Monday, October 28, 2019

Drawing houses

As you may know, I find great joy in drawing building facades. I started with those iconic heritage structures around the village such as the Steveston Museum, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, Marine Garage, and the Steveston Church thrift shop. Not only do they keep our history alive but they also serve as anchors in times of great change.

Yes, change does happen. Even in our little corner of Richmond.

Lately though, I've decided to capture residential buildings instead. 

Sometimes I thread my way through Steveston streets with my Canon point-and-shoot around my neck; at other times, I clutch nothing but my camera phone in my hand - always on the lookout for that charming house with amateur landscaping in front yard and, may be, a cat sitting in the window.

Well, this turned out be more difficult than I had anticipated. 

As more and more smaller single family dwellings with a decent size front lawn are razed to build monster houses, it takes me twice as long to find those gems.

I suppose I could paint those mansions that seem to be overtaking our neighborhood. However, their lifeless exterior, lack of proportions, false sense of grandeur, and plain scary bristling metal fences just make me want to run away. May be that's the point though. 

Not to be deterred, however, I plan to continue featuring Steveston's more traditional homes in my future posts - at least before they all disappear. So stay tuned! You might just see yours.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Super-served Steveston

Dentists, nail spas, pharmacies, cafes, fitness and health studios, hair salons,  restaurants, shops, and bakeries.

Regardless of where you draw the boundary lines defining the Steveston area (which can be contentious depending on whom you ask), there is no doubt - we Stevestonites lack for nothing to be the best version of ourselves.

This glut of amenities and services practically guarantee that we feel and look epic all the time.

Take the restaurant industry's ever shifting landscape, for example. We see businesses closing their doors only to be resurrected just as quickly under different names. A Greek menu is supplanted by an Italian menu, mounds of gelatos replaced ice cream buckets inside the display freezer, and ornate East Indian decor gave way to the clean minimalist lines of a sushi house interior.

Just count the number of sandwich boards crowding intersection corners and you'll know that, come what may, your taste buds - and the rest of your body - will always remain well pampered.

Which begs the question...

Why oh why can't we have a good greengrocer?

You know, somewhere we can pick up the plumpest summer fruits, the greenest leafy vegetables, and fresh-from-the-earth potatoes that still wear a light dusting of dirt.

I am not asking for anything fancy. Just a stand we can quickly dash in and out of between a yoga class and a hair appointment. 

Monday, October 7, 2019

Headphones man

Have you seen him? On colder days, he pounds the pavement in a well worn dark blue trench coat, headphones hugging his ears, sunglasses perched on his nose, a cigarette pressed between his lips and - sometimes -an opaque plastic bag containing undiscernable items dangling from his hand. On warmer days, he maintains his rigorous walk with lighter clothing but retaining the accessories that have defined him, at least to me, as the neighborhood extreme walker.

Sometimes he chuckles, as though responding to a joke being fed through his headphones. At other times, he appears pensive, even grim. But he never lingers in one spot. He appears just like a resident out on a stroll.

And stroll he does - seemingly for hours on end. 

I have run errands which took me to various destinations around Richmond for three and four hours at a time and seen him multiple times, on different streets, with purposeful steps  - never ceasing to look ahead, never stopping to rest. 

I hope he does find refuge now and then to put up his feet. Especially when inclement winter weather sets in. I hope someone, somewhere, can direct him to a protective shelter - from the sun in the summer, the snow in the winter, and everything else in between. 

I bet, though, commuting on foot has given him access to some of the most amazing things about our neighborhood - things that you easily miss when you cover the same distance by car, bicycle, or bus.