ART...what's going down in the hood on a Friday night you ask?

My dog Koko has an alter-ego, it’s ARTDOG . ARTDOG loves to explore all things “art”, particularly the visual and she definitively has a bent for street art. While on one of our walks ARTDOG discovered there was going to be an opening just around the corner from Project 851. She was delighted and nosed her way into a private preview showing to sniff out what might be some favourites.

The exhibition was the photographic work of Louise Francis-Smith and like ARTDOG, Louise has an eye for what takes place in the streets. This exhibition is well defined in her artistic statement:


As you can see ARTDOG immersed herself into the show and contemplated her favourites:

People started showing up so ARTDOG exited through the gift shop so as not to steal any attention away from Louise’ ; such a thoughtful art critic. Plus this would give her time to finalize her thoughts on the work for her review. It was a full house and amazing how many creative souls showed up and as I looked around found myself very impressed by the fact that many of these people were my neighbours — just take a look:

Yes your eyes do not deceive you in the house we had Lam Wong, Quentin Spetifore, Lincoln Clarke, Jane Wolsak, Ewan McNeil, Goya Ngan, Chick Rice, Richard Tetrault, Esther Rausenberg, Connie Sabo, John David, Daphne Marlatt, Maureen Sugrue, Leonard Brett, Sally Buck and Kent Lins to name just a few of the talented and amazing creative souls pulsating through the space. Everywhere you turned there was an opportunity for delightful discussion and Louise’s work certainly didn’t fall short of getting that ball rolling.

Some of my dear friends continued our conversations into the night and brought it over to the Garden Suite; my present executive camping spot as the project rolls into it’s final phase. Jo, Carylann, Sandra, Mira, Michael and myself got deep into dream and lotto discussion. Sandra was the instigator of creating the lotto game that connected to the tarot cards I had laying around. Michael joined in by looking up the deck of Alejandro Jodorwosky and the fun began. Keep your eyes posted as the game involves us individually and collectively tossing out numbers for each other so we could each buy a lotto ticket to continue the spirit of Louise’s exhibition.. Should I win we’re going to Paris to find Alejandro Jodorowsky to have coffee and discuss tarot.

While we were channeling the lucky numbers ARTDOG was writing up her review of Louise’s exhibition. ARTDOG gives WE WILL BUY YOUR DREAMS a big 4 PAWS UP!! This is worth taking time out of your day to go see, but be warned you’ll want to bring someone with you as it’s going to stimulate thoughts leading to conversation. Go to the Louise link for details so you don’t miss out — Artist talk is April 20th and exhibition last day is April 27th.

ARTDOG highly recommends Louise’s work and feels she nailed it; see artist statement above.. Louise achieved capturing a real human quality to a difficult and often sad topic of transition to a place. Yet, L F-S has maintained a feeling of anonymity for the individuals in the photos at the same as exposing them. The balance in the composition runs throughout the images — the lovely red street lamp posts form a triangle around an asian man getting a newspaper in one; that image generated some lively conversations. ARTDOG overheard a viewer recall a childhood memory of chinatown and how the men used to walk arm in arm up and down Pender St. with their Chinese newspapers under an arm chatting away. Those were the days when the men were here in Canada and the women were left behind in the old country. ARTDOG enjoyed overhearing all these wonderful conversations L F-S’s work generated and ARTDOG never runs tired of pole of any kind but these red street lamp posts seemed to trigger a warm spot in her heart.

Well done Louise Francis-Smith!

PEOPLE...this hood is rockin' it!

People really do make the difference!! Let’s celebrate good news!! The Flats Arterial Community Panel recommendations are in aaaaaannnnnd “read all about it! 68% vote in favour of the National-Charles route”. Bravo panel, bravo and kudos to all the people for their hard work in educating the city, panelists and citizens about this issue. Dan and Richard from the SRA worked tirelessly to develop the route (good job Richard) develop a coherent presentation to express this option to the city. With National-Charles included as an option there became 9 routes of choice; although really there was no choice in my opinion and why Prior ever reared it’s ugly head again is valid to question.

It was the effort of so many people like Dan and Richard who were not paid but gave of themselves: their time, their expertise, their efforts… It was an excellent example of people taking their community power and articulating it in a healthy, positive, thoughtful and sensitive manner to balance the powers that be. We’re steps closer to creating wonderful things for this neighbourhood and it’s good to take a moment to celebrate and be thankful for those people.

Taking the moment is an important thing to do, as it breaks the times you feel like you’re chasing your tail and running in circles: (feeling like it’s one big zoom-a-thon).

or watching the world just spin by with it’s ups and downs :

or maybe you don’t have the energy to do anything but sit and watch:

or sometimes you just want to think about what’s happening next week and not today: (p.s. this art show is happening next week Friday April 12th)

But you know when you take the time, gather your friends, talk to people in your community and look forward (or up) with a strong conviction and don’t give up that is when magic moments happen.

That is when you take your time in the sun and enjoy the rewards!! (and your cake)


Here’s a BIG PINK HOUSE and OCTOPUS thanks to all those great people in the neigbourhood (Dan, Richard, Claudio, Gloria, David, …) you know who you are and what you quietly do for everyone.

COMMUNITY...lights, roads and parks.

Last Community post included an update on Union Street’s street lights with the intention of extending a consistent look throughout Strathcona. I don’t have a further update at the moment but Claudio has advised me something is in the works and the community will be updated in a week or two — yeah, exciting!!

As for roads, omg, what can we say about that ongoing saga? Fingers crossed it will be as positive as the street light situation but I’m not holding my breath on that one. Here’s information for anyone who’s not aware of the Flats Arterial Community Panel (a mouthful I know)… Tomorrow night is the last chance for the community to give the community panel feedback about their community on which the community panel is deciding for the community — they will be giving the city a recommendation on an arterial road route that has been going on since the 80’s with many many repeated attempts by the community to express their point of view. If one didn’t know better they’d think the city had a hidden agenda, as how can this go on for sooooo many years?. The last big community rally was held 6 years ago, oh ya and of course most recently for the panel. It’s madness, my friend, madness.

Now onto parks you ask? I kind of threw that in there as an extra as it’s so beautiful in our parks right now and they help with the sanity during the mad times. Oh ya, and also the arterial road options includes one plan that would drive a road right through Strathcona park — that being the William Street option that the city was pushing the community to go for. I know, I know it’s completely ridiculous. hahaha you have to laugh at how crazy that is, like where else in this city have they actually proposed taking away part of a highly used park? Remember we’re calling ourselves the greenest city hahahaha.

Further to the community action noted above let’s look to the community action in the park, pink house, octopus… (it takes a village to pull this off):

Pony in the park and art dog checking things out!!

The perfect pink match!! (no Mel they are not sausages, they be gutters)

Dino and Johnny are the leaders of the heavy duty metal men working on those stairs — homage to the men of metal; machinists, steel workers, blacksmiths…

Rinketty dink pink and the details of the curl on the front porch.

It takes a squad to deliver boxes — oh ya we have boxes.

These tree planters know how to work together and still get input for the right position!

and last but not least…

Koko-cola the Art Dog cases her happy place of community art in graffiti land (only a few blocks away from her house)!!

PROGRESS...planting change

As we inch our way closer to completion of “the village” of project 851 one can’t help but notice the progress of flow on the property. I just love the way the individual units come together yet remain distinct and unique. It literally “feels” good to see Landscapers bring the landscape architecture plan (thank you Hapa ) to life; the reality is better than anything I could have imagined, or tried to decipher from drawings.

Drawings: (might be hard to read but you get the idea aaaaaand you can always come and ask me …)

OLD: (best to look at it from land only perspective— ‘cause there will be changes)

NEW: now remember the drawings… now think about all the choices in materials; concrete, stone, wood, glass, paint etc.)

Getting closer to final stages:

and you gotta love the Bird’s eye view:

but wait there’s more…(never get tired of being a bird):

Looks great in real life right? Now there is a big check for the Katsura Tree which is growing out of the back deck and I’m looking forward to the arrival of the following: hedges, deciduous trees (other than the katsura), shrubs, perennials and ground cover and grasses. Hmmm, so the question becomes what are you looking forward to the most? The white roses! No, wait the pink climing roses. Oh no, now that the Katsura is in it will be the corsican mint and mexican feather grass. Owwww, wait, I forgot about the Italian plum tree. How could I forget the Italian plum tree? I’ve always had a plum tree in the yard, since I was a kid? Oh heck I don’t know I’m looking forward to them all!!