Metro Vancouver Park Series: George Wainborn Park

April 16th, 2008 @ 5:00am (PT) by Guest Author

The following contribution to the Park Series is by Gus of

George Wainborn Park

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I was asked by Rebecca on Twitter the other day if I would like to write about a park in Vancouver that I visit regularly as a guest blogger. As I’m familiar with a few in my area in Yaletown, I decided I would write about George Wainborn Park.

George Wainborn Park
Photo credit: gus on Flickr

How to get there by Transit: The C21 community shuttle (Yaletown/Burrard), any bus going over the Granville Bridge (04, 07, 10, 16, 17) followed by a short walk.

Size: 2.49 hectares

History: The park was opened in early fall of September 2004 in honor of George Wainborn, who was Vancouver’s longest running parks commissioner serving up to 1990 for 33 years.

“Among his many accomplishments, Wainborn was a leader in the creation of Stanley Park’s Miniature Railway, played a key role in starting the Carol Ships program, and initiated lighting of the magnificent grove of elm trees on Beach Avenue at Bidwell each Christmas season. A recipient of the Freedom of the City in 1991 and Order of Canada in 1999, he died in September 2003.”

Costing $5.1 million to complete, the 2.5 hectare park is located at the south end of Richards Street and south of Pacific Boulevard featuring a children’s play area, a water fountain and “pond”, and a great grass area.

George Wainborn Park
Photo credit: gus on Flickr

Notes: Most evenings you will find people gathering around the mid park area with their dogs, including Junior and I. Though this is not a “leashless park”, most owners let their dogs run and play with other dogs (just be careful of ticket officers, who will ticket if your dog isn’t on a leash or if their license is not up-to-date).

The great green grass area is used by many to sun bathe in the summer and some will play Frisbee or fly kites with their kids. Though during last years Civil Strike, the park was hurt by the neglect and is slowly returning back to its former glory.

George Wainborn Park
Photo credit: gus on Flickr

This park is enjoyed by many in the area and is part of the Sea Wall that runs along False Creek North.

You can read more from Gus on his blog, GusDigital

Third Tuesday Vancouver Live Blog

April 15th, 2008 @ 4:19pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The April meetup for Vancouver’s Third Tuesday group will be taking place at 7:00pm at the Network Hub (422 Richards Street 3rd floor) – the video below explains.

(the music looping in the background is from a song by Boston-area singer/songwriter Phil Ayoub).

The live blog will begin in just a few hours at this url, stay tuned for updates.

Speaker: Monica Hamburg of, Me Like the Interweb, and Your Dose of Lunacy.

Update: 18:55 Arriving at the Network Hub I took a seat near the back, by the window, and watched as some familiar faces filled the room. David, Nancy, Isabella, Colleen, Narvey, Tanya, Gus, and the folks from Meme Labs.

View from the Network Hub

Photos will be appearing under my Flickr tag: ThirdTuesday.

Update: 19:10 Thanks to the Network Hub for providing the space this evening, man this chair is comfortable!. I just met Gregg Scott, one of my Twitter contacts.

Update: 19:15 Monica is up, ‘crowdsourcing‘ is the topic. She just asked me jokingly to make her sound a little more intelligent in the live blog, but I don’t think my words here will do her speech justice at all really. Monica explains crowdsourcing for business as opening up the playing field in terms of communications from the company, as well as clients and the general public. “Sometimes the comments on a blog post are just as interesting as the post’s content,” affirms Monica. She gives examples of crowd-powered sites, a big one being the whole Wikipedia network and moves on to the music industry with Sell A Band.

Sell A Band’s tag line is “You are the record company”, giving power to the artists and the fans – allowing them to contribute to the band’s success and funding. On to movies, there’s NetFlix which also involves user and viewer reviews. One more site is Threadless, which encourages you to be creative, they simply help deliver the good created by the masses. Personal note – all of these open concepts for funding, coding, sharing of ideas and formulas reminds me of the topics covered at today’s Open Web (my day is rounding out quite nicely).

Monica Hamburg at Third TuesdayUpdate: 19:30 Another example of crowdsourcing is getting your consumers to find the solution for you – using the collective intelligence using a “solvers and seekers” method. (Side note from me: huge example of crowd-sourced advertising is the Canucks Ultimate Fan contest where they got fans to submit videos and photos to become a part of the season’s advertising campaign).

Monica mentions motivations – a) here’s some money now do something b) “people will do better inherently if they’re genuinely interested in the problem,” … “Passion is far more important.” Also, “it’s essential to reward people,” reward people adequately – don’t think of crowdsourcing as free labour and free promotion.

Army and Navy Shoe Sale Preview and Interview

April 15th, 2008 @ 10:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

After my preview post for tomorrow’s shoe sale I got in touch with the company and was fortunate enough to interview Tania Berrios who is the Jr. Buyer for the Shoe Department at Army and Navy.

How long has the Army & Navy Shoe Sale been around?
The Shoe Sale has been going on now for over 50 years!

What styles/brands can we look forward to on Wednesday?
This year we have incredible designer names such as; Oscar de La Renta, Richard Tyler, Bill Blass, Naughty Monkey, House of Dereon (Beyonce), Baby Phat, Bronx and Steve Madden. That is just a few names.

New Stevies in Prep for Tomorrow....

How does Army & Navy manage to drop the prices so low on such great designer products?
A&N has been in business since 1919, which has led us to create a great personal relationship with our suppliers.

How successful is the shoe sale for the company?
Our Shoe Sale is extremely successful. It is the biggest event in the lower mainland. During the 12 days of the sale of last year, A&N sold 78,000 pairs.

Is it the biggest event of the year for the stores?

Is there a maximum number of items one can purchase during the first day rush?
Not at all…you can purchase as much as you desire! Absolutely no limit, this is our day to splurge on ourselves! J

The sale runs for almost two weeks, how much merchandise is left after the initial rush the first morning?
We have over 100,000 pairs in stock so there are still plenty of great styles.

Does the Shoe Sale take place in every location in BC and Alberta?
Yes, we have our downtown Vancouver, New Westminster, Langley and 3 in Alberta.

Does it get as crazy at the other locations as it does in downtown Vancouver on opening day?
Yes, especially on the opening day!!

Does the store layout need to change at all in preparation for the rush?
We definitely have to rearrange the racks and add extra racks as well as add more tables, cashiers and bigger signage.

In that last questions I was fishing for some inside tips ie. size 8′s will be located to the right so I know where to scurry on Wednesday morning hehe. Which leads into my last question…

Do you have any tips Shoe Sale for first timers?
I would definitely recommend for everyone to wear flip flops! That way you just slip them off and try on a new pair. Because the sale is so popular, it gets very full, so wearing something light and comfortable is ideal. Another great tip is to grab a basket or the complimentary A&N shopping bag, fill it with all the shoes you like, and grab yourself an empty corner to try your shoes on. That way you don’t have people grabbing from your stash…yes the competition is fierce. For those shoppers who aren’t able to make it right at 8am, don’t worry we stock up the shelves all day, and especially for the lunch and after work rush. Once you have picked out your fantastic pairs of shoes, you are able to purchase them at any till in the store.

Thanks to Tania for taking the time to do this interview. I’ll report back regarding my commercial success (and Keira’s) tomorrow morning…. after we recover from the 6am start.

UPDATE: Want to know how Keira and I did with our shoe extravaganza? The pictures say it all:

Army and Navy Shoe Sale

Keira’s Score – Photo credit: Keira on Flickr

Rejected Shoes *sigh*

Metro Vancouver Park Series: Crab Park

April 15th, 2008 @ 7:00am (PT) by Guest Author

The following contribution to the is by Keira-Anne of

Portside Park featuring Crab Park Off-Leash Dog Park

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How to get there by Transit: Bus from downtown at Granville Station, #4 Powell or #7 Nanaimo (Northbound then Eastbound, get off at East Cordova and Main Street), walk two blocks north to Alexander Street and cross the overpass to access the park.

Size: 3.31 Hectares/8.18 Acres

Features and Selling Points: In addition to being an off-leash dog park, Crab Park at Portside features a field house with washroom facilities, benches, a children’s play area (including a water/spray park in the summertime) and a beautiful tile mosaic created by many of the neighbourhood’s children. As well, Crab Park at Portside is bordered on one side by the Burrard Inlet. There are countless fantastic photo opportunities to be found in this downtown eastside gem.

Photo credit: snarlen on Flickr

History: One of City’s younger parks, Crab Park at Portside has only been in existence since the year Vancouver invited the world to play, 1986. At that time, the name Portside was derived from the close proximity to the Port of Vancouver’s main terminal. In 2004, a neighbourhood park committee known as Create a Real Available Beach (CRAB) championed their support behind this recreational area, at which time it was renamed to Crab Park at Portside.

Notes: The key reason I visit Crab Park at Portside is because it’s one of the few parks in the City of Vancouver that allows your dog(s) to go off-leash. Being that the majority of dogs living downtown are apartment dwellers, having a lush green space for them to run and play is essential. Keep in mind, however, the importance of cleaning up after your dog.

Photo credit: keira-anne on Flickr

On any given day, I can stroll to Crab Park and meet a colourful variety of people who always have interesting, and sometimes heartbreaking, stories to tell. It’s one of the few places downtown that still offers some solace without the usual large crowds found at many of the other parks in Vancouver.

You can read more by Keira-Anne on her blog.

Vancouver History: Denman Arena

April 14th, 2008 @ 4:47pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Update: January 5, 2009 – it was on this day in history that the Denman Arena hosted its first professional hockey game [VancouverHistory - h/t VancouverBOT]. In honor of this, I’m promoting this blog post from April 2008 to the front page of my website.

Mixing my new parks series with the staple history tidbits, a quick note about the former site of one of Canada’s first indoor ice rinks.

Now the home of Devonian Harbour Park, and one of the Sculpture Biennale pieces, Denman Arena on the corner of Georgia and Denman was a fixture and tribute to hockey on Canada’s west coast.

… [Denman Arena] was built at a cost of $300,000 in 1911 and held 10,500 people, making it one of the world’s largest arenas when it was built. It burned down in 1936 after an explosion at an adjacent Coal Harbour shed. [wiki]

It was also home to the Stanley Cup when the Vancouver Millionaires reigned in 1915. Knowing all of this makes ask why there’s no monument or plaque dedicated to this historical structure somewhere in the park. The only evidence of the arena’s existence is in a tiny display box at the entrance to the West End Community Centre ice rink.

I wonder what it would take to make more of a permanent dedication a reality in memory of this important piece of Vancouver, Canadian, and World hockey history. Although with the recent seasons experienced by our professional NHL team in this town, one wonders if this would be a stinging tribute or subtle encouraging reminder.

Update: Since this post was published, many information signs and placards have been placed around Stanley Park and the Coal Harbour area. I was delighted to find one dedicated to the Denman Arena, just off Georgia Street, this past summer.

Open Web Vancouver Keynotes – Tim Bray

April 14th, 2008 @ 4:13pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Tim Bray and meBlogging on behalf of my company I’ve blogged my thoughts on today’s Open Web Conference featuring keynotes by Zak Greant and Tim Bray.

Over on Payments on Rails my recaps are rather industry/company specific so as a blogger on I would like to elaborate and touch on a few other points, particularly those presented by Tim Bray.

Many of Tim’s tips include things I already strive to achieve on my blog every day, which includes knowledge I love to pass on to my blogging padawan.

Social media tools like blogs and Twitter are part of the new culture of contribution which is good for business as it encourages the flow of information and communication. Whether you’re a diary blogger, corporate blogger, developer of projects of websites, here are Tim’s words of advice:

  1. Listen: Take advantage of community-based sites to know what’s going on, “so you’re not fighting with one hand tied behind your back.” Wouldn’t you feel reluctant to go to a website where it doesn’t seem like anyone’s listening?
  2. Don’t Lecture: Give examples, have a conversation, open the conversation.
  3. Be intense: There are millions of voices out there on the web, unless you are passionate and care about what you’re writing, posting, photographing – nobody is going to notice.
  4. Be human: Don’t have an eleven step editorial process ie. if you’ve ever been in an organization that needs to put out a press release. You may have experienced that it could take 2 weeks for 2 page release and “then you end up with something no human being would have ever written…. or now would want to read.”
  5. Correct yourself: It’s okay to admit you’re wrong and fallible, you’ll increase your reach and effectiveness by being intensely human and if you screw up, admit it and correct it.
  6. Be brief: “A lot of us, when we write, have a lot of mental static that gets tossed in. Almost all our works can be improved by shortening them.” Noting Flickr’s new video system only allows 90 second clips is brilliant, the same with Twitter’s character limit. Tim also quoted Blaise Pascal: “The present letter is a very long one, simply because I had no leisure to make it shorter.”
  7. Update often: With of all your projects for the “short attention span generation” have something new to bring people back and keep them interested in what you have to say. This applies to content AND software, “release early, release often,” and take an agile approach.
  8. LINK: Link from your community, corporate website etc. if you put something on your piece of the web and don’t link anywhere else, “then you’re saying you know everything – and you’re wrong and your audience will know this,” suggests Tim. He says make people happy by sending them away ie. you only spend maybe 3 seconds on the Google home page but it’s the page you may visit most in a day.

    For my own thoughts about linking and community, you can view this interview I did a few months ago with Reachd.

  9. Look good : Have a talented designer, ’nuff said.
  10. Balance hubris and humanity: “The desire to talk to the world, and the ability to shut up and listen. Write something great today, and do it again tomorrow.” – Tim Bray

I know, that wasn’t brief at all eh? I have to say I couldn’t agree more with the points Tim articulated and as Colleen said this weekend, “join the conversation.” Whether it’s with your website, blog, clients, customers, employees and your team at work.

Speaking of work, one final assertion by Tim was: “Don’t stay in a lousy job.” If you can do great things, in whatever capacity – be a part of something that will enable you to be great. Don’t. Be. Bored.

Metro Vancouver Parks Series: John Hendry Park and Trout Lake

April 14th, 2008 @ 6:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Welcome to a new series on Miss604, inspired by springtime and the urge to leave the house and get out in this great region of ours – rain or shine. Over the next little while some guest bloggers and I will feature some well- and little-known green spaces throughout the city, how to get there, what to do, what they can offer and any extras we might find useful to someone wanting to go out and explore.

First up: John Hendry Park featuring Trout Lake

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How to get there by Transit: Bus from downtown, #7 Nanaimo (East then Sounthbound, get off at East 17th). Bus from Nanaimo Skytrain, #7 Dunbar/Downtown (Northbound) or Skytrain to Nanaimo and walk north about 5-6 blocks on Nanaimo and take E17th to access the park.

Size: 27.4 Hectares/ 68 Acres

Photo credit: nep on Flickr

Features and selling points: Trout Lake Community Centre (including playground, pottery studio, fitness centre, games room, sauna, snack bar, gym, whirlpool ice rink), festivals (such as the Illuminares lantern festival), dog off-leash areas, covered picnic centre, and swimming in the summer.

History: “The land was the site of one of Vancouver’s most important features in the late 1800s – the Hastings Sawmill. Trout Lake, a natural peat bog forming the largest feature on the park, was the important water source for the mill which was owned by John Hendry, a prominent individual due to his influence in developing the region’s forest industry.” – Source Vancouver Parks. You can also read a more detailed history of the prominent and successful lumberman within this biography.

Notes: No, there are no trout in Trout Lake but what it lacks in fish it makes up for in sheer size. Last Saturday I was out there with John’s work softball team (they call it baseball but really, it’s softball says John). Runners, bikers, joggers, picnic goers and dog walkers were all out on this sunny afternoon amidst the grass fields, baseball diamonds, tennis courts, marshy brush, and giant oak trees. The park will be getting a facelift for 2010 including a new ice rink at the community centre.

Photo credit: Roland on Flickr

If anyone out there has a favourite city park, drop me a line if you’d like to write a guest post or suggest a destination.

Newly Uploaded Stanley Park Walk Photos

April 13th, 2008 @ 5:43pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Last weekend John and I headed into the park to get a little muddy and explore some trails that have been refurbished. I wrote my blog post and included some photos from my iPhone. Well, John’s just getting around to posting his photos (he’s a pretty busy guy, ya know) and they were great so here’s a quick follow up photo post.

Bionic Hollow Treet – Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

Planting – Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

Enhanced drainage – Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

Landscaping the Siwash Trail – Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

Old and New Siwash Trails – Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr