Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's starting to look like a Y again Dec 31, 2009

Today as I was walking back home from a visit to the GYM I remember that the new Y building is starting to look like one so I got out the Blackberry and snapped these images

Now scheduled to open on May 3, 2010 a bright neon sign has been fitted onto the front of the building as well as a new web site for the building.

So if you want to find out what is going on give it a visit.



Sunday, December 27, 2009

Update Dec 27, 2009

If you have noticed that this blog isn't getting a lot of action you are correct - I am doing most of my day to day stuff on my Facebook account - so much more easier to upload photos etc.

I still do intend to keep this blog going though - it will be used for any larger photo essays or trips that I take.




Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chasing my elusive Olympic dream Dec 17, 2009

On the Olympic volunteer front received another email asking a few more questions including whether I would be willing to be based out of Whistler - either living in provided accommodations or be transported there and back. I said yes.

Sounds like they are interested in me because the next round of the process isn't suppose to start until next week.

One of the things identified in the email was that you are basically assigned to delegation and are there to provide certain services like transport to venues etc - you will also have access to the venues while you are with the delegation. You also could start as early as Jan 29 - when the first of the delegations starts arriving

It not an easy task - most likely 6 days on 1 off and between 8 - 10 hour shifts although the Whistler posting could be a little different.



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A little clarification

I got a little ahead of myself on the post about volunteering for the Olympics - I was a little concerned about how the email was structured - very generic and one minor error - So I phoned the volunteer hot line - the email was very legit and it was actually asking me if I was interested in applying for this position and by replying in the affirmative I become part of the pool who will be accessed over the next week. Hopefully will get another email early next week with the actual offer - if that happens I will then have access to the volunteer web page and all the dates etc will be outlined for me.



Christmas on Granville Island and a little politics December 14, 2009

Last night I had the chance to venture over to Granville Island to partake in my MLA Mary McNeill first annual Xmas party - it is the first because she was only elected in May - she is also the Minister responsible for the Olympics - it was my first time to see and talk to her since election night as she has been very busy with all the Olympic themed events going on in town.

It was also a chance to renew friendships with some of her campaign team you are now working for her.

I took the ferry across False Creek with snow falling and with the intent of taking a number of photos of Granville Island decked out in Christmas colors but I forgot to check my battery level and was only able to capture the bottom two images before they died.

After the function and a few free beers I headed back to the ferry but saw the Ocean Cement truck all decked out and snapped it and the first image with my Blackberry.

Then it was off to the Big Ones to do a little computer work for him.



Sunday, December 13, 2009

First taste of winter and more Christmas scenes Sunday December 13, 2009

It starting snowing lightly as I was about to head our for a walk for a little shopping and lunch.

Took along my point and shot camera to see what I might get in the line of snow shots.

The "old" theatre row on Granville was my first opportunity because there are no cars or buses running you get a chance to see the snow accumulate on the roadway.

Then it was onto to Pacific Center Mall where I realized that the annual Festival of Trees is held on the upper level of the Mall and in the lobby of the adjacent Four Seasons Hotel.

Outside once again I visit the site of the Vancouver Christmas tree and Olympic countdown clock at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

his evening at 6PM PST we will reach the 60 day countdown.

Then it is onto to the Royal Bank - one of the main
sponsors of the Torch Relay and the art deco they have put up on their main headquarters building at Georgia andBurrard.

Finally a look at the art work at the
CTV building at Robson andBurrard - they are the official broadcaster to the Games.

Then it was off home.



Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Olympic dream Dec 12, 2009

A piece of news that I will share with you is that I have been offered a volunteer position with the Vancouver Olympics and Paralympics - still have to go through a couple more steps but it looks like I will be busy for Feb and March. The position is an Assistant on the National Client Services team - partly a meet and greet for visiting delegations - might even have a vehicle to drive people around.

Cheers D

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Exploring the new Woodwards site Dec 8, 2009

Yesterday I took a walk down to the long awaited opening of the redevelopment of the Woodwards store site - it is a blend of retail, educational, ngo's as well as market and non-market housing.

The first two retail to open are London Drugs - this is there 78th store in the chain - part of the third largest privately held company in the province and Nester's which is part of the Buy Low chain which is part of the Overwaitea Food group which is part of Jim Pattison Industries which is the largest privately held company in BC.

Nester's is going to use the old Woodwards $1.49 Today theme at times to promote the store and it should worked yesterday - the store was packed and in talking to my cashier they were catch unprepared for the large numbers.

Time will tell if this development will be the saviour of the downtown Eastside and start to bring it back to respectability.
While cool it was a pleasant walk down to the site and I passed a couple of landmarks on the way - including the tower at the Sinclair Building and the revolving tower on top of the old Sears - now SFU downtown campus.



Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Y Connections Christmas Party Saturday Dec 5, 2009

I have mentioned in previous posts that even though I am now retired from my job at the YMCA I have kept up my association with it through our community services branch and act as a host for new Canadians as they make the often difficult transition to a new Society etc.

This past Saturday we celebrated a North American Christmas complete with turkey, mash potatoes etc.

There were about 90 of us as we were also treated an Ukrainian folk dance and a little history about the Orthodox Christmas celebrated in parts of the world.

To put on this event required this group of volunteers who cooked, carved and prepared the evening events.



Monday, December 7, 2009

Santa Shuffle Saturday Dec 5, 2009 - Lumberman's Arch area of Stanley Park.

Each year in about 35 cities throughout North America the Salvation Army holds a fun run called the Santa Shuffle - in Vancouver it is held in the Lumberman's Arch area of Stanley Park - as scenic a sight as you will find anywhere.

The weather is cold as I arrive to help with the set -up and are soon joined by the other bike escort Gerald - we have done a number of these volunteer assignments the past couple of years.

This event has most of the set up done by the Running Room company so all we did was ride the course beforehand to see if there were any problems etc.

There was one area that was in the shade and wet - in fact quite icy so we reported that to the race officials - shortly thereafter a Parks Board worker put down some de-icer and by the time the runnes reached that spot it had started to soften up - they also posted a couple of volunteers there to verbally tell the runners to watch their footing.

It was then on to the finish line - Gerald did one more sweep to see where the last runners/walkers were and to release the volunteers from their checkpoints.

Then availed myself of the hot chocolate and chili and watched the awards ceremony.

In all over 700 participants - an increase over last year and also an increase in the $$$ raised.

After the awards ceremony the volunteers were treated to a chicken and rice lunch courtesy of Nando's.

Then rode with Gerald home and into the warmth of the apartment.



Thursday, December 3, 2009

Easy east side ride Dec 3, 2009

For the full story go to my Facebook page here:

I expect over the coming months to use this blog more for texting rather than images as it is eating up too much space and i don't want to have to pay for more when there are free alternatives available.



Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A sunny start to the month Dec 1, 2009

Well after rain on 27 of the 30 days in November, December is starting off dry and cool - the long range forecast is for a continuation of this for the next week or so.

As long as we don't get a repeat of last winter bitter cold and snow I won't mind the current weather.

Headed out on the bike - over the Burrard Bridge and into Vanier Park where the first two images were taken - this "art" is part of the street art program in the City and this particular one is raising some concerns - not over the "work" but rather the location - Vanier Park is the premier kite-flying area for many of the downtown - west side folks and where this "work" is situated is right where the kites are usually flown and landed.

Concerns by local residents seem to be falling on deaf ears.

From there I proceed along the south side of the Creek - all the way to Science World - I was under the impression that the stretch from the Cambie Bridge to Science World which houses the Olympic village was to be closed - while the fencing is in place - the gates were opened and many people were using it.

At the east end of the Creek by Science World on lands owned mostly by Concord Pacific a number of temporary structures are being assembled - these will be used by vendor etc during the Games - if there is one plus about this area - it has been clean upped - gone are stacks of used crane and construction debris left over from other Concord Pacific projects.

Next it is into the International Village development - this is an area between Chinatown and False Creek that has been getting re-developed over the past few years.

One part of the project is Andy Livingstone Park - he was a long serving Parks Commissioner - I have to admit that I usually just ride or drive through the Park but once again taking my time I found a few hidden gems in this Park.

From the pedestrian overpass I saw this view and then it hit me - a microcosm of Vancouver's development - from the dome tower of the old Vancouver Sun building, the lookout at the top of the old Eatons/Sears/now SFU downtown campus building, the big hi-rise of the International Village and the brown tower that is the new Woodward's building which it is hoped will be the engine that drives the revitalization of that area.

It was a pleasant 12 km ride.

I now have a Facebook account and once I get used to using it I will probably use if for the longer photo essays and just use this as an introduction.
Let's try this for a link to Facebook:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Putting up the Christmas tree and decorations November 29, 2009

With Christmas approaching it was time to put up the lights, tree and decorations.

I brought a new taller tree this year so the challenge would be to put it together and then decorate it but there were are couple of challenges created.

My first attempt was actually last night when I took the tree out of the box and put it together - in previous years with a much smaller tree I basically just threw the lights and let them hang but that wouldn't work for this tree.

So off it was today to see if there might be a clip or something to mount LED lights on the tree - my first stop was Canadian Tire which has a good Xmas display and sure enough I found just what I was looking for and then some - I also spotted a mount for the bulbs that I have that are a lot better than the wire ones that I am currently using.

So its home to finish the job - I had at first put the tree which is 4.5" in height on top of a small table but it just didn't look right so it now sits free standing on the floor.

The new clips did the job - should have brought a third package so I could clip all of the lights - now that I know where to get them and there are lots of Canadian Tires stores I will do that during the week.

I also have a small one foot tree which is sitting on the window sill and looks good from the outside.

Checking to see if all the necessary items are in the storage box - yes they were.

The new tree in the box.

I saw this a few years ago at Ikea and like it - this year it is also going to sit on the window sill.

The tree and putting it together.

The finished project - didn't notice it when I was the picture but that's an airborne snow boarder on my TV .

After the tree was up it was time to catch the remainder of the Grey Cup game and as usual last minute theatrics came into play - Montreal - heavily favored - best record during the regular season by a wide margin - had been trailing by as much as two touchdowns for most of the game but had clawed back to within 2 points and tried and missed a field goal on the last play of the game - but wait - what is that yellow flag doing on the field and who's penalty is it - unbelievable as it could be it is against Saskatchewan - some how they had one too many men on the field and the replays clearly show it - Montreal gets a second chance and this time they make the field goal and win the game by one point.

Only in the CFL do you get this type of finish.

After supper - there a hockey game on but I didn't watch another Canuck loss to a rested first place team.

There is some hope on the weather front for the coming week - it looks like we are headed for a drier and cooler forecast.