fear & loathing in Lotusland

Month: November, 2013

Seen in Passing: Kingsway & Windsor

by Zbigniew

Public Hearing


by Zbigniew

Real Estate Carnival

The shill as a family-friendly community event: twisty balloons and show suites, Miss Chinese Pageant contestants and fembot sales reps, Kirk MacLean and Miele –all to the tune of corporate-friendly cover band’s rendition of Blurred Lines.

Step up! Step Up! Don’t miss the freakshow of LEED certified doublespeak: socially responsible design, featuring truncated public parks; eclectic shops, poised for revitalization.

“Unrivaled.” “Unique.” “Inspired Materials of Architectural Concrete, Steel and Glass”, generously caulked with bullshit.


Seen in Passing: East Hastings & Lillooet

by Zbigniew


Persistent Gaps in the Narrative

by Zbigniew


Markers of Resistance, an initiative of the Carnegie Community Action Project and the Vancouver & District Labour Council, comprises 12 historical plaques across the Downtown Eastside noting significant, and generally neglected, episodes of resistance by Vancouver’s working poor and marginalized.

Amongst other events, the markers recall the 1901 Fisherman’s Strike and the killing of labour leader Frank Rogers, the Battle of Ballantyne Pier, the organization of Japanese and Aboriginal labour, the “Soapbox Victory for Free Speech”, the Post Office occupation of 1938, the creation of Crab Park, the Missing Women’s Memorial March, WoodSquat, and the redress of the Head Tax.

The plaques were installed on light posts in the Summer of 2013.


The Patricia Hotel marks its centenary this year. Its own history highlights its establishment in the city’s heart -not two blocks from city hall’s Marlet building incarnation- a basement boxing ring, the Patricia Pool Room jazz club, and its “most famous” resident, Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton.

There are some significant omissions, such as the hotel’s long history as a SRO and to loggers, fisherman and other resource industry workers, of the emotionally fractured, of those with drug and alcohol dependencies.

“The current owner took over in 1984, closing it shortly after for extensive renovations that eliminated the male and female communal shower rooms on each floor and fitted each room with a private washroom.” More omissions.



On a sunny Sunday afternoon in late October, the Heart of the City Festival’s Moments of Community & Labour History walking tour pauses near the corner of Hastings & Dunlevy -right in front of the Patricia.

Olaf Solheim came to Vancouver from Norway in the 1920s and worked as a logger until his retirement. For 60 years –off and on- he lived at the Patricia. Like hundreds of others, Solheim was evicted to free-up accommodation for visitors to Expo 86 –Vancouver’s coming-out party for international capital.

Solheim –at 84- moved into another building in the neighbourhood, but was despondent, refused to eat and died on April 21, 1986, two weeks before the opening of the Fair.

The Marker of Resistance noting this sad history was placed outside the Patricia in the Summer of 2013. It quickly vanished. On this day a poster version is affixed to the same site.

It doesn’t last long, either.


Dull at Best

by Zbigniew


“Travelling around the area, you get a very clear sense that you are no longer in an unplanned, emergent or liberal urban space. Both aesthetically and politically, this is the nightmare that everyone from Jane Jacobs to Friedrich Hayek was warning us against: the quest for complete control of an economy or a space will result in a uniformity that is at best very dull and at worst very frightening.”

Will Davies, Britain’s Brezhnev-style capitalism

Pitching woo

by Zbigniew


In June of this year Justin Trudeau pitched Mayor Gregor Robertson to run for the federal Liberals in 2015.

The Mayor’s response? He intends to run for Mayor in 2014, we’re told, square-jawed/earnestly.

Of course that doesn’t preclude a federal election bid a year later. That’s just borrowing a leaf from the Geoff Meggs expediency playbook: secure the civic seat, the safety net, then take a run at higher office*

A willingness to play musical chairs with our democracy doesn’t suggest much depth of character and it’s exactly the kind of move I expect from a juice swiggin’ cyclist cum real estate shill. He’s just the cypher to compliment Trudeau fils -the pot-smoking Human Face of the Petrol State.

Even as Robertson plays coy, gifts –the harbingers of a union- are being exchanged.

The Vancouver Economic Commission is the City’s lackluster and nominal economic development arm. The kind of place where bureaucrats can throw their feces around without causing too much real damage –most of the time. The VEC reports to the Mayor’s office.

On September 5th, its latest in a long line of VEC Executive Directors was announced: Ian McKay. Skipping over his CV, we get to the interesting part: until recently, Mr. McKay was the National Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Braeden Caley is the media relations contact for the Mayor’s office. He’s also a dyed-in-the-wool federal Liberal. On November 3rd he was voted president of the BC-wing of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Will he? Won’t he? Either way, not exactly a blushing bride.

* A perspicacious maneuver, as it turned out: Meggs lost the NDP nod for Vancouver-Fairview to George Heyman; Heyman just managed to avoid getting Dixed in the provincial election.

The Cringe: Vancouveropoly

by Zbigniew


“A board game about the GREAT city of Vancouver! We’ve chosen some favourite landmarks and traditions, mixed in some sushi and lattes, a drive across the Lions Gate Bridge, a trip to the planetarium, and a jog around Stanley Park … and voila -behold- VANCOUVER-OPOLY!

“Buy property, collect Boathouses and trade them in for Marinas. It sounds easy enough -but add in a traffic jam, property taxes, parking at Stanley Park, and tuition at UBC, and it becomes a little more difficult … and a lot more FUN!”