Mid-summer in Strathcona Community Garden

 

 

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Sidewalk history

I found another of these favourite sidewalk tags the other day, this time in Mount Pleasant, which is quite far from the Clark Drive and Prior St. area where I’ve seen the others (pictures here). This one is in front of the No Frills store, just around the corner from City Hall, where there has indeed been a lot of what we often think of as  “history” take place. I’m guessing that’s not the reason for the placement though. I would like to inquire. Yet another Vancouverite I’d like to meet; maybe I should start a list. As usual, one post begets ideas for three more.

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If you are disappointed that this post isn’t about the history of sidewalks, I apologize. That’s a fascinating topic about which I’ve long wanted to know more. Here are some places to look into that:

This 2011 book by SFU geography professor Nicholas Blomley: Rights of Passage: Sidewalks and the Regulation of Public Flow

10 questions for sidewalk scholar Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris

Three blog posts: Simulated history: sidewalks and streetscapesSidewalks: ignored aspects of everyday life; and A brief history of black folks and sidewalks.

 Wikipedia’s sidewalk page

Also, an old friend of mine in Victoria, Janis Ringuette, has done a lot of research and writing on Victoria’s beautiful (though deteriorating) sidewalk prisms.

This all brings to mind a question: When did Vancouver get its first sidewalk? That depends, of course, on how you define sidewalk – i.e. one made of wood or one made of concrete? I’d be happy with the answer to either. If the answer isn’t in Nick Blomley’s book, I’ll bet it’s fairly easy to find at the City of Vancouver Archives (how many times have I said that about something I wanted to find, anywhere?), if I had time to go. Too bad the VPL’s Askaway service is no more. If I do find the answer in Blomley, I’ll update.

More favourite West End places

My little stint of pretending to live in the West End is over. Back to my more familiar East Van turf. I’ll miss places and views like these. The gardens are under the Burrard Bridge. I think it must require a pretty expert gardener to make such a shady spot come to life like this. I’d love to meet whoever is responsible. I don’t think this garden is a community garden in the way that I normally define it (i.e a place where members of the public tend a plot and grow food) but it is open to the public, and I believe created and managed by one person – not sure. Like I said, would love to meet whoever that person or group is.

Favourite things on my way downtown (Part 1)

I often walk (and cycle) the Adanac bikeway on my way to my garden plots or downtown. These are some of the things that delight me along the way.

I’ve recently discovered that whoever lives in one of the houses on Adanac (at least I assume that’s who’s responsible) has been creating little tableaus in sidewalk planters. Fun.

Figures in planter

They change from time to time. I love this one with the deer.

Deer tableau

Raawr! Grizzly, maybe? Reminds me of Rewilding Vancouver, which you should go see before it ends in September 2014.

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I’ll be making a point of checking in at this house from now on to see what the latest is. I hope passersby continue to leave these scenes intact.

And then there’s my favourite East Van graffiti. I did an honours B.A. in history, so that’s part of the reason it appeals. I also like to think that whoever made these meant to prompt thinking about the many layers and aspects of history and herstory that created the landscape we traverse when we pass through this rapidly changing part of East Van. Geological, First Nations, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, labour, land use, and more…lots to ponder.

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History-blue

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The bikeway has amenities, too. This recent addition provided by a newly opened craft brewery (speaking of neighbourhood change).

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More to come in Part 2.