Commercial Drive

9062788567_ec40da4e6e_b

[flickrset id="72157643232635374" thumbnail="square" photos="" overlay="true" size="large"]

The aptly named Commercial Drive is the most popular street in Grandview-Woodlands, a wh. It got its start in Vancouver’s own beginnings as a lengthy trackway for dragging felled logs down to the waterfront. An 1890′s streetcar line connecting New Westminster to Vancouver ensured its rise as a small business high street, and eventually earned it its name-change from Park Drive to Commercial Drive. It had it ups and downs between the wars as its peripheral blocks were filled in with houses, and it wasn’t until the 1950′s that its present day cultural character would begin to metastasize. Post-war Italian immigration and an increasingly heavy Italian business presence on Commercial Drive would result in the area garnering its “Little Italy” moniker. Later immigration from Portugal, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia added more diversity to the mix, as did a slow but vital trickle of artists, musicians, and politically activists. A distinctly permissive counter-culture had a lock on the neighbourhood by the 1980′s, and despite the creep of gentrification it has never really let go. Today, Commercial Drive is one of the most vibrant and culturally exciting streets in the city. A walk of its length, from Venables to Broadway, is always a enlivening breath of fresh air.

the-colour-palette

commercialpalette

On Commercial Drive at the moment (our HOOD palettes are ever-changing), we’re seeing several shades of incense amalgamated into one dun brown; high quality marijuana; Prado coffee tri-colour; aspirational Italian male Ferrari red and yellow golf shirts; yoga mat lavender; VW Type 2 van rust; Joe’s Cafe rainbow (six colours); summer day sidewalk.

here-you-will-find

12549535413_0c6c781a0c_b

LOTS OF MID-CENTURY MODERN AWESOMENESS AT ATTIC TREASURES
CUSTOMERS SHAZAMMING WHATEVER RECORD IS SPINNING AT AUDIOPILE
PLENTY OF GROWN-UP SUPER PRIVATE FUN TIME TOYS AT WOMEN’S WARE
SHOP KEEPER & CAFE OWNER SENSITIVITY TO “OUTSIDE FOOD AND DRINK”
BLACK VELVET PAINTING COLLECTION AT LITTLE MISS VINTAGE
SAUSAGE AND FISH SMOKE ON CAR FREE DAYS
WELCOMING QUEER LGBT COMMUNITY
THE CONSTANT THREAT OF HACKEYSACK
THE INTOXICATING INCENSE SMELL INSIDE (AND OUTSIDE) OF PARANADA TRADERS
HAPPY HARMLESS PEOPLE SMOKING MARIJUANA LIKE IT WAS LEGALISED IN THE REAGAN YEARS
BEDOUIN WORLD TRANCE WIZARD YOGA*
THE TIMELESSLY GARISH INTERIOR OF CAFE CALABRIA
HOMELESS DOGS IN NECKERCHIEFS GUARDING A LIQUOR STORE
MIDNIGHT MOVIES AT THE (LICENSED) RIO THEATRE
EVERYBODY WEARS PATCHOULI TUESDAY
BEER FETISHISTS SCHOOLING SERVERS AT BIERCRAFT
PEOPLE PEOPLE WATCHING THE PEOPLE WATCHERS ON THE PATIO AT HAVANA
SUNDAY AFTERNOON JAZZ AT TANGENT CAFE
MIDDLE-AGED ITALIAN MEN GOSSIPING OUTSIDE ABRUZZO CAPPUCCINO BAR
SKATEBOARD WHEEL VENDING MACHINE AT BLVD SKATESHOP

what-to-eat-and-drink

9203935047_756f861c5f_o

SCHNITZEL SANDWICHES AND GERMAN CHEESECAKE AT ANDY’S BAKERY
PAPUSAS FROM RICONCITO SALVADORENO
SAINT HONORE CAKE FROM FRATELLI’S BAKERY
THE FALAFEL AT DONAIR TOWN
WING WING CHINESE SAUSAGES FROM SOUTH CHINA SEAS TRADING CO. (ON VICTORIA DR.)
AL PASTOR TACOS AND COLD, SPICY, TAJIN SPICE-RIMMED MICHELADAS AT LA MEZCALERIA
COLD WHITE WINE AND FRESH OYSTERS AT MERCHANT’S
“LEMMY” POBLANO BRUNCH AT BANDIDAS
DIY ITALIAN SANDWICHES AT LA GROTTA DEL FORMAGGIO
UK-STYLE FISH & CHIPS AT WINDJAMMER’S
PEANUT BUTTER CUP AT BUMP & GRIND
BOMBER BEER AT BIERCRAFT
PROPER SAMOSAS AT SWEET CHERUBIN
HEATHER’S BUTTERMILK LOAVES AT UPRISING BREADS BAKERY (ON VENABLES ST.)
AUTHENTIC NEAPOLITAN PIZZAS AT VIA TEVERE (ON VICTORIA DR.)
COFFEE AND SUNDAY BRUNCH AT PRADO CAFE
EASTER COOKIES AT ELIZABETH’S BAKERY
JERK CHICKEN AT RIDDIM & SPICE
SPAGHETTI & RIBS AT NICK’S SPAGHETTI HOUSE
MONKEY’S LUNCH SMOOTHIES AT ETERNAL ABUNDANCE

cool-things-of-note

12549396865_569a022c6b_z

- The name “Grand View” is said to have originated from a hand-painted sign located on First Avenue in 1892.

- Commercial Drive started as a skid road for logs en route to the old Hastings Mill on Dunlevy.

- Ice hockey can be played year round at the Britannia Rink.

- Following World War II, many of Vancouver’s Italian-Canadian population migrated from Strathcona to Commercial Drive, leading to its nickname as “Little Italy”.

- In the Blvd Skateshop there is a gigantic photo reproduction of the 1986 Thrasher Magazine cover that put Vancouver’s skateparks on the world’s skateboarding radar. It features a young Chris Miller tucking a frontside air over one of the hips at Seylynn Bowl in North Van.

- Early Squamish settlers identified the southern section of Grandview-Woodland as Khupkhahpay’ay, which translates to “cedar tree”.

- Trout Lake (or Blackie’s Lake as it was originally called) is the only lake in the city of Vancouver.

things-we've-seen

* NOT A REAL THING

———————————————–

VANCOUVER LEXICON | Amsterdam

December 1, 2013 

5639364689_e193480aa7_b

Amsterdam | Store | A local headshop on West Hastings where patrons aren’t thrown out for smoking weed (just so long as they don’t ask where they can buy it). Though officially called the “New Amsterdam Cafe”, no one uses the “New” or the “Cafe”.

Usage: “I took my American friends to the Amsterdam and they left puddles on the floor.”

explore-the-lexicon

VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #209: It Rented Electric Scooters Made From Hemp

This-Cool-Electric-Scooter-Is-Made-of-Hemp-and

Since Vancouver’s Bike Share program looks like it’s finally happening, this is what should come next. The electric gizmo, dubbed the Be.e, goes from 0-50 kph in seven seconds and has a 60-90km range on a 2000-cycle battery that can be fully charged in less than four hours. Via Like Cool: “The body made of hemp and flax fibers that have been impregnated with a biologically derived resin. The result is lightweight, nippy and nimble—which is why similar technology is used in Formula 1 cars.” The cool thing is that the Be.e isn’t for sale in The Netherlands. They’re only available as rentals, and for a piddling $180 a month. It’s a natural fit for Vancouver. I mean…weed, flax, bio-resin, electric…and doesn’t the guy in the suit look like our Mayor? Well, he doesn’t really (head cropped accordingly), but make it happen just the same, Moonbeam!

OTHER CIVIC IMPROVEMENT SUGGESTIONS

VANCOUVER LEXICON | Dabs

February 14, 2013 

5640082540_02e4c54145_b

Dabs | Slang | Dabs are concentrated cannabis extracts that quickly get you really high. They’ve been growing in popularity on the West Coast for the last few years. Also known as “earwax” or “honey”.

Usage | “I’d do some dabs with you but I sort of want to be able to function like a normal human being for the rest of the day.”

explore-the-lexicon

Foreign Intelligence Brief #408: Prince Ea On Smoking Weed With The US President

September 7, 2012 

(via Laughing Squid) ”Smoking Weed With the President is a conscious rap song and recently launched fundraising campaign by Richard Williams (aka Prince Ea) of Make Smart Cool that aims to bring awareness to the marijuana legalization issue. Funds raised in the campaign will go to making a ‘professional and educational music video’ of the song.” It’s still a tidy effort. It would probably have more traction if it was Will.i.am’s follow-up to “Yes We Can”, but that dude is probably busy being a hologram somewhere. Note that Harper hates hip hop and thinks marijuana was created by the devil on a Sunday, so don’t expect the powers to be convinced up here.

Foreign Intelligence Briefing #405: When Barack Obama Smoked A Shit Ton Of Weed

A new book called Barack Obama: The Story has the skinny on the President’s glory days as “that dude” at every party’s weed circle…

“Barry also had a knack for interceptions. When a joint was making the rounds, he often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted “Intercepted!,” and took an extra hit. No one seemed to mind.”

Moral: if you love freedom and hate terror, bogart that joint.

Smoke Break #841: It’s Best Not To Rap About Smoking Weed If You Can’t Handle It

Derp. Blame it on the wallpaper (it’s totally tripping me out, too)…

If Weed Was Legal, What Would It Look Like At Whole Foods?

db5dbbee35_x

The marketing of marijuana in a legalised environment would make for an interesting opening for tapped in designers. It might be time for you creatives to open an office in Abbotsford…

Given the rapidly shifting attitudes toward the legalization of Marijuana and the growing support of medical marijuana use, Print Magazine recently asked some design firms to take a whack at designing what would be packaging for legal Marijuana cigarettes (yes, people… joints).

According to Print magazine, the statistics website FiveThirtyEight estimates that if public support continues to grow at its current pace, legalization could happen within 15 years.

Print Magazine contacted four firms; Lust, a graphic design practice in Amsterdam established by Thomas Castro, Jeroen Barendse, and Dimitri Nieuwenhuizen; the New York office of Base, which worked with its branches in Europe; the Oslo firm Strømme Throndsen, winner of the 2009 Award for Design Excellence for its flour packaging; and The Heads of State, a two-man operation run by Jason Kernevich and Dustin Summers in Philadelphia.

The brief was simple: What would a legal pack of marijuana cigarettes look like?

Take a look here.

9 Minutes With Local Politician & “Prince Of Pot” Marc Emery

MarcPressPhoto

Local politician and marijuana activist Marc Emery is best known as Canada’s “Prince of Pot”. An excerpt from his wiki: “He is the publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine, a founding member of the Freedom Party of Ontario, the Marijuana Party of Canada and the BC Marijuana Party, founder of the Iboga Therapy House and founder of Pot-TV. He ran for mayor of the city of Vancouver in 1996, 2002 and 2008.” Read the whole thing, as its a gooder (he was once arrested for selling 2 Live Crew CDs!).

He’s been making headlines around the world recently as he is currently under threat of extradition to the United States for selling marijuana seeds online. The punishment in Canada is a mere $200 fine (silly), while in the United States he could face 10 years in prison (silliest).

Emery and two employees were arrested five years ago by Canadian police working as stooges for George W. Bush’s Department of Justice. The move, in our opinion, was utter bullshit, setting a dangerous precedent that remains nothing short of a big fat dent in Canada’s judicial sovereignty. Our Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson, has been sitting on Emery’s extradition papers since the second week of January. The Conservative has yet to sign them, and we hope he never does. We suspect his pen’s restraint is pure politics, as his dooming signature likely (and rightly) wouldn’t go over well with Canucks both left and right.

In the meantime, over 12,000 Canadians have signed a petition asking that Emery not be sent to the States for something that is only a minor offense in Canada. Earlier this month, three MPs (1 Liberal, 1 NDP, 1 Conservative) came out strongly on his side. We hope more will follow, and sincerely wish him the best of luck. To help us understand who he is a little better, he answered all 60 of the questions that we posed to him this week. Read more

Denver Noodle Joint “Hapa” Co-Opts Stoners In Ad Strategy

November 9, 2009 

hapa

This is clever. A Colorado sushi grill (pardon?) and sake bar called “Hapa” (no relation to Vancouver’s Hapa Izakaya chainlet) is advertising their lunchtime noodle specials by mapping their locations in relation to medical marijuana dispensaries in downtown Denver and Boulder. When reached for comment, a representative of Vancouver stoners said “what?”

So What The Hell Does 4/20 Mean And Where Did It Originate?

Since we’re in the pot capital of the universe, you probably know that yesterday was 4/20. If not, don’t sweat it. 4/20 is all about 4:20pm, the time of day that is ritually observed by those who enjoy marijuana so much that they allow it to define their lifestyle. The every other evening “after the kids go to sleep” tokers could give a shit. Give it a day. Call it a name. Big deal. 4/20 is for the full-on stoners.

For these chronic types 4/20 can be every day, once a week, or whenever they remember, but at 4:20pm on the 20th day of the 4th month, the celebration takes on a mass appeal. Here at home Read more