Car Free Day in Vancouver Summer 2008

April 10th, 2008 @ 10:37am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Last year I didn’t get out to every festival, parade, or community event however the ones I did attend like the West End’s Block Party were pretty darn fun. Over on Commercial Drive they’ve been closing off the road and celebrating the community on foot (for a single day without vehicles) for several years.

In 2005, the Commercial Drive Festival launched the first community- driven Car-Free Festival in Vancouver. The Festival was wholly volunteer-organized and presented, involving over 30 core organizers and 300 volunteers. It was an enormous success, bringing over 25,000 people out to celebrate the community and party in the street. Since then, the Festival happened in 2006 and twice in the summer of 2007, snowballing in popularity and attracting up to 40,000 people per day. [Car Free Day - About]

For a personal account, check out DaveO’s podcast from Commercial Drive last year.

Photo credit: Stephanie Vacher on Flickr

The Commercial Drive event has been such a success that they’ve expanded to several other neighbourhoods across the city for 2008:

Cambie Street, Kitsilano, Main Street, Marpole, and the West End.

Although the city-wide festival is months away, organizing committees for each neighbourhood are currently meeting. You can get involved by attending a meetup for your block, hosting your own party in one of the neighbourhoods, or if your part of town isn’t covered check out the block party toolkit.

WTS – What the Surrey #26: Link Fest Hodge Podge

April 9th, 2008 @ 6:35pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The WTS and a link fest? Combining two of my patented blog features? Yes, daring I know.

  • Surrey decided to one-up Vancouver’s smoking restrictions near entrance ways with their own 7.5 meter rule. [Surrey Leader]
  • White Rock (South Surrey Junior) will build their $500,000 Spirit Square right along the main strip, between the museum and the pier [Surrey Now]

  • Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr
  • “The number of street homeless in Surrey climbed by 15 per cent in the last three years.” [Surrey Leader] But isn’t it great that they’re bringing Yaletown to Whalley?
  • The Vaisakhi Parade will be taking place this Saturday April 12th from 10:00am to 3:00pm. “The Vaisakhi Celebration in Surrey celebrates more than just the birth of the Sikh identity. Gathering crowds of more than thousands, the Vaisakhi Parade symbolizes diversity and multiculturalism.” Expect traffic detours and road closures from 124st to King George and 72nd to 88th. [City of Surrey]

  • Photo credit: Stephen Rees on Flickr
  • You know there’s something wrong when your city has almost a half a million people and yet you can’t get a bus from point A to point B after 6 o’clock at night (regardless of said city’s area). “Surrey is “severely underserviced” by public transit and desperately needs more buses to provide an alternative to driving on congested roads, according to NDP MLA Jagrup Brar. Surrey has 83 buses to serve a population of 400,000. When Vancouver had 400,000 people there were 400 buses, the representative for Surrey-Panorama Ridge said.” [Metro Vancouver via Stephen Rees]
  • To wrap up on a brighter note, despite the need for more buses at least those doing the daily grind aren’t discouraged. “Of workers commuting to Surrey, 12.2 per cent (up from 9.5 per cent) used a sustainable transit mode.” [Surrey Leader]

    RadioZoom Episode #145 – New Music West

    April 9th, 2008 @ 2:45pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    It’s been a while since we’ve done a regular episode but when I recently got the chance to speak with New Music West‘s own Jory Groberman about the upcoming festival, I thought what better way to capture it than on RadioZoom.

    New Music West is… “The largest and most influential new music event in Western North America… The only annual public new music showcase in Western Canada… Operating since 1990… Showcases over 200 bands to the public and industry… Takes place in 30 venues across Vancouver… $30 “All You Can Hear” wristbands… Conference, networking events and educational workshops.” [New Music West]

    Episode run time is 13:36, listen online, subscribe or grab the audio file.

    Trevor Linden Street Naming Petition and the CBC's Early Edition

    April 9th, 2008 @ 7:51am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt
    Raise a Reader Day - Trevor & Me
    My moment with Trev in 2006

    Yesterday the CBC contacted Gary because he’s responsible for an online petition to get a street renamed after Trevor Linden. Unfortunately Gary wasn’t available to go into the CBC ‘bunker’ this morning so I was his stand-in. I was basically asked, “why name a street after Linden?” and after I initially froze after the first question (cause I get nervous like that) I think the rest of the interview with Rick Cluff went okay. You can listen online sometime today or tomorrow on the Early Edition’s website.

    When trying to find the Facebook group dedicated to the same street-naming cause, I came across over 130 other groups all in support of Linden. Here are a few examples:

  • Linden for Mayor
  • Linden for Premier
  • Linden for Prime Minister
  • Linden for Coach
  • Make a Linden Statue
  • “Linden is my homeboy”
  • “I want Linden to be my baby’s daddy”
  • Linden for Jesus
  • … just to name a few.

    It’s no surprise that this city is crazy about him. Like many have echoed, he personifies the Canucks in this hockey-crazy town that hasn’t even won a Stanley Cup since the beginning of last century. He’s represented Canada on the world stage at the Olympics, and in the World tournament, he’s been an All Star, a record-breaker, award-winner, and is also currently up for the Masterton Trophy for 2008.

    We’ve got Joe Sakic Way in Burnaby and Griffiths Way downtown, both represent a tradition of hockey in this region and I think that a similar dedication to Linden is definitely in order – especially with his commitment off-ice to various charitable organizations for sick children.

    Sign the petition, join the Facebook group, and let me know your thoughts below in this week’s Miss604 Poll.

    poll closed

    Trevor Linden will be in the Early Edition studios tomorrow morning, check back to get his thoughts on the season, and maybe even this campaign (the CBC is 690 on your am dial).

    Update: I was also quoted in The Province.

    Sunday Province, Page A6

    Army and Navy Shoe Sale, A Vancouver Tradition

    April 8th, 2008 @ 1:36pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    back to school at targetAlthough we no longer have the “$1.49 day – Woodwards” theme chiming through our radios there are still many traditions in local retail shopping that have lived on to the point of being legendary. Growing up in Surrey, it was always A&B Sound on Boxing Day, and in other cities it’s been the annual Army & Navy shoe sale.

    More than 100,000 pairs will be arriving for the sale, including designer labels such as Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Richard Tyler and Ann Taylor.

    Prices range from $9.99 to $39.99 with savings up to 80 per cent off regular retail. Doors open at 8 a.m. sharp at Army & Navy locations in downtown Vancouver, New Westminster and Langley Mall. [The Vancouver Sun]

    A recent post on WCW by Barbara reminded me of this tradition, and if you think it’s “just another sale” check out this 24 Hours video podcast that captures some of the madness:

    This year’s sale will take place on April 16th and you might just happen to find Keira-Anne and I camped out with hot coffees in hand in the wee hours of the morning, feel free to join us… just as long as we don’t share the same shoe size.

    Update: SUCCESS! Read this post for the photos. Sponsors Third Tuesday Vancouver

    April 8th, 2008 @ 1:12pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    It’s been a while since the first ever Third Tuesday over at the Soho Billiards in Yaletown but the events have really come together for communications professionals and the social media savvy (and newbies) in Vancouver.

    Media Sponsor for Third Tuesday

    This month I’ve decided to sign on as the media sponsor for Third Tuesday on April 15th (thanks to Tanya for enabling this). I’ll be providing a liveblog of the event which will feature the very capable Monica Hamburg speaking about crowdsourcing.

    Social media often blurs the lines of consumer and producer, and “Crowdsourcing” is a perfect example of this phenomenon. It is changing the way many businesses are interacting with the public and has produced innovative ideas, solutions and modules. Monican Hamburg discusses this exciting, burgeoning concept — what it is, how companies are using it, some pitfalls, and some tips. [ThirdTuesday]

    Where: This month’s Third Tuesday is also made possible by the venue sponsor, The Network Hub (3rd floor – 422 Richards Street)
    When: Tuesday April 15th @ 7:00pm

    If all of this wasn’t enough to make you want to come on by, I’ll also be giving away a prize at the end of the live blog – all those who attend will be entered. Be sure to sign up and RSVP on the Third Tuesday meetup account.

    Eagles in the City

    April 8th, 2008 @ 8:31am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Two years ago Vancouver was overrun with Spirit Bears on almost ever street corner.

    Photo credit: RightAntler on Flickr

    Batman, Darth Vader, and Brent Butt were some of the themes for these posed monuments that, once auctioned off at the end of the campaign, helped raise over half a million dollars for the BC Lions Society Easter Seals.

    They were removed from their stations throughout the city and then placed wherever the highest bidder deemed worthy – in front of an office building or even GM Place. Before there were bears we had the orcas… that sort of looked more like dolphins.

    baseballart on Flickr

    Coming next year from April 2009 until April 2010 the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and Price George will have Eagles in the City.

    Local artists, in partnership with sponsoring individuals or organizations, will create a unique design and apply it to the surface of a 7.5 foot custom formed fibreglass Bald Eagle. The Bald Eagle becomes the artist’s canvas. Once the work is complete, the Bald Eagle will be displayed in prominent public spaces around the participating cities. A ‘Bald Eagle Flight Path Map’ will be created and distributed throughout participating communities showing the location, sponsor and artist of every bald eagle. [Eagles in the City]

    Despite the fact that many people became annoyed with the orcas and moreso the bears, the money raised does go to a good cause. Eagles in the city will benefit the BC Lions Society Easter Seals as well at the Canucks for Kids Fund. You can also check out a list of artists who will be painting and decorating the eagle, on the Eagles in the City website.

    How the Smoking Ban is Affecting Vancouverites

    April 7th, 2008 @ 10:15am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    As a follow up to my follow up post about the new smoking regulations in BC, I thought I would focus on the direct impact this is having on Vancouverites.

    A new province-wide regulation, effective March 31, bans smoking within three metres of those doorways, open windows and air intakes, so people who work in office towers, retail outlets and other buildings will have to go outside and walk farther away from the door to light up legally.

    A City of Vancouver smoking bylaw that also comes into force at the end of the month creates a much larger no-smoking zone: smoking is prohibited within six metres of an entryway, openable window or air intake of a building. [The Vancouver Sun]

    What this all means is that even if you’re walking down Robson street smoking a cigarette, you are breaking the law as you’re passing countless entryways to establishments.

    You may have also noticed the display cases for tobacco products are missing from your neighbourhood store, grocery store and even London Drugs. All items are now behind closet doors, curtains or under counters that cannot contain any kind of tobacco advertising.

    At the final Canucks game of the season, they also had a sign outside GM Place stating as of the beginning of the 08-09 season GM Place would no longer offer a smoking area for fans.

    We are a non-smoking facility in accordance with the Vancouver City Health By-law. Areas for smoking during events are outside of Gates 2, 3, 7and 8.

    Effective September 15, 2008 the outside designated smoking areas will no longer be in effect. Once a guest enters General Motors Place, they will not be granted in and out privileges at any gate. [GM Place]

    Also, the other night while entering the Commodore for a concert we were told by two separate staff members that should we be smokers, there would be no in-and-out privileges whatsoever, as they have completely removed their outdoor smoking area.

    So if you’re a smoker planning on going to a public event in Vancouver, whatever the venue, you should get all your puffs in at home because you won’t be able to have another until you get back.