KATHY SAYERS: CREATING AN INTERCONNECTED COHOUSING COMMUNITY...

BY LIAM MCLEAN PICTURES BY SYED MUSTAFA *Permission to reprint granted by the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society This past month, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Kathy Sayers in her bright and comfortable condo to talk about her experiences with cohousing in Vancouver. In the past few years, Kathy has been working alongside her community at Our Urban Village to integrate a successful cohousing community into the urban space of Vancouver. Along her path to forming a cohousing community in Vancouver, she and her team would face many unique challenges. “Because Vancouver is so pricey, we decided to look at cohousing from a different angle, and that is to try to find an innovative developer that would work with us,” said Kathy. “[The developer] would own the land and we would have less say about what the building would look like. And most cohousing, they [the community] make every choice. They hire the architect and they buy the land. [But] it’s at least 6-8 million dollars in Vancouver.” Over the course of our conversation, Kathy explained to me how her group adapted the cohousing model to make it work within the limitations of an expensive city with its many high-rise buildings. We also talked at length about the values important to building and maintaining a healthy cohousing community, and how these communities thrive on a sense of interconnectedness. By sharing with me her experiences, Kathy taught me about the growing popularity of cohousing in Vancouver and its role in promoting social connections that may potentially solve feelings of isolation in the city. To bring cohousing to Vancouver, Kathy and her group at Our Urban Village had to discover a way to adapt the cohousing community model to the urban city and...

ACTIVATING NEW SPACES: THE ARBUTUS GREENWAY AND THE VALUE OF PUBLIC ART...

By Haroun Khalid  *Permission to reprint granted by the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society In March 2016, more than 20 years city planning and policy efforts came together when the City of Vancouver officially purchased 42 acres of land passing through neighborhoods from False Creek to the Fraser River. The new Arbutus Greenway project, already accessible to cyclists and pedestrians, aims to offer a shared passageway connecting Vancouver’s residential and public spaces. What’s particularly interesting about this endeavor is that the Greenway offers an exciting chance to see how public art ventures intersect with the process of urban development. To learn more, I sat down with Maggie Buttle, the Senior Project Manager of the Arbutus Greenway Project, and Eric Fredericksen, the city’s Public Art Programs Manager From an artistic perspective, the realization of the Arbutus Greenway represents a chance to open up new spaces in the city for creative expression. So as to integrate art completely with the design process, Mr. Fredericksen explained that: “We now have an art consultant form a core part of the development team.” On this subject, Ms. Buttle added “this inclusion of artists in the procedure is meant to bring new perspectives and a different focus” to the city planning approach to prevent shutting down valuable opportunities to foster a creative and inspiring city. The development of this “art intelligence,” as Eric called it, enables the planning process to more holistically reflect the cultural environment of the community. The implementation of an urban development plan on the scale of the Arbutus Greenway is a lengthy affair, and is at the moment still in the early days. However, the prospect of bringing about the Greenway has been on the City’s horizon since the Arbutus Corridor was first highlighted as a potential site...

There Has To Be a Better Way!...

By Lara-Sophie Boleslawsky Photo courtesy of Brian Feldbloom Permission to reprint granted by the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society If you’re an animal-lover, this one’s for you. Sitting down and talking to Brian about his recent venture into the pet food industry, I didn’t really know what to expect. Of course our conversation invariably strayed to our pets, nonetheless the real story lies in-between these small pockets of pet-talk. ‘Naturally Urban Pet Food Delivery’ provides free delivery of pet food all throughout Vancouver, the Lower Mainland and Burnaby. It’s simple: pet-owners order their food on the Naturally Urban website and its delivered right to your door. Did I mention it’s free? I was fascinated to know what prompted Brian to start this business: “The reason I started was, I had my doggy, and we switched her over to raw food. I was a flight executive at Flight Centre and I used to have to work late and then I would have to run home, get my car, and drive out to the pet store before it closed,” Brian told me, “And I thought, this is so annoying, its such a stress and I thought: ‘There has to be a better way!’” And so, Naturally Urban was born, with Brian looking to service a need, one undoubtedly shared by many pet owners throughout Metro Vancouver and beyond. “The two markets right now that we are doing well with are seniors and people with disabilities and physical challenges. We love helping them,” Brian shares with me, but emphasizes that the service is available for anybody to use. Convenience is one Naturally Urban’s main functions. Brian cites his colleague Kris McRonney as an “integral” part of his business. “I mean, my business associate Kris has been with me from...

The True Pursuit of Happiness lies in rebuilding our Community and Social Interactions...

By Tatiana Zamorano-Henriquez* Photos by Syed Mustafa* My background is Chilean-Canadian and having a Chilean family the values and morals that many Chileans have are profoundly rooted in family, social interactions and relationships. In the older generations of Chilean culture the collective and community was what bonded people together and was always cherished over individualist aspects of life and over the work life. An example of this in Chile that still occurs is the entire city shuts down for dinnertime. The workplaces close and people are given an hour to two hours to go home and sit down with family friends and coworkers and are encouraged to socialize over a meal. This system in Chile is a structure that promotes and inspires social interactions and forging social ties to fortify the sense of community, and although Chile’s structure has evolved and has been influenced by consumerist and individualist ideals from North America it still holds true to this system where social interactions and community is of central importance and as a result, sense of belonging and community has not dissipated in Chile and these principles can be found across the country. Thus, these ideals that made these interactions and community priority were always a part of my life. When I was young my days were filled with love, laughter, stories and endless conversations, these days were the happiest days of my life. Growing up I was encompassed by my family, we lived in East Vancouver on Venables Street in a vintage white house bordered with a light blue trim. I remember it as if it was only yesterday, walking up the blue steps of the house I opened the giant wooden door to my grandparents house, I remember my heart was always filled with happiness...

Kevin Wong: Forming a Community through Language Exchange...

By Liam McLean* Photos by Syed Mustafa* Arriving in Vancouver from Hong Kong in 1980, Kevin Wong understands the difficulty of learning a new language in a foreign place. As we sit in the Kerrisdale Community Centre, his hand holding a book that will foreshadow the content of our conversation, he tells me about his first encounters with the English language in Hong Kong and in Vancouver. “When we were in Hong Kong we had English classes, but they are just basically grammar,” said Kevin, “Because every day we just spoke the Chinese [Cantonese]. We seldom used English in writing, speaking. So, basically when we came over here […] it was quite difficult to communicate.” After arriving in Canada, Kevin first attended Langara where his struggles with English continued, failing his first two attempts at a required first-year English course offered by the English as a Second Language (E.S.L) program. For Kevin, those early days of learning a new language were made more difficult since “everyday you have to encounter people [who speak English] and some people they talk really fast and don’t have the patience to say it again. Then you just have to guess what they’re talking about and half of the time you guess wrong.” With his sights set on attending Simon Fraser University, it was vital for him to understand English well enough to acquire the necessary transfer credits from Langara and to communicate in daily Vancouver life.          Kevin’s struggles diminished during his third attempt at the English program when he received the proper aid to accommodate his learning style. “The turning point was the teacher,” Kevin said, looking back at that third class, “She actually taught me the basics of grammar and she had the...

Reviving the Old: Beauty is in the Reflection...

  By Susan Tsang Photo courtesy of Judith Lam  I caught a glimpse of being a woman nearly sixty years old as merely the beginning; the beginning of making her dreams come true. Judith Lam and Yoko Ogawa, who both looked much younger than their actual age, were noticeably two different styles of personality. Judith was an assertive speaker while Yoko had a gentle persona. However, both were smiling cordially, open to have a discourse about their upcoming collaboration focusing on transforming Japanese kimonos into modern fashion, while letting me to have a glimpse into their friendship and who they are. I was immediately intrigued when Judith and Yoko said they were excited to dive into the project without concerning whether or not their creations will be completed like they had envisioned. Judith explained, “It’s more that when we get older, the more we catch every moment,” so the two inventive women had no time to be tied down by clients or deadlines, worries or uncertainties; they simply act and live the most fulfilling way at the moment. Judith and Yoko are two long-time friends who met in the seventies in Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo. After graduation, they had begun different expeditions in the fashion industry, all the while, harboured the same passion. Judith established her design company in Hong Kong by catering to the Japanese market. Yoko worked in a team that specialized formal attires at an extensive Japanese company. The pair had sprouted from the same seed of dream and grown into separate branches, but their love for creating fashion was of the same root—both Judith and Yoko had loved drawings and sewings since young. Judith said, “I still vividly remember when I was young, like Grade three or four, I...

Family Matters’: A Glimpse into a Family Business Driven by Passion...

By Lara-Sophie Boleslawsky Photo courtesy of Dundarave Olive Company Our dining room table has become a ‘lay-away’ zone. One of those places where you temporarily “lay-away” something that you will probably use later, but you don’t exactly know when. Amidst school notices, calendars, pens strewn here and there, and advertisements, declaring in bold yellows and reds the “Super Saver” markdowns in our local retailers. Pushing aside the impending avalanche of stuff, my mother and I settle down for what I would term the most nerve-wracking interview in my life. I relish getting to spend time with my mother, we rarely sit and talk anymore; most days are spent in a flurry of school lunches, book-keeping, business management on her end and endless papers, midterms, and extracurriculars on mine. Yes, we live in the same house, but some days it certainly doesn’t feel like it.  Interviewing has always been for me an intimate affair, a brief encounter through which I must pull from the subject an array of emotions and inspirations that are often lodged deep inside. But time and time again the result is profoundly rewarding, this interview with my mother incredibly so.  Growing up, I had the amazing opportunity to be immersed in the everyday practices of the food industry. My parents were self-employed bakers and my earliest memories included devouring excess cookie dough, icing and freshly baked buns. As joint owners of Dundarave Bakery in West Vancouver,  every morning, my father would wake up at 3am to begin mixing, rolling and kneading the dough, with my mother often joining at 5 or 6am to begin with the daily pastry prep. I would often join them, walking around, putting my grubby hands in places I definitely was not supposed to, if only to get a...

Women Past Fifty: Adriane Carr and Her Journey of Planting Greens In Vancouver’s Politics...

By Susan Tsang On a busy Monday morning, the councilor of the City of Vancouver Adriane Carr set aside some time for the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society (VACS) to have an open conversation about her life. VACS president Keiko Honda facilitated this candid and engaging dialogue with Adriane on the topic of aging women and this spiritual journey throughout her career. Adriane talked without any intimidation of a politician and gladly shared her life experiences growing up in Vancouver as an environmental activist. Family Makes Adriane Carr Adriane had been blessed with love growing up in a multigenerational family house that was first inhibited by her great grandparents from Europe. Naturally, when asked about her role models, Adriane said that her parents are the people that have strongest influence in her life. “Even when my mother was ill, there’s always positive things she focused on—she would ask people around her, like the cousins and friends who visited, how they were doing. There’s always a sense of curiosity towards people and their circumstances.” There was another episode that stood out to Adriane in her upbringing that shaped her to accept deviant beliefs. “When we were in Nelson, Kootenay, there was a lot going on with the Doukhobors—a Russian religious group. One of its religious sects was creating some political difficulties such as burning down their homes.” Despite the warning from the community, Adriane’s mother instructed her “to go get the basket” to attend the Doukhobors Farmers Market that they would always go to. Her mother said that “they were good people, they grow good food.” Adriane had seen that she should appraise people fairly regardless of the social norm.  “My mother also encouraged me to seek my dream. She will never be held back by...

Vancouver Regional Heritage Fair: a Celebration of a Transgenerational Community...

By Susan Tsang At one thirty-eight in a clear May afternoon, steady streams of nine to twelve-year-old students participating the Vancouver Regional Heritage Fair filed into the Seniors’ Lounge at the Kerrisdale Community Centre. They were all armed with folded poster boards that were half their sizes and equipped with presentation models that they had prepared for months, ready to present their research topics on Canadian history to the visitors. The visitors’ questions and the presenters’ answers outperformed each other generating an escalating hum like rushing water. At the edge of the floor, I met Elwin and the story of Hudson locomotives of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) from the nineteenth century.  After detailing the origin and contributions of the trans-Canada railroad, Elwin said, “We need to pass knowledge on. How would anyone know the steam engines existed if we don’t pass it on?” A question immediately rose to my mind: why do we need to impose our history onto someone else? Steam engine is an old technology, why do we bother to learn about it? It seemed like it has a commonsense and straightforward answer, but I wanted to take the opportunity of being at a history event that allows me to dig answers from our young generation. I, too, had a research question and wandered through the corridors of the past.   Elwin with his Royal Hudson project. As I was getting lost in my thoughts, the lively presentations invited me to learn about the residential schools, Cirque Du Soleil, and the evolution of the Canadian stores. My editor also suggested to me to have a conversation with Isaac and the blacksmiths. Right away, Isaac asked me what I had already known about blacksmiths. He then invited me to do a simulation...

Time for Upcycling – An Interview with Colleen Rhodes...

By Lara Boleslawsky While Upcycling may be a new comer on the sustainability scene, it is unjust to simply call it a trend. Upcycling is a way of life. Upcycling breathes new perspectives, new ideas, new life into everything it touches. But what is Upcycling?          Just ask Colleen Rhodes, the creative and executive genius behind Meins Designs, a local sewing business that promotes Upcycling in the fabrics of its design.          “Upcycling to me means taking something that you would normally throw away and making it into something new. It means making something new out of the old,” says Colleen. To showcase this amazing new concept, Colleen will be participating in the new Skill Share series; a new and exciting community engagement project brought together by the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society. Colleen and Skill Share have partnered in order to promote and teach local communities about the social and environmental impact of Upcycling.        Skill Share is an initiative centered around the mandate that everyone has a skill, an art, a talent that they can nurture and grow and eventually develop for the purpose of teaching others. Colleen is one of the featured artists in Skill Share, as she will be teaching and supervising sewing workshops, all of which circumvent the main theme of Upcycling. The workshops take place once a month, with each catered to a specific project. These include: leg warmers made from an old sweater, skirts made from unused jeans and wine or produce bags made from unwanted shirts and sweaters.          “You don’t need to get everything brand new. Today everyone thinks the bigger the better, but it doesn’t need to be that way,” Colleen remarks. Through ‘Upcycling’ unused, and perhaps even unloved, clothes becomes re-purposed and...

Embracing Non-Violence with Magdaleno Rose-Avila...

By Sean Yoon   Every life is sacred. Choosing to embrace non-violence, peace and love as a way of life, Magdaleno “Leno” Rose-Avila is a human rights activist. After Martin Luther King Jr.’s death in 1968, someone came to him and said, “You have to stand up today. If you love Martin Luther King, then you have to defend what is right.” That is when Leno made a promise to himself that he would dedicate his life to helping people. From that moment forward, he became an activist and started demonstrating and defending human rights.   “If you don’t value other people’s lives, why should they value yours?”   For over a decade, Leno has worked with former gang members in El Salvador and LA through the organisation he started called “Homies Unidos,” or “Homeboys United.” Homeboys United worked with former gang members and youth to help them break away from violence and gain life skills through education programs, employment programs and various forms of mental health support. Leno recalls listening to former gang members for 90 days before he even said anything to them. “How can I talk to them if I don’t know their reality?” He said. “Most of the time we don’t take the time to listen, we always have an answer for somebody. What about listening? What is your pain, what are you thinking, where are you?” Leno came to discover that the people he met with were often very smart, but they were poor and have had very few opportunities to lead lives other than through violence.   What is the value that we place on a person’s life? Leno once had 70,000 dollars in his retirement account. He spent it all to start Homeboys United, and then put...

Food for Thought – Interview with Bhavna Solecki, Founder and Director of Inner Evolution Healing Centre...

By Katherine Dornian Photo Courtesy of Bhavna Solecki Therapist, businesswoman, activist, healer, philosopher – it’s difficult to pin down an exact title for what Bhavna Solecki does, since her work is all-encompassing enough to defy simple description. As the founder of Inner Evolution Healing Centre and now as a member of the planning committee for the Kerrisdale Permaculture Garden, Bhavna seeks to foster mental, spiritual and community balance in everything she does. For the past 15 years, Bhavna has run her holistic practice with the goal of building communities around the pursuit of “mindfulness” – the harmony of the mind, body and soul achieved through healing foods, meditation, exercise, and other curative pursuits. Though she holds a BA in psychology, her practice is primarily based upon Shiatsu and ancient Indian and Chinese medicine. It also features a significant amount of spiritual counselling, which she believes is directly linked to mental and physical health. “Doctors may try to take away pain,” she tells me. “But you cannot do that unless you first identify its source.” Because of this, Bhavna finds that therapy becomes a very immersive experience; she cites the paramount importance of fostering relationships with her clients, putting empathy at the forefront of her approach to healing. “If you don’t feel it, you can’t help,” she says, and makes a point of telling me that she uses the word “help”, not “treat”. Her process must be team effort with the individual, who must be willing to fully participate. Since she gives full autonomy to her patients, she trusts that they will take that step towards healing when they are ready, at which point she is truly able to help them. It is this act of trust that Bhavna states is one of the most...

An Interview with Martha Bassett, A Story of Passion...

By Lara-Sophie Boleslawsky Photo by Noriko Nasu-Tidball     “When I teach, I am motivated by the students, rather than the content.” Bassett begins her interview citing her teaching doctrine. Her remarkable journey is peppered with people, daily encounters, art…in short, a cultural interaction with the Japanese language.           Nestled in the midst of the vibrant neighbourhood of Kerrisdale, Martha Bassett and I sit, enjoying the view of misty trees and dew-covered leaves and bushes before us. Bassett is currently a Japanese language teacher at the Senior Campus at St. George’s School in Vancouver. Yet, she is far from just an instructor in the language: Bassett is responsible for the inauguration of the Japanese language program at St. George’s. Since 1992, Bassett has been sharing her love of Japanese language and culture with her students. “In order to sustain interest, there is a lot of other stuff we do, other than language,” Bassett remarks. Indeed, in addition to the language itself students in her classes are exposed to Japanese food, film, history and art, to name a few.            We enjoy green tea, imported from Japan; its delicate simplicity seems to reflect our tranquil surroundings. It is here that we begin Martha Bassett’s remarkable journey. And it is here that we return full circle, like the ever-rising sun.                      Despite being born and raised in Southern California, Bassett remarks that Japanese culture was always a part of her early childhood. Her father, being a soldier in the Second World War, regarded the Japanese as a “worthy enemy” and Bassett recalls, “Asia was always in the background”. Her appreciation for Asian culture suited her well in her early adult years when Bassett found herself wanting to travel. With little formal education, Bassett was inevitably drawn...

“Sake is Wine.” An Interview with Masa Shiroki, Artisan Sake Maker...

By Sean Yoon Photos by Noriko Nasu-Tidball     If I were to ask you the question, “What is sake?” How would you respond? I think the prevailing image in most of our minds would be of something poured from a small, slender flask container called a tokkuri into small cups to drink exclusively with Japanese cuisine at a Japanese restaurant. This is arguably the more traditional image of sake, but rejecting this image and pouring sake from a Bordeaux style wine bottle instead is Masa Shiroki, an artisan sakemaker based in Granville Island. To Masa, sake is wine and it can be enjoyed in many different settings, not just as an accompaniment to Japanese cuisine. “I wanted people to consider sake as wine because it is called rice wine in the first place and people know that. Every time I ask the question to people, ‘So how would you translate sake to English?’ People pause for a second and reply, ‘It’s a rice wine right?’ You just said it. It’s a wine. So think of the sake I’m pouring for you as wine and in order to do that, I thought it would be important to change the image of sake visually, so I decided to use Bordeaux style wine bottles. At his store in Granville Island which is titled, “Artisan SakeMaker,” Masa currently produces fresh domestic premium sake called “Osake,” sourcing purely local ingredients from BC and is the first of its kind in Canada. The rice used for the sake is grown on leased land with partnering farms in Abbotsford and South Surrey, totalling 16 acres of farmland. Sustainability is a major concern for Masa, who takes special care to ensure that all of the sake being produced under his business...

Canadian Nikkei Youth Baseball Club: The Shin Asahi...

By Josh Coward Photos courtesy of Josh Coward   Seventy years ago, on the baseball diamond located on Oppenheimer Park, in what used to be the heart of “Japan town” in Vancouver, the great Vancouver Asahi Baseball Team played it’s last game. In their daily lives, those Canadians of Japanese descent were not allowed access to certain jobs no matter how well educated they were. They were socially segregated at public places all the time. Only on the ball park were these “Japs” able to prove themselves as equals. The story of the Vancouver Asahi Baseball Team is not just about baseball, it was also how they played the game. In order to counteract the adverse conditions, the manager, Harry Miyasaki introduced a strategic style of offence and defense, putting great emphasis on discipline and training. This new type of baseball came to be known as ‘smartball’ or ‘brainball.’ The Asahi baseball team was a symbol of the Japanese Canadian struggle for equality and respect, and despite being disbanded and interned, left a legacy of inspiration for future generations of all Canadians.  Now, 70 years after the disbandment of a great team, a new spark begins to flicker. On October 11, 2014 a group of Japanese Canadian and Japanese people got together to revive this legendary team and formed the Canadian Nikkei Youth Baseball Club (CNYBC).   The CNYB is dedicated to creating healthy communities through the game of baseball. Inspired by the legacy of the Asahi Baseball team, for their skill, perseverance and accomplishments, it is our dream to bring back the Asahi Baseball Team to the Nikkei Community and Canada. We are a new club and are open to all, without regard to gender, ethnic origin or residency.   At the CNYBC we are...

A centenarian, Irene Ronnie...

By Kenta Motoike Photography by Alan Peng November 2nd will mark a significant milestone in Irene Ronnie’s life as she will become a centenarian and will be receiving a letter from the Queen herself. This distinction is a turning point for Irene that recognises her as a both a subject and a person. However, in order to appreciate such a milestone, the significance of this milestone can only be conveyed through context. At one point Irene even jokingly mentioned the Queen’s letter is just “for your own ego and no other reason”. Thus, the Playbook has decided to provide this context and insight through a personal interview of Irene and her experiences. What was it like growing up? Same as school kids as everywhere I suppose. Everyone was Scottish there; the atmosphere was filled with “Scottishness”. Is that a word? I was born in Aberdeen and went to school in there. Nothing unusual about the school, I had the usual courses and exams. I was not a great sportswoman, more of the bookish type. What was it like in school? The courses were the regular courses, we learned according to our age and we had the usual examinations. All together I enjoyed school as I’m quite studious by nature. Speaking through my own personal experience, I simply liked school; I liked the discipline that gave me a sense of direction. It directed you in your thinking and you could argue there was never anything to stop you from discussing what you wanted to talk about. You had the chance to argue with the teacher if you didn’t agree what they said. How did you get involved with the Air Force? At a certain age you had to decide what you were going to join,...

The WaterMe project

By Jasmine Teng Photogtaphy by Jasmine Teng The WaterMe project is created by Jasmine Teng, a high school senior at Crofton House School. Jasmine grew up in Shanghai and moved to Vancouver five years ago. Ever since then, she has been an active member of the community and student at her school. Strongly connected to nature and the environment, Jasmine has always wanted to contribute to the community by bringing a little green into the city. Jasmine Teng is very involved in her school; she is a student leader and an active member of numerous extra-curricular. As it is her final year in high school, Jasmine has set a goal for herself to be more active in her community outdoor the ivy walls of Crofton House. With her involvement in local senior homes and this project along the way, Jasmine Teng hopes to leave an impact in her community before she goes off to college. Currently in her grade twelve year, Jasmine is putting together an art portfolio for college applications. Interested in both creative and academic aspects of design, Jasmine hopes to study both facets in university which consequently is actually how the WaterMe project came about. The WaterMe project was originally created in response to a prompt of an admission challenge. The prompt was to created a three-dimensional gift that demonstrated human spirit. When the word “gift” came to mind, Jasmine immediately thought of an interactive project. Being a student leader at her school, Jasmine has always been involved with her community. In her grade ten year, Jasmine was part of an outdoor education program at her school in which she spent a lot of time in nature and its surroundings. Ever since, Jasmine has tried to keep a conscientious mind and incorporate...

Placemaking in Kitsilano: An Interview with Christopher Kay and Glen Phillips...

By Sean Yoon Photos: Sean Yoon/Alan Peng/Kenta Motoike/Chris Kay/Glen Phillips   When I turned into Christopher Kay and Glen Phillips’ neighbourhood on the 25th of July, I got a chance to look at how exactly placemaking (converting public space like boulevards into unique spaces of creativity) would go on to impact and shape communities. On the converted boulevard in front of Chris and Glen’s duplex is a sitting area with two worn lawn chairs and a bright red parasol, along with tree cover above to hide from the sun. Right beside the sitting area is a strange hedge figure in the shape of a bear, adding a sense of quirkiness to the area and in front is a raised bed with a spot reserved for a dinosaur sculpture in the shape of a stegosaurus. Before the interview took place, I was able to relax in one of those chairs for a few minutes and I got the sense that it would be an excellent place to hang out on a hot summer afternoon. For Chris and Glen, the sitting area came to be characterized as a common room space shared with the neighbours where they could just hang out and socialize. I was able to recognize the friendship between Chris, Glen and their neighbours as a group of residents sat on the curb outside their homes, watching the interview take place and occasionally conversing with us.   Moving from Yaletown to Kitsilano two years ago, Chris is a scientist in genetics striving for a PhD, while his partner Glen is a business owner coming from a business and science background. It was last winter back in February when Chris said to Glen, “We’ve got to do something weird. We’ve got to do something really...

Interview with Jordan Maynard, Manager and Co-owner at Southlands Farm...

By Sean Yoon Photographs: Sean Yoon/Alan Peng/Kenta Motoike   Situated within a ten minute drive from Kerrisdale Community Centre lies Southlands Farm, a rare plot of the last remaining class 1 agricultural soil in Vancouver. Being a much needed break away from the bustling noise of the city, I was pleasantly surprised when I found that Southlands Farm was not traditional in the sense where crops are grown in rows, but was instead highly efficient in the form of a polyculture space raising chickens, horses, ducks, honeybee hives; as well as integrating within the space a wide variety of produce such as apples, grapes, chicken and duck eggs, tomatoes, lettuce, kale, rhubarb, basil and other herbs. Feeling at ease among the sounds of people chatting, chickens running around and delightful atmosphere of the farm, I had the opportunity to walk around the farm and talk with Jordan Maynard, who is a manager and co-owner of the farm with his family.   Before I set out for the interview, while I was looking through the Southlands Farm website, I discovered that the conceptualization of Southlands Farm began in 2008 with a simple, but highly significant vision, which was and continues to be, “to farm in a sustainable way that could demonstrate to neighbours that true food security was possible within the city.” This statement raised some questions to my mind, such as what does food security mean and why is it an important concept to keep in mind in the context of Vancouver as a city? Jordan eloquently explained to me the concept of food security in Vancouver below.   “Food security is about having access to good food and in Vancouver right now and especially with the drought in California, we don’t have a...

Aboriginal Day

 By Ellen McLaren Photos: Barb Mikulec   Steady drum beats reverberated throughout the hall, deep voices singing out a canoe journey song. Water nowhere in sight, the audience was still transported to riverbanks and shorelines, chants pulsing with imaginary currents. The Coastal Wolf Pack performance group then transitioned into an honor song, equally stirring – the friendly chatter preceding the opening ceremony had long since faded to a murmur, listeners all sitting in respectful silence. The auditorium had filled, organizers and volunteers leaving their booths to catch a moment of the final canoe journey song before the performers descended from the stage, still singing as they exited the room. Applause broke out as the Musqueam Band’s celebration of National Aboriginal Day was set into motion. Taking place every summer solstice, June 21, National Aboriginal Day is a time for all Canadians to honor the cultures and contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. Festivities take place across the country as people, both within and outside Aboriginal communities, gather to learn about and appreciate Canada’s foundational societies. In Musqueam, the celebration took place a few days early on June 19, a sunny Friday afternoon. The day started with emcee Gordon Grant, who carried on a lively banter with each person he introduced to the stage. Chief Wayne Sparrow gave opening remarks, first acknowledging Musqueam’s elders and then extending welcome to visitors to Musqueam. This included the new Vancouver Chief of Police, Adam Palmer, who was there with a number of his force, all relaxed and chatting with other attendees. The crowd was decidedly mixed, attendance among Musqueam Band’s community traditionally high, but with a sizeable number of outside participants also present. Fellow intern Amy Cheng and I were there representing Kerrisdale Playbook, hoping for...