02 Apr 2015

Knockturn Alley

When you see the mad eyes, the raised knife, the marbled slab and the Gulliver hands, you might reasonably assume that you have veered off into Knockturn Alley. Not so, they say. This is, rather, the King Edward and Main building of a popular butcher’s shop that has been operating in Vancouver

27 Mar 2015

Giants On Granville Island

Concrete giants with hoodies and man-bags? This is probably not something that Walter and Herbert Gilley would have envisioned. Yet, here in their old industrial plant, stand a brobdingnagian quartet created by two other brothers – Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo, high profile artists from Brazil. In 1886, the Gilley Brothers opened their

21 Mar 2015

Cherry Blossom City

This time of year, you will see Vancouverites and visitors out with their cameras and easels, circling blocks that are lined from one end to the other with cherry blossom trees. Our cherry blossom tradition began with generous gifts from Japan. In the 1930’s, the mayors of Yokohama and Kobe gave

21 Mar 2015

The Lightshed

If you visit this tiny house on stilts, you’ll hear kids and adults talking about climbing inside and claiming this hobbit house on the sea as their own. Lightshed was created by Vancouver artist and Emily Carr professor Liz Magor and installed in 2004. Magor won the Gershon Iskowitz Prize in 2014

12 Mar 2015

Lenin’s Head Is Gone

In 2010, Vladimir Lenin landed in Richmond. Well, his 8,800 pound head did and, as the title noted, Miss Mao was trying to poise herself atop it. The piece quickly became a source of loud debate. It was wonderful, it was disrespectful, it was curious, it was inflammatory. This politically provocative stainless steel sculpture was

12 Mar 2015

Queen Elizabeth Theatre Fountain

It was in 1971 that this bronze and steel fountain started flowing outside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The nestled orbs were designed by prolific sculptor Gerhard Hans Class and a gift from the German-Canadian Centennial Committee of BC  to the city of Vancouver.

05 Mar 2015

The Drop

Does it rain in Vancouver? Who wants to know? Not if the past few days have been any indication. For those days when we forget our liberal skies, the Vancouver Convention Centre offers a steely reminder. The Drop is the blue steel creation of Inges Idee, a collaboration of four German artists: Hans

05 Mar 2015

The Dunbar Simpsons Mural

Dunbar and 41st is not where one would expect to find elaborate graffiti murals. Yet, there in the IGA parking lot is a colourful swirl of characters that includes Homer Simpson’s extended family and Moe the barkeep. Most improbably, these citizens of Springfield find themselves neighbour to Mother Theresa.  

26 Feb 2015

Sinclair Clock Tower

For some, the Sinclair Centre may trigger chilling passport office flashbacks. Please do not let me look down and miss my number. The building is, however, one of our few historic landmarks, with its earliest section – the Edwardian Baroque Post Office – having been designed by architect David Ewart and built

26 Feb 2015

Second-Hand Stills

Never mind the streak-free mirror balls and the carefully-draped overcoats. Some of the most interesting store displays are well away from the windows, tucked into the back-corners of second-hand shops. Here’s one of many on Main Street.