Category Archives: Community Projects

various endeavours like: True North Media House: Olympic social accreditation, Clayoquot Sound blockades, various lists, bestofs, award, tourism blurbs, un-conferences and geek camps + TEDx live blogging/tweeting

Opinion: IOC, sponsors have hijacked social media via Vancouver Sun

NOTE: Former VANOC communications chief Graeme Menzies shared his opinions about IOC’s constantly changing policy of controlling social media content (both from athletes and citizens) on behalf of rights holders and sponsors and, (often) against wishes and rights of locals.

Article shared below for posterity along with comment for your perusal. Comment written/posted just after the opening of Rio 2016 Olympics.

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Opinion: IOC, sponsors have hijacked social media | Vancouver Sun by Graeme Menzies, June 30, 2016

As the 2016 Summer Olympic Games rapidly approach, sports fans across the globe will use social media to observe and participate.

As the 2016 Summer Olympic Games rapidly approach, sports fans in Rio and across the globe will use social media to observe and participate in the experience.  It promises to be, in the words of brand marketing executive Brian Yamada the “largest social media event ever.”

He’s half right. What it’s really going to be is the most branded social media event ever.

Maybe also the most profitable for media moguls.

Perhaps it was inevitable, but I’m nevertheless disappointed that the IOC and all its corporate and media sponsors have hijacked social media for their own purposes.

It certainly didn’t start off this way.

Back in the months leading up to the Vancouver 2010 Olympics — what would eventually become the world’s first social media Games — people had the idea that social media was “the people’s media.” Part of the thrill and promise of social media at that time was that anyone could publish without approval of editors, gatekeepers, or censors.

Everyone could be a reporter. Everyone could express an opinion.

The whole notion of “official media accreditation” was challenged. Some social media activists rejected the officially-sanctioned rules and roles of media participation in Olympic events, and created the True North Media House — a voluntary, self-accrediting cohort of non-tradition citizen-reporters. There was also the W2 Culture + Media House, an alternative media centre located in the Downtown Eastside, which aimed to create a place where both traditional and non-traditional media could merge and meet for mutual gain.

Social media at this time offered a potent, exciting, new way for people outside the IOC family to engage in the Games and to share their views and experiences with each other and the world.

There was a sense that power, and a voice, had been returned to the people. And there was a dream that the sport event audience could become more than traditional observers and consumers of organizational and corporate narratives … that the audience could in fact be co-creators of the event and help define the media narrative.

Oh how innocent we all were.

Things have not unfolded as we hoped they would. The IOC has moved from passive social media observer to dominant social media player. In 2009 they were content to watch the local organizing committee launch the first official social channels. Today local organizing committees take a back seat to the Olympic giant: the @Rio2016 Twitter handle has a mere 295K Followers compared to @Olympics 3.5M

Unsatisfied with dominance over mere organizing committees, the IOC also engages global brand marketing agency VML to actively promote the Olympic movement and help with their social media strategy.

The IOC’s controlling hand extends to persons not on their payroll: during the period of the Games, and especially while on official venues, all athletes and accredited persons must adhere to the IOC’s social media guidelines. Live-streaming applications like Periscope are prohibited inside Olympic venues.

Mainstream media corporations are also getting in on the action, eager to turn sports fans into revenue streams. Comcast has made a deal with Snapchat to broadcast highlights from the Rio Olympics on the NBC Rio Olympic channel on the Snapchat Discover platform. The media giant is also talking with Facebook and Twitter about similar deals. Reports say Comcast has already scored a billion dollars in national advertising sales for the Rio Olympic Games.

Its all big business now. The citizen-reporter, the alternative media centres, are no more.

Sadly, the opportunity for regular sports fans to meaningfully shape the event narrative is weaker now than it was six years ago. We didn’t know it at the time, but that was as open, unfettered, and non-commercial as an Olympic social media experience was ever going to get.

Graeme Menzies is an international youth marketing professional, and frequent writer on sports and cultural topics.

Source: Opinion: IOC, sponsors have hijacked social media | Vancouver Sun

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Comment from Dave Olson:

Since Graeme published this article, I’ve wanted to write a appropriate response but, realized that the story of “Olympics and the social media” is almost gone.

It also occurs to me that it doesn’t matter to the IOC who are in the business of hamstringing cities into debt under the guise of utopian amateurism and sport.

Indeed, Vancouver will go down not only as the high point of participatory journalism but maybe as the “last reasonable Olympics” (despite the endless snide comments from foreign media who derided the games as not quite glamorous enough for their fickle tastes).

Each Games is preceded with a barrage of negative news pointing at the organizational foibles and these stories often overshadow the social justice and civil rights issues which locals pound the drum about eager for a voice at the table. Then, inevitably, everyone rolls their eyes at the cost and complaints, until the Games begin and then, through an odd sense of quasi-patriotism (jingoism) and excitement of seeing the youthful athletes making maximum efforts, the negative stories recede after the events end.

The media decamp before the Paralympics begin, the clean up crews deconstruct the endless white tents, and the agencies/countries hosting the hospitality houses count their impact. Then, the various levels of governments figure out the wreckage and the long term impact to the region.

While Olympics are catalyst to create infrastructure (which often should be built anyhow), the social justice issues which were raised before fade as quickly as the black SUVs disappear.

The stories of crippling debt from Montreal to Athens, and the excess and hubris of Beijing and Sochi, leave a sour taste in the most ardent sports fans’ mouth. And now Brasil is next in line to suffer the indignity and abject loss which is part and parcel to an event which is really only bid upon by cities with enough money that the fallout doesn’t matter.

Some folks put forth that the Olympics should rotate around 6 venues or build a special venue to be used each time, but these miss the point… the Olympics are a 2 week+ TV commercial for the host city, and a windfall of contracts for specialized companies to build and organize the events, and another 4 years of junkets for the IOC and their elite sponsors in thuggery. Its just not fun for the regulars.

Keep in mind, from Nagano onwards, i’ve actively contributed content (pod, blogs, snaps etc) to the commentary and dialogue, and did so from a point of view which accepted the Olympics at face value and as “inevitable, so let’s make sure the unknown stories are told” point of view. My efforts included wrangling the True North Media House campaign which resulted in social content produced by hundreds of amateurs on their own to a quantity and variety which eclipsed anything VANOC, IOC or the various protest groups managed. We did the whole campaign for about $15 ($50 if you include beer).

Now, i’m just worn out of seeing cities buy into the scheme and the athletes used as tools for profits of endless parade of acronyms of various sports associations and authorities that, despite legions of bureaucrats, still cannot provide a clean, fair games. Seeing athletes in one sport struggle for any support while across the way, millionaires line up in the “spirit of sport” … just makes no sense how it makes no sense.

Digressions aside, back to the original point about social media: IOC has changed positions and enforcement each Games… both in terms of what athletes and teams can post, but also what spectators, and even regular people living in the host city, can share without evoking the wrath of lawyers. As a result, the story is not complete (the TV networks sure don’t tell it) and the issues which were critical before the Games, vanish afterwards.

The IOC is adding “youth-ish” sports to the games to remain relevant for future generations but they again, miss the point and the zeitgeist of youth and the way communication occurs in contemporary context. But i also realize the TV rights fees and sponsors money keeps increasing which is the IOC’s real game – the sports are just a product to market.

Thanks anyway IOC, but i’m not interested anymore. Go amateur athletes (!) go far somewhere where you are treated fairly and compete on a level playing field which is clearly not the Olympics forte (or purpose).

NOTE: I first met Mr. Menzies (the author of the article) when he was obliged to reply to my offer (on behalf of Alternative/Independent media makers) of assistance, coupled with insistence in being included in an event which impacted our city and tax bills.

More: 

  1. True North Media House Olympics and Social Media
  2. Partial archive of the Olympic and media-related communiques
  3. More video content http://ow.ly/WET4302ZV1f
  4. Mr. Menzies’s dossier: http://ow.ly/arRy302ZV2G

≈boldkick≈ on Twitter: “We think of @uncleweed as the Internet whisperer. #BoldMove

“Get to Know Dave Olson: A Glimpse of Uncle Weed’s World Full of Passion” from boldkick

My pal and long time collaborator at Hootsuite, Chris Trottier and his new crew at “boldkick” – a new social architecture bureau, wrote this little tribute post about me following a talk at Victoria, BC, Canada’s Social Media Camp where i discussed how the “Internet has a Short Memory”. I am truly touched by he and Cindy’s kind words – i am very fond of them as well.

Excerpt pasted below for the record along with a link to the original post.

Raised on a diet of hockey, punk rock, and fanzines, Dave “Uncle Weed” Olson has been writing about his experiences for almost as long as the Internet existed.

A master storyteller, Dave Olson thrives in building communities. His work revolves around being an all-around creative. He is a writer, a podcaster, singer, a multi-hyphenate superstar. Looking at his own website, it’s both surprising and inspiring to see one person who has done so much.

It all leads to one thing, doesn’t it? Passion.

It’s been such an overused word, but it always rings true to the people who have it. Dave’s lifeblood is community, something that we at Boldkick strongly resonate with. Did we mention he’s from Vancouver, too?

As a traveller, Dave Olson has had a handful of experiences with different people with different backgrounds. In a quick interview at Toque and Canoe about his suitcase, Dave Olson shares about his souvenirs in his travels.

“I keep little ephemeral paper objects. Ticket stubs. Crappy postcards. I’ll take an empty scrap book and make it real time on the trip. Then you return home and BAM, the whole trip is documented and you can share it with your friends. I was on a train in the rain in Spain (ha ha) and had my scrap book with me and I ended up partying with all of these great folks. Great way to bridge those cultural gaps. I also like to bring back coins. Little things. I like tiny things.”

Source: Get to Know Dave Olson: A Glimpse of Uncle Weed’s World Full of Passion – boldkick

Can’t Buy Me Love: A Renegade Marketing Pro’s Tips via Trippeo

My Hootsuite alum comrade pal Adarsh Pallian has yet another start-up biz — this one is a travel-expense related company called Trippeo. He published this article (with assistance from the charming Katie Fritz) in which explores some of my marketing-fu. Shared below for the record with gratitude and appreciation.

Introduced thusly via Twitter:

@pallian pays homage to @uncleweed, master of marketing and good vibes. Get some tips from his recent @Medium post! bit.ly/1URc2VU

Dave O at SXSW 09 – photo by KK

Can’t buy me love: A renegade marketing pro’s tips for making an impression

One of Vancouver’s tech-scene’s radicals used to tout the “cheap and cheerful” effect. Instead of relying on the filet mignon to impart success and influence, renegade marketer Dave Olson preferred to take his clients to underground shows and then chat business over a bowl of ramen. The man knows what he’s doing: after coming on as Director of Marketing for Hootsuite in 2010, he helped grow the user-base to 8 million, and was integral to the development of the quirky, lovable brand.

Of course, in those early days, Hootsuite wasn’t exactly rolling in the cash. Dave and his team needed to find ways to make an impression… while pinching those expensable pennies. These are a few of my favorite cheap-n-cheerful moments from the Master:

Host a dinner party

Personal AND cost-effective. One of the most memorable moments of Hootsuite’s inaugural SXSW trip was the barbeque that they hosted. Austin, of course, is pretty intense about their barbeque, so the conversation was built in. The event was inexpensive, easy to coordinate, and most importantly, an authentic place to chat with potential clients and investors.

Mobilize volunteers

Dave loved to bring enthusiastic people together around a cause, be it a Hootsuite “Hoot-Up,” a day of renegade marketing school, or a community of podcasters. Volunteers have been indispensable to Hootsuite’s success: they have translated websites, thrown parties, shared tips and tactics, and pointed out bugs. In return, Dave and his team acted as references and champions for these volunteers, helping them gain experience and land professional roles.

Say thank you, in person

One thing Dave liked to encourage was “going analogue”. He knew that facetime was the ultimate impression – no number of Mentions, Likes, or Upvotes can replicate a genuine “thanks.” Can’t be there in person? Dave was a big proponent of the quick video that included his team waving and saying thank you! A little goes a long way.

Want more stories from DaveO? He’s logged a great many of his talks on Youtube. You can find his channel right here.

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Can’t buy me love: A renegade marketing pro’s tips for making an impression — Medium.

Anti-Olympic Protests and Activism – Article roundup

NOTE: When possible, articles are shared in full for historical record and annotated with original link when source is broken and/or accessed from Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine or Google cache etc. during Feb. 2017.

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Media coverage about homelessness and Olympics:

Stop the War on the Poor, says DTES Protestors
24 Hours, March 15, 2009

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Downtown Eastside residents angry at police crackdown via Wayback Machine – original
Canadian Press > CBC News, March 15, 2009

About 100 people gathered in wet weather to protest the Vancouver police crackdown.
About 100 people gathered in wet weather to protest the Vancouver police crackdown. (CBC)

Residents of Vancouver’s poverty-stricken Downtown Eastside protested Sunday against what they see as a pre-Olympic police strategy to drive them off the streets through petty ticketing and random identification checks.

About 100 people showed up outside a police station on Main Street — formerly the department’s headquarters — in the heart of the gritty neighbourhood.

Pelted by wet snow flurries, speakers angrily rejected the police business plan that calls for more tickets to be issued for bylaw infractions such as jaywalking and street vending — laws they say aren’t enforced in Vancouver’s nicer neighbourhoods.

Clyde Wright of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users said members “have been ticketed for offences such as stepping off the curb unsafely, riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, having no helmet, having no bell on their bike.”

The police plan calls for more summons to be issued to enforce the fines, which Wright said are a hardship on residents living on social assistance.

“This is targeted harassment of poor people,” he told the rally.

Protesters set up a sidewalk sale hoping to attract police attention, but officers stayed clear, instead blocking the street to traffic as the rally spilled off the sidewalk.

Crackdown aims to make streets safer: police

The police business plan, released in January, outlines various tactics it says is aimed at curbing street disorder in what is perhaps the poorest neighbourhood in Canada.

It sets targets for charges under the provincial Safe Streets Act and Trespass Act and requires each police Beat Enforcement Team shift to conduct a minimum number of identification checks in the neighbourhood.

Another tactic involves not laying charges for simple drug possession, instead seizing the drugs to avoid lengthy paperwork that keeps officers off the street for hours at a time.

David Eby of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association says the crackdown seems to be an attempt to clean up the Downtown Eastside before the Olympics.
David Eby of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association says the crackdown seems to be an attempt to clean up the Downtown Eastside before the Olympics. (CBC)

No one from the Vancouver Police Department was available Sunday to comment on the protesters’ complaints, but spokespeople in the past have said police are trying to crack down on street disorder because residents want to feel safe.

But David Eby, president of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, who attended the rally, said he believes the 2010 Winter Games have a lot to do with the plan.

“It’s hard for me to imagine this isn’t related to the Olympics,” he said. “It’s an entirely new initiative. More tickets than have ever been given out in a very short period of time.

“The goal is to harass the people who are living on the street down here, who are addicted to drugs or mentally ill or just too poor to even survive anywhere else. To harass them into other neighbourhoods and spread the problem out over the city.”

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Alternate Version:

Downtown Eastside residents protest police ‘street sweeps’
CBC > The Canadian Press, Mar 15, 2009

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Police cracking down on poor: Activists
Metro Vancouver News, March 16, 2009

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Police accused of harassing the poor with nuisance tickets – via Internet Archive Wayback machine – original 
The Province News, March 15, 2009, Ian Austin

VANCOUVER — Downtown Eastside activists took their protests of police harassment to the steps of the Vancouver police station Sunday.

The activists, who want to know why public money is spent to lay nuisance charges such as jaywalking, set up a garage sale at the entry to the station at 312 Main St.

“At a time when there is so much concern in the region about gun violence, all these police resources are being used handing out tickets to people who will never be able to afford to pay them,” said Ann Livingston, executive director of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users. “I find it unbelievable.

“It is further marginalizing people who are already struggling to survive.”

Under a portable tent structure, a group sold a variety of goods to protest tickets for unauthorized “vending.”

“The poverty in this area has been put on the police business plan as a crime issue,” said David Eby, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. “People can’t afford these tickets — it’s $100, and that’s almost one-third of the $375 they have to live on each month.”

Priscilla Mays of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre accused the police of trying to sweep the streets before the Olympics.

“It is not a coincidence that the increased ticketing is happening in the lead-up to the Olympic Games,” she said. “It is happening to ensure that residents live in a state of fear and intimidation so that the [Downtown Eastside] is cleansed of poor and homeless people in time for the tourists.”

City Coun. Kerry Jang said the ticketing is part of the Project Civil City campaign that’s a leftover from the previous city government.

“We are speaking with the police of a different approach,” said Jang. “Our solution is to create more housing.”

iaustin@theprovince.com

Downtown Eastside residents fear they’ll be jailed during Games
Canada.com > Vancouver Sun, Feb. 16, 2009 (Press Reader.com version available)

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Some people can’t afford to pay fines given during ticketing sweep for civil disorder
Canada.com > Vancouver Sun, February 16, 2009 (Pressreader.com version available)

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Police crackdown not welcome
24 HOURS News, February 16, 2009, by Matt Kieltyka

Downtown Eastside residents are feeling a little uneasy with the Olympics fast approaching and it starts with the police, protesters say.

Supporters of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre took to Pigeon Park yesterday to protest aggressive bylaw enforcement by police.

The women – backed by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, Pivot Legal Society and Carnegie Community Action Project – say a 50 per cent spike in tickets issued to DTES residents last year is criminalizing poverty.

“People are being ticketed for basically being in the street,” said organizer Harsha Walia.

Walia believes that enforcement – many for acts such as jaywalking and loitering – is being conducted “to make sure the Downtown Eastside is cleaned up for the Olympics.”

BCCLA acting director David Eby said the tickets have a knock-on effect, through court no-go orders, that prevent people from accessing essential services in the Downtown Eastside.

Pivot lawyer Douglas King says his agency is helping people dispute the infractions in court.

He has also called on city council to eradicate former mayor Sam Sullivan’s Project Civil City, an initiative King says has opened the door for aggressive ticketing.

“The city voted against Civil City when Gregor Robertson was elected,” King said.

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Downtown Eastside residents say tickets unfair
CTV News, February 15, 2009

The 2010 Olympics are being blamed for police sweeps and aggressive ticketing in Vancouver’s poorest neighbourhood.

Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside — is where addicts can openly inject drugs on the street — but jaywalking is an offense that comes with a ticket and a fine of $25 for people who can least afford to pay.

Activists say police are giving out more and more tickets to clean up the Downtown Eastside in time for the Games. And they claim the tactics are wreaking havoc for the most needy.

“I think that’s ridiculous, they wouldn’t do that on Granville, they wouldn’t do that on Robson, and people do that over there,” said local resident Paula Potter.

Vancouver police issued a flurry of tickets in the Downtown Eastside last year. Community groups say officers are targeting residents for minor infractions.

“We’re seeing things like ticketing for jaywalking, spitting, and “illegal” vending,” said Harsha Walia of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre.

It’s being executed as part of the province’s Safe Streets Act, passed in 2004 to crack down on aggressive panhandling, and championed by former Mayor Sam Sullivan. The mayor came up with his “project civil city” plan in response in order to deal with public disorder.

Last year, officers issued 467 tickets for violations under the safe streets act, more than double the previous year, the majority of them in Canada’s poorest neighbourhood, the Downtown Eastside.

Residents say it’s all about maintaining an image before the Olympics.

And there are plans to increase ticketing the area even more. According to the VPD’s draft business plan for 2009, the target is a minimum of four street checks per officer per block.

“It’s totally unfair and totally disrespectful,” said Wendy Pedersen of the Carnegie Community Action Project.

“Imagine how you would feel if you had no money and stepped off the pavement and you got a ticket for jaywalking, knowing nobody cares about your safety, that really it’s about scooping you off the streets for the Olympics.”

Not paying the ticket can mean ending up in jail or being banned from the neighbourhood.

The fight will go to court this week. Residents are being encouraged to contest their tickets on Tuesday.

With a report by CTV British Columbia’s Jina You.

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“Downtown Eastside crackdown misguided, groups say”
Globe & Mail, February 12, 2009, Frances Bula

If Doug Everitt lived anywhere besides the Downtown Eastside, he doubts he’d be getting the kinds of tickets from police he does.

The 50-year-old construction worker has had five in the past few months, some for riding his bike without a helmet, some for jaywalking on the streets near the residential hotel where he’s been living.

“I just feel like I get targeted because it’s something they can hold over my head so they can get me off the street when they need to, like the Olympics,” said Mr. Everitt, who has had his struggles with drugs and is now on methadone. “And it’s gotten a lot more aggressive lately.”

What he’s noticing is the effects of the Vancouver Police Department’s new 2009 business plan, which set new targets for ticketing and street checks in the Downtown Eastside to maintain public order.

The neighbourhood, home to a high concentration of poor, mentally ill and drug-addicted residents, is infamous for its pockets of chaos, with crowds of people selling random articles on the sidewalk or gathering in alleys to buy and sell drugs.

The police plan, which was initiated in December but made public two weeks ago, is coming under fire from the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and AIDS groups for the way it targets people like Mr. Everitt because they live in a particular neighbourhood.

They say the crackdown, which envisions banning people from the neighbourhood if they accumulate enough tickets, actually endangers people’s health, since it prevents the drug-addicted and marginalized from accessing the numerous services in the Downtown Eastside aimed specifically at their problems.

The groups sent a public letter to Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu objecting to the new plan, which set a goal of issuing 20 per cent more tickets for bylaw offences, 10 per cent more tickets under the provincial Safe Streets Act, and requiring any beat officers to do at least four random “street checks” per block every day.

“This doesn’t solve any of the underlying issues,” said David Eby, a lawyer with the civil liberties association.

His association’s letter, which was also signed by six AIDS organizations, noted that “bylaw offences identified for targeting by the Vancouver police appear to be those most closely associated with dire poverty, including sleeping outside and street vending.”

The police crackdown is also prompting concern from other social-service agencies in the area.

Mark Townsend, who runs a non-profit that operates a number of residential hotels for people who have psychiatric or addiction problems, said many of their residents are getting ticketed. One resident, who is mentally ill, is now afraid to go outside for fear of being arrested.

Mr. Eby noted that a scientific study on the effects of a previous crackdown, called Operation Torpedo, showed that more aggressive policing succeeded mainly in spreading drug and public-disorder problems to Commercial Drive, Broadway and the West End.

Operation Torpedo started in 2003 and tapered off about a year later. It increased the numbers of beat police and even saw officers on horseback going through the neighbourhood.

The police chief at the time, Jamie Graham, said the department was moving to more aggressive policing to create some order in the neighbourhood and make it more livable for residents intimidated by the level of drug-dealing and general mayhem.

But critics say that approach doesn’t really get rid of anything.

“Yes, the Downtown Eastside is chaotic but just because the chaos is spread out over a larger area doesn’t solve the problem,” Mr. Eby said.

Vancouver city Councillor George Chow said his Vision party, which dominates council, hasn’t formalized a specific response to the police plan. But he did note that he and his colleagues are pushing for other measures to try to control street disorder in the Downtown Eastside, like finding indoor places for dumpster divers to refurbish or sell what they have collected.

Special to The Globe and Mail

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‘Street sweeps’ protested Downtown Eastside groups oppose ticketing campaign
The Province Newspaper, February 16, 2009

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Local’s Tip: a Transit-Accessible Hike in North Vancouver via Explore BC

Sept. 03, 2014, Leah Poulton wrote an article about transit-accessible hikes around Vancouver and name-checked a few of my faves. So, i chimed in with some annotations which are shared below to augment the original article.

May I offer a few tips from someone who has marauded through these trails in various patterns over many years?

First, by starting the trip in Deep Cove and ending up in Lynn Valley, it makes for a little bit of a shorter trip getting home if you live in Vancouver. But either way I advise a stop at The End of the Line Café.

This location has housed a general store of some kind since the old logging days and now is filled with a ridiculous assortment of imported candies (esp. England and The Netherlands), plus a variety of chutneys to make your picnic lunch extra special, neat toys (balsa wood airplanes and sock monkeys) and decent coffee… and my favourite: trail pucks. Tell them Uncle Weed sent you. You won’t be disappointed whether you start or finish there it’s right by the trailhead.

Next, as a young Scout growing up in Surrey, we hiked along the Baden Powell trail in various parts a few times when it was still more primitive (or i recall it that way) and the houses weren’t built up so close to the trail. I remember camping along the Baden Powell trail – which seems like it would be verbotten now.

I remember one particular night sitting around the campfire at about 12 years old with the other scouts from Whalley when a mountain lion came and sat right in our camp fire circle with us. You could see his/her muscles, sinews, teeth and quickly realized there was nothing you could do except chillout and make no sudden movements. Fortunately my fellow Khaki Scouts didn’t freak out as we watched this creature, larger than any of us, including our wide-eyed volunteer scout leader. I don’t know if s/he stayed for 10 seconds or 20 minutes but it’s moment I’ll never forget.

Finally, one more transit tip. If you decide to go from Deep Cove to Lynn Valley (this was my preferred method because my house was right by the Lynn Canyon end of the trailhead and had a sauna for warming up after and autumn or winter hike) and you’re eager to get home, you can take the 210 bus.

Catch it just around the corner from the aforementioned End of the Line Café, and it’ll roll ya to the very houseline to the top of Mountain Highway, then all the way down through Lynn Valley Centre, to Phibbs Exchange, across Ironworkers Memorial Bridge and then express service through East Van (stops at Renfrew, Commercial, Nanaimo & couple more) finally ending up at Burrard Skytrain station.

Certainly not as scenic as the “three dollar harbour cruise” Sea Bus, but if you are in a hurry, and especially if you live in East Van, this can be a winner.

Great article Leah! I’m hoping your next one is a brewery tour of the North Shore with 3 stops (at least) now pouring.

The section of the Baden Powell Trail between Lynn Canyon and Deep Cove in North Vancouver is a great transit-accessible hike in Vancouver. One of the things I really love about Vancouver is that it’s completely possible to live or visit here without having access to a vehicle.

Source: Local’s Tip: a Transit-Accessible Hike in North Vancouver – Explore BC

Free Indian Feast in Vancouver for Chariot Day via Inside Vancouver Blog

My pal Remy Scalza is a freelance writer specializing in travel and tech and published widely.  He wrote a blurb about one of my favourite activities in Vancouver, or anywhere, eating tasty food with Hare Krishnas. I’ve feasted with these oft-bald devotees in Tokyo, London, Miami, Vancouver and Spanish Fork Utah among others.

Anyhow, he used a few of my photos (there’s also a video of various Hare Krishna bands playing) to invite folks out to their free feast. Hungry? Free Indian Feast (for 20,000 people) in Vancouver for Chariot Day | Inside Vancouver Blog

Respectfully shared below (in excerpt) for posterity.

by REMY SCALZA , August 6, 2014

Photo credit: Uncle Weed | Flickr

Now in its 41st year, the Chariot Fest – also known as the Jagannath Rath Yatra – is a Hindu celebration that involves transporting massive deities on chariots. According to the authorities at Wikipedia: “The rath (chariot) is carrying Lord Jaggannath and due to its massive size and weight and sometimes seemingly unstoppable nature, has led to the English word juggernaut … ”

Similar festivals take place in hundreds of cities around the world, often organized by the Hare Krishna movement. If past parades are any indication, this year’s will be attended by a mix of free spirits and free thinkers, as well as followers from India, who dance and clap in the streets as the chariots are towed to Stanley Park.

Photo credit: Uncle Weed | Flickr

Source: Hungry? Free Indian Feast (for 20,000 people) in Vancouver for Chariot Day | Inside Vancouver Blog

Postcards for Nepal – Help Nepal and i’ll send you a postcard

+++ Postcards for Nepal +++

Help ‪#‎Nepal‬ (again) Today + Tell the World = I’ll send you an art postcard.

One. Do something to help Nepal relief between today and May 25

Two. Tell about your actions in comments

Three. I’ll send you a handmade postcard to say “right on”

Keep spreading awareness and help how you can through skills, money, or sending happiness. But don’t forget Nepal. Ideas to help are welcome.

Also: 

++ It’s bad business not to donate to Nepal – via @wapost http://owl.li/Nping

Nepalese earthquake survivors line up during a food distribution in Kathmandu, Nepal,

The loss of life from the recent earthquakes in Nepal is approaching the scale of the earthquake that devastated Japan in 2011, where more than 20,000 perished. Major companies can and should be at the forefront of disaster relief there, but so far they have been slow to respond.

In relative terms, Nepal has been hit very hard. Japan lost one inhabitant for every 10,000 residents; Nepal, has lost one for every 3,000. The cost to Japan came to about 6 percent of its GDP; the cost to Nepal may be close to 50 percent of its GDP.

Yet Nepal has received far less business aid. In the aftermath of the Japanese disaster, firms around the world rushed in with cash and goods, providing more than half of the total international aid for Japan’s relief. But the corporate flow into Nepal has been barely a trickle. During the first several days after the earthquake, business aid arrived at a rate of $5,000 an hour. Compare that to Japan’s earthquake, when it was $150,000 per hour.

The disparity reflects an uncomfortable truth: Corporate contributions tend to go to countries that are already the most, rather than the least, prepared to dig themselves out. When the World Economic Forum rated countries by their readiness to come back from great shocks, Japan ranked near the top, Nepal near the bottom.

It makes sense that corporations act to cushion their own economic shocks from natural disasters by directing relief to countries where they have the greatest stake. Tracking international relief by the 2,000 largest multinational enterprises, we find that their donations closely followed their country operations.

The far greater business assistance to Chile than Haiti, after both countries experienced massive earthquakes at about the same time, had much to do with the fact that 37 percent of these firms operated in Chile but only 8 percent in Haiti. Companies like Wal-Mart, American Airlines, and the mining company Anglo American already had a strong presence in Chile and donated millions of dollars to its relief.
Now we see this same disparity in Nepal. Just 15 companies – fewer than 1 percent of the world’s 2,000 largest multinational firms – operated in Nepal when the first earthquake hit. So it is unfortunately no surprise that little business assistance has been flowing into Nepal, even though the country’s needs have never been greater. By one estimate, of the $550 million in outside aid to Nepal to date, corporations have contributed just $28 million.

The limited business assistance to Nepal reflects the limited company footprint there at the moment, but that absence will likely constitute a big strategic mistake for the future.

Though still one of the poorest countries in the world, Nepal and its 28 million residents will one day become an attractive market for many multinational enterprises. Today’s distressed residents of Nepal will long recollect the corporate brands that stepped forward in their moment of peril. Though business giving may seem un-strategic at the moment, that’s not only an uncompassionate way to think, it’s tactically shortsighted.

The U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck gave out Streptomycin for free to post-war Japan when it was ravaged by tuberculosis. Today, Merck has become one of the leading U.S. drug companies doing business in Japan.

During the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, American companies like medical and dental supplier Henry Schein and aluminum maker Alcoa came forward with materials and staffing. The immediate return on their investments will likely be nil, but that commitment will be long recalled in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Business giving when it seems least strategic in the moment will be the most strategic for the long term. With Nepal already devastated by the first earthquake and new aftershocks adding to the disaster, now is both an important time and a smart time for companies to step up the flow.

Out Of My Comfort Zone ~ Marie Hui

Out Of My Comfort Zone ~ Marie Hui

Arts and Crafts: Liberated Literature Project Overview

A briefing about a project called “Liberated Literature” to spread books from my personal library to readers around the world for their personal enjoyment & fulfillment.

All the books are proper literature and will include a library-like card instructing the bearer to Read it, Sign it, Share it. #davestory