Dear Vancouver media: Thanks for nothing.

Dear Vancouver Media: Vancouver, as you know, is in mourning. For our reputation, for those who suffered injury, for the loss of joy at having gone so far in the Stanley Cup. But in the outrage over the hooligans who turned a party into a riot, there hasn’t been any talk about the real instigators of this mess and who is benefitting: YOU. In the weeks leading up to the final Stanley Cup games, there was constant mention in your newspapers, websites, and evening news programs of the Riot of Read More …

Who decided we’re boring?

When I first began pitching my novel, Baby Jane, which is set in Vancouver, Canada, to American publishers, the first question always asked was “Are you married to the location?”—the assumption being that Americans won’t read a book set in Canada: everyone thinks we’re boring, that our country is boring, and that’s if they’ve even heard of us. So foreign publishers don’t want stories set in Canada, they won’t publish them, and because they won’t publish them the assumption is never challenged and instead perpetuated. I decided to ignore this Read More …

Backyard Tourist: Vancouver Maritime Museum

The first thing that strikes me about the Vancouver Maritime Museum is that it serves as an example to those who might wish to use our vast open waters for the purpose of smuggling: you’re more likely to be overlooked if you hide in plain sight. I’ve lived in this town for over fifteen years now and not once had I thought to venture into the pyramid-shaped building in Hadden Park, which, until this very moment, I erroneously thought was a part of neighbouring Vanier Park. See what I mean? Read More …

Backyard Tourist: Commercial Drive

The rare appearance of the sun in winter tends to bring Vancouverites out of their cramped cocoons, and today is no exception. Despite the crisp wind that serves as a reminder that spring has not yet arrived, Commercial Drive is abuzz and living up to its name — though here the commerce is artfully masked by an array of fair trade coffeehouses and gift shops, alternative music, movies and book stores, and enough organic offerings to satisfy even a vegan hypochondriac. At its heart the Drive belongs to the Italians, Read More …

The Backyard Tourist: Queen Elizabeth Park and the Bloedel Conservatory

In an attempt to get into shape I’ve joined a walking group and today our meeting spot is Queen Elizabeth Park, a verdant oasis that runs along a section of the south Cambie corridor east to the more middle class Ontario Street, the latter home to a recently demolished ramshackle social housing development, a victim of decay, toxic soil, and the revitalization of SoMa. That the park connects two economic classes is metaphorical, reflective of its paradoxical status as perhaps the most luxurious free attraction the city has to offer. Read More …