It seems that just before before Christmas, Cadillac Fairview, the owner of Pacific Centre Mall, saw fit to let go 150 cleaning workers who lost their jobs just before Christmas. They were earning around $12 an hour with paid medical benefits. Meanwhile, the new contractors pay as little as $10.50 an hour, with few benefits (a living wage in Vancouver is $19.92 an hour, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives). So on December 21st, Unifor and Santa Claus brought the out-o-work cleaners to the mall’s food court for a flash mob performance of Christmas carols to bring attention to what they’ve had to go through at Christmas.
“We’re providing a bit of entertainment for the shoppers the last weekend before Christmas — but in a way that lets them know that for these workers, Christmas this year will be very difficult,” said Gavin McGarrigle, British Columbia Area Director for Unifor. “Cadillac Fairview says it has nothing to do with setting wage rates, even though up to 90 per cent of the value of any cleaning contract is labour,” McGarrigle said. “It’s the company’s decision to change contractors that is driving down wages and cost these cleaners their jobs.”
If you’d like to send messages of suppert to the cleaners, email fairnessforcleaners [at] unifor.org.
Last week we gave notice that Gastown’s Meat & Bread would be serving turducken sandwiches today and tomorrow. Just to be clear, that’s chicken stuffed in duck and then stuffed in turkey. It’s a culinary rarity, a carnivorous gourmand’s delight that’s seldom seen beyond the cloistered realm of the home kitchen and, very occasionally, artisan butcher shops. We could measure the incredible response that the post received in dry web statistics, but the real proof is in the line-up today, as evidenced in the Instagram shot above. We’re bummed that we missed out. See you in line tomorrow?
Our friends at MKDIR have just released a new video that romances Gastown’s Pidgin restaurant. It was clearly shot in summer (that light doesn’t lie), so expect to feel a slight tingling of longing when you press play.
The collaboration began last spring when Road 13 owners Pam and Mick Luckhurst brought winemaker J-M Bouchard to the eatery with dozens of tank and barrel samples of different grape varieties and aging methods. Together with Wildebeest co-owner James Iranzad, Wine Director Brooke Delves, and Sommelier Justin Everett, they sat down for a comprehensive tasting and blending session that would result in one light red (Gamay, Pinot Noir) and one Alsatian-inspired white (Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewürztraminer); both blended to complement chef Wesley Young’s cuisine.
Only 50 cases each of Wildebeest Red and Wildebeest White have been produced. For those that wish to take the Wildebeest experience home with them, a limited number of bottles will also be available at select private stores in the new year.
The good folks at Warren Lane Pictures documented the process in the video above.
Local dreamers Stewart Burgess and Julien Thomas have launched a campaign to have a public “parklet” inserted into the two parking spaces in front of the lovely Prado Cafe at 1938 Commercial Drive. The plan sees artist Jordan Bent creating an art piece for the parklet’s planter boxes (to be laser etched by Derek Gaw of the Laser Cutter Cafe) with the steel fabrication done by BCIT Ironwork students. The project has received $5000 in funding from Prado’s owner (yay, Sammy Piccolo!), $1000 from the Awesome Foundation, and a Parks Board Grant. They’re currently looking to raise the difference, some $3,500, via Kickstarter. If everything comes together like gravy, we can expect to see it open to the public this March.
by Robyn Yager | This week marks the opening of the long awaited Archive, the new retail adjunct to Revolver Coffee in Gastown. The Giannakos family hosted a party over the weekend, complete with copious amounts of meat, cheese, and Brassneck beer.
Archive will provide additional space for Revolver customers to sit and enjoy their coffees and give them the opportunity to learn and talk about coffee and coffee merchandise. With graphic identity by Post Projects and design by Craig Stanghetta and artist Ricky Alvarez, the expansion doubles the cafe’s capacity. Unlike Revolver, there are no four person booths in Archive. A long communal table runs the centre of the space instead, with a standing bar on the south side and individual seating in the window. Coffee merchandise and accessories are displayed on the cabinets opposite the standing bar, where one can browse various coffee brew methods, equipment, accessories, and resource books.
With the room painted almost entirely in black with the exception of the light wood cabinets, table, and bar, Archive is a completely different environment from Revolver; albeit still comfortable in its own right. The art installation that hangs above the standing bar sees the Dewey Decimal system broken up into ten framed art pieces; a testament to organization, systems, and an overall charming way to display the library classification system used in libraries around the world. Interestingly, it seems to run parallel to the way in which Revolver and its counterpart functions – in efficiency, organization, and elegance. A second art piece hangs on the north wall stating “Every one of us has all we need” in white acrylic letters with brown paper scored to give the piece texture.
Archive is open six days a week, Monday to Saturday, from 9am to 6pm.
by Robyn Yager | The popular Main Street consignment store Front & Company is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year by featuring four of their favourite displays in one collaborative window exhibit. Ranging from 1997 – 2008, the exhibit features a collection of white dresses made from paper, a glass waterfall, a lead submarine, paper cakes and delicacies of every size, all elaborate and stunning in thir detail. Well known for their beautiful and creative displays, Front & Company’s work rivals that of big timers like Holt Renfrew and The Bay.
Diana Li opened the store in 1993, starting out as a small vintage shop with accoutrements traditionally found in thrift shops. The next 20 years has see it grow into much more than Li could have ever dreamed, expanding into a consignment shop selling gently used clothes in addition to samples, new clothing, accessories, shoes, and all manner of eclectic gifts. A smaller novelty shop can be found next door that specializes in home wares, gifts, cards, baby items, and jewelry. So raise a glass with congratulations to Front & Company! Here’s to many more years as one of Vancouver’s best shops!
Our friends over at Warren Lane Pictures just sent us the finale episode of their Return To The Restaurant Rumble documentary series for Aprons For Gloves, the boxing tourney that pit Vancouver restaurant staffers against one another for a fantastic cause this past summer. They’ve done a wonderful job. The scene with Chris Dzaka and his parents made us choke the hell up, and Chopper had us blubbering like crazy. And with the recent fire at the East Side Boxing Club, the tears didn’t stop there. Sigh. It’s quite the emotional ride. You can donate to the fire fund here and watch the previous three episodes there.
If you’ve ever walked through the atrium from Water Street to Blood Alley in Gastown you’ve probably been a little seduced by Neighbour, the sweet-looking men’s clothing shop next to Boneta. The good folks at the brand new website Make Directory just directed us to a video they made that profiles the beautiful store and the tastes of its charming owner, Saager Dilawri. Give it a twirl.
There was a gnarly fire at Woodland Smokehouse at 485 Commercial Drive early this morning. Crews arrived at 5:00am to find “the fire had spread through the building and flames were rising out of the windows.” The business, which provides commissary kitchens to food trucks, workshops, and culinary start-ups, was launched by restaurateur Tyson Reimer and builder Ryan Murfitt in 2011. Many small food operations were germinated within, among them the now flourishing Cartem’s Donuterie and Earnest Ice Cream. The place played host to many events, including the Hillbilly BBQ during Craft Beer Week, and was the place of origin of the hot dogs served at the No. 5 Orange strip club. Woodland Smokehouse was fronted by a retail food shop and deli, and was home to the Eastside Boxing Club, which was resurrected with the help of Vancouver restaurant workers who raised money for it via Aprons For Gloves. We’re unsure of the extent of the damage, but by the looks of the photo above (supplied by reader N.A) and the ones we’ve seen through various news reports, it’s pretty bad. Here’s hoping that at least some of the equipment (see images below) can be salvaged. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Bummer all around.
Somewhere in the creative depths of Strathcona, several pieces of clothing are waiting in a tidy pile on the floor while these homemade beauties get their airy due in the autumn sun. Top marks, whoever you are!
We visited the first ever retail location of Lifetime Collective at 4386 Main St. yesterday with company founders Reid Stewart and Trevor Fleming. The new 800 sqft. shop – formerly Abe’s Furniture – will showcase ‘Lifetime Collective Men’s’ and ‘Uniform Standard by Lifetime’ Holiday 2013 collections, a selection from their ‘Lifetime Collective Women’s’ Fall/Winter 2013 line, along with a curated selection of magazines, books and housewares (including a ceramic mug collaboration by local Lindsey Hampton). The address will also house the company’s head office.
On opening night (tonight), the space – aka “Little Mountain Workshop” – will see cedar planters given life by our good friends at Victory Gardens, flanking window displays showcasing new wares, a modular feature wall (engineered by Trevor), mural works by Mark Warren Jacques, a photography installation by Jennilee Marigomen, a live musical performance by Reuben Bullock, and good times galore.
The brand, which has been in existence since 2002, started off – in a basement suite – as a collaborative group of artists and friends designing t-shirts for Vancouver’s skateboarding and snowboarding scenes. Today, they design clothes from head to toe for men and women around the world, all while maintaining the same collaborative ethos that drove them to where they are today. “We always wanted to have a shop but the circumstances never permitted,” says Stewart, who was also happy to show us (and share) lovely bottles of Lifetime’s collaboration with Tofino Brewing Company (label by Mark Warren Jacques).
Considering Lifetime’s success, they could have opened just about anywhere, so it’s great to see them right in their own wheelhouse, in a neighbourhood that several of their collaborators call home.
Opening hours will be 11am to 7pm, Monday to Saturday, and Sunday 12-5pm. We wish them well.
by Michelle Sproule | My fog alarm went off early this morning so I had a fun (if chilly) photo adventure around the city trying to find some pretty in the grey from Strathcona and the DTES to Stanley Park and English Bay. One of my favourite things about this weather phenomenon is how – with a dash of suspended disbelief – it tends to temporarily remove once familiar points of reference. You can ask yourself questions like: Is this calm water without horizon the start of a vast ocean or a mere duck pond? Does this beach ever stop? Will this road have an end, and if not, where does it lead? Is that building 50 storeys high or just 3? Such fleeting mysteries are only ever revealed to the patient, so not to me. I much prefer to take the riddles home, every time.