June 29, 2009

Car-Free Day, Critical Mass and other street fun

Musicians on Main St

On June 14, I volunteered at Car-Free Day Vancouver on Main Street and had the opportunity to also check out the festivals in the West End and on Commercial Drive. The vibe between the three was distinctly different, but without a doubt everyone was having a good time and we couldn’t have asked for better weather. I wound up the evening back at Main where I got to witness the last hour of the car-free street til close to 10pm when it was opened back up to cars. I think co-organizer Shannon described it as “tragic.” The transformation in the morning, and back again in the evening was interesting to witness. Fortunately, it will be happening again several more times over the summer, though on a smaller scale, as different chunks of Main St participate in the “Summer Spaces” program. (Yay!)

Main Street Car-Free Day Festival 2009 Main Street Car-Free Day Festival 2009
Car-Free Day on Main Street

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June 6, 2009

Michael Pollan at UBC Farm

Michael Pollan giving a talk at UBC Farm

With lucky last-minute tickets, I attended an engaging talk by author Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) at Vancouver’s spectacular UBC Farm this afternoon. This was his only Canadian stop on a book tour for the paperback edition of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (reviewed here earlier this week) and the location could not have been more appropriate. The afternoon included a quick farm tour after the talk, upon which I’ll touch later. It was cloudy for the talk, quite gladly, then the sun showed up afterward and made the place look like paradise! I enjoyed eating a yummy home-made salad and watching others eat around me. The event sold out all 670 tickets, and each person received a signed copy of the book.

Michael Pollan at the book signing table, UBC Farm

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April 11, 2009

UBC Farm Trek: a huge, fantastic, musical success!

Save the Farm banner

Imagine, if you will, your favourite summer street festival or an indie parade. Add a joyous rallying cry, one amazing cause and 24 beautiful hectares of farmland in a wild corner of Vancouver. This mix of music festival and protest march made Tuesday’s Great Farm Trek to UBC Farm the highlight of my year so far, on the most gorgeous spring afternoon we could possibly hope for.

When I got off the bus at UBC, finding the Student Union Building wasn’t too difficult: I followed the drumming noises (percussion ensemble Sambata) and the hum of a thousand voices gathered in the square. I was pleasantly stunned to see how many people turned out.

The opening speaker began soon after I arrived. Ben recorded a video of the inspirational speech by Shane Pointe (Musqueam Nation). I recorded some of it but his view was better. The crowd exploded in cheers when he encouraged us. I fell into awe and silence during his song.

The gathering outside the SUB

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April 4, 2009

April events rundown: Earth Run, films, music, art and political events

April’s looking great for activities and the weather is improving too. I think I’ve compiled everything I know of for the month. There’s something for everybody.

This weekend

East Coast Music Awards recipient and Great American Songwriting Competition winner David Myles plays the Rio Theatre with Jill Barber tonight. Doors at 7:30.

The Projecting Change environmental film fest continues through Sunday at Fifth Avenue Cinema with a screening of Blue Gold tonight and a second screening of End of the Line tomorrow, among others.

UBC Farm Trek

Tuesday: Save the UBC Farm: the Great Farm Trek

Speaking of which, The Great Farm Trek 2009 is on Tuesday, April 7 at 3:30 pm. It’s a big, fun-filled festival and a walk that follows this route to the farm. More info including entertainment details. I have never been to the UBC farm so I’m really looking forward to this!


The next Vancouver Bloggers Meetup is Wednesday at 6pm. Location TBD. Sign up for updates and RSVP at Meetup.com.

Stop Gateway has organized a protest at Kevin Falcon’s constituency office. Wednesday 3pm – 5pm at the sidewalk adjacent to his office at 17700 No. 10 Highway (56 Ave) in Cloverdale. And if I still lived there…

Kevin Falcon is BC’s Environmental Enemy #1. His massive highway, port and airport expansions collectively pave more than 7,000 acres of BC’s finite farmland.

He destroyed the environmentally sensitive wetlands and raptor forests of Eagleridge Bluffs, and his South Fraser Perimeter Road is poised to seriously harm Burns Bog.

While he is pouring public funds (that BC taxpayers cannot afford) into paving away our aspirations for a livable region, he is chronically underfunding public transportation.

This is a rally for farmland, wildlife habitat, fisheries, clean air and a healthy, livable region.

Saturday, April 11

Rail for the Valley and Gateway to What? team up for Highway 1 Day of Action, 11am – 1pm. More info at the Facebook event page.

Hard rock and metal fans: my friend Dan plays the 5/4 time in ODDCHiLD, which plays the Red Room with Macula and Drums of Autumn. Doors at 8pm, show at 8:15, $10 cover.

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