Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Maplewood Flats – Art Imitating Art

Maplewood Flats was the site of several squatter's homes (housing about 25 people), including that of Malcolm Lowry (in the 40s and 50s), marine researcher and founder of Greenpeace Paul Spong, and artist Tom Burrows (he had received a Canada Council grant to build his home from effluent). The Mayor of North Van, however, had plans for a shopping centre. After a lengthy court battle over squatter rights, the driftwood shacks were dismantled in 1971 by the Corporate District of North Vancouver. Tom Burrow's shack was the first to go – burned down, in what could only have been a fit of rage at their last ditch resistance. The shopping centre was never built.

In 2010, Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite commissioned Ken Lum to recreate these shacks to scale in front of the Shangri-la luxury hotel/condo building downtown (From Shangri-la to Shangri-la). In a twist of irony, when the exhibit was over, the Corporate District of North Vancouver saved them from destruction, and eventually installed them at the Maplewood Conservation Area.

Further east, where Cates Park is now, jazz pianist Al Neil (now 90), and sculptor Carole Itter (now 75), have occupied a beached 1930s float home since the 60s. McKenzie Barge let them stay on as night watchmen, but Port Metro Vancouver owns the property and claims the area needs environmental cleanup (before condos can be built). The cabin narrowly escaped demolition and has recently been moved from the area until another location can be found.

Watch the 1972 half hour documentary, Mudflats Living, from the NFB.

Fun fact: Tom Burrows' mother was a family friend and next door neighbour when I was growing up.

Tom Burrows and his son Elisha, December 1971 (Ken Oakes, Vancouver Sun)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Blood Moon

Nice night for a walk.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Song of the Day

My latest ear worm.

Where on Earth?

Hai! I checked out the McArthur Glen Outlet Mall on Sea Island so you don't have to! A little bit Main Street, a little bit Yaletown, a little bit Kits, and a whole lot bubble-world. A simulacrum Hotel Vancouver greets you at the entrance. Frank Sinatra and his ilk are piped seamlessly into this wonderland at every corner, lulling you into a creepy sense of wellbeing. I could have sat sipping coffee under the roar of jets landing for hours. I came away empty handed, tho there were bargoons to be had at Cole Haan and J. Crew. Mercifully uncrowded on a weekday, I shudder to imagine it on a Christmas season weekend (or the traffic congestion on the Arthur Lang Bridge). The skytrain there and back was confusing as hell – I can't believe professional way-finding experts are employed by Translink. We couldn't even figure out how to pay on the way back, so bummed a free ride.

Final verdict: With all the gates closed, this location would make a perfectly secure Woodbury during the apocalypse. With it's own security team, all it needs is a maniacal Gap manager for Governor. Unfortunately, some might say that it's already been overtaken by zombies.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Sea Island

Ferguson Rd.

Iona Beach

MacDonald Beach

Let's ride our bikes... To the airport?? Yes, you can cycle over the Arthur Lang Bridge to Sea Island and on to MacDonald Beach and Iona Beach. I wouldn't do it again, but it was interesting to be that close to the planes (plane watchers were set up with lawn chairs on the berm), and to see horses grazing there, and protected marshlands full of herons. Fraser River Park on the Vancouver side is nicer imho (you can see it across the river in the above photo and I wrote about it here.) 

Delicious fish n' chips n' beer at Milltown on Richmond Island (which is basically a big parking lot fringed with greenery, with a dry dock, marina, and restaurant). Located at the tip of Marpole, it was originally a sandbar, then a cannery was built on it. In recent years it was used to store finished lumber products. Easy to get to by bike through Shaughnessy's Cypress bikeway.

The ride to Iona was not so pleasant, although there were many cyclists there. Exhausted, we skytrained it home from the kooky new luxury mall. See the madness here if you can stomach it.