745-Foot Aerial Sculpture on Vancouver’s Waterfront

Thursday, February 13th, 2014 — 9:44am PDT
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It’s encouraging to see more public art on display in Vancouver, especially since I began my tenure as a West End resident almost a decade ago. Sculptures dot the landscape, breaking up the (albeit gorgeous) blue of the sea and the green of the parks, capturing your eye and starring in many visitors’ photographs. The latest piece of public artwork will definitely be hard to miss as artist Janet Echelman installs a 745-foot aerial sculpture on Vancouver’s waterfront.

Early Conceptual Rendering from entrance of Vancouver Convention Center.

The massive sculpture will stretch from the rooftops of the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel and the Vancouver Convention Centre from March 17, coinciding with the start of the 30th annual TED conference in Vancouver. “It’s more than triple the length of any sculpture I’ve created,” Echelman said, noting the project is an engineering feat in addition to its massive creative expression. Echelman, one of this year’s TED speakers, took three years to create the work, choosing its site on the harbour because it had the desired energy she wanted.

But the project has not been without its challenges: Before the sculpture could go ahead, Echelman needed permission from federal aviation, Port Metro Vancouver and the city and provincial government. Echelman’s work is sponsored by design software company Autodesk, which has developed custom engineering software to model and test the design feasibility, structural integrity and wind loads on the sculpture.

The sculpture will include interactive lighting, resulting in a “crowd-controlled visual experiment on a massive, floating canvas,” according to her website. Echelman is also collaborating with Google and the Burrard Arts Foundation, a non-profit that has a mission to bring public art projects to Vancouver, which is helping to raise funds for the installation costs. [Source: Vancouver Sun]

Collaborating artist Aaron Koblin is also designing an incredible interactive component that will enable the public to choreograph the lighting through physical gesture via their mobile phones.

Another piece by Echelman, Water Sky Garden, was placed outside the Richmond Olympic Oval and her other works appear in cities around the world like San Francisco, Amsterdam, Sydney, and Phoenix.

Richmond Olympic Oval
Water Sky Garden. Photo credit: popejon2 on Flickr

You can support this 745-foot aerial sculpture by backing the project on Kickstarter.


This project is co-presented by Burrard Arts Foundation, a non-profit that that aims to bring awesome public art to the City of Vancouver.

Vancouver Heritage Week

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 — 11:44am PDT
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The Vancouver Heritage Foundation is celebrating BC’s Heritage Week by offered a full lineup of events that focus on this year’s theme: Heritage Afloat. Around here, our waterways have shaped our history through transportation, connecting industry, recreation, and more.

1940-1948 – Coal Harbour and Vancouver skyline. Photographer: Burns Miller. Archives# CVA 1376-76.

Vancouver Heritage Week

Here’s what the Vancouver Heritage Foundation has planned:
Monday, February 17, 2014 – National Heritage Day
On this day you can join John Atkin for “Baseball, the Olympics and an Arboretum”, a look at the Riley Park neighbourhood from 10:00am until 12:00pm.
Register online.

National Heritage Day in Canada this year celebrates “Places Made for Play” and we are exploring the very diverse Riley Park neighbourhood. From the former rock quarry that is now Queen Elizabeth Park to 62 years of baseball at Nat Bailey, it’s an eclectic look at this neighbourhood. As a special bonus, we’ll get to peak inside Nat Bailey Stadium.

Saturday, February 22, 2014 – Up the Coast and Overseas
A short history of shipping in Burrard Inlet with John Atkin from 1:30pm until 3:30pm.
Register online.

From the earliest lumber schooners to the Trans-Pacific liners and coastal ferries, Burrard Inlet has been an important factor in the city’s growth. On this tour we’ll be looking at the history and evolution of the downtown waterfront between Burrard and Main Streets.

Sunday, February 23, 2014 – Sunday Morning at Hinge Park
Coffee and history in Vancouver’s industrial heritage from 9:00am to 11:00am.
Register online.

Hinge Park is a newly designed public space which combines a century of industrial heritage with the creation of a naturalized wetland in Southeast False Creek. Join us at the new JJ Bean location nestled in the heart of this historically significant area for a morning of coffee and history. The morning includes a JJ Bean specialty coffee and baked good, a coffee tasting led by JJ Bean founder and owner John Neate, and a talk about the cafe’s design by Brady Dunlop, Associate Architect with DIALOG. Derek Lee of PWL Partnership Landscape Architects will then talk about the industrial history of Southeast False Creek and lead a guided tour of Hinge Park.

Sunday, February 23, 2014 – The Kitsilano Shoreline
A history of the Kitsilano shoreline with Amy Adams from 1:00pm to 3:30pm.
Register online.

Following the Kitsilano shoreline from False Creek along English Bay to Trafalgar Street, this walk will explore how the water and land have changed over time, influenced by each other and the people living on the shores. Hear about the people who have called this area home, find out what could have dramatically altered the area, and about when smelt were so plentiful they sounded like bacon sizzling in the waves!

The Canadian Flag in Vancouver

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 — 10:14am PDT
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On February 15th, 1965 our country had a new flag design and the very first time it was hoisted was at Vancouver City Hall. Because of the time differential, the new flag went up at 6:00am which made this its first appearance in Canada after its official proclamation [source]. It’s been almost 49 years since the red, white, and maple leaf first waved in the Pacific breeze and in honour of this I have rounded up some photos of our nation’s flag from around the city over the years…

The Canadian Flag in Vancouver

Happy 47 to the Flag (2012)
Photo credit: fotoeins on Flickr

…That, and with Canada’s stellar performance at the Sochi Winter Olympics so far, it seems like as good a time as any to show off our flag a bit, eh?

Happy 46 to the Flag (2011)
Photo credit: fotoeins on Flickr

Photo credit: kougar on Flickr

Proudly Canadian
Photo credit: danieldoan on Flickr

Gold Medal Celebration Gold Medal Celebration Liam, waving his flag Gold Medal Celebration
Photo credit: _Tawcan & _Tawcan & Stv. & _Tawcan on Flickr

Flags Wave the Flag!
Photo credit: PiscesDreamer & PiscesDreamer on Flickr

Olympic Bhangra Party Canadian Smiles
Photo credit: PiscesDreamer & PiscesDreamer on Flickr

#vancouver2010 olympics hockey party
Photo credit: rocketcandy on Flickr

Today in Vancouver: Neighbor to the Sails Canadian Pride
Photo credit: [Rikki] Julius Reque & conradolson on Flickr

Triple Flags Flags
Photo credit: halfgeek & Stv. on Flickr

Large Canada Flag
Photo credit: TylerIngram on Flickr

we (enormously) stand on guard ... Canadian flag reflection P1030198
Photo credit: CogitoErgoShoot & formula80_ca on Flickr


Flags and Unnumbered Sparks

Happy 48 to the Flag (2013, Vancouver)
Photo credit: fotoeins on Flickr

canada place Green, blue, red and white Canadian cherry blossoms
Photo credit: just_jeanette & Ruth and Dave & Ruth and Dave on Flickr

Its OK to celebrate....
Photo credit: kennymatic on Flickr

Canada wrapping Canada vs. Switzerland Women's Hockey
Photo credit: kougar & kpwerker on Flickr

Canada's flag is awesome
Photo credit: kougar on Flickr

Win Tickets to Underground Comedy Railroad

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 — 10:59am PDT
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The 3rd annual Underground Comedy Railroad tour is coming to the Rio Theatre as a part of Black History Month. Introducing the voice of black Canadians, the tour is scheduled to stop is 10 cities across the country, arriving in Vancouver on February 22nd at 8:30pm.

The history of the Underground Railroad is not something to make light of. That network of safe houses and secret routes brought slaves to Canada, and freedom, in the 19th Underground Comedy Railroad tour will introduce the voice of black Canadians to fellow citizens and give centre stage to one of the country’s visible minorities.

The Underground Comedy Railroad tour showcases some of Canada’s accomplished comedians who offer a remarkable perspective that is uniquely Canadian. The line-up includes the following black Canadian stand-up comics:


  • Rodney Ramsey (Montreal) – a Just for Laughs veteran who has appeared on CBC Radio’s “The Debaters” and CBC TV’s “This Hour Has 22 Minutes”. He is the creator of the Underground Comedy Railroad tour and co-creator of a new hit web series called “The Flipside”.
  • Gilson Lubin (Toronto) – has made appearances on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend”, Comedy Now, and MTV Canada. He has also opened for some of his favourite comedians, including Dave Chappelle.
  • Andrew Searles (Montreal) – named “Top 10 Best Stand-up Comedians in Montreal” for four consecutive years and has been featured on SiriusXM Radio, CTV, and CBC TV. He is also the co-creator of the Underground Comedy Railroad tour.
  • Kwasi Thomas (Vancouver) – a crowd pleaser across the country from Montreal’s ComedyWorks to Ottawa’s Yuk Yuk’s to Vancouver’s own Comedy Mix, Kwasi Thomas has spent a healthy portion of his life on stage. He has participated in both the Just for Laughs Homegrown Comedy Competition and Best of the Fest Showcase. In addition to stand-up, he is a member of the Dead Comics Society sketch troupe and has produced a series of successful comedy events in Montreal – “The Drunken Show”, “The Drunken Show II: Menace 2 Sobriety”, and “Return of the Drunken Masters”.

Tickets are currently available online for $25. I also have a pair to give away, here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win tickets to @UComedyRailRoad from @Miss604 http://ow.ly/twiWN

I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Saturday, February 15, 2014. Follow the tour on Facebook and Twitter for more information.

Update The winner is Kevin!

Lions Gate Bridge at Night: Gracie’s Necklace

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 — 9:49am PDT
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If you are familiar with Lions Gate Bridge history then you’ll know that its construction was made possible by the Guinness family (yes, that Guinness) but did you know that its iconic string of lights was nicknamed Gracie’s Necklace?

Lion's Gate bridge at dusk
Photo credit: Shannon Leigh Photography on Flickr

The Guinness family, of Irish beer fame, was convinced to invest in land over in West Vancouver, purchasing 4,000 acres for $18.75 an acre in 1932 –- and they got busy developing it. This is when a connecting roadway from the north shore to downtown Vancouver would come in handy so the family made it happen. Bridge construction started in 1937 and was completed the following year for just under $6 million. In 1955 the Guinness family sold the bridge to the provincial government though the tolls continued until 1963.

Lions Gate Reflections
Photo credit: Clayton Perry Photoworks on Flickr

The Lions gate bridge all lit up. Beyond the Bridge
Photo credit: Eyesplash – feels like spring & Matzuda on Flickr

Foggy Night

Lions Gate Bridge
Photo credit: Matzuda on Flickr

Lions Gate Bridge
Photo credit: Matzuda on Flickr

Lions Gate Bridge

_Lions Gate_

Downtown Vancouver Panorama

Lion's Share

Guinness’ final involvement in the life of the Lions Gate Bridge came in 1986 when they privately sponsored lights that were added to its cables, giving the span its recognizable night time glow. This gift to Vancouver, for EXPO 86, was coordinated by MP Grace McCarthy and thus the lights were nicknamed “Gracie’s Necklace“. The lights went on February 19th, 1986.

Off The Rocks

In July 2009, the bridge’s lighting system was updated once again, ahead of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. New LED lights to replaced the existing system of 100-watt mercury vapour bulbs. This switch was expected to reduce power consumption on the bridge by 90%.