By The Canadian Press - Friday, April 12, 2013 - 0 Comments
VANCOUVER – The wife of former Vancouver Olympic CEO, John Furlong, has been killed…
VANCOUVER – The wife of former Vancouver Olympic CEO, John Furlong, has been killed in a car accident in Ireland.
In a statement, Furlong confirms his wife, Deborah Sharp Furlong, was killed while vacationing in the southeast part of Ireland on April 11.
Furlong says he is broken hearted over the death of his beloved wife and their extended families are beyond words over the loss.
Police in Ireland say the 48-year-old was seriously injured when the car she was driving collided head-on with a 4×4 vehicle near Gorey, Ireland.
She was taken by air ambulance to hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Police say the driver of the second vehicle, a man in his forties, was only slightly hurt.
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 6:00 AM - 0 Comments
Violent protesters go off-menu
Only in Vancouver could Mark Brand be made a target. The conscientious Downtown Eastside businessman serves a $1.50 sandwich at a loss, employs drug addicts with mental-health problems and regularly opens his freezers, Rocky-style, to a youth boxing club; he trains troubled residents in an “incubator kitchen” above his Hastings Street anchor, Save on Meats, and is tripling the number of healthy, hot lunches he serves to the down-and-out to 1,500—with plans to expand the model to two East Vancouver schools. Eventually, all Save On’s profits will be directed to charitable work.
Anywhere else, Brand, whose foodie empire counts nine local businesses, and whose plans to help the neighbourhood—which, he says, “has more courage, more love than any other in the city”—spill out in an excited babble, would be celebrated as a civic hero. But the tattooed entrepreneur, labelled the “poster child of gentrification” by a violent city anarchist group, has been at the receiving end of a campaign aiming to chase him out.
Brand was demonized in a poster campaign that papered the neighbourhood last year, and again at a “public information” session organized to turn local sentiment against him. Then Save On’s iconic sidewalk sign was stolen, only to turn up last week on a global anarchist website, the latest incident in a “class war” the group purports to be waging on East Vancouver businesses.
A block east on Hastings, Brandon Grossutti’s high-end restaurant, Pidgin, is being targeted by slogan-chanting, placard-waving protesters—a fight that has “escalated from property damage to violence and threats,” Grossutti says. Last week, East Vancouver’s Famoso restaurant, whose menu tops out at $14.50, had its floor-to-ceiling front windows kicked out for the third time since opening less than a year ago. The Anti-Gentrification Front targeting Brand and Grossutti is claiming responsibility.
Famoso, a small chain restaurant run by Alberta expats, had dared to open on Commercial Drive, a diverse neighbourhood that’s home to Italians, slam poets, yuppies with Labradors and the city’s lesbian community. The repeat attacks have left Famoso’s soft-spoken co-owner Trevor Stride, a former non-profit manager, “disappointed, frustrated and confused.” His insurers are demanding $20,000, Nicaragua-style steel shutters to repel radicals.
But if Vancouver’s anti-gentrification thugs were hoping to turn the city against these and other businesses, a very different sentiment is taking hold.
Stride is being swamped with flowers and well-wishers. Foodies are rallying behind Pidgin, and its cured steelhead and ponzu jalapeno salsa. “It’s as though the city has said ‘enough is enough,’ ” says Brand. “No one committing these acts has ever contributed anything to these neighbourhoods.”
By The Canadian Press - Friday, March 29, 2013 at 8:36 PM - 0 Comments
VANCOUVER – Vancouver’s mayor is remembering the life of one of his predecessors, who…
VANCOUVER – Vancouver’s mayor is remembering the life of one of his predecessors, who died today at the age of 82.
A statement from Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says former mayor Art Phillips was a visionary leader and citizen who made an indelible mark on the city.
He says Phillips will be remembered for his contributions to social housing and parks.
Phillips served as the city’s mayor in the 1970s and was responsible for municipal decisions that paved the way for downtown densification, including the fight against a waterfront freeway.
Credited with making Vancouver the liveable city it is today, Robertson awarded Phillips the city’s highest honour in 2010 for his contributions while in office.
Phillips also was elected to the House of Commons, winning a seat for the Liberals in 1979 only to lose it again in 1980.
Phillips is survived by his wife Carole Taylor, who served as British Columbia’s finance minister in the Liberal government of Gordon Campbell.
By Colin Campbell - Friday, March 29, 2013 at 11:54 AM - 0 Comments
In Ottawa, the leader of the NDP—the NDP—accused the Conservative finance minister, Jim Flaherty, of “banana republic behaviour” for his efforts to intervene in the economy and influence mortgage rates.
Meanwhile, Flaherty’s one-time ally in his anti-debt fight, Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney, has declared the household debt problem solved— apparently, a debt-to-GDP ratio of 165 per cent is no longer anything to worry about.
In Vancouver, a former prime minister, Kim Campbell, made headlines this month for filing a lawsuit in which she’s trying to get out of a 2007 condo purchase and recoup a $368,000 deposit. The Canadian housing market, it seems, has entered the twilight zone.
It’s getting harder and harder to tell what’s sensical and what’s nonsensical. Even the Tory cabinet can’t seem to agree if it should be concerned about Canadians taking on big mortgages at discount rates, with the Tories’ Small Business Minister Maxime Bernier joining Thomas Mulcair in his criticism of Flaherty.
By The Canadian Press - Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 5:16 AM - 0 Comments
VANCOUVER – Residents of a Vancouver apartment building, alerted by shouting and screams, locked…
VANCOUVER – Residents of a Vancouver apartment building, alerted by shouting and screams, locked their doors as a man stabbed people in what police believe was a completely random attack.
Seven residents and one police officer were injured in the highrise building in the city’s West End during the attack Thursday night, and now Vancouver police have announced charges against the 33-year-old male suspect.
Charged with four counts of aggravated assault, four counts of assault with a weapon, three counts of common assault and one count of assaulting a police officer is Jerome Bonneric, said Sgt. Randy Fincham of the Vancouver police in a media release Friday night.
He said police believe Bonneric, who isn’t known to them, was staying with a friend at the building, adding that Bonneric was arrested inside the building shortly after the attack.
By Dene Moore, The Canadian Press - Friday, February 1, 2013 at 7:11 PM - 0 Comments
VANCOUVER – Residents of a Vancouver apartment building, alerted by shouting and screams, locked…
VANCOUVER – Residents of a Vancouver apartment building, alerted by shouting and screams, locked their doors as a man stabbed people in what police believe was a completely random attack.
Seven residents and one police officer were injured in the highrise building in the city’s West End during the attack Thursday night.
Police said it appeared a male suspect, who was not a resident of the building, ran through the hallways slashing residents who police believe had no connection to him.
“He was in the building before this started. They’re looking today at why he was in there,” said Vancouver Police Sgt. Randy Fincham.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, February 1, 2013 at 5:26 AM - 0 Comments
VANCOUVER – Six people were taken to hospital, including one in critical condition, after…
VANCOUVER – Six people were taken to hospital, including one in critical condition, after what police call a vicious and random stabbing inside a Vancouver apartment building Thursday evening.
A seventh stabbing victim, and a police officer who was hurt during the arrest of the suspect, were also recovering from injuries, said police.
The incident occurred at about 6:45 p.m. in the 1200 block of Barclay St. in the city’s West End, and when police arrived on scene, they found the seven victims suffering various stabbing wounds.
“It’s a very vicious attack and very random,” said Vancouver Police Sgt. Randy Fincham.
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 3:44 PM - 0 Comments
Welcome to live coverage of the first Liberal leadership debate. The debate begins at 4 p.m. EST and can be streamed at CPAC.ca, Liberal.ca and CBC.ca. CPAC and CBC News Network are also carrying the proceedings on television.
We’ll commence the live blog shortly. Hit refresh for the latest updates.
3:49pm. The theme of this debate is “Can anyone here pierce the aura of invincibility that surrounds Justin Trudeau?” The first round will focus on hair care. Officially, there will be opening statement, then two questions for all nine candidates, then 12 mini-debates among groups of three candidates and then closing statements.
3:52pm. Despite the fact that there are nine candidates, the Liberal party has apparently declined to use a Hollywood Squares setup.
3:56pm. Here are your official themes for the afternoon: aboriginal issues, the environment, social housing, Pacific Rim Trade and electoral cooperation and reform.
4:05pm. Legalized weed obviously gets the first applause of the afternoon.
4:10pm. Marc Garneau goes with a Kim Campbell joke. (The one about how she said an election wasn’t the time to discuss
policyserious issues.) Probably gets his point across: He’s about policy, not nice hair. But Kim Campbell said that 20 years ago. Most of the NDP caucus wasn’t even in grade school when she made that gaffe. It’s time to get a new punchline.
4:15pm. Justin Trudeau does his Trudeau thing: staring into the nation’s soul, enthusing about the possibility of greatness and so forth.
4:19pm. There are four people on stage who ran for the Liberals in 2011 and lost. If you ran for the Liberals in 2011 and lost, there’s a 1.5 per cent chance that you’re a leadership candidate now.
4:24pm. Opening statements give way to a discussion of aboriginal issues. Time for collaboration and discussion and cooperation and leadership, everyone seems to agree. Martha Hall Findlay is really mad that Thomas Mulcair suggested that some progress had been made with last week’s meeting between the Prime Minister and First Nations. “The gaul!” she says. For that matter, if the NDP hadn’t helped defeat the Liberal government in 2004, the Kelowna Accord would’ve been implemented. Liberals love talking about the Kelowna Accord. New Democrats and Conservatives would probably love to talk about why the Liberal government fell in 2004.
4:37pm. Nobody but Joyce Murray wants to work with the NDP. She is the Liberal party’s Nathan Cullen. Well-positioned for a strong third-place finish. Karen McCrimmon argues that the best countries in the world have more than two parties. Risky move to openly disparage the United States and China like that.
4:42pm. Marc Garneau notes his ranked ballot proposal. Martha Hall Findlay endorses the idea. How about a coalition? Are any of these candidates willing to say they’d entertain the possibility of forming a coalition—either as the junior or senior partner—after the 2015 election?
4:46pm. With everyone but Ms. Murray having dismissed electoral cooperation with the New Democrats, an audience member asks how the Liberals might cooperate with the New Democrats in 2015 (because Mackenzie King did it once, apparently). Deborah Coyne allows for the possibility of post-election cooperation.
4:51pm. Martha Hall Findlay raises the example of Liberals voting for Joe Clark in Calgary in 2000 as an example of… something. The Liberals need their Joe Clark? Liberals need to be willing to vote for other parties?
4:53pm. On the issue of energy development and sustainability, Marc Garneau notes that he was an astronaut. David Bertschi and George Takach make fun of him. Mr. Takach refers to himself as “the tech candidate.” Mr. Garneau says he is also a tech candidate. Mr. Takach suggests that Mr. Garneau cannot be both the astronat and the tech candidate. That’s about the extent of the disagreement so far.
5:00pm. Joyce Murray shouts out a “price on carbon.”
5:06pm. A mini-debate on scrapping first-past-the-post. Karen McCrimmon wants to circulate petitions to determine what people want. I suspect this would result in the people demanding a Death Star.
5:09pm. Justin Trudeau wants a ranked ballot. Joyce Murray wants to cooperate with the NDP. Mr. Trudeau happily takes the opportunity to champion a principled Liberal party. Ms. Murray challenges him to demonstrate he has a plan to defeat Stephen Harper. Mr. Trudeau happily takes the opportunity to champion the Liberal party. Here’s my question: How do you cooperate with the NDP if the NDP doesn’t want to cooperate? Are you hoping that NDP riding associations will go maverick and dare Thomas Mulcair to stop them from cooperating with Liberals?
5:16pm. I think David Bertschi just took another shot at the fact that Marc Garneau was in space while Bertschi was doing stuff on earth. How big is the anti-space vote in the Liberal party? Is this an attempt to repeat the Conservative campaign against Michael Ignatieff?
5:24pm. Mr. Takach loves the Internet. He needs to go further with this. Replace the House of Commons with gchat. Reorient our military to cyber-warfare. Give every citizen an iPhone. Turn Manitoba into a cyberworld like Tron.
5:34pm. A three-person debate about living conditions for First Nations and social housing gives Marc Garneau, Justin Trudeau and Martha Hall Findlay a chance to perform directly beside each other. All three probably come away feeling fairly good about their 90 seconds. Give those three an hour on stage together and you might get a real debate (or the sort that could shake this race up a bit).
5:44pm. There’s obviously a good reason to avoid a divisive leadership race: you want to avoid splitting the party, you don’t want to give the Conservatives or New Democrats any fodder for future attacks (remember those Conservative ads with Michael Ignatieff telling Stephane Dion that the Liberals didn’t get it done?). But the conventional wisdom here is that there’s an obvious and clear frontrunner (Mr. Trudeau). So can the other candidates resist the urge to attack him? Can they afford to (if they truly think they have a chance of winning)? Do they just hope he self destructs with his own gaffes? One possible caveat: if, say, the Garneau campaign has some sense that on the ground Mr. Trudeau’s advantage isn’t as great as the conventional wisdom assumes and that, as a result, they can win without having to tear him down.
5:54pm. Joyce Murray shouts out marijuana. More applause. How does the Marijuana Party respond to this? Their central agenda has been completely hijacked by the Liberals. Do they move on to harder drugs? Do they present the Liberals with a proposal to run joint nomination meetings ahead of 2015?
5:57pm. A question about putting a price on carbon. Deborah Coyne says “carbon tax.” Justin Trudeau says a lot of nice words about the unfortunate tenor of political discourse, notes that the Conservatives have acknowledged the need to put a price on carbon, but he doesn’t commit to how he’d put a price on carbon. George Takach says lots of nice words about political centrism and says there are “at least five ways” to put a price on carbon, one of which presumably the Liberals would go with if he was leader. I dare say the Conservatives have successfully scared the crap out of some of their rivals on this file.
6:06pm. Closing statements and that’s that. All in all, it was… fine. Nine candidates squeezed into two hours doesn’t allow for much of a debate. Probably a good day for Justin Trudeau, who showed again what he has to offer as a public figure and wasn’t obviously taken down a peg by any of the other candidates, and Marc Garneau, who made a concerted effort to set himself up as the anti-Trudeau and might’ve succeeded. See this tweet and this tweet from John Geddes. (And then this tweet from Alice Funke.) Not sure the conventional wisdom on this race changes much after this, but Mr. Garneau has to hope that, at the very least, the narrative now makes him the obvious (if still distant) second place.
By Ken MacQueen - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 11:20 AM - 0 Comments
MacLeod’s Books—and its overflowing shelves—has a run-in with the fireman
Somewhere in the shelves or tottering towers of tomes at Vancouver’s MacLeod’s Books there has to be a copy of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury’s bleak tale of book burning and misbehaving firemen. The title refers to the apparent ignition point of books, and it is that flammability issue that now bedevils Don Stewart, owner of one of the most amazing, eccentric and, um, well-stocked bookstores in Canada.
Early last year, the Vancouver fire department announced it was radically increasing its annual rate of fire inspections from 13,000 to 20,000 commercial, industrial and multi-unit residential buildings. Among the businesses now lavished with attention is MacLeod’s, an early-20th-century building stuffed to the gunwales with books, or “fire load,” as inspectors call them. The fire department is also applying a $100-an-hour fee for buildings that require re-inspections.
Stewart had a peaceful relationship with fire inspectors for most of the four decades he has owned MacLeod’s, a downtown haven for bibliophile, browser and tourist alike. Now he’s had repeated visits from inspectors and once even a veiled threat of thousands of dollars in fines. Stewart says he has no quarrel with inspectors’ concerns that exit aisles are kept clear and that there’s access to electrical panels. “The one thing we’re having difficulty with is that they consider books to be a fire load. Even though we’re sitting in a sprinklered building, there is a perception that we represent a danger to everyone around us.”
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 2:52 PM - 0 Comments
VANCOUVER – More criminal charges are stacking up against those accused of taking part…
VANCOUVER – More criminal charges are stacking up against those accused of taking part in last year’s Stanley Cup riot in Vancouver.
The B.C. Criminal Justice Branch has approved charges against five people, bringing the total number of suspects charged to 161.
The latest charges against three adults and two juveniles include taking part in a riot, mischief, break and enter and using a face mask to commit an offence.
The juveniles can’t be named, but the adults are Joseph Graham, Brock Bigattini and Beau Pearson.
The riot in June of 2011 saw mobs smash windows, burn cars and loot stores in downtown Vancouver after the Canucks lost Game 7 of The Stanley Cup final to Boston.
Several people have already pleaded guilty for their part in the riot, and earlier this month the Crown indicated it was appealing sentences for two men because it said the sentences were too lenient.
By Ken MacQueen - Monday, October 15, 2012 at 12:40 PM - 0 Comments
Signs of hope and renewal in Canada’s poorest neighbourhood
For decades it was an acknowledged, if largely unspoken fact: if you lived in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside odds were you lived a Third World life and died a Third World death. Twenty years ago women living in what was called Canada’s poorest postal code died 4½ years sooner on average than those living in the rest of British Columbia. They died almost 6½ years before residents of suburban Richmond just a few kilometres to the south, which has the longest life expectancy of any city in Canada. Men in inner-city Vancouver died almost 11 years before those in the rest of B.C.; they lost 14 years of life compared to men in Richmond. Health officials declared a public health emergency in the Downtown Eastside but the problems seemed intractable: poverty, addiction, homelessness, an epidemic of HIV-AIDS, drug overdoses and a host of chronic diseases. “There was nothing else like it elsewhere in Canada or North America,” Dr. Patricia Daly, chief medical health officer for Vancouver Coastal Health, says of her arrival in the city 15 years ago. “The rates of HIV in that population were the highest reported in any city, I think, anywhere in the developed world at that time. There was despair. Overdose deaths were unbelievable. It seemed overwhelming.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 1, 2012 at 3:44 PM - 0 Comments
After erroneously alleging that the mayor of Vancouver hadn’t contacted the federal government to express opposition to cuts to the coast guard, James Moore heckled the clarification, delivered by the NDP’s Fin Donnelly during QP this afternoon, that the mayor had sent a letter to the Prime Minister.
He wrote a letter, what a warrior!
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 1, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
“The reality is that the City of Vancouver and all of British Columbia have more Coast Guard resources, have better Coast Guard protection, than any other port and any other coast in all of the country even with the changes in Kits,” he told reporters following his address at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is one of many critics who oppose the Kits closure, but Moore claims that Robertson has never contacted him about his concerns. “Gregor Robertson has never picked up the phone to call me or talk to me on this subject, he’s never phoned me, he has never contacted the prime minister,” Moore said. “I think there’s a difference between being seen to be wanting to be the defender of Vancouver versus actually being an effective representative.”
Vancouver Councillor Geoff Meggs, however, said otherwise “The mayor wrote on behalf of council to the prime minister on June 14,” he said. “It’s really not a question of who wrote to who first, we’d like a stand-up discussion on how to protect services and we haven’t had that yet.”
Here is a copy of that letter.
By Ben Rabidoux - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 1:39 PM - 0 Comments
August resale and housing starts figures are now out for all three of Canada’s biggest cities, and it’s not a pretty picture.
When the August resale data for Vancouver came out last week, the headline news was that sales had fallen to their second lowest level for the month since 1998. Sales were 30 per cent below what they were in August of last year and 40 per cent lower than the August average of the past 10 years.
But the numbers are even worse than the headline reveals. On paper, August 2008 holds the record as the weakest month of the past 15 years. However, it had two fewer week days than August 2012. If calendar differences are taken into account, last month represents the lowest sales volume of any August in 15 years.
By Aaron Hutchins - Monday, September 10, 2012 at 12:10 PM - 0 Comments
While Quebec fights for independence, the Vancouver Whitecaps battle for Cascadian pride on the pitch
The battle for Cascadian independence is largely a footnote in North American history books. It is highly unlikely the bioregion encompassing British Columbia, Washington and Oregon will achieve sovereignty. When it comes to professional soccer, however, national pride is at stake.
Every year, the Cascadia Cup is awarded to one of the three Major League Soccer teams within its borders—Vancouver Whitecaps, Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders—based on which team has the best head-to-head record in league play. “The soccer rivalry has really helped create this notion of the Pacific Northwest as a distinct region,” says Brandon Letsinger, a member of the Seattle chapter for CascadiaNow. Although the Whitecaps haven’t won the cup since 2008, the drought is of little concern to the fans while their team fights for the final MLS playoff spot. “I would proudly wear a Cascadian flag on my Whitecaps jersey, but I can’t see myself protesting for Cascadian independence,” says Brandon Walters, a member of the Vancouver Whitecaps supporters’ group, Southsiders. Regardless, the Southsiders proudly waved a massive Cascadian flag—blue, white and green with a Douglas Fir tree in the centre—over its entire section at a game earlier this year. “There are some people hoping at some point Cascadia actually does become its own entity, but I think that’s probably a pipe dream,” Walters says. “It’s more of a pride in soccer culture than anything for me.”
By Sunny Freeman, The Canadian Press - Friday, August 31, 2012 at 10:23 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – A new condo report suggests first-time buyers, retirees and population growth will continue to fuel demand and price growth for the compact living spaces over the next few years.
The study by Genworth Canada found that average condo resale prices are expected to rise next year in seven of the eight metropolitan centres studied.
Prices in Toronto are projected to jump 2.5 per cent to $312,352.
The highest increase however, is expected to be in Edmonton where prices could rise 3.2 per cent.
Vancouver is the only city where condo prices are expected to drop, by two per cent to $348,152.
The report stands in contrast to warnings from economists and officials that the condo market in some hot markets is reaching bubble territory that could soon burst.
By Erica Alini - Monday, August 27, 2012 at 4:52 PM - 0 Comments
Nothing, of course, could persuade condo king Bob Rennie that the Vancouver housing market is in a bubble (or, worse yet, a bubble that’s starting to let the air out).
For everyone else, take a look at this chart RBC put out today with its latest survey of housing affordability in Canada (which is deteriorating in most provinces, by the way):
*As usual, clicking on the chart will open the full-size version
By The Canadian Press - Friday, August 17, 2012 at 7:24 AM - 0 Comments
Said one eyewitness: ‘I realized, oh my God, she’s being attacked by this massive raccoon, and it was clawing at her and it was biting her dog.’
VANCOUVER — Blanca Blandon was asleep in her boyfriend’s downtown Vancouver apartment when she was awakened by blood-curdling screams.
She ran out to the street to investigate, where she saw a large raccoon attacking a woman and her two small dogs.
“It went after the woman’s dogs, trying to attack them, and it jumped up on the woman’s leg, scratching her,” Blandon, 21, recalled in an interview Thursday, a day after the late-night animal attack.
“She was sprinting and screaming. This raccoon was just psycho.”
The unidentified woman was walking her dogs around 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the city’s Coal Harbour district, not far from Stanley Park, when she encountered the aggressive animal.
Raccoons are common in Vancouver, few places more so than in Stanley Park and the surrounding areas. However, conservation experts say attacks are rare, particularly cases in which the animal hasn’t been provoked.
The woman’s screams attracted the attention of onlookers, who attempted to scare off the animal by yelling at it and shooing it away. Witnesses said the raccoon chased the woman for several minutes before someone managed to scare it off.
“The bystanders, some of them were running behind the woman and yelling at the raccoon,” said Blandon.
“Most people were just trying to make noise to scare it away.”
The woman and at least one of her dogs sustained minor injuries, police said. She was taken to hospital for a tetanus shot.
Laura Skelton, 44, ran out into her fifth-floor balcony when she heard the screams.
“This woman, she was running in circles with this brown thing behind her, and I mean like 20 pounds of big brown thing — I thought it was a dog,” said Skelton.
“And I realized, oh my God, she’s being attacked by this massive raccoon, and it was clawing at her and it was biting her dog.”
Skelton said one of the onlookers shouted at the woman to pick up her dog, but that appeared to make matters worse.
“When she picked (her dog) up, it was going for both of them, whatever it could get a piece of,” she said.
“Then it went at her, it was biting her wrists, it was jumping her and clawing at her legs. No matter what direction she ran, it was following her. She was terrified.”
By the time Skelton made it downstairs onto the street, the raccoon was gone. One of the woman’s dogs was gone; it was later found at the woman’s house several blocks away, said Skelton.
Skelton said the raccoon appeared to have several young nearby. Neighbours suspect someone in an area building has been feeding them, making them less scared of humans, she said.
“People just don’t get it,” she said.
“She (the raccoon) needs to go, because we’re all terrorized over here, we’re all afraid to walk our dogs at night.”
The province’s conservation officer service was looking into what happened.
Sara Dubois, of the B.C. SPCA said raccoon attacks are rare. When they do occur, they usually involve members of the public attempting to hand-feed the animals.
“This might be the only time I’ve heard of a physical attack that was so aggressive in my time working with the SPCA,” said Dubois.
“Often, a raccoon that was provoked, especially with a litter, it might show aggressive tendencies, but not actually make contact with people. But this, an unprovoked attack like that, is very rare.”
Dubois noted the raccoon population in B.C. does not have rabies.
She said the case underscores the need not to feed raccoons and other wild animals — not only for their safety, but for the public’s, too — and to be wary when approaching them.
“People shouldn’t be overly afraid of raccoons, they’re usually more afraid of us than we are of them,” she said.
“But if you see one and it seems like it’s not going to run away, just like a coyote in the city, you want to be loud and stomp your feet and clap your hands.”
By Mark Richardson - Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 6:34 AM - 0 Comments
Port Alberni, British Columbia – Day 55
Trans-Canada distance: 7,204 km
Actual distance driven: …
Port Alberni, British Columbia – Day 55
Trans-Canada distance: 7,204 km
Actual distance driven: 14,998 km
NOW: (Nanaimo) The ferry from Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island is officially part of the Trans-Canada Highway, linking the mainland road with the island road down to Victoria.
The arrangement is the same in the Maritimes, where the Newfoundland ferry at Port aux Basques and the PEI ferry at Wood Islands are both considered an integral part of the highway.
Everyone told me to book the ferry ride long in advance, because this is a holiday weekend, so I did and paid a deposit of $15. When I rolled up today, there wasn’t much traffic and the cashier asked me straight away for $80.70 for the ticket – a car and two people.
“I’ve already made a reservation and paid a $15 deposit,” I told him, expecting him to knock down the figure by 15 bucks.
“Okay,” he said, “but it’s still $80.70. That $15 is just a reservation fee – it’s not a deposit.”
So I spent $15 to make everyone’s lives easier – mine and the ferry organizers. But why? What’s the justification? What costs $15 here? Nothing, that’s what. I think it’s a complete ripoff to be charged $15 to hold a ticket, which goes back to standby anyway if you don’t turn up within 30 minutes of sailing. Even TicketMaster’s online concert reservations are cheaper – $10 for the privilege of printing your own ticket – and I think that’s also a ripoff.
People have been asking me about the justification on the Trans-Canada Highway for tolls, as with the Cobequid Pass section in Nova Scotia and the Confederation Bridge and ferries, and I’ve been answering that these are costly services that have to be somehow paid for. However, an additional $15 every time for buying your ticket in advance is unconscionable. If anybody at BC Ferries can justify the cost in any way whatsoever, please leave a comment below.
Incidently, the line up for the ferry at Nanaimo back to the mainland was hugely long – anyone without a reservation was out of luck. So why the additional charge to drivers for helping everything run smoothly?
THEN: (Port Alberni) This was the original westernmost point of the Trans-Canada Highway, back in 1912 when a group of motorists drove here from Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver. The Malahat Highway from Victoria had just been opened and this was as far west as anyone could drive in Canada.
Speeches were made then by various politicians and auto enthusiasts, and a highway was called for that would link the country by road instead of just rail. There were only 50,000 licensed cars in Canada, but the number was growing rapidly and the motorists could see the future.
On that day, May 4, a signpost was constructed and planted at the end of the road in Alberni; it read simply “CANADIAN HIGHWAY” and an arrow pointed east, back down the road. Some of those in attendance, including Albert Todd, the creator of the Todd Medal that I’m carrying, predicted that the Trans-Canada would be complete within five years or so.
But there was to be controversy within just a couple of days. Residents of the rival neighbouring town of Port Alberni stole the sign and replanted it within their own city limits a couple of kilometres away. Not to be outdone, the Alberni residents promptly stole it back again.
And as Thomas Wilby described in A Motor Tour Through Canada, when he and Jack Haney arrived in Alberni in the final days of their journey: “The treasured post was tenderly restored to its rightful place on the inlet, and a bull terrier, fierce and aggressive of disposition and sharing the local indignation, was chained to it to keep watch and ward over the outward symbol of a road that is yet to ‘weave province with province, to interlace people with people.’”
Today, the long-amalgamated town of Port Alberni is more than an hour’s drive north-west from the Trans-Canada, which leads between Nanaimo and the terminus in Victoria. But it has a special place in the highway’s history nonetheless.
SOMETHING DIFFERENT: (New Westminster) After meeting Lorne and Peter Findlay on Friday, I was invited to join them for the annual meet of the antique chapter of the Vintage Car Club of Canada. “There’s room in my 1911 Cadillac,” said Peter, so how could I refuse?
I set off first with Paul Carter in his 1908 Cadillac, because he was on his own and I was to be his navigator, reading out the turn-by-turn directions for the 30-kilometre route. “My brakes aren’t very good, but I go slowly and the parking brake’s okay,” he said, none too reassuringly. There were no seat belts – at least half a century would pass before anybody even thought of them – and not even any electrics. If this Cadillac was The Standard of the World it claimed to be, the standard wasn’t very high back then.
Paul gave a hard turn of the hand crank, the engine fired without too much protest, and we putted off up the road. But something didn’t sound right. Every shift between the three gears clanged and banged and ground away, and Paul didn’t look very happy. Then after about eight kilometres, while coming down a hill and distracted by the horrible noises coming from beneath our feet, the brakes failed and we bumped into a Ford Model T truck that was stopped at a junction. Impact speed was perhaps 1 km/h but even so – Paul uttered a few timeless epithets and I hitched a ride with Steve Eremenko in his ’57 GMC truck while the Cadillac gave up on the day and headed for the garage at home.
Steve and I covered another eight kilometres before we pulled up behind Lorne Findlay, who was looking under the hood of the 1932 REO sedan he’d brought along for the day. It had just coasted to a halt and Lorne, a retired mechanic, diagnosed a vapour lock in the gas line caused by excess heat. It was a very hot morning and he’d forgotten to open the ventilating louvres on the hood. “I should have brought the ’12 REO,” he lamented. “It’s gravity fed – the fuel line would have been fine.” It took 15 minutes of draining gas and blowing into the line to push the fuel through before the engine finally caught and we carried on to the finish.
After ice cream floats, everyone headed home and I hitched a lift with Peter Findlay back to his house, where the Camaro was parked. Five of us set out in his ’11 Cadillac; only two arrived. After – you guessed it – about eight kilometres, the car just ran out of power on a steep hill and ground to a halt beside the road.
Peter jumped out and cranked for all he was worth in the hot sun, sweating and straining as we all watched from the cool shade, but the engine wouldn’t catch; we were parked uphill and it was too dangerous to turn it around for a push start. With great regret, Peter suggested that the three of us who had other engagements would do better to just walk over the hill for the final kilometre back to his home.
“This isn’t the way I wanted it to end, but sometimes it just can’t be helped,” he said as we shook hands to say goodbye. As I walked away, an elderly woman walked up to him on the sidewalk and grasped his arm. “I used to drive in a car just like this!” she cooed. “I wish I still had it.”
“Want to buy this one?” I heard him say. “It’s going cheap today.”
Later that day, he sent me an e-mail. “Yes, I made home on my own power,” he wrote. “Cliff and I sat there for what seemed like ages (basically entertaining the passersby with their cameras). Eventually I remembered that I had a gallon of gas in the back, so I dumped that in and managed to get it running again. I guess it was low on fuel for hauling five people up the hill, but it should have been ok. The heat didn’t help. Anyhow, I got it home and stuck it in the garage and I’ll try it in the morning when I have more energy and both of us are a little cooler.
“After today, I hope you have a better understanding/appreciation of what the early travelers were up against. I still marvel at the thought that we were able to do 5,000 miles in Dad’s REO with virtually no problems.
After today, so do I. So do I.
SOMETHING FROM TRISTAN, 12 (West Vancouver) Yesterday I attended the West 49 Lrn2sk8 (learn to skate) program. Aside from the fact it was really hot, it was great because I learned how to drop in off a ramp.
I also was given a Sunny D and a prize pack with lots of stickers, a bobble head, and a poster to put on my wall. I also ended up buying a hat because if you attend the program you get a wristband that gives you 20 per cent off everything in the store for the rest of the day.
Skateboarding is really starting to get fun now that I have my new board and I can actually do some of the tricks. Hopefully I’ll get even better.
By Mark Richardson - Monday, August 6, 2012 at 7:18 AM - 0 Comments
West Vancouver, British Columbia – Day 52
Trans-Canada distance: 7,179 km
Actual distance driven: …
West Vancouver, British Columbia – Day 52
Trans-Canada distance: 7,179 km
Actual distance driven: 14,763 km
NOW: (Vancouver) The Pacific at last!
I’ve been dreaming of this day ever since leaving the Atlantic slipway at Petty Harbour in Newfoundland. The CBC came out to film me then, and the CBC came out again today to film our arrival when we dipped the wheels in the ocean 52 days later, near Kitsilano. The weather was warm and sunny and everything went so smoothly I was worried that disaster was imminent, especially as we drove through endless construction and the heavy traffic of a long weekend – but so far, so good.
Of course, we’re not quite there yet. The Trans-Canada Highway continues west from here over the ferry to Vancouver Island, and down to Victoria. We’ll be leaving for the island on Monday.
THEN: (Vancouver) Thomas Wilby and Jack Haney drove into Vancouver on Oct. 14, 1912. Their arrival was keenly anticipated and dense crowds welcomed them to City Hall.
The reporter from the Vancouver Sun wrote glowingly that the REO was “stained with the evidence of strenuous travel, covered with mud and oil and grease, but with every component part performing its allotted function regularly and efficiently as the day it left the Nova Scotia coast, the Halifax to Vancouver Reo automobile, bearing the banner of the Canadian Highway Association with Mr. Thomas Wilby at the wheel, drove up in front of the Vancouver hotel at six minutes to four o’clock yesterday afternoon. The total distance travelled was 3,900 (miles).
“No tour by motor car has caused more widespread interest. The difficulties attendant upon the expedition were almost incalculable. Mountainous, unmarked country had to be traversed, water courses crossed where there were no bridges, country travelled where there were no trails or paths, and in many cases railroad rights of way and grades taken in lieu of roads. It meant the survival of the fittest. A slight defect in mechanical construction, a moment’s relax of vigilance in driving over dangerous trails, and the object of the tour would have been at naught.
“Wilby and his mechanician Mr. F.E. Hanley (sic), were both deeply tanned by exposure to all sorts of weather, but beyond that there was little to indicate either in the crew or the car the magnitude of the undertaking or the unusual nature of the trip.”
SOMETHING DIFFERENT: (Vancouver) We were met in Burnaby by Lorne and Irene Findlay and their son Peter, who gave us an escort to the ocean in their 1912 REO and 1962 Plymouth Valiant.
The REO is the exact same model of vehicle that Wilby and Haney drove across the country a hundred years ago, and in 1997, the Findlays drove their car in a re-enactment of the journey from Halifax to Victoria. They were accompanied by John Nicol, now a journalist with the CBC based in Toronto, who wrote about the trip in his book The All-Red Route.
The Findlays’ REO attracted all kinds of attention on the streets of Vancouver as we followed it in to Vanier Park, where we dipped the wheels into the water of False Creek, under the Burrard Bridge. It had to be hand-cranked to start but once running it ran smoothly all the way – though the smell of the exhaust reminded us that it wouldn’t pass any emissions test these days.
It was quite something to follow the old car, and to recognize the challenge that faced Wilby and Haney, especially on the rough mud and sand roads and steep hills that set them back time and again.
When the pathfinders drove across Canada in 1912, the car ran fairly well with few incidents of reliability; when the Findlays drove the same route in 1997, they didn’t even get a flat tire.
SOMETHING FROM TRISTAN, 12: (Vancouver) Today we finally reached Vancouver! I am so happy now because the whole trip from here on we will be in the cities (my playground).
We got interviewed today by CBC and I think it went a lot better than before (in Sudbury) because I knew what to say because I had been thinking up sound bites.
So far Vancouver has been great and hopefully it can only get better!!!!!
By Ken MacQueen - Friday, July 27, 2012 at 8:44 AM - 0 Comments
So, finally, it’s the opening morning of the XXX Summer Games. (Warning: don’t type that into your search engine)
It’s the morning of the opening ceremonies of the London 2012 Summer Games and, ho-boy, I’ve seen this movie before. There’s a national biorhythm—an emotional arc de triomphe, if you will—that plays out during the span of every Olympics I’ve attended. I saw it in Calgary in 1988 and in Vancouver in 2010 and in a bunch of other Olympics in between.
It begins on the high of winning the Olympic bid, then it peaks and troughs many times over the long years of preparation. The successes, as the winning city basks in international limelight, are soon worn down by doubts, fears, cost concerns, internal bickering and impatience with a process that takes so bloody long that it seems the whole country is in the back seat of the family Buick screaming “Are we there yet?”
And then we are.
So, finally, it’s the opening morning of the XXX Summer Games. (A word of warning: don’t type that into your search engine because we’re talking Roman Numerals here and not the sort of, um, unsanctioned activities that a Google search will turn up.) But I digress.
What the Brits have been experiencing is an amped-up version of the anxiety that any good host feels in the moments before a pile of guests arrive at your home for an elaborate dinner party. You cast your eyes about the house and realize that, whoa! you really should have shampooed the rug, and the canapés got a bit singed, you neglected to ask if anyone has food allergies and, oh, my, whatever are we going to talk about with all these strange people?
Today, a read of the morning papers reveals the inevitable next phase. The door has been thrown open, you’ve shoved drinks at the guests and, by God, we just might pull this off! As the Guardian said in its lead editorial today: “London has a smile on its face and the country seems to have a sense that the next 17 days may actually be pretty wonderful.”
Or as The Times opined: “As the Games begin, we must remember that it is not only the athletes who have the attention of the world. All of Britain does. With the perfect combination of humility and pride, we should bask in it.” And, finally, the Daily Telegraph: “The Games of the XXX Olympiad, to give them their official title, promise to be one of the greatest spectacles this country has seen, to be remembered, we hope, for all the right sporting reasons.”
If anyone should know how this arc of angst goes, it’s Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for the U.S. presidency and the savior of the scandal-plagued 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games. And yet he put his foot in it while visiting London, expressing to NBC anchor Brian Williams that he found the security cock-ups and the threats of labour unrest “disconcerting.” He wondered if the country will come together and celebrate. “That’s something which we only find out once the Games actually begin.”
Well, the newspapers here are aflame. Never mind that their scribes shouted the same doubts from their bully pulpits only yesterday. That a foreigner said more or less the same things, expressed in the mildest possible terms, is interpreted here as a major diplomatic blunder. “’Nowhere man’ Romney loses his way with gaffe about the Games,” quoth the Times.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, quick to read the welcome switch in national mood, fired back at Romney. “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”
Ouch, take that, Utah!
Oh yes, the Games have begun.
By Chris Sorensen - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at 10:34 AM - 0 Comments
There are signs the real estate market may finally have stopped soaring
There’s a theory that whenever someone plans the world’s tallest skyscraper—whether it’s the Empire State Building in the late 1920s or the Burj Dubai in the mid-2000s—a financial disaster can’t be far behind. But could the same be true when it comes to over-the-top condo projects in Canada, a country many believe is in the grips of a massive real-estate bubble?
Barely a month ago, the developers behind the proposed E Condos in Toronto released a set of stylized renderings of the project, scheduled to be completed in 2017. They depicted two slender towers with glass-walled swimming pools that will partly overhang the sidewalk a dozen-or-so floors up, granting bathing-suit-clad residents “amazing underwater views of the city.”
It may just be a coincidence, but the eye candy appeared around the same time Toronto’s blazing real estate market finally began to lose steam. Sales in Toronto slumped 13 per cent during the month of June, with the biggest decline—18 per cent—coming in the city’s frothy condo sector, which Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has identified as a key source of concern.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, June 29, 2012 at 12:37 PM - 0 Comments
The NDP dispatched Megan Leslie and several BC MPs for a tour of the province this week to discuss the environment and the Northern Gateway pipeline, including a stop in Terrace and a tour of the Douglas Channel. Video of the forum in Vancouver has been uploaded to YouTube.
By Gustavo Vieira - Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 10:24 AM - 0 Comments
A Stanley Cup rioter has been sentenced to one month in jail, despite the…
A Stanley Cup rioter has been sentenced to one month in jail, despite the fact he turned himself in, pleaded guilty and did not previously have a criminal record.
Twenty-year-old Emmanuel Alviar, of Surrey, B.C., was also given 16 months’ probation and 160 hours of community service. He has also been instructed to send letters of apology to Vancouver’s mayor and police chief.
The exemplary sentence given to Alviar was in connection with him kicking garbage at a vehicle on fire, pushing another car that was later badly damaged and smashing a window in the riots that ensued in downtown Vancouver after the Canucks lost last year’s game 7 of the Stanley Cup final to the Boston Bruins.
Judge Reg Harris denied the Crown’s request for a four-month jail term, but said general deterrence was warranted in the case. Alviar’s lawyer, Gary Botting, had requested a conditional sentence.
From the Globe and Mail:
“Many more might have come forward had they seen that there was going to be just a conditional sentence,” Gary Botting told reporters outside Vancouver Provincial Court. “It would seem that from the reasons that the judge gives that it would be now unreasonable for any other judge to give less of a deterrence. A conditional sentence is now pretty well not a possibility.”
By Gustavo Vieira - Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 7:51 AM - 0 Comments
Montreal police confirmed Wednesday that the hand and foot sent to two Vancouver schools…
Montreal police confirmed Wednesday that the hand and foot sent to two Vancouver schools by mail belong to the victim whose murder and dismemberment was possibly filmed and posted online. According to the National Post, police are now on the lookout for other parcels, specially one that would surface with the victim’s head, which is still missing.
From the National Post:
DNA tests still have to confirm a match between murder victim Jun Lin and the body parts delivered to the two elementary schools, but Montreal police said the hand and foot were “the same body parts that we are looking for” and confirmed both packages were shipped from Montreal.
Montreal police took over the investigation on the severed body parts sent to Vancouver schools on Wednesday, following Monday’s arrest of the main suspect Luka Rocco Magnotta in Berlin. The packages sent to Vancouver schools, as well as those sent last week to political parties in Ottawa, contained notes in addition to the body parts, but the writings gave police little indication of why they were being mailed to those destinations.
From the Globe and Mail:
The macabre case has now spanned the breadth of Canada and parts of Europe, and raises puzzling questions about what might connect an alleged killer and cannibal to two schools in British Columbia. Two other packages, containing a left hand and left foot, were mailed to federal parties in Ottawa.
Cdr. [Ian] Lafrenière said in an interview that Mr. Magnotta did spend time in Vancouver, but he couldn’t specify when or for how long. The packages to Vancouver, like those mailed to Ottawa, contained notes, but their contents don’t offer any clues.
“Why Vancouver, why two schools? We ask the same question: Why Ottawa, why two political parties?” Cdr. Lafrenière said at an earlier press briefing.