Tag Archives: Vancouver

Multimedia Gallery with kk+

There’s a fun multimedia gallery that’s part of the BC Pavilion on the 4th floor of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

I’m working with DigiBC during the games, and many of their members provided the content and technology for the gallery.  And friend  Sara Bailey, is the curator.   Sara worked on some of the earliest CBC Radio 3 designs back in 1999 (prototypes actually) and she and I worked together as consultants for a number of years.

On Wednesday, she offered photographer Kris Krug and I a preview of the gallery (it opened on Friday).

I shot a full ‘tour’ with Sara guiding us through – that will be online in a few days.  But I also put together this little piece for Kris.

He and I first met ten years ago when he was publisher of one of Vancouver’s first online magazines and we were just starting to put some definition on what CBC Radio would be.

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

There’s a higher quality version online here , on YouTube here, on Vimeo here

You can also see a longer, full video tour of the gallery with Sara Bailey here.

Olympic Fever

Olympic spirit is most definitely showing itself all over the city of Vancouver.

Even here in sleepy North Vancouver.

It’s true, we’re essentially just a pass-through community as people head either to Whistler or Cypress Mountain or Vancouver or Richmond for events, but still, we’re  jazzed.

I first noticed it on my first stop of the day for coffee.

And right up there on display with the commuter mugs, those red Olympic mittens – perfect for handling those hot beverages.

In my local ‘hood –  Edgemont Village –  all the merchants are sporting these  Go Canada Go posters.

And really, there’s no better way to welcome the torch than with a quick haircut…

Or even better, a bottle of wine…

Lots of people are making a fuss about the crass commercialization of the games.

But darn it, why didn’t I think of this.

Chocolate covered sea foam Inuksuit (that’s plural for Inuksuk by the way).

Truth be told, I prefer my Inukshuk with dark chocolate, but that’s just me…

Here’s a basket full of mascots.  And I mean full of mascots. There are 4 official mascots, not just one.

This one’s  Quatchi.

The other three are Sumi, Migi and Muk Muk.

Given the lack of snow at Cypress Mountain and the financial mess the ski resort at Whistler is in, they really get a fifth mascot.

One who can jury rig a fix up just in time for the games – might I suggest  MacGyver

By far the sleeper of all this Olympic merch (and there is plenty of it).

‘Cause nothing is more indicative of  winter sports in the lower mainland.

The Official Umbrella of the 2010 Games.

Finally, my favourite.

While organizers have been focusing on getting volunteers and community support for the games, they missed the obvious.

These guys at Contact Printing nailed it.

And just to bring the point home.

Let’s pull back a bit  so we can see those fantastic snow covered North Shore mountains.

Perfect Gift for Your Scuba Diving Friend(s)

Here’s the deal:

I’ve been doing some work with Sea Dragon Charters over the last few months, and I’ve got a limited number of gift certificates available for scuba dive trips in Howe Sound.

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If there’s someone in your circle of family or friends who dives, this is a perfect gift.

Each gift certificate is for 1 person/2 dives aboard Sea Dragon, and includes filling their tank after the 1st dive so they don’t need to bring (or rent) 2 tanks.
Each dive trip is customized to the experience of the divers, and the location(s) in Howe Sound are determined on the dive day.

Each gift certificate is $ 99.00 Canadian.  You save on all taxes.

Buy in packets of 2 and save an additional 25%
That’s a 2 pack for $148.50

You don’t have to commit to a date, the recipient can book their dive at a date that’s convenient for them, based on availability on that date.  Gift certificates must be used before August 31, 2010.  Divers need to bring (or rent) their own equipment as the dive charter does not include scuba dive gear.

You’ll get a personalized gift certificate, custom printed with the name of the recipient(s).


email me if you’re interested  info@bigsnit.com

And you can read more about The Sea Dragon on their website.

-Robert Ouimet

Will That Be Cash or Trust ?

Spring Gillard and David Tracey have released the latest in their series of podcasts, Can Urban Agriculture Save the World?

A bit of serendipity was involved with this one.

While on their way to interview Cam MacDonald in Mt. Pleasant, they passed a small corner store. Taking a peak inside they discovered a very unusual city corner store – packed with local products and oozing country charm.

It’s called the Home Grow-in Grocer, and it’s a place where trust trumps the credit card…

Runs 10:28


Podcast ISBN: 978-1-926758-01-5

photos and podcast © Robert Ouimet & Bigsnit Media 2009

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The Home Grow-In Grocer is at 196 West 18th in Vancouver.
The owner Colleen refers to in the interview is Deb Reynolds.

cross posted to VanGoGreen

The Ducks Were Having None of It


I was stealthy, but to no avail.

I thought I’d sneak up and get some photos, and even though I was all silent-running-like, the ducks were on to me.

The day threatened to turn from grey to drizzle, but never did. Madsu hummed along on a steady outflow in Howe Sound.

It’s always a delight to balance the boat – then set the tiller extender into the lock box and head up to the foredeck while Madsu sails herself


Sitting on the foredeck, I’m quickly reminded that it’s April. The wind blowing down from the local mountains, through Howe Sound, is chilly. It’s not surprising considering how much snow is still up there. Even in the height of summer, the catabatic winds in Howe Sound can be cold. I’m in shorts but I wish I’d brought my toque.


The new rope clutches and deck organizers I installed have worked out even better than I’d hope for. The double Spinlock clutches fit the cabin top just right. (Oddly, even though they are doubles, the drill template that came with them was for a single – and useless)

I like their size and mechanism, and Steveston Marine gave me a better than advertised price on them after I did some comparison shopping online.



The line organizers were a bit of a struggle. Almost everything I looked at was much too big to fit just forward of the pop-top. I finally settled on some simple aluminum doubles from Barton. I made a bit of a mess with the sealant when I installed them, but I should be able to clean it up ok.


It may not be warm, but it’s not raining. BC’s got some mighty impressive shades of grey when the sun isn’t shining.

Madsu’s sailing herself nicely on a close reach.


It’s great to be out sailing again.

Even if I didn’t have much luck with the ducks.


Vivaldi Never Lived in BC

Even though I’ve lived in the Lower Mainland since 1987, I’ve just now figured out the seasons.

What was throwing me off is that they aren’t distinct, discreet seasons like elsewhere in the country.

They’re mellow, they over-lap, and there are some wildcards.

Today, in a moment of clarity like I’ve never had before, it all came to me.

The seasons here go like this:

  • Mostly Snowboarding
  • Mostly Gardening
  • Mostly Sailing

Oh, we also have a season called Hawaii.

To help keep it all clear, I’ve put together a little chart – click for a larger version – print it up and stick in on the bulletin board.


cross posted to VanGoGreen.com

Tibetan Fund Raiser


My friend Luyen Dao is organizing a unique fund raiser later this month.

For five days, from Feb 24-28, a group of Tibetan monks will create a Sand Mandala at Dr. Sun-Yat Sen Gardens in Vancouver.

It’s incredibly intricate work, and this is a chance to see first hand how it is done by masters of the technique who are visiting Vancouver from the Dzongkar Choede Monastery.

I got Luyen to tell me a bit more about it when I visited with him at the gardens…

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

A $10 tickets gets you admission to the gardens for the entire five days, and $2 from every ticket goes to help support the young monks, many of whom are orphaned or come from poor Tibetan families.

You can get more information and updates on the event on the fund raiser web site.

Here’s the link to the Dr. Sun-Yat Sen Gardens web site.

You can also grab this invitation and pass it along to a friend.

Here’s a YouTube video of a sand mandala being made.


That Night Follows Day – Premeire

You feed us. You wash us. You dress us. You sing to us. You watch us when we are sleeping. You explain to us the different causes of illness and the different causes of war. You whisper when you think we can’t hear. You explain to us that night follows day.

It’s a big week around our place as the 2nd major thespian in our house has a show opening this week.

GB is in the cast of That Night Follows Day by Tim Etchels, opening on Wednesday at the PuSh festival in Vancouver.

It’s the North American English premiere …

That Night Follows Day starts out from observations as to how the adult world shapes the world of children. A play for adults, performed by children. With humour and great clarity, the evening explores the economies of parenthood, upbringing, discipline, control and care that define the adolescents’ worlds….The original production (in Flemish) premiered at Brussels’ KunstenFESTIVALdesArts in May 2007. Since then it has toured throughout Europe and beyond at several prestigious festivals.

More on the play, how it originally came together, and reviews of some of the (other) international productions on the author’s web site, timetchles.com

The show runs at PuSh February 4 – 8 at the Roundhouse in Yaletown.

There’s a mini web site/blog for the production here.

You can find out more about Theatre Replacement here.

Tickets for the Vancouver shows through the PuSh festival here

This production also goes to Seattle on March as part of On the Boards – Northwest Series. So if you’re in the US Pacific Northwest you can catch it March 20 & 21 at Behnke Centre for Contemporary Performance in Seattle.

On the Boards also has a blog for the play on their site.


Growlers in English Bay

The two cars couldn’t be further apart in aesthetic.

But there they were, parked on the same block, on a quiet day in the usually tourist laden English Bay in Vancouver.


My snow-eating-Yaris looked positively anemic next to the grey Maserati.  Even sitting at the curb, the car looked fast.  A lean high tech machine.

Down the block, perfectly at home next to the Sylvia Hotel, a 1951 Mercury with suicide doors.


The chrome alone probably outweighs the Maserati up the street.   In the early 50’s, this Canadian made Mercury commanded respect.

Today, it still does, looking every bit as menacing as it ever did.

Made a bland day in the bay a little more interesting.


Intoxicating Northern Voice

20090109_nv2009mooseI’m starting to measure my year in terms of Northern Voice, and I was thrilled to see registration open this week for the 2009 version.
Northern Voice really reminds me of the early days of the Fringe Festival in Vancouver. Back when the Fringe was on Main Street and run by Joanna Maratta.

Like the Fringe, Northern Voice is really about a community of people passionate about what they do, people who are highly experienced sitting next to someone who’s just starting out. It’s about people who are at the top of the field interacting with people who are just being introduced to social networking for the first time. It’s about sharing experience, desires, business practices, crazy ideas and a lot of long conversations at the bar.

Back when the Fringe Festival was a real grass roots thing, anyone with 100 bucks could put on a play. Ticket prices were cheap and lineups were long. Shows sold out on word-of-mouth. On any given day you could see shows featuring some of Vancouver’s top actors (like Angry Actors Co-op) as well as total neophytes who while not experienced, shared the same passion and excitement about their craft. It’s intoxicating to be around, and even more so to be part of.

Northern Voice features an un-conference format on the 1st of the 2 days. Literally anyone can host a session on a topic of their choice; sometimes to a packed room, sometimes to a handful of people. Its a wonder to behold as people stand up and announce their ‘session’ to a gathered crowd. It’s real honest to goodness sharing. It’s learning and teaching and experimenting and collaborating and master-class all rolled into one.

The Fringe festival used to have its own version of an un-conference. It was never articulated as a stream at the Fringe, but it was understood by everyone that the de facto conference centre was the Fringe Club in the Main Street legion. This is where you could learn from the best, trade tips and tricks with performers and technicians and stage managers from around the world. I learned tons sitting at those plywood tables drinking draft, listening, laughing, arguing and learning. Perhaps most importantly, I made lifelong friends and was introduced to lifelong colleagues in the process. Like Northern Voice, some people even met their future professional-and-or-personal-or-both partners there.

Northern Voice has a spirit fueled by people who genuinely love what they do, are intrigued by what’s possible, and who dream of what’s to come.

I used to measure my year by the advent of the Fringe – sadly I don’t anymore more.

But I’m glad to see that same spirit alive at Northern Voice.

We’re Number One (repeat)

The latest radio ratings came out this week, and CBC Radio One is congratulating itself for one of its best ratings periods ever.

On closer look though, it seems that, like every other radio station in the world, there’s a fair bit of selective fun with numbers going on.

Here’s the headline from CBC’s official blog:

CBC Radio cleaned up in the latest audience measurement report released by BBM.

In radio they call it the book, and it was an outstanding showing

(You can get also get an overview of the ratings, nation wide, at Broadcaster magazine.)

In Toronto, CBC is high-fiving for becoming “number one” for the first time ever.

CBLAFM are the call letters of Toronto’s CBC flagship – and it scored a 9.4 share in this round or ratings.

BBM defines share as “total hours tuned to that station expressed as a percentage of total hours tuned to all radio” in the market.

That’s great of course, but there are some in the broadcast industry who think very little of share. Mostly because if your listeners keep their radio tuned for long period of times, your share will be higher, even though a competitor may have more listeners.

Most commercial stations look at reach – defined by BBM as “estimated number of different people, within…the market area, who tuned to that station for at least a quarter hour during the week”

In other words, how many people are actually listening.

Within CBC, making Toronto local radio a winner is a huge deal – and for any of my former colleagues who are celebrating this weekend, good on you.

But when you look at CBL’s reach, whether in the central market (i.e. the city) or full coverage (the entire broadcast range), it’s far from number one.

In full coverage reach, CBL comes in 3rd in the 17 stations identify by BBM

And in the central area of Toronto, CBL does less well. With 696,100 listeners, they’re in 5th place.

In Vancouver, it’s a slightly different story, and very different numbers.

Unlike Toronto, CBC Vancouver won’t be using share to claim number one spot – that’s because in share they’re second, well behind CKNW.

What does make Vancouver CBC number one is a great technical infrastructure. Their full coverage reach is an awesome 612,400 listeners, thanks to excellent transmitter coverage across the lower mainland. This is miles ahead of their closest competitor – and their closest full coverage reach competitor isn’t news/talk station CKNW, but CFBTFM – better known to you as The Beat.

When it comes to the Vancouver central area however, the numbers go quite differently, with CBC well behind CKNW, CFBTFM, CHQM and are on par with CKZZ.

In Vancouver central, CBC Radio One is actually 4th.

What does it all mean ?

Externally, nothing really.

CBC Radio doesn’t currently sell advertising so they can claim #1 all they want, but when the radio sales teams from private stations hit the street to sell, CBC isn’t even on their chart.

Internally – it means everything, particularly as CBC eyes the current government cuts with apprehension.

You just had to listen to Heritage Minister James Moore interviewed on CBC Vancouver this week to hear how big a concern it is for CBC. Speaking to him about the government’s financial plan, on no other question did they push him for an answer except for one – will CBC be getting cut. When minister Moore didn’t answer the question directly, they went on to ask it 2 more times.

The other issue for CBC surrounds CBC Radio Two. With massive changes to the schedule last fall, the ratings are not looking good. So having a great story to tell about CBC Radio One will go a long way to deflecting the heat on Radio Two’s poor performance.


The full BBM highlights are online and summary level information is a free PDF dowload, so have a look and make your own charts and graphs to show how your station in #1, in something.

I’ve got a couple of other charts you can take a look at. Like those above, click for a larger version.

The Otters Revenge

A couple of weeks ago I made what I thought was an innocuous remark about river otters at the marina and the various ways boat owners have chosen to keep them off their vessels.

River Otters use their scat and urine to mark their territory, and once they find a spot they ‘like’, they return over and over. If your the lucky owner of a boat that’s become their favourite spot – good luck.

Here’s the thing.

They’re cute as hell, but their leave-behind, while I’m sure aromatic to another Otter, is down right smelly. Our friend Mandy on Saltspring says if they get in your boat, about the only way to get rid of the smell is to sell it.

With a sailboat, the issue is less problematic than an open powerboat.

Unless you leave a hatch open.

Which I never do.

Except for earlier this week.

When I did.

Leave the hatch open.


Ironically, the day I left the hatch open was the day I went down to the boat to wash the otter goo from the foredeck.


Normally, leaving the hatch open would mean a nice fresh air smell down below.


Our local otters discovered my mistake and used otter SMS to let their peeps know it was time to party.

Compared to the cold fiberglass non-slip fore deck, things are downright luxurious below decks. At least from an otter’s perspective (or a cold sailor’s).

Those crazy kids left quite a mess, the smell was quite unbelievable. I spent a couple of hours pulling everything out of the boat, washing it down, and scrubbing down the boat. EB finds it amusing that I can spend hours scrubbing the boat but rarely do the same with our kitchen or bathroom floor but that’s for another post.

Even then it smelled mighty ripe.

A nice day out on the water to air things out seemed appropriate.

What little breeze there was didn’t do a lot to dissipate the smell, so I’ve hauled everything ‘marked’ by my otter pals home for a heavy duty scrubbing, using organic orange peel concentrate and whatever else I can get my hands on.

So far the results are 50-50.

My foul-weather gear is smelling pretty good actually – the 4 settee cushions a lot less so.

Thankfully the boat’s only in the water for another week then will be parked beside the house where I can apply any number of smell-reducing-organic-concoctions in hopes of bringing Madsu back to her odiferous self.

Never before have I longed for that musty smell of a closed up sailboat.

Solar Charging My Mobile Phone

It’s a bit convoluted, but while sailing this morning I was also using the sun to charge my mobile. There’s something magic about silently ghosting along under sail – added bonus is charging batteries at the same time.

On a sailboat, you typically charge up your batteries while using the engine. Just like in your car, an alternator on the motor charges the 12 or 6 v batteries on the boat. But since there is no alternator on Madsu’s old outboard, the only way to charge the 12 volt batteries that run the lights and other on board equipment is to use a battery charger plugged in while at the dock. I do have a 110v AC marine trickle charger installed, but all last season and so far this season, I’ve relied on a 14 x 14 solar panel I bought at West Marine.

It trickle charges the batteries and I’ve not had to plug-in to shore power since I bought it. I put a switch on the panel so that I can send the charge to either one of the two batteries on board, and so far, I’m super happy with the performance of the little panel. I mount it on the stern pushpit, clamped to the rail mount I use for the Force 10 BBQ which is stowed unless I’m using it.

When it was on sale last year, I also bought a small (coffee cup sized) inverter. It plugs into the cigarette lighter socket on the boat and outputs AC. Today I used it to charge my cell phone. I don’t have a 12v charger for the mobile, and don’t need to buy one. The solar panel charges the batteries, the batteries provide power to the inverter, and the inverter outputs AC to my standard phone charger. Nice.

Moonlight Sail with Bella and Aron

Garnet and I were lucky enough to be joined by Aron and Bella on our FullMoon Sail last Friday night.

I got a bit of video footage – fun night. Sorry the video’s so dark but it WAS already quite dark (it’s gonna get darker), and I left the good camera on dry land…

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July Full Moon Sail

We had an incredible night sailing under the full moon last night (18th July).

Despite a morning of cloud cover, the afternoon cleared up and we had a completely clear sky for our night sail. We left Sewell’s around 9:00 and there was a lovely 10-12 knot inflow wind.

We had a couple of guests with us, and even though they were novice sailors they did amazingly well. In fact, I put AB on the tiller most of the night and within a few minutes he was sailing the tell-tales like a pro. We were doing between 5 and 5.5 knots to weather thanks to just a light chop.   (a short video here)

By the time the moon made it over the West Van hills it was close to 10 pm and we sailed by the light of the moon for another hour and a half before heading back. We did see one complete idiot (a sailboat I might add) with no running lights making way to Bowen – crazy. Otherwise, just the usual ferry traffic and one big barge with tow.

There’s nothing quite like the magic of a full moon night under sail. Hope we get as lucky in August !