Business & Economy
January 12, 2021

Main Street Pandemic Purchases? Here’s How British & Canadian Main Streets Are Doing

Great Britain’s “High” or main streets are seeing  purchases for things other than food drop by 24 percent in shopping areas, with an overall decline in sales being the worst since record keeping started in 1995.

As The Guardian’s Richard Partington writes closing down “non-essential” shops never recovered from the online spending takeovers.Total retail sales increased 1.8 percent from November to December and surprisingly food and drink sales were the highest recorded for holiday spending. Credit card company Barclaycard saw online retail spending increase over 50 percent in December.

Canada has not had as many strict pandemic closures as in Great Britain but this study undertaken by  Vancity, Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB), and the Canadian Urban Institute shows that from September to December visits to main street businesses decreased 35 to 70 percent compared to 2019, with nearly 60 percent of businesses making less money, some garnering half of the revenue made pre-pandemic.

Retail Insider’s  Mario Toneguzzi  reports that the interim President of Vancity says it clearly~

Local businesses form the backbone of the Canadian economy and they have shown determination and resilience during the pandemic. Given the extraordinary measures and investment they have made to continue operating, they are now counting on us to get behind them.”

Concentrating on main streets in communities in Ontario and British Columbia, research shows that small businesses directly attached to the local community performed better. Up to one quarter of all businesses were doing more business online. Sadly in Victoria and in Vancouver (the survey was conducted in Vancouver’s Strathcona) the majority of business owners reported increased safety issues in their location as keeping customers away.

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Towards a More Equitable Housing System: Is Vancouver a City for Renters?
Part of The Future We Want: The Change We Need, an event series hosted by the City of Vancouver in partnership with SFU.

Beginning in the early 1970s the percentage of Vancouver households living in rental units has been greater than 50%. Nevertheless, renters consistently face difficulties in finding housing that is adequate, stable and secure, with, in more recent years, rental affordability becoming a particularly challenging and detrimental issue for many households. While some in the city may strive for home ownership, data tells us that this possibility has become increasingly out of reach, even for those with moderate incomes.

Given the reality that a majority of Vancouverites will most likely continue to live in rental housing, what does this mean for the next generation, for seniors and families, for low-income, racialized and marginalized households, and for the many others who do not see a secure housing future in Vancouver?

How must the City of Vancouver think differently about housing and the housing market to better meet the needs of its residents, ensuring priority for those with the greatest need?

What is required of a new city-wide plan to ensure the urgent and transformative change necessary to establish an equitable housing system?

Join us to discuss these questions at the second event of The Future We Want: The Change We Need series.

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Passing the Torch: Lessons Learned for Future Generations of Women Advocates~A conversation with Shirin Ebadi at Simon Fraser University

Shirin Ebadi is the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. The first woman appointed as judge in Iran, she was subsequently barred from her post after the Islamic Revolution on the basis of her gender. Returning to the courts as a private lawyer to defend controversial political and human rights cases led to her own incarceration and 25 days in solitary confinement. Despite these challenges, Shirin Ebadi continues to dedicate her life to fighting for human rights, especially the rights of women, children, and political prisoners. She will join us to talk about the hard-won lessons she has learned, to pass the torch to future generations of women advocates.
A zoom link will be provided to registered attendees via email.
About the Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies
The Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies has been established at Simon Fraser University to encourage the academic discussion and public understanding of the cultures and societies of Muslim peoples in the past and present.

Date: Wednesday January 27, 2021

Time: 12 noon Pacific Time

You can register by clicking this link.

Images: VanityFair,LessonPlanet.com

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There’s a Vancouver real estate marketing YouTube video making the rounds of social media that describes a “different way of life” that is “elegantly removed from the hectic pace of downtown”.

You can watch the video below with that calm hushed voice describing the Arbutus Greenway as “one of the longest linear parks in the world” (no mention that it is a rail-right-of-way) and compares it with New York City’s Highline, Barcelona’s Las Ramblas, Avenue Montaigne in Paris and Mayfair and Chelsea in London. The whole point is that you  can live in a “stately greenside manor” “poised in the most distinguished part of the Arbutus greenway”.

This is really selling  the redevelopment of the Kerrisdale Lumber and hardware store in the 6100 block of West Boulevard by Gryphon Developments. This is a five storey mixed use building with 64 units with size ranges from around 800 to 1,300 square feet. There are one to three bedroom units as well as 19,000 square feet of retail for shops and services. The architect is Taizo Yamamoto and you can take a look at the submission to the Urban Design Panel here.

You can also take a look at the heritage designation of the eastern side of the facade here.

The elevations for the building appear relatively unremarkable and similar to other  types of residential development in the city.  There is the retention of the 1930’s facade north of the much loved hardware store.

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A few weeks ago, PT wondered why GlobalBC TV doesn’t use charts to show the daily Covid numbers in context.

Charts are really useful! – vast amounts of information can be displayed with clarity, for comparison, over time.  Like the one below, used by Investigate West, to illustrate this even more useful story:

A Lost Decade: How Climate Action Fizzled In Cascadia

(Click for full story to see how chart is presented over time with annotations.)

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There is a large flashy ad on twitter. A new development is being announced in Metro Vancouver. It  is at the crossroads of three different rapid transit routes,  a new transportation hub to everywhere in the region and there are only 176 lots available to savvy investors. There’s a great pre-sale, there are real estate agents available at the development site to sign you up, and even better one of the purchasers of the limited number of lots will also win the lot that has an original farmhouse that had been built twenty years earlier.

This is not a current offer for sale, but one from 110 years ago when “Montrelynview, Greater Vancouver’s Tram Car Centre” was created for property sales. In 1911 the large advertisements started to appear in The Vancouver World newspaper~”Montrelynview! Greater Vancouver’s Tram Car Centre Sale Starts with 176 lots only!”


Charles Gordon, a real estate speculator had acquired Wintermute farm which is at 7640 Berkley Street  in Burnaby near Canada Way and Imperial. He then devised a plan to whip up public interest in selling the subdivided lots from the farm property and created a clever marketing campaign.

Mr. Gordon hosted a competition to name his new development and offered a first prize of $50.00 which is worth about $2,800 today for the winning name.  He wanted a moniker that would reference the mountain view, the fact you could see Burnaby Lake from the location, and that also noted the proximity to the three streetcar lines.

There were over 5,000 potential names submitted in the contest, but none satisfied Mr. Gordon. Awkwardly, he devised  his own brand for the development, calling it  “Montrelynview”which he felt recognized the mountain view, the lake view, and the proximity to transit. The prize of $50.00 went to the person that suggested “Tricarlocheights” which meant “mountains and omit(s) view”.

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Join America Walks for a conversation with Mindy Thompson Fullilove about her recently released book Main Street: How a City’s Heart Connects Us All. Main Streets, already weakened by malls and online shopping, have taken a terrible beating because of the need to shelter-in-place during the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet Main Streets are centers for conviviality which is crucial to creativity and imagination — so important for surviving all the challenges we face. This webinar will investigate how Main Streets work and what they need from us now.

Host: Mike McGinn, Executive  Director Walk America, former Mayor City of Seattle

Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD, LFAPA, Hon AIA, is a social psychiatrist and professor of urban policy and health at The New School. Since 1986, she has conducted research on AIDS and other epidemics of poor communities, with a special interest in the relationship between the collapse of communities and decline in health. From her research, she has published numerous articles, book chapters, and monographs. She has also written: The House of Joshua: Meditations on Family and Place, Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It, and Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America’s Sorted-Out Cities. A third edition of Homeboy Came to Orange: A Story of People’s Power, which she helped her father, Ernest Thompson, write, was released in May 2018 by New Village Press. She is co-author, with Hannah L. F. Cooper, of From Enforcers to Guardians: A public health primer on ending police violence, issued by Johns Hopkins University Press in January 2020. Her latest book, Main Street: How a City’s Heart Connects Us All, was released in September 2020 by New Village Press.

DATE: Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm PST

For more information and to  register, click this link.

 

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From the Daily Hive:

… local developer Bonnis Properties and the local office of the architectural firm Perkins & Will are pushing forward their proposal to redevelop 800 Robson Street — the entire area between the former Payless Shoes building at the north end of the city block to the Orpheum Theatre’s Granville Street entrance building near the south end.

 

Existing condition of the 800 block of Granville Street in downtown Vancouver, showing the redevelopment footprint and the historical structures that will be preserved.

 

This proposal is currently in the pre-application stage; proponents are aiming to formalize their application to the City of Vancouver this year.

More here at Daily Hive.

 

Okay, Price Taggers – your turn.  Add your comments.

 

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A few weeks ago, PT ran a post: “The West End The Way it Was.”   Its last line: “One of the best urban neighbourhoods in the world.”

Regular commenter Bob took issue:

(The West End) “was” one of the best urban neighbourhoods in the world.

The distinctive mix of demographics that made it unique: seniors, young immigrant families, the gay community, all are being driven out by the gentrification unleashed during Vision Vancouver’s and the BC Liberal’s tenure. The removal of St.Pauls to the False Creek Flats will be yet another body blow to the community.

 

There’s been a narrative like that in the West End as long as I’ve lived here.  Since the 70s people have said the unique mix isn’t what it was, or is in danger, or is no longer.

I understand what Bob bemoans: the perceived loss of diversity as the West End becomes upscaled and out of reach of the residents who gave it real character.  It seems they are being unfairly squeezed out by a rate of change – whether demographic, physical or economic – that’s too fast.

No arguing with what people perceive; that’s their reality.  But I learned as a councillor that people’s perception of the rate of change in their community is paradoxical.  As the rate of change slows down, in fact, people’s perception of change increases.  What was once unnoticed in a neighbourhood swept by turbulent change – like the West End in the 1960s – becomes the focus of attention when things slow down enough to notice.

But eventually facts have to match up with perceptions.  Change must be reflected in the measures of that change.   And thanks to the great work by the City’s Social Policy department, we have those measures in one place and can graphically see them illustrated.  Lots of charts.*

No amount of data from yesterday will necessarily convince those persuaded by the anecdotal changes of today.  However, these community profiles derived from the census do provide a base of comparison over decades. Are seniors, families, immigrants and gays being driven out.  And who has replaced them?

We can find out in this Profile of the West End**:

 

Big takeaway: the astonishing thing about the West End is its stability.  Even physically, the district west of Burrard and south of Robson is remarkable for how little it has changed from the 1980s on.

Chilco Street in 2009:

In 2019:

Not even the trees have changed.

Is this Denman Street in 2005 or 2019?

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