Notes on a West Coast City
I am writing to you from Vancouver.
It is the perfect tale of two cities. Well, that would be the tale of the city I experienced when I relocated here in 2001 and the tale of the city as it is now in 2011. So much has changed. And this sense of change continues unabated.
Indeed, the rumours and the reports are true: Vancouver has made in but a decade extraordinarily noteworthy leaps and bounds. Where once newcomers from other parts of Canada – I’ve often joked that 2 out of every five residents are from Toronto, 1 from Montréal, and the remainder from Ontario and ROC in general - arrived to discover a West Coast urban centre seemingly furled with a latent energy it has now exploded in every direction with a sense of creative vigor and purpose. The stage is set, and it is more than a showcase of local ambition on the national stage it is an exhibition of the exemplary bricklaying of the modern global city.
The newsworthy highlights of the last decade made known to the locals and Canadians alike was the awarding of and successful hosting of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Paralympics and Cultural Olympiad, all of which brought Vancouver to the prominent fore galaxies removed from the largest previous example of hosting an international event, that being Expo ’86.
And in that obligatory pan-Canadian way Vancouverites embrace the meaning of their Canucks playing in the Stanley Cup Final, a fandom bent on nothing less this time around than winning the most recognizable prize across the land. Both the citizens of Toronto and Montréal would be happy to know the team is intent on beating one of your most formidable rivalries, the Boston Bruins.
But so much more has happened and is happening now. Vancouver itself is experiencing a renaissance, albeit one that has come around slowly perhaps in the minds of the impatient. But this force of creative zeal is undeniable. In its sense of awareness of fashion, architecture and modern design, art, music and countless new restaurant openings that receive their share of national awards the city is, in particular, gaining an awareness of itself and the role it plays as that unique West Coast Canadian city far removed from its eastern cousins and their consensuses.
So, yes, I felt Vancouver’s potential in 2001 and experienced a tsunami of changes within the past decade. Now I am but lucky to report on the realization of the potential of this beautiful and ambitious modern city. It is to be shared.
I am pleased to join yourKloset.com. From here I propose to record my notes on the plurality and nature of these exciting developments, the sense of the new and the outreaching. As art dealer I am close to something that makes the West Coast so inherently different and yet identifiable. But I also record from the position of one who observes style, art, music and lifestyle. I believe nurturing Vancouver’s own point of reference in trends that will help shape the modern Canadian identity.
Canada has a vibrant partner on the Left Coast and I want to make that introduction. Vancouver as arrived. Pulsing, exciting, original, inscribing its raison d’être across the national fabric.
But make no mistake, for the most sage bon mots in Vancouver right now? Go Canucks go!