Rules of the Road

31 January 2019 – Rules learned while on foot, meandering alleys & side streets in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.

Rule # 1:

Don’t steal.

Rules # 2:

Don’t ride alone.

(I’d like to add some kind of quip, but, honestly, I am rendered speechless.)


Symbol City

3 March 2017 — Just a selection of symbols from my own list-to-date, you understand. Images that snag my Toronto eyes; make me exclaim, with delight, “Ohhh, that is so Vancouver!”

Vancouver is trees.

Moss on tree trunks, in the rain …

typical tree trunk, on a residential Mount Pleasant street

palm trees, out there alive-alive-0 in mid-winter …

W. Broadway near Granville

fir trees on industrial wall murals …

detail, an Industrial Flats mural

and tree stump art.

one of two, in front of Telus World of Science, Main St.

Vancouver is people.

First Nations …

Main St., just north of Terminal Av.

Asian …

a shop nr E 15th & Fraser

and everyone.

"Human Structure," by Jonathan Borofsky, Southeast False Creek

Vancouver is pop-up community gardens, in boxes that can move on to the next site …

close to the Cambie Bridge

and clouds on mountains …

North Van, from the Industrial Flats nr Main St.

and clouds all over the sky.

top, with solar panels, of the Solar Bike Tree outside Telus World of Science

Vancouver is Cloud City …

a mural in Industrial Flats

and Rain City …

W. Broadway between Granville & Cambie

and Every Weather City.

truck in Main St. parking lot

With a scoop of ice cream!


Philosophy on the Street

27 June 2016 – I have this weaknesses for signs, or, at least, short messages on walls and garage doors. The people’s philosophy, yes?

Sometimes, said People simply latch onto an existing, official sign.

For example, this stern, and very 21st-c., reminder of unacceptable behaviour — even in the wide=open spaces of the Humber Arboretum.

in Humber Arboretum

Get out your little pen-knife, find the next example of that sign, and express your own, more permissive philosophy instead.

in Huber Arboretum

Phyllis & I are impressed by the attention to detail. Any old knife-wielder could have thought to scratch out the word “No.” It took further imagination, we agree, to remove both the forbidding cross-bar in the image, and — especially — the “g” in “smoking.” Gives it the appropriately casual, cavalier air, don’t you think?

Jump to last Saturday, when AGO volunteer colleague Chloe & I are prowling the lanes & alleys very roughly in the College/Queen/Ossington area. Lots of new street art to be seen, much of it being created as we walk by, because Saturday is the last day of Toronto’s “Love Letter to the Great Lakes” international street art festival.

More of that next post, I promise.

Meanwhile, back to Philosophy on the Street, as neatly written on alley walls & doors.

There is the Existential Dilemma category …

alley in Parkdale

and the Moral Imperative category (subset, Specific Applications) …

alley in Parkdale

and the straight-out, all-purpose Moral Imperative …

alley in Parkdale

and, alas …

alley in Parkdale

the reminder of Ultimate Fate.

Signs & Portents

3 January 2016 – We seek portents early in the new year — tea leaves, tarot cards, chicken entrails.

Or in the city streetscape, on a short neighbourhood stroll.

This tiny shopping bag, for example, so neatly displayed on a neighbour’s wrought-iron fence.

A new year’s resolution, aimed at the male gender?

on a fence near Parliament St.

Or, perhaps, an admonition of overly-fastidious women?

Later, a cryptic command …

Richmond St. nr Parliament

which I obey, since it might reveal wise guidance for the coming year.

other side!

Then again, it might just reveal a Big Joke.

But perhaps that is the guidance. Laugh a lot.

Speaking of guidance, how about Lovebot‘s message? This example stands sentinel over a modest apartment building doorway …

near Parlaiment

but has the same meaning as its fellow images all over town. Each one, the work of founder Matthew Del Degan & fellow volunteers, has the same purpose: to inspire love & kindness, by reminding us that there is love in our cities & kindness around every corner.

Now that we’re speaking of love & kindness around every corner, how about this side-alley wall-woof?

alley off Parliament n. of Adelaide

A young man strides down the alley, heads for the door, then pauses, eyeing me & my camera with polite — but querying — neutrality. “Love the dog,” I say, nodding at the image. “Did you do that? Is he your dog?”

Young Man flashes a grin. “Yeh.” Slants his eyes at the wall & back at me, his face still warm with thoughts of his dog. It’s not the most accomplished art-work you’ll ever see, but it shines with love.

“Go ahead. Take a picture.”

So I do.




    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

    "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" -- Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

    "A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities" -- Rebecca Solnit, "Wanderlust: A History of Walking"

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