Anakana Schofield – Award Winning Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Condos rise along with daft name quota

There’s a building that’s risen below Main and 2nd Avenue that entirely changes a view I’ve been familiar with since I landed in Vancouver. Yesterday the building that has been promising to rise up there has finally risen and reminded me of a filing cabinet. It has these odd slitty windows up and down the side facing you as you pass it (going North on foot or on wheels.)

Beside it, more such condo buildings are promised changing the corridor there from fast food outlets and so on. The one outlet I’d be glad to see removed because of its garish dominance remains and looks likely to. Strange that.

As you drive the other direction along Kingsway you have the sense that we may need to do visits to Kingsway to be reminded of the City say 12 years ago. Then you keep going up Kingsway and bam! Sure enough a similiar building, with surely one of the worst names so far, promises to rise: Charm, she’s called this one.

Last week around Main & 30th my son and I were laughing at yet another condo building which was decorated with hanging pictures that read “ACTUAL VIEW” and showed a mountain range and what have you. Except the side of the building were they hung actually looks out on a hoover shop and a faded travel agents. There’s absolutely no sign of a mountain at all. The building also promised itself as “the highest point” on Main Street, which again, seemed a little lavish, since generally Main Street is not exactly the Kilamanjaroo of heights.

We are living now in the time of buildings with ridiculous names and embellished features. Charm takes the biscuit but OnQue is a close second. But it’s not even the names, it’s what they promise, it’s what they suggest might be waiting in store for you when you move into these places. (I am reminded of the building with the Churchill quote on the side and the people who were (accidentally) floating above the pavement in one advert for example). They also now include the terms “living and retail experience” on their holdings.

And finally in my housing reflections I was out for a light run yesterday and marvelling at the sky and general shape of the weather (crisp about the fingers, but oh so fresh) when hark disappointment ladled as I noticed they’ve torn down one of the last few interesting houses in our neighbourhood. OK I admit it was a hoarding enclave, but it fascinated me because of what was piled in the windows and the back garden. Now the land is bald with a plywood hut emerging and the only defiant gesture is a binner, who has used the new space to park his shopping trolley. Fair play to him/her on their initiative!


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