Winter Coping

The Culture Crawl

Even though it isn’t offi­cial­ly Win­ter, the rain, ear­ly dark­ness and damp chill def­i­nite­ly arrived in the Pacif­ic North­west. Nev­er­the­less, there are ways of deal­ing with the (not entire­ly expect­ed) inclement weath­er. I’ve often writ­ten about Van­cou­ver’s dual per­son­al­i­ty, and for­tu­nate­ly, there is plen­ty of the ‘city of the mind’ these days:

Two weeks ago, Bill Mog­geridge, the founder of IDEO (one of the world’s fore­most Indus­tri­al Design com­pa­nies), and the design­er of one of the first lap­top com­put­ers gave a pub­lic talk, at the Emi­ly Carr Insti­tute because he is join­ing the school’s Design Depart­ment as an Hon­orary Pro­fes­sor. His talk was most­ly mate­r­i­al from his recent book, Design­ing Inter­ac­tions which is avail­able, chap­ter by chap­ter, on the web site. Nev­er­the­less, I enjoyed his talk, which was to an absolute­ly packed hall (about 80% ECI Stu­dents, who were fun to watch as well — quite a few of them obses­sive­ly scrib­bling and sketch­ing or play­ing with their Mac­books as we wait­ed for him to begin). The only down­side to the evening was miss­ing the Blog­ger Meet­up, which was going on at the same time. Some­times there are too many of these win­ter events to cram into too few days and nights.

Today, we got a lit­tle break from the gloom, and Pam and I took part in anoth­er Win­ter event, the East­side Cul­ture Crawl. For about 3 days, artists and crafts­peo­ple in the neigh­bor­hoods of East Van­cou­ver all open their stu­dios (and homes), so that the rest of us go can vis­it and talk, admire some­times buy art, pot­tery, fur­ni­ture and fash­ions. It was a beau­ti­ful day, and we wan­dered around, tak­ing pho­tos of some of the art and the neigh­bor­hood, which was almost glow­ing in the sun.

Anoth­er way of cop­ing with the Win­ter gloom is food (of course). But rather than just the usu­al com­fort food, we capped the day with one of my favourite year­ly indul­gences, Cas­soulet. The Oya­ma Sausage Com­pa­ny on Granville Island has an annu­al Cas­soulet fes­ti­val, and you have to get your order in ear­ly. We topped ours off with Toulouse Duck Sausages and some herbed Duck Con­fit. Some good red wine and a sal­ad, and we were good to go. Oh, and not to men­tion, for dessert, a lit­tle ‘Juli­et’ Goat (Camem­bert style) from Salt Spring Island (the oth­er food fes­ti­val at Granville Island this week­end was for Cheese).

And then there are the evening events: Next week is anoth­er Demo­Camp, one of the recent spate of entre­pre­neur­ial com­ing-out par­ties for local star­tups and techies. I’m glad that I got into it, as I was unable to get into next week’s Third Tues­day, the local month­ly get-togeth­er for online mar­ket­ing, pub­lic rela­tions and social net­works. As I said, too many events, too few days and nights.

But it sure beats get­ting bummed by the weather!

4 Replies to “Winter Coping”

  1. Your blog makes me real­ize how much I miss Van­cou­ver. What you say about the dual per­son­al­i­ty of the town is so appro­pri­ate. I love how cre­ative and, at times, zany Van­cou­ver can be.
    By the way, in case no one filled you in, the bag­pipers at SFU are world famous win­ning bag­pipe cham­pi­onships in Scot­land. We used to lis­ten to them prac­tice in Burn­aby’s Cen­tral Park before we moved back East.

  2. Thanks, Cara.

    Yes, I’m find­ing that I’m now past the ear­ly star­ry-eyed infat­u­a­tion with the city, and have set­tled into what I hope will be a more long-term affec­tion. That means see­ing the the place warts and all: Yes, there is nasty traf­fic (dri­ving in it just nev­er gets very good), the rain, the prob­lems of home­less­ness and pet­ty theft. The con­struc­tion for the Canada­Line (not to men­tion the almost furi­ous lev­el of con­do con­struc­tion going on makes for a land­scape not only dom­i­nat­ed by the moun­tains but also by cranes. We’ve stopped count­ing how many dot South False Creek .

    But, I’m now find­ing that I look for­ward to so many of these year­ly rit­u­als, whether it’s cas­soulet or Okanogan fruit, the Cul­ture Crawl or the PNE, the Sym­pho­ny or the Fringe Fes­ti­val, the Zom­bie Walk or the San­ta Claus Parade, the snow on the moun­tains this month or the long July sun­sets there’s a com­fort­ing and con­tin­u­al cir­cle of the year here. I can imag­ine how you’d miss it.

    Did­n’t real­ize those bag­pipers were world famous! They were cer­tain­ly powerful…

  3. Woah! Mog­geridge is join­ing the Design Depart­ment? Damn, I sure missed out, hav­ing grad­u­at­ed this year. I also missed the talk, sigh, but I look for­ward to read­ing his book.

    Be sure to whisk away some win­ter blahs by enjoy­ing the hol­i­day train in Stan­ley Park. There’s also some mag­i­cal things tucked away in places like North Van­cou­ver — Park & Til­ford Gar­dens and Deep Cove — espe­cial­ly at this time of year. Can’t for­get the view from Mt Sey­mour! That is, when it’s not cloudy 😉 Prob­a­bly the best sight I’ve seen is from Cypress way above the fog. Amazing!

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