TEA & TWO SLICES | On Living Dangerously In A Nanny State With Terrible Newspapers


by Sean Orr | I apologise for my lack of posts last week. God forbid you had to read The Province all by yourself! My computer shut down on the same day as the Great Skytrain Crash of 2014. It turns out my little Macbook was also running the entire SkyTrain system. No wonder it was so slow!

I demand answers. I just don’t want to pay for them: TransLink to pay independent expert $1,200 a day to review SkyTrain outages. Apparently $1,200 gets you such Orwellian tidbits as: “We’re going to start to communicate out as you would in any travel what plans you need to make”. What?

Imagine being “put out on the street”? Oppenheimer park protest puts Powell Street Festival out on the street. Actually, if you bothered to ask the festival organizers, they voluntarily pulled out of the park in solidarity with the protesters. Gee, way to be bad at being a newspaper.

“We should get first dibs” – actual quote from an actual adult. Vancouver House tower makes enemies before it’s built by targeting Asian buyers. Wow, people hate when they’re not marketed to? “Vancouver House’s star architect, Bjarke Ingels, suggests the building is symbolic of ‘a giant curtain, at the moment of being pulled back to reveal the world to Vancouver and Vancouver to the world”. And behind that curtain? A xenophobic wizard named Oz who artificially inflates home-prices at will, forcing our little Dorothy of a fishing village to grow up beyond recognition. Click your heels Vancouver, because there’s no place like home.

But we will take your workers: BC and China sign MOU to allow foreign workers to expand LNG industry. Best comment: “What the hell did our grandparents and great grandparents fight WW2 for? I thought it was a war against communism?” Fascism, buddy. You mean fascism.

I hate it when they do that: Someone at the Fraser Institute accidentally blurted out a good idea. “Environmental and social benefits? Looking beyond narrow financial perspectives? Perish the thought!”

NHL: Climate change is going to cause serious problems for hockey. You know we’re in trouble when our sports leagues care more about the environment than our governments.

Taking sides: B.C. can be counted as a friend of Israel, says Premier Christy Clark. I’d say this was shocking but, you know, white settler colonialism and whatnot. I mean, it’s not like she cares what British Columbians think. To heck with us, right?

Nanny State alert: Call for physical barriers on the sea wall.

How does B.C.’s newly updated draft beer price minimum stack up against the rest of Canada? Spoiler alert: not so good.

Honour Bound: Survivors Totem Pole.

TEA & TWO SLICES | On Big Fat Payouts And “Trendy” $800 Bachelor Suites On Main St.


by Sean Orr | This is not an AC/DC reference: By the numbers: B.C. budget back in black. More money for welfare and teachers right? Wrong. More money for payouts. Smyth: B.C. finance minister should be more than just ‘disappointed’ about payments to public execs. The article doesn’t even mention Michael Graydon: B.C. Lottery Corp. wants $55,000 back from ex-CEO.

Debt Free BC. “The real policy problem in this province is not that we are failing to move to a debt free B.C. The policy problem is that we are incurring debt for things we don’t need”.

Related tweet of the day:


Why can’t EI be U and I? EI is not actually helping low-income Canadians. “The lowest-income group only receives around 16 per cent of the benefits depending on the year. The poor pay into EI while working, but they are less likely to collect benefits if they’re laid off.”

The 10 most endangered jobs of 2014: Mail carrier, newspaper reporter, lumberjack. Yeah? You forget cross border pot smuggler…

You too could live in an office lunch room of a call centre in Mumbai: $800 Trendy Main St. Furnished Bachelor. Remember, the street is trendy, not the apartment. Or you could live at 955 East Hastings, now rebranded as The Ballantyne, ironically evoking one of the most important labour battles in Vancouver’s history.

Are conservative think tanks aiming their big guns at Vancouver City Hall? Wait, they haven’t already?

Why settle for Vision Vancouver or the NPA?. You’re talking about TEAM right?

Chinese Advertisements creating controversy in West Vancouver. What do you expect from West Van, home of the British Properties, where it is still technically illegal to sell your home to a Chinese person?

Save Black Dog Video. Sorry, I gave all my money to the potato salad guy.

(Top image: coyote seen off the Olympic Village seawall last night)

TEA & TWO SLICES | On Secret Swimming Spots & The Joys Of Political Masturbation


by Sean Orr | In The Province newspaper: Point, Counter Lapointe. It’s comforting to see that our newspapers are reducing the local political landscape to a contest of retail store brands. Apparently, this election is Hill’s of Kerrisdale meets The Running Room versus Mountain Equipment Co-Op meets Moore’s Clothing for Men. As far as I’m concerned, all I see is a couple of bone monsters covered in flesh.

Hyperbole alert: Decision 2014: Another Nail in the Vision Vancouver Coffin. We all masturbate, but few of us do it so messily in the form of blog posts.

Spot me, bro: Vancouver’s ‘Spot Zoning’ Is Corrupting Its Soul. “The rules for development in Vancouver appear to have become: Go big and cough up lots of CAC, or go home…” I just coughed up a little CAC reading that sentence.

To be fair, our soul has been corrupt for a long time now. To wit: Square Watermelons Sell For $200 In Vancouver.

Related: get your pitchforks ready.

TL;DR: Why Canada isn’t immune to a U.S.-style housing crash.

Inevitable Tweet of the Day:

Vancouver officials crack down on ‘Beer Island’. It would suck if we had to change Scout’s Beer Island entry in the Lexicon to “By-law Island”. Clean your shit up!

Bored In Vancouver gets flack for revealing the locations of some of Vancouver’s not-so-secret swimming holes.

Graffiti on Dude Chilling Park sign cleaned. Yo dawg, I heard you like art so I’m putting a re-vandalized version of your fake sign next to your fake sign.

TEA & TWO SLICES | On Urban Noise & Old Journalists Who Have Never Smoked Weed


by Sean Orr | Traffic: British Columbians headed south on the road to legal weed will need to beware of a few potholes. Get it? Potholes!!! Apparently, The Province newspaper thinks you’re all the stupidest people on the planet. But then that’s nothing new. They also think that your pot dealer will try and upsell you to cocaine, or even meth. They probably got this notion from watching After-School Specials.

(Hilariously) related: Man buys legal recreational marijuana, loses job after media coverage. “I am number one and nobody can take that…” You and Nelly, my brother.

You too can be the most overrated rockstar in the entire world! Chad Kroeger’s former home in Abbotsford hits market for $9 million. Perhaps the City of Abbotsford could make this their new homeless shelter?

Meanwhile, New Affordable Housing Agency to address need for new homes, says Mayor. There is a need. Agency dismissed! “Agency to prioritize 2500 affordable homes for families of low, moderate income”. Here’s Wisemonkey and Pulp Fiction to clarify that for you:

Compass Card rollout delayed again. For some reason – like I’m a journalist or something – I had the bright idea of googling Cubic Corporation, the company responsible for Compass, and found this awesome slide show.

Is it any wonder that the military industrial complex wants in on this honeypot? Transit Police Report Riders to Immigration Nearly Every Day. That is so not fare. And here I was boycotting Arizona Ice Tea

Isn’t “urban noise” an oxymoron? Sounds of silence a challenge in Vancouver. No mention of that bloody noon O Canada horn that wakes me up every…er…morning. Or the Seabus horn. Or the Steam Clock. Or the garbage trucks at 6am. Or the United We Can alley cleaners. Or the Nine O’Clock Gun that scares my cat. Or the Gastown Grand Prix that is driving Lambos into ladies outside my house as I write this…

Injured B.C. cyclist posts photo on Facebook of SUV and driver that hit him. No, but bikes are the dangerous ones…

Related: Why Bikes Make Smart People Say Dumb Things.

Under Tariff 8, Barenaked Ladies would need 9,216 plays of “If I Had $1,000,000? to earn enough royalties to buy one box of Kraft Dinner. “But how many spins would they need for Steven Page to get a bag of cocaine”? – Trevor Risk

Canadian Dad Publishes Worst Concert Review Ever. That would be enough for a harmless chuckle if the author wasn’t also on the Polaris Prize jury (thanks to Alan Ranta for that one).

The Westender is funny? 11 things BuzzFeed has wrong about Vancouver.

TEA & TWO SLICES | On Civic Engagements & Railroading Through Our Neighbourhoods


by Sean Orr | Original city-builders vs. the new city builders: CP Rail orders Arbutus corridor community gardens, property, businesses to be removed. It’s rumoured that the trains will be outfitted to roll some coal.

And in other land-grab news: Will Conservatives pay a political price for handing over Granville Island to Port Metro Vancouver? A little background on the Granville Island Trust.

Transit police don’t like it when you tweet about fare checks. They’d rather you join this Facebook group! “We remove hundreds of criminals from the system each year after finding them without fare”. Um, not paying your fare is not a crime. Why am I surprised a cop doesn’t know the law? Also, this.

ESL students in the majority at more than 60 schools in Metro Vancouver. “Use our interactive tool to compare rates of ESL, special needs and gifted children”, so you can decide the appropriate level of outrage that you should be feeling!

Alex G. Tsakumis: Breakdown of Gregor Robertson’s Marriage. “In Vancouver, the fifth estate does not trade on the vicissitudes of human misery for the content of their publication, or broadcast outlet, and neither do members of the political class…” Me, too! I’ll trade on a tweet instead…


Meanwhile, Activists take control of COPE, filling most executive positions. Is “activist” in this context supposed to be an epithet? Maybe the federal NDP could learn a thing or two, instead of praising Tony Blair’s Third Way.

Will new agency help Vancouver’s affordable housing crisis? ”We have some of the worst housing prices in the world in Vancouver. If we want to deal with that, we have to be innovative and quick on our feet…” Um, I’m pretty sure you guys were elected like…6 years ago. Getting on your feet would be a fine start.

Related 1: Tear Down Families: Rentals Tight, a Survival Strategy.

Related 2: Twitter parody account of the week: Trent Boderian.

Bonus: Vancouver Building Age Map.

TEA & TWO SLICES | On Stumblebums And Observing The Real Manbuns Of Vancouver


by Sean Orr | Pete McMartin in the Vancouver Sun: Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is a ghetto made by outsiders. Did he not watch the video that accompanied his own article? Also, what the hell is a “stumblebum”, derisive anti-FDR slang from the 1930s? “Studies show scattered social housing sites are the healthiest alternative for at-risk populations”. Yeah, but studies also show that not showing the studies that don’t show what you are trying to show lead to the general public never trusting the media. Again, no mention of frozen welfare rates. No mention of the cancellation of the Canada Assistance Plan in ’93. Yet he does have some fairly nuanced points, especially regarding the scourge of NIMBYism. What usually fails in the decentralization argument is an awareness that the DTES fought for its own survival when governments and businesses had abandoned it and that the groups that acted as a band-aid in the interim are not the enemy.

Not nuanced: Money wasted on Vancouver’s DTES. Short version: ex-cop and “security expert” writes a dumb column in the 24hrs newspaper without reading any of the studies that show housing the homeless is less expensive than the status-quo. “The open-air drug bazaar in the East Hastings area that has been prevalent for the past 15 or 20 years didn’t exist when the Vancouver Police Department had control of the streets”. Not true. It seems the role of the police in the author’s eyes looks less like the one that allowed Robert Pickton to flourish and more like this: Heroic NYPD Officer Pursues Knaves on Horseback, Rescues Fair Maiden.

Meanwhile, Young tenants energize Chinatown. Hmm, I wonder if there might possibly be a synonym here for “energize”…

Check Out Vancouver’s Clever Response to Other Cities’ Mean Homeless ‘Repellents’. No thanks. Homes, not benches.

Another day, another Yellow Scare article: Why Vancouver housing is unaffordable and what to do about it. Because no white suburbanite has ever bought and flipped a house, ever. Right?

Related: Mortgages Aren’t Debt, Nearly Half Of Canadians Say. A terrifying prospect.

We’ve even turned it into a fun game: Shelley Fralic: New reality show aims to save Vancouver heritage homes. A great idea for sure, but will it be able to compete with The Real Manbuns of Vancouver?

Regarding the Tsilhqot’in Nation decisionThe claims are just. But the Supreme Court ruling means chaos. “There are British Columbians who will say, ‘Hooray!’ These are the sort who believe that money comes from banks and food comes from supermarkets and don’t understand what pays for health care”. Wrong. We know that our food comes from the land that we stole and that health care comes from governments, not outside corporate interests. As The Tyee writes: “Canada’s timber and petroleum alone have been valued at $33 trillion, yet for some reason the second most wealthy country in the world after Saudi Arabia cannot afford postal delivery, the CBC or teachers”. It’s about ending corporate giveaways, not all resource extraction ever. As Ian Mulgrew comments, “as long as the government negotiates in good faith and is willing to cut a reasonable cheque, any mine, industrial development or pipeline can proceed”.

Supreme Court Of Canada: Wal-Mart Must Pay For Closing Unionized Store. Wow, it’s almost like the justice system is working or something. Too bad the same can’t be said for south of the border.

While I tend to shy away from nationalism, this guy makes me pretty proud to be Canadian: Rob Ford gets into heated confrontation with topless jogger on Canada Day.

The only Vancouver Observer article I have ever actually read and enjoyed: I got a book contract! And I bet you can, too.

TEA & TWO SLICES | On Spoiling Dive Bars & The Smoking Ruin Of Our Weed Economy


by Sean Orr | Peter MacKay’s emails to staff: Moms change diapers, Dads form leaders. Women everywhere would be outraged, that is if they weren’t so busy running around changing diapers and making home-cooked meals…

Related: Are you suffering from Rushing Woman’s Syndrome? Yes, The Province newspaper just pathologized the modern mother. It is a sickness, ladies, and you need psychological help (and no, it has nothing to do with sustaining a a lifestyle of conspicuous consumption). Related tweet:

Eureka! Participants with mental illness, addictions thrive after being given apartments: five-year national study. They needed five years to come to that conclusion? “The findings mean residents should not be afraid of social housing mixed into neighbourhoods throughout the city”. The findings also revealed that residents should not be total NIMBY assholes who only ever look out for their best interests and harbour irrational fears about the value of their property.

Railtown: On Track to Gentrify? Wherein Vancouver Magazine reveals itself to be a recently divorced 55 year old man in a leased Porsche sadly cruising the DTES after being passed over for the role of Captain Obvious

Legalized marijuana in Washington state could hurt B.C.’s multibillion-dollar pot economy. Our mainstream media finally figures it out four years after Douglas Haddow did.

Or, What I Learned About Capitalism By Walking Into A Starbucks And Screaming ‘Capitalism!’ At The Barista Over And Over Until They Had To Call The Police.

“You can be rich too, you just gotta believe really hard”: S**t Harper Did Punks Tories With Action Plan Parody Website.

Smoked bannock and mirrors: City of Vancouver formally declares city is on unceded Aboriginal territory. “Coun. Andrea Reimer of Vision Vancouver introduced the motion and said she isn’t concerned about possible legal ramifications of declaring the city is on unceded territory because Vancouver is not involved in treaty negotiations and has no such authority over land”. Which is to say the move is about as impactful as declaring Vancouver a unicorn-friendly sanctuary.

More good news that I’m too cynical to properly enjoy: Supreme Court expands land-title rights in unanimous ruling. “If the Aboriginal group does not consent to the use, the government’s only recourse is to establish that the proposed incursion on the land is justified”. Justified, eh? So…like, a pipeline?

Vancity Buzz tries its hand at Columbusing with potentially terrifying consequences: 8 Must-try Dive Bars in Vancouver. Jackalope a dive bar? They just opened a couple of months ago and serve kale eggs benedict, craft beer, and Belgian waffles. What’s wrong with you? Try West Bar, Grand Union, Funky Winkerbeans, The Savoy, Balmoral, or The Empress. Or don’t. Actually, please don’t.

Canada Scraps Work Permit Requirements for Touring Musicians. Now if we can only get the USA to reciprocate.

Bonus: SFU Profs reading mean reviews about themselves.

TEA & TWO SLICES | On Making A Mess Of “Happy Hour” And Spilling Irony Everywhere


by Sean OrrOil spill clean-up ship hit sandbar en route to government news conference in Vancouver. What the article doesn’t mention is that the ship accidentally spilled 36 megatons of unrefined irony.

Postmedia Gets Away With Running Unmarked Oil Advertorials. I’d hardly say they got away with it. It made it onto Tea & Two Slices after all! “Readers expect news organizations to maintain their first loyalty to citizens…” Well, there’s your first mistake right there.

A relationship cut short in B.C. with one fell swoop by Enbridge. The author makes it seem like the Haisla and Enbridge were walking down the aisle in holy matrimony until some jerk stood up and yelled “Yo, I fucked the bride! Hahaha!”

Why Are BC’s Natural Resource Officers Buying Bulletproof Vests? Especially when what they really need are leaflet-proof vests.

BC’s formal response to the mayors’ transit plan. Reads like: “Aw, thank guys for cute report but forgot include MOAR LANES…”

The Problem Isn’t Vancouver’s Astronomical Housing Costs— It’s the People Who Buy Them. I only glanced through this Op-Ed because I first “Command-F” searched it for mentions of CMHC, mortgage, wages, and welfare and found no matches. Also, the author is dreaming if be thinks Amazon will pay all its Vancouver employees 100k.

A premium on logic: Unhappy hour comes to B.C. pubs that must now raise prices. Ah yes, the old bureaucratic cash grab under the guise of public safety. As if hipsters and winos aren’t just going to drink in the alley behind the bar instead…

Quote of the week from Nicholas Ellan:

Tonight the City of Vancouver held its first annual Awards of Excellence. Two “Freedom of the City” awards for special achievement were presented: one to Judy Graves for her tireless and selfless work as a housing advocate for Vancouver’s homeless; and one to Jim Pattison, for being rich as fuck.

I love that this is a thing: Grouse Grind: Mountaintop resort profits from a trail paid for by Metro Vancouver taxpayers.

TEA & TWO SLICES | On Street Vending & No Money For Teachers (Because Oysters)


by Sean Orr | Deceit on the half-shell: B.C. taxpayers on the hook for iTunes downloads, oysters and Hooters. Who uses iTunes anyway? Typical elitist. Why cant she just download tracks illegally like everyone else?

All that money for shellfish, and nothing for teachers? What B.C. Public School Classrooms Look Like Without Stuff Bought By Teachers.

Remember that this teacher’s strike is really Christy’s strike: Premier Christy Clark involved in BCTF strike strategy. Meanwhile, Hodor Supports B.C. Teachers.

And with that I will reward you with The 14 Best Hodor Quotes From “Game Of Thrones”.

Meanwhile, Public funding of private schools is a smart policy. I literally can’t even right now.

United We Can bottle depot moves, street vending increases. “The recent relocation of the United We Can bottle depot was expected to reduce congestion and street vending on the block where the depot was located (…) instead, the depot’s move has been followed by an increase in street vending and other illegal activity…” Oh, weird. So…if people can’t supplement their criminally low income from Welfare by legitimate means they’ll do so by illegal means? OK, has anyone involved in this process ever taken, like, one sociology class? Did they not see that coming? I mean, when will you learn?

NPA caucus is expelling school trustees Ken Denike, Sophia Woo. Woo! Shame on them for saying a proposed board policy designed to address the bullying of children based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity would hurt real estate prices.

But then again, shame on The Globe and Mail for saying it would help real estate prices: How rainbow flags on Vancouver schools would boost real estate.

If you think co-opting the oppression of any marginalized group to fuel economic self-interest you might need a primer: Gender Diversity 101.

Speaking of marginalized: Aboriginals “(cannot) claim to have ancestors who were the ‘first’ people,” says letter to the editor that ran twice. Yeah, I mean, clearly, Australopithecus were the first people…

Related: A Tribe Called Red Accused Of Racism Over ‘Caucasians’ T-Shirt. Oh, I see their talking about…duhm duhm duuuuh, reverse racism!

Set up to fail: Police watchdog team turning on their master — is the IIO already doomed?. Who investigates the people who investigate the investigators? “Rosenthal explained that as a young lawyer he quickly gravitated toward white-collar crime and ‘holding the most powerful to account.’” The picture they ran with the story is the wrong one. It should be this one.

World Cup of Losers: Fight breaks out during a World Cup game. That headline should read: Granville Street breaks out during a World Cup game. Hmm, maybe they should have watched the game at a weed dispensary instead.

Honour Bound: Forest and the Femme Society takes Downtown Eastside women to the great outdoors.

TEA & TWO SLICES | On Homeless Spikes & ‘Real Housewives’ As Civic Embarrassments


by Sean Orr | The power of positive negative thinking: Why are so many Vancouver-area yoga studios closing their doors? Or, have we reached peak yoga? Is this a truer economic barometer than the housing market? Should we all get into child’s pose now? Omm….

Coming to a neighbourhood near you: Anti-homeless ‘spikes’ cause controversy in Montreal. Perhaps all our out-of-work yogis can start teaching the homeless the ancient yogic art of lying on a bed of nails.

Listen to this: Reality Check – The Homeless Sanctuary That Is Vancouver — in which Bruce Allen of CKNW embarrasses himself with feverish malice for the city’s less fortunate. Vancouver has a drug problem, Bruce, but blaming addicts and the homeless (the real victims of the drug war) is asinine. Ignoring frozen welfare rates, the lack of a national housing plan, the cost of living, renovictions, residential school abuse, and the myriad other reasons as to why someone might become or remain homeless in Vancouver is reckless, feckless, and the kind of thing that leads to violence.

Meanwhile, Real Housewives of Vancouver star Mary Zilba doesn’t think Tuesday’s shooting is related to the recent East Van shooting of Mia Deakin – the daughter of one of her fellow Real Housewives of Vancouver cast members. But she did say that the latter was related to gang activity, and that has opened her up to a defamation lawsuit, about which nobody will ever give a shit.

Are you happy that average Canadians only start working for themselves on June 10? Hmm, interesting question you’ve posed there, corporate newspaper! Maybe a more appropriate one would read as follows: are you happy that most corporate CEOs start working for themselves on January 29th?

B.C. group pitches $10-billion ‘environmentally responsible’ refinery. Does this just expose the contradictions inherent in green capitalism, or is it the result of massive public pressure and a step in the right direction? (Asking rhetorical questions makes me sound smart).

B.C. lawyers vote against TWU law school. Question: if lawyers are the scum of the earth, what does that make Christian lawyers?

Even the wolves are on island time, man: B.C.’s Island wolves are way more laid back than ‘big buggers’ on the grizzly-competing mainland.

Glove it or leave it: Burnaby cat burglar stealing gloves.

Honour Bound: Culver City Salads Goes Solar.

TEA & TWO SLICES | On Hidden Marijuana And Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangster!


by Sean Orr | Why is that all the very best headlines start with “Cops not pleased with…”? It’s a mystery, but Cops not pleased with Vancouver’s hidden weed. But…it’s not illegal if it’s free, right?

Women warned to steer clear of gangsters after Real Housewives of Vancouver star’s daughter injured in drive-by. Yeah, ok, but maybe stop making them so damn desirable. I mean, did you see the guy’s hair and the size of his wristwatch? I mean, woof! There’s probably something about the logic of late-stage capitalism here, but Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangster (except for the part when they shoot you).

The oracles at the Vancouver Sun can see the future and there’s absolutely nothing to worry about: Opinion: Pipeline fear factor is inappropriate. Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Pipeline. Elsewhere in the same paper? Leaking natural gas wells spew methane, report warns.

There is absolutely no chance that “a wind-driven plume fire, if the gas hits an ignition source, would kill everyone within 1.6 kilometres and severe third-degree burns will be experienced for up to 3.5 kilometres”: Lions Bay council opposes LNG tankers.

I Asked You, Tyee Reader, Is My Generation Screwed?. I’ll let Paul Krugman answer that one (via Pricetags):

Well, think about global warming from the point of view of someone who grew up taking Ayn Rand seriously, believing that the untrammeled pursuit of self-interest is always good and that government is always the problem, never the solution. Along come some scientists declaring that unrestricted pursuit of self-interest will destroy the world, and that government intervention is the only answer. It doesn’t matter how market-friendly you make the proposed intervention; this is a direct challenge to the libertarian worldview. And the natural reaction is denial — angry denial. Read or watch any extended debate over climate policy and you’ll be struck by the venom, the sheer rage, of the denialists.

Related? Post-Hipster — A New Brand of (Tr)illegitimate Hu$tle. He forgot about #normcore.

Everything is going to be alright (sic): Vancouver Boomers Sitting on $163 Billion of Mortgage Free Property. Supply side economics will save us all!

Which MLAs Send Kids to Private Schools? We Asked. More of this please, Tyee, and less of Thanks to My Grandma’s Robot.

I don’t know what this is, but it sounds interesting: American Federation of Musicians in NYC fines the entire Vancouver Executive Board 50K each.

TEA & TWO SLICES | On Bad Heroin And The Steamy Back Pages Of The Georgia Straight


by Sean Orr | The writing on the wall: Police raid house in East Vancouver, with guns drawn, on pretext of anti-pipeline graffiti. Right…it was about the graffiti and not monitoring spying on activists. Hide your “particular coloured” baseball caps, black knapsacks, black hoodies, and dark jeans, folks.

The new sex work legislation explained. So many more Q’s than A’s. Will the criminalization of clients make sex work more dangerous? Will escorts pull a Heidi Fleiss and expose all the politicians who use their services? And what will happen to the Georgia Straight’s adult classifieds section now that advertising sexual services is illegal?

What happens when you shut-down an underground safe-injection site? Vancouver Police issue warning after seven heroin overdoses today in DTES. Related: Judge grants injunction allowing doctors to prescribe heroin to group of Vancouver addicts.

Vancouver’s NPA keeping its mayoral candidate’s name secret for two more weeks. We will know who the new candidate is when the smoke from the ballots turns white.

Everyone’s a critic. It’s called Twitter. Nobody’s a critic: Who holds journalists to account in Canada In the words of a wise man named Cartman, “I’m doing the best I can…”

For example, look at how the CBC uses moral relativism and sinophobia in this headline: Marine areas better protected by China than Canada, report finds. But hey, at least we’re better than India, right?

Everyone’s talking about the weather: The Canadian Government has Forbidden Meteorologists to Discuss Climate Change. Speaking of hurricanes: Hurricanes With Female Names Kill More People, Study Finds. #yesallwomen

Tar sands and the patriarchy are irrelevant: calling for a new campus activism. In other words: “The way you talk about broad sociopolitical issues is distracting from bullshit gimmicky party events at our particular educational institution, so shut up until you can do it in a way that I like” – Reid Blakely.

World’s first off-leash cat park to open in Vancouver. When satire hurts. Like when it actually physically hurts.

This has got to be the third most popular post of all-time on Vancouver is Awesome: This is the best stop sign in the Lower Mainland. Period.

SCOUT LIST | Ten Things That You Should Absolutely Do Between Now And Next Week


by Michelle Sproule | The main objective of this website is to scout out and promote the things that make Vancouver such a sweet place to be. We do this with an emphasis on the city’s independent spirit to foster a sense of connectedness within and between our communities, and to introduce our readers to the people who grow and cook our food, play the raddest tunes in our better venues, create our most interesting art, and design everything from what we wear to the spaces we inhabit. The Scout List is our carefully considered, first rate agenda of super awesome things that we’re either doing, wishing that we could do, or conspiring to do this week. You can also check it out in the Globe & Mail, from our calendar to theirs…and yours!

CELEBRATE | A parklet is such a clever (and adorable) concept. It’s a tiny green space (roughly the size of two street side parking spaces) that transforms a street into a gathering place. What an ingenious way to repurpose little slabs of concrete and increase connectedness and community at the same time. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see these pop up at regular intervals around the city? If you’re curious about how a park the size of a few parking spaces feels, looks, and impacts a community, head to 21st & Main where The French Quarter Parklet will officially launch this Friday. “Occupying two street side parking spaces just west of Main Street on 21st Avenue, Mount Pleasant’s newest public space will provide a destination for passersby to rest, relax and ruminate while enjoying the sites and sounds of the vibrant neighbourhood…Key features include timber planters and benches” And here’s the extra awesome bit: it’s located right beside a chocolate shop. Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France sponsored the development of the Parklet and will play a big role in Friday’s celebration. To wit, Anne-Genevieve Poitras, the shop’s owner and chocolatiere, has planned an offering of French sweets to compliment the day. Expect gelato, organic cotton candy, chocolates and Liege waffles. I can imagine it now: a sun-dappled afternoon, a good book, and a fresh (chocolate dipped?) waffle on a beautifully designed bench in pint-sized Mount Pleasant park. Vancouver can be pretty great. Congratulations to all involved in making this project come to life.
Friday, June 6 | 3-9pm | 198 East 21st Ave | DETAILS

RIDE | Velopalooza is a two week-long community-run bike fun fest that goes down from June 5th to the 22nd. With close to 70 events (rides, tours and meet-ups) planned, this is a good time to get your bike out of hibernation and back on the road. This week you can participate in the Logan’s Run Scavenger Hunt, a DIY Soundbike Ride, something called Soft Serve Sunday (presented by East Van Bike Polo), or just take an easy seawall cycle.
June 5 – 22 | Various times and locations | Free | DETAILS

MAKER FAIRE | Mini Maker Faire hits the PNE Forum this weekend. A cross between a science fair, a community fair, and a farmer’s market, Maker Faire will have everything from tiny houses and Lego to Makerbrarians and all manner of robots. This is an event that celebrates our power to make, remake, and create things, so clear your schedule, snap up a few tickets and roll up your sleeves for a fun day of exhibits, demonstrations, performances, and displays. Whether its pyrotechnics or food growing or something in between, you’ll be sure to find something within that inspires!
June 7 + 8 | 10am-6pm | PNE Forum (2901 E Hastings St) | $15 | DETAILS

FASHION | Lauren and Lyndsey from local clothing company Hey Jude are opening a summer boutique pop-up this week. This team really knows what they’re doing when it comes to curating seasonal selections of ‘on trend’ clothing and accessories. Veterans of the vintage pop-up scene in Vancouver, their style hits the intersection of classic and contemporary, structured and bohemian. Expect to see silks and cottons, pastels, metallic and monochromatic neutrals, as well as one-of-a-kind accessories and jewelry pieces. Good news, boys: this time around Hey Jude will also have menswear on offer.
Now – Sunday, June 8 | 11-7pm Daily | 196 Kingsway (@ 10th Ave) | DETAILS

PAUSE | Sunday is World Oceans Day and there are a multitude of ways to consider something that covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface and contains 97 percent of the planet’s water. Most obviously, you can take some time out to connect with nature by heading to a beach and touching base with the real, salty thing, but you could also take a trip to the Aquarium where Dr. Peter Ross (the Aquarium’s director of the new Ocean Pollution Research Program) and Dr. Hans Schreier (professor in the Faculty of Land & Food Systems at the University of British Columbia) will talk about how we can protect our oceans (and particularly our marine mammals) from urban water pollution. Finally, consider an hour-long workshop at The Homeseader’s Emporium where there will be a homemade green-cleaning workshop that will instruct participants on how to make simple, ocean-safe cleaners for the kitchen, laundry, and bathroom. This workshop will include demos and visual aids of various recipes, complete with hands-on testing and evaluation.
LECTURE | Sun, June 8 | 6:30pm | Vancouver Aquarium | $10.50 | DETAILS
WORKSHOP | Sun, June 8 | 5:30pm | Homesteader’s Emporium | $10 | DETAILS

WILD | Although the city and people of Vancouver demonstrate a respect for (and connection to) nature that is at the core of our civic identity, we also know that this city, like any city, has dramatically altered the natural environment around it. The Museum of Vancouver is currently showing Rewilding Vancouver, an exhibition that does its best – using everything from taxidermy specimens and clever dioramas to video installations and soundscapes – to get us thinking about ways in which we shape nature and the ways in which nature shapes us. As programming to support this exhibition, the MOV is hosting an edible plant workshop this weekend. As explained by the Urban Herb School (leading the walk), “Through a combination of ancient, largely forgotten knowledge and more recent scientific discoveries, uncover the nutritional and medicinal properties of the oft-ignored plants that grow all around us: whether through the cracks in the pavement or in our parks.” Learn to identify herbs and edible plants in the Vanier Park area and take that knowledge and apply it to the parks, back alleys and green spaces around your own neighbourhoods.
Sun, June 8 | 3pm talk, 4pm walk | MOV, 1100 Chestnut | $22 | DETAILS

ITALIAN DAY | Italian Day takes over Commercial Drive this Sunday. Hooray for car free street parties! There are few things more intoxicatingly ‘Vancouver’ than a little sunshine on your face as you walk up the middle of The Drive through a gentle haze of incense, weed, and curbside barbecue smoke while you take in community group tables, food booths and live music. Add to all of that more than a few options for a good cup of coffee, a display of classic cars and the occasional impromptu bocce game and you have a solidly inspired Sunday. Celebrate everything ‘Made in Italy,’ from inventions to food. “Italy’s unmatched sense of style will be the centrepiece at this year’s event” so expect a focus on that distinctive Italian flare. Festival organizers will install a large, walk-through museum exhibit to show off some of the most profound Italian inventions (items such as the piano, radio, telephone, bicycle, eyeglasses, and – most important of all – the coffee machine). Remember to leave the car at home, as driving hereabouts will be impossible.
Sun, June 8 | 12pm-8pm | Commercial Drive (Venables to Grandview) | Free | DETAILS

GO INDIE | Music Waste is on! The annual independent art, music and comedy festival will spread across numerous city blocks to bring you close to 100 bands playing at a variety of venues – all within reasonable walking distances from one another. This year’s line-up could keep anyone solidly busy from Thursday afternoon straight through to Sunday night with short breaks for food and sleep. A series of comedy gigs, art exhibits, and performance art compliment the main event. The gigs and happenings are so numerous and so good that it’s pointless to try to narrow them down (do, however, note that Sean Orr and NEEDS play the Cobalt on Thursday night). Skip over to the Waste website for a look at the schedule and to customize your own must-see shortlist. And get this: full festival passes are only $15!
June 5-8 | Various times and venues | $15 | DETAILS

CULTURE | In The House Festival brings arts and cultural performances into the living rooms and backyards of East Vancouver homes, and not in the way you’d think (ie. not on the flatscreen). They organize Vancouver artists and performers to put on intimate live shows in multiple private residences (porches, backyards, garages, kitchens, living rooms) in the Victoria Drive and Napier area. 2014 is the 11th year of this community-driven (and hosted) event. Ticket prices range from single show tickets for adults priced at $15 to a four show pass ($50), or a full weekend pass for $95.
June 6-8 | Various times and locations around Napier & Victoria | $various | DETAILS

EAT LOCAL | Grab locally grown produce from good people at your neighbourhood farmer’s market while you still can. You won’t want to look back and wish that you had made it to more markets!
Main Street Thornton Park | Wednesday | 3pm–7pm | Main Street Station at Terminal | DETAILS
Oak Street | Wednesdays | 3-7pm | Oak and 49th | DETAILS
Yaletown | May 29 | 2-6pm | Mainland between Davie & Helmcken DETAILS
Trout Lake | May 31 | 9am-2pm | North Parking Lot, John Hendry Park | DETAILS
West End | May 31 | 9am-2pm | 1100 Block of Comox (across from Nelson Park) | DETAILS
Kits | June 1 | 10am-2pm | 2690 Larch @ 10th | DETAILS
Main Street | June 4 | 3pm-7pm | 1100 Block Main (Thornton Park) | DETAILS
Lonsdale Quay | Saturdays | 10am-3pm | East Plaza 123 Carrie Cates Court, North Van | DETAILS
Ambleside | Sundays | 10am-3pm | 1500 Bellevue (between 15th & 16th), West Van | DETAILS

Check the Globe & Mail every Thursday for our Special Weekend Edition of the Scout List


late-may-2009-169Michelle Sproule grew up in Kitsilano and attended University in Australia and the University of Victoria before receiving her graduate degree in Library Sciences from The University of Toronto. She lives in beautiful Strathcona and enjoys wandering aimlessly through the city’s streets with her best friend – a beat up, sticky, grimy (but faithful) camera.


TEA & TWO SLICES | On Supersucking And Desperately Seeking ‘Ultra Rich Asian Girls’


by Sean Orr | Hedge your bets: Vancouver: Superstar city or just a safe haven for global investors? Some people might say that we supersuck.

Besides, it’s all about to come crashing down, right? 45,000 Chinese millionaires left hanging as Canada ends wealth-based immigration scheme. This is a really important topic but the article’s author appears to compare Chinese immigrants to an invasive species and I honestly couldn’t keep reading with a straight face after this gem: “…just as your rage-kettle was reaching starting to whistle.” So I moved on to reading stories that matter…

Vancouver Reality Show Seeks ‘Ultra Rich Asian Girls’. I wonder if it will look anything like this: Extremely Wealthy Father and Son.

The flip side: Sanctuary City from Below: dismantling the colonial city of Vancouver. “A city that cannot even provide the most basic human need of housing and shelter to its residents is, arguably by definition, not a city of sanctuary.” 

Apologists wanted: Will Vancouver Ever Be Affordable? ”Perhaps we’d care less if we didn’t care so much…” That’s a pretty absurd little piece of solipsism. Stop telling everyone that your rent is high and maybe your rent will go down? “Now, a third of Vancouverites do spend more than the recommended 30 percent of income on housing. (And almost half of renters do.) But that’s because incomes are lower…” Eureka! Because nobody ever talks about fair wages when they talk about affordability.

Is Vancouver ready for another Olympics? Were we even ready for the first one? Go Away World.

Canadian Forces spent virtually all of 2013 watching Idle No More protesters. “It sounds like a lot of effort and work to keep track of a group just because they hoist a banner somewhere…” Maybe that effort could be redirected to, oh…I don’t know, missing and murdered aboriginal women?

Underground Safe-Injection Site Forced to Close. Blame The Province newspaper for inventing harm reduction, 62 years ago: Fruit of Greed. Related: 1,000 Crosses in Oppenheimer Park.

Bonus: Vancouver’s Biggest Rock Music Networking Event.

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