On Sunday May 3, I attended my first “Jane’s Walk” – local urban tours that dig into Vancouver’s history and urban issues (named for writer and urban-development activist Jane Jacobs). This one, winding through the Downtown Eastside and Chinatown, was called “Riots, Homelessness and Baseball” – and all three have been seen in the DTES over the years. (The baseball took place inside the Beatty Street Armoury.) Our host was author Michael Barnholden and it was an eye-opening and entertaining two hours.
There was a strong political component – and how could there not be, what with a local history that includes anti-Asian and pro-pot riots, burning of the mayor in effigy, and crackdowns on Opium factories?
While we were there, I took the opportunity to prove that the world-famous Sam Kee building was indeed only six feet high – using hands-on scientific methodology.
The tour took a last-minute surprise twist as we were approached by author Charles Montgomery. He talked us into “putting Jane Jacobs’ ideas into practice” – specifically, by helping him and his author partner Kerry Gold move their stuff from a waiting truck into their new offices in the Dominion Building! We happily obliged. It was a fitting ending to the tour!