I've always found the disparity of housing market articles fascinating. On any given week I will come across headlines varying from predictions about an imminent collapse to stories about how the market has never been better. Statistics can be manipulated in so many ways that realtors, journalists, economists, or whoever feels like it, can pretty much paint the market to look however it best suits them.
When Japan's government purchased some of the Diaoyu Islands from their private Japanese owners in September, Beijing sent surveillance ships to challenge the move, igniting old tensions in a long simmering dispute. The tensions that exist between the two nations are not contained to diplomats and politicians, they reverberate among people in both countries and across a 40 million-strong diaspora. Here in Canada, many Chinese-Canadians are polite and speak only among themselves about such issues.
The Calgary Board of Education has recently opened the door to the naming of classrooms to corporate sponsorship. Naming of classrooms or programs leads to some very fundamental questions about public education and has many drawbacks. One of which is if you allow Coca Cola a five year deal on a school gym, why not another school sponsored by Pepsi? If they can sponsor a high school gym, how about a junior high? A middle school? An elementary?
On top of loving to dress up each year, Halloween is my favourite holiday because it's the most dependent on how we design and build our communities. In city planning and design, there's an old saying about the "Trick-or-Treat Test." It's often brought up in the context in suburban home design: Can kids easily find the front door to your house, or must they poke behind the huge multi-car garage, past the parking asphalt, to ring your bell?
The mere fact that the media has zeroed in on Tagalog as the fastest growing immigrant language, and the public's surprise of this so-called linguistic phenomenon, is telling of the social insignificance of Canada's third largest ethnic group. Sure, Filipinos are common props in fast-food restaurants, hotels and homes, but their lack of political and economic weight renders them invisible despite their large presence and 24/7 work cycles.
I was one of the lucky few who was invited to attend a rare opportunity to have a roundtable discussion with former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan who was in Toronto for an exclusive speaking engagement as part of an ongoing speakers series. Annan answered our questions which covered various hot button topics including the ways towards a successful society, Iran, Romney and China. Here is what he said.
When it comes to the beautiful Canadian city of Vancouver, I can't help but consider myself a bit of an expert. After all, I was a long-time resident up until a few months ago and while there, was lucky enough to work as a lifestyle journalist reporting on Greater Vancouver's best restaurants and attractions.
The federal and B.C. governments have always claimed that native land claims would never affect private property, that First Nations governments would never have veto power over private land. Tell that to a retired 70-something couple who face a Caledonia-like entanglement with their land. Their property in Vancouver's Marpole neighbourhood, which was in their family for almost five decades, has just been frozen due to the discovery of assumed aboriginal bones.
As our government proposes that we become a "super highway" for oil tankers they are simultaneously reducing both the prevention and the response capacity to deal with an accident in what is already Canada's busiest port. This represents a perfect storm of the conditions that could lead to an oil spill.
I'm bored in hearing the 'No Fun City' moniker. In fact I think that Vancouver is 'More Fun City' and so do many people here. I guess it's a question of working out what is fun for each of us and address this opinion. My friends and I find this city to be a lot of fun so let's look at the evidence.
She was a typical girl of her age. She took pictures with her friends out on various adventures. She had a Facebook Account, A Twitter account, and membership with some web-cam chat sites. It turns out she had joined the cam sites to try and meet new folks, something we've all done in one way or another. In many ways, she wasn't much different from me when I was 15.
Over the past weeks, Pivot Legal Society has talked to homeless men in Stanley Park and documented six assaults in the last month. Some of the victims have talked to the police, some have chosen not to report, and instead are finding more isolated places to sleep in an attempt to avoid detection by would-be assailants. This recent series of assaults against homeless men is not surprising in light of research looking at rates of victimization among homeless people.
Writing off a whole city with over two-million plus individuals because of a bad evening in one or two neighbourhoods is no need to ring the worn out, and high and mighty No Fun City bell. From classical and traditional to the futuristic and experimental there is something for anyone willing to make the trip off the couch! From DIY East Vancouver events to the good life to the outdoor healthy life and everything mainstream and pervy in-between there is always something to do.
We've heard the discussion about how Vancouverites suffer from a reported epidemic of loneliness and isolation. This notion (of which I am a firm skeptic) has triggered a policy initiative from Vancouver's ruling Vision party. So what does civic engagement actually mean to the party? Sadly for Vancouver, it already equals less access to city hall, reduced citizen involvement in shaping our city, and a top-down approach to decision-making.
The modern world, and the rise of mobile and digital technology, has significantly harmed the oral storytelling tradition where SMS, Twitter and status updates through social networks are less about stories and are more about moments in time that do not add up into anything particularly significant. Here in Vancouver we do have some champions of both technology and live events in keeping culture and conversations alive.
VIFF has a reputation of attracting a bit of a film snob set in comparison to its much larger sister festival in Toronto. Don't believe the hype. VIFF fosters a fabulous celebration of film, whether it's your first time or you've been going for years. Many people ask me how to approach the film selection process. With so many screenings spanning a two-week period, how does one decide what to see?