Vancouver History: The Carnegie Building

January 20th, 2010 @ 1:56pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Stopping by my daily history read, I learned that it was on this day 30 years ago that the Carnegie Building reopened as the Carnegie Reading Room. Located at the notorious intersection of Main and Hastings, I thought it would be worthy of the history profile to see how the building has been a part of the community for over a century.

1902 – Carnegie Library under construction, Item #: CVA 1376-27

“On March 25th, 1901 Vancouver requested and was granted $50,000 from US steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to build a library. Carnegie agreed to give the funds only if the city furnished a site and agreed to spend $5,000 a year. The city council accepted the Carnegie gift and its conditions.” – (

1903 – Major Matthews collection, Item#: Bu P116.3

Built in 1903, it was indeed the first public library in Vancouver. In 1957 the library moved on to a bigger location and it became the home of the Vancouver Museum for ten years. In 1967 the museum moved out and the building lay vacant. “Following a massive campaign spearheaded by the Downtown Eastside Residents’ Association City Council agreed to save the building and convert it to a community Centre. Carnegie Community Centre opened its doors to the public on January 20, 1980.” – (

190? – Photographer: Trueman, Richard H., Item #: Str P322

Once again part of the Vancouver Public Library system, the City refers to it as “The Downtown Eastside’s Livingroom”.

2005- Photo credit: squeaky marmot on Flickr

Carnegie also has some beautiful architecture including skylights and a towering spiral staircase.

You wouldn't know it
Photo credit: Kennymatic on Flickr

Services include the public reading room, a seniors centre, a learning/literacy centre, a kitchen (serving 3 meals a day), an art gallery, an auditorium & gym, and even a dark room along with a pottery room for creative classes.

2008- Photo credit: Fecki on Flickr

It’s an amazing building that is testament to the diverse community of Vancouver’s Eastside and the determination to make a progressive, educational, and safe centre for all. It’s open 9:00am until 11:00pm every single day of the year, every day of the week, and is worth checking out.

Paint the Town Red for Vancouver 2010

January 20th, 2010 @ 12:02pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Across the nation communities have been asked to Paint the Town Red in an effort to cheer on our Canadian athletes at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

More than 200 athletes will be representing Canada and from Newfoundland to Nanoose Bay, everyone is being asked to go Red. This includes leaving up your red Christmas lights, putting a red “Go Canada Go” flag on your car, and painting your face red when watching event. You can even go online and creating an interactive “Podium Pal” which you can deck out in red or find other activities on the campaign’s Facebook page.

Photo credit: syume on Flickr

I’ve watched the campaign grow for a while now so I thought I would make a special appeal to Vancouverites at this time and if I may, I’ll use hockey as an example.

When the Canucks are in the playoffs we can rally enough to get towel power going however we never really have a “sea of blue” like how Calgary has their “sea of red” all year long. Our stands are speckled with blue uniforms, white jerseys, retro flying V’s and although those are all cool in their own right, there’s never one single uniform colour that takes over. This will be symbolic, from sea to sea.

The Olympics will be here in a short amount of time and athletes who have been training their entire lives will get the chance to perform to the best of their ability and represent their country on the world’s stage.

Even though this is but a small individual gesture on our part, if you’d like to support the athletes, wear some red during the games. Grab a Sled Head toque, some of those red hot mittens, put red ribbons in your hair, wear an old red t-shirt or knit yourself a scarf and just be a part of the experience. Go Canada Go!

IOC – International Olympic Committee Headquarters

January 20th, 2010 @ 10:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

During November’s trip to Switzerland our group stopped in at the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne.

Tour of IOC Headquarters

Perched at the top of a small grassy hill, the IOC looks out over Lake Geneva and the public park, Parc Bourget. The IOC is made up of a few buildings pasted together over the years including a mansion that was centuries old. The entire area was once occupied by the Roman Empire and recent archeological evidence shows bones and ruins dating back to 6,000 BC.

I must explain that I missed pieces of the tour. Unfortunately this was our first stop after arriving from London the night before and with the 9-hour time difference and the jet lag migraine bubbling up in my head, I had to excuse myself from the tour a few times. After my intermittent absence I rejoined the tour group but as a result I didn’t take nearly as many notes on this tour as I could have.

Tour of IOC Headquarters

Inside the IOC much of it seemed like your standard office building, with more than a few high-tech and upscale elements. The one thing that stood out most was the art work. Culture being one of the Three Pillars of the Olympic movement, the building featured statues, installations, paintings, and sculptures on every floor and down every corridor.

Tour of IOC Headquarters

Olympic-branded candies sat in a dish outside one of many meeting rooms with dominating wooden doors, behind which I could only imagine the importance of the business being discussed.

There was a modern cafeteria for employees where chefs prepare culinary creations for staff daily. The eating area had dark wood floors, modular furniture and a full view of the lake from the floor-to-ceiling windows. On a pillar near the employee lounge/cafeteria were bulletins, including one promoting the Vancouver 2010 exhibit over at the Olympic Museum.

Tour of IOC Headquarters Tour of IOC Headquarters

Our guide explained that just out the window and to the West was the local waste treatment plant and that energy produced from the waste when it is treated actually supplies power and heat for the IOC buildings. With Environment being yet another one of the Three Pillars of the Olympic Movement it seemed quite fitting.

Tour of IOC Headquarters Tour of IOC Headquarters

Tour of IOC Headquarters

From there we walked through a few more boardrooms, each more impressive than the next with flat screen televisions, branded pens, and bottles of water on standby as though half a dozen meetings were about to convene at the same time.

Tour of IOC Headquarters

We crossed over to the old IOC building, which is the mansion and home of the smallest meeting room we had seen yet, although it was the most distinguished. This was where top-ranking IOC officials get together with IOC President, Count Jacques Rogge.

Tour of IOC Headquarters

I’m unsure if they do tours normally but it was a nice familiarization of a beautiful complex that simply emanates excellence, right down to the Olympic-branded Mercedes parked out front.

Tour of IOC Headquarters

On our way out some protesters started to gather on the front lawn. They had t-shirts, signs, and appeared to have invited local media – either that or they brought their own troop of photographers. We were inside the building as the group began chanting outside and two of them walked over to the entrance. Pausing outside for a photo op, we watched as the protesters chatted politely with the women at the front reception desk. After a few minutes they came back outside, picked up their signs, and continued their display. No security, no men in suits with earpieces coming to take them away. They pretty much just walked to the other side of the street on their own and continued peacefully. For some reason I suspect that this isn’t a rare occurrence at all outside the IOC.

Tour of IOC Headquarters Tour of IOC Headquarters

We hopped in our tour van and headed for the the Olympic Museum but not before our guide pointed out that there’s a campground next to Parc Bourget and the IOC. To camp on Lake Geneva, in a place as historic as this, surrounded by dozens of international sporting federations and museums just seemed like something we’d have to do when John and I go back to Switzerland. We’ll even see if our pal Dave wants to come as it seems like something he’d really get a kick out of.

You can view the rest of my photos from my media trip to Switzerland in this photo set, and read all posts here.

Vancouver 2010 Mascots About Town

January 19th, 2010 @ 4:14pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Ever since Quatchi, Miga, Sumi and Mukmuk made their way on the scene as mascots of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, they’ve really been making the rounds. The mascots make appearances at events, festivals, and I even spotted Quatchi in the West End hitching a ride in the back of a pickup truck last month.

Quatchi Hitches a Ride

Unfortunately Mukmuk does not qualify for this segment as he only exists in miniature plush form, but I present to you “Vancouver 2010 Mascots About Town”.

Photo credit: Tyler Ingram on Flickr

Quatchi in that pickup truck again during the Rogers Santa Claus Parade.

Photo credit: connect2canada on Flickr

The mascots atop the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC.

Photo credit: for ladybug on Flickr

Quatchi, Sumi and Miga hang out at the Vancouver Auto Show, surprisingly not in the back of a pickup truck.

Vancouver Sun Raise-A-Reader 2009
Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

A rather rockstar shot of all three mascots by John on Canucks Raise a Reader morning.

Photo credit: wyliepoon on Flickr

All three in front of City Hall in Toronto — they’re looking pretty disoriented, which sometimes happens to Vancouverites in Toronto.

Photo credit: Mike Pan on Flickr

Sumi and Miga share an intimate moment in the back of a pickup truck. I have determined that the pickup is the main mode of transport for a mascot.

Sumi then distracts some curlers at the new Curling Venue (near Nat Bailey Stadium) in Vancouver.

Mascots at ice level watching curling
Photo credit: Ariane C on Flickr

And although Mukmuk doesn’t seem to get around as much as the others, his plush version has been globetrotting with TarePanda. Here he is in London, England as well as Copenhagen, Denmark and Stockholm, Sweden.

All Mukmuk photos by archangeli on Flickr

According to a poll I conducted last February, my readers chose the mascots as their favourite symbol of the Vancouver 2010 Games. With all of this travel, public relations, and hanging out with the locals for the last few years I wonder if they’re still on top?

1 Year Later... What is your favourite Vancouver 2010 symbol?

View Results

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Should you have any mascot images that you would like to feature here, please feel free to add them to the Miss604 Flickr Group.

Club Bud Vancouver 2010

January 19th, 2010 @ 11:41am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Club Bud, the notorious Olympic party destination is coming to Vancouver for the 2010 Games, setting up shop for five crazy nights in February.

Torino introduced the world to Club Bud in 2006 with a six-story pyramid-shaped nightclub. Club Bud kept the party going in Beijing with 360° video screens, an electrifying dance floor and an outdoor pool. In February 2010, Club Bud will transform the famed Commodore Ballroom into the place for athletes, celebrities and some lucky fans to celebrate in style. Athlete and celebrity arrival times on the red carpet will vary by party.

Companies and sponsors are each hosting special evenings at the Commodore and Club Bud is looking for an intrepid social media reporter (and a friend) to capture and document the festivities. They’re calling it the Club Bud Party Crasher search where successful applicants will get full access Club Bud in order to blog, tweet, and take photos.

Here are the Club Pub parties that the Party Crasher can choose to attend:
Friday, February 19 – Burton Party (Update: Read about it here)
Saturday, February 20 – NHL Party (Update: Read about it here)
Thursday, February 25 – Budweiser Party
Friday, February 26 – Under Armour Party
Saturday, February 27 – lululemon athletica Party

To apply to be the Club Bud Party Crasher all you have to do is become a fan of them on Facebook which will add the Club Bud application badge to your profile.

I’m unsure if the public can purchase tickets for Club Bud so it’s definitely worth entering the Party Crasher contest if you’d like to take part in any of these events. The job search closes on February 3, 2010 and you can read all contest rules and regulations on their Facebook page.

Vancouver Motorcycle Show – Win Tickets

January 19th, 2010 @ 10:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Vancouver Motorcycle Show is coming to the TRADEX in Abbotsford January 21st to the 24th.

The Motorcycle Show features special events daily such as Vintage Rider Night on Thursday and She Rides Nite on Saturday.

The expo will also have a manufacturer showcase, the Throttle Trauma Stuntacular, Supermoto, Custom Alley, the Great Canadian ATV Showcase, and the Yamaha Riding Academy. I’ve also just counted at least half a dozen major prizes that are up for grabs from manufacturers like Honda, Yamaha and Harley-Davidson.

Tickets are $12 (adults), $8 (junior), free (age 5 and under), and $32 for a family pack (2 adults & 2 juniors).

I realize that my contests recently have got to do with jewelry and cosmetics however I’m pleased to offer up a couple four-packs of tickets to this event. This will be a quick one-day contest so to enter to win please leave a comment below. That’s it!

I’ll then draw two winners who will each get a four-pack of tickets. The tickets will be available for you at the venue (will call) so all you need to do is find three friends to join you, pick a day to go, and have some fun.

Update: I just drew the winners and they are Sandy and Michelle, congratulations!

Fine print: As the timeline is tight, I’ll draw the two winners at 5:00pm PT today. They will have 24 hours to confirm that they can attend/claim their prize otherwise I will draw another winner.

Sled Head Toque Campaign

January 19th, 2010 @ 7:48am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

This morning the Sled Head campaign kicked off at the newly renovated London Drugs on Georgia & Granville.

Owly Images
From @LondonDrugs on Twitter

Red toques sporting the “I’m a Sled Head” logo will be sold in support of Canada’s Olympic & World Champion Bobsledder, Pierre Lueders.

Sled Head Having been to the birthplace of Bobsleigh this initiative is of special interest. Lueders has been the Olympics before having competed in Lillehammer (1994), Nagano (Gold), Salt Lake City (2002), and Turin (Silver).

He is the most decorated bobsleigh pilot in Canadian history and there’s even a turn named after him (“Lueders Loop”) at the Whistler Sliding Centre where the Olympic sliding sport events will be held.

The Sled Head toques are made by the Kootenay Knitting Company Ltd. and retail at London Drugs for $9.99, with $3 from each going towards Lueders’ Olympic efforts and expenses.

As a side note, the Kootenay Knitting Company is also making scarves for the Canadian Olympic Cross-Country Ski team.

To further their support, all London Drugs one hour photo departments will be also be donating $2.10 from the sale of every 14 oz photo mug to the Sled Head campaign.

The Vancouver 2010 Bobsleigh events begin February 20th.

Walking Tour of Gastown

January 18th, 2010 @ 5:02pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Walking Tour of GastownAfter gale-force winds ripped through Vancouver last night, the clouds parted and I set out on foot to do a walking tour of Gastown. I was invited along by Vancouver Urban Adventures to participate in their Gastown & Chinatown tour this afternoon.

Being a local history buff I was pretty curious to see if I would learn anything new during the walk and I’m pleased to say that I did. I won’t share too much (so I don’t spoil the tour for others) but I have a few history post ideas that were inspired by our walk today.

We started out at Waterfront Station and walked along Water Street, stopping into The Landing which used to be the home of Kelly, Douglas & Company (and their Nabob Coffee) at the turn of the last century. From there we continued down water to the infamous steamclock. I admit, I had my camera out for the entire trip but already looking like a tourist I wasn’t about to take any snaps of the timepiece (we have a bit of a history…).

Walking Tour of Gastown & Chinatown Walking Tour of Gastown & Chinatown

The photos of faces above are sculpted up high on the front of a building along Water Street. It’s funny how we often forget to look up when walking down the street. Mind you, it’s probably not the best idea in the world to head down a bustling sidewalk with your chin up but there were some great building details that our guide pointed out that I had never noticed before.

Walking Tour of Gastown & Chinatown

We rounded the corner at Maple Tree Square (where you can find “Gassy Jack” Deighton) and stopped into the Irish Heather for a sampling of Blue Buck beer. Gastown is the birthplace of Vancouver as we know it. Called Granville before its incorporation as Vancouver, almost everything happened in the area we now know as Gastown.

Making our way over to Chinatown we explored the history of Shanghai Alley. If you have the chance to take a quick stroll down there you’ll find some information placards detailing some of the area’s history.

Walking Tour of Gastown & Chinatown Walking Tour of Gastown & Chinatown

Walking Tour of Gastown & Chinatown Walking Tour of Gastown & Chinatown

Looping up across Main Street we stopped for some Oolong and Jasmin tea samples before looping back down through Chinatown and into Dr Sun Yat Sen Gardens. The urban oasis balances water, earth, stones and plant-life against a skyscraper backdrop.

Walking Tour of Gastown & Chinatown

Walking Tour of Gastown & Chinatown

I find that getting out and walking around your City is a great way to rediscover it and explore places both familiar and new.

Walking Tour of Gastown & Chinatown Walking Tour of Gastown & Chinatown

With regards to Urban Adventures, the walk was about 2 hours long but they broke it up nicely with the pit stop at the Irish Heather, the tea sample, and various other visits to galleries and shops along the way. The guides did supply useful information and I liked having the earpiece so I could hear their narration. They covered history, architecture, great places to catch a bite or lounge about, and the tour ran consistently on schedule.

Walking Tour of Gastown & Chinatown

The end of the stroll is at Tinseltown so you’ll be a bit displaced once it’s all over if you don’t know your way around the city or back to Waterfront. Otherwise, SkyTrain and bus are close-by. I would recommend the tour for friends or couples as the walking time (and alcohol) may not be suitable / comfortable for all ages.

The cost is $25, which is a good value taking into consideration the samples and the history lesson, however it may not be feasible for large families. As an afternoon activity for a group of friends, it’s well worth it and you’ll probably end up back at the Irish Heather or Salty Tongue for a full meal as you’ll work up an appetite.

Walking Tour of Gastown & Chinatown

Other walking tours I recommend would be…
The Sins of the City tour operated by the Vancouver Police Museum
The Miss Guides
The Gastown Business Improvement Society free walking tours of Gastown
The self-guided Silk Road walk
The self-guided Historic Mosaic Art Tile Tour (if it’s still around)

Disclosure: – Unpaid. Admission was complimentary.