Vancouver really isn't that difficult to put into words.
Urbane, a San Francisco-based firm that designs word maps for North American cities, did just that for Lotusland when it put a rather literal (literate?) spin on its popular landmarks and neighbourhoods.
Stanley Park shows up as "Totem Pole Park," while UBC is described as "Students meet hippies on a rocky land."
As you head east, you move through "Old money never dies" (Shaughnessy), "Quirky shops" (Kitsilano), "High-Rise Rezoning Anger" (Marpole) and "2010! 2010! 2010!" (Olympic Village).
Trevor Felch, Urbane's chief commercial officer, described Vancouver as a city that is facing gentrification pressures that stem from the 2010 Olympic Games.
"You see it directly with the old Olympic Village along False Creek, but you also see the rapid transitions out east of the center, where traditionally working class and Asian immigrant neighbourhoods are seeing a younger generation of renters, or yuppie housing if you will," he wrote.
Felch may not be entirely correct about gentrification stemming from the Games (new development was happening in traditionally-poor areas well before 2010), but the map certainly succeeds in showing that Vancouver is more than just glass condos, the steam clock and Granville Island.
The design takes careful note of enormous differences that appear when you travel from west to east.
"Somehow students and naked hippies lead to Rolls-Royces, then to one of the most enormous and influential immigrant populations … anywhere," Felch wrote.
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