by Zbigniew

Perusing DOXA’s 2014 guide, I came across an advert from media sponsor CBC:


Several elements caught my attention: the rictus smiles, the highly managed hair and makeup, the cardboard-cut-out-against-skyline-background cheesiness. Wither the Mother Corp? It’s getting harder and harder to distinguish the public broadcaster from its private counterparts, both in wrapping and content.

I found some relief from the plastic in the construction crane sticking out of the part in Rene Fillippone’s sculpted hairdo. Oh, those ubiquitous cranes.


I can’t speak to its origin, but this delineation of Downtown Eastside neighbourhoods seems to be the “offical” take. Certainly, it was recently employed by the City of Vancouver in its Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan:

DTES-LAPP1_0Gastown, Chinatown, Strathcona. I draw your attention in particular to Oppenheimer, or as its officially known, the Downtown Eastside Oppenheimer District.

On May 2nd I came across this on CBC’s website: Could Railtown be Vancouver’s next Yaletown?

“Old warehouses and factories are giving way to restaurants and furniture shops, fashion studios and offices for high-tech firms.” The primary draw of course are rents: between $14 and $22 per square foot, about half of the price of neighbouring Gastown.

That the juggernaught is rolling east is not exactly news -recall the land play that all but destroyed 439 Powell. What’s extraordinary about this article is the accompanying map:


Oppenheimer has been swallowed near-whole by “Railtown,” the previously unofficial appellation of a modest strip of Railway & Alexander streets from Gore to … Princess? Heatley, maybe.

From SoMa to NoLo, the rebranding of neighbourhoods is popular tactic. It’s bottom-line savvy to create someplace from a suburban nowhere. Or, to erase and replace existing and troubled associations. Would you be more inclined to purchase one bedroom + den 550 sq. foot granite countertop condo in Railtown or the Downtown Eastside Oppenheimer District?

The article –which, curiously, lacks an attributed author- makes repeated references “Railtown,” while the Downtown Eastside is mentioned only once in a quote by Hastings Crossing BIA representative Wes Regan.

Its a pretty tight frame frame for a story, something more usually seen on Global or CTV?

There’s a story that matters here. But what is it?


I’m awaiting the DOXA screening of Shameless Propaganda, a history of the early years of the NFB and Cancon agitprop, when the CBC ad comes up in the projected pre-show rotation. But something’s different in this version.

I catch it when it comes around again. It’s Rene’s hair. The construction crane: it’s gone -erased.