…”
The GOODS from Mamie Taylor’s
Vancouver, BC | It’s been a year since Mamie Taylor’s opened its doors in Chinatown. As a thank you to the friends and neighbours who have helped to put the regional American restaurant on the city’s dining map, owners Ron Oliver and Simon Kaulback will be hosting a Southern-themed BBQ Birthday Bash on Sunday, August 10 from 5 pm until late.
Guests are invited to the Mamie Taylor’s lounge to tuck into Chef Tobias Grignon’s complimentary, buffet-style Southern pig roast with all the not-so-traditional fixins’, while it lasts. In addition, Mamie’s will be pouring drink specials all evening with $3 draft, wine and well specials and $5 Mamie Taylor cocktails.
The dining room will remain open for regular evening service from 5pm to 12am. Take a gander at the Southern BBQ Birthday Bash Buffet Menu after the jump… Read more
by Joey Armstrong | Matchstick Coffee Roasters recently held a free public coffee tasting of Tim Wendelboe coffees at their Chinatown location. Since Wendelboe is from Oslo, it’s a rare thing for the beans to make a Vancouver appearance, so members of the local coffee trade – who usually only get together in competitive settings - were invited to partake.
If you’ve never been to a “cupping” before, it’s similar to a wine tasting. There are stations set up for people to smell the freshly ground beans. Then hot water is poured in and you wait. After that you break the crust of the coffee with a spoon and take in the aroma. Once the coffee is cool enough, you go around slurping spoonfuls. You swallow the coffee or spit it out in a cup, rinse the spoon in a cup of hot water, and repeat until you feel you’ve gotten the full measure of the bean. Esoteric fun. It was nice to see the crowd gather in a relaxed setting and nerd out. Oh, and there was beer flowing, with proceeds going to improve worker housing at the El Diamante farm in Guatemala.
by Andrew Morrison | Dormant 441 Gore Street in Chinatown is about to get its first tenant in many years. The space, which used to house a Chinese grocery way back in the day, will become “Snack City” at the end of the month, a 1,000 sqft victualling station offering everything from smokes, candy, organic produce, coffee, and Cartem’s Donuts to locally made jewelry, ceramics, art books, and vintage porn zines. It’s coming to the neighbourhood courtesy of Celia Hamilton, who has a background in film industry catering, and Aisha Davidson, lately of Community Thrift & Vintage. Though the interior still has a ways to go before it’s ready, it’s clearly a neat little box of potential. Take a look at some photos after the jump… Read more
The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden began it’s Enchanted Evenings summer concert series last Friday with an al fresco performance by Chinese-Western musical fusion ensemble Silk Road Music. Scout contributor Luis Valdizon attended and took the shots above and below. They’ve really shaken things up this year with reservable seats, gourmet picnic dinners (order in advance for $10-$29), plus wine and beer. There are four more Enchanted Evenings concerts this summer and each will have a unique feel and tempo. It’s Tomoe Arts on July 17th, Jim Byrnes on July 24th, the Vancouver Piano Ensemble on Jul 31st, and Deanna Knight and the Hot Club of Mars on August 7th. The shows cost $25 each. Doors open at 7pm for each concert at 578 Carrall St. Read more
You, Scout reader, have good taste. We’ve always known this, but we don’t often take advantage of it. This new feature changes that. From here on in, we want your help in refining our HOODS MAP so that we can keep steering locals and visitors alike to the best of our place in the world. There are five different geo-specific questions that we need answers to this month. We’ve done the initial curatorial leg-work of narrowing down the options to a shortlist, but we need you to finish the job.
VOTE for your pick (and view results) on our OKANAGAN page.
VOTE for your pick (and view results) on our ISLANDS page.
The organisers of the Golden Dumpling Cook Off need your help! They’re looking for volunteers on Sunday, August 10th to give them a hand in making the outdoor festival a delicious reality. Volunteers should be energetic, fun and team-oriented folks with big hearts who are looking to support our fundraising goals and increase awareness for the Chinatown Elders Community Kitchen, a local food security initiative. Duties will range from stamping Golden Dumpling Passports to guest relations. Every interested food and community-lover is invited to apply here now.
Honour Bound details the many cool things that we feel honour bound to check out because they either represent our city extremely well or are inherently awesome in one way or another.
The GOODS from The Parker
Vancouver, BC | The Parker’s summer menu from executive chef Curtis Luk is sure to be the hot ticket this summer. Highlights include ratatouille with heirloom tomatoes, sea asparagus and labneh as well the daily house-made alkaline noodles with fresh summer vegetables and spicy Sichuan tomato sauce. The gorgeous house-made cheese (plated with torched local honey, poached rhubarb and our caraway lavash crackers with edible flowers) was built to pair with Steve Da Cruz‘s wine program and is best served on our petite patio. Drawing rave reviews for dessert is the new cucumber sorbet served with summer fruit and olive oil cake (have it with a splash of chilled Pimm’s Nø.1 for the definitive summer dénouement). At the bar, manager Nich Box has personally selected a list of his favourite aperitifs to start your evening and continues to impress with new cocktails. Try the Saemundur made with Longtable Aquavit, fresh mint, cherry syrup and lemon bitters with soda – it’s the tall, cold drink for long, hot summer nights. Read more