Advocacy, education and outreach in support of Vancouver's public spaces


July 1, 2017 at 9:33 AM

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150+ public space activities for today, tomorrow, and the upcoming months – Part I

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Canada Day - Flags - Photo by Keith JJ

Canada Day - Flags - Photo by Keith JJ

It’s Canada’s 150th birthday today, a fine date for the nation-state we call home, but also one that has rightly been called into question. The “story” of Canada is a complex one, involving layers of indigenous and settlement history, the dynamics of colonialism, waves of immigration, and a politics that of inclusion – and exclusion – that has favoured different people in different ways. There is far more to the country than you find in the capsules of nostalgia that are being traded in abundance this year… and nostalgia, as we all know, has a way of blurring the less savary aspects of our past and present.

In Vancouver, the aknnowledgement of this complex and overlapping history starts with the fact that the celebration is being named “Canada 150+“. The “+” is key. There’s a whole lot more history in the country than 150 years.

And yet, within this century-and-a-half since the country we call Canada came into being, there have also been some mighty achievements. For its many challenges, Canada has also walked a unique path. It has managed to avoid many of the other difficulties that have faced other countries around the world. There is a lot to be proud of.

So should you celebrate or offer a critique?

We believe you can do both. In fact, we believe that opportunity maybe one of the essences of being Canadian. That and the fact that we can use both of these mindsets – the celebratory and the critical – to be smarter, to do better, as we move forward.

In honour of the occasion of Canada’s 150th “+”, we decided to jot down a (very incomplete) list of 150+ things that you can do in our shared public spaces. Many of them are things that you could do this weekend, but a good portion of them are on-going – or even take place – later in the year.

We’ll be publishing the list over three parts today, tomorrow, and Monday.

  1. Go to the google and search “Canada 150 critique”. Read. (link, link, link)
  2. Check out the fireworks at Canada Place (link)
  3. Watch a sunset at Third Beach (link)
  4. Paddle in False Creek (False Creek, Creekside)
  5. Learn to say hello in Halq’eméylem (Halkomelem) or Sḵwxw̱ú7mesh snichim (Squamish) – the original languages of the place we call Vancouver (Halq’eméylemSḵwxw̱ú7mesh)
  6. Visit the Khatsahlano Street Festival (link)
  7. Ride the zipline at Queen Elizabeth Park (link)
  8. Learn about the trees on your street with the help of the Vancouver Tree Book (link)
  9. Watch the salmon swim uniterrupted under the Cambie Bridge (link)
  10. Attend a protest
  11. Learn to lawn bowl at Stanley Park or Granville Park (Stanley, Granville)
  12. Ride the slide into English Bay (link)
  13. Find some sidewalk chalk and a nice piece of pavement… and write out one of your hopes for the country
  14. Say hello to the new director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum (link)
  15. Focus your eyes and tune your ears with birdwatching (link)
  16. Satisfy your sonnet-lust with some Shakespeare at Bard on the Beach (link)
  17. Check out the new market on Granville Island (link)
  18. Go natural at Wreck Beach (link)
  19. (Re-)experience childhood on neighbourhood tree swing
  20. Plant a boulevard garden in front of your home (link)
  21. Take a random bus ride … and see where you end up! (link)
  22. Add some art to your alleyway
  23. Read the Truth and Reconciliation report (link)
  24. Volunteer for one of the City’s civic advisory committees (link)
  25. Organize a block party (link)
  26. Visit your local branch library and take out a book on public space (link)
  27. Water your local street tree
  28. Pick up a copy of the Vancouver Book Award winner and read it by the beach (link)
  29. Attend a West Coast, Pow-Wow, or Metis Night at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre (link)
  30. Have a picnic
  31. Try skimboarding at Jericho (link)
  32. Enjoy an icecream on the steps at the 800-block Robson, watch the people wander by
  33. Make all the poses of the laughing statues (link)
  34. Walk, skateboard, or pedal the Seaside Greenway
  35. Research your street, neighbourhood, or City history at the Vancouver Archives (link)
  36. Play bocce at Victoria Park. When you’re done, grab an espresso on the Drive! (link)
  37. Donate some books to a Little Free Library. Don’t have one nearby? Make one! (link)
  38. Volunteer with the Vancouver Public Space Network (link)
  39. Paint an old chair or two and add some seating to your local park, plaza or sidewalk (link)
  40. Be a hero and pick up a piece of litter
  41. Take in a City Council meeting and see how local politics works (link)
  42. Lose your self in the ecstatic rhythm of a drum circle (link)
  43. Busk. And if that’s not your thing, stop, listen and support a busker!
  44. Climb a tree, just like you used to.
  45. Take a spin in a Mobi bike (link)
  46. Get your rainbow on at the annual Pride parade (link)
  47. Explore the Fraser River boardwalk (link)
  48. Find something delicious at one of our local Farmers Markets (link)
  49. Learn to salsa with a free dance lesson at Robson Square (link)
  50. Smell the flowers at Van Dusen Gardens (link)

Part 2 and 3 of the list will be published on July 2 and 3. If there’s something you think should be added, please let us know! 

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