Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on June 25, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Re-designing from the bottom up: The City of Vancouver unveiled its new sign design for rezoning and development projects last week. The new simplified design is a response to the previous hard-to-read and overly technical signs. Meanwhile in other parts of the city, glitz and glamour are being favoured over simple design, with multi-million dollar homes and surreal hotels marking the horizon. And in Grandview-Woodland we have a radical new plan for redesign and redevelopment. This week we explore Vancouver's stylistic tendencies, ranging from the flashy and ornate, the clean and (not quite so) simple, to the contentious and complicated.

Luxury Living. The Vancouver Observer gives us a tongue-in-cheek take on the fanciest (and most expensive) houses in the city. And yes, those are home cinemas and private bowling alleys that you're seeing. In other multi-million dollar news, Trump Tower is coming to downtown Vancouver. The $360-million Georgia Street development will include a hotel complete with champagne lounge, spa, and banquet and conference centre. It's expected to be finished in summer 2016.

Clean Slate. On the other end of Georgia, removing the viaducts and streamlining the area between Chinatown, Gastown, Strathcona, and the Downtown Eastside, is beginning to seem like a better, and better idea to many, including Mayor Gregor Robertson. As a recent report remarks, "In every city's evolution there are rare opportunities to take bold city-building steps to advance the city's goals and livability or correct a past planning wrong. The potential removal of the viaducts provides an opportunity for the City of Vancouver to do both."

Riding in Style. And for something that is perhaps neither simple or flashy, TransLink is shopping around various options for funding future upgrades to Metro Vancouver's transit system. One idea is road pricing, which could mean anything from bridge tolls to charges for drivers based on time of day or location. Could road pricing be the simplest, most elegant means of funding future transportation infrastructure or is it a complicated solution to an equally complicated problem? Your thoughts?

Decision-Making Style. It looks like Grandview-Woodland will be going through a drastic redesign. As Charles Campbell explains for The Tyee, "The Grandview-Woodland Community Plan calls for a radical remake of the area around the Broadway SkyTrain station: a possible 36-storey building on the Safeway site behind the station, towers up to 22 storeys in "transitional" zones including the area between 11th and 12th avenues near Commercial Drive, and more high-rises up to 26 storeys between Broadway and 7th towards Woodland." But for Campbell (and many others), the question remains: Who decides?

At the MOVeum:

June 26 - Upcycled Urbanism Volunteer Orientation night
July 6 - Curator’s Talk & Tour Foncie's Fotos w/ Joan Seidl
July 13 - Upcycled Urbanism: A Design+Build Project for Everyone - Granville Street Build Day

[Image: Expo 86 Georgia Viaduct and Saskatchewan pavilion, 2001. Photo courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives, 2010-006.517]

Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on June 18, 2013 at 6:56 am
This week in MOVments we look at the ideas of proximity and distance in relation to transportation, services, tourist attractions, and more. We explore some stats on how Vancouverites are getting from point A to point B, funding community-specific services in the DTES, how a beach is benefiting from being close to the MOV, and a venue that at least one person feels is a little too close to its neighbours. 
Getting There. recent report to City Council revealed a dramatic increase in walking and cycling as modes of transportation in the city, with driving trips on a slight decline. Significantly, the proportion of women and girls walking and biking has also grown, which is "seen to be an indicator of the quality and safety of a city’s infrastructure." All of this is so good that some think we should actually be doing a little more braggingAnd speaking of sustainable transportation, check out these neat side-by-side videos of the same Skytrain route: one from today and one from 1986.
DTES Services. Two organizations that work closely with the DTES community are receiving funding from the City for continuing and expanded servicesWISH will receive a grant for expanded work with survival sex trade workers and the Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS) will receive money for their ongoing Residential Tenancy Branch. 
Kits Beach Hits the Big Time. Kitsilano Beach made it on to Reuters Top 10 City Beaches Around the World list. One of its selling points? Its proximity to this museum and other cultural attractions; the listing recommends hitting the beach as a stop on a jam-packed day of Vancouver sightseeing. 
Keep the WISE Alive. East Vancouver's WISE Hall has received a number of noise complaints in the past few months. While the complaints seem to be coming from one newcomer to the neighbourhood, Metro News reports that the event and live music venue is not taking any chances and has started a campaign to raise funds for additional soundproofing of the building. 
At the MOVeum:

June 19 - From Here to There: Stories of Food, Energy, and Transitioning to Resilient Communities
June 26 - Upcycled Urbanism Volunteer Orientation night
July 6 - Curator’s Talk & Tour Foncie's Fotos w/ Joan Seidl
July 13 - Upcycled Urbanism: A Design+Build Project for Everyone - Granville Street Build Day

[Image: Kits Beach, 1920s. Photo courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 770-92]

Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on June 11, 2013 at 7:02 am
This week Gordon Price's post about the worst streets in BC (that's right, Vancouver's own BC Parkway bike path comes in second on the list) got us thinking about bumpy roads more figuratively. From uneven law enforcement when it comes to jaywalking, to a bridge that's on its last legs, to a neighbourhood that could use a bit of a shake up, we're exploring the cracks and rough edges in our rugged city. 
The High Price of Crossing the Street in the DTES. The Vancouver Police Department is getting flack from DTES advocacy groups who are calling them out for seemingly discriminatory policing practices around jaywalking. Pivot Legal Society and Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users point to the fact that over 2,000 tickets have been handed out over the last four years in the DTES, compared to zero over the same period in Kerrisdale and Dunbar. 
How to Solve a Problem like the Pattullo. So the Pattullo Bridge that connects New West to Surrey is getting old. Like 75 years old to be exact. And lately it's become a bit of a hazard. Options being shopped around for its replacement range from a pedestrian/cyclist-only route, to an 8-lane bridge, to just getting rid of it all together. 
A Neighbourhood Less Travelled. So, while foreign investment driving up housing prices may be a myth, the fact remains that a number of condos in Coal Harbour (and other areas) are occupied by part-time residents. What does this mean for the culture of the neighbourhood? Well, quieter streets, but also less lively streets and less opportunity for local business. More on 'Cold Harbour' here.
At the MOVeum:
[Image: Pattullo Bridge, 1938. Courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 260-884]
Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on June 4, 2013 at 11:41 pm
This week we explore traditions in the city: one that is just emerging, one that marks an end of an era, and one that is only just now being imagined. From a new annual tradition centered around not eating meat, to the legacy left behind by homeless advocate Judy Graves, to the potential impact and influence of high-rises at Oakridge, we're taking a step back for a broader view of a few current issues and events.
M.M. 2013. Vegetarians, you have a new holiday: the City has announced that June 10th will be Meatless Monday this year. But why go meat-free? As the Vancouver Food Policy Council explains, the day is connected to the city's commitment to its Greenest City Action Plan. By promoting a more moderate intake of meat the initiative is helping to advocate "for food systems that protect global resources and contribute to planetary health."
Judy Graves Honoured. There is no doubt that recently-retired advocate for the homeless, Judy Graves, left her mark on the minds and hearts of those who she worked for and with. Co-workers, politicians, and activists alike shared kind words and sweet memories at her recent retirement party. However, it is unclear whether Graves' legacy will continue with the hiring of a new homeless advocate by the City. 
Density Comes to Oakridge? Perhaps in the form of a 45-storey building? Some are all for it, arguing that the proposed rezoning and redevelopment of Oakridge Centre will revitalize the area. Others are wary of the lasting legacy of high-rises in their 'hood. Read this Georgia Straight piece for a fuller picture. 
Environmental Legacies. And finally, does BC's official opposition to the Enbridge pipeline mean that we can expect continued commitment to high environmental standards in the future? We sure hope so.  
At the MOVeum:

June 5 - Foncie's Fotos Opening Reception (for an in-depth look at the exhibit check out our post on VIA)

June 5 - MOV Annual General Meeting 

June 6 - Foncie's Fotos: Curator Talk & Tour w/Joan Seidl

June 19 - From Here to There: Stories of Food, Energy, and Transitioning to Resilient Communities 

[Image: Apartment buildings in Oakridge, 1978. Courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 780-276]
Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on May 29, 2013 at 6:50 am

This week we look at the economic realities and struggles of big business, small business, and "anti-business." From the uncertain fate of the The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts, to the changing landscape of independent bookstores in the city, and the meta-reality of the DTES anti-gentrification conflicts, we're exploring what it means to survive and succeed in Vancouver's economic wilderness.
Saving The Centre. Many in Vancouver's arts and culture scene are looking to the City to step in to save The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts. The Centre is set to be sold to the Westside Church after struggling with economically viable programming as a large-scale venue. Will The Centre survive as an art space? We'll have to wait to find out.
Struggling to Sell Books. Francis Bula explores the economic ups and downs of Vancouver's best-loved independent bookstores of the past and present in this recent article. Some of the culprits behind slumping sales are easy to identify - the rise of e-commerce to name one - but others are more surprising (and more Vancouver-specific). She also examines stores like Kidsbooks and Pulpfiction Books that are surviving and thriving against some pretty bleak odds.
Reality TV Gets Real. Did the reality presented in the television show Gastown Gamble contribute to the current anti-gentrification protests in the DTES? Llewellyn Hinkes-Jones of The Atlantic Cities seems to think so. The show follows Mark Brand's journey as the socially-conscious owner of Save on Meats. As Hinkes-Jones says, "For many of the at-risk locals whom Brand has hired, he's a legitimate hero. But there's also little doubt the show's subject — the renovation of a historic Downtown Eastside business to make it more appealing to upscale customers — is exactly the sort of effort that's caused much of the distrust among the protesters."
And On a Not Entirely Related's Bike to Work Week! Check out this neat initiative co-produced by Vancouver is Awesome with Penny Smash funds. Definitely some of the most fun you'll have getting to work in the morning.
At the MOVeum:
[Image: Shelves at Pulpfiction on Main. Photo by Richard Erirksson via Flickr]
Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on May 23, 2013 at 5:04 pm
In celebration of the coming fine weather (it's coming, we promise. See?) we are offering a pared down round up for the week, leaving you ample time to see some buskers (or not), sit down at a cafe, and perhaps visit with your new co-housing neighbours.
Busker Idol. A new regulation has instituted a rigorous audition process for buskers wanting to perform on Granville Island. Some people are (understandably) upset.
Cafe Culture. This neat exploration of the socio-economic factors surrounding the placement of Vancouver's independent cafes will get you thinking about what it means to sip coffee in your own neighbourhood and beyond.
Living Together. Vancouver City Council recently gave the go ahead to Vancouver's first co-housing project. The residential units featuring shared kitchens and common rooms will go up on East 33rd near Victoria Avenue.
At the MOVeum:
[Image: Granville Island busker. Photo by Stephen Rees via Flickr]
Posted by: Amanda McCuaig on May 15, 2013 at 3:46 pm

In recent years, the MOV has received funding from the BC History Digitization Program, run by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC.  The aim of the program is to promote increased access to British Columbia’s historical resources.  For us, that means photographing the objects in our collection and making those images accessible to the public at  This year’s round of digitization focused on objects from the Vancouver History Collection.  Two sets of artefacts in particular caught my eye.  They both involve long-standing Vancouver institutions (though one is now defunct) awarding their employees with jewelry for extended years of service.    

The first set, comprised of a tie clip, keychain, and a ring, belonged to Eric Nicol.  Though born in Kingston, ON, Nicol’s family moved to BC when he was two and he was truly a Vancouver boy, attending high school at Lord Byng and university at UBC.  After a few years away in Europe, he returned to Vancouver and became a longtime humour columnist for The Province, winning three Stephen Leacock Memorial Medals for Humour during his tenure. 


These three pieces were awarded to him by The Province; a tie clip for 15 years of service, a keychain for 20 years, and a ring for 25 years.  It’s unclear what company was responsible for the manufacture of the tie clip and key chain, but the ring’s history reads like a provenance hat trick.  Not only was it awarded to a Vancouver resident by a Vancouver newspaper, it was produced by Birks, which has, despite its origins in Montreal, over a century’s worth of history in Vancouver.

The other service awards the MOV has in its collection are from Woodward’s.  The company awarded its employees everything from tie tacks, to watches, to cufflinks and earrings.  Most of the awards in the MOV’s collection are for 20 years of service and the Roman numerals XX feature prominently.  There are a few tie tacks and a set of cufflinks, however, which feature the iconic script W that the company first started using in 1958.


It’s strange to imagine being gifted rings and cufflinks by one’s employer, much less working for the same one for over 20 years.  Much like being able to afford a house in Vancouver or making it through March without a rainy day, it’s not something that a lot of people see as feasible.   However, should anyone currently employed at the MOV still be around in 20 years, I’d like to see them gifted with our iconic white roof immortalized as a giant pendant from Birks, thank you very much.


The digitization of the Vancouver History Collection was made possible by funding from the British Columbia History Digitization Program at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, University of British Columbia.

Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on May 15, 2013 at 11:44 am

Proposed high rises in the downtown core have us thinking about Vancouver's rapidly changing skyline. Will new buildings blend in with the existing architecture or will they quite literally stand out? And more generally, what does it mean to 'fit in' and conversely, to be conspicuous in the city? 
This week we're looking at a trendy digital marketing conference that found its match in Vancouver, a church's possible move to an unlikely building, and an opinion piece from two urbanists who would like the provincial government to try a distinctive approach to urban development. Which reminds us: love it or hate it the BC Election results are in. Some of us were surprised, but should we have been? Some insightful discussion here.
Hyping Hyper Island. The Swedish company Hyper Island has announced it will be holding its buzz-worthy, three-day education institute in Vancouver this December. With presentations and collaborative workshops exploring digital media's influence on the marketing world, the event draws some of the best and brightest execs, creatives, and strategists from around the world. What made Vancouver a natural fit for the event? We're already on board with forward-looking, digital action plans as illustrated by the recent unveiling of our digital strategy.
Westside Church at the Centre. Westside Church is looking into the possibility of moving into the current home of the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts. So far, Westside Church has raised one third of the funds necessary for the purchase and move. It would also need to apply to the city for changing the use of the property. But would the church fit into the new neighbourhood? Given the area's emergence as a cultural district, the answer is, well, complicated. As Brent Toderian points out to the Georgia Straight, the church could be considered a cultural institution, but it is unclear what kinds of events would take place in the space and if it would bring the same kind of vitality to the neighbourhood as other occupants.
Getting Our Priorities Straight. Finally, Anne McMullin and Michael Ferreira voice their opinion about the direction they'd like to see the province go in the coming years. Their number one priority? "...A clear vision for the province’s economic future and sustainable growth" with specific attention paid to urban development. Sounds pretty good, but what exactly would that look like? For starters, they want to see a centralized decision-making process surrounding infrastructure projects like rapid transit on the Broadway corridor and Surrey's proposed light rail. As they say, "Given the importance of such strategic investments to the province, and to the next government’s policy interests and fiscal planning, it is imperative that the decision-making authority for these projects lie with a responsible provincial minister — and those decisions be linked with cabinet’s budgetary process."
At the MOVeum:
May 31 - Libido Liberation: Sex Talk After Dark
June 5 - Foncie's Fotos Opening Reception
[Image: Inside the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts. Photo by Garry Zeweniuk via Flickr]
Posted by: Guest Author on May 14, 2013 at 8:31 am

By Adrian Sinclair

Ballot Box, City of Vancouver (1902). Wooden, Cedar. openMOV. H971.259.1

In 2013, Elections BC has taken a few notable steps to make voting more accessible. They have partnered with non-partisan organizations like Vancouver Design NerdsGet Your Vote On, Rock The Vote, , and Bike To Vote to make educational resources available online and on the street for a new generation of voters. 

The evolution of who has been able to access the voting process is quite the read. In 1918, Canadian women were enfranchised to vote in federal elections (except in Quebec, where women were enfranchised in 1940). 


Suffrage Blotter, (1917). Rectangular, White Blotter. openMOV. H994.30.9 

Historically, many other groups have been excluded from accessing the right to vote. In 1993 persons with diagnosed mental disabilities were given the right to vote for the first time. In 1970 the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 and ten years before that in 1960, First Nations living on reserve were given the right to vote for the first time. There remains further work to be done in order to ensure the vote be fully accessible. Of concern are Young voters (18-35) who have the lowest turn out among registered voters. 

Of course it’s not only the non-partisan institutions that have an interest in making the vote as broadly accessible as possible. A quick look through the MOV’s online collections database openMOV, yields an interesting attempt by a political candidate to get the youth vote out during the 50’s. This faux pep pill containing Teresa Galloway’s political platform on a mini-scroll of paper, was handed out to notify voters that “our city hall needs a tonic … A woman of action can supply pep and vigor.”

Theresa Galloway Election Campaign Capsule, (1955). Plastic, Paper, Ink. openMOV.

Elections BC’s efforts to ensure fair and accessible elections that represent the political will of the electorate is a work in progress. Here at the MOV, we are also constantly working on how to make our collections more accessible in order to provoke, engage, and animate Vancouverites around our shared material and cultural history. 

After exploring our online collection political artifacts, reading up on the candidates (of past and present), get out there and vote today! 

Engage with the political life of your city and province! 

Other interesting BC Electoral finds on openMOV. Ballot, SoCred, Jim Green, 1960’s Liberal, 1990’s Mayor candidate.

Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on May 7, 2013 at 7:42 am

Behind every public event, social interaction, and prominent building in Vancouver there are quieter discussions that shape and direct how we engage with the city. This week we look at the whispers, rumours, and insider gossip around TED Talks' big move to Vancouver, the politics of tipping (or not tipping), and the recognition of some of our oldest neighbourhoods and buildings. 
Behind TED's Big Move. Wonder why Vancouver got the prestigious honour of hosting the 2013 TED Conference?Vancouver Magazine interviewed TED owner Chris Anderson and got the goods. One of the qualities that makes us uniquely positioned to host the talks according to Anderson: spectacular natural beauty side by side with plentiful hotels. 
Tipping Points. Ever withhold a tip to protest bad service at a restaurant? You're not alone, but as restaurant owner Mark Taylor points out to the Vancouver Observer, you might not be communicating your message as clearly as you think. There are in fact, plenty of other reasons why people don't tip. Check out the article for the ins and outs of tipping and its relationship to minimum wage in Vancouver's service industry.
Heritage Talks. Heritage Vancouver's 2013 Top 10 Endangered Sites list is out and once again it's shining a light on the civic manoeuvring and development talks surrounding some of the city's most iconic buildings. But while you might be familiar with the controversies around the Waldorf or the Main Post Office, there are other lesser known sites on the list like Delamont Park and a threatened stretch of Granville Street. On a similar note, people were chattering before, during, and after the Jane's Walks that happened all over the city this weekend. Tours featured multiple perspectives on topics like gentrification and alternative transportation.
At the MOVeum:
[Image: Main Post Office, 1961. Photo courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives 2011-068.04]


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