Posts Tagged ‘British Columbia’

Over 1000 dolphins escort ferry near Vancouver

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

Pacific white-sided dolphins

Great video shot on Hallowe’en, October 31, 2013. Over 1000 dolphins swim alongside a BC Ferries vessel on its way to Vancouver through Georgia Strait.

CBC report confirms they’re Pacific white-sided dolphins which usually congregate farther out to sea. Some have suggested that dwindling food supplies have driven them nearer to shore. I saw a pod of about 200 from a ferry in 2011.

Ferry captain is a joker. “Ladies and gentlemen, there’s quite the dolphin show off the starboard side. Tickets can be purchased from the chief steward’s office.”

What temperate rainforest looks like

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

mossiest rainforest in existence

This photo was taken by my colleague Ken Wu, an environmental advocate with BC’s Ancient Rainforest Alliance. The photo was actually taken in Washington State, not far from here. He says this is the Quinault Rainforest in Olympic National Park, “the mossiest temperate rainforest in existence with almost all the record-size trees of the region, just about my favourite place on the West Coast!”

As part of my other design job with a group called Commons BC, I was involved in the fight against Bill 8 which would have privatized vast areas of BC’s forests. Currently 94% of British Columbia is “crown” or public land. Its forests are divided up into “Timber Supply Areas” but if those are converted to “Tree Farm Licenses” entirely under corporate control, BC will not be able to enforce sustainable forest policy – and that’s if we even had good forest policy the way they almost do in Washington State. And we don’t. We won our fight against Bill 8 but now that the resource-happy party back in power after a surprise victory, we believe this will have to be fought all over again. And this time we may lose.

If you want to see what BC has cut on Vancouver Island alone in the last 60 years, look at this before and after map (via Commons BC). Some of the most lush forest in the world, containing streams harbouring numerous salmon spawning runs.

The yellow-green is the original forest cover remaining in 1952. The pink is the logged area. Only a little in 1952; nearly the whole Island in 2012.

1952 to 2012


“Christy Clark just wants your love”

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Caitlin Dodds does Christy Clark

It might be hard to fully appreciate the brilliance of this performance unless you’re familiar with the vocal mannerisms of British Columbia’s Premier Christy Clark. But this mimicry is easily as good as Tiny Fey doing Sarah Palin. I’m almost sorry that Clark  and her unliberal “Liberals” will be skunked out of office in the May election because I could watch years of Caitlin Dodds doing Christy. In the Bublé bath. With rosé.

Many more videos by the Deep Rogue Ram collective here.

Deep Rogue Ram spoof of Christy Clark

Surveillance camera map, Vancouver

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Big Brother is watching

Very nice map of surveillance cameras in downtown Vancouver, by the Vancouver Public Space Network.

Disturbing content aside, it’s a very attractive map.



Roy Henry Vickers gallery, Tofino

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Roy Henry Vickers Gallery, Tofino

Roy Henry Vickers‘ gallery in Tofino, BC. The face of the building, similar to the style of a First Nations longhouse or “plank house,” was painted and handcarved by the artist, whose background is Haida, Heiltsuk and Tsimshian.

Historically the abundance of Western red cedar (there’s one in front of the gallery) as well as other resources led to the development of a strong West Coast aboriginal architecture, a form we now see far too seldom. There are some beautiful examples though though which I’ll include later on.

From the Canadian Encyclopedia:

“Plank houses shared a number of structural characteristics, regardless of their builders. All employed varying forms of post-and-beam construction, which typically exploited the large lengths and dimensions of the red cedar. In the south, Salish-speaking peoples developed a shed-roofed variant that was characterized by a single roof pitch that sloped from front to back. The building’s frame system consisted of massive roof beams, often more than half a metre in diameter, which spanned the width of the house and varied in length from 7.5 to 15 m. These beams were supported by two rows of posts placed about 3.5 to 4 m apart. These beams were often carved to represent important family ancestors or supernatural beings associated with the family’s history. Overlapping roof planks were laid over pole rafters attached to the roof beams. Walls were clad with wide split-cedar planks tied horizontally between paired upright poles. In spring, these planks were usually removed and transported to standing frames at summer village sites.” More here.

Roy Henry Vickers Gallery, Tofino

Roy Henry Vickers Gallery, Tofino

Roy Henry Vickers Gallery, Tofino

Below, every element of the front has been hand-carved.

Roy Henry Vickers Gallery, Tofino

Roy Henry Vickers Gallery, Tofino

West Coast cabin – Clayoquot Sound, B.C.

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Clayoquot Sound, BC

The cabin is probably the true vernacular architecture of British Columbia’s West Coast and other parts of the Pacific Northwest. Vancouver must once have had some of these buildings, thought rampant demolition and ugly development are doing their best to eradicate any trace of this architectural past. All that’s left of the cabin is the practice of attaching big cedar decks onto the imported Victorian and Edwardian and Britishy styles that sadly crowd the housing stock where I live.

Meanwhile there’s little to no building code on islands like this one in Clayoquot Sound, near Tofino. Unlike in Vancouver, with its ridiculously restrictive code and its colonial fixation on transplanted European architecture, when you’re out on the remoter parts of the coast you can do what you want. This is why so many of our best architects prefer building cabins to city houses, and we stay bereft of their influence in the city.

These photos are from a remote West Coast island where my aunt and uncle built a small, simple octagonal cabin on log posts that sit on the granite bedrock without even a concrete footing to alter the landscape. (I can only include a few details out of respect for privacy.)

Over the Labour Day weekend we sat on the deck and watched a pod of orcas hunt and jump offshore, smacking their tails on the water.

Clayoquot Sound, BC

Clayoquot Sound, BC

Clayoquot Sound, BC

The smooth round rocks are pretty but they serve a purpose: they’re the “laundry rocks,” keeping handwashed clothes from blowing off the deck while they dry.

Clayoquot Sound, BC - kelp in clear water

Clayoquot Sound cabin skylight

Ceiling and tiny skylight in the small sleeping cabin next to the main cabin – my woodworking uncle’s own design and handiwork. He’s a genius. Below, the tiny island deer are pretty tame and sneaky. No dogs or cats are allowed on the island, to protect wildlife.

Clayoquot Sound, deer

Clayoquot Sound, BC

Clayoquot Sound, BC

Clayoquot Sound

Clayoquot Sound, BC

Clayoquot Sound, BC

Raven on deck. Also saw: kingfishers, kinglets, warblers, sandpipers, little red crossbills, bald eagles, harbour seals, harbour porpoises, orcas and grey whales.