OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: “L’Abattoir” In Gastown On The Lookout For An Expediter

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L'Abattoir is located at 217 Carrall St in Vancouver's Gastown neighbourhood | 604-568-1701 | www.labattoir.ca

The GOODS from L’Abattoir

Vancouver, BC | Gastown’s L’Abattoir restaurant is looking for a competent busser/expediter to work 3 to 5 shifts a week on a flexible schedule. The restaurant will prove to be a great training ground for those looking to move up in the trade. Minimum restaurant experience unnecessary, but desired. The lucky candidate will really only need to be intelligent with a great attitude, a driven sensibility, and a yen for learning from some of the best in town. Apply to paul [at] labattoir.ca. Learn more after the jump… Read more

DINER | Highly Anticipated “Matchstick” Gets Ready To Open Its Doors In Chinatown

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by Andrew Morrison | The long awaited second location of the Fraserhood’s excellent Matchstick Coffee Roasters is on the verge of opening at 213 East Georgia St. in Chinatown (the same block as Phnom Penh and Mamie Taylor’s). If all goes according to plan, they could open as soon as this Wednesday.

So what can we expect? First and foremost, it should be noted that this Matchstick will be licensed. They’ll be serving five beers and one cider (all on tap) in addition to their own coffee line up. On opening day, we’ll see Four Winds’ pale ale and porter, Hoyne’s pale ale and pilsener, Moon Under Water’s IPA, and Merridale Cider.

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They’re also upping their food game with – get this – a toast bar. They’ll be using their in-house, naturally leavened organic bread and spreading slices with plain butter, walnut butter, seasonal preserves, tapenades, and chutney. Oh, and cinnamon toast, because when you have a toast bar, there has to be cinnamon toast (it’s in the rules). They’ll also be baking their own croissants and making their own granola, plus they’re working on perfecting a hash as we speak. The lunch menu will see all of the above (if there’s any of it left), plus sandwiches of both vegetarian and meaty persuasion, the latter employing cured meats from Drew Driesson of D’Original Sausage Co. on Main Street.

And dinner! They’ll be doing dinner, too, with Mac & Cheese (with or without bacon), meat and cheese boards, and a variety of savoury flatbreads. The food program is being run by the Ballymaloe-trained Annabelle Choi, who is back home after toiling at Tartine and Craftsman & Wolves in San Francisco. According to Choi, the food at Matchstick is meant to “underscore and reinforce the connection between coffee and community.”

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Their communal philosophy clearly comes across in the design on the cavernous space, which can seat upwards of 80 people in cozy window nooks and on little red stools that front a series of shared wooden tables. The massive beech plank table in front of the giant map of South America is particular awesome, but my favourite detail is the black wood cladding of the bakery and one of the walls at the front by the door. It looks painted black from afar, but if you get up close (or spy the shots above), you can see that they were toasted.

They’ll be playing their hours by ear to start, but I’m told the ballpark is around 7am to 9pm. Cross your fingers for Wednesday and take a closer look at the interior below.

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

GOODS | Gastown’s “Nicli Antica Pizzeria” Introduces New Appassionato Menu For 2

Nicli Antica Pizzeria is located at 62 East Cordova in Vancouver, BC | 604-669-6985 | www.nicli-antica-pizzeria.ca

Nicli Antica Pizzeria is located at 62 East Cordova in Vancouver, BC | 604-669-6985 | www.nicli-antica-pizzeria.ca

The GOODS from Nicli Antica Pizzeria

Vancouver, BC | Everyone knows that the Italians are a passionate people – legendary lovers, great artists, superb wine-makers and amazing cooks who insist on only the finest ingredients. They don’t do anything by half measures and throw their heart and soul into the fine art of living well.

Starting Monday, March 3rd, Nicli will give you the opportunity to wine and dine like a true passionale Italian. Nicli is combining its amore of fine vino and Neapolitan pizza in a special three-course prix fixe Pizza Appassionato Menu for Two priced at $45. Each menu includes a shared antipasti, two pizzas and dessert. The Pizza Appassionato Menu is available only Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for either lunch or dinner and it will change weekly to reflect the seasonal availability of ingredients.

If that isn’t enough to set your heart a-flutter, each time a Pizza Appassionato Menu for Two is purchased, one name will be entered into a monthly draw to win a very special bottle of wine. Each month will showcase a different wine and the odds of winning depend solely on how many menus are sold during that month. March’s wine is a very special bottle – Flaccianello delle Pieve 2009 (100 per cent Sangiovese) which retails for $250. The only stipulation is that the wine must be enjoyed with your next meal at Nicli.

Monthly draws will take place at 4pm on the last Friday of the month and winners will be notified within 24 hours. Winners will also be posted to our Facebook page. Details after the jump… Read more

Gastown

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gastown fashion 114gastown 050Frock Shoppe LadiesWalter - Old Faithful pop-up farmers marketL'AbattoirSean Heather | Rainier ProvisionsGastown Vancouver Fashion week

Gastown, so named after one of its unofficial founders, “Gassy Jack” Deighton, occupies the western stretch of the Downtown Eastside. According to our read of the landscape, its the area between Columbia (east), Cambie/Homer (West), Hastings (North), and Water (South), save for the 300 block Carrall and the blocks of Hastings east of Abbott, which we classify as being part of the Downtown Eastside’s core. It has come a long way since its day as the Township of Granville and the great conflagration of 1886 (which burned most of it to the ground), ebbing and flowing over the decades as a hard-edged entertainment nexus where much of the rest of Vancouver feared to tread.

Over the last ten years, however, Gastown’s slice of the city’s zeitgeist was fattened by a large number of interesting, independent, and cocktail-forward eateries launched by a new generation of young restaurateurs. It also saw a new wave of higher end retail shops and fashionable boutiques open during this same time frame, not to mention the arrival of new lofts, condominiums, and the new Woodwards building. All of these new developments have transformed/gentrified the neighbourhood, some argue for the better and others for the worse. Doubtless it’s become something of an “it” destination, similar to Yaletown in the early 2000′s, which is to say it’s quite possibly cursed with a future full of stretched SUV limousines, shitty chain restaurants, and people who want to fight for no good reason at all.

History and angst aside, it’s no longer easy to get a table as a walk-in on a Friday night, so if you’re headed this way (and you really should), be sure to make at least the roughest of game plans.

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Standard post-1886 fire brick red/brown; stained copper green barrel base of the Gassy Jack statue; soft, spherical yellow streetlights at night; Blood Alley beer piss; broken fake cobblestone grey; ubiquitous Corbel Commercial Real Estate “For Lease” sign blue; Juice Truck pink; Guinness brown; green summer leaves of Maple Tree Square; the new “W” sign atop the Woodwards development; Meat & Bread house mustard yellow; cigarette filter brown.

here-you-will-find

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GOOD GRAFFITI AND WHEAT PASTE/STENCIL ART
FOOTBALL MIKE KEEPING THINGS IN ORDER
THE OLD FIREPLACES OF “THE NEW FRISCO HOTEL”
A RESTAURATEUR HAPPY HE NEVER JOINED THE FRENCH FOREIGN LEGION
ALEX “RHEK” USOW CREATING INTERESTING THINGS
AN ANCIENT, UNUSED BAR HIDDEN IN A HOTEL BASEMENT
OLD SCHOOL POWELL PERALTA SKATE SHIRTS
DESIGN MASTERPIECES AT INFORM INTERIORS
THE STENCH OF STALE URINE AT THE EASTERN ENTRANCE OF BLOOD ALLEY
A PARADISE FOR SHOE FETISHISTS
SOME VERY PRETTY AXES

what-to-eat-and-drink

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THE FULL BRUNCH SPREAD AT WILDEBEEST
MAPLE BACON CHOCOLATE BAR AT MEAT & BREAD
BRUSSELS SPROUTS & PORK BELLY AT POURHOUSE
SUMMERTIME PATIO PINTS AT CHILL WINSTON
A MINT JULEP AT THE DIAMOND
THE FONDANT POTATOES AND AN AVIATION COCKTAIL AT L’ABATTOIR
A CUP OF COFFEE AT REVOLVER
PIZZA AT NICLI
BEEF & PORK ALBONDIGAS AT THE SARDINE CAN
FRESHLY MADE CHOCOLATE AT EAST VAN ROASTERS
GARLIC BUTTER & PARMESAN POPCORN AT SIX ACRES
WILD SOCKEYE NIGIRI AT SEA MONSTR SUSHI
AN H-MADE COCKTAIL AT NOTTURNO
A PINT OF THE DARK AT THE IRISH HEATHER

cool-things-of-note

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- The triangular Hotel Europe on Powell Street was Vancouver’s first reinforced concrete structure and the first fireproof hotel in Western Canada.

- In 1971, police arrested 79 people in Maple Tree Square after a protest against drug laws and raids escalated into a bloody brawl between protestors and armed police. This is known as the Gastown Riot.

- Blood Alley’s nomenclature is not so spooky: the alley is actually named Trounce Alley, and the connected “Blood Alley Square” was named by a city planner in the 1970s as part of a project to revitalize and draw attention to the area.

- In 1869, Vancouver’s first jail was built in the Township of Granville (informally known as Gastown). It consisted of two cells constructed of logs, and later was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1886.

- The Boulder Hotel at 1 West Cordova (the original Boneta location, RIP) was once the central point of the Granville Township in the 1890′s, and features stones mined from Queen Elizabeth Park.

- The massive 1972 street “renovation” of Gastown was noted as being the first time in North America that perfectly good roads were torn up to be rebuilt in the old style.

- The “historic” steam clock, an iconic Gastown landmark, was actually built in 1977 and features three electric motors.

- Chef/Restaurateur John Bishop got his start cooking in Gastown in the 1970′s.

- The NABOB Coffee Company was founded in Gastown in 1896, in what is now The Landing (home to the Steamworks Brewing Company).

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Railtown Japantown

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Powell Street FestivalSunrise MarketEarly Morning along Powell StreetAsk For LuigiPark Cafe | RailtownBurrard Ironworks | RailtownNo. 5 Orange

Railtown-Japantown is a compounded micro-hood that is part of DTES. Its boundaries are Main (some say Columbia) in the west to Heatley in the east and from the railway tracks (hence the name) south to Alexander Street. What was once a thriving industrial zone of warehouses and workshops has become something of a tech/design hub over the last decade. Railway St. itself is now a parade of local fashion houses (Aritzia has its head office here), design shops, tech start ups, interior stores, and even an urban winery. You’ll often find a food truck or three parked hereabouts, too, and a whole lot of Instagramming going down. What does the future hold for it? Either breweries and condos. Probably both.

Vancouver’s historic Japantown, however, is vastly different. Once home to generations of Japanese families and businesses, the area now features only a few remnants of the large community that once thrived there. The history of this cultural enclave is unique, and offers a startling look at the effects of racism, intolerance, and indifference in a city now celebrated for its multiculturalism.

Though the modern diaspora of Japanese-Canadians is now found throughout Vancouver, at one time this neighbourhood was the epicentre of local Japanese culture and business. The site spans from Cordova Street to Alexander Street, between Gore Avenue and Jackson Avenue, just north of Chinatown, with Powell Street as its (former) commercial center. It features several character buildings, primary historic sites, and a handful of municipally protected buildings, each indicative of the neighbourhood’s development – and its subsequent losses – experienced over the last century.

While Japanese (and Chinese) workers had been present in British Columbia as early as the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush in 1858, the first “official” Japanese immigrant to Canada arrived in 1877. Following this, an influx of Japanese immigrants came to Vancouver near the turn of the century to work in the booming fishing and forestry industries. While they were a welcomed labour force for local industries in the city, particularly the nearby Hastings Sawmill at the foot of Dunlevy, many white Vancouverites were wary of what they perceived as a failure of the Japanese to assimilate, observing that they had their own cultural and religious spaces, generally did not speak fluent English, and had a perceived (potentially dangerous) loyalty to Japan. Additionally, many non-Japanese fishermen were concerned about the growing majority of Japanese fishing licenses being granted, fearing that their jobs were at stake. The federal government aggressively limited Asian immigration and originally only men were allowed to enter the country, forcing them to leave their families behind.

While many white Vancouverites tolerated the Japanese community, prejudice found a strong foothold in the Asiatic Exclusion League, a racist organization with aims “to keep Oriental immigrants out of British Columbia.” Following the 1885 imposition of the Chinese Immigration Act, which placed a head tax on Chinese immigrants entering Canada, racism and racial segregation had been a common sight across the country and extended the growing Japanese communities. This tension culminated in Vancouver on September 7th when members of the Asiatic Exclusion League rioted in the streets of Chinatown after being roused by racist speeches at City Hall (then located near Main and Hasting).

They marched into Chinatown shouting racist slogans, smashing windows, and vandalizing buildings. By the time the rioters reached Japantown, members of the Japanese community were waiting with makeshift weapons and bottles, ready to defend their neighbourhood. In response to the growing anti-Asian sentiment in Canada, the Canadian Minister of Labour Rodolphe Lemieux and Japanese Foreign Minister Tadasu Hayashi declared what is known as the “Gentleman’s Agreement” in 1908, wherein the Japanese government voluntarily limited its approved number of immigrants to Canada each year.

As white settlers migrated out of the area and into newer, more affluent communities – particularly the West End – Japanese business, cultural centres, and mixed-use buildings developed in the Powell Street area. Shops along Powell began opening in 1890, but the retail industry of took shape later, during the commercial building boom from 1907-1912. Multiple residential buildings, often with street-level shops, became popular in later decades as the boarding room trend developed. These apartments typically housed seasonal workers; many now function as SROs.

Business development in Japantown – which locals called “Nihonmachi” (derived from the Japanese words for “Japan” and “Town”) – culminated in the 1920s and 30s, when local shops and restaurants flourished, and ties to nearby Chinatown also became strong. A shared sense of Asian identity – and likely a shared sense of the effects of racism – joined these communities. Fuji Chop Suey at 341 Powell, which offered Japanese-style Chinese food, is a unique example of the link between Asian cultures during this period, and is heralded as one of the important locales contributing to the area’s rich multiculturalism from 1931-1942. Japantown’s famous Asahi baseball team, established in 1914, won several championships and were a popular draw during the 1930s and early 1940s for the Japanese and non-Japanese communities in Vancouver. In 2003, the team was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Ultimately, Japantown and Vancouver’s Japanese population fell victim to the xenophobia brought forth by World War II. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941, a series of legislations were imposed on Japanese-Canadians under the guise of national security. In addition to curfews, interrogations, job loss and property confiscation, all persons of Japanese heritage were forcibly relocated to Internment Camps in remote areas of the province. Their property and belongings were sold, and all mainstream Japanese newspapers and publications were shut down. In 1944, Prime Minister Mackenzie King declared that all Japanese-Canadians were required to relocate to eastern Canada or face repatriation. By the end of the 1940s, however, many individuals had been granted re-entry to the west coast and, finally, the right to vote. The variety of Japanese shops, restaurants, and vibrant community culture in Japantown never fully recovered from these events, and until the resurgence of Japanese cuisine in the 1980s only two ethnic restaurants remained on Powell.

Today, Japantown still retains a few visible reminders of its past, but has yet to be designated as a Historic Site by the City of Vancouver. This means that many of its remaining historic buildings are at risk. In 2013, the 122 year-old Ming Sun building at 439 Powell was threatened when city officials deemed it structurally unsound. Without proper heritage designation, it was up to the local community to save the site and propose restoration, rather than demolition. As a reminder of the rich history of the area and the continued legacy of the Japanese community in Vancouver, the Powell Street Festival at Oppenheimer Park is the largest annual Japanese-Canadian festival in Canada, and the city’s longest-running community celebration since its inception in 1977.

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Dock freight crane orange-red; the summer grass in Oppenheimer Park: Cadeaux Bakery salted caramel brownie tri-colour; violet neon signage of Cuchillo; the bright yellow facade of Double Happiness Foods; No. 5 Orange exterior; the fleshy yellow and pink two-colour combo of the peameal bacon at Big Lou’s; Vancouver Urban Winery grey exterior; Railway JJ Bean tri-colour; interior paneling at Ask For Luigi.

here-you-will-find

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GENERATIONAL GUILT OVER JAPANESE INTERNMENT DURING WORLD WAR II
A GREAT VIEW OF THE CITY SKYLINE FROM THE BRIDGE AT ALEXANDER AND MAIN
PEOPLE AT REST WITH COLD BEERS IN CRAB PARK (AKA PORTSIDE PARK)
ALL SORTS OF LOUD AND CLANGY NOISES FROM THE FREIGHTER DOCKS AT ALL HOURS
THE SMELL OF AMAZING THINGS EMANATING FROM CADEUX BAKERY
THE AMAZING POWELL STREET FESTIVAL IN OPPENHEIMER PARK
THE NUMBER 5 ORANGE AND THOSE WHO LURK BY ITS DOOR

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RED & WHITE BURGERS AT BIG LOU’S
ALBACORE TUNA CEVICHE (ABOVE) AT CUCHILLO
THE CLUB SANDWICH AT RAILTOWN CAFE
FRESH VEGGIES FROM SUNRISE MARKET
CHICKEN FRIED STEAK WITH COUNTRY GRAVY AT DEACON’S CORNER
FRAT BAT BEER SAMPLER AT THE ALIBI ROOM
A TOUR OF THE WINE TAPS AT VANCOUVER URBAN WINERY
FOOD TRUCKS FOOD TRUCKS FOOD TRUCKS

cool-things-of-note

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- The first school in Vancouver, opened in 1873, was the Hastings Sawmill School at the foot of Dunlevy Avenue.

- The Roger’s Sugar Factory at the Port of Vancouver (c. 1890) was the city’s first major industry outside of fishing and forestry.

- Herschel Supply Co. – provider of good bags to quality-appreciative students and world travellers alike – have their home base in Railtown.

- The Alibi Room was once co-owned by actors Jason Priestly and Gillian Anderson.

- The old Hastings Mill site was a hotspot for unemployed and transient men during the Great Depression. These squats and shacks were referred to as the “hobo jungles”.

- In 1986 Railtown residents successfully lobbied for a bylaw to allow artists work/live privileges in warehouse studios, the first of its kind in Canada.

- The Japanese name for the Powell Street area (Japantown) is Nihonmachi.

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Strathcona

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Strathcona  | EAST SIDEStrathcona Harvest FestivalStrathcona fire hydrant love on a hot dayStrathcona overpassThe Wilder Snail - Crawl Weekend 2Great drapeParker Street Studios

Strathcona is Scout’s home base and Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood. Before it was called Strathcona (a later honorific) it was known as The East End. And for centuries before that it was a seasonal camp called Kumkumalay (“big leaf maple trees”) that was regularly employed by Coast Salish First Nations. Today, it is the easternmost slice of the Downtown Eastside (DTES), bordered on the west and east by Gore and Clark, and on the north and south by Powell and Venables/Prior. Though the 200 block of Union St. is technically part of Chinatown, its redevelopment and the flow of its bike route have made it more a piece of Strathcona. Though today it is widely considered a hip hotbed of artistic creativity (witness the annual Eastside Culture Crawl, etc.), the cozy quarters of roughly 10,000 people nevertheless remains on the sedate side of urban.

Strathcona’s residential, my-garden’s-got-its-shit-together community feel might surprise outsiders, especially considering its proximity to the city’s heart and its umbilical connection to the oft-demonized DTES. But the people hereabouts – mostly low income, working class – are fierce in their affections for their home turf; not possessive of property so much or excessively house proud, just firmly rooted. The neighbourhood’s ethnic diversity is as much its strong suit as its tough, activist spirit. It is the only neighbourhood in Vancouver where English is not the mother tongue of the majority of the inhabitants (Chinese languages predominate), but when pushed by the City with ill-considered plans – whether it be a freeway or a rushed amendment to a bike lane – its population has a habit of quickly coalescing to fight back, differences be damned.

Strathcona is anchored by a green space called MacLean Park, which plays host to all manner of community events, from casual Sunday pick-up games of soccer and on-the-fly weddings to harvest festivals and multi-family get-togethers. In the summer, the aromatic smoke of BBQs hangs low over the field, with leisure supplies replenished from the area’s four chief corner groceries (The Wilder Snail, Wayne Grocery, Union Market, Benny’s) and the nearby Astoria Pub’s off-sales shop. Strathcona Park (on the south side of Prior St.), though considerably larger than MacLean, is less of a community hub, but it does offer a fun little skatepark, tennis courts, and multiple baseball fields (there’s a great Spring/Summer/Fall beer game every Saturday afternoon).

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Strathcona Elementary School brick (the older buildings); alleyway sofa standard orange; the summer green grass of McLean Park; loud and aggressive crow black; the glass-like tar/asphalt of the 500 block of Keefer St.; Pilsener label tri-colour; La Casa Gelato exterior; needle plunger blue; Benny’s Market burgundy; Strathcona Community Gardens; sketchy 1/2 naked drunk guy in the park.

here-you-will-find

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PEDAL POWERED ELECTRICITY AT THE WILDER SNAIL
OFF SALES OF COLD BEER AT THE ASTORIA
THOUSANDS OF CROWS MARSHALLING FOR THEIR NIGHTLY BURNABY ROOST
THE BEST CHEESE STORE IN THE WEST
SMEAGOL & DEAGOL THE EAGLES
HOUSES THAT ARE STRANGELY SET HIGH ABOVE OR BELOW THE SIDEWALK
LOUD COOPER’S HAWKS HUNTING FOR PIGEONS
A FANTASTIC LITTLE VINYL SHOP
ARTIST STUDIO VISITS DURING THE EASTSIDE CULTURE CRAWL
THE SMELL OF INCENSE FROM THE PTT BHUDDIST TEMPLE ON KEEFER ST.

what-to-eat-and-drink

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SHOCKINGLY GOOD RAMEN AT HARVEST
CAPPUCCINO AT THE WILDER SNAIL
INNOVATIVE VEGETARIAN FARE & KILLER COCKTAILS AT THE PARKER
CHICKEN CURRY POCKETS AT UNION MARKET
LEMON FUDGE SORBET AT LA CASA GELATO
CAPICOLLO SANDWICHES AT BENNY’S MARKET
BLUE BRIE AND PROSCIUTTO SANDWICHES AT FINCH’S

cool-things-of-note

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- Union Street used to be called Bernard Street – it was renamed in 1911 to avoid confusion with Burrard Street

- In the late 50s and 60s city planners stopped public works maintenance in Strathcona, denied redevelopment permits, and bulldozed 15 blocks of homes as part of an “urban renewal” project for this supposed “slum”.

- Vancouver’s only neighbourhood with a concentrated Black population, Park Lane (known colloquially as Hogan’s Alley), was demolished in 1972 to construct the Georgia Viaduct.

- In 1985 the Strathcona Community Gardens were established at Campbell Avenue and Prior Street, an area that in Vancouver’s early years had served as the City Dump.

- Strathcona used to simply be called the East End; the new name was adopted in the 1960s.

- Jackson Garden apartments on East Pender echo the compound/alley style of Hutong residences once popular in China, and were specifically designed to accommodate Chinese residents in Strathcona.

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Downtown Eastside

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DTES Ovaltine CafeOpenheimer Park, DTESNeighbourhood CouncilTed Harris Paint, DTES, E HastingsCommunity Gardens Hawkes and E HastingsPatOld Salvation Army Building, DTES

The Downtown Eastside (DTES) is a catch all descriptor for the neighbourhoods east of Cambie, west of Clark, north of Prior, and south of the waterfront. Technically, it includes Gastown, Strathcona, Chinatown, and Railtown/Japantown, but we’ve separated each of these for their individual characters and are treating the DTES here much as the zeitgeist does: as the slowly shrinking collection of blocks east of Carrall, west of Jackson, north of Pender, and south of Cordova. If you have a different interpretation of the landscape and its borders, good for you!

Sadly, it’s safe to say that most Canadian’s view the DTES as less as a community and more of a sensational eyesore; an urban blight box crammed with a loose association of kid-gloved petty criminals, dealers, addicts, and people with mental health issues operating in and around bed bug-infested Single Room Occupancy hotels, daily dodging a very real minefield of violence and disease in often third world living conditions.

That might appear to be superficially true, but the reality is a lot more complicated and nuanced. The DTES is not, for example, “Canada’s poorest postal code”, as it is so often claimed. Neither is it Vancouver’s most transient neighbourhood (that distinction goes to the West End). And if you ask a resident if they feel like they belong to a genuine community, the answer will be a resounding “yes”.

A fierce sense of belonging would naturally coalesce and strengthen in any neighbourhood that was so institutionally demonized, referred to constantly from within and without as “a huge problem”. By policing it in a petty and punitive fashion, insulting it passive aggressively (or fully in the face), trying to price its residents out, or even pretending that it doesn’t exist, the people who see it as an abomination (or rather as a financial opportunity) have only made the community more suspicious of (and resistant to) change.

To wit, “The Downtown Eastside needs to be destroyed,” an editorial in The Province newspaper has declared. “The more residents who are pushed out, the better. It is unconscionable that such a hellhole should exist in a province as wealthy as B.C., in a country as advanced as Canada.” Now, if someone wrote that kind of trash about you and where you lived, you’d likely get your back up, too. Because not everyone who lives on the DTES fits the hysterical stereotype, and those that do are not so bereft of humanity as to not notice when someone tries to rob them of what little humanity they have left.

Indeed, if there’s anything to celebrate on the DTES, it’s that in spite of the high instance of mental illness; homelessness; the AIDS and Hepatitis C epidemics; heroin, crack cocaine, and crystal meth; a long and horrifying history of sexual abuse (before Robert Pickton, violence against First Nations women was treated as a fact of life on the DTES); and the way in which the rest of the city – not to mention the provincial and federal governments – views it through the prism of a largely unsympathetic corporate media; the DTES remains a strong, vibrant, and essential facet of Vancouver that – to its eternal credit – isn’t afraid to stand up for itself.

While other neighbourhoods protest against comparatively first-world affronts like bike lines, casinosart installations, high rises, and funeral homes, residents of the DTES’ dwindling core demonstrate for vital services and in opposition to real or perceived threats against their ability to remain residents. They don’t always protest wisely (targeting small businesses is a nonsensical exercise in quixotic futility), but that they organize and advance a message that needs to be heard by all citizens despite often crippling circumstances is as commendable as it is all too often tragically ignored.

Looking around the DTES today it’s sometimes hard to imagine that it was the beating heart of Vancouver less than a century ago. The banks, the newspapers, the courts, even City Hall once called it home. But while it’s important to remember that the neighbourhood wasn’t always as it is now, romancing the DTES’ past or speculating on its future belittles a present crisis that doesn’t have much in the way of room for halcyon reminiscences or high hopes. The area needs help, and it needs help now; help that new condos and businesses can’t directly give. It requires assistance from the provincial and federal governments in the form of new, affordable housing, a long overdue increase to the welfare shelter allowance of $375 per month (there has only been only one increase since 1992), the non-politicization of harm reduction programs, and – in a hurry – a serious approach to mental health care that includes new facilities, preferably located in whichever affluent neighbourhood complains about them the most.

Change on the DTES is a good thing, and we’re all for it, just so long as the people who live there can continue to call it home.

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Left to right: Pat’s Lager at Pat’s Pub in the Patricia Hotel; Victorian era purple/blue glass basement prisms; Ovaltine Cafe neon tri-colour; the grass of Oppenheimer Park; Carnegie Community Centre; duo of road colours at Main & Hastings; No. 5 Orange; dormant Salvation Army building exterior at Gore & Main; VPD blue; needle tip orange.

here-you-will-find

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INSITE, THE CONTROVERSIAL BUT LIFE-SAVING SAFE INJECTION SITE
THE SAD, FORLORN EMPTY SHELLS OF THE ONLY AND THE LOGGER’S SOCIAL CLUB
THE RAMP CAM AT THE SMILING BUDDHA SKATEPARK
A COMPETITIVE MARKET FOR STREET CIGARETTES
THE GOOD WORKS OF THE PORTLAND HOTEL SOCIETY
THE INCOMPARABLE INTERIOR OF THE OVALTINE CAFE
BARGAIN HUNTERS COMBING THE PIGEON PARK STREET MARKET
THE CRUEL AND UNUSUAL ASSHOLERY OF SOME OF THE STREET-LEVEL DRUG DEALERS
A NETWORK OF ALLEYWAYS THAT ARE BEST AVOIDED
SWEET DUDS AT COMMUNITY & THE FROCK SHOPPE
OLD, RESPECTFUL GUYS WHO YELL “KIDS ON THE BLOCK” WHENEVER PEOPLE WALK PAST WITH CHILDREN

what-to-eat-and-drink

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KOREAN PANCAKES AT THE DUNLEVY SNACKBAR
CHICKPEA BURGERS AND KALE CAESARS AT RAINIER PROVISIONS
BEEF DIP SANDWICHES AND HOUSE LAGER AT PAT’S PUB
BEAN TO BAR AND CUP CHOCOLATE & COFFEE AT EAST VAN ROASTERS
GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES AT THE OVALTINE CAFE
AVO ON TOAST WITH EARL GREY TEA AT NELSON THE SEAGULL
JERK FRIES & RUM FLIGHTS AT CALABASH
PRETZEL SAMBOS & BEER FLIGHTS AT BITTER TASTING ROOM
CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE AWFUL AWFUL AT SAVE ON MEATS
CRISPY CHICKEN W/ FRIED RICE AND THE VEGGIE PHO AT HANOI PHO
CHICKEN WINGS & VITELLO TONNATO AT PIDGIN

cool-things-of-note

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- In 1917, the Food Floor in Woodwards at Hastings & Abbott was the largest of its kind in the world.

- Vancouver’s City Hall was formerly located next to Carnegie Centre at Main and Hastings.

- The bell at St. James’ Church (then on Powell and Main) was, for many, the warning siren of the Great Fire in 1886; the melted remnants can be found at the Vancouver Museum.

- The First Nations name for Crab Park (Portside) is Lucklucky, meaning “Grove of Beautiful Trees”. The name “Crab” originates from the Create a Real Available Beach (CRAB) initiative by DTES residents in the early 1980s.

- In 1989 Vancouver launched North America’s first needle exchange program in an effort to promote harm reduction for residents of the Downtown Eastside. In 2003 North America’s only legal supervised injection site, Insite, was founded.

- The multi-height, 45 ft. wide half-pipe at the Smiling Buddha was built using the bones of several historic Vancouver skate ramps, including the original Richmond Skate Ranch and the Expo ’86 vert ramp.

things-we've-seen

DINER | Inside The New “Save On Meats” Diner & Butcher Shop (Opening Tomorrow)

February 13, 2014 

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by Andrew Morrison | After a lengthy renovation/downsizing break that included a temporary pop-up in the original Boneta space at 1 West Cordova, Save On Meats is set to reopen tomorrow morning (Friday, February 14th) at 43 West Hastings, right where it has been since long before the Peloponnesian War. Expect the diner to launch with a brand new menu at 7am with the butcher shop – which has been radically/suitably reduced in size to more manageable proportions – opening a little later at 10am. Work on the incubator kitchen (for small business and VCC) is already well underway (snapshots of both below).

We checked in on the progress during the day and followed up later, just as a group of artists were christening the new space with their works and the first bites of a friends and family feast were being enjoyed. It doesn’t look all that different from the previous Save On Meats, save for the 45 new, Save On-related artworks on the walls (including a sweet pair of custom-designed Converse kicks), and a flip-counter that adds up the number of sandwiches that have been served to those in need thanks to Save On Meats’ sandwich token program. There’s also the favourite tie of the well remembered Jess Nichol, a local barman who passed away in the summer of 2011, folded inside a framed portrait of him hanging in a place of prominence above the bar. Oh, and plenty of Persephone beer. Even at breakfast. See you in the morning?

IMG_5755IMG_5643IMG_8508IMG_5654IMG_5655IMG_5657IMG_5663Mark Brand | Save On MeatsIMG_5666IMG_5667IMG_5678IMG_5670IMG_5668IMG_5685IMG_5686IMG_5690IMG_5692IMG_5693IMG_5694IMG_5695IMG_5696IMG_8521IMG_5698IMG_5708IMG_5710IMG_5711IMG_5715IMG_5772IMG_5717IMG_5753IMG_5723IMG_5727IMG_5761IMG_5732IMG_5762IMG_5745IMG_5767Burger Time at Save On MeatsIMG_5699IMG_5779IMG_5783IMG_5786

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

GOODS | “Bambudda” Now Dishing Out Its Special A La Carte Chinese New Year Menu

February 5, 2014 

Gastown’s Bambudda is located at 99 Powell Street in Vancouver, BC | 604-428-0301 | www.bambudda.ca

Gastown’s Bambudda is located at 99 Powell Street in Vancouver, BC | 604-428-0301 | www.bambudda.ca

The GOODS from Bambudda

Vancouver, BC | Bambudda is serving its special a la carte duck themed Chinese New Year dishes until Sunday, February 9th. Eggplant lettuce wraps, bbq duck buns, duck gizzards and duck breast with tea smoked jus along with 3 delicious New Years cocktails are being plated. Here’s wishing everyone a healthy and prosperous Year of the Horse! Learn more about the restaurant after the jump… Read more

SEEN IN VANCOUVER #484 | Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Gets Offer Of Help From Strip Club

February 1, 2014 

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Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was ticketed by the RCMP last night for jaywalking in Burquitlam. According to reports, he’s ”shocked” and “embarrassed” by the $109 ticket, which he instinctively (but incorrectly) called “a waste of taxpayer’s money”. Lucky for him our own No. 5 Orange strip club is offering jaywalking ticket validation this week (as evidenced by the sign pictured above), though he probably gets enough jaywalking ticket validation to eat at home…

EVERYTHING SEEN IN VANCOUVER

GOODS | The Chinatown Experiment Is Set To Host New Series Of Pop Ups This Month

January 29, 2014 

The Chinatown Experiment is located at 434 Columbia St. in Vancouver’s vibrant Chinatown | chinatownexperiment.com

The Chinatown Experiment is located at 434 Columbia St. in Vancouver’s vibrant Chinatown | chinatownexperiment.com

The GOODS from The Chinatown Experiment

Vancouver, BC | January was a fantastic month! Blumin Warehouse, Sincerely Slow, and our pop-up workshops were huge successes thanks to your support, Vancouver. February provides opportunities to hide from the winter doldrums and experience some of Vancouver’s finest emerging artists. From a Ben Barber solo exhibition and an art + design show to a Spanish inspired tapas gallery cafe, there’s plenty popping up on Columbia St. this month. Take a look after the jump… Read more

GOODS | Barman Justin Darnes Joins The Front Of House Team At Gastown’s Pidgin

January 29, 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 | Gastown’s Pidgin is pleased to announce the addition of Justin Darnes to their front of house team. Former barman of Savoy American Bar at London’s Savoy hotel and head bartender at House Guest Supper Club and George Ultra Lounge, Darnes brings over fourteen years experience and an abundance of creativity to the bar.

Hailing from England, Darnes joins Pidgin with a resume boasting experience behind the wood of some of the world’s most reputable bars. His background includes stints as bar manager at London Design Week and the Cannes Film Festival, as well as being a top graduate of the Absolut Pro Academy and Bacardi ‘Pourfection’ Pro Bartending program. A longtime consultant and the creator of the world’s first 100% biodynamic cocktail, Darnes brings a wealth of innovation and experience to Pidgin’s bar program. Read more

GOODS | Gastown’s “Bambudda” Launches New Lunch Service Today (BBQ Pork Buns!)

January 23, 2014 

Gastown’s Bambudda is located at 99 Powell Street in Vancouver, BC | 604-428-0301 | www.bambudda.ca

Gastown’s Bambudda is located at 99 Powell Street in Vancouver, BC | 604-428-0301 | www.bambudda.ca

The GOODS from Bambudda

Vancouver, BC | We’re very excited to provide the neighbouring businesses in Gastown and the downtown core a new lunch option. Service will be on Thursdays and Fridays only from noon – 2pm with plans to extend the hours when summer arrives. We have a few different items that are planned for the lunch menu only. The eggplant lettuce wraps, squid salad and bbq pork buns will also be available. Reservations can made at bambudda.ca. Learn more about the restaurant after the jump… Read more

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